Thursday, April 3, 2014

oh, hey y'all.


Believe it or not, I'm still here. You wouldn't know that from browsing my corner of the interwebz though, would you?

Just wanted to pop in to say "hello there" and make sure y'all haven't given up on me. Despite what it seems, I'm not taking a blog break... life just gets in the way sometimes, ya know? Thank goodness for Instagram and such, or else y'all might have suspected I'd fallen off the face of the Earth! A lot of stuff has happened since the last time I blogged, so I will do a big catch-up post soon, pinky promise.

There's been a lot going on these days... continually adjusting to a new(ish) job, making Easter burlap door hangers, and various other activities that seem to keep me away from the computer. I spend all day staring at two screens, using my creative juices and writing (which is awesome, don't get me wrong... I'm #blessed fo sho) but quite frankly, when I get home, I just want to unplug, ya feel? Unless binge watching Parks & Recreation ISN'T considered unplugging... HA.

SO... all that being said, I'm still here, just hold tight. I'll be back when inspiration strikes, and I think that will be soon. I've got some fun things coming up for this blog (I'm talking new name and design, people!) and some fun things coming up in life that I'm excited to continue sharing with y'all. Cheers to that!

Happy almost weekend, friends! Sending lots of love your way!


Monday, February 24, 2014

say hello to Gypsy Girl Boutique!

Y'all know that I am no fashion blogger. I would like to think that I have good fashion sense, but I could NOT do what some many of my awesome blogger friends do and regularly plan and document super fabulous outfits... or at least I thought I couldn't, until the sweet ladies at Gypsy Girl Boutique gave me an opportunity to try it! 

I was so flattered when I got an e-mail from Melissa of Gypsy Girl Boutique offering to send me one of their fab pieces to review. She was so nice and flexible through the whole process, and even held tight during last weekend's snow storm, when I had originally planned to style the beauties they sent me! Since this weekend's weather was so beautiful, I couldn't help but throw on the cute Queen Bee Tunic Dress and the Hook Bangle in blue they sent for some Saturday errands. I asked the hubs to take pictures for me, and it was actually really fun! Who knows, y'all might be seeing more fashion posts from me sometime soon. Check out how I styled the pieces:

dress & bangle c/o Gypsy Girl | LOFT utility jacket | JCrew Factory belt (similar) | Kate Spade Raquelle satchel | Tory Burch Gold Cap Toe Cami flats | Michael Kors watch | David Yurman bracelet & ring | Lily & Laura bracelet

I originally picked this dress since it looked so versatile, perfect for the office or a night out, but upon trying it on I realized it miiiiight be a tad too short for the workplace-- but with tights and boots, maybe I can make it work! The length is my only complaint, but the listing gave full disclosure, saying that this particular piece was recommended to be ordered a size up. Just as a point of reference, this is a size L dress, and I usually wear a 6-8 for dresses. However, GG's return policy is flexible and the ladies are sweet, so I'm not worried about my next purchase :)

I think part of what draws me to Gypsy Girl Boutique is the story behind the clothes. Gypsy Girl was started by Brooks and Melissa, two busy ladies who have a passion for fabulous fashion at a great price. They wanted to start an online boutique as a creative outlet after 10 years of desk jobs, and as a solution to their constant search for style on a budget! As a small business owner myself, I love supporting small businesses owned by driven individuals dedicated to sharing their passion and creativity with others. Check out Gypsy Girl Boutique for yourself!

Be sure to visit Gypsy Girl Boutique:

web / facebook / instagram: @gypsygirlboutique / twitter: @shopgypsygirl

Thank you again, Gypsy Girl Boutique! I loved being a fashion blogger for a day, and who knows, maybe this is something I can do a little bit more! Have a great week, blog friends! 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

a big announcement!


No, I'm not pregnant. Y'all are going to have to wait a loooooong time for that announcement (Lord willing)! I'm excited to finally make the announcement here on my bloggity-blog that
(note: does referring to it as a "big girl" job make me not a "big girl"? whatevs.)

Yes!!! Finally, after many months of writing cover letters (25 letters, to be exact... sheesh), filling out applications, networking, composing emails, briefly experimenting with retail (NEVER AGAIN) and filling my schedule with various babysitting jobs, I made it. I will miss the families so much that I have been nannying for (I might have cried just thinking about it), but I am definitely ready to move on and begin my first job that will set the tone for my career path. It's scary and awesome all at the same time. 

I will be working as a SEO (search engine optimization) copywriter at a internet marketing firm here, so I am very excited to be able to put my college degree, creativity, and love of writing into projects every day. This doesn't mean the end of Shut the Front Door {burlaps by ryann}, though! It will just have to become more of an "after hours" job! 

I am so thankful for the love and support from so many of my family, friends, and blog friends (especially my local girls!) during this long, tough process. The past 6 months have brought many life changes- some good, some bad- and the search has been grueling. Some days I felt like I was worthless and that I had nothing to contribute to the "real world". And I know there will be tough days once I get in the office, too. But, just like I've done these past few months, I must continually remind myself that I am not defined by what I do. I am identified through the grace of God and what He has already done! What a blessing that is. 

So, wish me luck as I head into the office for my first day tomorrow! Any advice for making my morning commute, getting adjusted to waking up early, or surviving cubicle life? I'd love to hear from y'all :)


Monday, February 3, 2014

weekend update: roomie edition!

You know those weekends that you put down on your calendar, eagerly anticipating them for WEEKS? The ones that come and begin with lots of laughter and non-stop chatting and end (far too quickly may I add) with long hugs and the hardest "empty" feeling when the car pulls away? Yup, this was one of those weekends.

This weekend my senior year roommates Lea, Jennings, and Lauren had been planning to come up for their maiden voyage to Raleigh and our little house. Unfortunate last minute circumstances prevented Lauren from making the trip, but I loved spending time with Lea and Jennings and Facetime-ing with Lauren Saturday evening!

Friday was a marathon day of babysitting for me, and between hopping to three different homes to babysit for various amounts of time, I was able to tackle the immense list of "to-do's" that were necessary before having visitors: grocery shopping for the week, dusting, making sure spare sheets and towels are clean, vacuuming and Swiffering the floors, and general straightening up. Somehow I got it all done, and I made it home by 8:30pm Friday evening just in time to eat some leftovers and begin baking a homemade version of our favorite Pizza Inn Buffet (fondly known as "PIB") dessert chocolate chip pizza! Our senior year we would love to go to PIB for a cheap "all you can eat" treat on special college discount nights, and dessert pizza was always a highlight! I tried out this recipe and it was a hit! Jennings and Lea arrived around 9:30 and were greeted with dessert, wine, and very brief home tour. We stayed up until the wee hours catching up and also watching our wedding video that was finished and received over Christmas!

Andrew and I got up Saturday morning and started making a breakfast of biscuits, bacon, and pancakes (complete with toppings bar featuring strawberries, Nutella and peanut butter!). Once the girls woke up, sweet Andrew finished the cooking while we talked and made plans for the day. We got ready and ventured to NC State's campus where Andrew gave the girls a tour of his stomping grounds in the architecture studio and around the iconic campus bell tower. We went over to Centennial Campus to show the girls the new Hunt Library... seriously, this is not just any library... it is freaking awesome. The technology is incredible, the seating areas are colorful and modern, and it is home to the "BookBot"- the best way I can describe it is a robot smart enough to identify and retrieve the library's massive collection amount of books stored in bins! It started to sprinkle so we picked up lunch to eat at home and then headed to the mall, even though I really wanted to shop the boutiques at Cameron Village. It ended up being just as fun though- we all made out with some great purchases and I bought my first pair of J Crew Minnies on MAJOR sale... I've heard I will become addicted!

I hate I didn't get any pictures of our evening, but after shopping we met up with a fellow Wofford friend, Katherine, who is at Duke Law. We ate at Cantina 18 in Cameron Village, one of my absolute favorites! We all split a bowl of queso (necessary) and treated ourselves to strawberry-vanilla sangria (me and Jennings) and margaritas (Lea and Katherine). Everyone was happy with their choices and we each ordered something different. It was great to catch up with Katherine and have a night out with the girls like we did so often in our undergrad days! 

After dinner we were stuffed and pretty tired, so we crashed back at our place and watched some Netflix and just enough of SNL to catch Seth Meyer's last Weekend Update (so sad!) and then we were all zonked out!

Sunday morning we got up and enjoyed brunch at another great spot in Cameron Village, Flying Biscuit Cafe. Conversation over coffee, biscuits, and omelettes was a great way to end the weekend. After our meal, the girls got their stuff together and hit the road back to SC. I was sad to see them go, but I am so thankful for our time together. It's been tough to be away from my best friends since graduation considering they all were just a short walk down the hall or just an apartment away! 

Here's to having more Raleigh visitors soon!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

snow day fun!

Tuesday evening brought the first sign of snow to our little corner of Raleigh, and needless to say, my winter-loving husband was SO excited. His classes were cancelled (unnecessarily, but whatever!) on Tuesday in preparation for the day's snowfall, and we were fortunate to wake up to about 2.5-ish inches of snow in our backyard and news of cancellation of all classes at State on Wednesday as well! We made a yummy breakfast of apple cinnamon pancakes and did some exploring of our neighborhood. Of course, I had to document our first Raleigh snowfall and share with y'all!

Snow day selfies are a must when it's just the two of you!

We walked to visit some family friends a couple streets down and got some quality snuggle time with Eli, the basset hound that thinks he's a human. How hilarious is this guy?!

Enjoying the winter wonderland of a backyard we have!

I love how cute our little house looked in the snow! I'm sad that all the snow has melted, but no lie, I'm pretty ready for spring to hit NC.

 Do you love the snow, or are you ready for warmer weather like I am?!


Monday, January 27, 2014

hello again & house "to-do"s!

Well, hello friends! It's been almost three weeks since I've been over to my little corner of the internet and I am so sorry! I've been super busy this month taking care of my kiddos, making burlaps, and doing some major organization in our little home here! I told myself that January was going to be my month of organization and deep cleaning, but I still have a few tasks left to tackle! Here are a few of the winter cleaning/organization projects I want to get going on:

Stay tuned for some more blog posts about these projects (minus the cleaning the fridge and shutter parts... heck, if I don't want to do them, why do you want to read about them!?) ;) Thanks for hanging on with me, my sweet bloggy friends. Any tips for the tasks at hand?!

 Happy Monday!


Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 goals: revisited

I'm a little late in the game, but I wanted to do a recap of my 2013 goals as a sort of personal reflection to see my progress and where I'm lacking. Check out my original post here about my "13 in 2013" and read on to see how I did!
  1. Graduate from Wofford with a 3.9 cumulative GPA. That one was pretty lofty... but I got pretty close! I'd say a 3.8 basically counts!
  2. Continue in consistency with this blog! I would say I did well on this goal this year. I attended my first blogger meet-up, participated in multiple link ups, and challenged myself for my "30 Days of Thanks". 
  3. Create a booklist (of the titles I've been wanting to read forever!) and read for the FUN of it! To be honest, I don't think I read more this year than any other year in particular. I have a long list of books on my Kindle that I will continue to tackle! 
  4. Commit to daily scripture reading. I was much better in my daily devotional this year, especially after the move. However, I did not succeed with my "daily" goal.
  5. Continue my work in the Wofford communications office and save (at least) half my earnings. I loved my time in the communications office. I'm so glad I decided to save my earnings too- a great practice to keep going! 
  6. Become more intentional in the daily ministry of my life. This year I tried to use my blog as an outlet for that. A lot of times I bared my heart, hoping that my readers could relate to how tough it can be to keep the faith sometimes! When I was still at Wofford, RUF Ministry Team was a great way to do this. It was such a blessing to serve my campus in the name of Jesus!
  7. After the wedding, try at least two new recipes a week and plan out meals for us. Not sure if I've tried 2 new recipes a week, but I have been better than I thought I would be about cooking. I do meal plan each week and we've had fun trying some awesome new dishes!
  8. Run a 5K, and upon completion, work towards a 10K. I did the Color Run in March, but didn't get a chance to work towards the 10K... that will come this year! Once I train enough to be able to run 3.1 again... oy. 
  9. Closely related, lose 10-15 pounds by the wedding with a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained.  Well, I did that before the wedding... score! But once the honeymoon was over and there wasn't the immense pressure to look fab in a strapless dress, I slacked. I still make a point to eat well, but I definitely fell off the exercise wagon. Time to get back on! 
  10. Land my dream job-- anything related to writing, event planning, public relations, social media marketing, and creative communications-- or all of the above! Not yet. But the Lord has a plan for me. Meanwhile, I love my job of hanging out with the sweet kids in my neighborhood- their families are such a blessing!
  11. Find a church/Bible study group in the new city we move to after Andrew begins graduate school and grow in friendship and fellowship with new people. Once again... a work in progress. We have settled on a church we really like, which is great! This year I am going to really work hard on getting involved in the women's ministry and Andrew and I both really would like to get involved in a small group! 
  12. Work on less excess-- in many senses. This is kind of a work in progress... this will go on into this year! Cleaning, organizing, budgeting... you get the idea. 
  13. Get writing published in a local magazine to add to my resume and portfolio.  I was published in Wofford's alumni magazine for a student spotlight and it was so exciting! 
So ladies and gents, that was my 2013. I'd say I did pretty well, overall. Stay tuned to see what I'm planning for 2014!