Happy {late} Birthday to me

November 29. Eight days after my birthday. It was time to head home from a week-long family vacation at the Outer Banks. With our cars packed to the max, we headed out. While I was not looking forward to the 7+ hour drive home, I at least had Justin and my sister, Meleah to talk to the whole way. With only a couple of hours left until we got home, we stopped at a gas station to stretch our legs and grab some snacks. We had not been back on the road for even a half hour and Justin tells me we’re going to stop and look at a car. {Are you kidding me?!} I was not thrilled with this idea because 1 – I was tired of riding, 2 – we had everyone else’s things packed in the truck along with ours, 3 – my sister had to go pick up her dogs from the dog sitter, and 4 – it was getting late. I didn’t want to prolong this ride home any longer.

{Cue the silent treatment the rest of the way.}

We finally pull up to the house and I didn’t see a car for sale in the driveway as I expected. Justin got out and knocked on the front door. He went inside and was gone for a few minutes. I had a ton of things running through my mind at this point…. Why was there no car in the driveway? Why did he go inside the house? What is taking so long? Are we about to get robbed? He finally comes out through the garage and motions for me to get out of the truck. My sister asked if I wanted her to come with me and of course I said yes because I was already freaking out. We slowly walk into the garage and Justin is standing there holding a pug puppy. A. PUG. PUPPY. Here I am thinking he just wanted me to see this person’s cute puppy. Boy was I wrong. He looked at me and said, “We’re not here to look at a car.” Wait…..what did he just say?!?!

Shocked. Stunned. Speechless. And then I cried.

As it turns out, the lady who lived there raises pugs. Justin had been planning the surprise for a few months and EVERYONE knew about it but me. Best. surprise. ever.

Meet Ollie!

Ollie

This is only the beginning about Ollie. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Getting back to blogging in 2015!

back againI didn’t plan on being on hiatus, it just kind of happened. But there were plenty of good reasons.

Let me explain…

In October, I was on the job hunt. A friend from college suggested I apply for a position at a credit union. I filled out an application and was asked for an interview a few days later. After what seemed to be the longest interview of my life, I received a phone call later the same day with the job offer. I excitedly accepted and began working a few weeks later. This job is definitely challenging because I’m learning a wealth of things in a field I never pictured myself being a part of. I’m really enjoying it so far and I owe it to my friend for throwing out the idea. Thanks Anna! 🙂

November was an exciting month! My new co-workers had a surprise birthday lunch for me on my birthday and I spent a week celebrating at the Outer Banks with my family over Thanksgiving. I also received the best surprise ever from Justin….a pug puppy! He’s known since day one how much I love pugs and he went above and beyond to surprise me (I’ll explain later). Also, while at the beach, Justin got the news that he could close on his house….yay! A new house!

December has been busy with cleaning, unpacking, getting ready for Christmas, celebrating Christmas, packing up Christmas and unpacking more boxes. We’re almost finished with our unpacking and getting ready to move on to buying furniture.

I’ve had lots going on over the past few months and promise to be more faithful with the blog!

Here’s to a new job, new puppy, new house, new year, new blog posts and lots of new happy places! Happy 2015!

Happiness is my first decorated cake.

Having been a natural-born lover of all things sweet, it was just a matter of time before my curiosity got the best of me. I had to know how to make all the cakes, cookies, pies and cobblers I love. So what’s a girl to do? Buy lots and lots of cookbooks, of course! My first baking cookbook came from a trip to Sam’s Club with my dad. We had taken a shortcut through the middle of the store and I found myself lost in a table full of cookbooks. And there it was. The Taste of Home Baking Book. I instantly fell in love (I’m pretty sure I heard the angels singing the Hallelujah chorus).

1 cake pop pan, 3 cookie sheets, 1 springform pan, a KitchenAid stand mixer and 2,731 cookbooks later, I’ve mastered a few good baking recipes over the years (I will be posting them on the blog, so prepare yourself). Just kidding. I don’t have 2,731 cookbooks. However, my obsession with cookbooks may or may not be getting out of hand.

Enough already. Let’s get to the cake.

Last Christmas, my brother gave my sister and I gift certificates for private cake decorating lessons. Private. Cake. Decorating. Lessons. Who knew there was such a thing? Excited doesn’t even begin to describe it. Recently, my sister and I cashed in on our private lessons.

Whoa. I. Had. No. Idea.

From icing bags to tips to cake turntables, my mind was blown. Over the course of two Saturdays, we played with icing, practiced tinting, shapes, designs and writing, and decorated our own cakes. While I had higher hopes for how my cake turned out, I did successfully master how to get cake crumbs in my icing and smear them all over my cake. Beginner’s luck 🙂

Stay tuned, you’ll be seeing plenty more of these.

cake

Where were you?

 

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I was a senior in high school. School had just begun for the day. I was in the library doing some research for a Chemistry project. My teacher had left the library not long after our class came in and all of sudden he came running through the door. Breathless, he told us that a plane had just flown into a tower at the World Trade Center. I sat there in shock.

Later that morning, we asked our teachers if we could watch the news. I remember my math teacher letting us watch it for a little while and other teachers wouldn’t let us watch at all.

In the days that followed, the school played patriotic music over the intercom as we changed classes. I remember how sad it was, how sad I was, how sad everyone was.

Several years ago, I went on vacation to New York with my mom and godmother. We had plans to do some sightseeing which included Ground Zero. I was excited about seeing it but I knew it would be an entirely different feeling once I was there. Ground Zero was surprisingly very peaceful. The fountains were beautiful as were the bronze panels that held the name of every person who lost their life in the 9/11 tragedy as well as the bombing from 1993. I wandered away from my mom and godmother just to walk around and look down into the fountains and take a few pictures. I saw a man place a badge next to one of the engraved names and take pictures. I saw families placing flowers down inside their loved one’s names. I saw people lay long pieces of paper over names and use pencils to shade their names onto the paper. Then it hit me. I cried. I couldn’t move. All I could do was stand there and cry. I was completely overcome with sadness. I couldn’t help thinking what it must have been like to be working in one of those towers one minute and have a plane flying into it the next. I couldn’t imagine having to run down the stairs from 20, 30, 40, or 50 floors up only to have the building come crashing down on me. I couldn’t imagine being a firefighter, police officer or first responder and dig through the debris to try to find survivors or the deceased.

While I very much enjoyed visiting the 9/11 Memorial, I hope I never have to see another tragedy like that in my lifetime. I have a deeper appreciation for those who serve and protect us each and every day. September 11, 2001 will be a day that I will never forget nor will I ever forget those who lost their lives and loved ones that day.

9-11

I’m baaaack!

imback

After a 6 month hiatus, I’m back! I admit I’ve been rather lazy with the blog. Ok, I’ve been pretty darn neglectful. I am really good at keeping up with the all the other blogs I follow, except my own. So, I’ve decided to get back on the wagon and give my blog another try.

So, let’s catch up!

Early this summer I had iLASIK done. It was one of the BEST decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve worn contacts for more than half of my life and I love waking up every morning and being able to see.

My sister and I got to take our first beach trip together by ourselves late in the summer. She and I do spend a lot of time together since we live close, but we’ve never gone to the beach by ourselves. We had so much fun soaking up the sun, playing in the arcade, eating hotdogs and cheese fries (like we did as kids) and of course, shopping. What would a beach trip be without a trip to the outlets?

beach

Last week, my family went to the fair. I know I’m 30 years old, but I love the fair. I cannot resist the fatty fair food or the Tilt-a-Whirl. The stomach ache I had by the end of the night was totally worth it.

fair

These are just a few of the happy little things I’ve been up to over the past 6 months and I look forward to blogging more regularly. I’ve got lots more to share with you, so stay tuned!

Marvelous Monday….a day late

While I had every intention of working on this post yesterday, my St. Patrick’s Day date with Justin sort of took over my night. It’s okay though, I’m NOT complaining 🙂

I hope you all had a fabulous week last week! Mother Nature was kind enough to let up on the winter temperatures and make things feel more spring-like. But if you live in North Carolina, you know your excitement about the weather will be short-lived.

Here’s a look back at my 5 of my favorite things from last week:

1. I was able to go running since the weather was sooooo nice. I even wore a tank top instead of bundling up like the Michelin man. If only every day could be this nice!

weather 1

This what our weather is like at least once a week

This what our weather is like at least once a week

2. Warm weather is synonymous for shopping for spring clothes…well, it is for me.  I love, love, love Maurices!I pretty much left my paycheck there.

{www.maurices.com}

{www.maurices.com}

3. I made it back to Zumba! My instructor is AWESOME. Thursdays have to come to be one of my favorite days of the week because of her class. She’s also very accommodating 🙂

text

4. My brother’s name is Patrick. He was born the day before St. Patrick’s Day. But that’s not why he was named Patrick. My mom already had his name picked out and he made his debut on the 16th. Funny how that worked out. On Sunday we celebrated his birthday. We ate lunch together and watched the ACC basketball championship. Just like the old days!

{Throwback to 2005 with my brother and sister}

{Throwback to 2005 with my brother and sister}

5. Well, it happened again. This time, I can’t blame my sister for bringing doughnuts. Justin and I made our own special trip. As we pulled in, the hot sign was on, meaning they were making fresh doughnuts right then and there. Before we knew what happened, we had walked out with two dozen doughnuts. TWO DOZEN DOUGHNUTS. I won’t name any names, but somebody ate 3 chocolate-covered creme filled ones on the way home. And it wasn’t me.

donuts

Marvelous Monday!

It’s another Marvelous Monday! I hope you had a great week & weekend! I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling with the whole time change thing. I may or may not have stayed in bed until 1pm yesterday. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal in a day or three.

Here’s 5 of my favorite things from the past week:

1. My sister just had to bring two dozen doughnuts by a few nights ago. It was Krispy Kreme or bust.

Chocolate covered happy places.

Chocolate covered happy places.

2. Last Thursday & Friday, mother nature politely dumped snow/sleet/freezing rain on us. Not to worry, flip-flop weather was back by the weekend. From the looks of this forecast, it’s FINALLY going to warm up around here. Just as I say that, it will probably snow next week. Welcome to North Carolina….where it snows one day and is 75 the next. I’m #snOVERit.

weather

3. I got to spend the WHOLE weekend with Justin. Friday night we went out in Charlotte and I met some of his friends from out of town. Yay for new friends! Saturday we spent time helping his parents work on their house and Sunday we helped my parents work on theirs. I don’t care what we do, I just love spending time with him 🙂

4. I gave up eating fast food for Lent. I’m hoping this will help me to make better eating choices and motivate me to get out and start running again. Those calories sure aren’t gonna burn themselves. Now, where did I put my running shoes??

5. Last but not least, I’m slowly learning how to operate this blog. I have been reading and reading and reading and watching videos and reading some more. This past week I’ve mastered how to use a widget and my next task is how arrange pictures in a mosaic format. For you master bloggers, feel free to throw any tips my way. I need all the help I can get!

Have a fabulous week, y’all!