Happy New Year?!

I know. Can I even say that still?? I really am going to get better this year about blogging. My reason excuse this time is because last spring/summer we were renovating parts of our new house.  I wonder what my reason ..err…excuse will be this year.

I don’t really have a good topic or point of view to write about tonight, but I knew I wanted to write.  I didn’t want to watch tv and me and my book, Gone Girl, are on a “break”.  I’m such a terrible reader.  It’s like I have ADD and I get distracted fairly eas…SQUIRREL?!….

What was I saying?!  Moving on….*wink*

Fast Facts since my last blog

  • Allen finally started his new position.  REWIND:  Allen got promoted at his new jobby job.  So overwhelmed by how grateful, thankful and blessed we feel.  Allen went from laid off in the summer of 2013 (he was actually told he was laid off 2 days after his 40th birthday in July.  “Happy Birthday……you’re position has been dissolved.”), to having a job offer by November of 2013, to starting his new job in January of 2014 to getting pulled into the office (thinking he was getting laid off again) in July of 2014 to be told that they wanted to promote him.  Full circle.  But God.  No one can tell me otherwise.  God is never early….and never late.  God is truly amazing. It’s just really neat to look back and see when and how God was there all a long.  Anyway…this was supposed to be fast facts and I’m blabbing.  See?!  I get distracted.
  • Thanksgiving was great.  Spent it with a good friend here in the good’ole QC.  Christmas was great.  Had our 3rd annual Christmas ornament exchange party in our new house.  Yeah!
  • 2014 was a year of firsts in the new house.  I’m sappy like that…
  • Made my first crown pork roast for Christmas dinner.  Hey, that accomplishment alone should be talked about in the internets considering I had never done it before and I made it for 6 people!!  But who am I kidding, it wasn’t THAT awesome.
  • Lets see…gosh I boring.

2015 Hopes and Dreams

  • Save more money by cutting out expenses we don’t really need. Lowering cell phone data plans, getting rid of gym (gasp) membership maybe, planning meals better and stop wasting money on food that goes to waste, getting rid of cable since we have apple tv….you know things like that.  I started a $5 jar.  Hubs was reluctant but he agreed to give it a whirl.  I got the idea from Hubs’ co-worker actually last year.  Her and husband did it for two years and they had over $3000 when they decided to count it.  Basically every time you have a full $5 bill or 5 $1 bills at a time, you put it in a jar. You don’t plan for when you put the money in, you just do it every time you see you have $5.  I’ve only been doing it for three days and I already have $20!! So hopefully I can stick to it for at least the end of the year.  I know I will. Hubs doesn’t know where it is, and it’s hidden out of sight so I can’t see it and I forget I even have it.  I only remember when I see $5.
  • Saying “no” and not feeling like I have to explain why.  This needs no explanation.  I can’t be everywhere and everything to every body.  I have to say no.  I’m such a home body.  I like watching movies during the week with hubs.  I like staying in and cooking a fancy meal rather than paying $85.  This year I got a great idea for a date night in.  I actually got it from a co-worker who also loves to cook.  Doing “Chopped” (like the tv show) at home!!  Hubs is nervous but I promised to make it easy on him.  If we mess up the main course, we can always order pizza!! lol!
  • Either self teach or take a photography class.
  • Read at least 5 books on the “Must Read List for 2015″…not sure if there is such a list but I can always google it.
  • Deepen at least 3 female relationships
  • Spend more time in my garden and doing things that make me happy.  Sometimes I get so caught up on trying to tend to others’ needs, I look up and my hair is a mess, I have a unibrow, my fingernail polish should have been taken off weeks ago and I’ve dropped the ball on things at work.  Getting a grip on 2015.  If I want to sit on my back patio during the day (not a work day) with a glass of wine and paint my toes…I should not feel guilty.
  • Spend more time with Jesus and Hubs.

I think that’s it!!

I’m going to start reading Gone Girl now before I talk myself out of it. #thestruggleisreal

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Oh…poor thing. You’re living your life Wrong.

LOL! My title for this blog makes me giggle. That’s basically what I thought when a woman at work told me I should have kids and I would regret it and then another co-worker who I thought was at least becoming a friend told me that I should be open to adopting a dog/rescue instead of going to a breeder. Geez. What else am I doing “wrong” in societies’ eyes?? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Begin vent session……

So in today’s episode of “You’re Not Having Kids”, a woman who works with me decided to try and convince me that I would regret not having kids. The conversation went a little something like this:

Woman: “Hey Queen City…how are you?” {Blah blah blah about work space and trying to get space assigned to associates on my team within the next few weeks}

Me: “Great, thanks for the update. My requests have been outstanding for weeks.”

Woman: “Is this your husband? (Picks up photo of me and Hubs)
Me: “It is!”
Woman: “Where are your children? Do you have kids?”
Me: “No…no kids.”
Woman: “ohhhh…How long have you been married?”
Me: “Almost 8 Years.” At this moment, I knew where she was going and I started to get irritated. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt…until she opened her mouth with this question.
Woman: “Oh wow..so a long time. You should have some babies by now. Why don’t you have kids? Do you not want kids?

Now remember…this is just a person I have to work with in regards to space management at work. She’s not a friend. So by this point I was mad. She isn’t close enough to me to ask this blunt question. A part of me wanted to reply in a mean, harsh, ugly way….but I bit my tongue.

Me: “Honestly…I don’t want kids. Love them..but we’re not having kids of our own.”
Woman: “Ohhhh…honey. You’re going to regret that. You need kids. Oh …it’s your husband that doesn’t want them isn’t it? I feel bad for you”

I was so mad, I was numb.

Me: “No. If you really want to know, neither of us wanted kids. And I won’t regret it, but thank you for telling me what I should do with my life.”
Woman: ” Oh but let me show you pictures of my babies. I will make you want kids”

She proceeds to stand at my desk and show me pictures of her cute, beautiful kids…but I didn’t care to see them. So I voiced my opinion.

Me: ” You know…your children are beautiful, but this doesn’t make me want them and I shouldn’t have to tell you that. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Women need to let other women live their lives. You standing here showing me your children, who is practically a stranger, is who I do not care to be.”

She left after that and emailed me about my work situation.

I don’t get it. About an hour or so after that, I was telling a “friend” that Hubs and I were going to go look at standard poodles from a breeder we know. She didn’t even care about what I had just said and immediately said “why not adopt? I don’t understand why people want pure bread animals when there are so many animals who need homes”. Due to the earlier incident, I snapped and my response was: “Well you are still married and are living with another man but you don’t see me judging you now do you?” And I walked off.

I know…not my finest moment. LOL! But I just don’t get it. When did we as females really stop caring about other women and how hard society tries to put us into the perfect “woman” mold? When did friends stop caring about just being happy for their friends and just really being INTRESTED in each other’s lives?? Geez.

Let me do me…and you do you to the best of your ability. Yes I want a standard poodle, yes I’m going to a breeder (not a puppy mill) for him (yes I want a boy dog) and no I’m not having kids. Let that sink in…let it marinate. I’m ok with the decision….so that’s all that should matter.

I’m excited to go to see puppies in a few weeks! I’ve already got a name picked out and I’m hoping by April or July of 2015 we will have a new fur-baby added to our family. I’m sure I’ll get judged on calling him a fur child. Can’t win. -___-

Happy Wednesday!!!

My favorite color is Fall

Two weekends ago, Hubs and I took a camping trip to Brevard, NC.  Fall in the NC mountains is stunning.  The mountains, the color, the nature and the cool, crisp weather is so refreshing.

Hubs’ brother bought us a book 4 Christmases ago that routed out back roads of North Carolina.  One trip was a trip called “Land of the Waterfalls”.  Our goal was to hit as many waterfalls as we could in 2 days.  We only got to 4 😦  I’m sad about that but oh well.  That just means that we will be back to see the others.  I think there are at least 20 waterfalls in the Brevard area.

Another reason why I wanted to go to see the waterfalls was so I could practice taking photos.  I’ve had my camera (a Nikon D60…discontinued…) for about 9 years.  Its been a good camera to me and it’s allowed me to learn and I’m continuing to learn on it.  I have a 50mm lens that I LOVE but it is not compatible with my D60 meaning the AF is disabled.  I shoot in manual anyway, but I literally have to use my own eye to focus the lens.  It’s challenging but it’s forcing me to really perfect my focusing skills!  I always liked photography, but was too intimidated by it, didn’t think I’d be good at it and thought that there were a plethora of photographers out there so why would I be any good or as good as them? I enjoy shooting architecture, life style (I guess that’s what it’s called) and landscapes.  Here’s a few pics I took…nothing spectacular.

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was trying to adjust my light meter andddd I think this is a little blurry. oh well. Walking trail to one of the water falls

The walking trails were peaceful and there were a lot of people out the same day we were. The weather conditions were great for mid day. I was worried that it would either be really sunny mid day ruining good lighting or raining…ruining my hair. We got started late afternoon and it was cloudy out. I was happy about that.

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A Wild Flower that my sweet Hubs picked for me out of a mountain side.
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More Cove? I think that’s the name of it. Love this one…
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I came around the corner on this trail and I literally gasped really loud. This covered bridge was stunningly beautiful.

So my favorite photo was the one I took of Hubs staring at the huge covered bridge.  It showed how small we are in comparison to God’s creation and to what surrounds us.  It also shows a massive safe haven.  This covered bridge reminded me of God’s broad shoulders and arms waiting to shelter me and cover me and to take on any weight that I carry….all I have to do is walk under the cover of His bridge…..

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So cool
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My favorite

You’ve Got Mail

grandma fountain letterFirst off…how do I have wrinkles in my thumb?? Can I get botox in that area?? Aaahahahaha only I would think of something like that.

Moving On….

While at work I remembered my promise to reach out more using other methods other than Facebook, email, etc and the thought of writing my Hubs’ grandmother popped in my brain.  So…while on the clock (don’t judge) I wrote a quick letter to Hubs grandmother….my grandmother.

I have to say I got a little teary eyed on her response. She mentioned that she loved to read, and write letters and she felt that she knows me deeply from only a few letters. I have to say…..I feel the same way.  She gave me tips on my garden..and how I can maximize it’s growth potential, she mentioned that “Arugula” must be a North Carolina veggie because her and her neighbor haven’t heard of it (I belly laughed at that.  I either must have spelled it wrong..or they really think its a NC veggie) and she mentioned that she is so happy that “young people like me are taking interest in the old ways of growing gardens and working for fresh veggies”.  After reading her letter…..I called my mom. I wanted to hear her voice as well.  I feel more connected now.  There truly is something about taking the time to physically or verbally connect with someone.  It almost feels like they are right there in the room.

I am really glad that I wrote the letter and called my mom.  It’ costs us nothing to reach out to those around us.  What am I…what are you waiting on?  🙂

Happy writing!!!

A Warm House …..Makes a Happy Home

This past weekend, Hubster and I were finally able to throw a housewarming for friends here in the Queen City.  We were prepared for about 18 people and we….well I started at wee hours Saturday morning.  5am came and I sprang out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning.  Well ok, not really.  Let me be honest.  I, first of all got out of bed that early because I was overwhelmed and stressed about everything I wanted to get done before that night.  I didn’t spring out of bed but more thumped out of bed….tuck and roll is what it looked like. Springing out like a kid on Christmas morning just sounded better…..

Hubs made it out of bed and after mimosas, breakfast, coffee…lots of coffee….we got to work.  Yard work, cleaning, baking and putting together a dessert spread that I hope everyone enjoyed.  I love to entertain and sometimes I can’t help but add extra “sparkle” to gatherings that I host.  I can’t help it.  It’s the little details that get me all giddy inside and sharing the “sparkle” with others makes me happy.

The almost disaster of the day was when I put two pans of brownies in the oven.  My baking skills  patience is thin but I figured boxed brownies were not that difficult.  Wrong.  The timer goes off and I open the oven door and pull out the rack to check to see if they were done.  They were still in liquid/batter form so I needed to cook them longer.  I am still learning my oven and tried to push the rack back and it wouldn’t go back.  So…like an idiot I figured that I could just shut the oven door and the door would push the rack back. I do just that and both pans of brownies slide off the rack to the back of the oven….spilling some of the batter in the brand new oven.  Insert choice curse words, screams and hand burning as I reach into the oven without a mitt and grabbed one pan.  This is why I hate baking.  I don’t have patience. So hubster comes in and calmly saves the day.  I shook what was left of the brownies around the pan and threw them back in the oven.  *sighs* I blame the oven and me.  I was trying out the convection feature.  Epic fail.

Nevertheless, the house warming was awesome and we had a great time roasting s’mores, chatting and giving everyone a tour.  One guy kept asking hubster if he had done certain things himself and finally said “what DIDN’T you do yourself” it was funny!

Here are a few pics:

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My cute little fall owl. I’m all of a sudden into owls lately.
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My theme for the party was “Home Sweet Home”. I filled little bags with “sweets” . Chocolate candies and smarties. Gotta love Pintrest!!
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S’mores bar!! This was a lot of fun
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Again with the Owls. On the Left is Mr. Owl and on the right is Mr. Who…in case you can’t tell them apart
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My spread! Brownies (that tasted great and were gone) S’mores for outside roasting and cheese and jam. We also printed out before pictures of the house and put them in the orange photo book. Great way to show how far we’ve come!

I think the next “themed” party I want to throw is a Cards and Cocktails party. Playing card games like Cards Against Humanity or Poker (Texas Hold’em) and have a few cocktails. We have enough Tito’s to last us a few years!

Until next time….

No More Facebook?! (I Think…)

no facebook

So for the past month or so I’ve been chewing on the idea of getting rid of my Facebook account. There are a few reasons why but for the most part it’s because a) I am kinda boring and not that interesting and b) I can always post an edited, filtered version of my breakfast or other dumb food pictures on Instagram. Oh and I am a little over the negative banter that I see about politics and other newsworthy events. 90% of those that I follow have Instagram so I can still see what’s going on in their lives. If I want to post about how I got caught dancing in an elevator I can tweet about it. I am too plugged in and one of the three (if not all at some point) need to go.

I find myself being distracted at work checking Facebook. If I am not checking Facebook I am checking Instagram. If not those two, it’s twitter. Aaarrgghh!! Why must I spend so much energy! I want to be more present. More in the now. Spend more time actually reaching out to friends rather than just “stalking” them on FB.

My hubs’ sweet grandmother whom I’ve never met always writes him letters. She talks about the excitement she feels when she actually gets a letter in the mail as she enjoys reading and connecting through the hand written letters. We never wrote back in the past but one letter had a section that was asking specifically about me!!! I immediately wrote her back and her response letter sounded as if she was overjoyed that she finally got a response!! I could feel her joy and excitement in her hand written response. I want that feeling or at least make someone feel that excited about receiving or connecting with me that isn’t through the Facebook or even Instagram.

So anyway… I think I am going to wean myself slowly off if it so I have time to at least save/download all of my pictures! I’ve removed the app from my phone and I have to log in from the mobile browser which is a pain. I logged in last week and almost missed the ALS challenge that my BFF in Texas had for me. I logged in once more to post my video and a few times after that. Today has been zero. And I must say it’s getting easier. Will be honest in the future if I fall off the bandwagon and reinstate my account…hahahah #nojudging. (I don’t even think hashtags work in blogs?? *Shrugs*)

If you are wondering, you can always follow me on Instagram and Twitter. @queencityjewel

Until next time…

Unplugged. Literally……

We hiked. We ate. We drank wine. We slept….in. We stopped and smelled the roses. We went go cart riding. I didn’t check voicemail or email, facebook, instagrm or twitter.

Hubs and I wanted to take a weekend to ourselves to reconnect. We wanted a “staycation”. We didn’t go anywhere, but we stayed in our home and wanted to take full advantage of a weekend to ourselves. No distractions. No phones. No social media. No email. You get the point. It was hard for me the first hour on Saturday morning, but after I made brunch for us, it was easier.

I had such a wonderful time just being and enjoying life for a moment. I know I can get caught up in my phone, circumstances, social media, etc. I chose to turn my “DND” option on my phone and also decline all incoming text messages. I didn’t get a single text message, email or phone call all weekend. It was really nice.

Hubs and I move into our new home March 29th but we close this Thursday on the 27th. We have 30 days to cram in as much remodel as possible. Every weekend we will be remodeling so we wanted to take this weekend to reflect and to just BE together. Totally worth it. I would post more pics, but I’m lazy and I have to convert the format. -_- Maybe I’ll do that later. Maybe.

I think we want to do this at least once every 4 months or so.

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m going to watch the closing Olympics now!!! #sochi2014