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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Surprise!

My sister and her now husband tied the knot over the weekend in an intimate wedding ceremony at a friend's home. There were only about 30 people in attendance (mostly immediate family) and it was amazing. I've never been part of such a small wedding and let me tell y'all that is the WAY TO GO. It was exactly what she wanted...small, casual and with a hippie/boho vibe. The house hosts prepared a wonderful dinner after the ceremony and we enjoyed barbecued pork, mac & cheese, slaw, potato salad, broccoli salad and then banana pudding and doughnuts for dessert under twinkle lights and a cool breeze. It was totally them and totally perfect.

Here are some iPhone photos to share! I didn't get a lot of the "details" and decor but I did get a few. Enjoy!









Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Years

It's hard to believe it's been three years since we got married! Sometimes it feels like the blink of an eye and other times it feels like forever. I've learned so much over these three years...

I've learned that marriages are about losing. Losing an argument. Losing control. Losing your pride.

I've learned that marriages are about compassion. Compassion for things you can't empathize with.

I've learned marriages are about grace. Giving grace to someone even if they don't deserve it.

I've learned that marriages take work. They aren't easy and they require constant work.

I've learned that marriages can reshape who you are in a good way.

But most importantly, I've learned what it means to have a constant advocate, caregiver, protector, stress-reliever, guardian, encourager and lover.

Happy Anniversary, M!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Living Room Update

Do we really need to go into depth psychoanalyzing why I keep changing and redecorating my living room? I think not. Honestly, I like to change things up and rearrange furniture or move decor items around a lot to keep things fresh. Well, it's hard to rearrange furniture in our current living room given the set up but I can still swap out the decor items. Here's where we are now:



Yes I have two animal pillows in my living room. It's hard to see the detail on the elephant one (from WalMart!!) but it's got gold accents. The other thing I do quite frequently is switch out my throw pillow covers. Both of those gray/gray check pillows are Ikea pillow forms with Ikea pillow covers. I've had them forever and love them!

The white wall things...because I have no idea what to call them...are actually rubber stair treads we got from Lowe's that I spray painted white and then distressed with M's electric sander.

And as a reminder, here's where we've been in the living room area in the past.


Will I ever get tired of gray? Maybe. But I don't see it happening any time soon. 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The March Edit: Hits and Misses

I'm starting this recurring monthly post about things I've tried and liked or tried and didn't like in a particular month. I'm kicking off this series with some fave beauty and lifestyle stuff and some of the ones that I didn't like so much!

Hits


Links//Foundation//Undereye Setting Powder//Laptop Bag//Burt's Bees Facial Wipes//Tank Top

This foundation is my new favorite. It works really well with my dry skin and stays on all day. Also, it's nowhere near as expensive as the Born This Way one I was using. I've been using this for a couple of weeks and I'm very impressed!

I got this undereye powder as part of a free gift with purchase when I bought some products from e.l.f. cosmetics and I really love it. It's not too drying to make my undereyes look crepe-y but it also keeps my concealer in place all day. I'll definitely purchase this when I run out.

This laptop bag is seriously adorable. I love it so much! It's slimline and lightweight but protective and so cute! It comes in other patterns but this big rose floral is very springy and fun!

I was on the lookout for a new face/makeup wipe and tried a bunch of them. These Burt's Bees ones are a hit! They are good for my sensitive skin and the cloth is soft. I'll be repurchasing these for certain.

These Old Navy tank tops are my new fave for layering. I'll admit that I gave up on Old Navy for a while because I wasn't happy with the quality of their stuff. But these tanks are soft and drapey but not clingy. They don't wrinkle easily and look expensive. I purchased a gray one and then loved it so much I went back online and purchased in navy and this peachy color. LOVE!

Misses



I tried these Croc d'Orsay flats thinking they'd be the best of both worlds...Croc comfort and a cute style. And while they are adorable they are not comfortable. I don't have wide feet but these things are SO. TIGHT. around the strap. Like uncomfortable. I might wear these a couple more times to see if they'll stretch but otherwise these are a dud.

In my hunt for facial/makeup wipes I tried these and while the formula itself isn't bad the wipes feel like sandpaper. There's no way I would keep using them on my skin.

I was trying to find a cheaper alternative to my beloved It's a 10 light spray and I failed miserably at this one by IT. This product is very sticky and made my hair feel heavy, dirty and greasy. I used this twice and gave it away to someone with very thick hair. It could be that because my hair is fine it just was too much and could work for someone else but for me? No thanks.

I got this e.l.f. volumizing mascara as part of a free gift with purchase and I used it once. I'm glad I didn't "pay" for it because the formula is very, very dry. If you like a dry mascara this one is nice for a natural look but it didn't work for me.

Finally, I love my regular Batiste dry shampoo. It's the best I've ever used...hands down. But I wanted to try this one specifically for blondes to see if it could brighten my roots in between hair appointments. UM. It did not brighten. What it DID do was leave a yellowy/golden cast on my scalp...so much so that my sister (who is a hair dresser) was like, "did you put bronzer on your scalp?" Nope! I'll stick to my regular Batiste dry shampoo from now on.

Well, there you have it. My March hits and misses. I really enjoyed this post so I hope to do these monthly! Let me know if you had any experiences with any of the products mentioned above.


Monday, March 27, 2017

My Ancestry DNA Ethnicity Results

NERD ALERT! :)

I'm really into learning about my family's ancestry and tracing our roots and heritage. I've got a pretty complete family tree dating back to the 1500s in Switzerland on my paternal side and to the 1600s in England and the 1700s in Ireland on my maternal side. My paternal family has been located in South Carolina since 1736.

I started my interest in my ancestry/heritage by creating an account and a family tree on Ancestry.com. I actually found a lot of information there to begin with and blogged a bit about some of the interesting findings here.

However,  I was really interested in what my actual DNA composition was made up of since I have a variety of leads from each side of the family. Well, the results were not THAT surprising...except for what I'm calling the wildcard...more on that later.

First up, my percentage breakdown for the expected (aka non-surprising) part of the results.



Okay, I figured GB and Europe. Here's a map breakdown which explains it a bit better. 


Great Britain also includes Scotland, so that makes sense. My mom's maiden name is a Scottish name and we'd always been told that her side of the family is Scot-Irish. So "Great Britain" accounts for the Scottish side. Europe West accounts for France, Germany, Switzerland, etc. so that also makes sense because I've traced my paternal lineage to Switzerland and Germany. Then there's the fairly self-explanatory Irish and Scandinavian heritage. 

The cool thing about these results is that Ancestry.com gives you a ton of historical data and background to help figure out why you could be showing DNA from a particular area. For me, I easily figured out the Scandinavian portion since I didn't knowingly have any lineage in that area. The Vikings and other tribal types from Scandinavia conquered and settled in parts of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales,  so many of my ancestors might have been descendants from those people. That also can help explain the Finland/NW Russia and Iberian Peninsula trace regions.  People from these native portions could have immigrated to other parts of the world and intermarried but the DNA still remains. For example, many Germanic tribes like the Visigoths pushed into the Iberian peninsula areas and conquered kingdoms to the north into Scandinavia. 

Are you ready for the wildcard? You may have noticed that I'm 98% of European descent but there's another 2% that's missing. Well, it's actually Asian. South Asia to be specific. Here's the full breakdown. 


And the map that shows the general area. This includes countries like India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 



Okay, so obviously I do not LOOK South Asian AT ALL. But I find it very interesting that there are still markers in my DNA from this area. The best I can figure is it must come from the Great Britain portion since India use to be a British territory. Perhaps there was some intermarrying? It's just so fascinating! Who would have thought?!

I was slightly disappointed that some of my Jewish and Native American ancestry didn't come through nor was any portion of my DNA African. Given that many of my paternal ancestors were slave owners I figured that there might have been some. BUT, that's not to say it isn't a part of my heritage, it just didn't manifest into my own unique DNA. So how will I know? Well, I plan to purchase this test as a gift for my sister, father and mother. (Surprise! If you're reading this, family!)  I'd like to see how my results compare to theirs and what theirs might show that mine didn't. Stay tuned! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bathroom Update: Painting the Vanity



One of the projects M and I both wanted to tackle was painting our bathroom vanities. It was something we desperately wanted but we were unsure how time consuming of a project it might be...so we kept putting it off.

Well, we bit the bullet and started in the master bathroom this weekend. I'll be honest, I had to work half a day on Friday so M actually ended up doing most of the work with this project. But that is a good indication of how easy it really was!

The entire project took less than a day and we are thrilled with the results!

Our first step was to sand the 11 year old builder-grade oak cabinets. M did the larger parts with a electric palm sander but chose to use regular old sandpaper for the cabinet faces and drawers. Because of the molding on these it was easier for him to use sandpaper. He sanded them all enough to knock the sheen off and rough up the surface a bit for painting. I'd say it took him about 2 hours total to sand everything. He removed the drawers and doors and sanded them all outside because, well, it's kind of messy.

After the sanding was done we headed to Lowe's and picked out our paint. I knew I wanted a blue-tinged dark gray. I like the look of dark vanities with white tops so we figured a darker gray would contrast nicely with the white top and hide any stains well. We ended up going with Valspar Reserve paint in Muskeg Gray. We purchased a couple of chip brushes and some small high-density foam paint rollers specifically for cabinetry and went to town. I started by painting in the door molding and the edges with the brushes and then finished with rolling the wide, flat parts. Overall we did two coats  of paint on everything and it looks great! We ended up painting inside the house in the kitchen area because it was really windy and getting chilly out.

I've never painted anything in the house before and the house not smell like paint. Actually unless you saw the painting stuff in the house, you wouldn't even know it. I smelled NOTHING. No paint fumes, no paint smell. Honestly, I loved that. I didn't pick this paint because of the low odor and no VOCs, but I would definitely pick it again because I loved walking into a house that didn't smelled like paint!

We opted for a semi-gloss since it's a bathroom and this is the most chip and stain resistant. I love it. The final product is a bit more of a babyish gray than I thought but I don't mind it at all. We purchased a gallon of this paint and plan to use it to paint the guest bathroom vanity as well. I'm so happy we chose to do this and it feels like I'm walking into a different bathroom!

Slowly but surely, my house is becoming void of color and much more neutral...i.e. gray and white. And I don't hate it one bit! Here are the before and afters! (Also I know my grays don't all match. I need to get a different rug...maybe a pop of color to tie it all in.)

BEFORE


AFTER




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We Need Suggestions! Warm Weather Vacation Destinations

Our honeymoon in Ocho Rios, Jamaica


Calling all travelers!

M and I are starting to look at locations for our vacation next year (2018) and this time we want to opt for a warm weather locale. Our last big trip was in August and we did a cooler weather place (Banff) so this time we're switching it up.

I'm not opposed to the Caribbean or an international place but I'm also okay with something tropicalish in the states. Our requirements are that it's not a super-long flight from our area (Charlotte, NC)...meaning...less than 3 hours...and it's somewhat affordable. We definitely don't need to be in the center of a town full of nightlife as we prefer a more relaxed environment.

So, now, travel friends, where are some warm weather destinations you've enjoyed? Any recommendations?

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