Monday, April 30, 2012

Life lately :: Weekend update edition.

Even with D being out of town again this weekend, I vowed not to sit at home again.  I wanted to make the most of my alone time but be productive as well.

[Terrapin Sunray for a pretty spring day]

I enjoyed a nice beer while waiting on a friend to head out for some mexican food and margaritas, the best way to start off the weekend.

[A local garden store in Raleigh]

After a delicious brunch with another friend, I headed out to pick up some more food for my chicks and then to Logan Trading Company.  We're not doing a big garden this year but had some pots with dead herbs waiting for some plants.  I picked up some "patio" tomatoes, cilantro, and a geranium for planting.

[Rosemary from last year struggles a bit, cilantro as a neighbor, geranium will grow purple, owl watches over tomatoes]

I spent the remainder of my Saturday doing reading and only a little TV watching.

I'm really in love with this book so far.  I was able to make a huge dent in it, which was my goal since work has caught up with my and I can't stay up late at night reading anymore.  So far, I think the book is beautifully written, touching, and even has a little bit of humor sprinkled throughout.  It was the best feeling to just curl up and get deep into a book again.

Weekends really are the best.

Linking up with Hayley today!     Photobucket

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Have a cup of joe.

While I do adore a chai latte, I don't make them at home.  They're a special treat for myself when I am out (especially in Athens because Jittery Joe's has the best chai lattes ever).  For week days and weekends, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee.  I typically only drink one cup per day.  I'm a little particular about how I make my coffee though.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

1.  Cream and sugar servers - These owls are adorable from Anthropologie!  I keep my sugar in a server by the coffee, but these would be perfect to bring to the table with our weekend coffee.

2.  Jittery Joes coffee - This is by far our favorite coffee.  The Wake-N-Bake blend is used to make my favorite beer.  The coffee is straight out of Athens, GA.  Some local North Carolina coffees we enjoy include Larry's Beans and Counter Culture Coffee.

3.  A pretty mug - I don't actually own the beauty above, but I'd like to!  One of my favorite mugs is a thick, fat mug from the thrift store.  We also own some pretty cool Terrapin mugs.

4.  Almond milk - I've tried to shy away from using creamers made and distributed by corporate farms and companies.  Instead of creamer, I started using vanilla almond milk.  It gives a bit of sweetener while "lightening" up my coffee.  I've found I enjoy this much more than creamers.

5.  Cane sugar - I don't necessarily use vegan cane sugar, but I stopped using artificial sweeteners.  I get any cane sugar I can find at the grocery store I am headed to for that day.  

All of this makes for my perfect cup of joe!  On the weekends (or when we run out of coffee filters), we do enjoy using our french press.  

How do you like your perfect cup of coffee?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A girl with a dream.

That girl would be me.  Do you ever daydream about those carefree high school, college?  Sure it was hard at times.  I was discovering myself, learning the lessons that would shape who I am today.  Some of those lessons learned tend to linger, creeping into adulthood.

As an adult, my dreams have become overshadowed by the responsibilities that come with this life.  I get bogged down by these obligations.  It is, after all, the reason I'm trying to boost my daily happiness.  I'm reminding myself much more often of how grateful I am for this life I have with my D, my furry babies, having a job, and everything else wonderful I have.  There is still the disheartening fact that I may never live out some of my beautiful dreams.

Punky got me thinking about dreams when she posed this question,
"I'm curious--if you could go and/or do anything you wanted to in your life right now... what would it be? Where would you relocate?"

If I could do anything with my life right now...I would be a travel writer and get paid to write/blog on the side.  Traveling is my passion; I could not fully live a life without travel.  I dream of being my own boss, doing something I love and getting paid for it.  I have a small dream of writing my own book.  Having a job that gives me the opportunity to travel and be paid for it would be a dream come true.

Why can't this dream come true?  I don't have a degree that proves I know how to write.  I'm up to my ears in student loan debt and just can't afford to go back to school.  I don't think anyone is extending offers to pay someone to travel and drink for a living.

Where would I relocate...I'm absolutely obsessed with Europe.  After our trip around Europe, I can not stop thinking about how amazing it would be to live there.  The easy accessibility to so many amazing places filled with enthralling histories.  The beauty.  The cultures.  I'm fascinated.  It would be a dream come true to relocate to any city in Europe.  I'll take an job there...just the opportunity to live there would be enough for me.

My dreams continue to stay big, but what if I never see that day that they come true?  Adulthood can make you feel stuck.  How do you get unstuck and follow your big dreams?

How would you answer Punky's question? 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Meet my chickies!

As if you didn't already know that I am obsessed with my chickens, I have to introduce you to my new babies.  I should also point out that our main goal of having chickens is for fresh eggs!  D and I eat eggs like crazy, and we definitely want fresh eggs.  Will we have to have 400 dozen eggs (at least) to balance the cost of coop building and chicken raising?  Sure.  Is it worth it?  I think so.  I have to admit (although D may disagree with me), the joy of raising baby chicks makes it all worth it.  I seriously love these little babies and can not stop watching them.

[A little too scared to be outside]

I pre-ordered my little babes thinking that our coop would be done.  Our chicks are from a local farm in Raleigh called Sumner-Byrd Farm.  They're only about 25 minutes outside of Raleigh and totally worth it.  The owners have fabulous customer service and are so very nice.

While D and I unofficially agreed on four chickens, I came home with five.  The farm's website advertises "pullets."  Even after some research, I couldn't get a clear understanding of what a pullet meant.  My order was put in for three Ameraucana chickens and possibly a fourth based on availability.

[Five little chickies]

I was all alone when I picked up the chicks, and I had little idea what in the hell to do.  Luckily I hit up the hardware store for a feeder and waterer as well as some pine chips.  After a failed and scary attempt to keep my babies outside for a bit (they just huddled in a corner in the shade), I decided it was time to keep them inside.  I set them up in an extra large dog crate with the pine chips and a large work lamp with a 40 watt bulb.  The first few nights I was petrified I would do something wrong that might kill them.  Luckily, all five are thriving.

[Spot three in this picture]

This main girl is our Brahma.  This breed is particularly pretty, and I just couldn't resist her.  She is not at all affectionate, but I'm working on it.  This girl will probably be a tan-brown color and will lay brown eggs for us.  She has feathers on her feet which is particularly endearing.  

[Lady Bojangle]

This is is one of the only ones with a name.  D loves the SNL skit where the dog is named Mr. Bojangles.  Lady Bojangle here is a silkie and a bit of a bitch (we can only hope she grows up to be like this one).  She sort of rules the roost in that the others follow or hide underneath her.  Lady Bojangle despises being held and will do anything to escape your grips.  She's a beautiful little bitch so far. 

[All three Ameraucanas can be see here if you look hard.]

This little girl was the first I named.  Her name is Lula.  She's the chocolate-colored Ameraucana.  Lula was originally the most loving and affectionate.  At times, she would even run over to my hand when I stuck it in the crate.  I can get her to fall asleep and stay in my hand for quite a bit.  Lula is the "runt" out of the others but also probably the bravest.  

This Ameraucana girl is quickly becoming my favorite.  I don't have a name for her yet (help?!).  She is the best at falling asleep and staying in my hand for extending periods of time.  She just loves the affection.  I want to just carry her around with me!  Our other Ameraucana looks almost exactly the same except the stripe on her head/body is a bit lighter.  

And those are my babies.  D and I have to brainstorm some more names.  It's been extremely fun raising "pullets" and I can't wait until they can graduate from the dog crate (although I definitely don't want them to get bigger yet!).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's a wrap, no it's a coop.

All this talk about chickens and you may have thought I was joking.  Well my twitter and instagram feeds do not lie.  This happened.

 [Materials purchased.]

These ran (including some tools D needed) us about $350.  That was a bit more than I expected.  If you're interested in a coop but don't want to build it yourself or pay that, Tractor Supply Store has pre-built coops for sale.

 [We've got a sturdy base]

 [The feeder will hang underneath the coop itself to protect it from most rain and weather]

 [That's a gate to the left that will allow us to walk right in for refilling food and water]

[A view of the inside]

I didn't get to be present for the building process, but I know D and Les worked their asses off on this!  After a full day's work, the coop still wasn't complete.

That plywood "door" opens down for easy access to grabbing the eggs out as necessary.  The entrance (seen above) is on the opposite side of the coop (which will be fenced in with chicken wire).  The coop is in a mostly shaded area but has plenty of access to the sun as well.

The plywood wasn't treated, so the coop had to be painted.  I happily took on that task while D was out of town last weekend.

 [This is what the color was supposed to look like]

 [Somehow it turned out a bit more purple]

In the sun, the shade of paint takes on a bit more of a gray hue which doesn't photograph well in the shade where I was.  The paint supplies ended up costing close to $40, but it should not have.  D specifically said, "Don't get a gallon."  See that paint above?  #fail  Even with a second coat and painting the remainder of boards, you don't need a gallon.

 [Spent my Saturday doing a little tri training at the gym, then painting...with beer of course]

And there she is!  I'm so proud of D's hard work (and Les'!).  For me, it was really fun painting, drinking, and listening to music.  We still have to finish the coop and run by putting up the chicken wire and attaching the feeder.  The ramp needs to be added for the chickens to get in as well as the nesting (or roosting?) box for eggs.  We'll have chicken wire over the top of the run to protect the chickens from predators.  We plan to let them free range in our yard most of the time, but they'll stay in the run when we travel.  

While the total cost of building and painting the coop is close to $400, it's been a fun experience!  You know I've got the baby chicks, so I'll update on what breeds I chose soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm on a vacay!

I'm sure you missed me yesterday.  I was busy making sure my head didn't explode with the ridiculousness going on at school.  I took a little vacay over to Kelsey's blog.

I took a vacation over here to talk about one of my favorite vacations!  Go check out Kelsey (whom I just adore! we're basically soulmates...) and my travel tips!

Ps. Thanks to you all for helping me hit 100 followers!  I could not be more thrilled!  I've got a giveaway in the works to go along with my new blog design!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nighttime woes.

One of my "mini-happiness project" goals was to get up and do am yoga at least three times per week.  I only made it one morning.

I am speculating that my problem getting up in the morning is related to my sleeping woes.  I have a really difficult time sleeping through the night.

I've tried essential oils, yoga, etc.  Melatonin (a natural sleep aid) is the only thing that partially works.  If I take it right before bed, it will keep me sleeping usually until 3ish or 4ish.  Then I'm usually up every 30 to 45 minutes following that.  When the last 3 or 4 hours of your sleep cycle don't consist of sleep, it doesn't make getting up an extra 30 minutes early very easy.

Regardless of when I am awake, I often wake up stressing about my to-do list or school stuff.  Am yoga helps me not obsess over work stuff and get on with getting up and ready. I have to get to that point though.  I just want a full nights sleep.

Do you sleep through the night?
Sleep aids?  What works for you?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I'm blushing over here.

Popping in for a Saturday post to express my gratitude to Robin & Ashley for choosing to honor me!

I'm so thrilled and surprised!  I adore this little award because it shines on us "smaller" blogs that have still made a footprint in the blogosphere.  The low-down on the Liebster goes like this:

  • Choose five up and coming blogs to give the Liebster award to.  Blogs must have less than 200 followers
  • Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Post the award on your blog. 
  • Don't leave your recipients in the dark! List the bloggers you gave the award to with links to their sites.  Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know. 
  • Share 5 random facts about yourself!
Thanks again to 333 Miles, with love... for thinking of me!  I'm still so tiny over here at Skinny Jeans that I don't even have a button (don't worry...I'm working on it!)!

Time for me to share my blog love!

[Kimberly at Wanderlustee]

[Christin at With a C.H.]

[Kristin at Mrs. Miller's Miles]

[Claire at Beaktweets]

Life is Sweet
[Anna at Life is Sweet*]

Now you need to know 5 completely uninteresting randoms:
  1. I'm obsessed with Law & Order.  I have it on in the background as I type.
  2. Even though I have two cats + two dogs, I'm unofficially allergic.  My eyes get all itchy and my nose stuffy when I get too much pet hair near my face.
  3. I'm also unofficially diagnosed with asthma.  It's a real bitch for working out.  I have to use an inhaler before every physical activity.  This gets really annoying when keeping up with an inhaler and annoying financially (those things are expensive!).  Also, I think the asthma is allergy-related.
  4. I might drink a lot of good (ie. quality and craft) beers, but I'm not opposed to a light, "crappy" beer when I am sitting at home alone.
  5. I've been to Asia...Cambodia specifically.  I was a junior in high school when my family travelled there to adopt one of my sisters.  It was truly a life changing experience.  It sparked my love for children and social work.
And there ya go!  Now go give some shout outs to those "baby" blogs.  I swear I'm always 10x more likely to follow a blog that has a little blog following because I want to support them!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gotta get my swim on.

Remember I started training for a triathlon this month?

[Last week's training]

Before I started training, I knew I would need quite a few items.  I didn't have a bike or a "modest" swimsuit I felt comfortable donning at the YMCA.  When I finally got a swimsuit, I spent my first time swimming at the Y in Athens with my sisters.  I quickly realized I need a bit more swim gear!

Step 1: Don't get kicked out of the YMCA.  Swimsuits are one of those things that you really want to try on before buying.  I opted to check out the Nike Outlet, which had nothing.  Then I headed over to Dick's Sporting Goods.  Thank goodness I did try on; these bad boys like to run small.  I ended up with this Reebok suit.  I didn't want to spend too much on it since it's probably just my practice suit.  I'll likely look into more specialized triathlon gear closer to the race.

Step 2:  Be able to see the wall of the lane before you hit it.  Goggles must happen.  I ended up with the Speedo Vanquisher goggles.  What a surprise that they are considered "competition" goggles!  Boo ya!  This race is WON!

Step 3:  No water up the nose.  It's no secret I'm no great swimmer.  I might still have to hold my nose.  Why?  Who knows...I even took swim lessons as a kid.  I suppose I never mastered that art.  I figured my best bet is a nose plug.  Since lap swimming isn't full under-water, this may just give me one less thing to think about while pounding out the laps.  This TYR Ergo swim clip should do the trick!

Bike supplies are next on the list, and I'm still working on collecting all that gear!

Did I leave out any athletic swimming necessities??

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beauty routine :: Shower Essentials.

It's no secret I'm on a budget.  I'd rather spend my hard-earned money on travels or fashion.  I've recently discovered some items just make me feel better!  Luckily, these items can be found at my budget-friendly Target!

1.  Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & 2. Conditioner - I fell in love with Organix when we went to DC.  Our hosts had some in their shower.  I loved the way it made my hair feel all day long.  I was hooked.  The great thing is that you can pick these up usually at your local grocery store.  I linked my to Target, but personally I ordered mine from Ulta.  They were (and still are!) having a buy one, get one 50% off sale, which sold me.  Another positive I'll note about Ulta is that I also received Organix samples with each bottle.  I'm looking forward to trying a couple of other Organix products that I normal wouldn't buy.  As a rule, I think these retail somewhere between $5-$8.  I'm more than willing to dish out a bit more for the way these make my hair feel.

3.  EOS (Evolution of Shave) Shave Cream in Raspberry Pomegranate - Another amazing Target find.  It's only $3.50.  It has an awesome pump and comes in a plastic bottle (thank you no more rust rings!).  You can use it for a wet or dry shave (you know those mornings I decide to wear a skirt to work but haven't shaved in 2 days weeks).  It's a creamy lotion-type cream.  I can't say that I have irritable skin, but I've never had a problem with this cream.

4.  Up & Up Body Conditioning Body Wash with Shea Butter - I've never noticed a difference in using store brand body washes compared to brands like Oil of Olay.  I go for the bigger bang for my buck.  This bottle is between $2-$3 in my Target.  It's a creamy body wash that gets the job done.

There you have it!  My shower essentials that are easy on the wallet.

What are your favorite shower necessities?  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Late weekend updates.

You guys, this week has been busy.  We did have a pretty kick-ass weekend, which was the perfect way to end my spring break (41 days, 41 days of school left). (Oh, and you can totally see these in "real time" if you follow me on Instagram!)

 [This guy overwhelming my work space]

 [Trying to perfect the sock bun...not sure it will ever happen]

 [Layers, boots, and a messy room]

 [Beer, beer, and beer.  Think in tequila barrels.  Holy hangover]

 [I started my mini-happiness project early]

 [A million cuddles with my favorite]

 [Amazing bike ride to Tasty Beverage for beer, cheese and crackers.  Guarantee I'll be doing this shit weekly.]

After such an amazing end of the week/weekend, I had to find a mantra for the week.  

To be honest, the beginning of the first day back to school was awful.  I almost broke down in tears.  It ended up being ok though.  I did start my day with yoga and really tried to focus on the positive.  I ended my day by winning something (I NEVER win) and coming home to our chicken coop!  More to come on the coop later!

Here's to a quick hump day and speedy Friday so we can start our weekend!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Closet craving :: Spring to summer.

Last year I was feeling pretty new and improved after losing weight while training for my half marathon.  I stopped wearing so many dresses/skirts and started rocking more shorts.  I'm feeling the same short vibe again this summer.  Since I'm on a never-ending budget, I've got just a couple of cravings that may cost a bit more.  I have to be practical when making purchases that have a larger price tag.  Here's a couple of items that are going to take me easily from spring to summer (and a one even into fall).

Scalloped Shorts

This girl can not will not even dish out that much on shorts that may not carry their trend over for the next three years.  I'm digging this whole look though.  

These are definitely more the price point I'm looking for; however I'd love to see them prior to buying.  They are listed as being polyester, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I'm leaning more towards the J Crew pair.

White Blouse

Now this, I'd be willing to dish out the money for.  I only wish I could afford one in white and another in the coral color (I need way more color in my wardrobe).  Taylor recently posted about how to style a white button down.  She got me thinking this is something I desperately need to invest a little money towards.  

I've been lusting over Equipment since I spotted this blouse a while back.  In my dreams...


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