Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

created via Shutterfly

From our family to yours, have a blessed holiday season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ornament Swap

Ok, it's officially crazy time. Not only have I been busy working on Christmas gifts (I'm pretty sure my machine started smoking last night), it's also the busiest time of year at work. I've worked late every day this week. Granted it was only about 15 minutes each day, but still, working late is a rarity for me (not that I won't, my position just rarely requires it). But I digress.

Today I'm linking up at Mackey Madness to show you the ornaments I received in the swap she sponsored! I was paired with my new blog friend Kendra at Life in the Slow Lane. I was so excited to receive these little beauties in the mail!

Aren't they so cute? The first two were handmade where Kendra lives in Kansas.  And I have always loved that quote from Thoreau! Thanks, Kendra! To see what I sent, check out her blog!

Stay tuned for (hopefully) another post on Friday of all our Christmas decorations!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lunch Break Make: Button Ornament

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Friday night, Marcus and I decorated the house while watching Home Alone (one of my top five favorite movies of all time). I just love this time of year, and it's such a fun time in our lives as we create new family traditions and combine the traditions we grew up with.

My family never really had a tradition of making ornaments, but my mom insisted on keeping EVERY (and I mean every) single ornament I ever made in school or church and they ALL go up on the tree year after year.  We joke that we have the tackiest tree on the block, but it really is fun to see all our "artwork" and it's special to have a tree that's so personal to our family and full of stories and memories.  

This is the second Christmas for Marcus and me as a married couple and we don't have any handmade ornaments on our tree yet, so over Thanksgiving, I decided to make one!

This is a perfect Lunch Break Make. It takes about an hour, and once again, you can do this at your desk at the office, or on your couch, or if you're like my sister, on the train while commuting into the city!

Here's what you'll need:

Styrofoam ball, ribbon, glass-head pins, buttons!

Starting with a larger button, stick two pins through the button holes into the foam ball:


Continue to cover the ball with buttons, using small ones to overlap.

Tie a pretty little bow with your ribbon, and pin it to the ball.

And then you have a lovely handmade ornament! 

I used a combination of green and red, but you could use any color combo you like.  Wouldn't a white and silver one be pretty?

I originally saw this ornament at Curbly, and I'm linking up at Tip Junkie- check it out for lots of fun ideas!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Turn It Red

Today is World AIDS Day. Most of you have probably heard me talk about my job at Blood:Water Mission and how we work to empower Africans to have clean water in their communities. What you don't hear about as often is the equally important work we do in the fight against the HIV/AIDS crisis.

For the past month, we've shared stories of our friends who are living with HIV/AIDS and inspire us and others in their communities to join in the fight against this horrible disease.  And today, on World AIDS Day, you can join us as we Turn It Red. Learn more here.  You can also see how the ONE Campaign is joining in these efforts against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Maybe you know someone who has HIV/AIDS. If you don't, or even if you do, I encourage you to watch this video of Leah, who is living positively with HIV/AIDS.

Today, I'm wearing red for Leah and countless others who have been affected by this disease.  Will you join me?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Projects

Does anyone even remember what Thanksgiving was like? It's only been a few days, but it seems that everyone is in full Christmas mode now!  We had a great time in Texas- we marked everything off our list and had a great time with our families.  Max made some new friends too!

Now that we are back in Nashville, it's time to start decorating for Christmas and think about our gift list.  I'm trying to make several gifts this year, so I'll be spending a lot of time at the sewing machine in the next few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, I joined my friend, Lauren, and some lovely ladies from her church for a sewing lock-in! I worked on a few projects, but I was most excited about two pillows I made.  I had several scarves left from when I went to Africa and needed something to do with them, but didn't want to give them away.  So I decided to make some pillows for Marcus's grandmothers.  Here is one of them!

Tonight, I was a little over-ambitious and tried a project I found on Pinterest.  I found these adorable stuffed animal sleeping bags and thought they would be so fun for my nieces, Abby and Lucy (baby Clare will be getting something else). Melissa, I hope if you're reading this that you're far away from the girls! :) This was a little above my skill level, but it turned out ok! Hopefully the second one will be even better.  We'll switch the stuffed animal out for one that fits a little better.  I hope they are a hit!

I'm excited for all the other projects I have on my list, and I'll be back next week with another Lunch Break Make!  Let's just hope there's enough time to get it all done.

Have you started your Christmas shopping/making? What's on your list this year? I'd love some ideas for my father-in-law...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Eyes of Texas are Upon You!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Hope you all had a wonderful day full of family, friends, food, and giving thanks. Oh, and football!

Tonight was the end of an era- after 117 years, it's hard to say if there will ever be another Thanksgiving Day match-up between the University of Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies.  It's one of the biggest rivalries in the history of college football, and tonight's game was quite a thriller.  This year was the first time I watched the game with Marcus's family- ALL aggies! I was a little nervous, but everyone was very civil! :) The game was great and kept us on our toes to the very last second! We were happy for the outcome, but sad to see such an incredible tradition come to an end.

I'm so proud to be a graduate of THE University of Texas and to have been able to take part in so many long-standing traditions, both in athletics, and not!  My four years in Austin were some of the best in my life. In fact, in many ways, I'm still "grieving" the loss of my time there.  I love my life now, but college was where I grew up. It's where I figured out who I was and who God wanted me to be. It's where I made the most amazing friendships, and where I fell in love.

I'm a fourth-generation longhorn, so to say that my love of UT runs deep is just a bit of an understatement.  I hope some day one of my children will carry on our legacy and have as wonderful an experience as I did.

Today, I am so thankful for my families- the one I was born into and the one I married into.  I am thankful for a really cool job and a warm home in Nashville. I am thankful for a loving, compassionate, patient husband who cares for me and loves me unconditionally.  I am thankful for the school that brought us together and the valuable education I received.  And most importantly, I'm thankful that God has so graciously provided these things.

I hope you continue to remember the things that you are thankful for and enjoy the start to a blessed holiday season.

Oh, and hook 'em horns! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweet Things

Greetings from Texas! It is so nice to be back for a whole week! We are enjoying time in Longview now and on Thursday, we'll head to Rockwall. 

Road trip!
Max was a great traveling buddy and is having so much fun for his first time in Texas! He hasn't quite figured out how to play with Mitzi (Mom and Dad's new pup), but he's definitely making himself at home!

Now, onto the point of this post.  We've been spending most of our short time here in Texas concerning ourselves with food.  So far, we've checked three places off our list- Whataburger, Taco Bueno, and Dudley's! Yum yum! We've also gotten started with some cooking.  Of course, dessert is the most important part of the meal.

I found the recipe for these babies on Picky Palate and just had to try them.  They were super easy and so delicious! If you're looking for a last minute dessert (that easily doubles as a great breakfast treat!), you should give these a try!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

We also baked up my Granny's famous Paper Bag Apple Pie.  If I could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life, this would be it.  I love this pie so much, it's what I always request as my birthday "cake" of choice.  So what makes it so special? First, the crumble topping. Instead of your standard crust, we sprinkle a mixture of butter, cinnamon, and sugar over it.  Second, the paper bag.  The pie is baked in a brown grocery bag and comes out perfectly cooked- juicy and lightly browned.  I know my grandma is not the first to bake an apple pie like this, but in my book, it will always be her special recipe, and I'll never bake an apple pie any other way.  

Can you tell I love this pie?!
And finally, we ended the night with another piece of pie. This one, a strawberry pie from Dudley's Cajun Cafe.  Dudley's is my favorite restaurant back home- it's where we had our rehearsal dinner and we try to make a trip there every time we visit.  Let me tell you- the strawberry pie is the best and it goes fast! There was one piece left when we got to restaurant, so I made sure to reserve that little plate of goodness before anything else (priorities, people!). was the perfect ending to a perfectly delicious dinner of boudin balls, gumbo, and fried crawfish.

Does it get any better than this?

What are your holiday standards?  Do you like to try new recipes or stick to your family's favorites? However you celebrate, I hope it's perfectly sweet!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Soaking It Up

If you've spent any time at all in the blogosphere, you've likely heard of Design*Sponge (did you catch my pun in that clever title?). The lovely Grace Bonney started the blog in 2004, and since then it has grown into one of the best DIY design resources on the web.

Grace recently published a Design*Sponge book and has been touring the country sharing it with her loyal followers! Last night I joined my two friends, Lauren and Kellie, for one of the last stops of the tour at West Elm (side note: this was my first time to go to West Elm and I will definitely be back- so much cute stuff!).  The book signing was really neat- Grace was obviously there signing books and meeting her fans, there were refreshments from one of our favorite neighborhood bakeries, Sweet 16th, and one of Kellie's friends designed an amazing backdrop for fun photos (I don't know where to find these, or I would share them with you)!

The beautiful book!
After the book signing, we weren't quite ready to call it a night, so we headed to Holland House, a neighborhood "Bar and Refuge," for a glass of wine, which quickly turned into a cocktail. I'm always a little nervous when I order a drink that's not one of my standard beer selections or the always-classy Beringer White Zinfandel. But this drink was a success!

The Original Cinn (Warm Jacket)
Hot chocolate with fireball cordial and ginger-chartreuse whipped cream!
I loved my first book signing and it was so nice to spend time with my sweet friends outside of work! Have you checked out the Design*Sponge book yet? What project will you do first?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving

We leave for Thanksgiving break in Texas in 6 days and the countdown is on!  

I have a long list of things to get done before then, including

cleaning the house
changing the sheets on the beds
grocery shopping
host small group
wash the car

But getting all that done means nine hours in the car with this guy:

Pray for us...
But getting that done means six whole days at home in Texas with:

(my parents)

(Marco's parents)
and the rest of our wonderful family!






(and real food too)

and my first:

and the last:

(for a while anyway...)

Can you tell I'm a little excited?  We always enjoy getting back to our roots and spending quality time with our family and eating lots of fried food and shopping and watching sports.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you counting down like I am?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

I'm once again linking up at The Little Things We Do for:

1.   My favorite new blog of the moment is  Jamie Cooks It Up- her recipes look super yummy and easy. Can't wait to try some out!

2.   Something I am thankful for is our new heat/ac unit. It's getting cold here! 

3.  Something that made me laugh this week was  this "map" of the US .

4. An item that is currently on my wish list is  some fancy new fabric scissors .

5.  I am excited about  joining some ladies for dinner and a sewing lock-in tomorrow night- can't wait to show you my work!

6.  If I were a color I would be   gray- it's the new black these days. :)

7.  My favorite way to spend a chilly fall day is by  cuddled up under a blanket with my hubby and my pup, watching a good movie, reading a good book, and eating yummy food!

TGIF, y'all!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Introducing: Lunch Break Makes!

I'm so excited to share with you what will hopefully be the first in a regular series of posts here on the all-new Wish You Were Here blog! If you're anything like me, you've probably been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and discovering new blogs chock-full of inspiration for cooking, decorating, gifting, and wearing.  While my list of projects continues to grow, my time to work on them seems to get shorter. Many of the bloggers I follow are fortunate to call blogging their full-time job, but most of my friends do well to find the time to even read a blog every day, much less try out those awesome free tutorials they read about.

Thus, the idea for Lunch Break Makes was born.  In each post, I'll show you a tutorial for a project that I was able to complete in under one hour- on my lunch break!  It will be a way for me to tackle some fun and easy projects, and hopefully serve as some encouragement for all you working women!

So are you ready to get crafty? How about a really cute scarf to start things off?

This first project is one that I finished in exactly one hour. The best part is that the only supplies required are old t-shirts and scissors- so you can even do this at your desk without leaving the office!

I found this project on Pinterest and followed this tutorial at Kevin and Amanda. I had tons of t-shirt scraps leftover from my quilt, so I picked out some favorite colors and got to work!

I chose four different colors, but you can use more or less! I think if I were to make another one, I might go with a solid or two colors at most. After you have your shirts picked out, cut off the hems and set them aside.  Then, cut the shirts into strips, 3/4 inch wide.

I used my rotary cutter, but scissors will work fine. And don't worry about getting each strip exactly 3/4 inch (you can tell I definitely didn't!). The tutorial suggests 32 strips. If you want a longer scarf, cut more! I stuck to 32, so 8 strips from each color.

Once you've cut all your strips out, stretch them out! Then wrap them around your hand to create little ringlets.

Now take those hems you set aside and cut them into five inch strips. Then, just tie your ringlets together, and you have yourself a scarf!

I hope you'll give it a try!

This week I'm linking up at Tip Junkie for Tip Me Tuesday!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quarter of a Century

That's how old I turned on Saturday! I had such a great time spending the day with the hubby. He made me feel so special, and it was one of the best birthdays yet.

But, I've been celebrating all week. That's normal, right? I mean I am a quarter of a century old!

Here are the highlights-
  • Mom and Nunna (my grandma) visiting. After a full day a shopping (on my day off!), we headed to Eastland Cafe for a yummy early birthday dinner.

  • Manicure and pedicure on Wednesday!
  • Massage on Saturday morning!
  • This card my dad sent (sad he couldn't make the trip with Mom and Nunna).
Yes, it's for a 4-year-old.
  • This precious little print Marcus gave me. He looks just like Max!
You can purchase one for yourself here!
  • The jelly roll (in Jovial by Moda) I received in the mail from a friend. Can't wait to start a new quilting project!
  • Fall in Nashville. We have seasons, y'all!
This is the pretty tree in front of our house! Aren't the colors gorgeous?
  • Dinner at The Melting Pot!
Happy Birthday to me!

Marcus and me all dressed up!
  • All the sweet phone calls, texts, and wall posts from the most wonderful friends and family!
Like I said, this birthday was so perfect and I'm so thankful for everyone who made me feel so special and loved! 

I hope you'll all come back tomorrow for an exciting post. I can't wait to share it with you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday!

I'm linking up with Lauren at The Little Things We Do! Care to join me?

1.   My favorite thing about this week was/is  taking a day off work to go shopping with my mom and grandma visiting from Texas!

2.   Colder weather makes me SO happy IF the sun is shining.

3.  Three things that make me terribly happy as of late are  my boys (Marcus the husband and Max the pup), family visiting, and birthday weekend!

4. If I could only wear one kind of shoe for the rest of my life, I'd choose  boots of any kind. Or maybe Rainbows...

5.  My personality type is  ISFJ...although this may have changed slightly since I last took it 5 years ago. I'm an extrovert trapped in an introvert's body!

6.  I have a serious problem resisting   shoes. Especially when birthday money is burning a hole in my pocket!

7.  My favorite color to wear is  black! And lately, royal blue.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's Monday, but I'm not complaining! Today is Halloween, and in my book, it really feels like fall. Today starts the countdown to my birthday, then to Thanksgiving break, then to Christmas. It's for sure my favorite time of year. Marcus and I have been celebrating all weekend and are ready for some trick-or-treaters.

The weekend started off at a party with the folks from Marcus's grad program.  We were a little last minute, but we decided to go as Zack and Kelly from "Saved by the Bell." Because Marcus is in seminary, we added a punny little twist and passed out tracts that asked if people were "saved" by the bell.

Go Bayside!
On Saturday we joined some friends from church for a pumpkin carving party! We drove out to a farm outside of Nashville and enjoyed the crisp fall weather and a serious bonfire.

Getting started!

Hard at work.

Almost done!

The finished product.
And now we are excited to have my mom and grandma in town for a few days! We love welcoming family and it's always nice to have an excuse to go shopping. I'm excited to take a day off from work tomorrow and spend the day with them before they head out to visit my sister and brother-in-law in New York.  

How are celebrating Halloween this year? Here's to eating lots of candy!

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