September 7, 2012

Decisions Decisions... and an update

You might have noticed (although, I very much doubt that anyone other than Sara-Kate did... hi SK!) that I haven't blogged in 3 months. I attribute this [unplanned] hiatus to several things:

1) I was studying for the Bar and had very few blog-worthy things going on to write about, 
2) I was feeling really over it, this whole keeping up with a blog thing, and 
3) As I inch closer to being a lawyer, I'm sort of conflicted about what/how much of my life I should be publicly posting on these crazy - and sometimes creepy - interwebs. 

I'm still going back-and-forth about whether I want to continue blogging at all ~ but since this is my little corner of the internet to keep record of memories that I can reflect on later without digging thru iPhoto and the like, while I mull this issue over (don't worry, I'm not really mulling... little to no actual brain space is being tied up with thoughts of do-I-or-don't-I-keep-blogging nonsense) I think I'll dump a few photo memories of the last 3 months into a post. 

**related: my sudden urge to have pictures memorialized on my blog to grab and save at a later date has been heightened due to the fact that I recently had my iPhone and camera stolen on a trip to the beach! If I'd been a better blogger, I would have had most of my pictures available online even though I don't have my phone or memory card. I'll add that to the "Pro" column of my blog/don't blog list...

We've spent lots of time having low-key fun w/ friends this summer. Concerts on the green, farmers markets, and cookouts on the deck have been our go-to weekend activities. 
Concert on the green


Gia + Darla = BFFs forever

Someone perfected the head-out-the-window dog move on our weekly drive to the Janssen's!
 We spent a week in Ohio with family and we got to MEET OUR BABY NIECE! She is getting so big and she's so presh. We are obsessed with her!
Uncle Andrew meets little Brookie

20 mile bike ride w/ my maniac mom... what was I thinking?
After a week in Ohio, we headed even farther north to spend a week with our extended family on our annual Canada fishing/boating/lake trip. I spent the majority of my week inside studying, but it was still such a fun week and Darla got to tag along!
THE BEST car riding puppy. She was so good!

View from my study dungeon on our trip to Canada.
 We headed back to Atlanta, where life as normal resumed. Aka we went back to being crazy pet parents. Darla and Bella are now besties, and spend the better part of their day chasing each other or napping (but not cuddling) near each other.
My girls :)

Darla graduated from PUPPY SCHOOL!

Embarrassingly proud parents.
 I flew up to Ohio to take the Bar exam at the end of July and got to spend a few days in Hudson after that miserable thing was over. Which meant more baby Brooke time and a little Lake Erie fun.
Auntie Em

Pier W for dinner
 And because I'm too lazy to re-order these pics, here are a few other Canada gems. Darla wasn't so sure about the water at first, but homegirl looooved the sand. And by the end of the week, she had made friends with all the other dogs and realized that she can, in fact, swim. We were as shocked as she was! We were pretty sure this big moose of a dog would sink.
Lake pup

Someone get me a power washer...

Sisters on the boat
Sadly, some of the best memories of this summer were stolen along with my phone and camera. My sister had 2 beautiful wedding showers, and then these two cuties GOT MARRIED!!!!!!! I'll snag a few pics as they get posted of their gorgeous wedding and post them sometime between now and their 10th anniversary I'm sure.
I spent Labor Day weekend in South Beach for SK's bachelorette party, which unfortunately ended with a beach theft and left me phone-less for 4 days. Moral of that story: don't leave your bags out of reach when you're doing cartwheels on the beach. Or, if you know you're prone to doing such "irresponsible" things, (thank you, husband, for using - and overusing - that adjective... I have heard it quite enough this week, thank you very much!) back up your phone and camera pics every week during your favorite show! That's my new plan, anyway ;) 

That's all I've got energy for today. I'll be back... sometime! Maybe!

June 7, 2012

Work Tote

My parents wanted to get me a nice "lawyer bag" for graduation. Little did I know, finding a quality office/court-appropriate bag to tote around would prove to be ridiculously difficult.

The totes I found were either:

a) too small 
       I don't need a weekender, just something to fit some files and at least a laptop.
b) too flimsy 
       Ideally, I was looking for something sturdy enough to stand on its own.
c) too fashionable* or 
      Black or brown leather. Boring. But necessary.
d) actually a diaper bag
     True story. Every single bag I was drawn too came with a changing pad haha.

*I'm all for fashionable work bags, believe me. But certain bags are just not made for most office settings (or, especially, not made for court): patent leather, bright colors, flashy prints, designers' monogram plastered all over it, polka dots, etc.

I wasn't interested in spending their life savings on this gift, but I wanted (and they wanted for me, of course) a nice, quality, durable bag that was designed to really last. As it turned out, a great, functional, appropriate bag was really hard to find! I narrowed it down to my go-to, favorite designers and checked them all out in person before making a decision. So, for anyone else who is in the market for a similar bag, I put together a little list of my top picks. {Based on: simplicity of design, durability, quality of materials/leather, space, and personal preference!}

I settled on the Kate Spade. It is really well-made ~ sturdy, great interior pockets/storage, and easily can accommodate files and a computer without anything poking out the top or sides. It definitely looks like a "work bag" and not a purse - which is exactly what I was going for. duh. I gave my new lawyer bag a trial run at my first big girl job interview last week and further confirmed my choice -- I love it! 

Would I rather have spent that kind of $$$ on 15 other dumb little things? Probably. But all this to say, I'm happy to have found a work tote that I will (hopefully) use for a verrrry long time. And since it wasn't as easy of a search process as I initially expected... it was worth taking the time to really look and hopefully my research and testing of these silly bags will prove to be helpful to someone else who embarks on the same search down the road ;)

Anyone else have work tote favorites to share?? I'd love to have more options/ideas to pull from for future reference!

May 31, 2012

Summer Dreaming

While I'm cooped up inside studying for the dreaded Bar exam all summer... my mind is drifting from boring contracts and property lectures to fantasies of summery sangria, bright beautiful centerpieces, fruity foods and fun warm-weather fashion.

Sadly, most days as of late I don't get out of pajamas or put on a bra until after noon. I'm doing my best to at least run a brush through my hair before my poor husband gets home... but even that is not something I'm managing to do on the reg. {On the up side, I won't have to buy new make-up at this rate until about 2015.}

8 more weeks.

Until then... here is where my little (and overcrowded. and exhausted.) brain is wandering.

Dream on.
Raspberry and Serrano Sangria... need to make this asap!

These Jamba Juice recipes look sooo refreshing! Smoothies = brain food :)

I'm loving citrus + floral centerpieces for summer entertaining.

Super healthy strawberry shortcake muffins - these look like a perfect summer breakfast/brunch addition!

I'm daydreaming about this entire outfit... and also dreaming of a long toned arms/legs to go inside the clothes...

Thanks to my black thumb and no time, this will continue to be a pipe dream for basically... well, forever.
And with that, my 10-minute study break is up. Back to Professor Poke-Your-Eyes-Out-Boring for the remainder of the morning.

Go enjoy some summer fun for me, will ya?? :)

May 18, 2012

Brooke Michelle

The long-awaited birth of our precious niece finally arrived last week!

Brooke Michelle was born on May 14th.

Her perfect little cheeks weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz.
She has stolen our hearts and we can't wait to get our hands on her next month!!!

Her first picture!

Cutest little burrito
One of my faves!
"No more pictures please..."
"Excuse me... someone get me outta here!"
So precious!!!!!
Despite being hundreds of miles away, we feel like we know this little bean already thanks to (almost hourly) pictures from my in-laws! We're an aunt/uncle... what a cool, special, amazing thing! We can't wait to watch this little girl grow. Her birth has made us really anxious to move back closer to family so that we can be part of her life on a more regular basis :)

Brooke ~ you have only been on this planet for a few short days and already you are so loved!!! Your auntie and uncle can't wait to spoil you rotten....... in fact, I'm headed out right now to mail you a (another...) present! xoxo

Lamp Shade DIY

As many of you know, moving is ex.pen.sive! No matter how hard to you try to keep things cheap... the cost of boxing and moving your stuff is never the only expense. Trying to fill a space that is quite a bit bigger than our last obviously has required purchasing some new stuff. Since we know we won't be living here longer than a year {depressing, let's not talk about it} I've had to really reign myself in and only buy what we need and not get everything I want since most of it probably won't be coming with us. There will definitely be some walls that remain blank and some spaces that remain empty in this house, but we're ok with that!

Aren't we? Ya, ya, ok... we are.

Homegoods and Target have been my go-to stores for the odds and ends we've needed to make this place feel "finished" ~ wall shevles, faux plants, rugs, lamps, etc. One room I really wanted to make feel complete was the office... since that's where I'll spend 90% of my summer studying for the bar exam. I tried to keep the room bright and fun, and for the most part I used things we already owned. The only new additions to the room are the rug under my desk, the floating shelves on the wall, and the lamp.

My study space

Our bright, happy vision boards

Andrew's adjusting table gets a place to live in the new office too!
We never had a desk lamp, and it always annoyed us when we'd study at night... to the point where we just didn't study in the office. So I picked up this plain white lamp at Target (the RE line, it was like $7 I think). The white shelves and lamp against the lighter-than-our-old-apartment wall color looked really blah. But in the interest of saving $$$ I decided to just fancy up what I already had rather than running out to buy new stuff!

Using a 40% off coupon at Michaels, I picked up some white rosette ribbon ($6) and pulled out some fabric glue I had on hand from the dollar store ($2). After cutting the ribbon down to fit the base of the lamp shade, applying a thin line of fabric glue (x3), pressing on the ribbon and letting it dry... I had a fancy pants lamp that I love in under 5 minutes and for about $12.
Plain lamp before

Ribbon and fabric glue


It looks the cutest when the room is lit only by the lamp light... but this is really hard to capture well using my phone. {Still no sign of our camera, for those of you following along!} I had some ribbon left over, so I decided to glue a little embellishment on the mason jars I am using to hold pens and highlighters too.
Can you notice a difference??

Cute and easy!

Before & After
There ya go. An easy, inexpensive way to add a little interest to an other wise boring lamp! I'm excited to have something a little prettier to stare at while listening to online lectures for hours on end about subjects far less exciting than home decor... :)

May 17, 2012

Sissy Visit

In the 3 years we've lived in Atlanta, no one has visited near as often as my sister Erika! Homegirl is down to see us every few months it seems... and we love it! duh. The past couple of visits, her fiance has joined her - double the fun! Especially for Andrew... who, as much as he loves (and is used to) girl time, really appreciates having someone to watch "the game" (what game? who cares.) with while we have sister time getting our nails done and chowing on fro-yo!

Erika and Carter are self-proclaimed godparents to our petchildren. And probably the most fun people we know! Our weekend revolved around eating, laughing, and eating. So fun!
I'm embarrassed by how many pictures just like this there are on my phone
The boys were REALLY great shoppers 
3.5 months til their WEDDING!

Sangria and tapas night
Darla looooves her Auntie Kiki :)
Its always hard to coordinate introducing our visitors to our friends down here... it seems like every time we have family in town, our friends are out of town. Luckily, this visit was different and Erika and Carter got to meet our bffs ~ and their baby! They wanted to kidnap Gia. I can't say that I blame them...
Andrew always hogs the baby

Its amazing how entertaining it is to watch a baby "sing" into an empty beer bottle ;)
As always, their visit went way too fast! Good thing we'll see them next month when we head home for a visit and our annual family vacation... and we're already getting excited to visit them for a change once they both move up to the East coast after their weddddingggg!! Can't. Wait.

Settling In

I think I underestimated how much work it is to move! Considering this is the first move we've made since owning furniture, wedding gifts, and 2 pets... we really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into! But I'm happy to report that things are finally coming together. Slowly but surely. More slowly than I had hoped due to having weekend visitors the first (and only) two weekends - in a row - that we've been living in our condo ~ but the hectic, unorganized house was a worthwhile trade for some quality time with our visiting siblings :)
Darla was not a fan of moving day!

I watched our furniture being unloaded...

And watched the boxes pile up...

And had a panic attack thinking about how/where/when I'd unpack all of our junk!
Thankfully, I have had a few weeks off between finishing finals and starting my bar review course... I worked on getting us settled in from the time I woke up until I went to bed at night! While my friends were working on their tans by the pool (ahem... Sheila), I was hanging pictures, organizing closets, and shopping for odds and ends we needed to make this place feel like home.
The furbabies seem to enjoy the guest room

I kept the office bright and cheery... an attempt to make bar studying less depressing!

The bedroom looks largely the same as it did in our old apartment (excuse the weird yellow lighting??)

The living room still needs some work but its coming along
My actual camera is still MIA (despite having unpacked all of the boxes....... yikes) so I'm hoping to take some better pictures once that sucker turns up! Digging through the closets to find it is on my to-do list for today because I'd like some real camera pictures from my graduation this Saturday!! woop!

Other posts I'm working on, to make up for my 17 day hiatus {why does this keep happening...???} include: sister's visit, a simple but adorable DIY project, and the arrival of our precious NIECE! Stay tuned ;)