September 21, 2015

"On the plains of Oklahoma"

I've been singing that over and over in my head lately!! I hope you know the country song that these lyrics come from... If not, here you go! Why has this been stuck in my head? Because soon enough I'll be seeing the plains of Oklahoma! And more importantly, I'll be seeing Veronica!!

A very special trip has been in the works since last June. I hoped and prayed that I would be able to visit Veronica after she and Kevin came to visit me and Tim last summer. We instantly connected and it had me really wishing we lived closer to one another.

(pic from our staycation last summer)

Veronica has already made a post of things to do in Oklahoma (which you should totally check out) We've also been emailing ideas back and forth. I am so glad that we will have a good mix of sightseeing and down time. We are leaving some spare hours for crafting but also taking a day trip to Tulsa! It's going to be AWESOME!
I cannot wait to see her sweet home and meet Paisley (her pup) and see where she went to school. I cannot wait to have that moment at the airport except this time it will be friends reuniting instead of two strangers who met through blogging. I cannot wait to have girl time and talk about Tone it Up and design and future trips together!! I cannot wait to take hundreds and hundreds of pictures together and wear our matching monogrammed shirts.

I've never been to Oklahoma or further west than Indiana so this will be an adventure for sure! Find me over on instagram and snapchat to see glimpses of our reunion!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be planning my outfits and packing my bags wayyy too far in advance (and deciding on a hashtag to document our trip) October can't get here soon enough!!

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September 15, 2015

I'm gonna be an Aunt


Left: Jake and Gina are having a BOY in January!!
Right: Ty and Gabby are having a GIRL in October!!

And you better believe I will be spoiling both :D

Back in March when we went to Charleston for Jake and Gina's wedding weekend.  Ty and Gabby stayed with us the night before to split up their drive. Little did we know that they had some very exciting news. They walked in the house bearing gifts which was nothing unusual for Gabby. I was very curious but it was a little over an hour before they got settled and we figured out dinner. Finally, Gabby asked if we wanted to open our gifts? They handed Tim and myself gift bags and inside were the most thoughtful presents. Tim's was a maroon and orange koozie that said "Uncle Tim" and mine was a teal and gold tumbler that said "Aunt Samantha" We were both so surprised and excited!!! We spent the rest of the evening asking questions about what the future would hold.

The next few months were spent planning the perfect shabby chic shower for Gabby, buying baby girl clothes and wrapping my head around becoming an aunt!!

All of the family arrived for the shower on Friday, July 17th and we gathered in my living room to catch up. Gina then announced to us that she was also expecting! WHAT? TWO BABIES!! Oh my heart was so full!

Jake and Gina's wedding was the first time I had ever even met Gina but I could immediately tell that she had a kind heart just like Gabby. How lucky am I to have an amazing sister AND two amazing sisters-in-law??  Gina was so willing to help with Gabby's shower and she was so humble making sure that all of the attention was on Gabby. Her shower is in November and I cannot wait to attend and shower her baby boy with love! These two are going to be amazing moms!!

Here's hoping they will let me share their nursery details :)

(the three of us at Gabby's shower)
(the three of us at Gina's wedding shower)

Oh and here's a preview of Gabby's shower!!!

Any advice for the new moms? Or the new Aunt?? HAHA!

p.s. Did you see that John and Sherry from Young House Love broke the internet blogged

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September 10, 2015

My fitness story

I said I wanted to write more about my life (outside of design). I just hope its worth reading!!

Where to start....I have struggled with my body image ever since I can remember. I was never overweight based on the BMI chart but because I am so short petite it showed whenever I gained even a pound or two. I used to play tennis in high school which kept me active and I attempted to work out in college when I bought the gym "classes" pass but that tapered off after I moved off campus. At the time I thought I was "fat" and now I look back at those pictures and wish I looked like that again. I guess its all about perspective.

I know I gained the "freshman 15" and never really tried very hard to take it back off. It seemed as though I gained weight every year through college. VT actually has a very active, fit campus but I was so tempted by all of the amazing food and with all of the late nights I wasn't really doing my body good. It was a downhill spiral until finally I looked in the mirror and decided I DID NOT like what I was seeing. All of a sudden I was very uncomfortable in my clothes and especially a swim suit. I'm sure there were times when the number on the scale dropped but as a whole I had to buy larger clothes every few seasons.

After graduating, getting married, moving to Richmond and getting settled in, my friend Laura invited myself and some of my church friends to take a Zumba class that was super cheap on Groupon. I was so excited because it was my favorite class at VT and everywhere I has looked at in Richmond was so expensive. So what did I have to lose? Well, Laura and I consistently went and when the Groupon ran out we had a big decision to make. The price was going to go wayyy up so we decided to look elsewhere. It turned out we found another deal for an unlimited gym membership. We gave that a shot and I immediately knew that was it. Once that 3-month offer ran out we both chose to become members!

Meanwhile, I found out about the Tone it Up Bikini Series challenge through social media. I invited some friends to do it with me and Gabby and Veronica stepped up to the plate. This challenge was very daunting because not only were we supposed to workout twice a day but we had to record all of our meals. So each night we would email each other with our workouts and food. BUT THIS WORKED because I didn't want to tell them that I drank a coke and ate a brownie and sat on the couch watching tv! NO! I wanted to be proud of what I did. And we were able to share advice and stories. We were also encouraged to take before pictures (which I have) and measurements. And I was amazed when I started losing inches and pounds. However, this was just too much to keep up with and we were unable to consistently continue after the challenge ended.

The following winter was hard because I felt like I lost a lot of my progress. My pants were fitting tighter and I just felt bad. I felt bloated and tired and had no confidence. I was just hiding under all my layers.

This year I decided to give the Bikini Series another try and really commit myself to sticking with it. I took the plunge and bought the nutrition plan. This time I lost 8lbs and numerous inches and have kept it off. Now eating healthy and working out is part of my weekly routine. I've gone 5 months without coke. Of course I still indulge and maybe more than I should but I know that my motivating friends will keep me in check.

Plus Karena and Katrina are fabulous trainers and I love the tone it up community. Its like one big girl party :) The workout videos are fun and there are a lot to choose from so that keeps it interesting. They are always posting new content and it's FREE! But how do I stay motivated when I get in a slump?

-encouragement (from my husband, family, friends and co-workers.)

-accountability (I have a fitness instagram account. I post my check-ins there and connect with other tone it up girls to help keep them accountable)

-the gear (I got those awesome teal Asics and Tone it Up yoga mat *pictured at top* last Christmas so of course I want to put those to good use)

So here are my favorite workouts
-Cardio: Zumba!!! ALWAYS (and my new favorites are Pound and Hitty Bitty Bikini)
-Arms: Bikini Arms Routine by TIU
-Abs: The Best Ab Routine by TIU
-Booty and Thighs: Malibooty workout by TIU
-Stretching/Flexibility :Yoga

and my next journey??? The Fit for Fall Challenge!!! Who wants to do it with me??

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September 8, 2015

THE gallery wall

Y'all...I don't know if its more embarrassing how long I've gone without blogging or how long my pictures and frames sat around before I hung my gallery wall? Lets just say they were both overdue.

I don't think I'll be spending hours writing blog posts anymore trying to make them "pinterest-worthy".  I have more important things to do like spend time with my husband and work on my fitness :) but I do want to give you a glimpse into whats going on around the house. Be warned: these are all phone pictures.

So I'm going to start by showing you the progression of my gallery wall. It all started with this daunting 7' x 11' wall that I had no idea what to do with. I searched high and low for a console table long enough that wouldn't break the bank. And then World Market came to my rescue and created the Everett Foyer Table. It was perfect!! Its no wonder its so popular with other bloggers because there aren't many other offerings in this size and price. AND with their sales (which they have often) + my member discounts I basically got it for nothing!

So then it was time to determine the style for my gallery wall and what I wanted it to include. Uniform or organic? Matching frames or not? Frames only or add wall decor? So many decisions!! I knew I wanted to include our wedding canvas and a mirror I got while at the beach. I also love the look of the ikea ribba frames. Once I collected all of the frames, it was time to fill them. I wanted each piece to have a special meaning so that it becomes a conversation piece when we have people over. I want to tell the stories of how each thing landed in my home.

Here is the console shortly after we got it (this is 2014 fall decor)

This mirror now resides in the guest bedroom. It was temporary until I could find another mirror for the living room.
After Christmas blah...I knew it was time!!

Artie decided to help me with the layout. I wish he could've unwrapped all the ikea frames... (p.s. the pics below that didn't make it on the gallery wall are actually going to go in our master since they are more personal)
 If I'm being honest...I didn't really measure everything out. I mostly eyeballed it. It took about 2 hours to get everything hung. That is not including cutting out templates for each frame.
 Almost finished!!

 All done...just in time for the 3 gatherings that we hosted!!

I've got a few more tweaks to make. I am going to paint that crate. (Those are Tim's records by the way. He bought a record player!) I will also probably relocate the wire basket and books so that I can center the wicker basket. And I actually bought this lamp for the guest BR so I may be switching that out. 

Well it's been a long process but so worth it!! Is there a project you are procrastinating at your house??

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