Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just a Suggestion: Giving in to reading "The Hunger Games"

So after hearing about it on blog after blog and from friend after friend, I finally gave in and decided to read "The Hunger Games". I'm only a couple chapters in but I already know that it is going to be the hit of my summer reading list.

I definitely suggest checking it out. I've heard that I'll love some parts and hate others but so far, so good. In all honesty, I had to read it. Afterall they are filming it right up the road from us in Shelby.

Anyway, just a suggestion but I think you should check it out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do you love tie-dye as much as I do?

I love crafting and I love tie-dye and there is no better time to combine the two into one amazing craftivity than summertime. So here are some fun tie-dye goodies and even some great instructions from Michael's on how to throw your own tie-dye event!

I think it would be fun to pack a picnic lunch, throw on some grubby clothes, and head outside to tie dye/relax on one of these beautiful summer afternoons.

Here are some fun tie-dye goodies you could make at your craftivity or purchase via Etsy.com!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do you love raw crystal as much as I do?

I'm loving all the raw crystal and gemstone jewelry that has been popping up lately! I love the unfinished, natural look and I especially love it when it is combined with a nice, long necklace. Long necklaces are my favorite! But there are also some amazing cocktail rings being made out there in the Etsy world too. I'm really going to work this summer on learning to pull off a cocktail ring. Ever since I got engaged and now married I feel weird about wearing any ring other than my engagement and wedding ring.

But I digress, here are some of the pieces I've been drooling over lately. All of these pieces are $45 or under. I like to keep things on the cheaper side when at all possible and while I don't consider $45 super cheap, it is at least a lot better than the pricing you tend to see in your typical fashion magazines and stores these days. And besides wouldn't you rather support an independent retailer anyway?

Source: Moorea Seal's Etsy Shop

Source: Rozzie's Etsy Shop

Source: Yirweh Jewelry's Etsy Shop

Source: Larkin and Larkin's Etsy Shop

Source: Nubambu's Etsy Shop

Source: CuppaCoffee's Etsy Shop

Source: CyanOwl's Etsy Shop

However, if you prefer to "go your own way" and decide that you want to take on the task of getting crafty and making one of these gorgeous necklaces yourself you can always try out this tutorial from Seablanket.

Old Favorite/New Favorite: Running/workout socks

So when I say that my old/new favorite things are socks I know that I’m getting some strange looks from a LOT of people. You’re thinking, “How much could socks really have changed? And aren’t these old/new favorite things life changers? I mean your last old/new favorite was quinoa for goodness sake, how can socks even compare?”

Well people, prepare to have your minds blown. I typically show pictures of my old favorites here, but we all know what socks are right?

Socks have been…I’ll say it...revolutionized in recent years. It’s not just socks. It’s all traditional cotton products that have been changed to incorporate wicking technology which “wicks” moisture away from your body instead of acting like a sponge for any sweat or moisture (which is the typical cause behind your socks, t-shirts and even shorts to get heavy with moisture after a really good or even relatively mediocre workout). Socks that don’t wick can cause you to get some serious blisters, especially if you are running, hiking, or walking any great distance. Wicking technology has changed my running/hiking life.

When you see the term wick, dry-fit, cool-max, etc. on something like a pair of socks or a t-shirt, I encourage you to try it out. It’s more expensive but it is so worth the extra cash you pay when you are not being weighted down by all that extra sweat. And when I say more expensive, even that is shrinking away as you can now find wicking technology products at traditional superstores like Wal-mart and Target. You can usually identify these products easily because they have a giant tag attached to them telling you all about the wonders of the wicking concept.

But enough with the random, science lesson, I’ve run my last two half marathons in these bad boys with nary a blister in sight after being blister prone in all previous races. I once ran a marathon in a non-wicking pair of socks and literally had 4 blisters by the end of the race. Trust me taking up the hobby of running can be tough enough, don’t blister yourself in the foot (get it like shoot yourself in the foot?) before you’ve even get started by wearing a pair of non-wicking socks.

My favorite brand is Iniji. These are toe socks. Whatever your thoughts are about toe socks, you have got to put those preconceived notions aside when you are a runner. Blisters between your toes suck, and they suck hard, and they suck really hard in these sweaty summer months. Do yourself a favor and try these puppies out, especially if you are blister prone like me. You will not regret it.

Above are a pair of socks for the runner who likes their socks to look like socks. Source

Here's a pair for those that want the traditional toe sock funky look. Source

And here's a pair for the yoga enthusiast. Source

This particular brand is most easily purchased online or at a running/outdoors shop. Some my favorite spots to shop for these bad boys if you are located in the South are:
Big Peach Running Company-Atlanta, GA (multiple locations across the greater ATL area)
Diamond Brand Outdoors-Arden, NC
Foot RX-Asheville, NC

Anyway, try out this new favorite of mine and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Can you explain...my Shih tzu, Frankidini?

So my mom and I were chatting this evening and she brought up the fact that my adorable, lovable Shih tzu Frankie is crazy. It's true. This dog is insane. Not only is she passive-aggressive (she once peed on one of our guest bed pillows because my mother-in-law, who she loves, left after a weekend visit and apparently had not given a proper goodbye). But Frankie is also an escape artist.

We have tried everything we can think of to keep her caged during the day. We would love to let her run free but Frankie not only has bathroom issues when people she loves leave after a visit, sometimes she will choose to tinkle on the floor inside after weeks and weeks of pretending to have established potty-trained habits. So we've tried crating her, but she has literally escaped every crate we've ever tried to keep her in, so I'm at loss and curious if anyone out there in cyber-land can explain my Shih tzu to me?

Here are the crates we've tried and the subsequent escapes by Frankie:

1)The traditional wire crate:


This is a cool crate and I'm sure it works really well for most normal dog owners. In fact it worked really well for us when we crate-trained Rocky (our other adorable pup). Unfortunately Frankie is too smart for this crate. She uses her little Dr. Seuss*** paws to finagle the latch open on the bottom and sneaks through.

I once even came home to find her collar still inside the crate...How the heck did she manage that? Needless to say we have not put her in this crate again. I was worried she'd choke herself on this beast.

2. The pretty blue crate:


This is where Frankie got her nickname Frankidini. This crate boasts multiple entry ways. One garage door type in the front, the traditional side entry, and the top opens up too. I came home from work one day to Frankie waiting patiently for me by the front door. My first thought was to freak out, "who the heck is in my apartment and letting Frankie out?". I walked over to the crate and all three doors were closed but the latch for the top entry was slightly busted. Frankidini had worked her magic on it. We tried her a couple more times and within a week Frankie had completely destroyed this crate. (This is a 11 pound dog we're talking about).

3) Collapsible soft crate:Source

This is our most recent attempt. Frankie unzipped it the first day we put her in it, but we figured we had put her in it upside-down and that gravity had been against us. Next we tried her in it (this will sound weird) in the bathtub. Sounds crazy I know, but the bathtub is Frankie's favorite spot in the whole house. I think it's because it's cool against her fur.

Once we kept seeing Frankie pace back and forth across the floor with her dog toys. Three or four times this happens and Beau and I get curious. We walk into the bathroom to find this:

Frankie has also figured out that water comes out of the faucet in the bathtub and as a result paws at it to let us know if she is thirsty in the middle of the night. Cute the first couple times, annoying at 3am on a work night.

So we decided to put the soft crate into the bathtub thinking that the cool of the tub could be felt through the vinyl crate. We came home to the crate outside of the bathroom and around the corner (meaning that she had managed to hop from the bathtub inside the crate out of the bathroom and around the corner before escaping. Frankie next ripped a whole in the side of the crate. This crate lasted approx. 3 attempts.

So can you help me out? Can you explain my Shih tzu to me? Any ideas you have for crate-training a reluctant pup are welcome.

***Dr. Seuss paws: This is what I call Frankie's pawsies because when they get wet the curl up at the end like a Dr. Seuss character...see:

Oh and here's a picture of my other puppy love Rocky...I don't want him to read this later and get jealous that he was only mentioned in passing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Out and about in WNC with the fam

So this past week was absolutely fantastic. I've been up in WNC for 51 weeks now (yes, almost a full year) and my mom, stepdad, little bro and sis in tow have been up visiting for the first time this past week. It has been amazing showing off the area that Beau and I love to our family.

We also spent a LOT of time showing off good ole Hendo. We went to the soda shop, walked around downtown, shopped, ate some amazing food and in true Southern fashion did some serious front porch sittin’.

Hendersonville has lots of perks but you can’t visit this part of the world without heading in to Asheville to see that town in action. Asheville has lots of fun, art, culture and people watching. So there was lots of showing off to be done. I insisted on taking my sister to UNC-A to visit the campus and to attempt to convince her to move to Asheville, got to UNC-A and become a hippie, simple request right?

Despite the great overview of the campus, she wasn’t fully convinced though so I had to attempt to bribe her with cupcakes and shopping in downtown. (Jury is still out but if a cupcake from Bake it Pretty won't help, I don't know what else to do, you know?)

Last night was our big send-off. Nothing says small town like a fun dinner with the family and car show/outdoor music downtown. One of the things I love best about Hendersonville is that it still has such a thriving downtown and offers so much up to us as residents from Music on Main to Mike’s Saturday Sock Hops to carriage rides to the countless festivals.

These may seem like “old people” activities and in all fairness Beau and I are the first to admit that we sometimes act as 80 year-olds trapped in 30 year-old bodies. But these things are oldies but goodies and these activities are the things that made the American small towns so great in the past and are missing from too many towns today. (Not to mention my family loves them too!)

I'm so bummed the fam is back in FL but the good news is that they fell in just as much love with Hendersonville as we are and have already planned to come up in the fall and hopefully winter too!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Healthier, happier me...(inside my head)

So in just about a week it will be one year since Beauseph and I moved up here to Western North Carolina. A lot of people ask if I have any regrets about having left a job I loved and a city so close to Beau's family and our friends to move up here, but I honestly don't. Do I miss the people we love, yes but we've met great friends up here. Do I miss the job I loved, sure but we're building a life together up here and sometimes that means sacrifice.

After moving up here I realized how much I had put my life on complete hold since being the victim of violent crime while living in Atlanta. I had literally stopped living life. I hardly went out at night, I didn't run outside anymore and I really didn't do much outdoors unless Beau was there within 20 feet of me.

Then we moved up here. A place where small towns still exist, people are still friendly, and kids still look you in the eye when saying hello. Life changed for me in a subtle but freeing manner and I was living life again. I can go out at night (alone or with Beau) without a sense of fear. I run again (I hadn't done race of any substantial distance since 2008 when everything went down, I had blamed that on my job, but it was really my fault for being afraid to leave the house to run alone). And I'm just living a healthier life in general.

The only thing I really regret is the friends that I may have alienated while working through the things I worked through. No one has ever come out to me and said that I've did alienate them but I get the sense that I have and for that I'm sorry. I'm a firm believer in the idea though that everything that happens leads us to where we are today, so I can't look back with total regret on that because it got me to this healthy, happy place today and for that I'm grateful.

And honestly the guy who deserves a lot of credit for his patience, kindness and lack of any real social life while I got to where I am today (and continue to get to where I need to go to keep healing) is this guy right here. I love you Beau and thank you for letting me work through what I needed to to be me again.

P.S. Sorry for the somewhat happy but sad post. My mom is in town this week and showing her the town I love has made me retrospective and realize how far I've come. In the future, this will focus on not only the inside stuff that I'm doing to live a better life but the outside stuff too. I've lost 10 pounds since 1/1/11 and lots of people have asked me for advice on that so I'd love to share some tips on that kind of stuff too.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

New blog topic....Can anyone explain...?

So I need to add some life to my blog. I was out and about there for awhile, getting settled into the Carolina lifestyle but I'd really like to refocus on writing here on my blog, getting back into crafting, and being more outdoorsy again.

To "get the party started right"-yes I just went there, I've decided to start a new blog topic called "Can anyone explain...?". For this week the topic I need explained to me is this season's "The Bachelorette".

Can anyone explain this bachelorette to me?

Background: I am not a follower of this show but this week my mom, step-pops, little bro and sis are in town visiting from Florida. This next part is going to sound silly but also a bit genius. My mom has this thing where she and my sister watch The Bachelor and Bachelorette so that my younger sister can learn how not to act around guys. Genius right?

Anyway, so I popped over to the cottage they are staying at after work today and they are both watching "The Bachelorette". Admittedly, both of them love to hate this show. Today's episode was especially horrible because it was literally a train wreck waiting to happen, the bachelorette requested that her potential suitors roast her Friars Club style. Can you say crazy?

You don't have to be rocket scientist to figure out that this plan went downhill super, duper fast. Now keep in mind that the Friars roasts are known to be brutal towards the person being roasted. Apparently this bachlorette missed that memo and so when one of her mens (yes, men plural) roasted her with some seriously funny jokes she got all worked over and the tears started flowing very quickly after the event finished up. She gets all super emotional and has to have meeting with the guys about how upset she is. When the funny guys approaches her to apologize for doing what she asked for in the first place, she makes him feel so bad that he contemplates leaving the show.

So I'll take any explanation anyone can offer up to explain this lady and her crazy. In the meantime, thank you this season's bachelorette for single-handedly solidifying the "women are high maintenance" stereo-type.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Old Favorite/New Favorite:Typewriter Display

I love a good ole typewriter as a vintage prop for one's home but with space being tight here in our townhouse I decided that I needed to figure out another use for our old Remington (the photo up top shows it's previous job: doing nothing but holding up a yarn wreath). That's when it hit me...the keys on the typewriter would make a great way to prop up loose photos. Here are a couple shots of a vintage typewriter photo display in progress.