Thursday, April 20, 2017

Southernisms that were new to me

Before I moved to the South I thought I had a fairly good grasp of Southern culture. I'd traveled a lot with my family, eaten at plenty of Cracker Barrels, and had seen many movies and TV shows that took place in the South. Much of my family tree can trace its roots back to the South, even Alabama, and I considered myself a well-traveled and well-educated person. I knew about "Bless your heart," (an insult), and, "Y'all," and, "Ain't." I had eaten grits and fried okra, so obviously I knew everything about the south...

So I wasn't expecting too much of a culture shock. Obviously I knew things would be different. I just didn't realize how much there was that I didn't know about the South! Here are a few "Southernisms" that took me by surprise.

Using "done" and "seen" incorrectly, even by well-educated people!

Example: "I done it already," or, "I seen that show last week!"

"Whatchu got ta say?" actually means, "How are you doing?"

This one freaked me out the most. Some random man who maintains our coffee machines at work looked at me and said, "Whatchu got ta say?" I had no idea how to respond! I just looked at him and said, "I have no idea what that means." Then HE thought I was crazy.

"I bled more'n a stuck hawg." 

I think you can figure out what that one means. 

"Like putting lipstick on a pig."

Meaning trying to make something that is inherently ugly, beautiful.

"Make" for any random thing. 

"Get your picture made," or, "The class didn't make - not enough people signed up."

What do you think about these phrases? Did any of them surprise or confuse you, too?

In other news, after 3 years in Alabama, we will be moving this summer! I can't give any more details at this time, but once our plans are fully set, I'll be updating here! We're also going to Ukraine and Europe this summer, so I will definitely blogging about those trips.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Links and Loves

This post does not contain affiliate links. 

Sniff Sniff, looks like Spring!

Am I the only person in the world who hates springtime?  The pollen!  The allergies!  It's miserable!  And don't get me started on Daylight Savings Time.  I feel jet lagged for a week after we "spring forward."  Maybe I'd feel different if I lived somewhere truly cold, where spring brings a welcome relief of temperatures...


I've been horrible about blogging this month.  So much has been going on.  I've actually had tons of ideas for posts but just not enough time to sit down and make them happen.  But we're coming up on Spring Break next week, so maybe I can get a few scheduled soon!  In the meantime I thought I'd pop on and share a few links I've been loving lately!

These erasable pens have changed my life.  I'm actually doing a full review of them soon!  (You can find them at Target for much cheaper than Amazon, just saying!)

I'd love to order one of these prints!

I find myself frequenting these types of blog posts a lot when my chronic illness creeps up and getting out of my pajamas to go to work is physically painful! (P.S. I've gotten a few more answers to my health problems, and I'll be sharing about it soon.)

I plan on doing some "spring cleaning" next week, so I'll be consulting this handy checklist to keep me on track!

This is still one of my favorite posts I've ever written.  Should I do a Part 2?

I could listen to this song over and over again.  Plus the lyrics just speak to my soul.

What have you guys been loving lately?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Favorites

My January Favorites post was a big hit, so I decided to try to do one each month!  What have you been enjoying lately?

Jade roller

I use this for nightly and morning facial massages.  It is supposed to help reduce puffiness.  I don't know if it's really working; I've only had it a short time.  It feels really lovely, though, especially when it's a bit cold.  Feels very soothing.  And if nothing else, just rolling it around my face reminds me to relax my facial muscles, which has to help with something, right?  I got it from Amazon.

Lipsense - Napa

As you know from this post, I am now a distributor for Lipsense.  I recently got this color, Napa, and it is my new all-time favorite lip color!  It makes my eyes look green and my teeth look white. Win-win!

Handmade thank you notes

I used some old water color pages from my art journal and wrote a simple thank you message on them.  I was thinking about sending these with my Lipsense orders.  I'm inspired to make some more little notecards with all my art journal pages and painting scraps.

Using a men's razor

I picked up a pack of Gillette Fusion razors from Sam's club because they were cheaper than the Venus ones.  And guess what - they work so much better!  They give a smoother shave and don't cause as much irritation on my sensitive skin.  (I'm talking about my legs, by the way...)  Also, I don't have a picture of the razor because I thought that would be kinda weird...

Thanks so much for reading.  What are your favorites from February?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Lipstick Addiction

Hello friends!  Sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  I've been soooo busy.  I thought I'd pop on here and give you a little life update.


The month of February brought some good health, but still no answers, yet.  I've had many tests done and am just waiting for the next step.  I've tried to eliminate some stress, and that has helped a LOT.  I have a lot more energy.


My job has been going great.  In January I had a bunch of work-related trips and it was a bit stressful.  But February has been smooth sailing.


We are going on a service trip to Ukraine this summer!  I will be teaching in some music camps and Peter will be helping with the athletic portion of the camps, as well as documenting the trip with photos and videos.


I signed up as a distributor of Lipsense... have you heard of it?  IT'S SO FREAKING AWESOME.  Basically it's lipstick that doesn't come off or smudge all day.  All of my profits from this business will go toward our Ukraine trip!  If you're interested in learning more, please check out my facebook group:

I promise this blog will NOT be overrun with Lipsense posts!  I may post occasionally on here, but it will not turn into a Lipsense website, trust me!  I just wanted to mention it at least once so you would have the chance to learn more!


So what have you been up to lately?


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Intentional Living

Note: Since writing this post we actually did buy a TV.  We initially only got it to watch the olympics.  And you know what?  We hardly ever watch it now.  Peter uses it for video games, sometimes we'll watch Netflix... but usually... it's off.  So I think this post still applies.

There's usually a mix of reactions when people hear (or see) that we don't have a TV.  Surprise, disbelief, scorn, and sometimes envy.  We invariably get asked a lot of questions about why we don't have one.  How do we survive??? What do we doooo???  I usually just shrug my shoulders and reply something along the lines of, "Well at least we're saving a lot of money..."

But when I really stop to think about it, there are many reasons why I don't want a TV, and only a few of them have to do with money.  I hate background noise, I hate commercials, I get bored easily, we don't have to pay for cable.  But mostly it has to do with intentional living.  TV is a distraction.  For many people, it's an escape... from reality, from their thoughts, from their lives.  I'm sure a lot of people could benefit from unplugging the TV and just living intentionally.

What does that even mean, living intentionally?  How do you do it?  Why should you do it?

Be intentional with your words

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Don't be a flake.  Don't be superficial or "fake nice."  Pay attention to how people are receiving your words.  Don't barrel through conversations.  Pay attention to how people respond during conversations and adjust your tone if needed.

Be intentional with your time

TV is a big time waster.  What could you be doing instead?  Exercising?  Reading a book?  Starting a hobby?  Spending time with family or friends?  Make time to be with the people you care about.  And when you are with them, really be with them.  Don't keep checking your phone.  Don't let your mind wander.  Pay attention to them.  Do you know someone who's in the hospital?  Go visit them.  Don't always be daydreaming about the future.  Be present in the moment.

Be intentional with your actions

Pay attention to your body language, your quirks, your habits.  Are you trying to emulate someone?  Are your actions contrived?  Just be yourself.

I think the main thing to remember about intentional living is to pay attention to your surroundings and the people you're interacting with.  Don't waste your time on trivial things.  Live in the moment and don't take things for granted.  And be yourself.  Don't try to look or act like someone else.

What do you think?  Do you try to live intentionally?  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Favorites 2017 || Natural beauty, home decor, monthly bill organizer ||

I'm going to *try* to publish my favorites every month.  This month has a range of items, from beauty products to home decor.  Hope you enjoy!  (This is not a sponsored post and these are not affiliated links.  I only share products I truly love.)

Lucas Paw Paw ointment is a cult-classic out of Australia.  But when I did some research I realized that it contains a lot of harmful ingredients, including petrolatum.  I try to avoid anything with petrolatum in it (yes, including vaseline!).  So I came across this alternative.  It is still made with paw-paw extract, but it is a more natural version of the Lucas ointment.  It is certified organic and contains other ingredients such as honey, beeswax, and coconut oil.  I LOVE this balm.  You can use it anywhere on your skin (as a lip balm, for cuticles, rough skin patches, etc).  My lips always feel super smooth after I slather them with this stuff.  You can order it here.

I wanted a better way to organize my monthly bills.  I found this awesome binder on Etsy.  It has space to write down your bills and when you pay them each month.  It also has convenient pockets to organize each month's paid and unpaid bills.  You can buy it on Etsy here.

I picked up these cotton rounds completely by accident.  I was in a hurry and just grabbed the first thing I saw (that happened to be on sale).  I'm so glad I did.  I love these organic cotton rounds.  They really are the smoothest cotton rounds I've ever used.  They don't tug at your eyelids when you are removing your eye makeup.  They are so soft.  And it just so happens they are organic.  I will definitely be repurchasing, on purpose this time!

I finally found a natural deodorant that actually works!  This one is aluminum free and is made with organic beeswax and organic cornstarch.  It's scented with peppermint essential oil.  It works really well at keeping me odor-free all day.  The only cons are that if I use it every day in a row it can sometimes make my armpits itchy.  It also makes my armpits feel cold (that's the peppermint oil in it).  You can buy it here.

 My Christmas gift to myself was a 3-month Birchbox subscription.  I had always wanted to try it but never had.  My first box came with a lot of things I enjoyed, but this Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Honey peel-off mask was my favorite.  I don't know much about the brand or the product itself, only that I really love it!  It doesn't make my skin feel dry or tight after I use it, and yet my skin feels super smooth and nice after.  I might use my Birchbox points to buy a full size of this!  If you'd like to try Birchbox, you can get 50% off your first box if you use this link: (This is referring link and I will receive points if anyone uses my link to join Birchbox.)

My last January favorite is another Christmas present.  This one was from my dad.  He made this vase!  Isn't that awesome!  That isn't painted - He actually used two different colors of clay to get the marbled look.  I think it's totally cool and I'm trying to convince him to sell his ceramics and pottery items online!  Comment below if you think he should open up an online shop!

Ok that's all for now.  What did you enjoy this month?  Also do you think I should make "favorites" a monthly thing?


Other posts you might like:


Monday, January 30, 2017

What dog breed are you?

I was originally supposed to include this with my January Favorites that I was planning on posting today, but I was having some issues with the pictures I took, so that will have to be rescheduled.  

It's no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I'm obsessed with my dog.  Just look at him! He's so cute!  Recently the people over at created a flowchart called "Find Your Perfect Dog Breed."  I thought this was super cute and wanted to share it. *This is not a sponsored post.*  Take a look at this flowchart and let me know what dog breed you are!

My dog is actually a mutt, but I think he has part dachshund in him.  He is definitely a little cuddle bug and a Loyal Companion.  Just what we wanted!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for January Favorites coming soon.  And thank you to everyone who expressed concern after my last post.  I will post a health update after my next appointment.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Health Update

The other day I put out a prayer request on Facebook because I was going to the doctor and I was desperate for them to find an answer.  Many people were concerned and I wanted to update everyone but felt like this was too much to put on Facebook.  So here it is.

I've been going to the doctors for several years suspecting either a thyroid disorder or an autoimmune disorder and they keep telling me I'm "fine."  But lately my symptoms have gotten worse and worse.  I wake up after 8 - 9 hours of sleep still feeling exhausted.  I work a normal day and feel relatively ok during the day.  Sometimes I feel tired in the afternoons, but I'm able to work 8 - 9 hours a day.  But as soon as I get home I "crash."  I can't do anything.  My head will ache, my body will ache, and I can barely get up the energy to eat dinner and take my dog on a short walk.  All I can do is lie in bed.  (This is not every day.  But it is the majority of days.)

The doctors always an excuse.  "You're just stressed," or "You're just paranoid..."

I don't think this is normal.  I'm not stressed or depressed.  All my blood work is "normal," yet something is not right.  I can just tell.  I think people can tell when their body is not quite right.  I was put on a 30-day hear monitor after my most recent appointment (I've been having tachycardia and palpitations, but again my stress test and ecco all came back as "normal..."), and I've been referred to a rheumatologist due to possible irregular ANA results.  I always thought I had low thyroid, but now I'm suspecting it might be high.  My TSH levels were on the low side and my T3 levels were on the high side (of "normal...")... and those are indicative of hyperthyroid. I also have EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM of hyperthyroid (except for weight loss... I'd be in the 10% of people who actually gain weight with hyperthyroid...).

I'm thinking I might have to travel several hours to find an endocrinologist that will see me without a referral, since my general practitioner seems to think my thyroid is "normal" and won't refer me.  

Anyway long story short is that I'm finally at my wits end about this.  I'm emotionally exhausted and anyone who knows me knows that I don't cry easily and I very rarely let myself cry.  I can tell you the exact last time I cried, and it was in May of 2015...  So the fact that I'm sitting in bed about to cry my eyes out is a big deal... The fact that I'm posting it on Facebook is a big deal...

(I have to say that my husband has been amazing throughout this.  He has been so helpful and empathetic.  I am very grateful.)

So that's the update.  Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.  And if you're the praying type, I'd really appreciate if you'd remember me in your prayers.

Friday, January 6, 2017

How to have a perfect house in 6 steps || Nailed it

Step 1
A gorgeous kitchen sink


Step 2
A "dreamy" dining room


Step 3
A classy, curated bookshelf


Step 4
A functional, organized home office space

Step 5
A cozy, welcoming guest room


Step 6
A sparkling fresh bathroom counter


So that about sums it up!  Have a great weekend and don't forget to nail it!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Things I want to do in 2017

Yesterday I published a recap of my 2016 goals and how I did/didn't do at completing them...

Here are all the things I want to do in 2017!

I would like to write and publish an ebook or emagazine.  I have absolutely no idea what to write about... so if you have any suggestions on what you would be interested in reading, please leave a comment!

Another cross-over goal from last year is to get a handle on my health issues.  Find a doctor who will actually do something about my crazy symptoms, even though my blood work is "normal."

Be more active - make healthier choices.  Do more yoga and pilates, eat more fruits and vegetables.

Seriously look into a PhD program, and maybe apply.  This is something I've wanted to do for soooo long but just haven't taken seriously.  Mostly because I have been back and forth on what I actually want to study.  I think I've made up my mind that I would like to study musicology (instead of conducting, which is what my Master's is in)... but the thought of "giving up" conducting is very scary, so I'm not convinced yet...

Blog more.

Organize my office/art supplies.  Well we're 2 days into the new year and I've already made some good progress on this goal!  High five!

Purge and have a yard sale.  We seem to collect so much junk around my house.  I need to just get rid of it!  I'm going to donate what I can and have a yard sale for the rest.

Decorate my bedroom.  It's half-way there.  Just need a few more finishing touches.

Sell at least one thing, either on Etsy or Society6.  I have so many designs that I want to create into notebooks or notecards or art prints... I just need to do it!

"Downgrade" to part-time work, or at least find a job where I can work from home.  We haven't been in a place, financially, to be able to do this.  But after this school year I would like to make this happen.  I think a lot of my health issues stem from the fact that I'm so exhausted and stressed out from my job.  I want to seriously make this happen.

And, finally, find balance.  2016 was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, emotional highs and lows, for various reasons, but mostly related to my job.  I really need to find a way to find balance in my life and be able to "shut off" work when I'm at home and just be able to relax and enjoy life.

WOW that's a lot of goals!  I hope I can follow through on all of them!
What are your goals for 2017?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Goal RECAP

Last year I gave myself some resolutions, or "goals," as I called them.  Let's see how I did.

1. Get my health in order.
I tried.  I really tried.  I saw many doctors, had many appointments, had much blood drawn, peed in cups, all that fun stuff.  But nothing was resolved.  And now I have a few more issues that are creeping up.  Argh.

2.  Create a capsule wardrobe.
Didn't happen.  I wanted to wait until my weight fluctuations were manageable, which I thought would happen once I got my health issues figured out.  But as you know from #1, that hasn't been resolved yet...

3.  Do more yoga.
I did this!  I also did Pilates quite regularly for awhile.  Then my schedule got so busy that I had to drop it.  But I still kept doing yoga.  I want to do even more this year!

4.  More local tourism.
I think I did this.  Well, I don't know if it's "local" but we did a road trip and got to see several different states... does that count? (Summer Vacation Part 1 and Part 2)

5.  Pay off some debt.
Accomplished.  Still have a bit more to pay off, but I was happy to check off a few items from our list!

6.  Make time for things that make me happy.
Done.  I spent the summer finding beauty in different art forms, and it was very therapeutic!  I spent some time in my art journal, and I allowed myself to rest.  I bought a piano!  It has been so wonderful to be able to play whenever I want!

What else did I get up to in 2016?

I had another career breakdown.  Ugh.  Not fun.

I wrote down some "life hacks" that I love.

I found beauty all around me.

I wrote down my favorite literary quotes, which turned out to be quite a popular post on my little blog!

I discovered a new way to remove makeup.

I got very philosophical after my New York trip.

I offered some free stock photos.

I made a video of making tea.

I finally got to visit Whole Foods again.  Man, I miss that store!

I also got to stock up at Trader Joe's.  Miss that store even more!

I redesigned and relaunched my other blog.

I discovered my new favorite product.

I shared an easy curly-hair updo.

I learned a little bit more about myself, from my husband!

And, finally, I reassessed my version of "culture shock" of living in The Deep South.

All in all, 2016 had some major ups and downs, many of which I did not share on here.  I'm grateful for a new year and a fresh start.  2017 Goals coming at ya tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!