Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A White Christmas

Christmas at home with my family was exactly what I needed to end this year on the best possible note.  Travis and I headed home on the 21st and spent the whole week up in Salt Lake City.  The drive felt long and it was so nice to make it home and just be able to relax.  I had planned to go out and do all these crazy things while we were in SLC, but instead, we were sort of just home bodies and spent some much needed time lounging around the house and playing with my niece.

Travis helped out with the Advent Calendar, we wrapped presents, did some Christmas shopping, played The Game of Life a thousand and one times, played Monopoly, and basically did what you're supposed to at Christmas time.

On Christmas morning, my sister brought over her daughter and the rest of her family so we could do the Christmas thing out our house.  This year's Christmas was so different than last year.  While she still doesn't understand Santa, she knew the second that they walked in that all the present in that part of the room where hers. It was so much fun to see how excited she got when she saw all of her new stuff.  Obviously, she's a little spoiled, but we didn't really care. 
It started to snow right as we started opening gifts.  It really couldn't have been more perfect.
Travis and I also sorta made out like bandits.  For one of my Christmas gifts to my family, I started working on a scrap book.  So many of our picutres just sit on social media and it's not nearly as fun to flip through the photos on your phone as it is in a carefully made scrap books with hand written notes and sweet memories attatched.  I got really lucky and my family got me a whole bunch of materials to work on the book.  I'm basically set for a long time...It was an expensive hobby to just pick up with ZERO supplies on hand, so it's so great to have all these gifts to jump into this big picture project. 

Of course, my family also set Travis up with some cool gifts.  My dad got him a buck knife and made him a hoster for one of the hand guns he inheritted.  I got him a tent so that we can go out camping when it warms up, my mom made him his very own wooby (a blanky to love forever), and my sisters got him ties. He said the ties might be his favorite out of all the gifts...

Overall, it was a great Christmas spend with all of the people that I love most.  I can't wait for many more years to come.  Of course, it's always hard saying goodbye, but I'm ready for the New Year, a new semester, and many more adventures in this awesome life I'm living.
How was your Christmas? Does your family have any cool traditions? Did you get any Christmas snow?


Monday, December 29, 2014

Up In The Sky

First of all...Yeah, sorry I've been a little bit absent.  I've been busy doing some scrapbooking, working, getting together all the Christmas presents and of course, I went home for Christmas, so there was also the travelling and the packing and all that jazz.

But today, I'm back and I've got lots planned for the new year.  I can't wait to share it with you.  Here's a little bit about what I've been up to for the past couple of weeks.

Giving gifts to grandparents is hard.  They have everything that they need.  They have lived there life and there isn't much they haven't done.  Well, Travis and I decided to give them an experience they hadn't ever had before. 

On The Strip in the area called the Quad between the Linq and the Flamingo, there's a big huge Ferris Wheel thing that was built last year.  From far away, you can't even tell it's moving because the big bulbs creep around the wheel so slow it takes 30 minutes to go all the way around. It takes you up over 500 feet and you can see the whole city all lit up on either side.

We didn't tell them what we were doing...We just took them out to dinner then headed towards the city.  It was a big surprise and such a cool experience to watch them enjoy it. 
We took a lot of pictures.  We even got lucky enough to get a whole little bulb thingy all to ourselves. His grandma was taking pictures on her flip phone and could not get over how beautiful it was.  We even got to see the Belagio fountain show from up in the sky.  It was incredible.  
When you're inside the bulb the lights on the wheel are constantly changing colors so it's hard to get really good picutres inside.  It kept throwing funny colors on us.  We mostly looked blue, but we did end up with a few good ones.
When we got near the top, we gave them a present.  Trav didn't even know about it, but I framed a photo of Travis in the Cessna and tied a bow on it with the cards that I made for our families for Christmas.  Needless to say, it was a prefect night.  It could not have gone any better.
I really think that this was the best gift that we could have given them. I sure hope that they agree.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Flying Solo

Oh. My. Heavens. 
This last week has been so beyond crazy.  I thought it was going to be a rough one with finals and all, but it ended up being just the opposite.  I got through my finals week with out dying, did a lot of studying, completed my assignments and my brain didn't explode, so I think I'll call that a win. 
I think it also helped that I ended up spending quite a bit of time with Travis.  It wasn't the plan.  I planned to actually restrict our time together, but it just didn't work out that way.  On Tuesday, Travis hit a huge mile stone in his aviation career. 
He got to fly solo. 

He's the little dark spot fueling up the plane.

That's him up there in that little Cessna, looking a bit like this:
(You can follow him on instagram to see his awesome pictures and videos all the time @in.thrust.we.trust.  Class name, I know.)

It was such a cool experience to be able to be there and watch it from the observation deck.  I stood their with his Grandparents and his Grandma said all these sweet things about him and I pretty much almost cried I was so proud of him and all the hard work that he has done. I can't even imagine how it felt for him to be up there in the sky all by himself having worked so hard.  I have learned so much about aviation because the guy is always studying.  In fact, I'm interested enough that I might go and get a private pilot license...

Also this week, I was lucky enough to meet up with another blogger!  Laura from Life with Lolo.  She was in Vegas for the week for a work convention so we planned a day to go eat at the Hash House A-Go-Go.  Amazing food by the way...If you're looking for fantastic breakfast place in Vegas, that's the place to go. 
Finals are over.  Travis is flying solo.  It's almost Christmas.  I have a place to live while I'm on my break from school.  I get to sleep in a bed that isn't a twin and ridiculously uncomfortable, and I got to meet an awesome fellow blogger.
Life is good 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting My Life Together

I love to give gifts as you can probably tell from my gift guide.  Well, as a blogger, my favorite gift to receive  is the gift of organization.
A planner.
I did a lot of planner shopping last year before I decided on my Plum Paper Designs planner.  I looked at Whitney English's Day Designer, I bought one from Target, and I drooled over some Erin Condern for a while.  When my friend Heather told me about Plum Paper around this same time last year, I looked up their shop on Etsy and I was hooked and I knew that was exactly what I wanted.
You can choose from 3 different organizers and tons of personalized covers. Each one comes with plastic protector sheets over the front and back covers, 12 months, note pages, full calendars, a holiday page, and tabs for each month.  You can get them personalized, purchase a monthly budget tracker, a meal planner, a student planner, basically anything you could possibly need.
I used mine to plan my studying, classes, work schedule, and my blogging.  I chose to get the format where the days are separated by Morning, Afternoon, and Evening.  It worked really well and really helped me keep track of my life. 
Having a planner is really important to me.  I tried to manage my time using my phone, but it simply did not work for me.  This planner was the answer to all my organizational issues.  Sometimes I even have to pencil in my adorable boyfriend to makes sure I've got time for him...
As a lovely Christmas treat Plum Paper has given me a 10% off coupon code to share with you.
Use code CHALK10 at check out ot recieve your 10% off.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gift Giving Queen

Recently, I became the queen of gift giving.  I don't know how it happened, but all of a sudden, I just figured out how to give a gift that people really love. It's a pretty useful skill, if you ask me. 
Today I've decicded to share this gift with you and provide you with a handy dandy gift guide ranging from gifts for you little sister to gifts for your significant other. I hope that my idea might help you all in your Christmas Shopping endeavors.

For the women in your life.
I gave one to all the women in my family after I won a locket in a blogger giveaway.  They were a huge hit and fairly inexpensive. Totally worth it! $$
Little Seasons Watercolors. This particular one is Shannon's from The Hallway.  Her sister-in-law does the portraits and they would be an amazing gift for a newly wed, a momma or really anyone! check out her site to see what she can do for you. $$
For the Men in your life.
ManCrates are an amazing idea. 
The Hickory Grilling Man Crate  - packed with good stuff for the true grilling aficionado.
They are premade gifts that have "manly" products inside.  You can get whiskey glasses personalized and they come with things like pistachios and spherical ice-molds. The photo above is the Hickory Grilling Crate  $$$
The Dollar Shave Club 
This could work for a man or a woman! Sign someone up for The Dollar Shave club.  Inexpensive razors ship directly to your home! They even have other products that have great reviews like their Shave Butter if you'd rather get something a little simpler.  After further investigation, I also found these great gift cards that you could give to your friends and family! Such a thoughtful gift that anyone could enjoy. $
Hobby/Lifestyle Gifts
This is more of a tip than a particular item.  I like to pay attention to the little things that Travis says and shows me so that I can surprise him with little presents.  For example, he's pretty into aviation, so I got him this little patch thing having to do with it.  I'm also thinking about getting him these coaster that have the "six pack" (basically gauges for pilots) on them. That sort of stuff.  I shop at stores like the Army Navy Surplus Store for my dad and uncles! $/$$/$$$
As for the sisters/cousins/bestfriends in your life.
The Gunnysack has a bunch of great ideas for gifts in a jar! She even has printables to make it easy for you to creat the jars. 
(photo was borrowed from her page with permission
Along with this, she also has a few additional ideas for jar gifts.  They're simple and you can make them as personal as you'd like creating the perfect jar for whoever you'd like.  These could double as neighbor gifts as well! $/$$
Well, that's all I've got for you today! I may do another one of these later this week after I'm finished with all my Christmas shopping, but I'm pretty positive my family will peak...And I'm not about to let them know what I got for their Christmas gifts. I'm way too into surprises!
Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Realization that Christmas Cards are Not Lame

The topic of discussion today is Christmas Cards.  I've never sent one out before. Not even with my family.  In fact, prior to this year, I kind of thought that Christmas Cards were kind of silly. 
To me it was like you were saying "Hey, look at how cute we are!"  And there was really no other point to them.  However, as I've gotten older I've seen how important it is to have pictures and fun memorabilia.  I also think it's kind of cool to see how families have grown or changed over the years.  We always enjoyed receiving Christmas Cards and sticking them around the door frame each year.
So, Travis and I are going to send out a Christmas Card.  
I shopped a few designers such as the amazing Jess Kastler Design Studio, and other awesome stationary sites mostly via Etsy. 
They were all so beautiful and I really wanted to use them, but then I remember that I'm in college and both Travis and I are living on little to zero income.  So...I started looking into some awesome DIY options. 
Walmart has a really easy-to-use site where you can use their pre-loaded cards, add your own photo and they look really nice and they're $0.28 a print.  Super easy and very inexpensive for the poor and starving college student like me. 

   Now, the only thing I don't like about the Walmart option is that the cards are all done for you.  I'm a little bit more creative and I'd rather not have a card that someone else could have as well. 
So instead of using Walmart.com I used Picmonkey to create a card. 
Now that the card is done, all I have to do is load it onto my flash drive, take it to Walmart and print it out on awesome glossy photo paper, stick em in some envelopes, and send them out to our closest friends and family.  
I've also considered scrapbooking a few cards that are all unique with adorable hand-written notes in them...but I'm not sure that I'm that crafty.  We'll see! I'm excited to send out our card this year and I promise, I'll never make fun of family Christmas cards again. 
Are you sending out a Christmas Card?  Did you make it yourself?  Did you have an awesome designer create you a master piece?

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Different Situation

December 1st.  
Today is my blog's birthday!
Chalk It Up To Better Luck
What? I cannot believe that a year has gone by since I created this new blog and turned over a new leaf for my life.. A lot has changed in 12 months...12 months ago today, I wrote this post.  I let you know that I'm that girl.  For the most part I still am.  But I think a few things have changed.  Okay...a lot of things have changed.  At this time last year, I was leaving school because I was broke and I was pretty sad about it.  I'd just quit the first job I'd ever had and I was feeling somewhat defeated.
Today I'm back at that job that I quit (it's still boring, but I have a new perspective...a job is a job is a job).  I am enrolled for next semester and I'm finally going to be able to take advantage of some of the tuition assistance the Army has to offer.  I'm in an amazing relationship with a man who respects me, has ambitious goals, and wants me to have my dreams as well.  And I'm not living at home! I hate the dorms, but it's a place to live and I don't have to worry too much about things like rent and groceries...so that's pretty alright I guess.
  Overall, this past year of blogging (and honestly not being very consistent at it...) has been pretty great.  This "new" blog has been a great thing and I'm excited to see it grow and get ever better as time passes.
In store for the next few weeks?
1. New blog design
2. New Guest Posters
3. Basically a whole new blog concept. 
I've been working really hard on a bunch of new posts and new stuff for the next year.  I hope that you'll enjoy!
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