Category Archives: Projects

Pregnancy photo project

When we found out we were pregnant, I instantly knew I wanted to take daily photos to track this journey. I also quickly discovered that my photographer’s (aka, husband’s) schedule and my schedule didn’t always align. Plus, at five weeks pregnant, my belly really didn’t look any different from one day to the next. It seemed silly.

No belly yet…

I decided to take my pictures on a weekly basis instead. But at week nine, the sickness hit. I started to feel like crap daily and really didn’t want my picture taken at all. There was no cute pose outside…I flopped on the couch after work and pouted, haha. They started to look like this:

Awww, the glowing essence of joyful excitement. That’s me!

So I changed my mind and we switched to monthly. I started with three months and started sharing them on the blog at four months:

So far…

Can you tell that morning sickness was in full force around month four? Haha.

But at the six-month mark, more changes started happening more quickly. So, I started weekly pictures. But to take the pressure off me to look good in them, they are just of my belly. 🙂 That’s the real focus anyway! See the weekly progress  on Flickr!


And I’m finally feeling like this could be a successful project and a great memory. I also am thinking it might be something we can stick with once the baby arrives.

Of course, we’ll probably be taking a bajillion photos of her all the time (except maybe for the beginning when I don’t know the difference between a hairbrush and toothbrush much less how to work a camera). But that’s where Daddy comes in to the rescue, right? I want plenty of pictures with him and her, too!

I’m thinking we’ll take weekly photos of just her and monthly photos of her and me for her first year (as a fun comparison to “us” before her arrival). It should be great to display at her first birthday party or in a book and to look back on several decades from now.

Of course, there are tons of inspirational people who’ve shared ah-mazing photo projects, so this is certainly not a comparison/competition. Has anyone else done pregnancy photos or a series? Do you have a favorite photo project you spotted online? Or tips for baby memory photos (pregnancy, hospital or after)?


The last year of my 20s

Yesterday, I celebrated my 29th birthday!

I took the day off from work, which is always a nice way to celebrate. 🙂

I started the day with my second monthly OB appointment where we listen to make sure baby‘s still there and any questions are answered (they wanted to know about any indigestion, I wanted to know if I could spray tan, lol).

I also visited my Mima, took calls from family, Skyped with my Mom, and laid out on my new deck for a beautiful and uninterrupted 25 minutes!

I ended the day with a surprise manicure and pedicure as a gift from Jeremy and a lovely dinner out with friends at Seasons 52 (one of my favorite restaurants)!

My caramelized scallops, asparagus and pearl pasta salad (under 475 calories and soooo delicious).

It’s also time to calculate how well I did on the 28 goals I set on my birthday last year: . See the results on my Goals page.

And make a few more for this year. Here they are, my 29 goals, in no particular order:

  1. Find more blog/life balance
  2. Focus on ways to decrease stress
  3. Carry and deliver a healthy baby
  4. Throw a gender reveal party
  5. Maintain fitness (not weight) focus
  6. Finish dining room projects
  7. Visit two places I’ve never been
  8. Organize photo albums
  9. Scan all photos for safety
  10. Buy a fire/water-proof safe for things like mortgage documents
  11. Take a cooking class
  12. Make peace with what you can’t control
  13. Keep active relationships
  14. Save $2,000 through couponing
  15. Go dancing
  16. Keep paper clutter to a minimum
  17. Buy a simple video camera
  18. Watch my brother graduate from college
  19. Navigate baby shopping without losing my mind
  20. Bake cinnamon rolls from scratch
  21. Help plan a family vacation for next year
  22. Help plan a 30th birthday girls’ getaway for next year
  23. See The Avengers
  24. Finish reading The Hunger Games series
  25. Hang photos in our home
  26. Work on backyard landscaping
  27. Grow Brussels sprouts
  28. Complete a pregnancy photo project
  29. Survive Dec. 21, 2012 😉

So, there you have it. Some are deep, some are superficial, some are fun and some are left over from last year. Haha, okay, and the last one is a cheat.

Have a great week–my Mom would tell you to make it a good one! Feel free to make that a goal…or share another one you have.

Our 3rd Housiversary

Hi, friends! With some excitement coming later this week, I almost let today sneak by! Today marks three years since we made our biggest purchase yet and settled into our home.

To celebrate, I thought take a couple days this week to review how much has changed since last year’s housiversary and our biggest house project to-date announcement on Friday. Although it’s easy to feel like it’s the same ol’ stuff, actually, a LOT has happened in the past 12 months…

We said goodbye to couple things:

April 10, 2009--note my old car in the driveway

In exactly the same spot it was stolen from, too. And our regular photobomber pup, Alaska, went to dog heaven last year.

And then we made several, big and small, upgrades to most of our rooms. Pictures and details to come, but here’s a quickie list:

We changed the living room boob light out for a pretty drum fixture.

We bought a new and larger rug to fit the space.

We deep cleaned and reorganized the whole office space.

We ripped up the closet to repaint and reorganize in the hall bathroom.

We got our new refrigerator!

And redid the layout of the kitchen.

We repainted the whole dining room white and scheduled demolition of an entire exterior wall for this week! I can’t wait to update you on this room.

We also made some updates all around like changing all the light switches to white, cleaning the AC ducts and holding two yard sales to clean out the garage.

Read Our 2nd Housiversary post for some of my greenhorn tips on buying your first home (plus an awesome horror story from one of the houses we didn’t buy). I’ll also be updating my House Tour page this week. Happy Tuesday! What’s changed for you in the past year?

Home and Patio Show

I’m baaaaaack after my brief respite. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed your last week. I’m feeling ready to tackle some things again so first, let me share our experience at the 2012 Jacksonville Home and Patio Show held at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

Heading in on a dreary day.

The city makes a big deal about it every year and Jeremy and I have gone a couple times in the past. I will say that this year was the most disappointing. My biggest complaint was the vendor selection.

There were a ton of as-seen-on-tv type vendors selling everything from mops to kitchen pans, none of which interested me. There were also four (four!!!) separate cable company booths–the same company. Overall, it was just an issue with what I was in the market for.

However, after we paid the $8 entry fee, we certainly found a few ways to get our money’s worth and enjoy an afternoon out house and out of the rain.

#1: The huge train display. Since we have family and friends who are obsessed with trains (and whose sets rivaled this one), we got a kick out of admiring this set up.

Railroad crossing.

#2: Finding a contractor to install our French doors. After nearly three years of knowing what we wanted to do but deliberating over a trusted resource and the cost, we *finally* are going for it. The owner and employees were just easy to get along with right away, they have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a great customer project gallery. I’ll definitely be sharing more with you later this month.

#3: A “celebrity” sighting. OK, maybe we didn’t sit and listen or get too excited about this one. But, I did recognize her and do love the show. And it was fun to see so many others getting excited and inspired.

Kimberly Lacy from HGTV's Curb Appeal: The Block.

#4: Heavenly Dips. A couple-owned company who makes dips that you add mayo and sour cream to for instant deliciousness. They had a ton of flavors and we went home with three. Mmmmm.

We were well fed from this couple.

#5: The Living Statue. One of the “stage performances” was a woman who is dressed like a marble statue who has water shooting from her head and fingertips. She dances and sways to music as guests were encouraged to sit and “be entranced.” It was neat but we quickly moved on.

Oooo, ahhhh. Do you feel entranced?

And, if nothing else, we got a nice reusable grocery bag and just enough inspiration to check some things off our to-do list at home. And those things I will plan to entrance you with later in the week. 🙂

Do you go to home shows or expos in your city? What booth would most likely draw you in?

Your idea of a dream house

For someone, the HGTV Dream House will be theirs!

Official picture of the backyard from HGTV.

This year’s HGTV Dream Home is in Park City, Utah. Park City has beautiful and amazing things to do all year from the Sundance Film Festival to world-famous ski resorts.

Since I love it out west, my husband loves the outdoorsy things out west, and we have family currently in Utah, this house isn’t far from my house. I definitely entered and am going to be so excited for whoever wins. I love the exposed beams and open feel on the river-front. Of course, stocked with every latest and greatest appliance and professionally designed doesn’t hurt either! But maybe it’s not your kinda dream home or it’s just in the wrong place.

HGTV folks are notifying the winner sometimes this week and we’ll all find out who the lucky person is this Saturday, and I can’t wait! Anyone else tuning in to find out who wins? What’s your dream house look like?


Riverside Arts Market–2nd Attempt

The Downtown Jacksonville Riverside Arts Market (RAM) opened its 4th season last Saturday. I couldn’t resist attending.

I had tried once before to spend a Saturday afternoon at this weekly, open-air produce/vendor/arts and crafts festival. It was a giant fail thanks to some social anxiety:

This is my I'm-so-over-this face

Although it was sad to go back by myself (I miss her little quirky face!), I did finally get to in.

Once I was in, though, I realized I forgot my camera! So here are a couple poorly framed and blown-out cell phone pictures.

This is about as far as i got last time.

But at least the first time was a bright, sunshiny day! Last Saturday was about as gloomy, humid and soggy as it could be.

But inside was bright and vibrant.

Lots of people, performers, booths and a TON of food vendors, which made the riverfront area small amazing.

And although I just went to peruse by myself, it was a neat place to be. Being under the overpass meant there was a lovely breeze and protection from the rain. Many people were pushing strollers or being dragged by dogs. It was a happenin’ spot. 

I think my favorite stand was a business called Olive My Pickle.

The cutest stand ever.

Why I didn’t take a better picture of it, I couldn’t tell you. But inside they offered, you guessed it, olives and pickles! You could buy a whole pickle on a stick for $1 or some of their many olives that were available in small barrels. 

This is a picture from their Facebook page (link above) since mine didn't turn out half as good.

I think I tasted five different kinds and they were all delicious. They also had a refrigerator case full of freshly made hummus, tappanade, etc.

I think I spent 30 minutes or so there before I ran back to my car in the rain. Overall, it was a great event. I love supporting the local businesses. I didn’t snap pictures because of the crowds around them, but really enjoyed a couple of the artists there–one really cool comic book-style artist had beautiful stuff. If I was in the market for any of the produce and crafts available, it probably would’ve been even better.

How about you guys? Does your city have weekly open-air markets? Are you a sucker for handmade crafts or pickles? Hope your having a great week. As my Mom would say, “make it a good one!”


Most importantly, Saturday the 25th was my little brother’s birthday! We are far apart but I left him a rapping remix of Happy Birthday in his voicemail sooo…it all worked out. Ha!

I took this of him as he drove away to move out to Utah--lip out, waving bye.

I miss him terribly.

He and I go way back.

But he told me he had a great day so that was all that mattered.

After my call to him, Jeremy and I headed out for the plans we had for the rest of the day…

Slainte means “thanks!” or “cheers!” in Scottish and I can’t think of a better sentiment for my time at the Scottish festival over the weekend.


I told you last week I was so looking forward to going to the Northeast Florida Highland Games and they didn’t disappoint! A photo tour is the best way to share it with you. 🙂

The competitions started early.

Manly kilted displays of athleticism.

Disc-onnected Dog display.

I don't know how Scottish it was, but they were a crowd-pleaser for sure.

A herding demonstration used ducks and sheep. Ducks were especially challenging!

I told them they were next. "Wait, what?!" Hehehe

These herding dogs were seriously focused.

Jeremy was a warrior.

I was a dancer!

We made our way to the petting zoo. I heart pigs.

Jeremy made kissy noises to befriend a miniature goat.

I held a baby goat. It wasn't a big deal or anything...

We pet one of the Scottish Highland cattle on parade.

I think some of the vendors were confused...

We entered a battle axe throwing competition.

Neither of us won, but we DID hit the target and felt like badasses.

Even though there was a children's division, too, haha.

We watched guys chuck tree trunks.

I busted Jeremy being chosen by a border collie puppy. I had to check his shirt on the way out.

We rocked out to Rathkeltair, a Celtic rock band, and bought their Something Good For A Change CD to listen to on the way home.

I quenched my thirst with Doc McGilly's handmade soda.

And we couldn't leave without some grub--fish, chips and a bridie (meat and onions in a puff pastry). I couldn't bring myself to order haggis.

Then is was a relaxing 45-minute drive home. I was pooped…and truthfully, the tiniest bit sunburned on my face and chest where my sweater was open. That dang Florida sun will getcha even on cool days. 🙂

The view from one of the three bridges to get home. Jacksonville isn't called River City for nothing.

Hope you had a great weekend! Anybody brave enough to try haggis? Or throw a battle axe with children?