Sunday, July 29, 2012


This post really doesn't have a point, other than the fact that it's 2 a.m. on Sunday and I'm wide awake. Why? Well, if I knew the answer to that I most definitely would not still be awake, would I?

The fact of the matter is I've always been a 'bad' sleeper. I sleep lightly, so even faint noises wake me. Over the past few years I've gotten really intolerable to heat at night, so if my room is above about 73 degrees I don't sleep well at all. My body is also really susceptible to cycles, so if I decide to stay up late one night then it's really hard to go to sleep before that point the next night, and so on.

But unfortunately for me, the latest I've chosen to go to sleep is about 11 pm, but the night before last I was awake until 2 a.m. and last night I dozed off and on until 5 a.m, when my body finally let me go to sleep.

I know I really shouldn't complain, because I don't have kids and I don't have to be at work until noon, but feeling constantly awake really takes a toll on a body. I am exhausted all day but I try to avoid naps at all costs because they make me stay up at night even longer. As soon as I lay down and close my eyes, my body decides it's time to start thinking about everything.

Lately I've been thinking about moving and how ready I am to be a family again. I think about the projects I want to do before our housewarming party. I think about our first housewarming party that I have yet to really start planning. I think about my sister-in-law's bridal shower I'm beginning to plan. I think about student teaching and graduation, and where my life will go from there. I also think about other things, like "who am I, really?" and "what is my purpose in life?" Those are quite big questions to think about on a tired brain and sometimes I end up with bigger questions than when I started, so I'm trying to stay away from the complicated matters of life during these early hours.

I should be sleeping well. Will is home for the weekend which is such a nice treat. Instead we're re-learning how to share a queen-sized bed and he is definitely winning. He really is so good to me. Two nights ago I threw the covers off me and jumped out of bed, throwing a wee bit of a fit and he sat up to ask what was wrong.

"I'm so hot. And tired. And I can't sleep. I just want to sleep."

Instead of getting mad about me waking him up he just laid back down and basically ignored me, which is really what I need when it's 2 a.m. and I can't go to sleep.

I've tried OTC sleeping pills, which I try not to take too often because I don't want to be dependent on them and they make me sleep (or if I have to wake up, super groggy) for a solid 12-13 hours, and honestly, who has that much time to sleep? I don't drink any caffeine, so that's not the culprit. I think my mission over the next few weeks will be to find some natural remedies that help this situation, because I am tired.

Sorry for the long post over nothing, but there's not a lot going on in other areas of the Internet at 2 a.m. I hope you all have much better success at sleep than I do :)

Do  you have trouble sleeping? How do you relax in the evenings before bed?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life is Good

Happy Thursday, everyone!

 Like many young people, Will and I have felt like we've been in a constant state of flux over the past few years. Moving several times, working internships and multiple jobs, waiting to see if he got hired,  buying a house, and generally just waiting on different things have had us dreaming about the future.

We try really hard to treasure and enjoy every phase of life, but let's be real- as fun and life-changing as college is, it can be a difficult time as well. This is not me complaining, but rather explaining where we've been for a while. When we found out Will was offered his dream job, that set a lot of things into motion and gave our future a lot of the clarity it was lacking. We've found our dream home, another big item to mark off the 'list.' And life has been good.

But there were still some rough things, like living 11 hours apart for 4 months. We've done this countless times since we started dating while Will was working internships, but it still sucks just as much every time. I think this time has perhaps been the hardest because we feel like we are so close to finally getting to live our 'adult' lives. We loved college, but we were never the kids who partied hard or joined a lot of student orgs. We had our few things we did to stay involved on campus, but we have been mainly focused on our studies.

I've also been waiting to hear about my student teaching assignment. While this was never an "if it happens" case, it is a little nerve-wracking to wait until you're assigned your school district, supervising teacher, and classes.

So these last two weeks have been really good. I got my school district assignment (it was my first choice!) and I found out I have an orientation on August 22nd. That was great, because I was hoping to go visit Will the week before classes started anyway. But that was the other issue- even though I'm student teaching this fall the first official day is September 17th, and I have another class on campus in Canyon that I was supposed to attend between August 27th and then. We will hopefully (fingers crossed) be closing on our house on September 15th, so that put A LOT of traveling back and forth on my radar. In addition, there are four dates throughout the semester that I was supposed to be in Canyon for (which meant I would have spent at least $1200 in plane tickets going back and forth).

I met with one of my advisors earlier this week and got some great news: once I go down to Houston for my orientation on August 22nd, I do not have to come back up here. He's working out my class with me so I can do all of my assignments online, and I have been excused from at least two of the other dates I was supposed to come back up here. Music to my ears!

The next day I got my supervising teacher and class assignments. I'll be working at a high school very close to our house (relatively speaking, of course), and I'll have four senior English classes and two sophomore classes. I am so excited about this because it should give me a really good range of students to work with (and therefor gain experience).

All that, and Will is currently driving up here to spend the weekend with me! The main purpose of the trip is to bring me my car, but he was planning on coming up here anyway during July so this is killing two birds with one stone. After he leaves we'll only have three more weeks before I can move down there for good. I am a little excited :)

In other general news, I've been hanging out with my friend Brandy quite a bit. We've had several girls' nights where's she made homemade pizza. I made this AWESOME white Texas sheet cake (it was SO GOOD!) last week to go with the pizza.

Caramelized onions are the best topping ever
The other night we got a sno cone from a place that's been open in Canyon for 17 years. They've had the same owner for 12 of those years, and she still remembers me from when I played soccer with her son back in elementary school.

strawberry cheesecake with cream FTW!
Also, since I learned I have three weeks until moving day and I'll only have one car ride to get the rest of my stuff down there instead of two, AND I'll be sharing the car with my brother's stuff since I'm dropping him off at college, I've decided on a little self-imposed challenge called Use It or Move It. Most people have probably gone through this at some point- when you look at all your stuff and realize there is no way you are going to move all that or it won't fit in your car/moving device.

I kicked off Operation Use It or Move it last night by digging through my bathroom cabinets and pulling out the stuff that has just enough that you can't throw it away, but not enough to warrant moving it across the state. I corralled it all in a small basket on top of the counter so I would see it and remember to use it.

There's some lotion, spray gel, gel, bath salts, face scrub, perfume, face powder, shampoo and conditioner in there.

A few more things I found
Why do women buy nice things for themselves and then "save it for a special day?" Every day is special- use the dang expensive foot lotion! At least I will feel a little pampered over the next few weeks.

That's about all that's new around these parts. I'll be back in a few days with some more house updates.

Have a great day!

What are some things you "save" for yourself?
Has there ever been a time in  your life that you felt like you were waiting for something to happen so you could move on?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Updates in the Living Room

Woo hoo, it's Friday! I have a four-day weekend ahead of me and I am pretty excited for some down time. This week has been full with work, class, hanging out with some friends, and homework. I don't have any big plans for this weekend other than helping a friend move, but it's okay because Will is coming next week! He and his mom are driving up here so he can spend a few days.

Enough chit-chat, this post is about our living room. Our living room is kind of oddly situated, but the open floor plan of our house allows it to flow nicely. It's right by the kitchen, but the small wall between the two is good for sound barrier.

This is what it looked like when we moved in:

 The same white walls throughout the whole house. Blah back door. Builder-grade blinds.

And let's not forget the accent wall.

Over spring break we painted. It's a good thing we like the color because it took a LOT of paint (like 6-7 gallons, I think). This room will be this color for a long time, needless to say.

A lot better, but still kind of blah.

The first step was adding curtains. I am a huge fan of natural light so I didn't want curtains to block out sunlight, but I did want something that offered a little privacy. I also didn't want something with crazy patterns because I like to add "punch" with other smaller accessories that can be switched out more easily.

Will and I looked at several different options and finally settled on some from Target (where else?).

They're kind of blown out in these pictures, but they add just a little somethin' somethin'. (Yes, I realize the curtain by the back door is crooked. Will hung them without anyone to spot him. It will be fixed soon.)

You can see the texture a bit better here.
Also, we moved this storage ottoman out to this wall and put some accessories around it. The ottoman holds a few gifts we keep on hand, as well as some party supplies (like paper plates, candles, crepe paper, etc.). The pillow is one that I made for our apartment, the basket holds dog treats, the white bucket holds dog food, and the blue vase is from Ross (also from our apartment).

 I added a small tray from the Dollar Store to the coffee table to hold a candle and some coasters. I definitely need to find a bigger tray, but this works for now.

Here is a close-up of the texture of the curtains.

Moving on, the wall that backs up to the kitchen was begging for something. The only problem is that it is a big wall, and I didn't want it to look cluttered. So I copied Young House Love and decided to go for a simple frame collage.

To Ikea we went

We actually got six

I wish I could tell you that we had a special method that worked really well and this was a quick project. But unfortunately, it wasn't. At all. It took much longer than we anticipated, a lot of measuring and remeasuring, adjusting the hanging wires, and a lot of stepping back to make sure it was even. My advice for a project like this (where everything needs to line up perfectly, or as perfectly as you can get it) is to expect it to take more time than you think, have a lot of patience with yourself and your partner who's helping, and be okay with a lot of nail holes. I'm not kidding, I think we put over twenty holes in the wall. Luckily the frames cover all of them, but if we ever decide to switch these out it will be a little work to cover them up.

At first I felt like $20 a frame was a little much, but looking at it in perspective $120 for 'art' that covers the whole wall really isn't bad.

I still haven't filled the frames yet, mainly because they're a weird size. The whole frame measure about 19'x19' if I remember correctly, and the inside measures about 11'x11', I think. That means if I want to fill the whole spot I'd have to print 11x13 pictures, which is a poster size (each running about $6 a piece). I think I'm going to print 8x10s, square off the picture, and mount it on scrapbook paper. I plan on putting family pictures in them.

Going back to the little corner by the door, I knew it needed some kind of artwork. I couldn't find anything I really liked for the space since I wanted something with color and pattern and/or texture. Enter, my favorite souvenir ever: my Turkish rug.

What is my problem with centering things? The rug is centered on the wall but the bench isn't.

I got this rug on my first trip to Turkey in a small shop in Goreme. It's an original  kilim about 90 years old. The owner assured me it could be walked on, but I'm terrified that Scarlett would get a hold of it and rip it up (like she did with my new curtains in the bedroom). I didn't have to put any nail holes in the actual rug because the pattern has some natural holes where the colors switched. I think these basic nails will work well because that's how they had all the rugs in the shop hung.

There are a few things I still want to do in here, like making a no-sew roman shad for the back door (just until we can afford a new back door.) But with addition of just a few things on the walls I think this room is slowly coming together.

A few detail shots:

Candle stick from a thrift store (used in wedding), metal swirly thing from a garage sale, & from Restoration Hardware outlet, fake grass from TJ Maxx, candle from World Market on clearance.

candle stick from Ross (used in wedding), vase from Pottery Barn outlet, old W stamps from Canton.

We have plans to do something about those cords very soon :)

Again, this is not a permanent solution to our cords.

Just like the rest of our house, changes are happening slowly but surely. It's amazing how much different a few things like curtains and pictures frames make on the overall feel of the room.

I am linking to Thrifty Decor Chick's August Before and After Party here.

Have you made any changes in your house lately?
What is your favorite souvenir? Why?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kathlyn's Maternity Photos

* Please check the bottom of the post for my thoughts on being a "photographer." P.S. I'm not one.

My best friend since the second grade needed some maternity photos taken (I offered to take them). Kathlyn and I have been through thick and thin together, and in junior high we would write 3-4 page long notes to each other on a daily basis. Since all junior high girls needs a code name to avoid getting caught by the teachers, we came up with S.S. (yes, like the Secret Police in the Holocaust. We weren't thinking about that at the time), which stands for Secret Sisters. Yes, I know- how cute.

We've been in each others' weddings and stayed in touch even though our lives are going in separate directions (she's staying in Amarillo while we're moving to Houston). But she is one of those once-in-a-lifetime friends who you can pick up with right where you left off, even if it was several months ago. I think going through so much stuff growing up really gave us a bond that no one else can quite compare with.

Kathlyn was due on August 1st with her first baby, a girl, but due to some complications she was scheduled for an induction on Monday, July 16th. Between me being in Houston and her obligations, Sunday the 15th was our only chance to get the pictures done. We cut it close, as Liberty was born the very next night, but I love that Kathlyn will some day be able to tell Liberty that these photos were taken the day before she was born.

I took over 900 photos that evening and ended up editing over 100. I've never edited that many for anyone, but she is so dang beautiful and photogenic that many turned out well. These are some of my favorites.

Without further ado, here's the most beautiful pregnant woman I've ever seen:


I think she was about to say something, but I love her expression

This lucky lady had no stretch marks!  

This one might be my favorite, and it was totally candid. She didn't even know I was taking them at this point.


What do you think? Is she not beautiful? Now I can't wait to go see that new munchkin.

 ----begin rant-------
Thoughts on being a "photographer"
Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a photographer. I own a nice camera, I've done a lot of studying and reading about photography tips and posing, I love capturing special moments for people, I love editing, and I love seeing how happy people are with the end result.

But I have never charged anyone to take photos, and I think no one has ever actually asked me to take photos- I've always offered and they probably just didn't want to hurt my feelings and tell me no. Although, I think people have genuinely been happy with the results, so it ended up being win-win for everyone. I've been practicing for over a year now and I feel pretty confident in my (very amateur) abilities.

I am not a photographer. I am a person who can take better pictures than your mom could (usually). It drives me batty to see all these so-called "photographers" popping up and actually charging people for really sub-par photos that look like they were edited (very poorly) in Picnic. Those people are not "photographers," they are people just like me who enjoy doing this for a hobby. So please don't start a Facebook page with your "business."

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh- I post the photos I take on my personal Facebook, because it's part of who I am and generally I am friends with whoever the subject is. Does that make my a hypocrite? I don't think so, because I've never claimed to be a photographer, nor do I claim to have a business.

I realize that all people have to start somewhere (even looking back at my photos from a year ago kind of make me cringe). In my humble opinion, though, it's not right to charge people for photos that quite frankly look like crap. If you need to practice, which we all do, then don't charge people for it. Don't say that it's your 'business.'

I don't mean to put people down, but really guys, this is just getting ridiculous. Everyone who owns a nice camera is not a photographer.
---end rant---
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