Friday, January 27, 2012

Nerdy Bird

A birding we will go. A birding we will go.
Hi-ho the derry-o...
a birding we will go.
{ sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell }

Oh hey there!
Did you know that birding, or birdwatching, is one of my new favorite things to do?! Well it is.
I wasn't really joking when I previously mentioned { in this post here } that I might turn
into a binocular wielding, safari hat wearing bird stalker.

{taken while exploring the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary during our honeymoon in Florida in 2010 }

You had no idea I was this cool, did you? (:

This past week we spent some time at the John Chesnut Sr. Park. To my excitement, I discovered this park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Yes. There are parks/trails all across the state that make up this incredible network of prime birding locations. I'm still only a beginner, but it's exciting to know that Florida is a great place to support my new favorite hobby.

We met a woman, obviously more experienced at birding, who put some seed on the boardwalk railings in order to coax some birds out of the trees. Telling the birds "I will only shoot you with my camera" also seemed to ease their little birdie fears. Before I knew it, I was just a few feet from some curious little birds.

{ if you look closely you'll notice a seed that got tossed by this hungry little tufted titmouse }

 I mean... who doesn't love a bird with a 'mohawk'.
It's actually called a crest, but I love thinking of it as a bird mohawk. }

Growing up my family had a pied cockatiel as a pet, so maybe I'm partial towards the tufted titmouse because of it's cute little crest on its head. Either way I look forward to spotting some more elusive birds, like the painted bunting. Oh the excitement of becoming a birdwatcher! ;)

Do you enjoy watching birds as much as I do?

Apparently each year New Jersey host's the World Series of Birding.
This birdwatching is serious business, folks!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yellow and Blue Bedroom

Last week while spending some time on Pinterest {someone *cough this girl cough* has a slight addiction} I came across this chevron patterned duvet cover from West Elm. Let's just say that it really got my creative juices flowing. I love the idea of adding a fun pattern and a bit of punchy color to our bedroom.

The light brown and blue bedding we currently have in our bedroom just doesn't excite me anymore. If we get this chevron duvet cover, I would add some printed colorful pillows like these, a colorful throw, and maybe even this pillow .

Maybe the Florida sunshine is rubbing off on me a bit?

I created this collage as inspiration...
Chartreuse and Blue Bedroom

... and our current bedding...

Brown and blue... not exciting.

Change is in the  air  throw pillows & chevron duvet.
I see some room updates in the near future.

{ Do you have any favorite colors
for use in your own bedroom? }

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blue Kind of Mood

It's no secret that blue is most likely my
very favorite color in the whole wide world.

More specifically turquoise and any shade of it. }

Now that you have seen photos of our updated office/spare bedroom,
it will be no surprise at all how much I love being surrounded by lovely shades of blue.

I even went so far as to find the perfect shade of turquoise for my finger nails.

Many bloggers have raved about a nail polish called For Audrey by China Glaze.
It looked amazing in photos I had seen on quite a few blogs,
so of course I needed to give it a try for myself.

nail polish by China Glaze | For Audrey

I cannot wait to see how this
beautiful bottle of polish looks on my nails!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apartment-Friendly Room Updates & A Drawing

As I mentioned last week, browsing the endless inspiring images on Pinterest inspired me to cook some new foods and also to update our office/guest room.

Here's one office space that I fell for on Pinterest...

not to mention we have the same bookcase, and this gave me
the motivation I needed to turn it on its side.

Last summer you may have read about how I decorated our second bedroom/office in our apartment. Generic vanilla walls and bad carpet, which are fairly typical of apartment living, do not always make for very inspiring spaces. Even after giving quite a bit of though to that room, it still didn't seem right. It wasn't as functional or inspiring as I was hoping it would be.

{you can see some office before and after photos here }

We really need this very room in our apartment to do doubly duty, because it needs to serve as both an office/workspace and a guest room. There is no permanent bed in the room, only air mattresses used on demand (which isn't very often). Our rather small space needed some furniture re-arranging and some cosmetic updates to make it more functional as an office and as a bedroom, so that's exactly what we did last week.

{ Who says my architecture degree isn't being used?!
I did some good old fashioned hand drawing for this here blog post!
Yes... I even drew everything to scale. }
Notice the light blue rectangles in the drawing above: after moving our furniture
we gained some very valuable floor space for our guests' air mattress beds.

1: Our desk and chair stayed in the same place, but now our Ikea bookshelf is to the left.
We can still look out the only window to the right of the desk.
2: We turned our Ikea Expedit bookshelf horizontal. Our printer is no longer on the floor (:
Having the shelving horizontal allowed us to use the top for storage.
3: We put the bookshelf in the entrance to the room, that really helped open up the floor.
Plus it looks pretty from the hallway now.
4: There ended up being plenty of room for my craft folding table and chair.
I already covered the entire table in paper, scissors, and architecture supplies. Woohoo!

Who knew that moving some furniture and adding a 5 foot x 2.5 foot folding table would make the room seem incredibly bigger?! Note that we added a folding table (not a stationary table), because it can be cleared off and stored in our closet when we need to make room for air mattresses.

Now that's what I call function.
You have to get a little creative and make good use of space
when you live in smaller spaces like apartments.

{ Did you read this blog post about how I
made the most of our postage stamp sized pantry? }

Have you done any DIY projects
that made the most of small spaces?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Live a Life With No Regrets

I recently viewed this opening scene from Midnight in Paris, and it brought back so many amazing memories, feelings, and thoughts from the few short days I spent there over five years ago.

Watching this clip, while being inspired, I also felt very sad. During my short time in Paris, I wish I had done so many things differently. I now know that I cannot go back and do it over, but if I could go again I would do it differently this time.

First of all, I would take more pictures! When I went to Europe during my last semester of college, I was not into photography the way that I am now. I would look at the city very differently if given another chance. I would also attempt to learn some French before going again, because the natives seem to be much more welcoming if you know at least a little of their mother tongue. There would also be more time spent stopping to smell the fresh baked breads and freshly brewed cappuccinos. Then I would spend the money to eat and drink them. I would take more time to stop, savor, remember, and drink in the beauty of an incredible city. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Here are a couple photos I took while in Paris in 2006.

I did not take nearly enough photos while I was there,
but these are great reminders of my trip.

Hopefully some day I will visit Paris again, but I am sad about the thought of never going again and not having taken the time to really take it all in the first time. That's sort of like life. We get one shot at this crazy adventure, and we hope to leave without regrets. Every day brings many opportunities to seize the day, so hopefully we'll take our blessings and make the best of them.

Each day is new. Make the most of each and every day with what you are given.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Food: New Year, New Inspirations

Lately Pinterest has been such a great source of inspiration. 
I pinned inspiring images for what seemed like hours one afternoon. It may have been more a workout for my brain than one for my glutes, but who's keeping track?

All I know is that after spending some time on Pinterest { you can visit my Pinterest here }, I'm feeling rather inspired to cook more and DIY more. That's all that matters, right?

A few days ago I found a recipe for this delicious chicken,
and we ate it for dinner this week. It was fantastic!

here's how ours turned out:
Maybe I layered on the cheese a bit thicker than the one in the Pinterest image I found... but that's the great thing about cooking. You can do whatever you want to the recipe! (:

I'd love to make this chicken noodle soup sometime soon!
{ also found on Pinterest }

Doesn't the food in these pictures look scrumptious?!
{ do you have any new favorite recipes... any that you found via Pinterest? }

Oh... this week we also enjoyed
some homemade macaroni and cheese!
I've been using this Barefoot Contessa recipe for
a long time now, and it never fails to be amazing!
{ I just substituted chicken and bacon for the lobster... added some blue cheese... 
and added some minced basil to the breadcrumbs... yum! }

Enough food for today....

Pinterest has even inspired me to tackle some
updates in our office/guest room.

{ more on that next week }

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Year in Review & A Goal

Hey there! This is probably one of the longest breaks from blogging that I've taken in a very long time.

It's been nice to not worry about posting blogs,
even though I do wish I had more time in my days for writing.

I know this is a bit late,
but I wanted to share a
recap of our last year with you!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Whew! 2011 was fun...
but we're definitely looking forward
to what 2012 brings.

{ sorry for the odd formatting of this post, apparently having a bulleted list messed things up a bit? }

If there's one thing I hope to do in 2012 it's to not stop blogging but to become an even better blogger. Not better in the sense of more blog posts, but better in the sense of becoming a better person which in turn will effect the quality of this blog. Cheers to a new year! (18 days late)  (:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What I learned in 2011

Hey everyone!

I have missed you all, but the busyness of life has taken a hold of me lately. This whole balance thing is still very elusive to this 28 year old blogger/wife/daughter/friend/retail-worker. I'm not sure I'll ever figure it out fully. Unless maybe I learn to stop trying to achieve perfect balance, because maybe that's not our concern or our job. Anyway, I don't want to bore you with my strive for more balance in life.

I really wanted to share some of the things
that I have learned through the course of last year.
It sure was an adventure!

Here are some things I learned last year in 2011........

Life is hard.

Life is difficult, exciting, crazy, humbling, challenging, and fun all at the same time. My husband and I were in for the ride of our lives when he received a phone call last spring about a job opportunity with a new airline. We watched everything around us change within months. Our home as we knew it was taken away, along with our understanding of our life together, but we have found ourselves learning an incredible amount about our capabilities to adjust and deal with change. We have made plenty of sacrifices during this whole experience, but we are learning to trust that everything ends up working out in the end. If it's not okay, then it's probably not the end. Life is hard, but we should try and enjoy the ride of a lifetime.

Give thanks for everything.

Life can change in an instant. Be thankful for any and everything that's a blessing in your life. It could be a smile from a stranger to a hot meal for dinner. Material possessions are not forever, and neither are our lives on this planet. We sold my husband's paid-off pickup in order to afford our move from Colorado to Florida, and we bought a rather old Saturn car as replacement. It was all we could afford when we got here. When faced with car troubles, my husband actually said he really appreciated having his crappy Saturn over having a piece of crap Saturn that doesn't work. Having things and losing them helps make real priorities more clear. We must make the most of every single day, because you never know when you may not have another. I hope to continue growing a grateful heart, even through setbacks, because gratitude makes for a happy and a healthy heart.

Social media is not all it's cracked up to be.

Real life is so much more interesting than what people portray their lives to be through social media. I deleted my facebook last year, and I have gained more than I've lost since then. More of my friends have actually called, sent a text, or emailed to keep in touch. Not having a facebook account has also reminded me that relationships take actual work. They don't come along on their own or by reading about what your friends are doing. Going out of your way to remind people you're thinking of them is much more meaningful than receiving a facebook message if you ask me. Getting rid of a major social media connection in my life has forced me to work a little harder to maintain meaningful relationships with family and friends. It's definitely been a learning process thus far. Here's to more phone calls and hand-written letters in 2012!

Laugh a little.

At the end of the day, it takes real strength and a good sense of humor to laugh at your own misfortunes. Those little quirks of life may actually turn into real blessings. You just never know. When something that may seem negative happens to you, laugh about it. "Don't take life too seriously. You'll never get out of it alive."

We're definitely looking forward to what 2012 has to offer.
Life is an adventure, and we hope to continue learning and growing!