Summer is officially over.

Well, tomorrow is the first day of fall. I can’t believe summer is officially over, but the new season means cooler temps, cute jackets and scarves galore!

Here’s a quick recap of my TOP 7 faves from Summer 2016:

1. The perfect beach chair, compliments of my best friend. I’m obsessed. It’s so comfyeasy to haul to the beach!

2. Finding a battery powered lawn mower

3. The Essie 2016 Summer Nail Color

4.  USA brought home GOLD, and lots of it!

5. Justin Timberlake…need I say more? I can’t stop the feeling! #JTforLife

6. Can you say adorable? This string of white ceramic pots – which I filled with succulents- is perfect in between two ginormous windows in my office. Hopefully, the will survive my notorious black thumb.

7. Don’t read this sitting down. But seriously, I am trying to be healthier. So, I spent a little bit of pocket change on a stand up desk.

 

A Little Terra-Cotta Pot

Summer is over, at least in my book. I have survived another year of family programming in the brutal heat and humidity of Florida. Whew! Time to shift focus at work, and also time to focus on some projects. For this project, my mom wanted to join in. DIY is always fun, and even more so when you have someone to do it with you!

Project: Terra Cotta Storage Pots

I wish I could say this was an original idea. It wasn’t. Mom emailed me an idea this past Wednesday, and I just knew these terra-cotta storage pots were going to be something we both would love! I was off to Walmart for the paint, handles, and sealant; and, she went to her local farm supply store for the terra cotta pots. We already had stencils and glue.

Confession time: I’ve never worked with terra-cotta before – at least that I remember – so I went into this project a little blind. If you decide to take this on, I hope some of these tips will help you. {You should definitely watch the video above, as they demonstrate exactly what to do!}

What we used:

  • 2 large terra-cotta planters
  • 2 larger** terra-cotta saucers
  • Acrylic paint of any color* (use white if you can, as it really pops!)
  • Stencils – see notes below
  • Handles – when selecting your adorable pulls, think about griping a terra-cotta saucer. They aren’t light, that’s for sure! And, you want a larger surface area on the bottom for the glue, as that’s all that will be keeping them on this adorable top!
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Sealant

On the terra-cotta planters/ saucers: Mom had to do some searching on her visit for the saucer. Make sure the saucer is going to fit inside the planter. The ones they were originally matched with were too small to sit on top of the planter. Also, make sure that you pull any stickers – or cover permanent market in our case – before you begin. Just of note, these beautiful planters are NOT cheap! Think of this project more as cool, than saving money🙂

On the paint: Terra-cotta seems to soak up the color. I would recommend painting white first wherever you plan to paint. Your colors will show up much more vibrantly. Also, the top is what you see the most, so decide what you want to do there, and then figure out the bottom.

On the stencils: I found the cutest pattern there was, taped and started painting. Then I realized the conundrum I was in with the stencil layout… and, I almost gave up on this project. My geometry skills did not kick in until I had taped the stencil and painted my first section. These pots are shaped bigger at the bottom, so when I went to move my tiny stencil…they did not line up. I can’t say I’ve ever worked with a stencil on a cylinder, much less any weird shape. Maybe going with a bigger stencil might have helped us? Just know it won’t be perfect.

Taping: You will notices I tore small pieces to make an even line on the pot. Same geometry problem. A bigger circle on the top line, a small circle for the bottom. They do no have the same length.

Sealant: We were worried that the glue might not stick to the sealant. No scientific backing here, but we glued the handles first, allowed everything to dry for about 4 hours, and then we applied the sealant. Within 24 hours, these were good to go!

Whatever you choose to pattern and color your pot with, have fun!

Now, what to put in here?!

 

 

Say cheese…board!

Who doesn’t love a good cheese board? Wine and cheese makes just about any house guest happy. And it’s a great appetizer to entertain before the main meal. Now that I have attempted my first, I’m here to report they really are not that complicated. All you need is some olives, fruit, crackers and/or bread, and really good cheese.

I had a cheese board from Christmas, which as you can see in the pics, has a tiny drawer that stores a few cute cheese knives. It’s just so adorable, I wanted to use it!  I invited a couple over for a small dinner party, and I was a little unsure where to start. How much should I buy? What all should I put on it? IMG_2913.JPG

I went with grapes, olives, gouda, brie and herb-crusted goat cheese that I smothered with a little honey! I wanted to have mix of crumbly, semi-soft and soft cheeses. I also had a few nuts in a silver bowl and of course carbs outlining the deliciousness inside. For a dinner party of three, this was just the right amount to kick us off for the evening.

Now that I have created a few (the pictured above was my very first) I’m starting to get a little bolder with my cheese choices.

I did a little more research on idea, and thought you might enjoy a few articles:

More cheese please!

Another Update | #30at30

Tick, tock. Time to update that #30at30 list. I turn 31 in July, so the clock is winding down on my goals. I forgot about a few of these too, so it’s always nice for a quick refresher.

30.Freshen up on Spanish. Since I made the rules on this challenge, I checking this one off the list! I practiced my vocal and verb conjugations with a few Spanish apps. I also watched two Netflix show completely in Spanish (with subtitles), so I feel that was great challenge: Velvet & the Grand Hotel. I definitely recommend them!

29. Recreate my family tree. So far, this is incredibly time consuming. And, I haven’t really started. 

28. Go to 10 new restaurants.

27. Learn to swim, better. Saving this for when the water is a bit warmer.

26. Learn CPR.

25. Sell something. I’m working on my artwork again, so maybe I could do some commission work.

24. Write more. I’m reading more, for sure. Let’s put in the still working on this list.

23.Set & achieve networking goals. 

22. Become a connoisseur of something  – coffee & tea. This has become a really fun challenge. Every two to three weeks, I’ve made a conscious effort to pick out a coffee or tea that I have never tried, from different countries and different variations! Right now, I’m enjoying a cup of Allegro’s Kenya Grand Cru – which has hints of red wine, blackberry, currant and citrus.  Whole Foods just opened here locally, and I found their short Guide to to Coffee very helpful. 

21. Treat myself to something expensive and pay for it in cash. This probably is not what you might consider a treat; but, since buying my new home, I have focused my attention on my backyard. It’s is completely overgrown, and the previous owner basically had heaps of pine straw everywhere where grass should be. First item on the list was to chop down the dead pine trees.  I wrote a check and handed it to them that day!

20.Celebrate something, somewhere else. I celebrated helping raise $12,000 for an event in Inlet Beach. I had to drive 20 minutes so it’s counting for now!

19. Start a collection.  I’m deleting/changing this one… I don’t want more junk. So, #19 has been edited to Learning to Live with Less. During Lent this year, I removed one piece of clothing per day. It was harder than I thought, but I like this challenge. Consider this one a continual process.

18. Plant a tree. My dad found a cute tea olive, so I can’t wait to plant this the next time they are here! 1/2 way completed.

17. Attend 5 4 art exhibits.

  • Vi LaLa Galleries

16. Complete a 30 day challenge.

15. Do something that scares me.

14.Transition my 20 year old closet to my 30 year old closet. 

13. Plan a road trip.

12. Plan for a retirement. YIKES, I need to get on this, stat.

11. Get a bonus at work. WHOOP WHOOP! I just found out!

10. Create a scrapbook. I think this was my dumbest goal. Scrapbooking is hard. Just because you are artsy/craftsy, doesn’t mean making a scrapbook is going to be a piece of cake. I attempted this a few different times, and have opted to make myself take more pictures, upload them and print at the end of the year. This one is nixed. 

9. Plan a big trip. Currently, planning a fall trip to either Denver or Buffalo, NY!

8. Get in shape. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m better than where I was when this challenge started. I have been very regular with my workouts. It’s time to start upping the intensity so I can see results!

7.Create a morning routine.  I’ve been pretty consistent with this one. I make up my bed, drink coffee, check personal emails, read something for myself – like a encouraging blog, check my money, and sometimes do a quick workout before hopping in the shower and/or getting ready for the day. It helps to get up earlier. 

6. Go on a SUP adventure.  DONE! My best friend Jeri and I went out on the Destin Harbor, and it was so much fun. We were not great, but we didn’t fall in either! 

5. Take four two classes: one weird, one professional, one cooking and one social (like etiquette).

  • Weird – Aerial Pilates
  • Professional : SEO Marketing class & Google Analytics Class

4. Visit somewhere I’ve never been before.

3. Go to church, regularly.

2. Pay off all CC Debt. I’M SO CLOSE!!

1. Buy a place to live and set up a home.  DONE!!!!

I’m going to print this list off, and put it on my fridge. These goals were important to me when I started this post, and maybe I just need a constant reminder, so that I can complete this! Wish me luck🙂

Hot Yoga…how I have missed you!

Today, I got my booty out of bed very early, raced in my car in the pouring rain with all my yoga supplies, and walked into my first Hot Yoga class since I’ve moved to Florida. This was a vacation day, and I really wanted to sleep in, but I knew that this was going to be so much fun. And, despite the excruciating workout, this class was worth it.

When I lived in Nashville, I attended a hot yoga class at least once a week and loved it, especially the power flow classes. Yoga is a personal challenge for me, as you have to shut off your mind to the craziness of life and truly concentrate on the poses, so that in my case I don’t fall flat out on my face. Sometimes, even a forward bend can catch you up. There are a few times when the classes are a little too serious for me, especially when we do breathing exercises, but I’ve learned how important they are to the class and have embraced them. And, you have to be able to laugh at yourself. You are not going to look like your teacher at first. Get over it.

I’m assuming you all know about Hot Yoga. Just for a refresher, this is a yoga class to the extreme. The pump up the heat to make the room 90 degrees, and yes, it’s hot! But, the heat makes students so much more flexible. I find I am able to stretch my muscles for a deeper challenge throughout the class. Call me crazy, but I’m also a big believer in sweating out my impurities. I’m not talking about just negative thoughts, but also that big glass of wine I gulped down last night.

Today I was not as uncoordinated as I thought I would be, even without going for two years. I have been practicing with a few yoga classes on YouTube, so I wasn’t completely lost. But, my balancing poses were not beautiful and I could not hold them for more than a few breaths. And there were several times I looked in the mirror confused at a few new bulges on my body. But, I kept reminding myself not be discouraged by that image in the mirror, because that’s why I was there. Not to be skinny, but to be healthy.

Also, being still is very hard for me, especially when your body is slick with dripping sweat.

I survived it, and can’t wait to go back.

If you have ever been interested, you need to give a shot. Here are a couple of quick tips:

  • Bring your own mat, and clean it before and after. You are probably going to sweat ridiculous amounts, and I prefer those to be the only impurities on my mat.
  • If you get dizzy, or too hot, get down to child’s pose. You can always get back into the practice once your body has calmed down a bit. We’ve all done it. I came out of poses a few times today, but got right back in them!
  • Make sure you have a big towel for your mat. I use YogiToes because they have these cool grippers on the bottom side, so I’m not slipping. I mentioned the problem with balancing and being still…this helps me!
  • Bring a big bottle of water, or you will be completely dehydrated by the end of the session. Try to drink a few sips before you start.
  • I always bring another hand towel to wipe my face, arms, legs during breaks.
  • Make sure you have given your feet a good scrub, because your face will be where your toes were a few times throughout the practice.
  • You might want to bring a towel for your car, for after the practice. If you are like me, you will be soaking wet.
  • When you get home, throw everything (minus the mat) in the washing machine. That way, all your supplies will be clean for your next practice!

Hope you will try it out in a studio near you!

 

Call me Picasso.

Need an easy stress fix? Pick up a paint brush. Or better yet, don’t! Use your fingers or a squirt bottle or a knife, and just push color onto a canvas. There are no rules, at least if you are doing an abstract painting.

I haven’t sat down to paint in a long time. I forgot how exhilarating it is, to create something on a blank canvas with a few colors. Sometimes, they aren’t very good. Sometimes they kinda are. Sometimes there is something missing, and I just can’t put my finger on it. Instead of stressing over finishing it, I walk away and come back to it.

And who cares if it’s good? I like it. If it makes you happy, do it.

I found an online course with a monthly subscription at ArtTutor.com, where I recently completed An Introduction to Abstract Art with David Hallangen, which had fun challenges like painting one brush stroke throughout the entire painting, using new tools, and even time constraints. It was super fun, and I definitely recommend it. Also, Brit.Co has a few art classes that I want to try out as well.

I’m not convinced that these paintings are finished, but they make me happy – for now. The orange, pink and yellow series it a little more sentimental for me, as I actually had a little help form my niece and nephew. I think they enjoyed it just as much as I did!

For the others, if I decided I don’t like them, I can always paint on top of them.

Everyone needs a little home office!

I love my little home office! Pink flowers, quotes, lights, matching lamp and pillow, and mini clipboards. It is just so inspiring and comfy.

What do you think I should put on that bottom clipboard?

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