Happy Birthday….To Me

As I mentioned earlier this week, I love my birthday!  As the day gets closer, I find reason in everything to say “I deserve that because it is my very special birthday eve”..or day.

Well that day is finally here!  I’m taking today “off” to spend it with my wonderful boyfriend. We have a few ideas in mind but, in essence, it really doesn’t matter what we do, so long as we have fun doing it!  My parents are coming up this evening for dinner and {hopefully} dessert! 🙂  BTW..birthday dessert #2 also resulted in disaster.  No more cupcake recipes for me!

Happy Friday … the 13th! 🙂  Check back with you on Tuesday.  I have a few fun activities planned for the weekend: Biltmore and Rockbarn Spa, anyone? 🙂

Feeling Crafty?

I do not consider myself “crafty” or “creative”…much.  I leave those projects to dear friends…Audrey Hepburn pulled off perfectly for Halloween, I mean really?!

I consider myself a functional gal.  I realized this a few years ago when I tried my hand at interior design.  I worked as an apprentice with one of Charlotte’s most talented designers.  About 2 weeks into it, I realized I didn’t have a chance.  I thought you bought furniture from Rooms To Go and painted a few walls?  Complete opposite of her process — furniture shopping out of catalogs and then you have to buy the perfect fabric to cover it?  Good grief!

However…I am finding myself feeling a bit crafty here lately!  I even have a list of projects that I want to work on!  The problem is I have some inspiration but never time to go shopping for the supplies.  I tend to “borrow” ideas for anything I do — take for example, art class 1998.  I was a sophomore in high school and decided to take art as an elective.  Everything I ever worked on was borrowed from something out of a magazine, something in front of me, or … well that pretty much covers it.  I love Pinterest for my crafty inspirations and ideas.  I found a great article this morning in Southern Living magazine; the author took a $25 dirt ugly chair and turned it into this beautiful blue and white vision of amazing.  Im not sure that is an actual sentence, but that is where my mind went this morning when I saw it! 🙂

So…are you feeling crafty?  Please email or post comments below on your craft inspirations and ideas.  I would love to find inspiration in your ideas! 🙂

Shooting for the Stars…


A lot of people write about setting goals and sticking to them — even I have written about that!  Resolutions, goals for the new year, how to lose 5 lbs by June — all are excellent ways to improve your short term life — but what about the big stuff.  The big picture.  Your life.  What are your goals for your life?  Sounds kind of weird — are we supposed to have goals for our lives?  Well I think so — I think we are supposed to shoot for the stars.  Why not –there is but one chance in life, not seconds.

I must have a big end goal in mind or I will never push myself.

Example:  If I know that I am running 5 miles today, then I might run a faster pace. But if I dont know how far Im going to run, then I will run slower as to not tire too quickly.

Do you push your limit — do you push your edge?  What do you shoot for?

Im shooting for a life full of experiences and memories.  I dont strive for a lot of money and a lot of stuff.  Sure a pretty outfit and a nice car makes life a little more enjoyable, but I want to see and experience.  In essence, I want to travel and “do stuff”.  The people around you and the memories you make are worth more than money in the bank, the car you drive, and the brands you wear.


Birthday Dessert…Disaster?

My birthday is in a few days, and I tend to celebrate all week long.  Those that know me best come to expect “Its my Birthday Week” proclamations!  It usually turns into “Birthday Month”, then “Birthday Quarter”…but I digress.  Ill say a big thank you to my parents for always making me feel special on my birthday.  Maybe that is why 29 years later, Im still celebrating as if I was turning the big {insert age}.

I love desserts, and my birthday, and baking.  So I decided to kick my birthday week off with a little birthday dessert surprise.  I am a newly addicted Pinterest follower (if you dont know what this is, then you are missing out!), and found some great recipes I wanted to try.  Some even claiming to be “skinny” dessert recipes.  Even better!

Well here is a recap of what happened:

Birthday Dessert Surprise — Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes (recipe)

Start out with minimal ingredients — I like that — means it is cheap to make!

Beat the soda & cake mix together.  Easy enough, except when the beater started humming, Raymond came running over.  He wanted a taste.

….and so did Cody….

Bake at 350 degrees & wait for your yumminess…Okay…patiently waiting…

The timer goes off and out they come, except something is wrong.  The big ones immediately fall in the center (never a good sign), and they have a much different consistently than I thought – spongey and …? Im at a loss for words.

I piped the icing on the cupcakes, went to take a shower, and came back to find them half eaten.  Raymond is a dessert thief — he is like a puppy — never leave unattended and unsupervised!  So no more pictures as they were destroyed by the dessert monster, and no more skinny cupcakes for me.  Ill stick to the full fat kind next time.

Wonder what my next birthday dessert surprise will be?

Do you love your birthday as much as I do?  What are your favorite birthday desserts?

What To Do With All Those Photos?


A great friend and wonderful photographer, Matthew Martin of MRM Photography, asked me to guest blog for him today.  Thank you Matt for the invite and opportunity to share my organizing thoughts on what to do with all of those pictures! 🙂

Head on over to MRM’s website to read the tips and ideas!


Happy Monday! 🙂

I Resolve To…Lose Sight of the Shore

Well it is here … 2012!  I admit, I am a New Years junkie.  I love the fresh start, clean slab, opportunistic, and optimistic feeling that comes with ringing in that brand new year!  I always make New Years resolutions and they tend to look something like this: lose 5 pounds, keep a food journal, travel to a new place, read 3 books a month.  I wanted to go bigger and broader this year … but I must admit those other resolutions were included too … old habits die hard!

So this year, in beautiful 2012, I resolve to “Lose sight of the shore“.

So true!  I tend to hold on … well cling to is more like it … to the old and true.  Old routines, things I know, my Safe Place, my Comfort Zone.  Who doesn’t … it feels nice in the comfort zone?  I resolve to lose sight of the shore … let go of the warm & fuzzies … try new things on for size.  You just have to for it.  Live actively (my new personal motto— my alarm clock reminds me to do just that when it beeps every morning).

I have struggled with that in the past … well no more!  Just do it (thanks Nike)!  I plan to keep you all in the loop as I try on new things (sky diving anyone?) 🙂

What did you resolve to do differently this year?

Donations & Tax Deductions…

Happy New Year!  Welcome 2012 with motivation and focus to enjoy life and change up anything that bothered you in 2011 (emotionally draining friends/family, anyone?)

If you are like most Americans, you wait until the week after Christmas to make any donations (monetarily or physically) to get that tax deduction before the end of the year.  Goodwill was a madhouse last week!

So if you scrambled to make those last minute 2011 donations, keep these points in mind:

  • Make sure that you donated to an IRS-qualified, tax-exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit.  To verify a charity’s status, check IRS Publication 78 at irs.gov. (Publication 78)
  • What is not deductible: payments to individuals, & donations to organizations that are not classified as above
  • Charitable contributions are only valuable from a tax standpoint if they exceed the standard deduction (along with other itemized deductions such as home mortgage interest).  2011 standard deduction = $5,800 for most singles and $11,600 for most married couples
  • The IRS allows you to deduct the “fair market value” of your goods.  In other words, what it would sell for today (like at a thrift store).  Goodwill has a valuation guide to give a rundown of price ranges for many items (Donation Guide)
  • Your stuff must be in good condition in order to take a tax write off.  Don’t call Salvation Army to come haul off a 1920 couch with holes and stains.
  • Show proof of donations.  For goods totaling less than $250, ask the charity for an itemized receipt.  For goods worth $250-$500, you will need an itemized receipt and written acknowledgment of your donation from the charity.  Anything worth $500-$5,000, requires an itemized receipt, written acknowledgment, plus detailed records of how and when you got the items.

And if all else fails, contact your accountant with any questions that you may have about those donations & deductions!