Monday, November 4, 2013

Our New Home

I am so excited to finally start sharing some really fun news and pictures to go with it! We’ve closed on our new house!! We’re saying goodbye to our old digs (goodbye post to our first house coming soon) and hello to our new adventure in home ownership.  We closed on October 24 and we’ll be making the official move on November 16, but until then we’ve spent most non-working time at the new place as it needs a lot of TLC.

Front

Here’s the before / after of the first two weekends worth of work on the new place. Just the little bit that we’ve done has totally improved the curb appeal. The guy we bought the house from never did any maintenance which worked out well for us price wise, but now we have to put in lots of labor to get it beautiful again. On the plus side, we now own almost four heavily wooded acres.

door

A close-up of the front door as this was my big project from this past weekend. I painted the door a gorgeous green.  We knew we wanted something to make the door actually stand out and after a lot of time on Pinterest this is what I came up with. It’s really pretty in person and way better than the brown with tan trim. (I also updated the trim to white to match the windows.)

Back

And the last small thing that made a huge difference that we’ve accomplished so far is the back deck. That one huge tree limb is gone so now you can walk down the stairs without having to duck underneath.  The guy we bought the house from tried to use that as a selling point, but we weren’t buying it. (He said it was better than an umbrella. Which is funny because it’s heavily wooded it doesn’t get that much sun at all. We think he was just lazy).

Anyway, once we get some of the interior done, I’ll be posting some more!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Photo of the Day: Hawaiian Vacation Edition

We just recently spent one glorious week on the island of Maui and thought I ‘d share with you one photo from each day. (Otherwise I’d post a thousand and no one wants to see that).

June 27th

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Our first sunset. Got to the resort around six and dropped off the bags to head down to the beach. It was great.

June 28th

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I became obsessed with this little chapel. I think we have about a hundred different pictures of just this one building.

June 29th

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Spent a lot of time in these little hut things at the resort.

June 30th

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Black sand beach on the road to Hana.

July 1st

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The hubs reeling in a Mahi Mahi.

July 2nd

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Sunset at Mama’s Fish House. The hottest reservation in town.

July 3rd

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The beach where we went snorkeling. (FYI – I was not made for snorkeling)

July 4th

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Sunrise at the Haleakala crater summit (10,000 feet above sea level). Best thing we experienced.

 

Those were all taken with our new point and shoot. Hope to get to edit some of the pictures taken with my big girl camera this weekend. Who knows, I may do another post of photos of the day from my Mark II.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Random Cell Phone Dump Post

I thought I’d just do a random cell phone dump of all the things I’ve been doing since I last posted.

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Physical therapy on my ankle for 8 weeks in hopes that I could start running again. This is one of the exercises that I am still doing. (To catch you up, I sprained my ankle for the millionth time on Thanksgiving Day and then found out that I tore all of the ligaments in my left ankle. I wore an ankle stabilizer for six weeks before going into PT for 8 weeks. When I left I was able to run 1 mile without hurting. That was in February. It’s practically June and I still can’t run more than a mile. I can’t even walk more than a mile. More on that in some other post by itself maybe).

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The new shoes that I have yet to wear for more than a few miles. I love them so much though.

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I’ll continue the whiney non-runner theme. I get to do this every other night. Awesome.

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A picture from February when I thought I’d be running half marathons again. (I missed one that I was registered for on Monday. That sucked.) That was probably the last time I actually ran-ran. (as opposed to running a few steps and them wimping out).

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I hung out a lot with these girls. Here we are celebrating L’s birthday.

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Here we are that night that we went to see Wicked the Broadway musical.

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We did Karaoke. On a karaoke bus no less.

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I was only able to participate after a couple of huge shots. : )

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I got new glasses. I think they make me look smart. I should wear them more often.

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D and I made orange-o-latterns which was pretty cool. They make great candles.

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Got a new piece of furniture for the bedroom and finally put some stuff on the walls.

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Went to dinner with one of D’s bosses and the owner gave me a rose when we left.

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Went to a work event with this crazy girl. Why does the bandana look so much better on her.

And lastly, spent lots of time with my bestest friend and some times managed to covertly get him into pictures.

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Here we are at Lake Grapevine. I think he was photographing the water?

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And here we are at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Reading

I know, I know. Off the grid I fell again. BUT I miss blogging, so I am going to try to get back into it if for no one else than me. But I was asked to write a guest post for my company blog and I put in a lot of time and effort into it so I thought I'd throw it up here as well.  For those of you that don't know, I am a huge reader so I was asked to create a book list for summer. Here's what I went with.
 
It's summer time and you know what that means....reading. Ok, maybe not for everyone but summer is generally the time of vacations and relaxing weekends in the backyard and there is nothing more fun in this girls opinion than reading a great novel.  Add a beach or a backyard into the equation and it’s pretty much my perfect day.  But how you know what to read and who to read can be a real pain in the tuckus. I'm here to help. This is my list of the ten must read books. These are in no particular order and my rating of the book out of five stars is listed. If you need even further help picking out your summer reading list, join GoodReads where you can read reviews from big time book nerds like me and find tons of books you didn't even know existed.
1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4.5/5)
8442457Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.
My reason for recommending: Huge plot twist that just makes your head spin and it happens in the middle of the book as opposed to the end, which was an interesting choice to me. This was THE book to read a few months ago as everyone and their brother was reading it. 
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth (5/5)
51Mry4w810LSynopsis: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
My reason for recommending: My current favorite book in the entire world. (Like I said these are in no particular order). The writing is phenomenal and the story is intriguing.  It’s a trilogy with only number two being available currently (Insurgent) and the third book coming out in October.  You guys should read this before the movie comes out in March.  I loved the first one before I read the second one and am happy to state that the second book did not suffer from middle book syndrome, so that makes them think the third will be equally as great.
3. For the Roses by Julie Garwood (5/5)
133240Synopsis: 1879. In Blue Belle, Montana, everyone knew better than to mess with the Claybornes. The brothers had once been a mismatched gang of street urchins -- until they found an abandoned baby girl in a New York city alley, named her Mary Rose, and headed west to raise her to be a lady. They became a family -- held together by loyalty and love if not by blood -- when suddenly they faced a crisis that threatened to tear them apart....
My reason for recommending: This is the only book that I’ve read more than once. I generally hate rereading books, but this one just gets better the more you read it. It’s also in the romance genre which I don’t generally dig, but for some reason this one works.
4. The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer (5/5)
51-Dqe35JeLSynopsis: At the age of twenty-three Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin, with the same best friend and the same dependable, easygoing, high school sweetheart. Now to her dismay she has begun to find this life suffocating and is considering leaving it–and Mike–behind. But when Mike is paralyzed in a diving accident, leaving seems unforgivable and yet more necessary than ever.
My reason for recommending: It’s just a great story where good people do stupid things and it makes them better? An emotional read at times but you end up not even knowing what you want to happen. Just as a PS on this one, there is a movie, but don’t watch it. It is awful.
5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova (5/5)
tumblr_lr4zpiEQ6u1qc2ckzSynopsis: Alice Howland - Harvard professor, gifted researcher and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children - sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's.
My reason for recommending: I really felt like when you finished this book you kind of felt like what it must feel to have Alzheimer’s. It’s a really sad, but excellent book.
6. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (4/5)
endersgameSynopsis: In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
My reason for recommending: It’s going to be a movie and the movie looks amazing.  (Click here for the trailer). The book was so long that you know that they will leave things out in the movie and trust me you’ll want to know what those things are. Also this book came out 20 years ago and it’s still awesome, so that tells you a little something about it. PS: Harrison Ford. That is all. 
7. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (5/5)
2485785Synopsis: An unsolved murder.  A missing child.  A lifetime of deception.  In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.
My reason for recommending: Diane Chamberlain is one of my top five favorite authors of all time and this is the book that got me started on her works. All of her books are great, but this one is the best and I couldn’t create a top ten list and not throw one of her books on there.
8. Beautiful Disaster / Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire (4.5/5 and 5/5)
JamieMcGuireSynopsis:  Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
My reason for recommending: If you knew these people in real life, you’d probably kill them for trying to be together, but as a book it works. You HAVE to read both books in my opinion. The first is from her perspective and the second is the same story from his perspective (there are new scenes in additions to the ones from the first book). Now you have an insight in to the male half of a romance novels brain. There are also rumors that this will be made into a movie and I think it’ll be a great one. However I hope to never know people like these two.
9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (4/5)
bif_summary1Synopsis:
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
My reason for recommending: It’s a lot like Groundhog Day only with those girls you hated in high school. I mean I went to high school with girls like Samantha and haaaaated those girls. But by the end of the book you realize high school was hard for everyone, even the people you wouldn't suspect had it hard and you kind of root for her not to die, which in the first half of the book I wouldn’t have thought possible.
10. Forgotten by Cat Patrick (4/5)
9415951Synopsis:  Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come
My reason for recommending: It’s a romance and a mystery novel without actually being either. Sounds weird, but it was good.
So that’s it for the top ten books I’d recommend to read over the summer.  Although, if you have tons of time on your hands you can see everything I’ve been reading, click here.   It’ll make you wonder how I have time to do anything. Seriously. 

We’d love you to join the discussion! Have a book that you loved that should be included? Leave a comment below. Read one of the books above and think I am crazy for recommending it? Leave a comment below.

























Sunday, January 6, 2013

16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 15

It’s coming to an end and that makes me super sad. Maybe I’ll just quit work and be a stay at home person. : )

Day 15: January 5

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Happy new year! Yeah, I know a few days late, but they say better late than never! This particular Happy New Year headband is from mine and Ditz’s only ever NYE out back in 2005. We went to a comedy club, had a smidge to drink and rang in the new year with a bunch of strangers.  We’ve never done it since. Somehow this thing has survived two moves. Not sure how.

16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 14

A totally boring day with a totally boring picture to show for it. I think the only person that will appreciate this shot is my mom who often notes how disheveled my pantry is. Well, right now it is 100% clean and organized. Who knows how long it’ll stay that way.

Day 14: January 4

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Just a small portion of the pantry.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 13

Today was a great day! Started off cleaning the pantry and the bathroom (both look amazing BTW) then grocery shopped. But that is not why it was a great day! At yesterday's physical therapy appointment I was given permission to walk....without a brace....for up to a mile. Yay! I've been going stir crazy and just really wanting to run, but I have been diligently following orders. Doing at home PT daily and twice weekly PT visits. I have a half marathon in May that I already paid for that I am determined to run.

Day 13: January 3
Hey guys, It's me. You know, just walking. LOL. I was seriously excited. I got some new running toys for Christmas and I hadn't gotten to play with them yet. 

This was one of those new toys. It's a super fancy garmin that does more than my old one did. After just 1.1 miles, I totally love it. Also, my ankle hurt, but what are you going to do? : ) Yes, I know I was only supposed to do a mile, but we encountered a loose dog and I had to take a detour.
I also figured the best way to walk really slow was to take these to guys with me. Smelling everything takes time you know. 


16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 12

I went to physical therapy and then we ended up doing a little retail therapy and eating dinner at Outback. We're trying to blow through gift cards that we got for Christmas. There are plenty of places we don't typically eat and Outback is one of them. With a gift card we thought we'd give them another chance. Nope. Service is still bad and food is sub par. We'll stick to mom and pops. Only a few more food places and we've used them all. : ) 

After all that we had to run to his moms to pick up a package he had delivered there since we were going to be out of town. 

Day 12: January 2
This is the lamp that Ditz made for his step-dad for Christmas. Lots of hard work went into that guy. Cracks me up that they are using it in the kitchen. 

16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 11

New years day was just a really lazy day. We spent most of the day lounging and then watched a movie (Looper, still not sure if I liked it). After the movie we headed back home and made it back around midnight.

Day 11: January 1
I know it's really late to be posting a Christmas tree picture, but theirs was so pretty and it was the only series of shots I took.  

16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 10


New years eve! We always stay at his dads house over new years (that's where we were) and it's basically our fourth Christmas. One of the things we do almost every single time we visit is playing poker. We all buy in with real money and they winner gets the pot. I was chip leader several times, but ended up even at the end of the game. I walked away with exactly what I put in. Ditz was not so lucky. : ) 

Day 10: December 31
Oh, yeah. And we are getting old. We barely made it to midnight. 

16 Days of Christmas Vacation: Day 9

Bet you guys thought that I ran off again? Nope, we were just out of town. We couldn't go on our first half of the vacation journey due to the snow, but had no issues getting to the second part. The only bad thing for an internet junky like me was that there was ZERO wifi and the only thing I could get on my phone was edge. BOO.  So now I shall take you back in time....

Day 9: December 30th
Sorry. I can't rotate the picture. Apparently the computer is being hateful. Anyway, See those bullet hole? I did that. First time ever shooting a gun. Looks like I am pretty good and can protect myself if I need to.  We had a competition shooting at various distances. I only came in last by two points. Which should be crazy talk since everyone else is totally awesome and stuff. Ditz won, as if there was any doubt.