Monday, December 31, 2018

30 favorite photos of 2018

it is actually kinda crazy to me, doing a recap post of 2018... because the beginning of this year feels like WORLDS AWAY! at the beginning of the year, i was starting my last semester of grad school, i hadn't even taken and passed my boards yet, and i had no idea how much life would change by December. yet here we are, i've got my dream job and it's near my house, and speaking of houses... we are ending 2018 in OUR OWN HOME! we haven't had our own house since May 2016, so we are just a tad excited!

last year, I did a post where I shared my favorite photos from the year. It was one of my favorite posts to do, so I decided to do it again this year! I have trouble narrowing down photos, so I am doing my favorite 30! last year I was able to narrow it down to 20 but this year I just couldn't choose! but I guess it fits because I turned 30 this year, so that sounds like a good number! haha! I added a short explanation of each photo below it! there aren't all my favorite for aesthetic reasons... but for the memories that have been captured. either way, enjoy!

o1; i mean, our adorable bunny catching snowflakes on her tongue?! you would be hard pressed to find photo cuter than that!

o2; if you know me, you know I'm an animal lover and slightly obsessed with donkeys. so when we had a resident donkey at an airbnb we stayed at, I was in heaven!

o3; this is spring in Chattanooga, and i love these colors so much! we took a short weekend trip to Chattanooga during my spring break, and we loved walking/biking on this pedestrian bridge!

o4; weekend getaways, coffee, and my husband... i can't go wrong with that combination!

o5; my in-law's baby chicks on top of my bunny, how much more cute could it get?!

o6; my family came to my graduation celebration at the satellite campus of my school and afterwards we hit up an ice cream/coffee place & my cool nephew rode with us!

o7; sunset silhouettes are my favorite photos to capture. this was a spontaneous beach trip that we got to go on, the week of my graduation! I think this one is so fun with the bird flying in the background!

o8; getting offered a free stay at the beach the week of my graduation was a fun treat! it was nice to have some days of relaxation to celebrate all that went into accomplishing a masters degree and licensure!

o9; every time we go to the beach, one of my favorite parts is going out to the point and watching the sunset. Thomas and I are sunset chasers, and the beach always tends to have gorgeous ones!

10; my sister graduated with her doctorate the day after I graduated with my masters, which was so fun. we took some photos before and after her ceremony and this one is my fave!

11; when our basset tags along on our hikes, it's always a photo opportunity! she's so adorable!

 12; i took some pregnancy announcement photos for some friends of ours, and this photo came out so sweet!

13; we went out to the beach one day after it had been raining, and got to see a full rainbow! 

14; the deer that live on the island we go to for family vacation, are used to people, so you can pretty much hang out with deer and it's so cool!

15; i just think these palm trees look so cool and representative of summer! i looked up when we were walking onto the beach and saw this and just had to capture it! 

16; I had my sister take a photo of us on my camera at one of our family get togethers, and it's one of my favorite photos of us to date.

17; just a boy having fun! i have such cute nephews! i love capturing random photos of them! 

18; my husband holding our newest nephew! so tiny! 

19; my husband took this of me when we were hiking one day (the same hike where he proposed) and i think it's so fun! 

20; of course i had to include a photo from when these blog friends came to town! I mean, if four bloggers hang out, there's gotta be a coffee photo right?!

21; reflection photos are some of my favorite in all the land

22; nephew feets, enough said

23; i love doing themed photoshoots with our pets & i think this fall themed photo came out so adorable! 

24; just look at that man that i married! ;) this was another weekend getaway that we took!

25; the budweiser clydesdales came to town to deliver beer down main street & we got some awesome close up photos of them!

26; the day we closed on our house & got the keys! so exciting!

27; nephew smiles & reindeer jammies

28; we stayed at my parent's house for a few days when we had a snow storm, because the roads near my in-laws were't driveable. i had a day off while we were there & spent the day doing puzzles and making cookies with my nephew! it was so much fun!

29; our gorgeous mantle and fireplace in our new house! i can't get enough of it!

30; the year ended on a sad note when my grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve, but we were so thankful we were able to see her 2 days prior and get this sweet photo with her!

what are some of your favorite memories from 2018?

Friday, December 28, 2018

how to | wall decor with scrabble letters

I shared about the scrabble themed gifts we gave most of our family members a few days ago, but I wanted to make another post for what I made for my sister-in-law's family. I was originally going to make it for them when they had their second child (in August), but they didn't name the baby until a few days after he was born, so I waited for Christmas since I didn't know what scrabble letters I was looking for until after he was born! I made a small wooden pallet with every family member's name on it, and room to add more kids if their family grows! although, if they have more than four kids, there may not be enough room, haha!

small wooden pallet
jar of stain
washi tape
burlap flowers
scrabble letters
hot glue gun

o1; using a paper towel, stain your small wooden pallet in the stain color of your choice
o2; arrange the scrabble letters in the order you want them to be on the pallet
o3; use the hot glue gun to secure the letters onto the pallet
o4; use the hot glue gun to secure burlap flowers (or other decoration) to any space that needs filled
o5; if you have an extra panel, use temporary decoration (such as washi tape) to make a design that can be removed without damaging the pallet (if more names need to be added later)
o6; use the glue gun (or heavy duty stapler) to secure the rope to the back side of the pallet, so the pallet can be hung on the wall

bonus tip: you can glue other decorations onto the washi tape, to add decoration temporarily but will easily be removed with the washi tape later

what's your favorite use for scrabble letters?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

a scrabble themed Christmas

each year we inevitably have a theme that our Christmas gifts (or the wrapping) stick to! I love giving handmade personalized gifts, and also packaging them up in cute wrapping! in 2017 we made customized peg people (I also made wood burned gifts for my boss!), in 2016 we wrapped with kraft paper and mini initial stockings, in 2015 we handmade almost all of our gifts (wood burned coasters, sugar scrub & bath salts, fabric flower wreaths, and a photo calendar). fun fact, we also made a pallet Christmas tree in 2015 that we still use to decorate with! in 2013 (our first married Christmas) I made Thomas a 12-month themed date idea gift called Passport to Fun, which we finished up in December 2014!

I did personalized gift wrap as a theme for our family gifts in 2013, which is one of my favorite things! I also made hot chocolate snowmen for my co-workers in 2013, which was the same year Thomas and I made a coffee table out of an old window from our house which is my favorite piece of furniture we have! (that was fun to go back through and remember all the things we've made these past few years! ;)

this year our gifts for our family were scrabble themed, because I've spent a lot of time at thrift stores sifting through scrabble letters over the past year! ;) I made something a little different for my sister-in-law's family, and I'll share photos (& a how to) in my next post (so check back on friday!). I kept collecting scrabble letters and I decided to make pretty patterned frames for some of our family members and my boss. I made more than are captured in these photos, but they weren't all completed when I took the photos! I think they came out so cute & it was really fun to gift everyone a special, personalized handmade piece they could display in their home!

what is your favorite way to personalize Christmas gifts?

Friday, December 21, 2018

the Christmas mantle

when we lived in our first home together, we didn't really have a mantle. i mean, we had a mantle in our bedroom but we didn't really decorate it much because it was in our bedroom and not the living room. our old house was weird and our bedroom was actually the old dining room or living room. it was originally a 4 room house built without a bathroom, so it had some quirks. haha! point is... we didn't have a mantle in our living room so i never really had a place to decorate or accent the living room.

one of the things i LOVE about our new house is the fireplace. it's just super gorgeous and i love our wooden mantle! when we realized we would be able to close on the home and move in the week before Christmas, i gathered some of my Christmas decorations and packed them all in one bag to keep handy, so i could decorate our mantle. i knew we wouldn't have time to decorate the house for Christmas, and that our house would still be full of boxes throughout the holidays, but i was determined to at least decorate my long awaited mantle! i had selective Christmas decorations accessible, with more still packed in boxes unknown to me, but i used as much as i could! you can even spy our Christmas card for this year displayed! i had our mantle full & then we got our canvas wrap in the mail, so i did some rearranging to fit the canvas on the mantle, and i love it so much!

it was fun to decorate the mantle for the first time, and with cute Christmas decorations! we haven't decorated for Christmas the past 2 years because in 2016 we were living in the apartment but staying with family during the holidays since we lived 2 hours away, and in 2017 we were living with the in-laws in one bedroom. i mean, we usually do a low key Christmas on the decorating front, but we didn't get to do anything the past few years, so i'm delighted to at least have my Christmas mantle this year! i have no idea where our stocking hangers are packed, so i brought the festivities into the kitchen and hung our stockings on the pantry! plus, our pallet Christmas tree was at the front of one of our storage unit, so we got to pull that out and use it to decorate as well!

what's your favorite way to decorate a mantle?