Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Start of a New Adventure: A Look at Our New Condo


This summer, Randall and I will be working on renovating our new condo! We've been discussing our future quite a bit, but this little venture was very unexpected. While we both have been wanting to get a place together, it just didn't seem financially possible until each of us finished school (I have one semester left, and he has another year in law school).

So when the opportunity presented itself, we were very lucky everything fell into place. For the price, size, area, and overall condition, it was just too good of a deal to pass up!  There's a lot to be done such as flooring, lighting, painting, etc. but we're very excited to add our personality to the place. It may not be much now, but I'm looking forward to sharing our progress as we go along.

More than anything, I can't wait to take another step up in my relationship. It doesn't say "dreaming of marriage" on the left side of my blog for nothing!

Here's to starting new "adventures!"

You can tour our little starter home in the pictures below!


Living Room

View from entry




View from backdoor

Dining Room

View from Kitchen

View from living room

Kitchen




Love the pulls on the cabinets from the first renovation.




Opposite corner for a refrigerator

Downstairs Half Bath


Stairway








Master Bedroom


View from doorway

Closet 1 and 2

Large Closet 3 (I already called dibs!)

Master Bathroom




Tile around shower

Small Porch


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Surgery Update: Cast Removal

This past Friday, Randall and I made our last trip back to Birmingham to finally have my cast removed.
Hallelujah!

Leaving for our early morning drive

Joanne brought me a Sugarees' cupcake before the trip!
(Read about how amazing Joanne is here and check out her beautiful garden)

It was one of the best cupcakes I've ever had!
Thank you!

This was our third time making the long drive (and we're very happy it should be our last!). Normally, it takes three and a half hours, and for previous appointments we've always made it at least 15 minutes early. But not this go around! We completely forgot about the Memorial Day traffic with everyone headed to the beach... It was beyond awful, not to mention torturing for someone with an OCD time issue. (This is not an exaggeration. I am so terrified of being late, I wake up close to every 15 minutes to look at the clock if I don't take my medicine.) 

We ended up being 45 minutes late! Needless to say, I was a little teary.  But everything ended up just fine. We called the office, and the staff was very understanding. The nurses and my doctor didn't even realize I was late when I started to apologize.

The removal of the cast was the only painful experience throughout the entire surgery process. Thankfully, it only lasted 10 seconds! It felt like someone was slowly removing a stubborn Band Aid from a tender, sore area. But what a relief to have it off! My nose will be swollen for quite a while, but it's very minor. Looking at me, you wouldn't be able to see it but I can definitely can feel it!

Goodbye Birmingham! We hope we won't be visiting you for a LONG time!

My favorite part of having my cast off? Being able to take a shower!

To celebrate the next morning, I took the longest shower of my life. It was so refreshing to wash my own hair and clean my face properly.  For anyone who is having surgery, or who has recently been injured and is unable to easily wash their face, you should look into Naked Bee's"Tissue Off" Facial Cleaner. It works wonders and is really simple to use when you need to avoid drenching your face.

Naked Bee's "Tissue Off" Facial Cleaner

Thank you to everyone who visited and/or sent me well wishes during my recovery! Especially to Randall who took such good care of me. I'm very lucky to have such an amazing man in my life!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Blog: BOOKS! With Becca!


I am so excited to introduce one of my best friends, the lovely Becca (who can be seen on the right side of my blog as My Other Half), as she makes her debut guest blog! Because I've had many people mention that they're always looking for good book recommendations, and because my post, What (And Why) You Should Read After "The Hunger Games", is the second most read of my blog, I decided it was high time to include some more book reviews.

But I don't want to be the only voice in giving suggestions. I've worked (and still work) with some of the most avid readers out there. So aside from my own reviews, every now and then I'll be featuring guest posts from some of the experts, especially Becca (until I can convince her to do her own blog because she's an amazing writer!).

And now, enough of me and more Becca!

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Okay folks, for my first attempt at this whole blogging thing I wanted to pick two books, a fiction and a non-fiction, that were not only great reads but that also represented myself and my interests in some way. That being said, my fiction pick is Christopher Moore’s latest novel entitled “Sacre Bleu”.

Sacre Bleu
By: Christopher Moore
Genre: Fiction

I picked this novel because I used to go to school for art history, and therefore obviously have a great interest in classic paintings and painters throughout time. This book deals primarily with famous impressionist painters such as van Gogh and Toulouse-Latrec, and features a good deal of impressionist paintings within the text.

I’d like to start by expressing my undying love for this cover. No but really, I want to blow it up and turn it into a poster. I love it, and the story inside the cover is just as good. 

As we all know, van Gogh met his end by shooting himself in a wheat field, then walking over a mile to a doctors house for help (obviously arriving too late). The author, Moore, could not reconcile the idea of a man shooting himself only to travel so far for help, so he came up with his own account of why such a thing might occur. The novel opens on van Gogh in his field being shot, rather than shooting himself. From there “Sacre Bleu” becomes part murder mystery, part comedy, part fantasy, and one hell of a good read. Fans of Christopher Moore, art, and good books will not be disappointed!


Right. One review down. For my non-fiction book I picked another recent bestseller, that book being Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine”.

  Imagine
By: Jonah Lehrer
Genre: Nonfiction 

Yet another book with a fantastic cover! 

People can do such awesome things with paper. I picked this book because I am currently in school for industrial design, and this book is an excellent example of what industrial designers do. Mind you, “Imagine” has much more to offer than just a day in the life of an industrial designer, it is in fact a study on creativity. How creativity works, how we can maximize it, and what myths can be debunked? 

It follows a variety of creative people from bartenders to Bob Dylan to the man who created masking tape. The book strives to prove that there is no such thing as a “creative type” and instead offers ways to harness your creativity while explaining the science behind creativity and where it comes from. This book is truly fascinating, and I can think of no better read for a person with any interest whatsoever in the broad spectrum of human creativity.


Hmmm I think I like this blogging thing, it’s a great outlet for my natural constant flow of word vomit. Maybe next week I’ll share a recipe or two as well? We shall see, dear readers…

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Both of these books can be found at my store, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, in the Laurelwood Shopping Center off of Poplar and Perkins Extended. Memphians! Support your local bookstore! We are #29 on 100 Places You Need to Go in Memphis at the I♥Memphis blog afterall!


And don't forget to vote for us as your favorite local bookstore in the Commercial Appeal's Memphis Most here!

Part 2 to Surgery Update 3: Adventure to Momma Jo's!

Being stuck at home alone (the majority of the time) for a week is terrible. For the past two days, I've been well enough for short visits out into the world (who knew nose surgery could still make you feel exhausted one week out), but my vanity had me thinking I wouldn't dare it until my big gaudy cast would be removed. Leave it to Momma Jo to force me out of the apartment! And I'm ever so thankful she did!

My Second Mom, Joanne, and One of Her Babies

I highly recommend you read about how special Joanne is to me below. She's an amazing woman.  However, I know for some, it's a lot of writing. But you MUST see the beautiful pictures at the end before you go!



If you ever visited Borders before it closed, or if you've visited The Booksellers at Laurelwood in the past nine months or so, hopefully you've had the pleasure of running into Ms. Joanne. Word of her awesomeness as an employee at Borders was so popular, it led our owner to personally offer her a job when her store was under liquidation. If you're looking for a book recommendation, I highly advise you come into The Booksellers and personally ask for Joanne.

Not only is Joanne a master bookseller (I think she beats Mark for the title), she is one entertaining woman! While she helps you find the perfect book she'll have you cracking up and spilling your life story like you're talking to a best friend you've never met. And when you walk out of the store, you'll feel like you've known her your entire life.

Over the months that we've worked together, I've come to consider Joanne family.  If I have a problem, she's always there to give me her honest opinion and amazing advice without ever being judgmental. When I have exciting news, she's the first one to celebrate with her imaginary poms poms, as she likes to say! I tell her my secrets, my fears, everything. In fact, I can remember coming to from anesthesia, and one of the first things I told Randall was to text Joanne to tell her I was okay.  She has become a second mom to me, and I love her to death!

So of course it was Momma Jo who made me go out in public!

She picked me up and we went to breakfast at Perkins down the street. By the time we were done eating, I felt completely drained. I'm still confused as to why I don't have my energy level back to normal yet from freaking nose surgery. I was set on getting back home for a nap, but no!

Joanne's Adorable House

Cutest Mailbox I've Ever Seen!

Joanne kidnapped me again to see her garden, and it was magnificent! Beautiful flowers, colorful shrubs, adorable garden gnomes, tranquil water fountains...you name it, she had it! The beauty of it all mixed with the perfect morning weather and great company made me feel incredible.


I hope you enjoy the pictures below. You may not appreciate them as much as me, but this place really kept my sanity in tact. While the incredible IMemphis blog (If you're a Memphian, you MUST follow this site here) recently posted 100 Places You Need to Go in Memphis, I wish you could all add Joanne's garden to the list. These pics don't do it justice!

Flowers
I wish I could remember the names of these beauties, but between my meds and the state of awe I was in, it's not happening! If you recognize any, feel free to shout them out.

 


My favorite if you can't tell. I featured them again twice below!

Wondering if this could be a part of a wedding bouquet arrangement in the future. ;)

Love that soft blue!










Outdoor Decorations, Bird Baths, & More

One of My Favorites








This marble bird bath belonged to Joanne's mother. Isn't it precious!



Beautiful glass hummingbird feeder


My dad would love Joanne's little frogs.

Hey Joanne, did you know Mark's sleeping in your backyard??? (bookstore joke)



Overview of Joanne's Paradise 
(these pictures don't give the vastness and splendor of the garden justice)

Double Gate at the Entrance

Patio Area 1

Alternate View of the Patio
This adorable patio is complete with a tower air conditioner for the Memphis heat. I wish I could spend every morning here!

Entrance to the Garden


First View of the Garden

 Second View

Opposite Side Gate (breath taking!)

Second Patio Backed Up to the House

Another Perspective

Burial Site of One of Joanne's Pups...so sweet


Trees and Other Plants

Banana Plant
(when spelling banana, I have to sing Gwen Stefani's Holla Back Girl...)




Thank you, Joanne for sharing this with me. Don't be surprised if you find me sitting on your patio early one morning!