Tuesday, November 30, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 8

Least Favorite Things About the Holidays

{1} Taking decorations down -- this always makes me sad! If people wouldn't think I was crazy, I would probably leave the decorations up all year!!
{2} Going back to work -- I LOVE the time off and sleeping in and spending hours and hours with family.  I seriously need to win the lottery so I don't have to work any more.
{3} Grumpy/Impatient/Rude crowds (i.e. Scrooges!) -- I believe, ESPECIALLY around the Holidays, that everyone's home should have some sort of sensor.  If you are not in a cheery or pleasant disposition, you should not be allowed out of your house! PERIOD. It's funny to think about the scenario =)
{4} Traffic -- ONLY because I get a little anxious/claustrophobic in traffic and feel all panic-y!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Recap of Sorts %

Since I saw HP7 I have really been in the mood to watch the first 6 movies.  These movies happen to be on my Day Zero Project list.  Last week, J and I watched HP 1 & 2.  He swore to me he would NEVER watch the movies and was sure he wouldn't enjoy them.  Yeah, he is enjoying the entertainment factor of the movies and keeps saying 'hey lets watch the next one'. =)
I finished my book "Dark Summer".  Iris Johansen writes suspense/mystery with a hint of paranormal.  I enjoyed this book and found it to be a page turner.  It was fun but definitely a little out there =) But I LOVE Iris Johansen and her Eve Duncan saga. You should look into it =)
This weekend J and I watched Shooter.  It's pretty amazing and Mark Whalberg is such a stud! I had seen the movie before, several years ago but it's entertaining.  And did I mention Mark Whalberg -- he is so fun to look at...
I realized this morning that I didn't take ONE picture this weekend =/ AND I was with all kinds of family! I am going to blame it on the fact that I was pretty tired most of the weekend.
Thursday was the Turkey Trot...I've decided 3 days was not enough recovery time after my first half marathon. Oh well I completed it with a less than stellar time but, eh, it was fun. AND I had talked my parents into going and participating!
We had Thanksgiving lunch at my parents and then went to J's parent's for Thanksgiving dinner.  All in all, there was a lot of food consumed that day! =)
Friday I met up with my mom at 3:30!!! ick! Actually it was a lot of fun and people were really friendly.  I went to Best Buy for the first and last time on Black Friday.  Seriously - we were in line for an HOUR to check out.  Otherwise, the lines moved quickly and I spent a good portion of the day with my mom.
We still haven't gotten a tree =/ booo! BUT I am determined to talk J into taking me this weekend and at the VERY latest on Saturday. FINGERS CROSSED please!
Last but not least, I am FINALLY going to do my Rock the Dress shoot this coming Sunday! I am SO looking forward to it and am going to spend a lot of time this week looking for inspiration shots and ideas.  J is even going to participate! I can't wait!!

12 Days of Christmas: Day 7

Holiday DIY/Crafts

Day 7 is about holiday crafts/DIY.  I was hoping to post some fabulous craft decor from home.  That didn't so much work out.  This is why...we own a 4-legged mulcher.  Yes, our baby Ruger LOVES to tear apart all pine cones he can find in the yard.  It's kind of funny but NOT when I want some cones to make happy Christmas decor...and I find it difficult to BUY said cones when I know I can find pretty ones for free.  Oh Well I will keep looking and provide you with some inspiration in the meantime:

Go link up with Aly for the 12 Days of Christmas!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 6

Gift Ideas For Me
SO this post is supposed to be a list of gift ideas for me...however, I am turning this into my DREAM Christmas list.  Stuff I hope to have ONE day, but not this Christmas.

**Images courtesy of Google Search

Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 5

Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special

I think my all time favorite Christmas movie that we have always watched as a family is The Preacher's Wife.  I LOVE the soundtrack and the message that the movie sends. 
We try to get together every year to kick off the Christmas season as a family by watching this movie. =)

A close second is The Grinch -- with Jim Carey!!  I ADORE this movie. It makes me happy and gets me very much into the Christmas season.
Other favorites include Elf and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
Go link up with Aly and get into the Christmas spirit!

Friday, November 26, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 4

Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season

Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season

Hmmm...well let's see.  This year is going to be the first where I am on a real budget.  Money has been tight this year so we aren't giong to be spending much. 
{1}DIY -- Do not be afraid for this tiny acronym.  We have decided to DIY gifts for our families!  It's so heartfelt and can save a ton of money.  There are so many bloggers out there with wonderful holiday craft and gift ideas AND a lot of them give you the tutorial to recreate it!  Get out there and give it a try!!
{2} DECOR -- to go along with the DIY option, you can DIY a lot of your decor.  On the aforementioned blogs I have found wonderful ideas and inspiration to create beautiful and unique decorations for our budget Christmas!
{3} SHOP -- around that is.  Check out websites and in store ads to get the best deal.  A lot of companies offer an online deal for those who do not want to be in the madness that is Black Friday. AND DO price compare -- many places will match/best prices in order to get your business.
{4} BUDGET -- I know that sounds obvious, but create a budget per person/family/season and stick to it.  Use cash so you are less tempted to swipe that card.  LEAVE THE CREDIT CARDS AT HOME! This will help with over spending and possible buyer's remorse.

What are your tips for a budget friendly holiday?

J&A Chronicles: Wedding Venues 2009

We were graciously given a budget from my parents.  They told us we could use the money as we pleased.  We decided we would use a chunk of it for the honeymoon.  Things were slow with work and we weren't going to be able to save a whole lot for ourselves.  We wanted to stick to the budget we were given as best as we could. 
My daddy was getting ready to retire from the Navy, but would still have access to all the base functions/accommodations.  He suggested we check out the Officer's Club on base.  I had been there in the past for military balls that my parents took us to and I knew the basic layout.  I had also had their catered food and knew it was delicious.  With the average cost of weddings being so outrageously high, I knew it couldn't hurt to check it out.
We went over and looked at it and one of the rooms was already booked for March 13th!! EEEK! If we were going to take this place, we had to move FAST! For a very minimal fee, we could have the room for 5 hours -- minimal being $525.  This included tables, chairs, basic colored linens, bar, gift tables, cake tables, dinnerware/china!!

This is an outstanding deal for those of you who haven't planned a wedding. I knew, however, major creativity and decor ideas would be needed to make this place look how I hoped it would. We booked it with our down payment that day. The following pictures are NOT what I was going for -- it was just a set up for a different wedding.
We walked over to the pavilion and scoped the place out.  I was excited -- it looked great! AND it was really close to the Officer's Club, so transportation would NOT be a problem.

It was all coming together beautifully!!! I called and reserved the pavilion and everything was going smoothly. Until I tried to book the pavillion.  I was told that it was no longer open to being booked for civilian events.  Not to worry -- manager of the O-Club to the RESCUE!! She suggested the T-bar Deck =)
Lower Deck

Upper Deck

That is where we agreed to have the wedding ceremony -- it was perfect.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 3

Meaningful/Best Gifts

I think I need to make this one about a couple people.  I have several people in my life who have given me amazing and meaningful gifts! 
Mom and Dad
The best gift they have ever given me has to be the cruise we took over Christmas in 2005 as a family.  It was awesome and we were able to make some fabulous memories together.  It was the first cruise I had been on and I'm glad I was able to experience it with my family =)
A close second would be the white gold earrings that I often wear.  They aren't quite hoops and are oblong in shape.  My sister had received some similar a year or so earlier and I LOVED them.  I was so excited to see it on Christmas morning the same year as the cruise.  I still wear them all the time -- they remind me of the cruise we left for that day =)
My very favorite gift that Jess has given me wasn't for Christmas, it was actually for my birthday.  She saved all the invitations from all the parties that were had leading up to the wedding and framed them for me.  I LOVE it -- I have it hanging in my craft room and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

♥ The Husband ♥
The most meaningful gift (I'm not going to cheat and say his heart/last name/etc lol) has to be the necklace he designed for me with our jeweler.  He gave it to me our 2nd Christmas together (2008) -- it was completely unexpected and really thoughtful.
You can KINDA see it here
The best gift he gave me was last Christmas (2009) -- he bought me tickets to the Steelers @ Miami game the first weekend in January. 
Link up with Aly over at Analyze This =)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekend Recap $

Saturday morning I kissed the hubs good-bye and headed out of town with Christy and her mom.  We were headed to St. Pete where we would compete in the:
It would be Christy, her mom and my FIRST Half Marathon. 
We stopped in Tampa to pick up the lovely Christina from the airport and headed out to the race expo.  We picked up our race packets and personalized bibs (I LOVED the personalized bibs lol).  We didn't stay at the expo too long -- there were a lot of vendors wanting me to spend money I didn't have on some stuff that I could make myself. 
We made our way towards the hotel, but before getting there stopped for lunch -- hello Chick-fil-a.  We picked up a couple things at Target -- can you believe I forgot my toothbrush at home?! What the heck!! We had pre-purchased tickets to see Harry Potter at 5:50.  We had an hour or so until then and decided to see if they would trade the tickets for an earlier time...so we went to the 4:20 showing!!
I really enjoyed the movie.  I don't know that I would take my 5 year old to see it (if I had one) but there were children that young in the movie.  I guess I kind of feel like with something like this, if the child can't read and comprehend the language/storyline, they don't need to see it.  But, hey, to each their own.
We went back to the hotel after dinner where we all painted our nails the color Sunrise, Sunset.  It's kinda orangey but I really like the color =)
We attempted bed early...I tossed and turned for several hours before residing myself to the couch.  There I used a pillowcase and a shirt as a blanket haha! I actually got some sleep though. Not NEARLY the amount I would have liked when competing in a half marathon.
Morning came quickly and we were up, fed and headed out by 6 am to get to the start line. We got there JUST in time -- as in 8 minutes to start.  NOT how I wanted to kick off the morning but we were there in time.  J and Christy's husband made it to the race and we were able to find them before the start.  That was so nice -- it really is amazing to have a supportive and loving husband. 
For the first 5 miles I just could NOT find a rhythm. I knew our pace was fast but somehow we couldn't manage to slow down.  I think my competitive nature was in control and my speed stemmed from the fact that I was being passed by people.  I know, that's not the point.
I saw J at the end of Mile 7 and the beginning of Mile 9, where I grabbed a quick kiss.  That helped me get to Mile 10...and I had to slow down.  My goal at this point was to run the entire race.  Thankfully I had my girl Christina to help push me forward.  Mile was probably the most fun -- not because it was any easier, but because we ran around Tropicana Field -- as in INSIDE on the playing field.  That was pretty cool and gave me a different view of the stadium.   Mile 13 was easier as it was on a decline and the last quarter mile was motivational.  There were so many fans cheering and clapping and I was able to finish strong.  My finishing time was 2:31:02.  Right around where I had hoped to finish -- 2.5 hours for my first half.  I'm pretty proud of that.
I barely walked -- only through a couple water stations.  During the final mile, I remember thinking "I don't know that I want to run a Full Marathon".  My mind may change later but as of now, running a half works for me =)
I mentioned earlier that our bibs were personalized -- yes they had our names on it! I LOVED it! People could encourage your personally and that seemed to help keep me going, along with Christina. 
We each received a medal at the end and it had a charm that you could remove.  A lot of ladies were putting them on bracelets and necklaces.  I made mine into a key chain! I love it!
Christy had a great finish especially with her lack of training due to a broken toe about 2.5 months ago.  She came in well under her target time, as did her mom. 
Way to go ladies! I look forward to our next!!