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Light the Way!

23 Aug

So lately my thing has been lanterns. There is something so classic and festive in the beauty of a lit lantern in the dark. Luckily, with the end of Summer sales going on now, this particular indulgence hasn’t been as heavy a hit on my wallet as it could have been.

Chris and I have been doing some work on the house in hopes of making it into a “grown up” home that looks like a married couple lives there! Most of the serious work will have to wait until after the wedding and probably the holidays too, since they will be pretty soon after. But for now, we are having a lot of fun planning!

This week, I went by Pier 1 because they were having a sale on a lot of their Summer and outdoor stuff. We recently acquired a papazan frame and Pier 1 had exactly the right cushion we were looking for, on sale! While I was there, I couldn’t help browsing through the rest of the store and picked up these, too:

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Cannot wait to get some pretty, spice-scented pillar candles and put these babies to work!  I love the antique look the Fleur de Lis pattern and antique finish lend these lanterns.

Also recently bought this smaller lantern from Candles by Connie:

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This purchase was inspired by some lanterns my aunt has from Williamsburg Marketplace. I love the way the ivory paint gives them a more elegant, colonial look. Will definitely be creating a centerpiece around this new lantern on the dining room table this Fall!

And now, I am off to take a nap and hopefully get rid of this little bug that I seem to have caught…

Happy Treasure Hunting, everyone!

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Wedding Belles!

31 Oct

A few weeks ago, I went to Pittsburgh for the wedding of a friend that I have known since we were literally babies in diapers. I can’t say enough good things. Getting to see old friends and family is always fun and since it was for such an exciting occasion, it made it all the more amazing.

Chris and I were flying standby with Buddy Passes from his good friend, and arrived at the airport to find out that all flights were booked for the rest of the day. Luckily, we were able to make friends with a wonderful lady named Patty at the airport who was also flying standby to Pittsburgh for the Teal Ribbon Comedy at the Magee-Women’s Research Institute & Foundation. Patty’s daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago and they were celebrating the fact that it was in remission by attending this fundraiser (and getting to watch her grandsons’ football games over the course of the weekend too). She informed us of another flight leaving for Cleveland and invited us to drive the 2 hours to Pittsburgh with her. What could have been a really frustrating and overall bad day became a fun day of adventure as we made our detour to get to Pittsburgh and see family and friends.

We spent the majority of the weekend walking around the Strip District, which is where we were staying. It was enough to make us all fall in love! Chris and I have made plans to go back soon! While there, we went in a few stores of note. Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. was pretty awesome! My mom and I snagged huge bottles of good Italian olive oil, my sister got a large can of tomatoes that she swears make the best pasta sauce in the world, and my dad got a 4 ft long pepperoni! He plans to make pepperoni rolls with it.

The Happiness Project and Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues

30 Oct

Recently I joined a book club.  I love reading but don’t read quality material enough and find myself out of touch with what books are being written these days that are worth reading. So as an attempt to keep myself from spending too much money on Amazon, buying books that I wind up only reading partially and then moving on to the next, I decided to join a book club. What better way to motivate myself to actually finish a book and have the opportunity to (hopefully) make friends in the process?

The book that will be discussed in the first meeting I get to attend is “The Happiness Project: or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closet, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.

I love this book so far.

For those who have not heard of this (now that we don’t have Oprah to dictate what is a Rah-Rah-I-Am-Woman-Feel-Good book), Gretchen Rubin was happily married to the love of her life, with two healthy daughters, plenty of friends, and a really awesome career who came to the realization one day that she was taking her life for granted.  And so the Happiness Project was born. The Happiness Project was her year-long attempt to get organized, prioritize what is really important, and strengthen her relationships.

The premise of this book is highly relateble.  It’s so easy to put off tasks you know you need to do, get irritated at the person in traffic who cuts you off, allow yourself to give in to momentary annoyances and snap at people close to you. But what does it really solve? These are all things that add to stress, and that is something that everyone in this day and age has way too much of to begin with. Why not do everything we can to minimize it?

Rubin begins her project with copious amounts of research before she actually begins her project. One of the sources that she seems to draw inspiration from are Benjamin Franklins’s List of 13 Virtues. She wound up making her own list of ways she wanted to improve, and encourages her readers to do the same. I vaguely remembered hearing about these from a course in college but decided to look them up, and found them to be pretty inspirational myself.

What I find so interesting about all of this is that Rubin is not suffering from depression. She’s not unhappy. In fact, she is happy. she makes a point of recounting conversations with her sister, an acquaintance, and a few conversations with her husband about this. It’s not that she’s dissatisfied with her life – quite the opposite. She’s just such an over achiever that she asks herself “how can I get more out of this?” That is not a direct quote, by the way.

As Americans, we want more bang for our buck. We want bigger portions, faster cars, better quality clothes. Why shouldn’t we apply this same thought process to wanting the most satisfaction from life that we can possibly get? Each person only gets one, so really we owe it to ourselves to make it the happiest we possibly can.

While reading this book, I have been inspired to make my own happiness project (which is actually what Rubin wants to inspire others to do). So I’ve decided to devote one week to each of Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues and will be posting about them.

So, I will begin tonight.

WEEK 1: Temperance

“Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”

Rubin says that this is the first on the list, because the idea behind it was that once this was conquered, the rest would naturally be easier to handle.

I find this to be one that is important to me because I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. Most of the time, I’ve been within a healthy weight range, but have always been on the heavier side. So this week I’m making a conscious effort to follow this virtue.

My Future Ride

24 Oct

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Just sayin’… someday I’d love to cruise in this!!

Autumn

6 Oct

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October is finally here. This means pumpkins, multi-colored trees that look like they’re on fire, candy corn, sweaters, fires in the fireplace, apples, corn mazes, haunted houses & trails, and Halloween!

This might as well be The Month of Travel for me. Already, it has been so busy!! This weekend, I’m going to Pittsburgh for the wedding of a girl I grew up with, and we will be staying in the Strip District. Exciting weekend, and on top of that, I can’t wait to do a little exploring! Will be posting pictures sometime next week.

Aside

DIY and Giving Junk a New Life

13 Sep

There’s something rewarding about taking an old object and reinventing it.  Sometimes it’s as simple as painting an end table a new color.  The worn out arm chair from an antique shop suddenly looks modern and chic once recovered in grey burlap with metal rivets.  Suddenly you’re ready to redecorate the whole apartment, metal rivets on everything! 

 Maybe it is a little more involved, maybe you have to actually reinvent the object and upcycle it to give it a new life.  One of my favorites on Pinterest is a picture of a recycled pallet.  Some creative mastermind turned it into a shelf for pictures… it is perfect, and has an earthy but polished look.  I love the black frames, and how different they all are.  Different designs, different shapes.  You could vary your pictures like they do – black and white, colorful, new, old.  What has been created is an easy photo wall that invites guests to look at some treasured photos without pretention. 

Another thing that I love are these bird-shaped gift tags (also found on Pinterest)!  Perfect for gifts and absolutely adorable!  Another use for these would be some homemade ornaments for a tree.  If you have some extra fabric scraps sitting around, this is a great way to use them and will add a little extra festivity to the gift.  Or if you are not a fabric hoarder like me, you can always buy some swatches of fabric for cheap.  With the holidays coming up, I like to keep an eye out for slightly different, interesting wrappings! 

   

I found this music stand at a yard sale, and bought it for a dollar.  It is now a great cookbook holder in my kitchen!  This wasn’t a huge stretch, since it is meant to hold a book while you do something else with your hands, but I think that makes it all the better.  The stand has placeholders so you can flip back to your recipe if you have to look up another quickly.  It’s lightweight but holds a decently heavy book (although my Julia Child cookbooks are decidedly too large), and the apple adds to a more kitchen-like vibe. 

Now, off for a run and then out to eat fajitas!

Happy Crafting!

You mean our entire Universe could be an atom in the fingernail of some giant being???

20 Jul

I watched Animal House last night, for the first time in years. It was one of my favorite movies in high school and watching it brought back a great amount of nostalgia. Even though it’s a movie about college, my memories were high school. I made my friends watch it a ridiculous amount of times.

One thing I loved last night was watching the way things were in the 60s, the heyday of Greek life. The cars they drove, the music that played on the old school jukebox in the Delta Tau Chi house, the clothes they wore.

There’s really no point to this post other than to reminisce. Most of all, it was nice to hear the greeting “Hi, I’m Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet ya.”