Wednesday, March 31, 2010

book review...

Again, let me preface this post by saying I am a horribly inconsistent reader. Please notice in my "About Me" section to the right, that I describe myself as an inconsistent bookworm. I honestly want to read more, and I am definitely good at shopping for books... I just seem to have a problem actually making time to read them. Okay, now that being said, let's continue with the book review...

PUSH (or Precious): This is the book that the popular movie "Precious" was filmed after. The author's name is Sapphire and it's a pretty quick read. I'm not quite sure how to describe this story. I, personally, have not seen the movie yet, so I'm unable to compare book v. big screen. But I will say that PUSH is a rather troubling story. It's insane and heartbreaking to realize that the events described in this book actually happen to girls/women every day. Sapphire writes this novel in such a way that it disturbs you and intrigues you all at the same time. I definitely recommend it, but with caution.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: Lance finished this book by Donald Miller a few months ago, and I have stolen it since then. I have heard great reviews about Miller's writings, and so far, it's all proving to be true. He is funny and quick-witted. He is the male-version of another one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott. This book is basically about his journey through life and how he has learned to record and cherish all of life's moments and memories. I'm still at the beginning, so I'll give the full review later.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: I did actually finish the first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) and surprise, surprise, I actually liked it. When I posted my first book review, I wasn't crazy about Harry, and wasn't really getting what all the Hogwart's hype was about. However, when I finally finished book number one, I was hooked (well, at least hooked enough to start book number two). I'm not quite sure how long my love affair will last with Harry, but my ultimate goal is to finish all 7 books in the series... so we'll see.

Craft, Inc: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business: This book is currently riding around with me in the backseat of my car. I have only read a few pages, but have found it very interesting thus far. It is full of helpful business ideas and creative tidbits, and is absolutely perfect for waiting room or lunch-time reading.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan: Sophie Kinsella is providing me with commuter entertainment. I checked this audio book out from my local library a few months ago. It always takes me a while to get through a full audio book, as I only listen on my way home from work, assuming I'm not blabbing on the cell phone. I listened to the original "Confessions of a Shopaholic" a while back and really enjoyed Sophie's style of writing. The Shopaholic series are fun, light-hearted, and ease the pain of commuter traffic. I also love the audio book narrator on this novel, Emily Gray. I have decided that my favorite audio books are all read by British women. I will quit listening to an audio book solely based on the reader's voice. Is that strange?

Monday, March 29, 2010

awesome blog, even more awesome giveaway...

Epiphane is having an incredible giveaway this week... they are giving one lucky person either a Canon 5D Mark II or a $2500 gift certificate with Southwest Airlines. Can we just say, UH-MAZING. I have been debating about splurging on a new camera lately... but how much cooler would it be if I just won a new camera?!? And even more importantly, a camera that is way out of my price range?!? We can only hope.

If the results of the above contest do not play out in my favor, I will be researching/shopping the Canon 7D, or probably more realistically, the Canon 50D.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

jenn & ty got hitched!

Congratulations Jennifer and Ty! Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your special day! Enjoy your sneak peek!

Friday, March 26, 2010

finding the one...

I am on a mission. A mission to find the perfect perfume. You know, a signature fragrance... the one. I should have put this on my 30 by 30 list. It is much more difficult than I expected. When it comes to fragrances, I'd say I'm pretty sensitive. Therefore, I'm looking for something very light and floral. Maybe even something a little fruity? For the majority of my life, I have been a "spritz" girl. I'm a huge fan of Bath & Body Works sprays. They're light and unobtrusive. But I've decided that a grown woman should have a signature scent... and it should come in the form of a glass bottle (not a plastic one).

However, purchasing a signature perfume is a major committment. Seriously. You go in those perfume stores, try like 20 different scents, smelling coffee beans in between, give yourself a migrain, take a dozen of those little perfume-sprayed cards home with you, realize everything smells the same now that you're home, not to mention that you've absolutely ruined your sense of smell (and the purse that you put all the perfumed cards in). Then, you run the risk of actually spending $60 on a bottle of perfume, only to realize that once you start wearing it, you hate it. See what I mean? Total committment.

But today, dear friends, I think I have come up with two potential contestants for my signature scent...

1) Burberry Summer. It is light, somewhat floral, and not overbearing. Added bonus- pretty bottle.

2) Gucci Envy Me. It is light and sweet smelling. A fun flirty scent.

Any other recomendations out there? I've had a couple of girlfriends recommend D&G's Light Blue and am thinking about adding it to my list. But until I decide to take the plunge and commit, I will stick with my go-to scent... Warm Vanilla Sugar. Can't go wrong there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

thankful thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) Ahi Tuna. And not just any ahi tuna... specifically the ahi tuna Lance and I ate this weekend at Felix's in Mobile, AL. AMAZING. We ordered it as our appetizer and then realized we should have ordered it as our main meal... and dessert. Yes, it was that good. They had this special horseradish sauce drizzled over the top, that Lance and I proceeded to finish with our table's saltine crackers. We weren't about to let any of this stuff go to waste. We're classy, I know.

2) This blog. Elise Blaha's blog is really the first blog I started obsessively reading. I'm not really sure how I stumbled upon her site, because I have absolutely no relationship with this girl, and don't know her from one end or the other, but I'm pretty sure we're kindred spirits. Super cute.

3) Capri pants. I guess really I am thankful for the warm weather that has allowed me to pull my capri's out of spring clothes storage. But I do adore capri's. I'm really hoping this fashion trend sticks around for a while. You have to understand, see I'm pretty tall, and I'm 90% legs, so finding a good pair of long pants is practically impossible sometimes. But lucky for me, capri's are supposed to be short. Brilliant.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

story of the beard...

So, as some of you may have read last Thursday, my husband was recently growing a small forest on the bottom half of his face. I'm not exactly sure what sparked this sudden passion for the mountain man look, or when his bearded-mission began. I think it was sometime in fall when Lance announced he was swearing off shaving. I tried my best to put on my best smile and sound supportive. See, the thing is... I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about a full-blown beard. As the holidays started approaching, we had several people ask if Lance was playing Jesus this year in our church's Christmas production. We even had someone suggest that he dye his beard white and play Santa. You have to have a pretty awesome beard to get offers like that.

Well, I'm not sure what changed the mountain man's mind... but last Wednesday night, Lance all of a sudden got out the trusty Wahl clippers and started shaving away. It was funny to hear the different remarks after he shaved (especially from his students). Some were really disappointed to see it go (mostly guys) and some expressed their enthusiasim with, "you finally shaved!" (mostly girls).
And while I wasn't terribly sad to see the beard go, I do have to admit, it was starting to grow on me (not literally growing on me). I could tell Lance was having mixed emotions about parting with his beard, so I thought this might help...

And I do. I love him with or without beard.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

jenn & ty got hitched...

... and we couldn't be more thrilled! More pictures coming soon!

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Jordan!

Friday, March 19, 2010

hello fairhope, alabama...

So, Lance and I are on our way to beautiful Fairhope, AL to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of this lovely couple...
Jennifer and Ty will say "I do" tomorrow and I get be the official photographer for their wedding! I am beyond excited. I mean, seriously, look at my photo subjects... they will make my job pretty dang easy. After this weekend, I will be able to scratch off number 9 (photograph my first wedding) on my 30 by 30 list. I will share a sneak peak of the lovebirds ASAP.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

thankful thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) These clippers. For those of you that have seen my husband the past 4 months, you know that he has been growing a small animal on his face. And while, I love him regardless of his mountain-man beard, I can't say I was incredibly sad to see it go. I told him I forgot what the bottom half of his face even looked like. This momentous occasion probably deserves a post all of it's own... more soon. Welcome back babe, good to see your face again.

2) Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies. Specifically chocolate chip. And preferably warm and gooey. They are soooo delicious. And lucky for me, there is a Burger King right down the street from my office that serves warm-melt-in-your-mouth-chocolate-chip-cookies. And also lucky for me, I just started a new gym membership.

3) Mani/Pedi day. This past weekend I went to my favorite nail salon with one of my favorite friends. It was so nice to enjoy a girl's day and a much needed manicure and pedicure. I mean, how can you pass up being pampered while catching up with good friends?? Thanks Elizabeth for a special Saturday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

happy st. patrick's day!

I did a little research this morning on Saint Patrick and the meaning of March 17th... It turns out St. Patrick's day is much more than a drunken celebration of green beer, parades, and shamrocks. According to my online research, Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain, but was kidnapped by the Irish when he was 16. He escaped captivity and fled back to Britain, however, later in life he felt called by God to retun to Ireland to save the Irish. By this time, Patick was a bishop... he was well-respected by the wealthy, while being a friend to the poor. He often used the ever-so-popular shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Saint Patrick spent nearly 30 years dedicating his life to sharing the love of Christ to the people of Ireland before he died on March 17, 461 AD.

Interesting how God plays such a crucial role in our traditons and celebrations. Yet, often times, we are completely unaware of His presence or choose to push Him aside all together.

"I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life."
- John 5:24 NLT

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (in the truest form)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

project organization :: craft closet

One of the items on my 30 by 30 list is "clean out the craft closet." Now, I realize to some of you, this may seem strange to have an entire space in your house dedicated to craft supplies and art projects... some of you may even be thinking, "what a valuable waste of space!" But oh contraire... it is quite the opposite. I must admit, for me, this amazingly huge walk-in closet is what sealed the deal when Lance and I were looking for a rental. When I stepped inside, it seemed to entice and whisper, "Just think how many supplies I can hold... the possibilities are endless." And it is so true. With it's floor to ceiling shelves, and perfect width (where my little desk just happens to fit precicely), this closet just begs to be used for a greater purpose.

When Lance and I moved in to this little house in August, my sister graciously took on the responsibility of unpacking the craft closet boxes. She did an amazing job. She did in 2 hours what would have taken me days. You see, I'm slightly OCD when it comes to stuff like this. I think and rethink where each item should go. "Should scrapbook paper go on the 3rd shelf or the 4th shelf?" "Should stamps be in the front of the closet or the back?" "Should wrapping paper be stored vertically or horizontally?" See what I mean? Sometimes I think I prefer organizing my supplies more than actually using them. So, when I say, "Clean out the craft closet," what I really mean is rearrange and sort according to my crafting needs. I am also hoping to purge A LOT. I want to put a lot of unused craft items in the massive yard sale I plan on having in a month or so (see footnote).

So, even though to the naked eye, the above picture looks like a pretty well organized craft closet... I have big plans for this bad boy. I started a little this past weekend and will update you on my progress soon. But I would love to hear any suggestions or ideas that you may use to organize your own home.

*footnote: MASSIVE YARD SALE COMING IN APRIL. If you live in the Habersham area, start getting excited.

Monday, March 15, 2010

spring forward sucks.

That's right, I said it. It totally sucks. I know that some of you will use the popular argument, "It stays light so much later now, I love it!" However, I've decided that the people that use this argument are either, a) college students about to go on spring break, or b) people that don't have to be at work until 10am.

What it means for the rest of us... is that when the clock says 5:30am, your body is feeling 4:30am, which is too dang early. It means your morning commute to work is done in the dark. It means you need an extra shot of caffine to stay awake during your commute. It means you will stay up later (because it is light longer) and 5:30am will come all too early again. It's a vicious cycle.

Friday, March 12, 2010

snip, snip

Yep, it was about that time... A sad day for these little guys... losing their manhood. I dropped them off bright and early at the vet today, and they were not excited. Not at all. Before I left, one of the little guys had already bit one of the vet assistants, and I could hear someone shout in the back room, "Tracey, get the cat gloves!"

Well, you wouldn't be very happy either, now would you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

thankful thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) The On-Star man. Mr. On-Star man helped fix my vehicle last night just out of the kindness of his heart. I don't even have On-Star. He stood in the rain for almost an hour reading my owner's manual and trying to jump my car. He didn't complain once, or even roll his eyes at me when I told him my car wouldn't start. Read post below for full story. I salute you Mr. On-Star man.

2) My twin nieces. I know I'm partial, but these two girls might be the absolute cutest things EVER. Jocelyn and Gabbie are celebrating their 2nd birthday this Saturday! I can't believe they are two already. It is so fun to see their little personalities and watch them interact with one another. Happy Birthday Jocelyn and Gabbie! We love you!

3) My parents. There is so much I am thankful for about my parents... but this Thursday, I am specifically thankful for their marriage. My parents have always provided a beautiful example of a healthy, loving marriage. I am so grateful for the love they showed me and my sister growing up... as well as the love and affection they always showed one another. This Saturday my parents will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary! Keep it up Mom and Dad... I'm taking notes :)

picture this...

Let's say you're driving down the highway... on your way home from a day at the office. It's raining. A lot. And say you get a phone call from your husband where he tells you that your mother-in-law is stranded on the side of the highway because she ran out of gas. And coincidentally she is stranded on the same rainy highway you are driving on. Of course a good citizen would stop to see if they can assist in any way. And a good citizen I am indeed (not to mention a good daughter-in-law). So I stop. I pull up behind my mother-in-law's brand new GMC Acadia. And I must admit, even in the rain... on the side of the road... with the flashers on... this car looks good. I turn on my own emergency flashers, turn off the car and hop out into the rain and jump into the passenger seat of my mother-in-law's car.

Now she has already called On-Star and they are on their way with gas can in hand. I just figured I would wait with her. I didn't want her to be stranded on the side of the road all by her lonesome. So we sit and wait. We catch up a little... and we laugh about how she apparently ignored the little gas gage dial. (She claims that this new car of hers doesn't give her the appropriate "low fuel" warnings, therefore it is the vehichle's fault that she ran out of gas... duh)
So, the little On-Star man finally comes to the rescue. He strategically fills up her gas tank, being careful to cling to the side of the Acadia, lest he gets swiped by all the passing cars and trucks. Okay, car is fueled up. Success, right?

Not so fast. I walk back out in the rain over to my little Prius. I press the unlock button on my keys and noticed a really sad sound. Like my car had to put a lot of effort into the unlock function. Strange. I get in the car and don't think too much about it. That is, until I press the "start engine" button and all I hear is a small, pathetic wimper coming from the Prius. My battery died. Awesome.

I jump out of the car and flag down the little On-Star man (who only thinks his job here is done). I convince him to stick around and help me, the non-On-Star driver, out. He agrees to jump off my car. Only problem is, these hybrid vehichles are kind of testy. When you pop the hood of the Prius, it only looks like two giant battery packs are running the whole thing. So, little On-Star man flips through my owner's manual and eventually we figure out. This is after both of us have stood in the rain for at least 10 minutes. My shoes are soaked. I try to start me car. Nothing. Well, except for a really awesome error message that reads something like, "There is an error with your 'P' transmission. Park your car in a flat place and put the parking break on. Make sure your vehichle is in 'P'." My car is in a flat place. The parking break is on. My vehichle is in 'P'.

At this point a police officer has kindly parked behind our row of cars with his blue lights on. He is now out in the rain with me and little On-Star man. We are all trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with my car. We are all getting soaked. I finally tell my mother-in-law to call a tow truck and I will just ride back with her. I am tired. I am wet. My shoes are squishy. But lo' and behold... little On-Star man tells me to try it just one more time. And it works. It sounds kind of funny. But it works. They tell me to go on just incase the Prius trys to sputter out. It drives home fine. No problems. Apparently, I was just destined to spend an hour standing in the rain last night... just because.

So... the moral of this story? You may not always be rewarded for your good deeds. Actually, you may even have to stand in the rain and get really wet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

dwight vs. julia...


So, if you read my "Thankful Thursday" post from last week then you saw my little shout out to The Office (and Dwight). Well... one of my awesome co-workers found me worthy of my own little acronym and made me the print out you see on the right. I have to say, after reviewing the two, I really feel that Julia Black can directly compete with Dwight Schrute in the workplace. I know, I know... Dwight does have six letters in his name, whereas I only have five... but I mean, just look at the five I have. (Besides, "good worker" and "hard worker" are technically the same thing... I mean, really.)

Footnote: If you're confused about "A Baldface," then you obviously don't know what a baldface liar is... completely different than a boldface liar.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

30 by 30

Okay... let's not get ahead of ourselves... I don't turn the big 3-0 until 2011. And in no way am I trying to rush into my 30's... but I have come to realize that there are several things I want to accomplish before I enter that next phase of life. And I, my friends, am a list person... I make lists of lists. So I figured, hey, what better way to push me out of my comfort zone than to make a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. Some of the things on my list are pretty easy, and will only take a little self-discipline to complete... Then I have a few other items on my list that will require some major planning and will definitely push me out of my comfort zone... which, quite frankly, is the point of "30 by 30."

By the time I, Julia Black, am 30 years old, I want to...

1. be a local tourist

2. see the Dave Mathews Band live in concert

3. make someone’s day anonymously

4. organize my old pictures

5. sleep under the stars

6. watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Casablanca"

7. edit and update my website

8. throw a themed party

9. photograph my first wedding

10. put in some volunteer hours

11. go to a Colts game

12. buy a pair of toms

13. get my second tattoo

14. workout consistently

15. pay off debt

16. take a class/workshop

17. read a classic

18. have a massive yard sale

19. put that yard sale money towards any open debt (see #15)

20. clean out the craft closet

21. bake cookies for my neighbors

22. take a hot air balloon ride

23. visit Chicago and/or Seattle

24. attend a book signing

25. find a beer that I like

26. support a young missionary

27. learn a new word, and actually use it

28. organize the contacts in my address book

29. check out all the Harry Potter hype

30. learn about my “family tree” and history

Friday, March 5, 2010

mad as a hatter...

Lance took me to see Alice in Wonderland tonight... It was brilliant. Loved every bit of it... Loved the 3D, loved Johnny Depp, loved the "tweedles," loved Alice...

And I love how it forces us lame, grown adults to use our imagination a little bit. We can actually set aside the boring, no-nonsense, rigid routine of life and immerse ourselves in a world where flowers can talk, hatters are mad, and rabbits tell time. In a world where the impossible suddenly seems possible.

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

thankful thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) College friends.
This past weekend I was able to eat lunch with one of my very best friends and old college roommates. During my time at Troy, I was so blessed to have amazing college friends who pushed me to walk with the Lord (and still do).

2) Chipotle.
Specifically the vegetable burrito bowl (with
guacamole, of course). This experience is only complete with my new favorite co-workers. I finally have two female co-workers that I can share my lunch break with.

3) The Office.
I am watching The Office as I type this post... 1 hour special tonight. Dwight is awesome. Need I say more?