Stuck In My Head Triple Feature | NEEDTOBREATHE

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Thanks to Pandora, I discovered a new-to-me band, NEEDTOBREATHE (yes, all caps. No spaces. Apparently it was a marketing thing). I have just about fallen in love with them – not to mention to lead singer’s voice. To me, they’re a bit of a mixed sound of a little rock, a little county, a little soulful, and a little inspirational. For me and my hears, it’s the perfect mix! When I need a little pick-me-up, I have a handful of downloaded songs by them easily accessible on my phone and just play them over and over. Here are a few of my favorites for your listening pleasure!

The Reckoning:

Something Beautiful:

Something Beautiful acoustic version (loved this version they did at a radio station and had to include it!):

Lay ‘Em Down:

 

Back In The Saddle

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Well hello there! It’s been a while, I know. But I had to take a break and sort out where blogging fits into my life – or more so how or if I wanted it in my life at all. Taking a break made me miss it and I realized this is a creative outlet for me however good or bad the post or the pictures. And the occasional typo. I can’t say I’ll ever be a good blogger getting on a posting schedule like I’ve tried to do in a past (I am so not good with deadlines, guys) or have amazing content. But here we are getting back in the saddle. And to start off with, I figured I would keep it light and share some pictures and sort of catch up!

IMG_2806{Loved the cotton candy clouds on an early Spring evening}

IMG_2746{Got my hands on a Filofax for my birthday – and love it!}

IMG_2833{My first pair of Converse in Beach Glass. Pinterest made me do it…But I’m in love with the color!}

IMG_2850IMG_2853IMG_2858{Coffee and planning just seem to go hand in hand…}

IMG_2873{Both paws. In the flip flop.}

IMG_2905{That time when an adorable little girl who was clearly in her own world walking around the store and talking out loud who gave me a feather saying “This is for you!” without so much as a glance in my direction. It pretty much made my day.}

IMG_2929{Oh, and that time when Briana and I were at Starbucks and were Randy and Marty (or Marie? Wha…? How do you…? Never mind.)}

IMG_2943{Brand new glasses after two years of wearing my first and only pair}

IMG_2945{This adorable cat watch though…}

IMG_2964{He’s my life ring :)}

IMG_2968{Summer smoothies with the love}

IMG_2979IMG_2987{I love what you can find while traveling!}

IMG_2970{Summer Sunset}

IMG_3007

{You’re never too old to drink a nice cold yoo-hoo!}

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I feel like it’s almost over. I’m already seeing the leaves begin to change! You know what that means – Fall is almost here. And if you’ve stuck around long enough, you’ll know I’m a fall freak, so hopefully that means some fun posts will be coming up!

 

 

DIY Painted Mugs & Vase

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DIY Painted Mugs & VaseNote: the paint used in this tutorial is non-toxic but not food safe. It is not recommended to paint where your mouth will go on the mug. Of course I learned that after painting mine, so I’m helping you to learn from my mistakes!

I was itching to get creative and after remembering we had about four left over mugs from our wedding favors (three years ago!) where the print was defected, I was on the hunt to figure out how to re-purpose these mugs without wasting them.

IMG_2556Wedding Favors{Our winter wedding favors – mugs with hot chocolate packets}

Martha Stewart Paint ColorsI knew I wanted to use Martha Stewart paint in the light blue/green family with gold and picked up a pink color as well. And just FYI – Beach Glass is currently my favorite color of all time. If you’ve never worked with acrylic craft paint before, pay attention to the finish on the bottle. I picked the Satin finish and Metallic for the gold. The Satin finish has a great matte finish.

IMG_2552I had a vague idea of how I wanted to paint the mugs and knew I would need a stencil and some painters tape. I would need 100% pure acetone to soak the mug in to dissolve the design that was already on the mug. Not pictured is sandpaper to help me get off the remaining design. And of course you can’t forget your paint brush(es)!

IMG_2562I grabbed a plastic container that I had on hand, placed the mug in it face down, filled it up with the acetone enough to cover the design, and let it soak for maybe about twenty minutes. After rinsing it off, I took my sandpaper and scrubbed off what was remaining. As you can see, the mug is now clean! I was pretty excited to see this method worked!

IMG_2568Working on my first mug, I taped off the design I wanted, thought carefully of how and where I wanted the colors. I decided to do a pink and gold stripe mug with a gold handle. You should know now that the handle is not easy to paint. At least not for me!

Each mug took about three coats of paint. If you’re patient, wait an hour between coats. If you don’t, you’ll get clumps.

IMG_2560In the middle of planning my wedding, plans were changed. I had already bought vases that I would be using for centerpieces that I bought from Ikea that ended up not being used. So, I grabbed one of those left over vases as well and wrapped some tape around it and started painting. I used Gold, Surf, Beach Glass, Pea Shoot, and at the very top I used Gold again.

IMG_2565{in process}

IMG_2647

IMG_2659The paint ends up being pretty thick when you pull of the tape, so there are definitely some uneven edges on the mug as some of the paint was peeled off along with the tape. Oops? Since I can’t use these as drinking mugs (bummer), I’ve decided to use the other mug that I painted in Beach Glass and monogrammed in Gold as my makeup brush holder.

IMG_2660 The way I’ve cured these is by letting them air dry according to the directions on the packaging of the paint. I believe this is for 21 days. These mugs are hand wash only.

I have two mugs left to paint. Any ideas?

March Book of the Month | 2014

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Last year I started my series of reading a book a month, attempting to read books that had long been stashed in my personal library. During that time, I also rediscovered the library and some old favorites. Occasionally some of those favorites may have been from my childhood that had vaguely danced around in my head since I had first laid my hands on them many (many) years ago.

Time for AndrewThis particular story was read to me by my Fifth Grade teacher and has stayed in the back of my mind ever since. That was about eighteen years ago. That was around the time I still had a rather active imagination and loved a good ghost story (which I can thank my Grandmother for inheriting that one!). Throw in a little time travel and I’m in love. Somehow I remembered the title and with a little help from the internet with finding the author’s name, I was on the hunt in the kids section of the library to find this old favorite.

Don’t ever underestimate your old childhood favorites. It’s like visiting an old friend, really. The book managed to captivate me just as much today as it did then. And if you’re a fast reader, you could read this in a day. But I have “slow reader problems” and read it within about four days. Even for a kids book the writing was great with a well developed plot and characters, which I was really impressed with. Sometimes I even let out a chuckle or two. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It was such a quick, light, and fun read!

Book Description: Eleven year old Andrew switches places with a ghost and travels back to the year 1910. Will he be able to fight his way back through time to reclaim his place in the present? Or will the ghost steal his life and leave him trapped in the past forever?

Spring Makeup | 2014

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Spring Makeup 2014

Welcome to Spring! I think? Apparently the East cost is supposed to be slammed with snow again next week. We’re all still bundled up here and still feeling the effects of Winter, but I have been craving spring colors for a while now. I’m ready to leave my coat at home, throw on something colorful, and enjoy warmer weather.

I haven’t updated my Spring makeup collection since 2012, so I figured now is a great time to get a few little things and feel refreshed from a long winter! It’s amazing what a few new makeup items can do to a girl!

Ulta Blush Peach GlowUlta Blush in Peach Glow: This blush is gorgeous and goes on pretty sheer, so I would recommend layering if you want a really good color payoff. When this is on the cheeks, it gives a glow just as the name suggests. This is an interesting product as it’s in a pot instead of a pan. It’s also very creamy. Personally, I apply everything with a brush, but I’m sure for those who love applying with their fingers could do that as well.

NYX Butter Lip BalmNYX Butter Lip Balm in Macaron: Everyone seems to be going crazy over anything with the word “butter” in it, especially if it’s by NYX. This is definitely moisturizing, but it wont save your already chapped lips. It only enhances dry skin, which is a bummer. This goes on a bit sheer, but the color is beautiful and bright.

Ulta Lipstick #225Ulta Lipstick in #225: Lately I’ve been loving the idea of nude colors, especially for spring. This particular color is more of a brown nude. The lipstick is a bit moisturizing, which is a bonus. Somehow I always put more coats on than necessary only because I love feeling the moisture (You do that, too, right?). I wear this on it’s own (no lip pencil or gloss) and love it!

Maybelline Limited Edition LipstickMaybelline Limited Edition Nude Lipstick Line in Nude Embrace and Barely Bronze: Can I just say that I’m pretty sad these are limited edition? These colors are beautiful! Barely Bronze has a bit of a shimmer to it, which I don’t normally go for shimmer in my lip products these days, but the color is so beautiful and it enhances the look. Nude Embrace is pretty much the perfect pink nude you could possibly find. If it didn’t take me so long to go through lipsticks, I would consider buying another for backup since it’s limited edition.

Ulta Maybelline Nude ComparisonHere’s a little comparison with the two nude colors I have. At first when I bought these two colors (Nude Embrace and #225) I thought they were pretty similar. Next to each other, you can see they are definitely two different tones.

SwatchesO.P.I Gargantuan Green GrapeO.P.I Gargantuan Green Grape: This isn’t exactly makeup, but needs to be noted that I will be living in this color this spring. It’s officially deemed my “happy color” and is the perfect blend of a light green blue I’ve ever seen. I don’t believe there’s anything else Like it. Other than nudes for the lips, anything with mint green, baby blue, or a mix of light green blue has pretty much been my newest favorite color family. I can’t explain why, but it really has an impact of lifting my mood.

The only thing about this polish that I discovered is that it apparently has two different versions. There’s a blue version, which I think is the one I have and must be the reason I was very confused when I read “green grape” in the color name, and a more minty version. I found a blog post that you can read here that compares the two. It might have been a mislabel, but I’m loving it either way!

What are your current makeup or polish loves for spring?

Baby, It’s Still Cold Outside…

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baby it's still cold outside

Who else is ready for Spring? Between the Polar Vortex and the snow storms we’ve had, including today, I’m done. I was excited for the snow days at the beginning of the season (because who doesn’t love watching that gorgeous stuff come down with a warm cup of something in your hands?), but I think the polar Vortex officially did me in. Below freezing temps just isn’t where it’s at.

Yesterday we experienced temps in the sixties and today we have snow. What gives, Mother Nature? I have to say that it’s always refreshing to experience a day¬† walking around without my coat after being bundled up for so long. But we’re all wrapped up tight and warm today, that’s for sure!

IMG_2572{Here’s our cat, Lucky, yesterday either bird watching our waiting for the snow. We knew it was coming despite the warmer weather!}

Here’s a few pictures I managed to snap today as the snow continued to fall (and blanket my hair) while we were shoveling ourselves out!

David & BrandieHolly bushDavid Shovelingholly berriesBrandie Snow Day in March{the snow piling on top of my head and even hanging onto my eye lashes!}

IMG_2583{Some days it’s the small things, like seeing whole snowflakes finding a home on my gloves}

IMG_2582Lucky{And this lazy kitty gets to have a lazy snow day with mom and dad safe and warm at home! We call this position “le sigh”.}

If you’re having a snow day like we are, we hope you’re staying warm! I’m probably enjoying my last hot chocolate right now for the season…

p.s. if you’re a hot chocolate lover and want to enjoy it after the season ends or have a craving for a piece of winter in the summer, check out my Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe!

February Favorites

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A few weeks ago I introduced a new section of the blog – Monthly Favorites – and posted what I was loving during January. And now it’s already time to share what captured my interest in February!

Falling in Love by PhilosophyFalling in Love, by Philosophy. This was the perfume I chose to wear on my wedding day and have brought it out during the month of February ever since.

Perfume shot

{Love Taza via pinterest}

This month, since being on bloglovin’, I’ve found quite a few new blogs to read, including lovetaza.com. They are an adorable couple that live in New York with their adorable kids (Naomi [the wife] writes for the blog). I love the photography and the moments that they’ve shared with their readers. There’s a lot of content spanning back from about 2008, so I’ve been sucked into the Love Taza vortex ever since finding it!

And here’s what inspired me to get on bloglovin':

VA Blogger MeetupA Virginia Blogger meetup! It was so great meeting these ladies where we have something in common! Blogging is so much fun, but it can be a lone task where it’s just you and your computer and that’s it. I haven’t met too many bloggers in my daily life, so this meet up was a breath of fresh air! We were all inspired in some way by the end of it to help make our blogs a bit better.

MacaronsCan you believe I’ve never tried French Macarons before this month? I’ve been seeing this lovely cookie all over the internet and have been itching to try them. When I saw they were at Whole Foods, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! Each one was a different flavor (caramel, red velvet, pistachio, pumpkin, chocolate, and french vanilla). So far my absolute favorites are the pistachio (which was a surprise to me) and french vanilla.

The cookies are a bit pricey to get all of the time ($1.99 each) otherwise I would make it a weekend trip to Whole Foods just to get these! It’s important to note that they only stay truly fresh for a day, so yes, these were all eaten by me in a single day. I am not ashamed…

Whole Foods Hot ChocolateWhole Foods Hot Chocolate (their 365 brand)! We had a snow day around Valentines day and it was just the perfect day for a cup of hot chocolate (the tastiest I’ve ever had. It’s better than Swiss Miss, in my opinion) and listening to Pandora while blogging. It was a good day!

3rd Wedding AnniversaryAnd lastly, moments like this: celebrating our love.

3rd Wedding Anniversary

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David and I - Wedding Day

{2.26.11}

Has it only been three years?! Goodness! Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s only been that long, but we’ll be celebrating our 11th year of being together this coming April. You can bet we’ve grown a lot during that time – even while being married. We thought our relationship wouldn’t be much different with a ring on our finger, but looking back on the last three years, I think we were wrong. There’s a certain learning curve to being married and figuring out your way through it as you grow as a couple (and individually, too!). We got married at twenty-four and started dating at sixteen, so we’ve had a lot of growing experiences in our relationship and marriage is no different. This year – our third year of making it legal and having his last name – I’m reflecting on what we’ve learned from each other and how we handle situations. For the most part we’re pretty good, especially at communicating our thoughts and feelings, but I think it’s great that we’re still growing. I think it makes things exciting! Even when things are great, growing makes everything even better.

IMG_2508{excerpt from one of our favorite movies, The Notebook. I saw this on Twitter yesterday and somehow it seemed fitting}

Thai BlackboardTo celebrate, we went to an adorable local Thai restaurant. I have no idea what that blackboard says, but I love the symbols and how colorful it is!

Thai CalamariThai calamari? Yes please! It’s our favorite appetizer and we love trying it in various restaurants (our all time favorite can be found at Carrabba’s Italian Grill). This is paired with a sweet and sour sauce that just makes the dish.

Thai Food Fried RiceAs far as our actual meal is concerned, we didn’t venture out and pick anything extraordinary – but we do love it! Fried rice and shrimp for him. Chicken fried rice for me. The best fried rice we’ve ever tasted.

3rd Wedding AnniversaryIn other news, yesterday we had a bit of an unexpected snow day. It lasted for most of the morning and we ended up getting probably three inches. Was I prepared? No. I snapped a photo and put it up on Instagram with a simple caption.

IMG_2503“Wore the wrong shoes for an impromptu snow day.”

And today, we definitely had snow in the forecast, which I ended up being prepared for (I’ll have you know…). My husband had seen my picture on Instagram and came back with his own.

IMG_2531“And I wore the correct shoes for a snow day…”

Lol! I love how he pokes fun of me sometimes…

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