Friday, March 27, 2015

Historical Longwood, Florida in Photographs

Item number 6 on my 30 Before 30 list is "Photograph 3 historical downtown areas."  The first of my excursions was into the city of Longwood.  Inititally, I discovered Longwood while looking for a place to rent things for our wedding last year.  I accidentally turned down a road to find a quaint downtown area.  I had a wonderful hour strolling the streets and looking at the different architecture.  The only mistake I made was not taking any allergy meds before all the gallivanting, lol!  This pollen filled spring air is NO joke!  Anywho, enjoy the photos!

30 before 30 list
Here we have some signage and the Longwood Clock Tower.  I found it funny that it shows 2 different times ^.^
30 before 30 List
Near the Longwood Police station is the Hero's Park.  It's dedicated to men and women of our military and services.
30 Before 30 List

I really like the thoughtful design of this memorial.  The middle piece is meant to be a shadow.  The empty space on either side represent the World Trade Centers that are no longer there and the reflecting pool is a pentagon.  The brown piece of metal on the middle column is a piece of the WTC engraved with the date. 

30 Before 30 List
The Bradlee Mcintyre House

30 Before 30 List

Such an adorable church! I feel like the inside smells like wood polish or something... does that even make sense??  I love how all the colors pop in the first photo.  The red door and brick road and then the green trees against the awesomely blue sky.  So picturesque...

I hope you liked the photos I've chosen... to be honest, I took around 100 shots and I'm super proud of myself for being able to curate the lot down to seven. I think they communicate the historic/small town vibe I was getting while visiting.  I'm considering printing some of them for my portfolio.  Anywho, have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Create A Set: Furniture Rehab pt. 1

One of the shows that Lamar and I like watching together is Flea Market Flip.  It's a show where two teams compete to buy/refinish/sell items from the flea market.  They are given an hour to shop and a list of 3 projects to complete.  The team that makes the most profit on their re-imagined and refinished pieces wins.  It's a fun show to watch and if you haven't seen it yet, check it out.  One of the projects is called "Create a Pair" where the teams have to find pieces that don't go together and make them into a matching set.  This was my inspiration for the following project.
upcycled furniture
Before multiple cans of spray paint.
I found the two metal folding chairs at my local thrift store for $2.99 each and since they were in good condition and a convenient size, I figured they would be great for outdoor use.  Since we currently have zilch on the outdoor furniture front, these got thumbs up all around.  The other part of my 'create a set' is a couple of ottomans I found out on the curb in the trash.  The metal bases were intact, but the cushions needed some TLC.  Side note, I'm always on the look out for cool pieces that other people are throwing away.  Most times, I find that they can be revived with some cleaning and imagination.
upcycled furniture
Babe even got in on the painting fun.  Although any drippy spots are totally his fault ^.^
upcycled furniture
Before and After of my ottoman bottoms.  I really like the cream color.  Nice and neutral.  Ready for a bright cushion!

So far I have cleaned and painted the chairs and ottomans.  It's really awesome to see how a couple coats of spray paint will change up the entire look of an item.  The next step is to get the supplies together to create the cushions.  I'm thinking a bold stripe fabric for a bit of fun... We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

So Shall We Ever Be

Whenever I see a sunset like this, or the sun breaks through the clouds just so, I can't help but think of Jesus returning.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Friday, March 20, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow

Last Friday I started my first garden!  I spent a couple days prior gathering supplies: seeds, pots, soil, seed starters, etc.  Currently, my garden has lemon balm and spearmint plants, and I'm starting the rest from seeds.  I'll *hopefully* have basil, broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, lavender, rosemary, and spinach.  I am also attempting to start a chinese plum (loquat) plant from seeds from my in-laws' tree. *fingers crossed* My mom and Lamar think I should grow tomatoes... but as I don't like them, I am still undecided on that front.  Writing all this out just now makes me sound suuuper ambitious, but hey, go big or go home... right?!

Beginner's Gardening
These are the potted Lemon Balm & Spearmint plants.

The lemon balm and spearmint are supposedly good for teas.  I really wanted peppermint, but couldn't find any, so gonna make this spearmint work.  When I get the plants more settled, I'll try making the tea.  I'm excited to taste whole leaf from my garden tea ^.^

Beginner's Gardening
Here are the finished pots, pods, & jars.

It's been a long time since I've done any gardening, so getting my hands in the dirt and planting each seed was nicely satisfying.  I felt like I was tucking each seed into a wee little bed ^.^  Anywho, a few of them have already sprouted, as you can see.  I'm very excited to watch them continue to grow. And I'm pretty sure that the first salad I have with my own veggies will be the best salad ever! lol

Beginner's Gardening

Beginner's Gardening
Of course I couldn't plant a garden without DIYing some cute labels :)
Thumbs up for jumping into my 30before30 garden and all the work it'll need!  It's going to be fun ^.^
Bucket List

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lion King Sunrise

I was in a waiting room verrrry early yesterday.  I mean like sun-still-sleep-early.  Anyway, the waiting room had a wall of windows with the prettiest view of a lake and -as luck would have it- the sunrise.

Now under normal circumstances, I rarely ever see the sunrise unless I didn't go to sleep the night before.  So seeing this one was a treat and the photographer in me couldn't simply watch.  It was really cool watching the sky go from black all the way to daylight.  I don't think I ever knew exactly how fast the sun comes up.  I mean, I could literally see it moving up in the sky!

I may have (honestly and truly) struggled not to sing the beginning of Circle of Life out loud.  But please believe, I was singing and dancing in my head ^.^  Here are the pictures.  Feel free to play Circle of Life in the background as you scroll ;-)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What I Want in Life... According to Facebook

This morning I was scrolling down my Facebook timeline, as you do, and I came across this crossword.  The title said the first three words you find are what you want in life.  I glanced around it and saw these words: time, happiness, friends.

Of course that got me thinking about what I actually want in life.  And I'd say those three words are pretty accurate.

A long time ago, I was complaining to my dad about not having enough time to do something.  He said, "It's not that you don't have the time, you didn't TAKE the time."  So I want to Take time for specific things.  Time for working.  Time to learn new things.  Time to enjoy hobbies.  Time to build relationships.  Time to observe.  Time to reflect.  Time to have fun with Lamar.  Time to visit family and friends.   Time appreciate this life I have.

I think happiness is one of the most simple things we want from life.  I want to be happy at home and at work.  I want my happiness to be spilled out onto others.  I want my family to be happy.  And even when I have down days or weeks or whatever, I want to always remember that happiness is not something that just happens- it has to be consciously cultivated.  So as long as I have it somewhere in my mind to be happy, then it will come.

Friends and Family relationships are very important to me. Even though I'm rather introverted in social settings, I cling wholeheartedly to the people I consider to be friends.  These are the people who I share common ground with, they accept me and my quirks, and we spend time together doing whatever.  Some of these friends have seen me at my lowest and stuck by me.  They encouraged me and helped me get through particularly dark times.  I'm very blessed to be able to say I have such awesome friends.  (Hugs and love to all you guys!)

Don't you love when a random thing on Facebook causes you to really think about life? ^.^ What were your 3 words?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

30 Before 30

A couple days before my birthday I decided that I wanted to make a "30 things I want to do before I turn 30"  list.  The idea has come to mind a few times in the past, but I never made any kind of bucket-ish list.  I figured that the last year of my 20s should be spent doing ^.^  I mean I could develop some good habits, improve some skills, discover a new passion, and make a ton of memories.  Who knows! So I sat down and jotted out this list.  I will admit that it didn't all come to me easily - I had to do some googling and read some other people's lists for inspiration, but after a couple days I was done.  I've also broken the list down into categories.  And here it is ^.^

                           Mental, Physical, Spiritual Health

        • Read the Bible
          I plan to read the Bible and record my favorite texts or passages from each book.  This may overlap my birthday, but that's ok because this is something that I really need to do.
        • Finish 20 books
          Last year, I set a goal to finish 15 books.  I finished up with 18.  I think that sets me up well for this year.
        • Yoga-cise regularly
          I'm sadly out of shape... not overweight or anything, but I get winded running up the steps.  I want to build healthy habits so that whenever Lamar and I have kids, I'll be able to pass those habits on to them.
        • Volunteer at an animal shelter
          When I lived in Huntsville, I would go to the animal shelter and just visit with the dogs.  It makes me feel good to kind of give back to the dogs less fortunate than Kiva & Tootie :)
        • Do a split
          I have always wanted to be able to do a split.  That's about it to this one.

        • Etsy for real
          I started my Etsy shop, The Light Crochet, within the last year and I definitely dropped it by the wayside.  So I want to get back to it and actually make and list pieces.  Wish me luck!
        • Finish the quilt
          I started a proper patchwork quilt back in June 2012 and it's still not finished.  ::shameface::
        • Crochet a sweater, a church shawl, and a top
          Most of my crochet projects are things like blankets, accessories, hats, and whatnot. So I want to learn to make other more usable things and try my hand at making clothing.
        • Reupholster/Refinish a piece of furniture
          Lamar and I love watching the show "Flea Market Flip" and we're always saying how we could do a lot of the refinishing they do.  I'm planning to stop talking about it and be about it. Yep. Bringing out the power tools!
        • Organize a yarn bombing
          I think I'm gonna plan on doing something for International Yarn Bomb day in June.  Or maybe I'll participate in another Sheepish Yarn Bomb or a Love bomb or something along those lines.
        • Make a few Youtube videos
          This is another of those things I talk about doing, but I haven't done because I don't think I'm interesting enough.  So I'm going to record some of these goals as I go along.  That way my family and friends can follow along with me.  I think that's a good reason to make videos.  Plus watching old videos is fun.
        • View an exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art
          I want to go just because I've never been.  When I was in college, students could go to the Huntsville Art Museum every Friday for like $5 and I never went.  That's four years of Fridays! I totally wasted those opportunities.
        • Blog regularly
          Writing is a lot of fun for me and I really enjoyed when I was blogging more consistently.  Plus the more you write the better you become at it.

        • Photograph 3 historical downtown areas
          I want to explore/photograph areas like Mt. Dora, Longwood, and Orlando.
        • Complete 3-6 photo shoots
          This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
        • Complete 3-6 photo stories
          I'm defining a 'photo story' as a group of pictures that tell a story in a journalistic way.
        • Build print and online portfolios
          This absolutely MUST be done.  More of my friends and church members are asking me about photography and it will be awesome to be able to show them an updated portfolio of my work.

                           Suzie Homemaker Skills
        • Make sushi & French macarons
          This is here because I love treating myself to these two things every so often and when I do I always think that I should just make them at home.  I know macarons have the reputation of being super difficult, but I really think I'll be able to make them.
        • Plant an herb garden
          I know I want mint, rosemary, and basil to start. In my mind I have a long window box with my herbs growing in the kitchen window of Lamar and my future home. :)
        • Eat and Eat Better
          I always forget to eat when I'm out and about.  I spend too much money on fast food when I'm completely capable of making food at home and carrying it to work with me.  Plus, this is another good habit to pass on to our kids.
        • Make and keep a cleaning schedule
          Must. Regularly. Clean.  A clean home/space definitely helps me feel more positive and clear mentally.

                           Make Memories with Lamar
        • Learn to play Bless the Broken Road on guitar
          This is the song I walked down the aisle to.  It would be awesome to be able to play and sing it to Lamar *.*  (yeah... just marinate in that cuteness!)
        • Hike Wekiwa Springs
          Lamar and I use to go hiking on Monte Sano in Huntsville and we havent done anything like that since being in Florida.  I also hear that Wekiwa Springs state park is just great by itself.
        • Go zip-lining
          I'm sure I'll be scared, but it'll be fun.  Lamar and I accidentally discovered a zip-lining place at the Sanford Zoo... I think it was Sanford.
        • Do the paddleboats at Lake Eola
          Another cutesy thing I want to do with mah boo ^.^
        • Go to Rebounderz
          Rebounderz is a place that has trampolines on the floors and walls.  They also have basketball hoops.  I want to take pictures of Lamar dunking.  Those photos will be EPIC!
        • Go to CityArts Factory for a comedy
          I found this place on a list of free things to do in Orlando.  We dubbed Wednesday nights as date night and I'd like to start doing more new/out of the box things together.
        • Write songs for our future kids
          Lamar has been asking me to write a song with him for a reeeally long time, and I think it would be awesome if we had a specially lullaby to sing to our kids.  I also want to write a good morning song and a soothing song. 
        • Visit and review 6 hole-in-the-wall restaurants
          This is another of Lamar's ideas and another thing we talk about doing but have yet to do.  Being that he's such a foodie and whenever we go out to eat we end up sounding like the judges table on Chopped, this should be a fun activity.
                           Because... Why Not?
        • Learn to juggle
          Yes.  I will juggle.  Then I will go to the studio and get my picture taken while juggling.  That will be awesome!

And that's my list!  I've already spent a week doing nothing on said list, so I'm gonna go now and watch a video on juggling ^.^

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hello 29 ^.^

Hi there!

My 29th birthday was last Tuesday.  Lamar planned out a full day of activities and it was awesome.  I'll write about the day later :)  Now, aside from the excited "it's my birthday" feelings, the day also brought some sobering thoughts.  Well... I shouldn't say 'sobering' because that sounds too sad.  It brought thoughts of thankfulness and awe.

The day after my birthday, I was driving to work and began reflecting on the many things that God carried me through during my 20's.  I thought about my first experience with depression in college.  I remembered how the simple act of staying awake became a massive task and things like crossing a street became life and death actions.  I remembered many nights spent crying or just laying on the floor... feeling like I was physically in a hole and unable to get out.  It was around this time that a friend told me to lift my hand up to heaven and ask God for comfort.  At first it sounded silly, but one day, in tears, I sat outside with my hand in the air until I felt the lightest brush against it.  And that was the comfort I needed.  Another time, I remembered laying on my dorm room floor in the fetal position coming to the conclusion that it was okay if I didn't wake up the next day.  In that moment, I felt like I was being hugged and it brought me so much peace.  I can recall numerous instances when I know that God was comforting me, speaking to me, or giving me a measure of peace. Now of course, as I replayed memory after memory, I started praising God for His care throughout those times.

It's so amazing that the God of the universe cares about me.  I mean think about that.  The God of the universe and all that is, ever was, and ever will be cares about you :)  He knows your name.  He knows my name.  As I turned these thoughts over in my head, this song came to mind.

Who am I, that the God of all the Earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I'm calling
Lord you catch me when I'm falling
And you've told me who I am
I am yours...

That... right there... is the blessing of reaching another birthday.  It gives another opportunity to thank God for loving me & protecting me & comforting me & carrying me & saving me & keeping me & allowing me to be able to share my testimony that God, my God, is Powerful.  He is a mighty, yet loving, warrior who fights my battles.  He defends me when my struggles try to flatten me.  He gives me hope. 

Happy 29th birthday to me :)