Growth | The Daily Prompt

As the crowd counted down to 2018, and we all looked to the sky for a fireworks spectacular, I thought about what my “word” would be for the new year. My word needed to be something that would capture what I wanted to happen. One word that would describe my goals and aspiration. One word that would push me to be better.

And in that moment – as the neon sparks illuminated the sky and friends sang along to choreographed songs they kinda knew –  I shivered and smiled and sang right back. Song after song brought back memories of 2017. I reminisced about all the changes I’d had over the year, the goals I had accomplished, and the bucket list items I still wanted. In that moment, I decided what my word would be.

This year’s word is growth.

I worked on my 2018 goals by working through the Year Compass. If you’ve never heard of it, I highly recommend it. It certainly takes time if you do it correctly, but why wouldn’t you? It’s your life after all. And most certainly your year.

After a full morning spent thinking through 2017, followed by a full afternoon drinking tea and dreaming about 2018, I completed the challenge. I’m sure I will adjust a few things as the weeks and months progress, but it certainly has given me a great layout for the year to come.
I’ve divided my 2018 goals into these categories:
  • Financial security
  • Health
  • Travel Plans
  • Personal Improvement
  • Spiritual
  • Community
  • House Projects
I’ve broken down these categories into goals – sectioned out into 90 days – on a massive Trello board, with deadlines. All of my goals (now that they have been broken down) are absolutely obtainable. Well, most of them. I may still have “be a movie star” on this list, but I’m a dreamer. And I like to dream big.

And, all of my 2018 goals will help me grow into the person I want to be. A better person. A positive person. A person with hope and dreams. A person that is grounded in her faith and spends time with the people she loves. A person who uses her creative talents on projects for her house, projects for her job, projects for her community.

This time next year, I hope that I can say I’ve grown.

What about you? How will you grow in the new year? Or better yet, what’s your word for 2018?

“The important thing is somehow to begin.” — Henry Moore


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?!



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, 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?


30 at 30 | The Update

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I thought I might revisit that #30at30 list. Let’s see how I’m doing…

30. Freshen up on my Spanish. I downloaded a few apps…don’t feel like I’m fluent though. 

29. Recreate my family tree. I have relatives from Turkey? More on this later.

28. Go to 10 new restaurants.

  • Bistro Bijoux
  • Local Catch
  • V Seagrove
  • The Great Southern
  • Sandcastle’s 
  • Cuvee 30A
  • The Bowery on 30A
  • Cayman Grill (Orange Beach)
  • Grimaldi’s
  • Shan Kishi Sushi and Hibachi on 30A

27. Learn to swim better.

26. Learn CPR.

25. Sell something.

24. Write more.

23. Set networking goals. Trying a few tips out, and have really challenged myself to talk and get to know the people I’m talking to.

22. Become a connoisseur of something…

21. Treat myself to something expensive and pay for it in cash.

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 open for ideas!)

18. Plant a tree.

17. Attend 5 4 art exhibits.

  • V. LaLa Galleries

16. Complete a 30 day challenge.

  • Currently in the process of a Yoga Challenge, on Day #5. 

15. Do something that scares me.

14. Transition my 20 year old closet to my 30 year old closet. Donated things that don’t fit/ are too young!

13. Plan a road trip.

12. Plan for a retirement.

11. Get a bonus at work.

10. Create a scrapbook.

9. Plan a big trip.

8. Get in shape.

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. So far, so good. Trying out a few new churches with the move.

2. Pay off all CC Debt.

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

Yeah, time to get busy.


I asked Santa for a house…

For my boldest Christmas wish yet, I asked Santa Claus for house this year. And, I’m sure glad I was good, as I look at my newly acquired keys dangling from my key chain. While I wish the man in red had helped out with a few payments, I’m happy to be decking the halls at a place I can call my own. Merry Christmas to me, indeed.

And I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about real estate through this process. I know about mortgage loans, and home owner associations, and what big commitment this was, and what can be negotiated, and even what this “closing costs” term is.

Some of you might ask why? I was very happy with my rental unit, but I had my reasons:

  • Traffic: My apartment was in the heart of Destin and right by the beach; but, during the summer, that location was a little problematic. If I left at 5pm, I never got home at a decent hour. From 11-1 and then from about 4-7pm, traffic is terrible.  And, if it was raining, I hit two malls. Forget about it. Sometimes, I just turned around, and went back to work.
  • Money: My rent went up $100 since my first lease, and I expected that to continue. During my research of mortgage rates and monthly payments, I realized my monthly payments on a mortgage could be significantly cheaper.
  • Neighborhood: I wanted a neighborhood, and somewhere I felt safe. Not to knock the apartment lifestyle, but there was so much turnover. I never knew who my neighbors were or who was parking beside me.
  • Cramped: My apartment was a 1 bedroom/ 1 bath apartment, which was great when I first moved down! However, when guests came to stay, it was tight.
  • Ownership: My payments were going towards something I was never going to own.  I couldn’t paint the wall, much less nail anything in them either. If didn’t like something, too bad.  I was stuck with it!

So, I started my search. And by that, I mean I downloaded the app for and started looking at pictures of mansions. There are all kinds of filters on this app, so you can pick location by radius, minimum and maximum price, how many bed/bathrooms you need, etc.  I had no idea what to put in my price range. I even stupidly inquired on some co-op units, since they were falling in my estimated price range. And after a while, I realized I had bitten off more than I could chew.  I needed a realtor – someone that knew the market, and would help me make a good decision financially for my future. Done! My realtor also connected me with my loan officer, and we figured out what I could qualify for my loan and what my payments would be.

Big girl moment – I didn’t fall in the bracket I originally wanted. But, when I started looking at what my payments would be for these dream houses, and how much I would have to put down on the house- helllllooooo dollar signs. It was time to start looking at the correct price range that I qualified for, and right area of town. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of options. I live in an upscale tourist town, where most buyers are looking for investment properties, long term rentals, or just have for a 2nd home. So, ok, I wouldn’t have a house right on the beach, but I had a great amount to work with. I just had to find the right house.

Two Homes: Decision Time

I looked at a few houses, and was so disappointed in a few of them. Some looked like great steals online, only to find water damage…or rooms that literally smelled like smoke …or they had hired very skilled photographers.  That part was awful. I was pretty discouraged.  (In retrospect, I was being dramatic. I didn’t search that long before finding something I liked. I literally looked at houses and found two that I liked in about two week’s time- see below. I’ve never said I was patient, people.) 

Finally, I found two that I liked. One was a flip in Santa Rosa Beach, and one was a town home just down the road. Both had pros and cons, and I remember walking through the rooms the first time and breaking out in a sweat. My palms were wet. I had no idea what I was doing or what my realtor was saying, and I knew this was a huge decision. What should I look for? Was I just supposed to fall in love with the house as soon as I stepped inside? Would I prefer the fixer upper over the newly renovated home? What the heck are closing costs? Was that a payment in addition to this percentage down thing? Who are my neighbors? Why would they pick that wall color?

I brought in enforcements – my parents- and went on a 2nd walk through for each house. We came to the conclusion were just too many things wrong with the flip. It was almost like they ran out of money. And most importantly,  the asking price was too high.

The town home had three bedrooms, two baths, a back yard, a huge den/ living area, laundry room, working kitchen, and even a cute little Florida room. The spot is super close to the beach, and part of a great HOA.  As my realtor likes to say, SOLDafter a little negotiating.

Paperwork & Minor Hiccups

I qualified for a few things that helped me with my loan, and the town home received a great appraisal. I had to find all kinds of odd documents, work history, and previous addresses.  Stressful. But, I found everything I needed, scanned them all in, and then just waited. I would get a call about an inspection, and then it was pretty quiet. And, then there were a few things we went back and forth on. After few weeks, everything was approved, and set the date to close at the end of November.

The house had a renter in it, and I was planning to honor the lease and move in January. However, at the last minute, she changed her mind and wanted to leave once I took ownership. Since I didn’t want to pay mortgage and rent in the same month, I bumped up my move out date from my apartment and rescheduled my movers.  Of course, the new move in date was scheduled for the morning after a HUGE event I was co-chairing. Life is funny like that. You do want you have to do to make it work!

I pulled up to the parking lot for my closing with my car packed to the brim with clothes and breakables. The closing was super easy, however, SUPER long. My wrist literally cramped after signing so much paperwork. After about an hour that felt like an eternity, I was a new homeowner! I remember a brief moment of panic after I signed and handed over the last paper. But, I looked up to smiling faces, and nothing but confidence and excitement followed. I did it! And, I even received a bottle of celebratory champagne.

Now, I’m all moved in, with the exception of three cardboard boxes that have not been unpacked. I even had enough room to put up my Christmas tree. And now with the season over, all my Holiday decor is neatly packaged, in my attic!

And next year, I’ll be sure to leave cookies and a thank you note for Kris Kringle!



Ok people. Now that I’ve accepted I am officially 30, I’ve come up with a few goals for myself. After some research and soul searching, I’ve come up with my list of thirty things I want to happen in my 30th year. I’ve seen a few people do a challenge like this, so why not?!

I have 365 days (yes, it is July 27, but it’s a leap year) to complete the below list, and hopefully I can mark them all off by my deadline. Some are easy, but necessary, and some are a bit more challenging. Some are really silly. But, everything on this list is something that I want to do!

30. Freshen up on my Spanish.

  • I took Spanish in high school and in college, but sadly I can’t remember a lick of it.

29. Recreate my family tree.

  • I want to learn about my heritage. I know my mom worked on it some, so there’s a start.

28. Go to 10 new restaurants.

27. Learn to swim better. (I live at the beach. This needs to happen.)

26. Learn CPR.

25. Sell something.

24. Write more.

  • I have a degree in English, for Pete’s sake!
  • And, I need to not be so hard on my creative side. So what if it isn’t perfect, just create it!

23. Set networking goals.

  • I feel like I go to all these events, but I’m not meeting anyone. Time to start introducing myself and actually TALK and GET TO KNOW others.

22. Become a connoisseur of something….first thoughts are coffee, wine or cheese. More to come!

21. Treat myself to something expensive and pay for it in cash.

20. Celebrate something, somewhere else.

19. Start a collection. (I’m open for ideas!)

18. Plan a tree.

  • Bonus: plant an herb garden.

17. Attend 5 art exhibits.

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.

11. Get a bonus at work.

10. Create a scrapbook.

9. Plan a big trip.

8. Get in shape.

7. Create a morning routine.

  • For starters, get up early.
  • Another plus – working out!

6. Go on a SUP adventure.

  • Again, I live at the beach. This needs to happen daily, but let’s start at one for now.

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

4. Visit somewhere I’ve never been before.

3. Go to church, regularly.

2. Pay off all CC Debt.

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

  • This is my number one as it’s the most challenging, the thing I talk about the most, and definitely the MOST EXPENSIVE on the list.
  • With this one, comes a check mark of throwing a housewarming party. It’s an expected thing for me, so I’m not putting it as a number, but something that needs to be completed!

TaDa!! That’s my #30at30 list. I hope you will check back in as I start checking things OFF the list. I’ve already been pinning a few ideas!

Have any of you very had a list like this? More ideas?

By the way…Hello, thirty. You are lovely 😊