2012: out with the old

I feel like this past year slipped through my fingers. In the blink of an eye, we reached the end of December of 2012. Here is my list of 11 favorite times and memories from this wonderful year.

1     I started this blog in March. I love taking pictures everyday and sharing them with you. It hasn't always been easy, somedays it felt like a chore. But as I look back, I pleased to have a diary of moments from my life to share.

2     Time with Alice. I was very lucky to spend 12 weeks at home with my baby girl after she was born. Every little smile, giggle and sound is like gold. She makes everyday special in ways I never thought possible. I am thankful for every moment with her. Time sure does fly.

3     I got two sisters. I was in two beautiful weddings and gained two sisters in the process. This bridal shower was perfection.

4     We spent a whole week at the beach over the summer. I loved seeing Alice play in the sand and surf. Her first visit to the beach will always be one of my favorite memories. Her Aunt and Great Grandma came along and cheered her on.

5     Time with friends. I am lucky to have one of the bestest best friends in the whole world. She is a wonderful aunt to Alice. I love seeing the joy they bring to each other, it is so sweet and special to me. I also had the pleasure of spending quality time with some casual acquaintances who quickly became fantastic friends.

6     Speaking of friends, we were able to throw a swell party for all of ours. We had so much fun planning and organizing the event. Alice is quite the social butterfly and has not hindered our social life one bit.

7     It seems like we traveled a bunch this year. Recent trips to Wisconsin and Florida and several trips to Wilmington early in the year were all fun and exciting but our vacation out west was inspirational and unique.

8     We also traveled close to home. Western Carolina University has had many changes since we graduated, but it is still very much the same as when we fell in love.

9     My resolution this year was to try and purchase my clothes from thrift and consignment stores as often as possible. I wanted to do this to save money and be less of a consumer. As I look through my closet, some of my favorite items were thrifted and vintage. I will definitely continue this practice into the new year.

10    This year, Byron and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. It seems like just yesterday we were planning and getting ready for the big day. These past five years have not always been easy but we have always supported and loved each other. I am such a lucky gal to have him in my life.

11    I am ending the year in a very different place than I started it. So many things have changed, including me. I am now a writer, author and novelist.


Driving through Fond du Lac after the blizzard was enchanting. I love the way the snow covered every inch of everything. The trees became white forests along the road. The sunlight made everything sparkle. It was truly a winter wonderland.

*Disclaimer: I grew up in Florida. Snow was, is and will always be beautiful and special to me. 


Oh, that face! Alice had so much fun opening all her presents and playing with all the bows and boxes. Last Christmas was a blur of late night feedings and constant exhaustion. This year was all smiles and laughs with our little elf. We feel very lucky to have spent the holidays with our loving families. Thanksgiving in the South and Christmas in the North. 


My little Alice turned one year old on December 20th. We celebrated with her Grandparents in Wisconsin. She ate strawberry cake and opened her presents all by herself. She liked the cards best, they were like tiny books. We let her stay up late and encouraged all her silliness. It was quite a party. 

cane boiling

We attended Cane Boiling day at Dudley Farm when we were in Florida. The farm is a real 19th century working farm and we had a fantastic time exploring the grounds. Alice wore her little boots, just like a real farm girl. 

The boiling cane smelled amazing, like maple syrup, all sugary sweet and smokey. 

Alice had lots of fun hanging out with her Grandpa for the day. She was all smiles and sunshine. 

Wisconsin vacation via iphone

We arrived in the snowy north in time to celebrate Alice's first birthday. Baby girl is so much fun, full of smiles and belly laughs. She loves dogs and her daddy and just learned to give kisses. She is the joy and light of our lives and brings happiness everywhere she goes. We love her so. We had such fun celebrating with family and eating lots of cake and ice cream. 

Every morning, and most nights, I ate my fill of cookies and fell in love with the Keurig. Nothing says Christmas quite like cookies and a warm mug of creamy goodness. 

We drove further north, after the blizzard blew through, to visit my Grandparents. Alice was all smiles and sweetness and we spent an afternoon playing with Great Grandma's tupperware and eating more birthday cake. We took lots of pictures and made some beautiful memories. The small town's snowy landscape looked just like Bedford Falls from It's A Wonderful Life. It was magical. 

Byron and I took an afternoon to ourselves and explored Brady Street. We had a grand time looking through vintage clothes, old records and oddities at the fun stores lining the snowy streets. 

Once Alice was tucked in for the night I took some time to write. I was able to log over 13,000 words toward a new novel. I love vacations! In this picture I am wearing my new vintage, old man PJ's I purchased at Dragonfly. They are soft, worn in and fit me perfectly. I also discovered this Apple Ale, made by New Glarus Brewing Company. It is a limited edition ale made from Wisconsin apples. I prefer cider beers and this was unlike any I have ever tasted. 

nails of the week: silver bells and red gel

Before we left for Christmas vacation I painted my nails a sparkly silver reminiscent of Silver Bells.

We arrived in Wisconsin the day before the first snow storm of the season. The beauty of the white, winter landscape was the perfect start to the festivities. 

We opened presents last night (Christmas Eve Observed since we will be traveling tomorrow) and I was super excited to receive the Red Carpet Gel Manicure kit from Ulta. It only took about 10 minutes from start to finish to get a perfectly shiny and strong gel manicure. I can't wait to get more colors! Also, the apple cider Chapstick is wonderful and smells like Christmas. 

florida trees

I sure do love the way Spanish Moss hangs from Live Oaks. I never noticed it much when I lived there, only after I left. 

*Look, but do not touch! You'll get red bugs!*

my favorite place

One of my favorite places in the whole world is Satchel's Pizza restaurant in Gainesville, Florida. This restaurant is really something special. If you have ever been there, you know. I always insist on a visit to Satchel's whenever we make the trek to visit our friends and family in G'ville. 

Behind Satchel's sits Lightnin' Salvage, a junk store full of trinkets and fun. The grounds of the restaurant and store are a beautiful mosaic of repurposed junk. Everywhere you turn there is a new collection of everyday items displayed with amazing beauty. We enjoyed lunch and then a visit to one of the playgrounds. Alice became a boat captain and loved exploring all of the remotes and knobs that lined the fence. 

nails of the week: 'tis the season

Where have I been? Probably with my head in a book or laptop. Sorry about that. I will try to do better and get back to blogging regularly. I experimented with Gel polish manicures in November. I loved how shiny and strong my nails looked, however, getting the polish off was not the easiest. So here I am, back to the old tricks. I saw this cute idea on Pinterest and thought I would try the snowflake and glitter combination. I also used a base coat of nail strengthener since the Gel polish left me a little dry and thin.  That's my Christmas Tree in the background. Happy Holidays to all!

NaNoWriMo novel: an excerpt

The desert sand is warm and comforting on the soles of my feet. The small rocks that usually cut and bruise bare skin are barely noticeable as I run past the cacti and thistle. I have to be somewhere. Someone is looking for me. I'm dressed in a night dress of pure white. The fabric is thin against my skin letting in the chill of the night air and rising moon. I have the urge to lay against the canyon rocks to let the sun's heat that they hold push away the chill that is creeping up my skin. The pressing cold and darkness is falling fast, spreading from the east horizon over the landscape and finding its way to me. I am suddenly aware of my body beneath the fabric. The curves of my form are too noticeable. I feel naked and alone. I am not alone. There is someone else out there in the night. I see movement among the still cacti that dot the barely lighted western horizon. They rise like blackened hands reaching towards the sky and are met with the massive, sparkling blanket of stars. The beauty of it startles my breath and I feel a tear fall down my cheek. Dreams are always filled with a stronger sense of beauty than real life. There are no worries or obligations, no rituals of the day that must be completed. No rules. No black. No white. The sound of my tear hitting the sand draws my attention downward. Time has ceased to exist. Two steps in front of me. A left foot, then a right. The boots blowing a dusting of sand into the air. The particles swiring on the wind and getting carried away. I raise my face to meet his eyes. It takes a slow deliberation to bring my gaze to his. Even in the complete darkness that now engulfs us I can see a fire in his eyes. I feel warmth blush in my cheeks. The feeling emenates down my body, tingling my naked skin. I tell myself that it's only a dream. I can do whatever I want. Running away seems like a viable option but so does stepping closer. One step, then two. The feel of the dirt between my toes is shockingly real, but the manner of our locked gaze is nothing of the known world. As the distance between us lessens the sky draws inward, the ground slopes up to cradle us. The world tightens and holds it's breath. An eternity passes between us and I fear that I will wake and never see him again. I will myself deeper in sleep, consciously thankful that the day exhausted me so completely. I'm here. My words sound breathy and distant as they pass my lips. It's as if I am watching him through my own eyes and simultaneously watching our meeting from above. I seem small beneath his gaze, a frail creature that needs his guidance and warmth. He reaches a hand towards me, palm up, slowly. The way one would reach toward a wild horse when unsure of their temperament. His knuckles slowly skim down the buttons of my nightdress and stop just below my ribs. My heart is racing and I exhale, not realizing that I had stopped breathing the moment his hand had left his side. His palm turns and presses warm against me. There is an object between us. A metal, warmed by it's close presence to my skin. He clutches it tightly, stumbling me forward. A cord pulls at the back of my neck, willing me closer to him. His eyes hold me still and keep me from losing my balance. I desperately want to reach my hands out to steady myself. Not from the tug of gravity but from the weakness that seems to have taken over my legs. Somehow I know that if I dare to touch him he will disappear and be left in the dream while I will be taken awake. With his hand still clutching the charm at my chest, his other hand caresses my hair with a gentleness I never imagined a man capable of. I am no longer grounded to any type of reality. I give myself over to the dream for better or worse. I can't speak or breathe. His hand tightens against the back of my neck and he pulls me forward, tilting my head up as he leans down to keep our eyes locked while the warmth of our individual bodies encircle eachother and become one light in the darkness. I see the vapor of his breath so close to my face and my body feels weightless, yet my heartbeat heavy and fast. His lips meet mine with an unexpected fierceness. All at once time catches up, our lips part and he slips the cord over my head. He mouths one word. Sorry. I startle awake with one single image burned in my mind. A key, shinning and silver with spots tarnished from age. It was the object of his desire, not me.

NaNoWriMo update: WINNER!

I did it! I wrote over 50,000 words towards my first novel. I feel amazingly accomplished but I am not done. This month of intense writing and chore-ignoring has taught me that I can do this. I can write everyday. Even if its just a few sentences or 2000 words on a weekend morning. I can put my daydreams to paper and create worlds. I can tell stories that excite me. I can and I will! My goal now is to finish the story that I set out to tell and keep writing. I have a prompt to finish for a writing group, a short story for a local contest and a new novel idea (check out my pinterest board, Rusalka, if you are curious). Best of all, I have a new dream. NaNo has taught me that I can do the unimaginable if I just try.

NaNoWriMo update: 2.5 weeks

This is my favorite place to write. The back room of my Coop grocery store at the corner table. The coffee is great (free refills) and the room is quiet. So far, I manage to get a lot of writing done on the weekend mornings in this particular spot. I rise with the sun and eat a ham and cheese croissant while my computer wakes up. My word count stands at 37,363! That would mean I have also eaten six of those croissants and had way too much coffee. 

nails of the week: dark n sparkly

I had some time to paint my nails this week since I am surpassing my NaNoWriMo word count goals. I chose this dark green and confetti sparkles. I hope you like it.


5 years ago I married my best friend on a crisp fall evening in Wilmington, North Carolina. We have grown in more ways then we ever imagined since then. I am proud of the man and father that he has become. I am thankful everyday for his patience and understanding. He lives with three crazy ladies (dog included) and takes good care of us all. I love you, Byron.

NaNoWriMo update: week 1

My first week as a NaNoWriMo participant has gone swimmingly. I just logged my 17,558th word to my growing manuscript. I love writing every day and taking time to myself to be creative. It feels fantastic and refreshing. Here is a list of 11 things that I have learned in the past week.

1      Libraries are magical places
2      Coffee is a fuel
3      It's hard to name a horse
4      A buzzing fly is the antithesis to productivity
5      I should expect more of myself (like 2000 words per day)
6      Byron makes a mean pot roast
7      To be a writer, one just has to write
8      I am a writer
10    People (even strangers on twitter) are more supportive that I ever imagined
11    I can actually do this

bumper crop of fun

We love the State Fair. Every year we go and get the same foods in the same order, attend some goat judging, and never ride the rides. This year we had Alice and my parents with us. We had more fun than ever. 

We begin every year with some roasted corn and end with apple cider and kettle corn. In between we eat corn dogs, something deep fried, a caramel apple, something on a stick and sample the maple cotton candy. So. Good. I love the area with the games and rides, but on such a full stomach I am content to walk and not ride. 

My mom just had to try the deep fried Milky Way. It was melty, rich and delicious. 

Alice fell asleep to the sound a bluegrass band while we finished off the kettle corn.