February 28, 2011

Musings on the Awesomeness of Blogging & Photos from My Latest Blogger-meetup Adventure!!

I started this little blog in September of last year, never knowing how much it would change my life in just a few short months. 

I think some people (mostly those who don’t blog) vastly underestimate the power of this particular social media.  The power to forge friendships; the power to create communities; the power to reveal to us how alone we AREN’T.  And that’s not even getting into all the benefits for promoting a business, creating a brand for yourself, and earning extra income through sponsorships.

I’m going to write some fun “blogging tips and tricks” posts in the near future, k?  I’ve learned a lot in these past few months, and I want to share some of what I’ve learned with all of YOU – whether you write a blog, or just read them!  So look out for that sometime very soon. ;)

Anyway, let’s get on to the good stuff!!  I met a blogging friend this weekend!!  The lovely Alisha and I met up for lunch on Sunday, and our time together was the perfect example of why people who are friends in blog-land make really great buddies in the non-virtual world, too.  Because, in blog-land (at least in lifestyle blog-land), you really get to know someone’s soul.  And it’s wonderful to meet that same soul in person. 

Alisha is such a pretty and sweet girl, and I just get the feeling that she would be the most loyal and kindest of friends.  At one point during our lunch, I whined that the server had forgotten my lemons, and what did Alisha do?  She immediately stood up, walked over to the bar, asked the bartender for some lemons, and returned to our table, lemons in hand.  And I would have sat there the whole time, all bitter about my lack of lemons.  Puh-lease. 

Anyway, my point is, I love take charge kinds of people, especially ones that look out for their friends. I admire those qualities in a person.

Alisha, thanks again for meeting with me!  You’re a doll.

I’ll leave you all with some pictures from our lunch date at Abel’s on the Lake! We sipped mimosas and watched the seagulls on the deck over Lake Austin, and a moist breeze offered a little welcome relief to an otherwise sultry afternoon. Then, when the breeze picked up, Alisha watched (probably in silent horror) as I continued to flail and grapple wildly with my hair as we chatted.  I could just feeeeel it growing poofier and poofier by the second in the day’s humidity, and besides – something about ALL social situations causes me to act out in fidgety, awkward manner.  They’re my signature moves, yo. Ya feel me? 

Ok, or not. 

Well, happiest of Mondays to you! ;)

Lunch with Alisha 001  Lunch with Alisha 006 Lunch with Alisha 013 Lunch with Alisha 018 Lunch with Alisha 021 Lunch with Alisha 028 Lunch with Alisha 029 Lunch with Alisha 031

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February 27, 2011

More Big Life Stuff

I’m not feeling particularly funny or light hearted today.  To be honest, my family got some really hard news this week; news that we’re all still reeling a little from.
To bring my new followers up to speed, my stepdad, Edd, has stage 4 colon cancer.  He had some seizures about a month and a half ago, and brain scans showed some strange spots in an area of the brain that cancer doesn’t normally attack.  So we were hopeful that those spots were something else… anything but more cancer. 
Since that particular brain scan, he had a very important surgery elsewhere in the body that, overall, was very successful.  It gave him some serious quality of life back, and we are all very thankful that he is no longer suffering as much as he once was (sorry to be vague, but I don’t want to violate his privacy). 
To make a long story short, he had another brain scan this past week, the results of which showed that those spots in his brain ARE cancer.  He started radiation on Wednesday.
And you know, all of this just has me turning inside myself - thinking big thoughts, asking big questions.  It’s hard not to question God when prayers are continuously answered with “no” – but if your faith crumbles in the face of adversity, did you ever really have a faith at all?  Personally, MY faith, or the faith I thought I had as a child and very young adult, is being torn down brick by brick and somehow, at the same time, rebuilt in another way. 
God is easy to believe in when all the people you love are alive and healthy and happy; when your life is devoid of any tragedy.  When all of those terrible things you hear about on the news are so far away.  But when faced with sorrow and fear in our own lives, there’s a lot of thoughts and feelings to sort out.  And I’m no where near any place of understanding. 
And don’t get me wrong – we are still very hopeful that Edd will pull through all this!  The doctors seem very confident that the radiation will be effective. It’s just really hard to see people you love suffer. I can’t even begin to express the magnitude of it all on one little blog post.
Yesterday I went over to my mom and Edd’s place to take some pictures of the two of them before all his hair falls out. I enjoyed capturing their joy and love for one another, despite the card this life has dealt them.  Here’s a few photos from the day, and please… keep Edd and my mom in your prayers and your happiest thoughts.  
Mom & Edd Feb 25 2011 016 editMom & Edd Feb 25 2011 019 (2) Mom & Edd Feb 25 2011 021 editMom & Edd Feb 25 2011 033 edit Mom & Edd Feb 25 2011 088Mom & Edd Feb 25 2011 119  
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it  is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. 
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
~Kahil Gibran (from The Prophet)
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February 25, 2011

A Vlog for Your Friday. You’re Welcome.

Welcome to Friday.  Let’s chat, shall we?

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PS – Stop judging me for that ridiculous comment about the “aquatic life.”

PPS - Are these vlogs getting old?  Is this fun?   

PPPS – Wait, don’t answer that.  It might hurt my feelings.  I’m sensitive like that.  But I’m thinking about vlogging every OTHER Friday instead of every Friday.  Thoughts? 

PPPPS – Have a wonderful weekend!!!

February 23, 2011

Death by Cupcakes Would Be Such a Pleasant Way to Go.

On Monday my Mommy came over, and together we baked and frosted two dozen scratch-made vanilla buttercream cupcakes.

As you all likely know (unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for quite some time), cupcakes are the thing to do nowadays.  They are cooler than regular cake, and more fun because you can decorate each cupcake however you’d like.  The possibilities are endless, and there is very little commitment involved (which is awesome for me, because I have a really hard time making weighty decisions such as what color icing to use, which sprinkles to coordinate with the icing, etc, etc).  

“Mess up” on a cupcake while decorating it?  No problem.  Just eat it and move on.  BAM! It never happened.  

Anyway.  I thought I’d share some pictures from the day’s shenanigans. 

*** Immediate weight gain in your arse is a possible side effect of viewing the following photographs.  You’ve been warned. ***

Cupcakes 002 Cupcakes 016 Cupcakes 023 Cupcakes 028 Cupcakes 038 Cupcakes 045 Cupcakes 049 Cupcakes 052 Cupcakes 054 Cupcakes 067 Cupcakes 086

We followed the recipe for the vanilla cupcakes and the vanilla buttercream frosting found in this book from Anthropologie, and just added some food coloring to the icing.  It was SO FUN.  I highly recommend you get some girlfriends or family members together for a cupcake bake-athon, and just make a party out of it!

Happy Hump Day!

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February 21, 2011

Advice You Never Knew You Needed.

Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please?

*clears throat loudly*

I strongly recommend that you check out my guest post over at The Yellow HouseI am giving WONDERFUL advice today (ok, not exactly wonderful), and you should read it.  It will probably make you smile and nod your head in agreement with all the genius of it.  And then immediately thereafter, you should continue on to follow Cierra’s lovely blog, too.  She is an incredible, I repeat, incredible photographer, and she’s beautiful to boot. 

You are crazy not to click this link

The Yellow House

Have a marvelous day, pretties!

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February 20, 2011

Care to join us on our descent into madness?

Matthew is working from home right now, which means he and I are together all day, every day.  Aside from the occasional solo-ran errand, we eat, sleep, and breath each other every single day, and it has been this way ever since we got married a year ago.
Now, that might sound completely wonderful, but I assure you it isn’t. 
Yesterday Matthew and I had the following conversation:
Jenni: I believe we are both slowly but surely descending into madness.
Matthew: Hmmm. Perhaps.
Jenni: We talk TO and ABOUT our dogs all day long, and I believe that an outsider looking in would say that the psychotic-ness of these exchanges has increased exponentially over the months.
Matthew: Yes, we need human friends.
Jenni: Hmmm.  Perhaps.
But personally, I think human friends are a little overrated (no offense, human friends – you know I love you!). I just tend to prefer the furry variety.
Christmas decorations 2010 387 GRACIE
Christmas decorations 2010 393 COOPER
And how could you not, given that they are SO FREAKING CUTE?! Little precious furry baby faces.  Gosh I love them.  As long as I can take my babies with me to the looney bin, I’ll be one happy, crazy little camper. 
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PS – Do not be concerned. Our marriage is perfectly fine, and we are actually rather enjoying our descent into madness.  Lots of things drive people crazy, and too much togetherness is hardly one to complain about. ;)

February 18, 2011

Ladies and Gents, We Have a Winner… and Quite Possibly the Lamest Vlog You’ll Ever See.

Greetings.  It is Friday.  The week’s end.  Hooray.

I just picked a giveaway winner via random.org and THAT WINNER IS…… (can I get a drumroll please???)

Giveaway1

Comment #98, which was…Giveaway1 Winner

WHITNEY!!! Congratulations!!!  Email me your address at jenni.storyoml@gmail.com, and I will get this little package out to you first thing next week! :)  Thanks for reading the “Story of My Life”!!! ;) 

__________

And do you folks remember this post from a couple weeks ago, where you wrote in and asked me questions I’ll be answering via vlogs on Fridays?   Well, we’re picking that back up today.  Except, I am deeply unsatisfied with the cool factor of this vlog today, and debated heavily whether or not I should post it all. 

There were 19 takes.  19. Just keepin’ it real, people.  Yesterday was a bad day for hair, speech, funniness, etc, and take after take after take I was just not a happy camper with the final product.  So I picked the least lame vlog, and that’s what you are about to see.  I really didn’t intend for it to be so self-deprecating, and I hope you all still like me after you watch it. 

And you don’t have to watch it.  Really.  You don’t.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings.  Mean it.  Like, it’d be totally fine if you just click the little red X and go along your merry way. Or you could watch it, and feel really great about yourself today.  Or at least be glad that you’re not the only tsunami-hatin’ untalented weirdo loner loser. 

Mmmkay.  BYE! :)

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PS – If you want to see my first vlog, which was slightly less lame, click HERE.

February 16, 2011

A Little Heaven on Earth (Paradise Loft, Fredericksburg)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super excited to share these next photos with you!  If you recall, two weekends ago Matthew and I celebrated our one year anniversary in a little old historic German town I later revealed to be Fredericksburg, TX and, being a new photography enthusiast, I was just thrilled to document our little trip through photos.  I don’t pretend to be a fabulous photographer (YET!), but I think these fun pictures tell a story all their own – not many words are required!
 
We stayed in a bed and breakfast called Paradise Loft, and it was exactly that: paradise.  This particular B&B was perfectly situated in the middle of Main Street (the major tourist attraction of the town) and just above one of the street’s many eclectic little shops.  Guests at Paradise Loft enjoy their own private entrance off the street, where you open a heavy  wooden door to reveal an old and narrow wood and rock staircase.  At the top of those stairs is the entrance to the suite, which literally took my breath away when I walked through that door for the first time. 

The whole experience was just a delightful little indulgence for my design eye, for my love of the old and eclectic, and of course, for the romantic in me.

But I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.  I hope you enjoy them, and if you EVER get a chance to go to Fredericksburg, I highly recommend it!  Not only is the shopping and touristy stuff fabulous, but there is also super fun hiking at Enchanted Rock nearby - and if you dare, spelunking in some pretty badass old caves.  I’ve done it, and I lived to tell the tale (Matthew and I are going to go back and do it together when the weather gets warmer)!

These photos will be sequential for the most part, and I’ll only butt in to explain what it is you’re seeing every now and then. :)
Paradise Loft…
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 003 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 005One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 007One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 012One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 021One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 017One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 070One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 019One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 192One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 092
Out on the balcony…
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 023 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 027
Dining…
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 043 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 047 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 049 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 051 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 137One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 135
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 177   One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 165 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 167 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 170 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 173 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 220One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 225 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 226One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 242One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 239  One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 194
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 202One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 205


Around town…
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 061 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 150  One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 259 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 262 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 264
Antique shopping…
One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 153 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 154 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 157 One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 158 
And I guess that’s it for now, folks.  Sorry for picture overload! 
I’m ready to go back.  Like, tomorrow.  Day trip to Fredericksburg, anyone?  Just remember: I have a camera.  And a blog.  No one is safe.
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PS – Only two more days left to enter my giveaway!  All items in the giveaway were chosen during our little trip to Fredericksburg, and I can’t wait to mail them off to one of YOU! <3
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