Monday, December 30, 2013

Things That Went Wrong in 2013

Woe is me; 2013 was not my year.

Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through.
I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.....

I kicked off the new year with shots of Jameson Whiskey.
The night had so much fun potential, yet it went downhill fast.
Brian and I were not getting along by the end of the night.
Of all the years we've been dating, 2013 was definitely the hardest!

The Valentine's Day card that I got for Brian remains in my car's glove box, unopened. Let's just say it was not a good day in the Strawberry household.

Also, my grandma died on February 25th.

Terrible month overall.

Brian sets up his new 240 gallon fish tank (i.e. this month was mostly characterized by Brian cursing in the living room and Kelly walking on eggshells). Needless to say, stress levels were high.

While there's a few contributing factors, I lost the energy and motivation to do a lot of things. Basically, I let myself get into a funk and I'm just now starting to come out of it. My blogging suffered and so did my book club.

I'm officially closer to age 30 than I am to age 20.

There's a reason you shouldn't cut your own bangs.

I got a retainer from my orthodontist and was told that I would only need to wear it for three months. It's been six months now.....

I'm sure something went wrong this month. I've probably blocked it from my memory. 

On top of a busy time at work, Brian began the carport project. Like most home projects, this turned out to be much more stressful than originally anticipated.

I had a sore throat and swollen tonsils for a month. I also went to the dentist and found out I have six cavities forming. Yay.

More mouth problems...

I had four trips to the doctor to try to remove a reoccurring mucocele in my mouth. It's basically a bump that comes and goes on a regular basis, usually when I'm eating. Every time I schedule an appointment to have it surgically removed, it disappears so that the doctor can't do the surgery.

It may be a bourgeois crisis, but it's a crisis none the less!

After five and a half hours of driving in the pouring rain, I was exhausted from a long day, but looking forward to our annual Christmas party with friends. I pull up to the party that night (chauffeuring Brian because I was the designated driver) and I ran my car into the curb. 

Brian opens the car door and all I hear is "pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" (that's the sounds of air leaving a tire).

I walked into the Christmas party and broke down crying. 


There were some good moments this year, but most of them got buried beneath the rubble. 
2014, please be good to me!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Everything Must Wait.

I really need to get back to the gym.
I really want to start back the book club.
I really want to start blogging more regularly.
I really want to start getting up 15 minutes earlier.

But now that we're only 5 weeks away from 2014, everything can wait until the start of the new year.

Is anyone else doing that too? Deciding to put off everything until 2014?

It makes no sense to start tomorrow when we are THISCLOSE to January 1st!

I am still actively doing my 101 in 1001 list, by the way. It's going well and it has surprisingly motivated me.

This really hasn't felt much like a holiday week to me. I'm working today and Friday. I figure if I am in town, I might as well work.

A couple things to mention...

1. I read this awesome book last week.

I downloaded it on a whim, but this turned out to be my favorite book of the year.

2. Since it's Thanksgiving week, I feel like it's appropriate to tell you something I'm thankful for....

My third grade Sunday School class!!!!

Teaching this little class of four kids has probably been the highlight of my year. It's forced me to study the Bible to prepare for lessons each week and I feel like I've succeeded in teaching them so much!

These kids can now tell you the entire history of Israel from King Saul to King Solomon.

Ok, maybe not.

But when I ask them how David killed Goliath, they all shout "David chopped off Goliath's head!!!!!"

Well, at least they've learned something! :-)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thoughts on Year One

To sum up the first year of marriage, I would say it was surprisingly difficult.

I think the tough part for us was getting married and then immediately going through several major transitions all at once. One week after we were married, we left our cozy condo, moved into a new house, and combined all of our finances. 

At first this all seemed very fun and exciting.
At first.

Then it became 2.5 acres and a 3,200 sq. ft. house to maintain.

Add that to my disillusionment that Brian would suddenly stop spending tons of money on unnecessary car-related things.

Add that to the fact that our closest friends moved outside of our five-mile radius and Brian's favorite bar was no longer the weekend hangout. 

The previous years of fun and care-free dating suddenly became a thing of the past. 

I remember being so utterly exhausted in February and thinking "we're only three months in and I'm ready to throw in the towel!" 

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but we literally had to sit down one morning and have one of  those conflict resolution discussions where you can only use "I" statements and you have to acknowledge your feelings without ever blaming the other person.

For instance, I would politely say  "I feel stressed because there is water leaking from a 240 gallon fish tank onto our hardwood floors in the living room," instead of saying the really mean words floating around in my head.

We've overcome some difficult moments, but we've grown stronger as a couple. We've had a very blessed year and I couldn't be more thankful.

Choosing to love Brian everyday is sometimes just a matter of changing my attitude.

Brian's morning routine involves shaving over the bathroom sink with an electric razor. When he's done, he shakes off the razor, depositing tiny little hairs all over the sink and counter. Next, he splashes some water around in a fruitless attempt to wash away these little hairs.

For as long as I can remember, I've let these tiny hairs drive me insane! I'm ashamed to admit that something so silly has had the power to make me so angry. The other day, however, I decided to change my attitude. I decided I would be thankful that Brian has hair (great hair, I might add) and that he is alive, healthy, and able to leave these tiny little hairs all over the bathroom sink when he's shaving.

It has totally changed my perspective.

The first year of marriage has definitely been a learning experience.
There's been some trial-and-error.
There's been some ups and downs.
There's been some tears shed, but luckily no punches thrown! :-)

We survived and we're still madly in love.

One year down, now on to the next....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A-Z Book Survey

I'm still knee deep in a blogging slump. I can't seem to pull myself out of it. I think it's a combination of a few things.

For one thing - and this is quite weird - but I have had a bump in my mouth for the past 11 months. It affects me. I'll save that story for another day.

Secondly, I've been pretty slow at work. For those of you who know me, I would much prefer to be busy. I thrive on being busy. When I'm bored, I feel like my life just spirals down.

One of the things I would really like to do next year is re-start my book club. The book club fizzled in May and I haven't gotten my act together. I need to get the ball rolling again!

Anyways, Delicious Reads is by far my favorite book-themed blog. The main writer, Kelly, hosts the most amazing book club meetings you could ever imagine. My book club meetings averaged only 4-5 people and I typically planned the meeting only 4-5 hours in advance. I could definitely stand to take some pointers from Delicious Reads!

I found the following A-Z Book Survey on their blog and I thought it would be fun to do. If you're interested in my survey answers, keep on reading.


Author you’ve read the most books from:

R.L Stine.

Best Sequel Ever:

Catching Fire (sequel to Hunger Games)

Currently Reading:

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Coffee if reading on a weekend morning. Franzia chilled red wine if reading in the evening.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I would prefer an actual book instead of my Kindle.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

I didn't date in high school. But okay, I'd pick Holden from The Catcher in the Rye.
He was weird in an interesting way and he had a smart sense of humor.
Much like Brian.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

The Kitchen House. I had low expectations, but it was great.

Hidden Gem Book:

The Poisonwood Bible

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

So many to chose from, but I would say reading "Life of Pi" in my 12th grade AP English class. When it comes to my own writing, that book was a game-changer.

Just Finished:

How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Nicholas Sparks.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb (897 pages)

Major book hangover because of:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I was so wrapped up in that story that I never wanted it to end!

Number of Bookcases You Own:

I can think of two, but I have a lot of books stored in boxes.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

 The Bible (mainly Ecclesiastes) 

Preferred Place To Read:

Outside on the deck

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be." - Holden Caulfield

Reading Regret:

Cutting for Stone. Hated it.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

Hunger Games. I did not read all of Mockingjay.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and Life of Pi

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Fifty Shades of Grey (the first book)

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Not sure...

Worst Bookish Habit:

Not ever using a bookmark and then always searching for where I last left off.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace Revisited"

Your latest book purchase:

I ordered a book about sex from Amazon last night. It's NOT an erotic book. It's more scientific-based research/physiology.
It got good reviews.
Moving on....

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Gone Girl

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall is Here

It's been forever and a day since I last blogged.

It feels like I have a lot going on in my life, but at the same time it feels like I have nothing going on in my life.

That's my deep, philosophical thought for the day.

We have a carport project currently underway. I'll post plenty of before and after pictures once it is completed, but here's an idea of what Brian has done so far.

We've cut down 10 of the 50,000 trees in our yard...

Remember the parking pad last year when we first moved in?

Here it is again at the height of pollen season...

Here it is after significant tree removal... You can finally see a glimmer of sunlight....

 Here's where we are as of today...

I wish I had more to share, but my creative energy just hasn't been flowing recently.

Also, there's a bulldog growling at me from under the table.

I think someone is ready for dinner.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Women on Target

I'm finally getting back into the groove of things after a busy few days.

Brian and I had a wonderful trip to the Outerbanks. We mostly relaxed at the house and spent time with friends and family. We completed a 1,000 piece puzzle, which occupied quite a bit of our time! Otis got to play in the ocean. Brian and I kayaked at sunset. It was a nice escape from reality.

Walking Otis to the beach 


I think Otis is still recovering. He's been asleep for the past four days. 

It seems like we've been going non-stop ever since we got home! Brian is working on building a carport, so that project is now underway. On Sunday, I took an NRA first steps pistol course "Women on Target" at Wake County Firearms Training Center. It was my first time shooting and going to a range.

It was a great experience! 

I'm sure I could have gone to the range with Brian and he would have taught me everything, but I think it was better to have the in-depth course with female instructors. I don't think Brian would have been very patient with me. :-)

I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with guns now. I had ZERO knowledge prior to this course. Beforehand, if we ever had an intruder in our house, I would never have even considered self-defense. 

The class also helped get rid of my extreme fear of guns. Our instructor equated firearms to automobiles - it's good to have a healthy fear, since both have the potential to be deadly weapons. It all depends on being safe and responsible. :-)

We shot at about 20 yards. I shot a .22 caliber and a 9mm semi-automatic.

I think I need more practice!

Friday, September 6, 2013

OBX Get Ready

Tomorrow I head to the Outerbanks with the crew.

10 years strong!

You can read about  past trips...
Here and Here

This year Otis is coming with me. Last night, I asked him if he was ready for the beach....

"I've never been more ready."

Once we get there, I'll be turning off my phone. I also won't be blogging. I'll be sure to tell you all about my trip once I get back!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

101 in 1001

Hi Folks,

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the blog Em for Marvelous. (I actually got to meet the blogger last Friday night at a party, but that's another blog post for another day!) On her blog, Emily shared her list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

Come to find out, it's actually a pretty common theme in the blogging world. Just Google "101 in 1001."

I like the idea so much that I have made a list of my very own.

So here goes nothin'....

Start Date: September 5, 2013
End Date: June 2, 2016
Goals Complete: 35/101
Last Updated: September 8, 2015
1.       Have hardwood floors professionally cleaned/waxed or do it myself  (2015, purchased steamer)
2.       Have windows professionally cleaned (9/18/14)
3.       Acquire all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (Ina Garten), The Art of French Cooking (Julia Child), “How to Eat” and “How to Be a Domestic Godess” (Nigella Lawson)
4.       Make at least one recipe from each cookbook mentioned above
5.       Hang wall maps with pins for each travel destination – 3 maps total (NC, US, World)
6.       Make buttermilk biscuits from scratch
7.       Organize my iPhotos
8.       Organize/decorate the back bedroom  (11/3/2013)
9.       Paint the rock at our driveway entrance (5/4/13 - ordered an address sign instead of paint)
10.   Get a bar or some piece of furniture for living room (bar completed April 2015)
11.   Re-organize my closet (August 2014)
12.   Add a light to my closet
13.   Add ceiling fans to all bedrooms (10/30/2013)
14.   Buy a Longhorn Steer head mount for over the mantle (12/14/2013)
15.   Make homemade ice cream (5/31/14)
16.   Buy a Christmas tree
17.   Try 5 new cake recipes (2/5)

Friends & Family
18.   Host a wine and cheese party
19.   Make a new friend
20.   Re-ignite the book club  (1/26/14)
21.   Have a dinner party  (1/10/14)
22.   Join Wake County Republican Women’s Club and attend an event
23.   Have a “sister day” (6/7/14)
24.   Have lunch or dinner with my Grandma
25.   Meet a new neighbor  (block party on 11/15/14)
26.   Send a fun, unexpected package to a friend (2/14/15)
27.   Send ten cards to people for reasons other than birthday or holiday
28.   Participate in a Bible Study

29.   Go on a Segway tour of Raleigh
30.   Attempt stand up paddle boarding  (3/3/14)
31.   Take a flight lesson  (7/19/14)
32.   Ride in a helicopter (3/2/14)
33.   Kayak with Otis
34.   Spend a day on Haw River
35.   Stand on Chimney Rock
36.   Visit a winery I’ve never been to
37.   Visit a brewery I’ve never been to
38.   Visit three small towns in NC that I’ve never been to (1/3 - Morganton)
39.   Complete a 1,000 piece puzzle (I’ve got my eyes on this one)  (9/9/2013)
40.   Go skiing  (2/13/15)
41.   Play 9 holes of golf (6/10/14)
42.   Go to an amusement park (10/4/2014)
43.   Go apple picking
44.   Walk around Elon’s campus and pay a visit to M202, C203, and Magnolia Court
45.   Go to a food truck rodeo  (9/6/15)
46.   Eat at an Ashley Christensen restaurant
47.   See Alison Krauss in concert
48.   Go to the zoo (6/7/14)
49.   Do an all day Fury adventure in Key West
50.   Have ice cream at Maple View Farm
51.   Attempt snowboarding
52.   Take an off-season trip to Topsail with Otis
53.   Get a mani/pedi  (7/3/14)
54.   Go to a fashion show

55.   Learn to shoot a gun  (9/15/2013)
56.   Learn to shag dance
57.   Go to three museums (1/3)
58.   Learn to French braid my hair
59.   Purchase DSLR camera
60.   Learn how to photograph in manual mode (“Shoot Fly Shoot”)

Read & Write
61.   Re-read The Power of a Praying Wife (30 consecutive days)
62.   Read 3 professional development books (1/3)
63.   Read 3 marriage/relationship books (3/3 completed August 2014)
64.   Read 3 fashion-related books (1/3)
65.   Re-read Life of Pi, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and She’s Come Undone
66.   Read the entire Bible
67.   Read a religious text other than the Bible (the Koran or Book of Mormon)
68.   Write in a journal once/month for 12 consecutive months
69.   Submit an essay to Southern Living
70.   Write 10 positive Google reviews (6/10)
71.   Label all of my blog posts
72.   Leave a comment on 10 different blogs I regularly read (4/10)
73.   Update my resume  (10/31/2013)

74.   Sponsor a child from HFHC for one year
75.   Donate my prom dress  (4/4/14)
76.   Volunteer my time for an elderly person
77.   Buy a Christmas gift for someone who doesn't expect it
78.   Babysit for a couple so that they can go on a date
79.   Buy my Grandma a really nice birthday gift (12/11/2013)
80.   Take 25 things in my house to Goodwill (preferably clothes) (11/3/2013)
81.   Donate blood
82.   Participate in five MS fundraising events (2/5)
83.   Buy the order for the person behind me in the drive-thru  (11/19/2013)

84.   Start contributing to a Roth IRA
85.   Put $25 into savings each time I complete something on this list

86.  Go on a spontaneous weekend getaway
87.   Plan and execute this year’s Christmas gift  (12/23/2013)
88.   Couples Spa at the Grove Park Inn
89.   Have a steak throwdown 
90.   Go on a progressive dinner date
91.   Find a church we both like in Raleigh
92.   Write Brian a new list of “10 thing I Love About You” with no repeats from my first list (March 2015)

Health & Fitness
93.   Complete P90X
94.   Run a 10K
95.   Do one pull-up
96.   Go to the dentist  (11/26/2013)
97.   Try a fitness class I’ve never done (6/2/14)

98.   Meet the Pioneer Woman
99.   Visit the Hamptons
100.  Visit another country
101. Write a book

So when I have no plans for the upcoming weekend, I now have 101 ideas. No excuse for ever saying "I'm bored."

If you make a list, I would love to see it. Please share.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Best Childhood Movies

These are a few of the most memorable movies from my childhood:

Does anyone else remember these?!
I definitely need to find these on DVD in case I ever have kids. I don't want them to miss out.

What are the most memorable movies from your childhood?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Otis' Big Swimming Debut

About a week ago, I saw that there was a Photobucket virus covering my entire website.

I initially thought it was due to copyright infringement because I had recently stolen a photo from Google image.

Turns out it wasn't.

I deleted that blog post with the stolen photo, but the virus was still there.

So I went to the Photobucket website to get help. I discovered that if you have more than 2,000 hits to your blog in one month, you must pay to upgrade your Photobucket account.

2,000 hits in one month! Wow. I wasn't even mad about the virus anymore or mad that I would need to pay for an upgrade. I was just impressed that my blog was so darn popular!

Turns out it isn't.

About an hour later, I got an e-mail from my blog designer at The Cutest Blog on the Block. She informed me that her account had been hacked, which subsequently caused a virus on all the blogs she had ever created.

So that was that.

In other news, we took Otis to a swim lesson at Lap it Up in Durham yesterday. It was a lot of fun!

Due to his awkward body shape and his BMI, we had a tough time finding the right life jacket.

In the end, it took him wearing two life jackets in order to successfully stay afloat.

All photos courtesy of Lap It Up

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hello Weekend, Goodbye iPhone

I've decided to give up something this weekend (and no, it's not singing, if that's what you were hoping).Although I should definitely give up yesterday. But what's done is done.

Moving on.

I've decided to turn off my cell phone this weekend.

So if you wanna call me, call me, call me.....think again.

(or call Brian and I'll use his phone to talk).

Do you remember the Online Bible Study I mentioned last month: When Women Say Yes to God?
Well, yeah - I haven't exactly been doing it consistently. I did, however, read one chapter this week, which described how the author felt compelled to give up television for two years. I haven't felt connected to this book and this chapter was no different. I don't watch TV, so I felt like it was irrelevant to my life.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

Radical Obedience. Is there something God is asking you to give up? What specific steps do you need to take to fulfill this obedience?

He're my response:

So I closed the book and went on with my life.
The next day I read this article about breaking up with your phone.
I felt like it applied to my life.

True story: I left my iPhone at work one night last week and I totally panicked when I got home.

Brian was about 5 minutes later than normal getting home from work that evening, so I sent him this email:

I don't have my phone. Left it at work. You're probably trying to call me.

He didn't respond to my email, so I got a little more worried.

When he walked in the door a few minutes later, the first thing he said was "I wasn't trying to call you."

In fact, when I got my phone back the next morning, I realized that NOBODY had been trying to call me. I didn't have any missed calls or texts. Not one single voice mail.

I learned two lessons that day. 1) I'm not popular and 2) We should get a land line at our house in case of emergencies.

I've decided to turn off my phone this weekend beginning Friday after work until Monday morning.

I think it will be good to disconnect for a couple days.

Maybe instead of perusing through Facebook on my phone when I'm bored at Sharky's bar, I'll be forced to talk to my friends. Doesn't that sound terrible? Ugh, pray for me people.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Honduras Story (written for HFHC)

It was a Thursday afternoon, November 2006, and I was walking across the intramural field at Elon University on the way to my apartment. I had one more class that afternoon, Periclean Scholars, but I had decided earlier that I would skip. I had no good reason for wanting to skip class other than I just didn’t want to go, and that, for me, was reason enough.  As I got half way across the field, a voice inside my head said “turn around.” It wasn’t an audible voice, but the feeling was loud and clear, so I stopped dead in my tracks and I turned around.

Karen Godt, founder of Hope for Honduran Children (HFHC), was a guest speaker in our class that day. She talked about her work in Honduras and about the teenage boys who lived at Flor Azul because they had nowhere else to go. I could tell that Karen’s organization wasn’t just about giving handouts or preaching the Gospel; instead, they were focused on creating sustainable programs that would teach valuable skills and provide a supportive community for children who were abandoned, abused, and alone. As she flipped through the slideshow of pictures – barefoot children, mud houses, smiling faces – I felt saddened by what I considered important in life (nice stuff, being liked, looking pretty).

As Karen ended her presentation, she mentioned that a team from Elon would be working with HFHC in Honduras during Winter Term that year. I knew right away that I wanted to go, but I soon discovered the trip was intended for the senior class of Periclean Scholars. I was in the sophomore class. Plus, the trip was only two months away and it was too late to reserve a spot.

 I had already committed to study abroad in Australia during Winter Term that year. My parents had already paid the non-refundable $5,000. My best friend and I were going together and we had been talking about our excitement for months. Now we were only a few weeks away. Despite all this, I couldn't stop thinking about Honduras.

I decided I would stop by the office of the professor who was leading the Honduras trip and ask him if there was any way I could tag along with his group of seniors. To my surprise, he said he had room for one more. The next morning, I went to the study abroad office to see if I could get a refund for the Australia trip. They informed me that there was one person on the wait list for Australia, so it wouldn’t be a problem for me to back out. A God wink – that’s how Karen described it to me later.

A God wink.

Everything seemed to fall into place after that. I went to Honduras that winter with a group of seniors I had never met. It was the trip of a lifetime. I developed ties to Honduras that would keep me returning to the country year after year – five trips in total. I worked with HFHC, Elon Volunteers, and Tara Moore to develop a week long service trip opportunity for Elon students.  Tara and I led our first group of students to Honduras in 2008. I spent another Winter Term there in 2009.

In Honduras, the emotions are raw. When you’re stripped of everything superficial, there’s no room for pride. The relationships are deep. I developed friendships with people who didn’t even speak the same language. I touched lives and lives touched me.

And that uneasy feeling when you return to America, to your life of excess? I know that feeling well.

Honduras changed me.

On that very first trip, another Elon student, Liz, told me about a summer job she once had at a golf course near Elon. When I was back in the States a few weeks later, I drove to the same golf course and applied for a job. I was hired on the spot. That job ended up defining the next chapter of my life. I actually met my future husband on my first day of work.

It’s interesting to look back on your life and see how every decision has led you to where you are right now. For me, when I think about my life today, my mind always goes back to Honduras. I think of crossing that intramural field and where I would be had I not turned around.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Powerball Poem

I bought a few tickets. I've said a quick prayer.
And here's how I'll spend it, for those who might care:

A garage for our cars, a few trees cut down.
A house at the beach, a night on the town.

I'm not wanting much  'cause I'm not very needy,
But with $400 mill, I can be a bit greedy.

A pontoon boat and a jet ski that's pink.
A life vest for Otis, so that he won't sink.

I'll keep my job, since I enjoy work,
But a few more vacations? That's not a bad perk.

I'm fiscally smart, of that you can tell,
But a little more stuff would serve me quite well.

New clothes for sure. A boob job? Why not!
If I'm gonna be rich, then I need to look hot.

My parents can have some. I owe them a few.
Maybe I'll give them a hundred or two.

I'll get a new Civic. I need a new car.
I'll pick up all our friends' tabs at the bar.

With $400 million, there's still lots to spend.
I could give to the church or loan to a friend.

Oh, wait....

Just Announced: 3 winners in 2 states hit $448M Powerball jackpot
Three tickets matched all six numbers in Wednesday's Powerball lottery drawing and will split a $448 million jackpot, authorities said on Thursday. The Multi-State Lottery Association said two of the winning tickets were sold in New Jersey, while the third was in Minnesota. The numbers drawn on Wednesday night were 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 anPowerball 32.

Well, I didn't win big. So much for that hunch.
Mom and Dad, wanna take me to lunch?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Mona Otis

FYI - I'm on Instagram.

I post pictures on Instagram about once a week. Or sometimes I post pictures on Instagram for about 0.01 seconds, since I don't necessarily want to share the photo, but I want to achieve the "Instagram effect." I've learned that if you post it and immediately delete it, the photo will still save to your camera roll on your iPhone.

My parents are confused right now.

Let's continue, shall we?

I posted this photo of Otis on Instagram a while back:

I often steal the spotlight with my incredible poetic abilities; however, Brian is the true artist among us.

Here's his recent oil painting:

When Otis first saw the painting, he was immediately humbled. 

Thank you, Brian.
Thank you for capturing my beauty, my essence.
(Otis' words, not mine).

Now we just have to figure out where this beautiful portrait will be on display.

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Goals

I always feel like summer is officially winding down once it hits August. I don't have much on my agenda this month, but I am starting it off with a beach trip this weekend! I'm crossing my fingers for good weather and a fun trip to Topsail with my pal Ame (who now has a clean bedroom, by the way).

Here are my goals for this month:

1. Devote time during the week to do the "Yes to God" Bible study.
2. Plan a cookout with friends at our house.
3. Meet a handsome guy at a bar for drinks after work. (Brian, you game?)
4. Visit The Meat House in Raleigh and select something delicious for dinner one night.

Alright, all for now. Let the beach countdown begin!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

Wow, July has flown by!

Good news, folks: With the exception of planning a nice date with Brian, I actually accomplished my July goals! I really think this is the best I've ever done.

The past two weeks I have volunteered as a teacher's assistant for Sunday School classes at church. The first week I was with 4-5th grade and last week I was with 1-3rd grade. I really enjoyed it!

I got behind the past few days, but I definitely have tried to plan some more interesting blog posts. Not always easy to do. 

I suppose I might be able to plan a creative date for me and Brian tonight. Spice up our Wednesday.

In other news, I self-diagnosed myself with mild crowding on the bottom row of my teeth, so I went to the orthodontist this month and got a retainer. My mouth is constantly sore now. Apparently my teeth were pretty happy where they were.

They gave me my tooth mold to take home with me and carry around in my purse at all times, but I accidentally left it in my dad's car last weekend. 

My sister found it under the seat of the car in a crinkled Ziploc bag and she thought it was a piece of spoiled food. 

Brian was really, really busy the past couple weeks at work, so I was pretty much on my own for several nights. He didn't know that I had gotten my retainer. 

So, I posted this picture on Facebook after I went to a Durham Bulls baseball game last Thursday:

I thought I did a good job of disguising my retainer, until I got home and Brian asked if I was chewing tobacco at the baseball game!  :-)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Favorite Necklace

So I've had at least five people ask me about my necklace this week and one co-worker who actually went ahead and ordered one for herself, so I figured I should share it with you...

My "B" necklace.
(B for Brian, the one that I love....most days).

My friend Meg was wearing a similar monogram necklace when I visited her back in June (no, she didn't have a B for Brian). Her necklace was so cute. I immediately wanted one! Hers was silver, a bit larger, and more prominent. I wanted mine to be yellow gold and dainty.

I ordered the necklace from the HotMixCold shop on Etsy. Link here:  Hot Mix Cold

I special ordered a 20" chain, instead of the standard 18", so the length looks like this:

It tends to ride up and hang more around my collarbone throughout the day anyways, so I'm not sure the longer chain really made a difference.

It's a good length, nice chain, and my necklace arrived within a week.

I love it!  :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Facebook Poem

Five hundred friends, some I don't even know,
So I said to myself, "Man, they just gotta go!"


I met him in high school. We spoke just one time.
He posts so many #hashtags it should be a crime.


It's great that you're pregnant and due in the Fall,
But those ultrasound pics don't belong on my wall.


Still ranting 'bout Trayvon? Well, you won't last long,
'Cause I've never thought self-defense to be wrong.


Another selfie? You don't have enough?
I'm getting annoyed of your narcissist stuff.


One baby picture is maybe okay,
But I don't want to see fifty new ones per day!


I won't add your birthday to my calendar ever,
So adios, friend...I'll talk to ya never!


My Democrat friends? They don't stand a chance,
'Cause I don't agree with their liberal stance.


I've narrowed it down, but I've still got a bunch.
I'll delete all the ones who post pictures of lunch!


Now some of my friends only post once a year,
It's no wonder I don't even notice they're here!


I'll delete that couple (and also their dog),
And that girl who keeps posting that link to her blog!


I'm almost done. Now my number is low,
But I've still got a few Facebook friends left to go!


We dated in college and that was just fine,
But here's where I've got to start drawing the line.


I'm getting close. Yes, I'm just about there!
I'll delete my own husband. (I doubt that he'll care.)


This person I love, but she's starting to smother.
I've got to delete you. I'm so sorry, Mother.


Well, everyone's gone now, and may I be frank?
I miss them all now that my Facebook is blank!