Give Thanks

It has been way too long since my last post, and I apologize! But, in my defense, holidays do warrant a break from the everyday (though I won’t go as far as to say writing in my blog is as tedious as the everyday). Anyway, here I am, and I have lots to say.

First of all, Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! How wonderful is it that we have an entire day devoted to giving thanks. And regardless of the reason the original holiday was implemented (believe me, I’m not entirely ignorant of the origins of this holiday), I still believe that we can use the day to be truly grateful for the blessings in our life.

This is what I am thankful for.

The most wonderful husband that a girl could ask for.

Family and friends to spend my life with.

A good job and a place to live. (I don't have a picture for this one yet...)

Truly, this last one blows my mind sometimes. Robert and I marvel everyday about how we could have built for ourselves a life that we are proud of, and how we have a place to call home that is actually ours. I love my home, and for the first time in a very long time, I honestly love my life. I feel so very fortunate, and being this happy has really opened my eyes to the blessings in my life, and how I can help others who may not be so lucky.

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Anyway, as for the day itself, my Thanksgiving was wonderful. My mom and I both agree, it was definitely the best meal that we have made so far for the holiday. The mashed potatoes were delicious (that was Mom), gravy was delectable (that was me), pumpkin pie and cheesecake were yummy (me too), creamed corn was, as always, perfect (Mom), stuffing was different and scrumptious (me), and the turkey? Well, for the first time since my Grandmother died, the turkey was absolutely the best part of the meal! We got it into the oven at 6:30 a.m. (it was a 19 pound turkey…) to be ready for lunch at 1:00. Well, it was done about two hours early, and while we were nervous about letting it sit for that long out of the oven, I’m pretty sure that’s what made it so incredible. It was so moist and juicy (please disregard the connotation of these words, I’m running out of adjectives), and literally fell right off the bone. Even my stepdad liked it, which is saying a lot!

After our first meal, we went to Robert’s, where we had all of the typical fixings, plus a pumpkin soup and sweet potatoes. It was all just so wonderful, and a fantastic day, if I do say so myself.

And what did we do after all this madness? We subjected ourselves to more madness, of course. Because by 9:00 that night, we were huddled in sleeping bags outside of Target in the 40 degree weather. It was cold.

But, we were successful!

Along with this TV, I got a few DVDs (The Blind Side, The Hangover, and Slumdog Millionaire), a Christmas gift for my husband’s little brother, and some jeans. The jeans were the best deal after the TV: I got a pair of 7 jeans for $70 and a pair of Luckys for $35. I also had the Groupon from last week, so I spent $90 on them together. Not half bad…

Well, that was pretty much my weekend. I mean, the exciting parts. I did spend a large portion of my Friday watching a Law and Order: SVU marathon and took Robert’s brother to see Tangled (SO cute! Even he thought so) on Saturday. Saturday night we got home, and yesterday we decorated for Christmas! I know, it’s a little early, but I do have a friend that puts up her tree on November first, so it’s not really that early…

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!



Look What I Made!

Last week I wrote a post about some wreathes that I love, and I mentioned a book page wreathe. Well, I decided to make my own today and this is how it turned out:

Isn't it cute! I am so happy with how it turned out. And if you want to make your own, you can find directions here.

Happy crafting!


Ms. Swift

I went to the VMAs last night, and, for the most part, I loved it. I loved seeing all the celebrities and being there live to watch everything happen. But most of all, I loved the performances. I didn’t get to see Eminem, but I saw (almost) everyone else, with the exception of Justin Beiber.

Usher was amazing, just as I expected him to be. I thought B.O.B., Hayley Williams, and Bruno Mars were incredible. The performance by Florence and the Machine was…I can’t even say how great that one was. Kanye West was underwhelming, to say the least.

I left out one performer on purpose, and she just happens to be the subject of this post. Now, before everyone starts to hate on T. Swift, hear me out. She may not be your cup of tea, but just because she isn’t your style, or you think she isn’t a good singer/performer, doesn’t mean she isn’t a good artist.

I love Taylor Swift. I thought it was a phase, but for over a year now her music has been played on my IPod more than any other. I’m not denying that she sings about fairytales and love a lot (maybe too much to some), but there’s merit in what she does, really.

First of all, I would much rather my pre-teen little sister listen to Taylor Swift talk about how you don’t know who you are as a person at fifteen than about how Miley Cyrus can’t be tamed. Taylor Swift is so sweet and innocent without being arrogant or overwhelmingly pure. But her music tells how life and love are, albeit with a lot of flowery language.

I think the one thing that gives her more credit (in my eyes, at least) is the fact that she writes everything she performs. And yes, someone else could perform it, but that would take something away from it. The songs you hear on the radio may not be the deepest. They are cute and fluffy (think “You Belong with Me”). But there is substance there, especially when you hear some of the other songs from her albums.

For example, “Tied Together with a Smile” is a song that a lot of young girls really relate to (I know I did). If you don’t know the song, here the lyrics:

Seems the only one who doesn’t see your beauty
Is the face in the mirror, staring back at you.
You walk around here thinking you’re not pretty,
But that’s not true.
Because I know you.

Hold on, maybe you’re losing it.
The water’s high, you’re jumping into it.
Letting go, and no one knows.
That you cry, but you don’t tell anyone
That you might not be the golden one.
And you’re tied together with a smile,
But you’re coming undone.

Guess it’s true that love was all you wanted
Because you’re giving it away like it’s extra change.
Hoping it will end up in his pocket,
But he leaves you out like a penny in the rain.
Because it’s not his price to pay,
It’s not his price to pay.

Hold one, maybe you’re losing it.
The water’s high, you’re jumping into it.
Letting go, and no one knows
That you cry, but you don’t tell anyone
That you might not be the golden one.
And you’re tied together with a smile,
But you’re coming undone.

It’s a sweet song, see? There really isn’t a whole lot of music out there that address what most adolescent girls go through. But Taylor Swift does. It can be as simple as “Superstar,” where she’s a girl in love with someone famous, who will never even know their name. How many girls go through that? And as dumb as it sounds, it can be hard.

Or, it can be deeper than that. She addresses how young women really should be treated in a relationship, though so many girls settle for less. In “Tell Me Why” she talks about how it’s not okay to basically be in an abusive relationship. In “White Horse,” she tells girls that the world is a big place, and how there are boys out there who will treat them right. They don’t need to settle for less than that.

I know that I’m talking a lot about how good Taylor Swift is for young girls, but some are probably thinking that I shouldn’t, as a twenty-three year old married woman, be as obsessed with her as I am. But that’s just me: I love a good romantic story and her songs are good romantic stories. I mean, I walked down the aisle to “Love Story.” It doesn’t really get better than that.

That’s all.


Free Furniture?

When I found out that I was going to move into my own place, I kind of went crazy looking for furniture. For three weeks I was on the prowl, trying to find items to furnish our apartment with. Here are a few things that I found:

We found this dresser at a garage sale in the summer of last year and I used it in my bedroom for my clothes. Now, however, we are using in our living room for our TV. I love having it there because it matches the white, shabby chic thing I have going on, and the drawers give us a lot of storage. 

Lesson: You don't always have to use your furniture for what it's meant to be used for. Furniture is versatile and there are a lot of different purposes for each piece. If you need something for your home, try to think of what you already have that you might be able to use. You never know what you will find!

I found this lamp at a thrift store and I fell in love with it! It is wrought iron, and extremely heavy, so I'm sure it cost a lot more brand new. I just think this lamp is the most beautiful thing that I bought for my home. 

Lesson: Thrift stores are your friend! But beware of bad deals. I found that sometimes I could find better prices for brand new things at places like Ross and Marshalls. 

The price of this chair is a little deceiving. I picked up a set of four of these chairs for free at my church rummage sale (they like me :). My fiance painted them (the price of paint isn't included in the price) and I reupholstered them with fabric I got from a discount fabric store (it cost $2 a yard for the fabric). 

Lesson: There are a few things you can take from this. First, look at the potential of something. When I told the youth minister at my church that I wanted the chairs, he looked at me like I was crazy. They weren't the most attractive chairs, with a weird wood laminate covering the chair and a hot green fabric on the seats. But obviously, with a little paint and fabric, they look adorable. The second thing you can learn is that reupholstering isn't difficult! All you need is some fabric, a screwdriver, and a staple gun. I think it's pretty self-explanatory from there...Lastly, I got the fabric from a discount fabric store that looked pretty nasty from the outside, but was a fabric lover's paradise on the inside. With hundreds, if not thousands, of discount, six foot bolts of fabric for one or two dollars a yard...you can't really go wrong from there. So I guess what I'm trying to say is explore stores and things around you. Again, you never know what you'll find. 

First, please ignore the mess. It is our office and we do share it. Its the one place in our apartment where people don't really spend time so it's okay for it to be a little disorganized. I got this desk at a garage sale, and when I saw it, I had no idea what it was. It was just a pile of wood, but when I asked what it was and when he said it was desk and that he would give it to me for $1 if I wanted it (I felt bad giving him $1 so I was generous and gave him $3...), I knew I had to have it. We had been looking for a desk, and I was willing to give it a try. I had no idea if all the pieces were included, and I didn't even know what it was supposed to look like. We eventually figured it out, however, and this was the outcome. Not too bad, right?

Lesson: Don't pass up a deal. Even if you don't know what something is or what it's supposed to look like, if it's a good deal, get it! It might just be a great desk, like this one!

I grew up with this table in my grandmother's formal living room. I hated this table, by the way. She had it covered in glass birds and fake roses, but when I realized that we needed a coffee table, I figured we could use it for now. And I think I've grown to really like it. I love that there is a shelf underneath for some of my movies and books. And the glass on the top gives it a little fanciness that I love. 

Lesson: It's okay to use grandma's stuff. Vintage items and antiques are definitely back in style, and it makes our apartment unique. Nobody else our age I know has anything like this in their home. But you have to be careful: sometime vintage can just be tacky. Don't just accept anything for free!

I have more furniture that I can post another time, and I'm sure we will always be upgrading. Here are a few photos to show you how it all comes together though. Just remember, it's a work in progress.