Tag Archives: memories

My New Photo Wall

mixtiles photo wall

Guys! I am so obsessed with my new photo wall. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting one up for months now but it always just seemed like SOOO much work. Choosing the photos, getting them printed, then framed, and – MOST DAUNTING OF ALL – hung.

(Hung straight and without making the wall look like swiss cheese with all the nail holes, that is.) 

Well, then I discovered Mixtiles and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally pull the trigger on the photo wall of my dreams! I still took great care to choose my photos, narrowing down a field of many to 12 of my favorites. I wanted them to all have a cohesive color palette (blue, red, green, and light maroon) so that the arrangement would look nice in our living room. This helped weed out some contenders. Also handy was the fact that the Mixtiles website will tell you if a picture is going to be lower quality when printed as soon as you upload it. So that eliminated a few more.

My 12 winners included:

  1. Chet at the aquarium
  2. Me on a trail with my trusty Tom Bihn
  3. Katie at the shuffleboard club
  4. A snap from a trip to the Everglades
  5. Andy, Mom, and I at Sunken Gardens
  6. Chet and his Mom at his doctoral graduation
  7. Chet and I on a trip to St. Pete
  8. The weekend we moved to Alabama
  9. Breaux Bridge
  10. My Mom in Miami
  11. Wink enjoying some outdoor time
  12. and the Berger siblings

All I had to do was upload the photos, select the type of frame I wanted, and the next thing I knew they were on my doorstep. And best of all? They hang WITHOUT nails and are removable, reusable, and leave no marks. Perfect for people (like me) who are indecisive and want to play around before they settle on the ideal placement.

I would highly, highly recommend Mixtiles if you’ve always wanted a photo wall but were too scared to take the plunge! I’m already itching to order more!! They are beautiful quality and the perfect addition to any home.

Do you have a photo wall?

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The Best Souvenirs

Now that summer is coming to an end, and all the travel that goes along with it, I’d love to know…Did you pick up any fun souvenirs on vacations this year? 

When I was a kid, souvenirs felt like SUCH a necessity. Visiting kitschy shops at beaches, amusement parks, and roadside attractions felt like a cruel joke if I didn’t at least get to select ONE item to come home with me. The allure of some magnet with my name on it or a toy representative of the past day’s adventure too difficult to resist whining about.

Nowadays, souvenirs fall into that careful balance of knowing I don’t need any additional tchochkes cluttering my home, but also wanting to take out an insurance policy on fleeting travel memories. With that in mind, I’ve developed a few categories of purchases I employ when looking to commemorate a trip…

Little things to tuck in a memory box, like a postcard or patch, are a go-to of mine. Not a huge investment, so I feel ok that it’s only going to be admired in those days I’m feeling extra nostalgic and pull down the box to sift through my collection of random ephemera.

But I don’t mind splurging on a high-quality consumable. A bottle of wine local to the area that can be uncorked months later. A lotion with a scent to transport me back to our travels. A candle from a sweet seaside shop or a box of local chocolate from the corner store.

And speaking of chocolate, let’s go ahead and put cooking ingredients in a category all their own. Something like a beautiful bottle of local olive oil, whole bean coffee from a cafe you fell in love with, or a couple teeny tiny jars of spices that easily tuck in your backpack. I also love this as an option if you’re tasked with bringing back a goodie for a co-worker or family member. A friend of mine gifted me a little tin of paprika she bought on a trip to Hungary and I thought about her and her adventure every time I sprinkled it in a dish for months to come.

Finally, there’s what I consider the daily item. These I reserve for truly special trips. I want to be transported to those memories frequently, so something like a piece of jewelry or a scarf fits the bill. For a lower budget option, I would go for something like a coffee mug or a small print I can transport carefully home and frame. Basically an item that I can seamlessly incorporate into my daily life…not one that is emblazoned with the city or attraction I visited. Those seem like a good idea in the moment, but then get shoved to the back of a closet.

Which of these categories do you normally go for? Have your own strategy when it comes to souvenirs? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

P.S. This would be a fun way to commemorate your trip once you’ve returned home!

A Decluttering Thought Exercise

I’ve been in a real decluttering mood as of late. I did a clothes clear out, went through a few drawers full of odds and ends, did a once over on my book collection, and even edited the kitchen by quite a lot (cooking gadgets and utensils are my ultimate hoarding weakness!). Perhaps it’s the promise of a new calendar year that has me wanting to clear out the old.

Whatever the reason, it’s certainly been a successful few weeks in the minimizing-my-home department.

So, I thought I’d share with you the little thought exercise I use when I’m feeling apprehensive about letting go of *stuff*. Maybe it will help you let go of the material goods or possessions in your own home that cause you to feel bogged down. Here’s what I do…

First, I think of my happiest memories. Then, I try and identify what made them so great. Was it the people I was with? The place? A certain time of year or a feeling of security? Most importantly, was it the STUFF? Usually, as I compose bullet points in my head about these wonderful moments in my life, the “things” involved in the memories – the clothes and the knick-knacks and the books and the KITCHEN GADGETS (lol!) – sink to the bottom. After all, they’re heavy and take up space. Conversely, the feelings are weightless.

And many times I find memories created through the absence of possessions pop up, too. Like when I lived abroad as a child and the absence of tons of toys meant my sister and I went outside to play more. Or when Chet and I first moved to Miami and the absence of lots of furniture meant we didn’t just sit but explored.

Think about your very favorite vacation.
Do you remember everything you packed?

Now I’m not saying I could be one of those people who pares down so fully that they can live with 100 or less possessions. I love watching the YouTube videos those people make but I’m not naive enough to think I can disassociate all feelings from certain possessions. I’ll always have too many books and a drawer of kitchen utensils that can barely close. But once a year, maybe twice, I can edit. And my happy memories thought exercise is how I do it.

Are you successful when it comes to decluttering or do you find it difficult to part with possessions? How do you manage to minimize your home? Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 

On summertime traditions.

beachgrass

On Monday we talked about items to check off our bucket list THIS summer, but today I’d like to talk about things to do summer after summer. Stuff to look forward to all year; like a yearly road trip to camp in a state park with your cousins or an annual backyard barbecue held for the whole neighborhood. Do you have any summertime traditions like this?

Growing up, my family would pack up the mini-van each summer and head north to Lake Michigan. We’d rent a cottage within walking distance from the shore and head to the beach each day with an armload of sand toys, books, and floating rafts. I’ll always remember eating packed PB&J’s (with the added crunch of specks of sand) and plums from the Farmer’s Market. Maybe indulging in a few kolaches as a treat, made locally in a Swedish bakery. I would finish book after book, lounging sun-kissed and sprawling on the beach-themed furniture, trading dog-eared paperbacks at a used book store for new-to-me stories. Frequent evening trips to the ice cream parlor were a non-negotiable.

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Now that I’m getting married in just a few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how meaningful these types of traditions are. I’m eager to lean in to the rituals of my new, soon-to-be-official, tiny family.

The last two summers, Chet and I celebrated his birthday with a trip to the aquarium. (We walked across a rope bridge above a shark tank right after we got engaged!) And I love imagining what it will look like if this ritual carries on into the expanse of our years. Who knows if it will, but I can see our future selves fawning over sweet turtles and fish so colorful it’s hard to believe they’re real. And that’s pretty cool.

But the possibility of traditions not yet thought of is pretty cool, too.

What summertime traditions do you hold dear? I’m oh, so curious…and who knows? Maybe we’ll get some ideas! 

Finding Delight in 2015!

end of 2015 selfie

2015 has been an absolutely amazing year. So much happened (!!!) but I still can’t believe we’ll be on to a new year in just a few short hours. I’m so excited for everything 2016 holds in store but for now, CHEERS TO 2015! The year I saw my brother marry the love of his life. The year I watched my sister star in a musical she wrote. The year I cheered as Chet earned his PhD. The year I got engaged. And the year I packed up my Subaru and moved down to the very southern tippy-tip of the U.S. of A. I’ve made so many wonderful memories this year with my friends and family.

Having a blog is such a cool way to look back and reflect on all the neat things going on in my world over the past year. I’ve never been too great at life documentation. The commitment of keeping up a scrapbook seems over-whelming. I’ve tried to pour my heart out to diaries and journals to no avail. At the end of the day, I like writing and creating for other people. Not just myself. So, thank you! Thank you for checking out my corner of the internet once in a while. Thanks for reading what I have to say! It means the world to me…and it encourages me to write things down, cherish my memories, and feel blessed with good fortune.

I promise to keep posting in 2016! I hope you’ll swing through (and say “Hello!” if you do). But now, as we close the books on 2015 here on the blog, I’d like to take a look back at a few of my favorite posts from this year!

15 favorites from 2015:

Life Lessons: Handwriting A memory of a childhood decision inspires me to take a more assured path to self-improvement.

No-recipe Recipes Meals to turn to again and again when you’re too lazy to get fancy but too awesome at ballin’ on a budget to hit up a restaurant.

4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired How to make the most of your big kid job.

Restaurants are not Food Culture A lot of my year was spent working on the local food scene in Lexington; this post was inspired by the people, places, and food I encountered along the way.

My Reverse Bucket List There are tons of things I still want to do but sometimes it’s fun to reflect on the things I already have!

Photo Diary: Wedding in Savannah, GA Andy and Dawn get hitched!!!

We’re engaged! Chet asked me to marry him (on his own birthday no less!) and I SAID YES!

We moved to Miami! I left behind The Bluegrass State and now our home is in The Sunshine State.

5 Tips for Writing Killer Emails Sometimes you just gotta address your pet peeves via a blog post!

Showing off my new home workspace! Now that I’m working from home I thought it was important to create a functional and rad work station.

Full. The Musical My sister is a bad-ass. That’s all there is to say!

It’s my birthday!!! (+50 facts about ME.) I turned the big 3-0 this year and also shared some little nuggets about myself for y’all to enjoy.

I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened. This was my most read post of 2015!

November Stitch Fix Stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a whole LOT of selfies in front of a full-length mirror…what can I say, I love Stitch Fix!

Delightful New Orleans Wedding Our dear friends Carrie and Ganer tied the knot and we had a blast celebrating their love.

And a few awesome guest posts: 

DIY: Peppermint Christmas Wreath Katie Nedvidek showed us how to make an adorable holiday wreath on a budget.

In Defense of “Go Set a Watchman” Katie Berger shared her thoughts on Harper Lee’s new book.

I talked to a woman for 4 hours on the train. Rachel Wigginton told a super touching story about an encounter with a stranger.

mid-week round-up #44 Adam Swanson took the reins for a link lovin’ Wednesday feature.

Cooking up a taste of home. Sheryl, Ashley, Katie, and Carrie tell us the foods they prepare for a little taste of home.

Happy New Year, my loves! I hope you find lots of delight in 2016!!! ❤