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!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Through the Years

Christmas spirit is in full effect around here. We spent yesterday touring decorations at some of the Disney resort hotels (pictures to come), there's a pile of unwrapped gifts accumulating under the tree, and we're enjoying an apartment that's been lovingly decorated for the holiday.

... our wedding cake topper bathed in candlelight ...

These silver branches may look familiar if you read my blog a couple of Christmases ago...
this year I poured some sand in the vase to give them a Florida touch. (:

These shiny stocking holders came from my favorite Christmas store in the whole wide world.
I smile every time I see them. The other stocking holder reads peace.

One thing I love most about Christmas is getting out the decorations and reminiscing over years past. Each ornament is like a tiny time capsule. Unwrapping each one brings with it a story, laughter, and sometimes even tears. Life really is about those small moments that stay with us forever. Sometimes all it takes is the littlest reminder to evoke the biggest and best memories. Decorating for Christmas each year is like surrounding ourselves with loving thoughts of all those we hold dear. It really is a special time each year.

What are your most fond memories of Christmases past and present?

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Have you signed up for the ornament swap yet?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snapshots | Sunsets & Streetlights

Putting thoughts into words has been a struggle for me lately, so I figured why not just share a few photos from a recent trip to Punta Gorda instead. Writing down my thoughts doesn't always come easily, but it's especially hard when I'm not sure which thought to start with at the moment. Peaceful photos and nighttime images seem to do the trick when the mind won't quiet itself.

Sometimes when the sun sets, all the madness and chaos of a busy day fades into the darkness.

The moon comes out for the night and casts calming a glow over the water.

Streetlights and car lights make for gorgeous night lights. I improvised and used a concrete piling near the waterside as a tripod. Maybe I'll get a real tripod one of these days. Until then, I'll continue getting creative with what's available.

Playing around with long exposures is something I want to learn more about, because there's something sort of magical to me about capturing an extended amount of time in one frame. There's such a beautiful exaggeration to light when you keep the shutter open for a couple seconds longer than normal.

Sometimes if you look long enough, you'll find beauty all around you.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Ornament Swap

It's official. Today is the beginning of the Christmas ornament swap. This year I'm co-hosting the swap with two sweet blog friends. You may already know them, but if you don't then you should hop on over to Alisha and Meg's blogs and get to know them too.

To sign up put your information below in the comment box or if you're not comfortable with that, email your blog address, and your full name and your snail mail address to {at} gmail {dot} com.

Don't wait too long, you have just a week to sign up for the swap! (:

Important Dates and Deadlines!
December 3rd - deadline to participate
December 3rd - addresses assigned
December 7th - deadline to mail out your ornament
December 19th - come back here and link up your swap

Once your assigned blogger and address information has been sent to you, take a few days getting to know them through their blog before you send out your ornament. I can't wait to see all of the pretty ornaments through our link-up next month!

Disclaimer: For timing and meeting deadlines to make sure everyone receives their ornament by Christmas, we've decided we have to limit to just US resident bloggers.

Grab the button and spread the word!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Sunday Currently | 9

{ you can view my last sunday currently post here or read them all here }

Go Broncos!

reading you know, I'm usually quite the reader but don't really have a new book to read... I really need to dig through my bookshelf and find something to re-read.
writing lists for just about everything: Christmas gift lists, grocery lists, to-do lists, etc...
listening since I wait until after Thanksgiving before playing any Christmas music, there's plenty of holiday music playing around here now. Especially songs like this one and this one too.
thinking that I may be one of the palest people in Florida. Did you see my arms in that picture?! Yikes.
smelling a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Yum!
wishing that I'd looked into renting a wide-angle lens sooner, because I really wanted one for Tuesday. "Doh!"
hoping that things fall into place for us over the next few months.
wearing first off, it's cool enough for socks! Three cheers for that. I'm wearing jeans and my Broncos shirt. Three cheers for the Broncos too. (:
loving how it's been cool enough outside to keep our windows and doors open.
wanting desperately to go snowboarding, sledding, or anything else outdoors in the snow.
needing to stop tricking myself into thinking I need things I don't.
feeling super excited to see Christmas decorations at the Disney hotels this week.
clicking I'm not sure I really feel like being online much today. I would love to watch some football, plan our Tuesday at Disney, and maybe squeeze in a little nap.

What are you doing today?

Go link up with Lauren and share your Sunday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Lately I've struggled to find the right words to write on this little blog. So many thoughts run through my brain, and it often seems like there's no room left to produce a meaningful post for this blog. With that being said, I know a blogger who just so happened to write about the very thoughts that have been zooming through my head lately. She took the thoughts right out of my brain.

Do you already know Tina?
If not, go read her Thanksgiving blog post today on her blog, Like Ordinary Life.

Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Sunday Currently | 8

{ you can view my last currently blog post if you'd like to catch up a bit }

reading nothing at the moment... I've been slacking when it comes to reading. Does the Sunday paper count? I usually browse through that each week.
writing a small grocery list. I prefer tackling the grocery shopping on weekdays when it's less crowded, so I just have a small list for today.
listening to the sound of our washer and dryer. It's laundry day today.
thinking about how I haven't blogged that much this past week... and I don't really feel like writing anything for this week either.
smelling laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Fresh and clean smells... yum!
wishing that we could get out of Florida and see our families for the upcoming holidays.
hoping that my husband will get off of reserve at work once they hire some more people!
wearing shorts and a comfortable long sleeve v-neck top that says "Aspen, Colorado"... this shirt makes me think of the mountains.
loving that we already have quite a bit of Christmas shopping done. I cannot stand the holiday shopping crowd.... it's not for me, so I'm glad we have a nice start to our gift shopping already.
wanting to catch up on a few t.v. shows... maybe I'll try and squeeze a few bad reality shows in before my husband gets home. (:
needing some new skinny jeans because I just ripped my only pair of denim skinnies.... right in the butt! Ugh. They were worn out and thin, and one last good sit just did them in.
feeling excited for Christmas this year.... last year was tough for us, but this one will be better.
clicking I hope to catch up on a few of my favorite blogs.... I got behind since we were out of town for a couple of days this past week.

What are you doing today?
share your Sunday Currently... link up with Lauren

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nate Berkus at Target

Target released a collection of home decor items by Nate Berkus back in late October, and I had no idea until just a few days ago when I was grocery shopping at Target. I usually miss big releases and new collections at stores like it's my job. I'm not really one to keep up with news and follow fashion trends by the day. I really like Nate Berkus (and not just because he shares a first name with my husband). He always seems to have a smile on his face, and his designs are within reach. What's not to like about that?

The Nate Berkus line of items at Target appears very on trend and looks like it has quite a few quality pieces. I love the color story he went with, and I can picture plenty of his pieces in our place.

... here are a few of my favorite items ...

Nate Berkus at Target

Have you seen the Nate Berkus line at Target?
what are your favorite pieces

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Tiny Box of Thanksgiving

This time of year is my favorite time. It's not quite yet the hectic pace of the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's like the little calm before the holiday storm. My husband located our box of holiday decorations a couple days ago, and he pulled out the tiniest little box of Thanksgiving decorations from our large tub of Christmas items. It's so cute.

a box so tiny and cute

there's my cute little pumpkin

don't be a turkey

It's almost comical how small the box is compared to the size of our tub of Christmas decorations. It's far too easy skipping over Thanksgiving when it comes to all the attention surrounding Christmas, but I'm too stubborn to let that happen. The turkey tea light holders and pumpkins will go out, if even for just a couple weeks.

Having the tiniest of things to be thankful for is far better than not having anything at all. It's sort of like our tiny box of Thanksgiving decorations. Christmas wants to overshadow today, but there's a few little pumpkins and turkeys that just want to be noticed. Sometimes we just need to remember to give thanks for what we have today, and not focus too much on the future, or we run the risk of missing out on today. What are you thankful for today?

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Oh, and if you haven't yet entered to win the Starbucks gift card and handmade bracelet I'm giving away... head on over to Tina's blog Like Ordinary Life and get entered to win!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Free Starbucks & Other Surprises

If you're addicted to coffee like me, then the words free Starbucks may have piqued your interest. Or maybe you're a tea drinker and can't stop thinking about a hot cup of chai to warm you up on a cool fall day. There might be a chance you don't even like coffee or tea, and you're envisioning a warm breakfast sandwich or some other snack from Starbucks. Heck, you might even be able to get yourself a drink and snack depending on what you order. Whatever your favorite item at Starbucks may be, it's on me this time.

This week, in celebration of her one year blog-iversary, Tina is giving away tons of goodies on her blog Like Ordinary Life. In order to win that $10 Starbucks gift card and a friendship bracelet I made just for her giveaway, head over to her blog for your chance. She's got plenty of other goodies up for grabs too. Now get over there and enter for your chance to win the goods.

{ win one of these handmade bracelets }

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This year I'm teaming up with Alisha from Alisha & Brandon and
Meg from Henning Love to bring you a Christmas inspired blogger swap.
{ Come back here the Monday after Thanksgiving for more details on the swap! }

Feel free using the button below to spread the word.

new blog friends  +  pretty ornaments  = 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Sunday Currently | 7

{ you can view my last currently blog post if you'd like to catch up a bit }

reading I'm on the hunt for a new book again... thinking of reading Life of Pi.
writing letters in the Sunday paper crossword puzzle boxes.
listening to iTunes and a few new songs... like this one and this one.
thinking about our powerlessness to control our lives.
smelling the chips and salsa we were just eating as a snack.
wishing that the Broncos games was on television here in Florida. Ugh.
hoping to make a visit to Michigan sometimes this winter.
wearing an old top from Anthropologie, jeans, and a cozy scarf.
loving the movie we watched last night. Crazy, Stupid, Love... have you seen it? It's good!
wanting to have zero debt. That will be the day.
needing to stick with a workout schedule. I need to start running regularly again.
feeling sort of sleepy. Maybe it was all the chips and salsa I ate... food coma!
clicking all around iTunes. I've been finding lots of good music.

What are you doing today?
go link up with Lauren @ siddathornton

Saturday, November 10, 2012

On the Road Again

Since my husband started flying with his current company, he doesn't have many (if any) overnights for work any more. I love having my pilot home every night! When he does get a trip that requires an overnight, and I have the opportunity to go, I do my best to tag alone. Travel is my middle name after all. {not really} I do like staying in hotels though.

My husband's recent overnight trip took him to Punta Gorda, Florida. He flew for a couple days. I watched a lot of television and read too.

Honestly, I find spending time in hotels enjoyable. It makes me feel like a guest in very large house when I stay in hotels. It's fun having everything you need in such a small space. Staying in a small hotel room is always a nice reminder that we don't need much to get by.

One nice thing about going away for a couple days is not cooking... at least for a couple of days. We ate our fair share of fast food, which my guts punished me for later. Eating fast food is fun for about two minutes, and then my insides immediately want to inflict harm on me. Then I remember how thankful I am that I don't have to eat fast food every single day.

breakfast on the road

Somehow we managed to get a room with a view. A Holiday Inn Express room with a view, we'll take it! Our room overlooked a small pond, and I even managed to spot an alligator swimming by during our stay. Obviously this wasn't a Gulf of Mexico view, but it was nicer than a parking lot view typical of most hotels.

What trip would be complete without a little birdwatching? We took a little drive down to Ponce de Leon Park one morning, and I spotted some royal terns. They're one of my favorite birds.

Our trip to Punta Gorda was short but fun. It's always nice to get away from routine every now and then. Plus we drove through some parts of Florida that we'd never seen before our trip.

Do you have any favorite short, but sweet, road trips near where you live?
What are you thoughts on staying in hotels?

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Beauty of a Bonfire

When I saw the theme for this week's Friday Fancies, I couldn't get help but get excited. Some of my most fond memories include sitting next to a roaring fire in our yard on Burt Lake in northern Michigan. Cooking s'mores on the fire was a summertime ritual, and the heat of a fire was the perfect complement to a cool Michigan summer night. I can almost hear the crackling of the fire now.

photo taken during my August visit to Michigan this past summer

I feel so blessed to have grown up in such a beautiful location. Growing up I most definitely took it for granted, but now I know what a rarity it is to experience such peaceful and thought provoking places. They surely don't come along every day. That is unless you're one of the few who is lucky enough to live in such a place. I hope you'll enjoy a bonfire for me.

Sitting next to a burning fire in the cool northern Michigan air will make you very thankful for warmth. It will remind you to slow down a little. It might also send you into deep thoughts where you may solve a world problem or two. Who knew that a little fire could make one feel so thankful.

Growing up in a small rural town with a lake as my backyard, I had no idea that people lived in suburbs and cities without fire pits to enjoy their very own fire on summer evenings. Living in a small apartment in the most densely populated county in Florida, I now understand how very special a roaring fire in the backyard truly is. I had no idea.

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... if I were sitting next to a fire in Michigan right now, I'd be wearing something like this ...

Bonfire Comfort

 vest  |  chambray top  |  jeans  |  shoes  |  hat 

Not only would I wear a comfortable layered outfit, I'd be eating plenty of s'mores too. No summertime fire is complete without eating at least one melted chocolate s'more for good measure. It might be a little cool outside, so a vest and warm hat or hood are a necessity. Stay warm out there!

happy friday

.... a song to end your week ....

Michicant by Bon Iver on Grooveshark

go link up with

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday | Cookies for Breakfast

This time of year we're looking forward to the holidays, and there's plenty to be thankful for in our lives. Even though Thanksgiving only happens once a year, it's important to keep that spirit of thankfulness alive year round. Today I'm sharing some of the little everyday things I'm thankful for.

I enjoyed a homemade chocolate chip cookie and cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer for breakfast. Don't act like you haven't done it too. (:

The temperature high for today is somewhere in the 60s, and I'm ecstatic that our thermostat reads 74 degrees with the air conditioner set to the off position. I even busted out my favorite cozy mukluk slippers this morning! Cool weather is such a luxury.

The herb seeds I planted a few weeks ago are turning into tiny parsley, basil, and chive plants! I cannot wait until they grow big enough to use in my cooking. Plus, the little plants are reaching for the light, they go wherever it goes... I love that.

Just a few days ago I bought some yarn in gorgeous new colors, and I've been busy making bracelets. Maybe I'll get adventurous and find a new pattern to try too.

What are some things you're thankful for this Thursday?

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go visit Tara's blog A Brew of Blessings to read more about the spirit of thanks

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Husband aka The Grillmaster

Sometimes the most delicious and fulfilling meals are the simplest ones. The ones that don't require many ingredients but take more time just heating the coals than it does to cook the food. There's something so comforting about cooking food over hot flames. It almost makes you forget about the worries of life, if only for a little while.

nothing like a grilled bratwurst for dinner

My husband is king of the grill around here. I might be able to swing using a propane or electric grill, but the use of hot coals for cooking food is not atop my list of skills. I leave that one up to my husband. He's more comfortable using our charcoal chimney starter. It gets the coals hot quickly. The sooner we can devour our grilled food, the better.

my husband keeping an eye on the hot coals

We use a simple charcoal grill provided by our apartment complex, because we're not allowed to keep a grill on our screened-in balcony. If we had a propane grill on our balcony, we just might eat a lot more cheeseburgers. Maybe the rule against grills on balconies is a good thing after all, it keeps our bellies flatter. ;)

Do you like grilled food?
what's your favorite....

If you like spicy foods, give these caribbean kebabs a try!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blueberry Wine... No Grapes Allowed

Thinking of wine most likely makes visions of vineyards and grapevines dance through your head. Common knowledge tells us that wine is made from grapes, but one of my favorite Florida wines is actually made from blueberries. No grapes allowed! This blueberry wine comes from Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City, Florida.

Keel and Curley does offer some fusion wines, which are a blend of grape-based wine and fruit juices, but my favorite is their semi-dry blueberry wine. It's a perfect refreshing drink for hot Florida days.

They offer winery tours and tastings at their Plant City winery.
I'm hoping to visit soon!

Have you ever heard of wine made from fruits other than grapes?

Now who wants to visit Florida
and tour this winery with me?!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting Crafty With It

Today I bought some yarn in various colors, some of which are fall inspired. I'm planning to make some friendship bracelets. It's been far too long! I think it was actually about a year ago that I made a number of bracelets at one time. Sometimes I go through craft spurts. Do you ever do that?

beautiful colors... I can't wait to make some bracelets!

Wandering the yarn aisles of my local Joann Fabrics had me itching to learn how to knit and crochet. I am scarf obsessed, and knowing how to make my own would be much more cost effective than buying. Not to mention, there's just about every color under the sun available in the yarn aisle. I'd love to get creative and whip up some of my own pieces from colors I choose.

Does anyone out there knit/crochet.... and how did you learn? They offer knitting and crochet classes at Joann Fabrics, so maybe I'll try and pop into one of those some day.

Has anyone ever taken any of the classes at Joann's or even Michaels?
Are they helpful for learning to knit/crochet?

Until then... I'll be making bracelets!