Monday, December 31, 2012

End of Year: A Sort of Review

As I sit here on the floor of our apartment, surrounded by packed boxes that hold the remainders of our last items to move, I can't help but think about the past year and a half we spent here in the Tampa Bay area. As much as we've disliked our apartment situation (and sometimes Tampa too), there were some really great aspects of living here as well.

Life in Florida has surely had its ups and downs this past year and a half, but we're looking forward to new adventures and finding favorite places in our new home. In the short amount of time we've spent at our new residence in the Orlando area, we've already found a new favorite breakfast spot (thanks Michelle!) We're looking forward to getting more settled in this week.

Although we are a little sad to be moving further from one of our favorite beaches, Fort De Soto Beach, we will be living closer to this cute little town. We'll also be living a little closer to a certain wizard's world and Universal Studios. Out of every situation in life, no matter how difficult, you have to try and see the silver lining. Dwelling in the past will only make the present, well, not much of a present at all. I hope this upcoming year gives you plenty of reasons to smile!

Hopefully next year will bring us more time with family and friends, a new place that feels more like home, and renewed hearts that learn to see more good in a crazy and ever-changing world.

This past couple of weeks has been hectic to say the least. After we get more settled into our new place, I hope to blog a little more frequently. We'll see. (:

Happy New Year!

This is super cheesy but I don't care:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Who Gives a Hoot?! (Besides Owls)

There's one thing that does give a hoot,
and it's this new addition to our Christmas tree. Isn't he cute?

I was pleasantly surprised to find three package slips in the mail yesterday! Two were boxes of gifts from family members, and the third box was from my ornament swap partner, Meg. I co-hosted the ornament swap with Alisha and Meg this year.

Now Meg not only sent me the cutest little owl for our tree, but I also received a bag of her homemade peppermint marshmallows too. If you already read Meg's blog, you probably know that she is quite the baker. Getting my own little bag of her homemade sweets was quite the treat! Needless to say, my little bag of sweets is almost gone. Yum! Thanks Meg.

our tree complete with a cute little owl

My husband and I are in the middle of packing up all our belongings for an upcoming move to the Orlando area, so our apartment is an absolute disaster area. Moving might be is one of my least favorite things ever, so receiving a cute ornament in the mail made my day. It came just in time, because I'm actually packing up our Christmas decorations today!

Now I'm off to pack some more....

Do you like owls too?
Have any on your tree?

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Browse the pretty below:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Serious Sparkle | Black & Gold

I can't lie. This week's friday's fancies theme had me super excited, because it revolved around the word sparkle. Now I'm not really one to wear sparkly clothes, but I do love plenty of sparkly accessories to complete a more tame outfit. Can a girl really ever have enough sparkly items in her wardrobe? The correct, and obvious, answer would be no.

The idea of each week's friday's fancies is to throw budgets away and create whatever your little heart desires, so I went big this week. There's no way that Louboutins are in our budget, and I'd most likely need to save for years life to afford them. That gorgeous Michael Kors runway watch is a stretch too, so again I had to include it in my black & gold sparkly outfit. Nothing would make me feel more sparkly than some timeless pieces like a chain link pavé bracelet and some ridiculously high black suede heels. I think the cost of this entire outfit could pay our rent for quite some time. This seems like an appropriate clothing budget. Homeless or heels? You choose.
Black & Gold Sparkle

dress  |  watch  |  bracelets ( 1 -  2 -  3 )  |  shoes

this song seems appropriate for today's look:
Black & Gold (Album Version) by Sam Sparro on Grooveshark

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I may not have the most popular blog, the most followers, or make the most money...

Now I'm off to drown my sorrows in a bottle (or two) of wine.
No, I kid! Sort of...

thanks for viewing

now go link up your sparkle with {av} @ long distance loving

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Obsessed with Flowerbomb

I found my new favorite fragrance yesterday, and it was love at first sniff. My husband even agreed with my perfume pick. He really hates to shop, so it was amazing we were even at the mall in the first place. My husband tried his hardest to hurry me through the delicious smelling fragrance counters, but I stalled long enough to pick up the closest bottle for a test spray. What can I say? This girl loves to shop.

The gorgeous packaging caught my eye first, but the name Flowerbomb grabbed my attention too. I had smelled that fragrance in magazine samples before, but I wanted to try it straight from the bottle this time. Stumbling across that perfume was a happy accident, because the scent had me hooked immediately! Like I said, love at first sniff.

my favorite scent
Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf

After obsessing over the smell for what seemed like an hour, my husband and I continued through the department store in search of gifts we actually needed. (aka not gifts for me) After finally making it to the right department, a store employee immediately complimented me on the fragrance I was wearing. I haven't had a perfume compliment in quite some time, so I was sold! Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf was definitely a winner. I'm pretty sure it was made for me (said every woman ever). I think I found the perfect scent!

I even saved this tester strip just in case my husband forgot....
this perfume is the ;)

Since I probably won't be getting this for Christmas, I'm adding Flowerbomb to my birthday wishlist. I suppose I can probably wait a month or so for this heavenly scent to arrive in my life! It's actually perfect timing, because I've just about finished my current bottle of perfume. Come to me, Flowerbomb. We were made for each other. Clearly I am obsessed.

Have you smelled Flowerbomb?
What's your favorite fragrance?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm Just a Regular Kind of Girl

Many of you may not know the real me.
Well, all you really need to know is that I'm pretty much a regular girl.

You know...
I'm just the kind of girl who wears ski goggles while cooking...

... hand sculpts butter into the shape of animals for holiday dinners ...

... rock climbs in people's basements ...

... wears necklaces made of pretzels and nutter butter cookies ...

... sports antlers on occasion ...

... isn't afraid to wear an old fashioned diving suit in public ...

... can sometimes be seen sparkling like a vampire in the sun ...

... and regularly reads only the finest of reading material.

Yep. That's me.
A regular, normal kind of girl.

p.s. Did anyone notice that all of these pictures were taken before I cut off all my hair?
I don't have many weird photos of me with short hair...
I'm beginning to wonder if getting my hair cut made me less strange?

Guess I'll have to grow my hair long again! (:

Monday, December 10, 2012

On Moving All Over the Country

If you're new to this blog, you may have missed the part where my husband switched airline jobs almost two years ago. His job change is the reason we moved from Colorado to Florida in the first place, and this month we're moving again. This time, thankfully, it's only an in-state move as opposed to a cross country move. This month we'll say goodbye to the Tampa area and hello to Orlando. Even though we're only facing a short-distance move, we'll still need to learn a new area, make new friends, and settle into a new place. We are looking forward to the move and the changes it will bring though.

My husband was recently awarded a base change, hence the reason for our upcoming move. (Forgive me if you're reading this and already understand the workings of an airline). Many pilots live near, or in, their base. Some don't. The pilots who don't live in base commute (sometimes cross-country) to their base for work. The airline my husband currently works for doesn't have very commutable schedules, so we opted to live in his base as opposed to having him commute cross-country. If he commuted, there's a good chance I'd only see him a few days a month. For that reason, the airline basically dictates where we can live right now, because living across the country from each other isn't really an option for us. I often wish it was more simple than this, but it's not. We're attempting to make the best of what the airline gives us, so we're moving.

We're moving with the hopes of my husband getting better seniority, schedules, hours, and options. A pilot's seniority (their employee number) basically determines their quality of life. Typically the earlier you were hired and longer you've worked for an airline, the better your seniority number. Everything from being able to use your vacation time on certain dates to getting certain days off of work hinges on your seniority number. Switching bases is a slight gamble, but it's one we're thinking will pay off for us. We've thought about this move for quite some time, and things began falling into place for it to actually happen.

Just recently I was trying to count all of the moves I've had in my life, and it's quite a lot. I technically moved at least once a year during college, and I usually lived in a new/different apartment each year. Counting each of those moves around campus, I've lived in over 12 different apartments, dorms, and houses by now. Moving doesn't necessarily get easier either. Not only is it tiring moving all of those heavy pieces of furniture and boxes, but starting over again in a new place can be a tough adjustment. I'm still not exactly sure where home is yet, and I still believe it's more a state of mind or a feeling than a physical location. We're learning to feel "at home" no matter where we happen to live.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Sunday Currently | 11

link up your edition of The Sunday Currently with Lauren

reading sadly, this is one of the longest amounts of time I've gone without reading in quite a while. I'm still in need of a good book.
writing some blog posts for this week. I'm doing my best to stay on top of blog posts even though we have a lot going on this month.
listening to my husband talking on the phone in the living room. It's nice and quiet at the moment. I can't even hear the downstairs neighbors screaming at each other right now. (:
thinking that we need to start packing up our apartment.
smelling the Festival of Trees scent that's in my Scentsy warmer. It smells like a tree in our apartment, yum!
wishing that people never had to go hungry.
hoping that the temperatures get a bit cooler this month. It's feeling like summer again! Ugh.
wearing a very rebellious outfit of long sleeves, jeans, scarf, and cowgirl boots. I don't look like a Florida girl. ;)
loving that we won't have to listen to our downstairs neighbors scream at each for very much longer... or our upstairs neighbors vacuum every night for much longer.
wanting some new clothes, because I'm realizing many of my clothes are getting hole-y.
needing to visit the grocery store so we have some food for dinner.
feeling like it's beginning to get warm outside... we might need to turn on the a/c.
clicking some of the blogs that linked up with Lauren's Sunday Currently... and who knows what else I'll stumble upon today.

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Sorry my Sunday Currently post is a little boring today, but we have a lot going on this month... most of my attention is being focused elsewhere lately. I'll be here on the blog tomorrow though! Happy Sunday, and see you tomorrow. (:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Decorations at Disney { part 2 }

If you missed yesterday's Disney holiday decoration extravaganza, you should go check out those photos first. { part 1 here } Today I'm sharing photos from our visit to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The name of the place alone sounds regal, and then you approach the front doors and find yourself transported to another time and place. Vintage Cadillacs and hotel workers dressed to impress. Walking through the front doors into such a spacious lobby was breathtaking, and then you spot the magnificent tree. Turning the corner you find yourself standing next to a life-size gingerbread house. The whole experience at the Grand Floridian just oozes historic luxury. It's luxurious but welcoming all at the same time. See for yourself.

... nothing says welcome like a beautiful vintage car ...

... pass under the garland ...

... behold the tree ...

... and its twinkling lights and sparkly bows ...

... a life-size gingerbread house that smelled amazing ...

... a grand space for a beautiful tree ...

... there was never a shortage of people admiring the beauty ...

... wandering around the upstairs shops, taking in the sights ...

... quick self-portrait with a tree in the background ...

... browsing the lovely, and rather expensive, clothes ...

... so many details to catch ...

... a friendly stranger snapped this one ...

If you ever get a chance to visit any of the Disney parks, try your best not to rush. It will be tough, because you'll want to see every bit of the place. Take it all in though; there are so many details that will go unnoticed if you're simply hurrying off to your next destination. Sometimes the finest details exist in the journey... the little things.

We took time during our visit to just sit and gaze at all amazing ideas that have been brought to life. I am telling you, Disney is a place of the tiniest details. I wish I could have met that Walt Disney guy. I think we would have gotten along just fine.

I don't know about you, but I'm trying my hardest not to rush through this month. Is it just me, or is it seriously flying by so far?! Sorry I have over 30 emails I hope to respond to this week, and I hate sending one liners back to you all. I'll try to get back to you soon!

Happy Tuesday

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Decorations at Disney { part 1 }

Last week my husband and I drove over to Walt Disney World and took in some of the holiday displays. We saved major cash by avoiding the theme parks, and we spent the entire day touring a handful of the resort hotels. Each one of them had beautiful holiday decorations themed perfectly to match each resort's unique theme. Disney does details perfectly, and every direction you look holds something interesting just waiting to be noticed.

Since we visited so many resorts in one day, I have a rather large assortment of photos. I have far too many photos for one post, so today you'll see photos from only Disney's Wilderness Lodge. It was hands down mine and my husband's favorite resort. I hope you like pictures of Christmas decorations, because you're about to be bombarded by pictures.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge was the perfect way to begin our Disney holiday decoration tour! Every last detail made us feel like we were in Colorado. I mean, they even had antlers in the tree. How perfect is that? We had fun eating breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe, wandering the resort looking for hidden Mickeys, snapping photos all over the place, and dreaming about taking a vacation there with the children we hope to have some day. I hate to sound cheesy, but it was pretty magical.

Have you ever visited Disney during the holidays?
{ come back tomorrow for more pictures of the pretty decorations }

P.S. The Christmas ornament swap is closed for sign-ups, so if you've signed up keep an eye out for an email with your swap partners name and address!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Sunday Currently | 10

link up your edition of The Sunday Currently with Lauren

... decorations outside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort ...

reading sadly, nothing right now. I have a few books on my to-read list though. I'd like to start reading the Lord of the Rings series, because I read The Hobbit this summer and loved it.
writing my blog post for tomorrow... there will be more pictures of Disney holiday decorations.
listening to the coffee maker brew a fresh pot over the sound of football on television.
thinking how unimaginable it is that people are still without power on the east coast.
smelling is that coffee I smell? Why yes it is.
wishing I had somewhere to wear my cozy winter boots.
hoping that everything works out at least sort of like we've planned this next couple of months.
wearing my black skinny jeans, a Broncos t-shirt, and one of my handmade bracelets. You know... the typical Sunday afternoon football outfit.
loving normally I'm not big into sequins, but I'm loving this pretty sweater from J. Crew.
wanting new clothes.... especially since I ripped my last pair of denim-colored skinny jeans. It doesn't help that I got a J. Crew catalogue in the mail yesterday and proceeded to struggle with a serious case of the wants, and then I remembered it's Christmas and I have gifts to buy for others first.
needing not a whole lot really.
feeling excited and nervous all at the same time. That's fun isn't it?
clicking I should have never started looking through interior design pictures on, because now I can't stop... yikes! Sorry if your Pinterest blows up today. (:

Happy Sunday! What are you doing today?

{ view my previous editions of The Sunday Currently here if you'd like }

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday's Fancies | Dress Yourself for Winter

This week Friday's Fancies on Long Distance Loving suggested dressing yourself in an outfit that resembles you best. I'm a northern Michigan girl through and through, so it only makes sense that dressing myself in an outfit that's typically me would most definitely include comfortable jeans and cozy winter boots. I feel most at home in a winter hat and cozy boots, so that's exactly what I chose first for this week's outfit. I topped it off with a couple pops of neon to bring some brightness to the grey winter days.

Dress Yourself for Winter

sweater  |  jeans  |  earrings  |  hat  |  boots

Northern Michigan is in my heart this time of year, because it's the perfect setting for Christmas. Not to mention my parents still live there, and it's also the place where I formed many of my most favorite Christmas memories. Who knows, maybe I'll slip on my winter boots and a cozy sweater just for fun this winter and pretend that I'm there....

... Christmas time in Petoskey, Michigan...

This song is just because... I like it.

Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on Grooveshark

thanks for viewing

* * to see more of my past Friday's Fancies posts you can click here * *

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can It Please Snow in Florida?

Since moving to Florida a year and a half ago, it's been quite a while since I've seen a really good snow. You know, the kind that blankets the ground in a fluffy white quilt that quiets the surrounding world. I really don't get out enough (and by out, I mean out of Florida). A trip to Michigan over the upcoming holidays is possible but unlikely, so a snow sighting is most likely out of the question too. If I saw actual snow falling from the sky here in Florida, I'd start getting prepared for the impending apocalypse that would most likely follow. We all know that Floridians can't drive in the snow.

... there may not be snow in Florida, but there's plenty of wind ...
fyi: my left hand is not a claw, I'm just holding onto a bunch of tiny seashells

{ outtakes from my Clearwater Beach photo shoot }

My husband bought me a pair of beautiful winter boots for Christmas a couple years ago. We lived in Colorado at the time, so those boots were a necessity back then. Sometimes I think about how fun it would be if I wore them to Clearwater Beach one afternoon. I've seen much stranger things at Wal-Mart, but I might get a few funny looks. The things you must do for entertainment.

... my dusty Sorel "Cate the Great" boots ...

As much as I'd love having snow for Christmas, it's probably best that Florida stays a warm and sunny locale. I mean, where would all the people who live 'up north' escape to when they haven't seen the sun in months? Yes, that's a real thing when you live in places like Michigan or Minnesota. If it snowed everywhere all the time we'd be in big trouble, and that's not okay. For now, my boots will remain dusty and a snowy Christmas will have to happen another year.

Do you live somewhere that has snow on Christmas?

p.s. there isn't much longer to sign up for the ornament swap, so get yourself signed up now!