A New Chapter

I know I teased on Wednesday about big news today. I hate when people do that so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…

I quit my job.

To give a little background: In May of 2013 I started a job with an appraisal company as a writer. It’s a small company with 12-ish employees (they’ve come and gone over the last three years). It was a great job with wonderful people- I’m very, very appreciative to have spent the last +3 years of my life there. I’ve never had to resign from a job where I liked my boss, enjoyed my co-workers, and had relatively no complaints about what I did- it was tough to do, emotionally. Today is my last day.

So where am I headed?

The stars have aligned and K offered me a job at our company. (I say “our” but really he’s been the one building it for the last four years.) One of his administrative employees is leaving the company and his position isn’t one that can go unfilled. K is changing hats and taking over sales (in addition to designing the products) and I’m taking over any and all administrative/HR/accounts/social media work. (This is the company.)

“I could NEVER work with my spouse…”

I’m very excited for the switch. I’m glad that I don’t have to forfeit the flexibility that I had with my old job and I love the guys that work for K (which includes my father-in-law). Plus, I get to bring Enzo with me whenever I want!

Am I nervous to work along side my husband? No. So many people have asked me this or raised an eyebrow when we’ve told them the plan. Building a business was hard, but we were careful to put one another first throughout the years- I don’t see that changing. If you know us, you know that we are both ridiculously stubborn and bullheaded. But you also know that A) we’re perfectionists and B) we understand one another without having to exchange words. So honestly, I’m not concerned. My job is only being done by me- I’m not being micromanaged. I think this is going to work out well for us.

So that’s that. On to some 2017 goals/resolutions!

2017-goals

Be Healthy.
I hate the idea of dieting. I like to enjoy food- regardless of the calorie count. That said, I know there are millions of yummy & healthy meals out there, and I’d like to make more of them. Also, I need to get my body moving. This is a vague goal, but I think y’all know what I mean.

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime.
I am the person that can’t lay on the couch all day staring at the TV with nothing to do. I feel guilty reading more than a chapter when there’s a hamper of dirty laundry in corner. I never take the time to write when I’m home because my mind won’t quiet down about all the chores. So I’m going to work on turning off the responsibilities and turning on the relaxation.

Read more.
Last year I read 25 books. This year I’m aiming for 40.

Become a Morning Person.
My morning routine is ridiculous (a.k.a. nonexistent). This is the year I stop rolling out of bed at 7:30 for an 8 am clock-in and I start brewing some coffee, enjoying my shower, and avoiding the snooze button. *Yes I’m working for K, but he still expects me to be at work on time!

Get on Schedule.
What I mean is… figure out meal planning, get the house on some kind of cleaning schedule, figure out a walk/bath/grooming routine for the dogs. Despite my downtime resolution, we need a little more order and routine in our house.

Last year I made the following goals : Start running | Learn to cook more (vegetarian) meals | Find a word for 2016 | Read & write more | Volunteer
(Here’s the original post for these) Quick summary… I did not start running or writing more, but I did find a few new recipes, read more books, pick a word (“embrace”) and find a place to volunteer. So as Jen would say…

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Word of the Year

Last year I chose the word “embrace” and it was fitting. I learned to embrace the nothingness between life’s big moments. (I’m terrible with downtime/limbo/lack of progress.) I learned to embrace new career opportunities and spontaneous home maintenance and last minute car purchases and random vacation pit stops. I’m ending the year with a messy house but I’ve got a perfect partner and happy dogs and a warm bed- so embracing the now and the waiting and the surprises has paid off.

I don’t have a word/phrase for 2017 yet…

2016 Summary

What can I say about this year… It was a pretty stationary year for us. Some highlights included Elliot’s 1st & my grandma’s 80th birthday party, our 3rd wedding anniversary, two NASCAR races (Bristol, TN & Loudon, NH), Fred & Christina’s wedding, new cars for both of us, some yoga, lots of family, new front yard landscaping, spending almost every day with K, meeting business milestones, cuddling the dogs, going to movies and dinners and showers and bachelor/ette parties with friends, two trips to the east coast, and concerts with the husband and friends.

2016

* The end of 2016 is weird for us… We’re in the middle of career transitions, we lost a close friend on Christmas day, and we’re slowly emerging from a long-running limbo into a new normal. I’m really hoping that 2017 brings some progress and success. I could use a break from the sadness and shock. The end of 2016 was as glum as the entire year. I’m hopeful 2017 will be infinitely better for us and for you ❤︎

That was a lot of information and news… Sorry about all that. I promise I’m done until 2017 😉 Also, in 2017 I’m going to try out a Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule. (Typically I post MWF.) We’ll see how the two-a-week thing goes!

Have a happy new year, my friends!

Charlie Brown NY

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Winter Movies that Aren’t Christmas Movies

This week is always confusing to me… I still feel festive, but Christmas is over and I don’t know if holiday music is still appropriate… Also, the Type-A planner in my brain wants me to take down the tree & decorations, but New Years still feels Christmas-y and festive so I’d actually like to leave it up. I don’t know- it’s just a really confusing week for me each year…

Additionally, I am at work this week but K gave his boys the week off… which I know is the norm for some businesses. Our house is a mixture of vacation and normalcy (and I’m stuck on the wrong side, ha).

Maybe you have some downtime this week? If so, here are some winter movies that aren’t actually Christmas movies to keep you entertained!

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)winter_movies_1

Trading Places (1983)winter_movies_2

Edward Scissorhands (1990)winter_movies_3

The Mighty Ducks (1992)winter_movies_5

Balto (1995)winter_movies_4

I came up with this topic a few days ago but didn’t jot down the movies I was thinking of at that moment. Oops. I’m sure there are a million more I’m missing… What are some winter non-Christmas movies that you enjoy watching?

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On Friday I’m announcing some 2017 resolutions and goals, plus a pretty big life change for us next year (nope, not pregnant ). So come back on Friday!

End of the Year (Book) Review

Whoopsies- so much for M W F this week… I had yesterday off (hopefully you did, too!) so I’m a day late with this post!

I’m combining everything bookish today… Linking up with Steph and Jana but also using this survey format from Jamie and stealing the graph idea from Emma.

So hold on to your hats, folks…

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Number Of Books You Read: 25
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

*Last year I read one book. I set a lofty goal for 2016 and didn’t meet it, but I’m very glad to have read 25 books.

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Cress [Marissa Meyer] & Orphan Train [Christina Baker Kline]

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Harry Potter & the Curse Child [John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, JK Rowling]

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Secret Daughter [Shilpi Somaya Gowda] – I didn’t think I’d like this book or connect with it, but it was really enjoyable and it has stuck with me.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read?

Probably The Lunar Chronicles. Sorry guys, haha.

 5. Best series you started/sequel/series ender of 2016?

You can probably guess…

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Probably Marissa Meyer. I’m excited to start Winter and then get her new book, Heartless!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Royal We [Heather Cock & Jessica Morgan] – I hardly ever read romance or books set in our decade.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/un-put-down-able book of the year?

Orphan Train – Not necessary an action book, but I couldn’t put it down.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

None… Very rarely do I re-read books. Just the HP series & Alice in Wonderland.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Ray_Bradbury
The art wraps all the way around the cover.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Tina Fey in Bossypants. Is it cheating to use a real person? Whatever; I love her.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Peter Pan [J.M. Barrie] – I liked his occasional disregard for the 4th wall.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

None of them really. Wench [Dolen Perkins Valdez] was the toughest/one that stuck with me most.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Bossypants. I’m ashamed that I still haven’t read the handful of comedian autobiographies that are on my TBR list.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I should keep a book journal where I jot this stuff down… but I don’t.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

The Queen’s Army at 18 pages & Cress with 560 pages.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I’d say Orphan Train was the one that kept surprising me and taking me down paths I didn’t expect.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Amory and Milo (Death Wear a Mask/Murder at the Brightwell [Ashley Weaver] )

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Carswell & Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Witches [Roald Dahl].

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Many of my picks come from other blogger recommendations. If y’all hadn’t suggested The Royal We I’d have never read it! (Thanks, guys!)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Carswell. Or Wolf. Ha. (The Lunar Chronicles)

Reviews of my favorite books ( Cress and Orphan Train ) can be found here and here.

And here’s a list of all the books I read in 2016 with links to their reviews.

Let’s end with some graphs:

book-genre

book-review
I think I was generous. In hindsight there was at least one book that deserved 1 star.

book-source

So there ya have it. Next year I think I’d like to tackle 40 books. That roughly 3 and one third books per month- seems manageable.

What are your reading goals for next year? What was your favorite book of 2016?

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Life According to Steph

I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Everyone’s posted a holiday home tour but me (or so it seems ). Let’s fix that!
(Check out other people’s houses, too! Mattie, Emily, Taylor, Michelle)

home_tour

Typically the decorations go up mid-November, but we don’t get our tree until December. This year we really procrastinated. I knew I wanted a smaller one this year (and we set up a larger one in K’s company office), but I don’t know that I was picturing it this small… Perks to buying your tiny tree the Saturday before the holiday weekend? We got it half off. Say hello to $10 ‘Ronald Trees-ley”:

ronald_trees-ley
Yep, he’s real. Both of them.

Ok… on to the house tour.

No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
Favorite holiday spot in the house
Favorite holiday spot
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K and I are the snowmen, Ly is the “woof”, & Enzo is the fox

Ronald, Enzo, & Ly

If you missed it on IG here's one of my favorite ornaments!
If you missed it on Instagram here’s one of my favorite ornaments!
I think we have five nativity sets in our house...
I think we have five nativity sets…
home_tour_7
I love this little cutout in our house

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What a Christmas wreck... ha.
What a Christmas wreck… ha.

Where all the magic happens ;)

And there ya have it. We only decorate the first floor, although there is a pine candle in the basement. Sorry my pictures aren’t high quality… that’s just life!

. . .

I’m going to get religious for a minute.

I am a firm believer in faith by example. Rarely do I mention religion here on my blog, but I don’t shy away from identifying as a Christian. It’s my hope that through acts of kindness and openminded-ness toward others I get across what I believe to be the important parts of being a Christian. I think that being ‘Christian’ means knowing that you are flawed, seeking forgiveness and wisdom, and spreading kindness and love to the other flawed humans (and animals) on this planet. We’re meant to love and take care of one another. I don’t think Jesus cares if you voted Republican or Democrat (or Independent). That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares where (or if) you got an education. That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares about your skin color, gender, pay grade, criminal record, or hobbies. I think that Christianity is about serving Christ- and since we have no idea what He looks like or when He’ll appear, it’s best to serve one another with a happy, genuine heart.

All that to say, Merry Christmas, friends! (And if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, I welcome your festive greeting! I do not feel like there is a war being waged on me or the holidays I celebrate, and I hope you feel the same.) If you’ve ever thought about visiting a church you should slip into one on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of the birth of Jesus. If you live near me and you’d like someone to go with I’d be more than happy to have you along!

If you are not a Christian or you celebrate another event this time of year: Happy Holidays!  ❤︎

christmas

Regardless of your beliefs, spread a little love and cheer and kindness this weekend, friends! Thank you for your friendship here in Blogland ❤︎

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Holiday (or any day) Recipes link-up

Today I’m linking up real fast with Julie & Jacqui to share some quick, easy, smaller-portion recipes for those spending the holidays with a smaller crowd- think one to three people. I don’t usually do recipe posts, but these are go-to ones for me that come in handy when you’ve got some leftover ham or chicken and you’re hurting for a side dish.

Honey-Glazed Carrots

In a pan melt about 2 tablespoons of butter. Add a handful of baby carrots- essentially as many as you’ll want to eat because this doesn’t keep well. Drizzle honey over carrots. Sprinkle a small handful of brown sugar over carrots. Mix. Cook until carrots are soft, stirring occasionally (~15 min). Serve immediately.

. . .

Smashed Potatoes

This one comes from the talented Pioneer Woman herself. Salt the water & boil some red potatoes until they’re soft (~12 min). Only boil as many as you’ll eat… I typically consume two or three. Remove from water and place on an oil-drizzled cooking sheet. Smash the potatoes twice in a crisscross pattern, flattening them and making a mark/breaking the skin. Brush each potato with melted butter and sprinkle generously with kosher salt (and maybe add a seasoning of your choice- rosemary, thyme, etc.) and bake at 450 degree on the top rack for 20 minutes. Done!

. . .

Roasted Veggies

You can roast anything, guys. Here are two of my favs, both roasted at 425 degrees:
Cauliflower – Cut up some florets, toss on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle some thyme, season with salt and pepper, and stick them in the oven for 35 minutes. Pull ’em out, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and toss, then slide them back into the hotbox for 10 minutes.
Asparagus – Toss the stalks in some olive oil, teriyaki sauce, and soy sauce. Put some foil on a baking sheet, spread the asparagus out so it’s not stacked, sprinkle some garlic powder over it, and roast those puppies for 12 to 15 minutes. SO GOOD.

. . .

Viola! Super hard to mess up and super yummy to eat!

Checkout the link-up for other tasty recipes!

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Sending Christmas Cheer

This is what I was going to post on Monday… Instead it’s coming at you today 🙂  Also, I know a lot of blogger are taking holiday breaks (good for you guys!!) but I’m keeping the posts coming M, W, F this week and next so if you get bored or need a real life break there will be something here to read. Haha!

Typically I am that Christmas psycho elf that has her holiday cards addressed, stamped, and ready to send on December 1st. This year I was dragging my feet and I mentioned that in Blogland. When Alexandra from My Favorite Things caught wind of my procrastination she offered to design the cards for us!

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I like my Christmas cards to be simple and positive. (This was last year’s card.) Alexandra hit the nail on the head with her design!

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I am in love with the return labels she made, too!

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Check out her website and Facebook for more designs!

Thank you so much, Alexandra! We love them!

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*I wasn’t paid to write this  🙂 I purchased my cards at a discounted priced, but these opinions are 100% my own!

Get Angry

I had a different post scheduled, but I’m postponing it.

Today I want to share things that I think need your attention or prayers or anger or money or voice.

Aleppo.
Do I need to explain this? Steph, Alexandra, and Emily have mentioned it on their blogs. I feel so helpless and I can’t understand how we, as humans and citizens on this earth, are letting this happen. I want to do so much more than give money. I want to give these kids a childhood, give these families a safe haven, give these humans four walls and safety. Shame on those with the mentality ‘Not my kid/country, not my problem.’ I’m finding it hard to be festive and merry knowing this is happening in our world…

I can’t stand the hate and willingness to turn a blind eye. Here are a few organizations that could use your financial support…
The White Helmets
Unicef
Doctors Without Borders

Tarek & Christina.
Maybe you haven’t see anything about this, but we’re big HGTV/Flip-or-Flop fans so we’ve kind of been following it. This house flipping couple is separating after seven years of marriage. I don’t know the story and I won’t speculate, and I understand that they live a lot of their lives in the limelight, but America needs to get off the high horses and show some compassion. I have seen many comments about how Christina was bossy or controlling or a b*tch and Tarek probably couldn’t take it. (*never read the comments*) First of all, they work together and the cameras capture the “dramatic” moments. Secondly, if you see decisive, strong, intelligent women as “b*tches” then it’s time for you to leave my blog. Third: Stop judging other people. It’s not your job, America.

I think prayers are most appropriate for this bullet point. Or good, positive, healing vibes if that’s more your thing.

Our Eff-ed Up Government
It’s no surprise that I detest the election results- I don’t want a big, orange, hands-y, hateful troll as the leader of the free world. And I don’t want a foreign country controlling our politics. As a nation, we should be pissed. Where are all the paranoid Americans that still think President Obama is a Muslim or a werewolf or not an American citizen?! Why aren’t y’all crying foul on a conspiracy/security breach that’s actually happening?!

Call someone and complain. Start with the human that represents you on a national level while making thousands of dollars doing it.

Dogs.
Some might says it’s trivial in comparison to my first point, but it’s not. Take care of one another. Take care of all living things. If you see an animal outside with no shelter, form of warmth, thawed water, or food then you need to say something. Talk to the owner, call the police, look up your local humane officer. Legally, they have to go check out the situation.

Well I am successfully riled up. Let’s go do something about it.

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