Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of 2016

It must be a symptom of getting older, but I feel like time is flying by like never before. 2016 was an interesting year for me. While the beginning of the year was fairly average, the 2nd half got pretty crazy. I am confident I am not the same person as last year, and I'm excited about that! 

Here are a few highlights from this past year (my 3rd year of blogging!) and the top posts you guys loved. 
The month of January started off really great with a trip to Tarpon Springs and our last trip to Disney World for a while. (We are holding off on renewing our passes until next year.) Blake also had his Gallbladder scare in January. That was a very stressful trip to the ER. They had him give up a few foods, and I found a cleanse online for him to try. So far he hasn't had any problems with it again. However we are still working on that hospital bill!

By far your favorite post in January was my Warby Parker home try-on experience with the Spring Collection. I loved the frames I tried, and I'm still planning on ordering some prescription sunglasses. 

February is always one of my favorite months! Our anniversary is on the 27th, and we tend to celebrate it all month long! 2016 marked 6 years for us, and I wrote a really funny post about the things that didn't go perfectly on our wedding day. 

My personal favorite post in March was the interview I did with Blake, called "So I Married A Blogger". He cracks me up, and I really think he needs his own blog. Although it'd end up being about video games or sports. I also personally loved writing this post about taking your own listing photos. It's one of my jobs at work, and I really like doing it, but you can do it too! 

Your favorite post was, surprise surprise, a pug post! I share a few suggestions on what you'll need with a pug and some tips about training.

In April you guys loved my unboxing of my First Stitch Fix! I really liked the idea, but only ended up getting 2 boxes. However my favorite and go-to dress came from the first box! 


My favorite thing to share in April were the photos Blake and I took. We re-took our wedding photos, 6 years later! I LOVE this pictures and think they capture us so much better than the original ones we took.  
May is when we accomplished something I've been dying to do forever! We did a back porch makeover. It turned out exactly like what I had pictured and we adore sitting out there. The furniture has held up really well-minus the crazy neighbor dog incident. We left the screen door open one night and a crazy dog from the neighborhood had a party on our porch. Some of the cushions got chewed on, but after a good washing you can barely tell. We are a lot better about closing that door now. 

We sit out here as often as possible. The only thing it's missing is some sort of fire feature, but I'm not sure that's the best idea in an enclosed area. 

June was a really busy month! I can tell because I think I posted a total of 3 times! The highlight is obviously adopting Bailey! We had wanted a 2nd pug for a long time, but adopting her happened almost overnight. She came with a lot of health problems, and it was a total shock that she was pregnant! Looking at photos of her in June and comparing them to now shows an amazing transformation. She is doing great and we love her laid back personality. 

I think I'm still recovering from our July! We started our bathroom remodel in July, and that took the entire month to complete. Bailey had her puppies on the 19th and that was all consuming! It was such a traumatic event for us, but pretty soon we were distracted by the love and care that Fred and Winston came with. 

We finally finished our bathroom makeover in August and I'm still swooning over the transformation. I love how it turned out and am also really proud that my choices came together so well. 

September was a month of recovery for us. Our summer was intense and overwhelming! We spent most of our time with the puppies, but we squeezed in a trip to the OBX with family for some rest. When we got back from our trip, we said goodbye to Fred who went to live with his new family. 3 dogs is plenty, but we still miss him! 

One of my most popular series are my Currently Loving posts! I'm glad because I love them too. I share about 5 things I'm currently crushing on. My fall favorites were shared in October

I did so many fun things in November! A highlight was certainly our cruise over Thanksgiving, but I'm most proud of accomplishing my first real 10k! That runner's high thing is legit. 
In November I also relieved Blake of his photographer duties and started using Chabeli to take my outfits photos! I love them so much and I think you guys did too. 

 In December I started my new Friday Five series, which you all seem to respond to! It's a more detailed look into my actual week, instead of just 5 random things I want to share.
Earlier this fall I started really looking into minimalism. I've made SO much progress in the last few weeks. I know this new mindset is changing me as a person. Thanks for letting me share a few minimalism updates with you! It's so rewarding to see progress. Even as I look at this picture, that I took just a few weeks ago, I see that I've gotten rid of more things that I don't need.


Thank you all for following along with me this year! I have set a few goals for 2017, and I think it's going to be slower paced next year. (Thank goodness!) 

Leave a comment below if there was a post you particularly enjoyed this year, and what you want to see more of in 2017!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Currently Loving - Winter 2016



Essential Oils aren't really anything new, but they do seem to be a bit trendy lately. I've seen a ton of DIY cleaning recipes and whatnot include them in their ingredients, but had zero idea of even where to buy them. I wasn't too interested in it, that is, until we went on our OBX vacation in September. Two of Blake's cousins brought their diffusers with them on the trip. I remember thinking that there must be something to it if you won't leave home without it. 

I bought a diffuser and a small set of basic oils a few weeks ago, and I totally get it. There is so much to learn, and I feel like I'm just barely scratching the surface. I have been really impressed with 4 oils in particular. Peppermint is amazing for headaches. I love using that instead of an aspirin. Lavender makes for such good sleep. That really surprised me, because I actually can't stand lavender scented candles or soaps. I'm pretty sure that's the chemical versus natural scent. And I LOVE the combination of clove and lemon. It's smells so so nice, and it's good for mental clarity - which is great when for when Blake and I are doing our Bible study together. 

I'm thrilled with this diffuser as well! Such a good price. I've also noticed that Groupon often has sets of oils. 

two// Kate Spade Tea Towels & Green Tea Pot


A quick stop at TJ Maxx landed us with a new tea pot and some really cute Kate Spade tea towels to match. As much as I love TJ Maxx, we know we can't go in there without spending some money! Our old teapot could have probably lived a little longer, but it didn't even whistle. So when we saw this one, I caved. Kelly green is probably my favorite color and I knew it would look so cute in the kitchen. Tea towels are quickly worn out in our house too because we hand wash dishes and I try to not use paper towels. 


And how cute are my pugs?? These guys were very interested in what I was doing when I snapped the picture above. 

three// Placemats and Hurricane Vases



My mind would not reconcile the decor in our dining room! It wouldn't keep quiet until I fixed it. I liked how it looked a few months ago, but Bailey peed on the rug and we couldn't get the smell out. (She likes to hold it all day and only go once...so it was like a gallon of pee) It was technically an outdoor rug so I was nervous about getting it professionally cleaned. Anyway, so we took it out and I didn't realize how much it tied everything together. I'm still on a hunt for a new rug-but we are waiting just a bit until we are positive Winston is house trained. 

In the meantime, I've been looking for some cushions for the chairs. It was the hardest search! The ones I fell in love with at Pier One were $30 a piece...times 6 chairs. The cheap ones look terrible. We found these at Walmart and I really loved the blue side. I thought that the red wouldn't be that noticeable...but they were. And it really clashed with the table runner I had....

Decor issues like that really bother me. I'm on a mission to keep things minimal, but I want my mind to be peaceful too. I decided that I really loved both the table runner I had and the cushions, but they weren't working together. The cushions have been awesome, by the way! I find that we linger at the dinner table a lot longer than we used to because it's a lot more comfy. 

I figured that Walmart would have something in that collection that would match the cushions better. The Pioneer Woman collection is SO cute, but it's way more farmy than the overall style we have in our house. Better Homes and Gardens however had these great placemats that incorporated all the colors I was hoping for. (Including the color of our bar cart/dresser) And! I found these awesome hurricane vases that matched something I already owned, which made for a great centerpiece. (I can't find links on Walmart.com for either the placemats or the vases!) My mind is a lot happier in that room now!



There is good reason why this is a beauty blogger favorite!! I am SO pleased with this mascara. My eyes are really prone to watering, and I find that certain mascaras really exacerbate that problem. After watching countless Youtube videos about it, I got an Ulta coupon in the mail and made the purchase. 

I can't say enough good things about it. My eyelashes are naturally really light and mascara is one thing I feel like I can't go without. Let's get up close and personal with my pores and unplucked eyebrows for a side by side comparison....it speaks for itself!


We all know I'm a sucker for any pug merch! Rifle Paper Co is one of my all time favorites, and they sealed the deal when they included a pug in their greeting card collection! I'm going to have a hard time sending these out... 

They also have the cutest Basset Hound and Doxie cards. I snagged a few other cards, including Blake's anniversary card for February!

Comment below on any products you are currently loving! Do you have design dilemmas? Anyone else obsessed with Too Faced products? How about essential oils?? Tell me your favorite blends to diffuse. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

O'Leno State Park: An Annual Tradition?

Two years in a row have landed us at home during winter break! The several years before that had been spent with Blake's parents in North Carolina. It feels so weird to be home, and have extra leisure time. Most weekends we are struggling to fit in as many chores as possible. 

Last year, Blake and I went for a hike in O'Leno State Park and we loved it! I was SO impressed with the well kept trails and how quiet it was out there. It's so quiet you begin to notice yourself breathing. It is almost disconcerting, but would be a great place to meditate! 

My parents and siblings also found themselves with nothing to do, so I suggested going back to O'Leno. I knew they'd all appreciate the exercise, and it's nice to not be all cooped up in the house. Especially since we had another 80 degree day, like last year.


















Obviously the majority of our family happiness comes from my nephew Carter! He thoroughly enjoyed himself. I made him a walking stick, but that ended up being a terrible idea because we were all terrified he was going to fall on it. 

Blake and I had fun hiking O'Leno last year, but this time was a bit more enhanced because of the good company! We are hoping to do another State Park trail next weekend, and I plan to share pictures from that adventure as well!

It's my goal to visit every State Park in Florida one day!