Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Eco-Friendly Toys

I found these amazing eco-friendly toys called Animalz. These wooden toys have ropes for arms and legs and fabric for their necks and tails so kids can bend them anyway they want. You can buy one or the whole zoo anywhere from prehistoric animals to farm animals to animals that live in the Artic. They run from 7-12 inches high, which is perfect for traveling because they can hold them in their lap. They are all reasonably prices and with every purchase Animalz will give back to help preserve nature. How awesome is that?!

I have purchased one of these guys for a special little boy and I can't wait to give it to him. I'm really excited to watch him open it!

What a perfect gift for a little boy or girl. Check out their website for a whole lot more! Happy shopping!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Top Ten: Christmas Films

I love everything about Christmas. The decorating, the warmth of friends and family, giving gifts, sleeping late, and driving through neighborhoods and seeing the lights. Another one of my favorite things to do at Christmas is watching holiday movies. There's nothing better than curling up in my fleece pjs with a hot chocolate to watch one of my all time favorite movies. Every year, I strive to make it to the Alabama Theater to see It's a Wonderful Life because the experience is just... wonderful! Below, I have named my top ten favorite Christmas movies. Is yours on the list??

In no particular order....
  1. It's a Wonderful Life
  2. Elf
  3. Miracle on 34th Street
  4. The Polar Express
  5. The Santa Clause
  6. A Christmas Story
  7. Christmas with the Kranks
  8. A Christmas Carol
  9. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  10. Four Christmases
I hope to add a new movie or two to my list this year!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

O Christmas Tree

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving. I know I did! I always enjoy changing my background to fit the season. This is is by far my favorite so far.

It's almost Christmastime and I'm so excited that the majority of my decorations are up! My housemate and I went to Walmart tonight and got a six foot live tree for $30. We bought some lights, ornaments, a skirt, and some rope (to attach it to the top of my car). I successfully drove home without it falling off and after about thirty minutes all the ornaments and lights were up. It's safe to say we have the cutest tree on our street!

I decorated the rest of our apartment with a bunch a random Christmasy things. I purchased my first nativity set at the HobLob 50% off for a grand total of $30. Most of everything came from the thrift store. I purchased a live Poinsettia which smells and looks beautiful. Needless to say, I spent under $100 on decorations this year.

For my bedroom, I went for a White Christmas theme. My sister is supposed to be making me burlap stockings so I will share those with you as soon as I get them. I used a lot of silver and glitter along snowflakes and fake snow (Epsom salt). My room feels very warm despite all of the snowy decor.

I hope you all are in the spirit to decorate! I'm in the process of making a wreath for the front door. Will be posting pictures of my top 5 easy decorating crafts. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #22

I am thankful for faith.

You see, without faith, nothing would be possible. I chose to keep God until the last day because without Him I wouldn't have any of these things. I have been blessed so much this year and I'm so thankful to be called a child of God. He is the one that gave up his life for us; what an awesome sacrifice. He loved us so much to die so what we might live forever. No man or woman or thing could compare to that kind of love. My faith is strong in the Lord. I'm thankful that he has never let me down. Faith is so important in life and without it, we'd be lost. So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all 21 things I've posted thus far and today I am thankful for my faith in Christ. What a great way to wake up and know you're in the hands of a wonderful maker. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Remember to give a few thanks today. 

I'm thankful for YOU! You have read my blog every day and that means so much. I love to write and I love even more that people like to read my writing. Thank you all for being so loyal!

22 Thankful Days - #21

I am thankful for bumps.

Not the annoying bumps on your face, but bumps that happen in life. Things that might not go exactly how you plan them to. Things that happen for no reason. Things that force you stop and figure out what you're doing in life. Those kind of bumps. Bumps are good. They allow you to open up and see yourself for who you really are. They allow you to think outside of the box and reconsider things. Sometimes bumps happen to people you love that you have no control over. Those are the sucky bumps, but they still guide you through life. They teach you thinks you thought you'd never need to know. How to be strong and confident. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the bumps in your life that have led you to who you are today. When you sit down to eat dinner/lunch with your family, remember it's the bumps that got you here. The forks in the road that forced you make a life changing decision. The people or things you had to give up in order for you to succeed. Whether that decision was good or bad, you made it. You went with your heart and you did what you had to do. Life isn't always about the happy times but about the bumps that led you to that happiness. Instead of walking over the bump, jump with joy! Don't bust your tires out though. Life goes on, and the world doesn't stop turning just because you have a bad day. God is good. God gives you bumps in life to challenge you and see what your heart is about. When I see a speed bump, I stop and say, "Thank you, God." 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #20

I am thankful for first responders.
Is there anyone braver than first responders? At the time of highest fear and most uncertainty, and at the time everyone else is running away from danger, first responders are running toward it.
And they’re running toward it for a loved one not for themselves. First responders are running at top speed toward the danger for total strangers. Many times, they have no idea of exactly what they’re heading into, but in they go. I don’t think any words can describe the incredible courage and dedication it takes to be a first responder, and it’s a shame that it takes an emergency situation like 9/11 or even Sandy to remind us just how special these people are. But I know I speak for countless people around the world when I say that first responders are on my mind this Thanksgiving as one of the things I am most thankful for. Thank you first responders! You are the heroes of our community and we couldn't live without you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #19

I am thankful for family.
I have a pretty large family on both sides. We try to get together often or at least once a month. Whether we're coming to them or they're coming to us, family is always the theme of Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful for their support and legacy of love. We've always been there for each other and I know that if I ever needed anything any member of my family would be there to help if possible. The saying is true, it takes a village to raise a child. When a child is born into a family, every member devotes their life to raising that child. My grandparents, aunt and uncles, cousins, and siblings have all in some way shaped who I am as a person and as a woman in society. My family has taught me why a strong foundation of faith is important and it has informed me what I value most in relationships. I'm proud of my family. Even though I don't agree with all of their decisions, I know they've done the best they could. I understand that some people don't get to luxury of having family around the holidays. Every year around this time I stop and think about the children who aren't as fortunate to have the wisdom of their elders. I hope someone, somewhere is giving them the advice they need to succeed with the love and the support to help them through life. I don't know where I'd be with that from my own family. They understand when I make mistakes and choose to love me anyway. That is a blessing and I'm grateful to have it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #16, 17, 18

Wow have I been busy! I'm so behind on these posts so they might be shorter then the ones I first started doing. It's doesn't mean I'm less thankful, I'm just running out of hours in the day!

#16 - I am thankful for music.
I am so thankful for the gift of music and I'm not just limiting it to one genre. Music helps me get through happy times and sad. There are certain songs that I can hear and automatically think about a certain time in my life or a certain person that means something to me. Good music is a gift and good music means different things to different people. What I call good you might call garbage. But the purpose of music is to make you feel. Music evokes feelings that can't be measured by anything other force. I couldn't imagine life without it.
#17 - I am thankful for literature.
Like with music, literature is empowering. I love to read. I read a lot of the same types of books but I'm trying to open my box a little and find things that I wouldn't normally pick up. John Green is by far my favorite artist to date. The way he writes, and the way I feel when I read his books is incomparable. Literature takes you into a different world where things are tangible and real. With Green's books, I feel like I know the characters and I can picture them in real life. I feel their struggles and pain and I celebrate with their successes and happiness. So with this year, I am thankful for authors that write about real life situations and who aren't afraid to leave out the happy ending because they know that's never how life actually works. I'm thankful for their hearts and visions that they poured into these stories. I'm thankful that I, as a reader, can learn and grow and appreciate good work. I'm thankful that I know how to read because without that knowledge my entire world would be different. I am thankful for my creative writing teacher who showed me what good literature was. If more kids read in schools today, maybe things would be different.
#18 - I am thankful for feelings.
I am thankful for tears, for helping me express true emotions of good and bad. I am thankful for disappointment so I know what really matters most. I am thankful for determination so I can force myself to make goals. I am thankful for fears so I know my opportunities for growth. I am thankful for pain because it allows me to be a stronger person. I am thankful for hope because it's always pushing me to try again. I am thankful for sadness because it's important to appreciate the spectrum of human emotions. I am thankful for happiness because life is beautiful and there are so many things to smile about. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #15

I am thankful for the little things.
There's a whole website devoted to the best things in life. The little things are life's blessings, the ones most people don't think about. The things that make you smile every time and just the thought of them make your day a little bit better. I have put together a list of some of the little things I'm thankful for. You should do the same; it's very rewarding.
  • when you turn the spell checker on and nothing is misspelled
  • a smiley face on a receipt
  • the courtesy wave from a nice driver
  • when my puppy jumps up and kisses me for no reason
  • a bear hug that lasts a long time
  • a kiss from my papa
  • random gifts from my mother
  • that last minute or so until you fall asleep
  • figuring out how to do something on your own (woman power!)
  • watching Disney movies
  • figuring out what the outcome of a movie will be, and getting it right
  • the five-second head scratch my boyfriend gives me
  • finding money left in your apron
  • gift certificates from Vera Bradley in the mail
  • a smell that makes you remember someone you love
  • text messages that make you LOL
  • a new recipe that comes out perfectly
  • home remedies
  • sand between your toes
  • getting to the last chapter of a book
  • that moment that you find you're falling in love
  • when your favorite character DOESN'T die
  • when you wake up only to realize you still have an hour of sleep
  • the feeling after you complete a long run
  • getting good feedback from a teacher
  • a peach popsicle
  • the smell my boyfriend leaves on my pillow
  • getting an unexpected tip
  • watching people secretly pay for military people
  • their reactions when they find out
  • the moment of feeling infinite
  • when a new baby smiles at you
  • the feeling of when a plane takes off
  • butterflies in your tummy
  • the feeling of after a speech/presentation is over
  • taking your heels off after a long day and walking on carpet
  • when a movie follows the book
  • when God sends you a sign
I literally could go on and on but this is a jist of just the blessings life gives us. I challenge you to create your own; you'll be surprised that you just can't stop.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #13 & 14

Yesterday was very hetic for me and by the time I was in bed and almost asleep I remembered I didn't post what I was thankful for.

#13 I am thankful for all five senses.
It may seem crazy but if you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell then you're lucky. Some people battle the loss of one or more of these precious senses but I am lucky to still have all of them in tact. I'm thankful I can see every day. I wake up every morning and I see sunshine through my window. I drive to work and see the beautiful fall leaves falling down around me. I get to see about a hundred or so people and I get to interact with them. I get to see my family and friends. I get to see movies with them. It doesn't seem like much but we take our vision for granted. God has blessed us with an amazing universe to see and I'm so thankful that I have that chance to do so. I am thankful I can hear the voices of my favorite music artists. At this moment I can hear birds chirping, a loud rumbling car stereo, the air conditioning, a car horn, and myself typing. I can almost bet my grandfather couldn't hear any of this and that's scary to think about. I am thankful I can touch my boyfriend with a hug and a kiss. I can hold hands with my nieces and nephews. I can feel hot and cold, wet and rough. That's a blessing. I am thankful that I can smell the baking of cookies in the oven, the lovely scents of Christmas, and even the terrible smell of gasoline. All of these things you don't think of but you're lucky to be able to do. The only you get, the more your senses decline so be thankful for what you have now and don't take it for granted. 
#14 I am thankful for choices.

I love this quote. It explains everything. Every day, I wake up and I have choices to make. Choices to be happy, to be sad, to be angry. Most days I choose to be happy. Even when things don't go my way, I choose to make something good out of it. I try very hard to be an optimist. I choose my route to work, I choose where I'll eat on my lunch break, and I even choose whether or not I need a new pair of shoes. I choose to succeed. I choose to follow Christ and be what He wants me to be. I choose to be fair to everyone I meet. I choose to give people second chances. I choose to fill my life with positive people and things. Without choices, my life would be boring. It would be the same 'ol thing every day. Choices make things interesting; they make things real. Life is about making choices. Good or bad, right or wrong and everything in between. The outcome of those choices is called destiny.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #12

I am thankful for technology.
You probably think I'm being a rich, little snob but humor me. We live in a world where nobody goes anywhere without their cell phone. We are so caught up in what other people are doing: people getting married, having babies, moving out of town, graduating, and even the inevitable - dying. I'm so thankful that at a touch of a button I can send my mother a text saying "I love you" or post an Instagram picture of my niece or nephew. This same phenomenon kills people every day. Crazy, right? I am a proud supporter of Facebook because finding your best friend from grade school is one of the best feelings in the world. I'm not just talking about social medias, I'm talking about all things technical: computer programs that make my life as a design student SO MUCH EASIER (because everyone hates manual drafting), whatever software NASA uses, medical technology that's saving lives every day, planes, trains, automobiles, music, and so much more. Technology is so important to our lives and our futures. I am so thankful for it.
The following are just some icons in the technology world. It's hard to think about what all it encompasses but I've pulled a few.

22 Thankful Days - #11

I am thankful for freedom.
Today is the day to honor the veterans and soilders deceased or living all over this beautiful country that have made the ulimate sacrifice to give up their lives for the lives of this nation. Every day, soilders are fighting all over the world so we don't have to. It's a selfless act and they deserve our upmost respect. We have rights and freedom to do as we please and that is protected and fought for every day. So if you are serving currently or have served in the past we thank you for your dedication and determination to make sure the people of America are safe. It's a beautiful thing, Veteran's Day in November. As we sit around a delicious turkey in a couple of weeks sharing what we are thankful for, don't forget about the ones who are sitting in some sand hut wishing they were home with their families. We honor you and serve you today. America the beautiful: land of the free, home of the brave.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #10

I am thankful for my education.
I am so incredibly thankful to have the ability to go to school and learn something that I love. Being in college has really challenged me to make new friends and open up to people that I didn't know. When I first came to Virginia College, I didn't know anyone. It was a culture shock because I was used to going to school with people I'd known my entire life. I was forced to get out of my shell a little and develop friendships that I know I'll take with me in the future. I love being an interior design student. I've learned so much about designing a building than I thought I'd ever need to know. I'm not just making a space look good, I'm designing it with the health, safety, and welfare of the public in mind. So far, I've been on the President's List every quarter which is a great accomplishment. I am the Secretary of the student chapter of ASID, and I've recently joined Gamma Beta Phi (the National Honor Society.) I'm also a part of a once in a lifetime grant opportunity where I'll hopefully become a LEED Green Associate in February. Most people think I'm just picking out pillows and paint but really it takes an intense amount of self-discipline and organization to be in this field. It's not easy, but the feeling of getting up and presenting your work is exhilarating and worth every ounce of time I spent on it. I thank my parents, again, for allowing me to go to this extensive and expensive school. I wouldn't be here without them! I look forward to settling into residential design with my own firm but for the time being I'll stick with any job in my field - commercial or residential. I'm looking to learn more and more every day and praying for a job in the near future. Thank you to everyone who's made this possible so far: my teachers, my classmates, my advisers, the random people who've given me encouragement to stick with it, and my family and friends. Thank you all for being so supportive and so encouraging. You are the ones that push me to be better. Thank you for your honestly and concern. I've made so many friends at VC and I look forward to growing and maybe working together on a project one day! Best of luck to all my classmates. Quit stressing so much and relax. You got into this field for a reason so enjoy it! Don't over-work yourself that you can't stop and appreciate your work and feel proud of yourself for your accomplishments. You've worked so hard for this. Don't ever give up on your dreams.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #9

I am thankful for my humble abode.
My very small and cramped abode, might I say. This August, I jumped into the unknown and got an apartment. I regret it in two ways: one, my room at my parent's was SO MUCH BIGGER and two, bills suck. I am thankful; however, that I have made every rent and had plenty left over for food and other things. I have not once been in trouble with money or had to cut back from going out and doing things with my friends. I am also thankful to have a roof over my head, hot water, air condintiong, cable, and internet, even though it was a nightmare to get all of it figured out. Having a roommate has been interesting, to say the least but not in a bad way. My roommate is great; she's clean, let's me decorate all over the place, forgives me when my friends are too loud, and she pays her share of everything on time, everytime. She's been the one to take out most of the trash, pay the bills, and unload the dishwasher and so on more than I have been. She's a blessing in disguise for sure. I do know, from my own experience, that I am a lone wolf. In other words, I am very independent and like to have my own space. So when this lease is up, I'm going to venture out into the unknown (again) and live by myself. That will quite a journey, I'm sure. But for the sake of this "thankful" post, I am very thankful. To my parents for being in my corner and supporting me, to my other family members/friends that have given me advice throughout this adventure, and to my roommate, Haley, for being the best/last roommate I'll ever have! Thanks for being so understanding.

22 Thankful Days - #8

I am thankful for my health.

There's not a lot to say for this one so I'll just keep it short and sweet. At the age of 20 I've never had any major health issues. I've never been hospitalized or even broken a bone. Knock on wood. So far, I'm pretty lucky in that aspect. I'm not one to stick to a workout plan or even visit the gym once a week, but I know that's it's so important. You never know for sure what will happen, but I'm thankful that I've been blessed with good health.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #7

I am thankful for my job.
I don't have many picture of work because I'm always working but above (and below) is a few of the girls I have the pleasure of working with. The last picture is my Dreamland in Birmingham, AL. ;)
It might not always be sunshine and rainbows, but I am thankful that I have a job. I'm a waitress at a down-home barbeque restaurant and if you've ever been in the food industry you'll know what I mean when I say that it takes a whole lot of self-control to work in this business. There are some customers that I would love to strangle and then there are other customers that are so nice and so grateful that make me want to go to work everyday. You're going to have to wait on rude and ignorant people from time to time but the really good ones are what makes it worth it. Almost nine times out of ten I leave with some sort of cash in my pocket, some nights a little and some a lot. I'm not going to go off my my tipping ran-page but next time you go out to eat, just thank your server. Multiple times. And please tip. Even if it's just 10% because our income, our rent, our food, our gas comes from you. You are our paycheck because we don't hardly ever get one. So back to being thankful. I am thankful to work at a restaurant where everybody is laid back and the managers are accommodating to my school schedule and personal issues. The servers are all like family and we help each other out. If there's food to be ran or a table needs something, we'll gladly help. It's not just about ourselves; we're a team. I'm thankful that I've been there a year now and the majority of days I love it. Like I said, some days are awful, but you just have to suck it up and move on. There will be a customer that makes up for it somewhere down the road. Thanks, Dreamland. To the managers, servers, catering, the kitchen folks, and mostly the customers for being loyal and so kind. You all have a special place in my heart! There's a reason for our slogan because there's nothing like you guys anywhere!
I almost forgot...The BEST part about working at Dreamland is getting to meet famous people. Standing with my friend Taylor and I is George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) from Grey's Anatomy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #6

I am thankful for my two sisters & their families.

Without these two women, I wouldn't be the aunt that I love to be. Not only have they given this family four precious children to adore and spoil, they've both given me some sort of advice down the road that's been beneficial to who I am today. I thank both of them for just being there, for answering the phone when I call and listening to my problems and praises. I had a different childhood growing up because my sisters were so much older than me. They became motherly-like the older I got. I became to respect them and cherish them in a way that most siblings don't do. I wasn't near as close to them when I was younger than I am now. I guess it's because I've grown up and I we don't fight like cats and dogs. I've watched them become so successful and that makes me strive to have a life like that. They've both accepted me as a little sister and supported me throughout all my decisions in life. I thank both of you for trusting me with your children and allowing me to be a huge part of their lives. I know it doesn't say much, but thank you for living so close! At any given moment I could pack up and come see you in less than an hour and I'm blessed for that. The father's of these children are just as important. You've became a part of this family knowing that we were all nuts! :) You've both made so many sacrifices to get where you are today and I thank you for doing what you have to do for your family. You two are like the brothers I never had. Both families are amazing and I thank you all for being a part of this family. We've been through some rough patches in the last few years but we've made it and we didn't leave one another. I am so thankful that we all get along (for the most part) and we all can share the joys of life together. To my sisters, thank you for everything. I know I could count on you both for anything!

Monday, November 5, 2012

22 Thankful Days - #5

I am thankful for my wonderful grandparents.

Better known as Momaw and Papa, these two have a huge impact in my life. Being the only set of grandparents I have left, I am so thankful I get to share life with them. Today, especially, I am most thankful they have shared 62 years of marriage. They have that stubborn love that's contagious. I love my grandparents and I know I don't spend enough time with them. I had a huge wake up call when my grandmother, on my father's side, passed away in 2010. I'm thankful because I know a lot of people don't get the privilege of having their grandparents pass down wisdom and encouragement. Grandparents are full of stories about life and I love hearing about their childhood and how different it was for them growing up. I hope that I can live a successful life just as they have. I look forward to my grandparents being at my wedding and then getting to meet my children. I hope that they stay healthy and strong. I've always heard "there is a grandmother out there that prays for you" and that gives me a sense of comfort. Maybe I've been so lucky because I have praying grandparents. I don't know, but I'd like to think so. Thank you Momaw and Papa for everything you've done for this family. You're the leaders of this family and I look up to you both. I am forever grateful for you.

And for my amazing Grandmother that I had the honor of living five miles away from and yet we didn't spend enough time together. I took her for granted but I loved her very much. I know you're shining down from heaven with Papa waiting on me to reunite with you. I know you were proud of me and I miss you everyday!