Monday, May 28, 2012

Send Something Good: Big Reveal Link Up!

A couple months ago, I signed up for a blogging gift exchange called Send Something Good. It started through Gentri Lee's blog.

The idea is to get to know other bloggers all around the world and to send something good to a secret blogger you have and receive something good in return.

I had so much fun with this project and it was so fun to get to know my secret blogger, who I now adore. She has a super cute blog aka Rose and Lou {{}} AND an adorable etsy shop {p.s. She has a sale going on this weekend! Hop on over to her blog to check it out!}

She loved all sorts of things, so I just picked a few from all the things she loved. Can you guess what they are?

1. Stationary + Vintage = Super cute vintage map stationary {at least I thought it was cute} :)

2. This one is kind of tricky. The box looks similar to the previous one, but instead of stationary, it has tea in it! Same with the little white package wrapped with a bow. 

 3. A bundle of vintage-inspired fabric tied neatly with a bow.

4. Fabric state map in a frame {she and I are both from New York, how awesome is that?} The package was tied with a teal {one of her fav colors}, sparkly {which she also likes} scarf/belt.
{{p.s. check out the state map DIY here}}

5. A journal. This one I feel the need to explain a bit. She is going to be married soon, and my intention for this journal was to be a cute way for her and her soon-to-be husband to write love notes to one another. Or just as a journal to document her engagement/wedding/marriage. Whatever she chooses :)

I was so caught up and excited about giving Traci {my secret blogger's name} her gift, that I didn't really think too much about my gift! So when it came, I totally wasn't expecting it and it was an awesome surprise.

My secret blogger was Ashlie Blake over at Painting Bliss. She is a mixed media artist and creates some very beautiful pieces! Seriously, I'm so impressed with her sense of creativity. Plus I love her adorable handwriting. These were my gifts from her.
{please excuse the terrible pictures!}

A bamboo spoon and fork, perfect for salad serving
Some vintage buttons, which I adore
A cute blush hat with an adorable flower
{and did I mention it's handmade?}
A fun firefly necklace to see in the dark
And a stationary set that really a work of art {complete with a stamp and an E for Elyse}
And finally, and probably best was the beautiful handmade mixed media art made just for us.

If I were any good at poem writing, that might have rhymed....haha.

Anyway, this was such a fantastic opportunity and I'm so grateful I got to be a part of it. Now go check out the other awesome blogs!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This End Leads to a New Beginning

This morning, as I sit in my quiet house, I have been pondering this past year and how tonight is going to completely change the next three.

Tonight is Drop Night. Or in Air Force pilot training terms, this is one of the big nights. Most guys might think it bigger than graduation even. 

Tonight is the night that everyone in Jordan's class will find out what plane they will be flying for the next 10 years {or so} of their lives, and where they will be living the next three years.

It's kind of a big deal.

{I am so grateful to Jordan for all his hard work this past year.}

Let me tell you a little bit about pilot training:

Twelve hour days. Every day.

Sometimes show time is 5 am {which means he gets home at 5 pm}
Sometimes it's 9 am {which means he gets home at 9 pm}

When he's not flying
He's studying
Even when he's home.

We have one day a week together
{Saturday, half of Sunday}

An incredible amount of stress

The constant feeling of failure
and pressure

Sometimes I don't see my husband literally all day
From 5 am till 9 pm 
because of our different schedules

There's more, but I think you get the idea. It's stressful; it's hard; and...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lovely Linky: Seven Questions

 //Sometimes my husband and I are goofs. 
//Sometimes I'm just the goof :)

1. Are you a thrift shopper?
Working on it. Unfortunately, the closest thrift store is 150 miles away. 
Also, I tend to spend wayy more money on stuff I don't need. 
I don't know, I just NEED it!

2. You just had a very bad dream, what do you do?
I have been known to wake up crying, 
wake up startled, 
wake up within a dream and then wake up again. 
But that's not even the weirdest. 
I will dream something that is so real to me 
that I will literally get out of bed because I feel I need to. 

Case in point: A few years ago I started working as a server in a restaurant. 
One night, I was convinced that I had "tables" I had to wait on, 
so I got out of bed and started helping them. 
Yeah, no one. 
But I was so convinced that they were upset with me that I started "helping" them. 
Which again, was no one. 
And that happens frequently. It's weird. 
{Sorry I didn't really answer the question, huh? 
I guess after that I just convince myself it's okay to go back to bed. 
Or just cuddle with my husband, haha}

3. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Gentri said it best. Mint chocolate chip. 
But I'll take regular chocolate if there's none available 
{and no, vanilla mixed with chocolate sauce is not the same as chocolate ice cream,
 in case you were wondering}

4. What do you do with your money? (spend it, save it, invest it, bury it, etc)
I'm a kind of spender. 
Okay, I am a total spender, 
which I why I rarely go to the mall or shopping because 
I will see things that I absolutely must have. 
Fortunately, my husband is a saver :)

5. What was the last quote or statement you heard that really hit you?
This article actually. 
It talks about giving up things in order to become happier.

6. What do you do when you're driving alone? (ex: dance, sing, listen to talk radio, etc)
Learn Spanish! 
Haha, I live next to Mexico. I figure I should at least attempt. 
And it has come in handy a couple of times.

7. Did you watch the premier of Bachelorette? If so, who was your favorite bachelor?
Nope! Sorry, but "Reality" shows aren't really my thing. 
Except America's Next Top Model, 
and that's only because of the amazing photography. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy {belated} Mothers Day!

I can't even express how grateful I am to my mom for everything she has done for me, but here are at least 10 things I'd like to say thanks for.

Dear Mom,

1. Thank you for always loving me, 
even when I was a dramatic and ridiculous teenager.

2. Thank you for making me go to Church and 
making sure we always had family prayer.

3. Thank you for showing me 
how to work hard and accomplish difficult goals.

4. Thank you for sharing your talents with me 
and encouraging me to develop mine.

5. Thank you for your patience. 

6. Thank you for giving me freedom to learn on my own and make mistakes 
and still teaching me to choose right from wrong.

7. Thank you for always encouraging me to live the gospel. 

8. Thank you for your example of strength,
 even when times felt unbearable.

9. Thank you for your optimism. 

10. Thank you for everything you have done for me. 
I cannot even begin to count the number of ways you have blessed my life. 
You are such an amazing and strong woman and I have learned so much from you. 
I am grateful for everything you are--
imperfections, strengths, weaknesses, passions, and all. 

I love you!

I also would like to include my mother-in-law in this Mother's Day Tribute.

Dear Mom{-in-law},

1. Thank you so much for your constant support and prayers for our family. 

2. Thank you for your kindness, empathy, 
and willingness to always help.

3. Thank you for helping raise such a wonderful and upright man 
who respects and loves me. 

4. Thank you for your strong testimony in the gospel and 
your devotion to the Lord and His temple. 

5. Thank you for all the hard work you've done for us/me 
{i.e. helping me plan my wedding, making my temple dress, 
making our t-shirt quilt, among other things}

6. Thank you for your strong marriage and the example it gives me.

7. Thank you for always remembering us 
when holidays come around {even the smaller ones} 
and including us in family events and updates.

8. Thank you for your example of hard work. 
I am consistently impressed with everything you are able to do.

9. Thank you for the weekly calls 
{even though I don't usually do a lot of talking, 
I enjoy listening to everything that is going on.}

10. Thank you just everything that you are as a person. 
I am so grateful to have you as a mother{-in-law}. 
I feel like many times, people don't like their in-law's, 
but I know that I am definitely a lucky one because I got you guys, 
and you and your family are just wonderful. 

I love you!

And finally a treat for you all. I am working on my photography skills. A few weeks ago {okay, maybe a month by now}, I took some maternity shots for the girl we threw this baby shower for, and here are a couple of preview pictures.

Please keep in mind that I am still learning and I am totally open to suggestions or creative criticism :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Air Force Stuff: Party Shirts

Sorry guys, I've been a slacker on the blog.

My husband is in the Air Force and apparently the Air Force has this tradition called "The Party Shirt." You see, whenever he goes to something formal, he wears what is called "mess dress." Basically like a tuxedo that has a blue jacket and pants.

Well, instead of wearing a normal tuxedo shirt, the guys can have what's called a party shirt. It's basically a normal tux shirt but the sleeves and the back are replaced with a funky {and often ugly, patriotic, silly, or otherwise} fabric. I decided that instead of paying someone to make one for my husband, that I could just do it.

It was actually pretty easy. I will post a DIY hopefully later this week. Anyway, here are some pictures for your enjoyment so you can visualize all that is a party shirt.

{This one is my husband's party shirt}

{the front}

{the shoulder}

{the sleeve}

{the back}

{And this is another pilot in his flight}
{the front}
{the shoulder/side}

{the back}

{the back closeup}

{And back to the front}

P.S. Can I show you guys something neat?? I took the pictures of my husband later at night {no sun}, indoors, and in poor lighting conditions. Thanks to Lightroom {and my little knowledge of it} I managed to make the first picture into the second! How sweet is photo editing?? Seriously!

 {gross yellow light}

{ahhh....much better!}

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lovely Linky: Seven Questions

Once upon a time, I asked my husband to come take pictures of me running a half marathon. Bad idea. He only took one picture. It's the one above. He's a great photographer, right? ;)

 {It's okay, we got one good one. I still love that goof}

1. You just invented the next big thing! What is it called and what does it do?
Something that made blog design easier :) {not HTML}

2. Are you a lover or a fighter?
It depends. I fight for those I love

3. It's almost mothers day- if you could tell your mom anything, what would it be?
Thank you. 
Growing up, I was probably not the nicest teenagers to my mom, 
but I'm so, so grateful for her and I love her so much. 

4. Do you like your hair curly, wavy, or straight?
Here's the thing with my hair--unless I control it, it does whatever it wants. I would love if my hair were adorably wavy, but that is not going to happen to my hair unless I do it by accident. It's almost impossible to curl my hair {and have it hold}, so I guess my answer is straight!

5. If it was your last day to live, what would you do?
Be with my husband doing something awesome. 
Maybe I would make him take me on an airplane ride in the really fast jet he flies. 

6. What color are your eyes? Do you like the color?
For the longest time I wished my eyes were blue or looked different, 
but I love my eye color and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world 
{okay, lie: if they could look like Olivia Wilde's eyes, 
I would totally trade for that}
{Aren't her eyes gorgeous?}

7. Fish, beef, poultry, wild game, or tofu?
Mmm, I don't know. Probably fish or chicken.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DIY: Fabric State Map

Have you seen all of those print outs of state maps? You know, the designed ones that look really pretty? Well, that was kind of my inspiration for this. But this was much easier to do (well for me at least since I'm not terribly great at design).

{Please excuse the terrible pictures. It was night time when I made these and I used my phone's camera}

DIY Fabric State Map


Two contrasting fabrics
State map cut out {I found this map online, printed it, and cut it out}

The size of the map will depend on the frame size you want to use. I used an 8x10 frame and I liked the way it looked, but it might also look nice in a really small frame. It really depends on how the state you choose is shaped.

1. Choose your two contrasting fabrics. I love the vintage flower-y look, so I used that as the fabric for the state. For the background fabric, you want something really plain, otherwise it will {most likely} look too busy. I chose a plain royal blue color for this one. {Note: You can also switch it and have the background be a little crazier and the state be simpler.}

2. Place your cut out state backwards on the wrong side of the fabric {aka the side you don't want showing}. That way you can trace it without having to worry about pen/pencil marks on the front of the fabric.

3. Next, cut out the fabric you plan to use for the back. To do this, I just put the back of the frame on it and used that as the template

3. Once it's traced on, cut it out and glue it on to the fabric you've chosen for the back.

And voila! You have your finished project. I like the first one {the teal & flowered one pictured at the top} I did much better, mostly because the state cutout turned out much better. But if you mess up, it's pretty easy to redo :)

P.S. I'm not so sure how I feel about the crazy frame with the crazy fabric. Maybe a more muted frame might suit this one better. But {of course} you should do what you like :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Aaaand sent! {Send Something Good}

This past month in my blogging world has been filled with blog stalking, idea searching, letter writing, and package making. Okay, most of that might not make sense. But I have been learning about other bloggers, and I have just {sent!} my package to my secret blogger.

Any ideas of what it is?? I'm excited for my secret blogger to receive my package. I hope {she} likes it!

Lovely Linky: Seven Questions

Today I am linking up with Gentri Lee's Seven Questions {check out her awesome blog here}. I've just started doing these, so I've missed a couple, but here goes.

Please excuse the terrible quality of the photo, but this was taken this past December 
{around Christmastime}, when Jordan and I visited Toronto. 
Jordan {my husband} lived in Toronto for two years 
{he served a mission, which is an LDS thing}. 
On our visit, we went to a restaurant called "O Noir." 

Now, this restaurant is no ordinary restaurant. 
The servers are blind 
{see the guy on the right? He was our server, and yes, he is blind}, 
and instead of sitting at a normal table where you can see 
the people you're eating with and what you're eating, 
you are led into a completely dark room. 

Before going into the room, you pick out your meal {they have a two or three course meal}. 
You can either choose what you want 
or you can choose to be surprised! 
I chose to be surprised for the dessert, 
but I wanted to know what my meal was! 
Jordan chose surprise everything {which is not surprising}.

It was an interesting and awesome experience. 
 {oh yeah, and Jordan's surprise dinner included chicken, but when I tasted it, 
I couldn't tell what it was at first! 
It's a completely different experience when you can't see what you're eating.}

1. What is your favorite day of the week and why?
Hmm, that's hard, but I love Saturdays. 
My husband works 12 hours a day, 
comes home and studies, 
and goes to sleep. 
But on Saturdays I feel like I actually get to see him and spend time with him.
{I also love Sundays for the same reason, plus I get to go to church}

2. If you decided to change your name, what would you change it to?
I don't know that I would want to change my name. I actually really love my name.
But if I did, maybe Aria. Because I think that name is so pretty.

3. What is one product you use (it can be for anything) that you feel is a miracle worker?
My grandparents own this company called MiraCell. MiraCell is a natural oil that soothes skin irritations {bites, burns, scratches, cuts, etc}, and heals scars. 

Well, last summer, I was running and fell. Onto pavement. 
Naturally, I used my hands to stop my fall.
Unfortunately, that was a bad idea. I scraped my hand up pretty bad.
But I used MiraCell every day and I don't even have a scar.
Plus, it stopped the pain.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that it was completely gone in two weeks?

{Unfortunately, I don't have the pictures on my computer. 
Hopefully I can update this post with the pictures when I get home}

4. High heels, flats, sneakers, or boots?
Flats. Or flat boots. But that doesn't mean I don't love heels. I just rarely wear them.

5. You see your favorite celebrity (it can be any kid of celebrity- movie star, singer, writer, political leader, blogger) walking down the street, what do you do?
I don't have a favorite celebrity {I don't think}, but if I saw any celebrity, I would just think it pretty awesome and go say hi!

6. If you could pick one item to never have to pay for again, what would it be?
Um, wow. Gas, definitely. Or clothes.

7. what was your favorite tv show or movie growing up?
I was a sucker for "Hey Arnold!" growing up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The 26.2-mile Project {week 3}

Oh my heck, how in the world am I only on week 3?? And there are more months of this??
Okay, just kidding {kind of}

Monday 4/23: 2-3 miles {I ran 3}
Tuesday 4/24: 4-5 miles {I ran 5}
Wednesday 4/25: 3-4 miles {I ran 4}
Thursday 4/26: 4-5 miles {I ran 0...oops! Wow, I'm pretty good at slacking off!}
Friday 4/27: 7-8 miles {I ran 5 to make up for Thursday}
Saturday 4/28: {I ran 8 miles to make up for Friday}

Total: 25 miles {Wahoo! I made my goal this week. Next week's goal is 27, though I might not make it. This past weekend was super busy and I didn't run yesterday and I didn't run as far as I should have today. We'll see though.}

Dance, er, ahem, Run to the Music!

My "Running Playlist" on my iPod is kind of odd. You see, I'm very particular about the music 
I listen to. I can't just run to anything {as most people can't}. 

And it has nothing to do with the beat. 
{Okay, almost nothing.}

When I run, the music has to inspire me in someway. Make me feel some sort of emotion
{does that make sense at all??}

It can be an inspirational song {even if it has little to no strong beat}.
It can be a song that makes me really happy or angry.
It can even be a song I would never ever ever listen to if I weren't running.

So without further ado, my running playlist {artist only}:
{owl city}
{mindy gledhill}
{one republic} 
{taylor swift}
{avril lavine}
{boys like girls}
{michael buble}
{ok go}
{iron and wine}
{angels & airwaves}

But I skip songs a lot. And I sometimes turn to my Pandora stations:
{taylor swift station}
{today's hip hop and rap station}
{alternative endurance station}
{today's hits station}

 And then I still skip songs. 

Running music is hard for me to find because I'm so particular about it. 

Do you have any running/workout songs that help you?