Friday, August 22

My Fall Bucket List

I discovered with my summer bucket list, I initially set the bar too low. Since I crossed most of my list off in the first couple weeks, I added a couple things: 
  • Take swimming lessons
  • Post a happy photo on Instagram every day
I did accomplish the first - as intimidating as it was, I joined the Master Swim Class at my gym that Brian has been attending to prepare for his triathlon. I really couldn't swim when I started - in all the years of swim classes at the YMCA as a kid, I never figured out proper breathing. Despite the embarrassment of near-drowning the first lesson, I'm really glad I took this class. I'm swimming better now than I ever have before,  and it's actually kind of fun! 

As for the second goal - I failed. Which is really too bad. I need the reminder to look for something positive every day. So, I'm putting this one on my fall list. 

1. Post a happy photo on Instagram every day.

2. Go to a bonfire. I put this on my summer list originally, which was a terrible idea. I think it will be much more pleasant in the fall.

3. Have people over. Maybe a little party of some sort, if I'm being really adventurous. 

4. Learn to country dance. One of my friends just learned recently, and she's inspired me to try. 

5. Learn to play a complete song on the guitar. 

6. Read a book. 

7. Pack. 

8. Move. 

9. Unpack.

10. Decorate the new house for fall. Yes, you read that right - we are in the process of buying a house! Our first, very-own house!

The current owners have 10 chickens in the backyard. There's also a garden, and a fireplace, and so much more. I'm excited to share it with you soon!

What's on your fall bucket list? Leave a comment below. 

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Sunday, August 17

24 Things I've Learned in 24 Years

Almost three weeks ago now,  I turned 24! I celebrated with lunch with my friends at work, then leaving early to play my new guitar!

This was Brian's birthday present to me. He's a used Fender, and I love him. It's like they say in Harry Potter - "The wand chooses the wizard," but in this case, "The guitar choses the girl." 
My birthday goal was to learn to play "Happy Birthday" before the end of the day, and I succeeded! But boy, I forgot how much it hurts to play until your fingers get calluses. 

Brian also took me out to dinner, and I received a host of birthday wishes and gifts from my family. 

Last year for my 23rd, I made a list of 23 things I'd learned in 23 years. Hopefully, now that I'm a year older, I've learned at least one more. 

1. You will never "arrive." The dream job won't always be dreamy, new experiences will get old, and when you achieve what you think will make you happy, you find that there's something you missed. 

2. That's why you have to choose contentment now.

3. You control you. 

4. You have a lot to learn.

5. Life is too short to not wear glitter shoes.

6. Most of the time, things are not as bad as they seem. 

7. You have to chill out. Seriously. 

8. Confidence is two-thirds of the battle. 

9. Vision will win. 

10. Lead by the force of good ideas. 

11. People will follow those who inspire them. No one wants to follow someone who only complains about the problem.

12. There's no substitute for genuinely caring about people.

13. Growth and change are hard,  and painful. Especially in marriage, when sometimes it feels like you're growing in different directions. You're changing at different rates, and this is ok. 

14. You will make it.

15. If having a puppy prepares you for children, you have a long way to go. 

16. Doing the right thing can be really, really hard. And lonely.

17. God's design for marriage and family is more beautiful and so much bigger than you ever understood before. 

18. Sometimes, every day is an act of courage. 

19. Keep fighting for what you believe in.

20. You care too much. Don't stop. 

21. If you don't time to enjoy right now, in a year or two, you'll look back and wish you had. 

22. There is no 80's movie montage, and suddenly you feel brave. You have to just do it in spite of the fear.

23. You are braver than you think. 

24. You are stronger than you know. 

What's something you've learned over the last year? Share it with us in the comments!
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Sunday, July 20

Easy Summer Craft: Gold Painted Seashells

To me, summer = beach, beach = seashells. I have quite a collection - Panama City, North Myrtle Beach, Cannon Beach, several beaches in California and a beach in Mexico are represented.

Most of them have sat in my craft drawer or a jar on the bathroom counter, just waiting to a creative way to be displayed. Thank you, Pinterest.

In my summer bucket list post, I mentioned painting seashells. This is such an easy craft, it doesn't really need a tutorial, but since I put my own spin on the Pinterest versions, and the shells turned out so well, I really just wanted an excuse to post pictures.

So here you are: 

You will need: 

  • Seashells
  • Metallic craft paint
  • Paint brushes

Originally, I planned to use silver and gold, but I loved the gold look so much that I used it on all of my shells.

There's a few ways you can approach the actual painting:

  • On some shells, I painted a very thin coat that blended into the texture of the shell, almost looking like it was just a part of the shell originally. 
  • On others, I covered the entire shell, front and back. 
  • Then to get fancy and put my own spin on it, I did some "dipped" shells, and various striped shells. Those are my favorite, because the natural beauty of the shell shines through.

So once your shells are painted, what do you do with them?

Show off, naturally. Some of the smaller ones I display in a glass jar on the bathroom counter. I use the big ones to organize my make up drawer - they're lovely containers for hair ties, small eye shadow compacts, lipsticks, etc.

But for my favorite ones, with these frames from Ikea, a couple book pages, and some hot glue, I made these shadow boxes.

They're hanging in the bathroom now, and I love having a bit of the beach with me here in valley heat, to remind me that escape is only six hours away...

Also, now I'm officially bitten by the Midas bug. I'm scouring my apartment for anything ordinary that's just crying out for some gold paint. Mugs, picture frames, stapler, various decor items... this could get out of hand. I'll let you know.