Friday, August 19, 2011

Another Lovely Mail Day

Time for another mail post! I finally went and got some more .98 stamps, so I have some outgoing Postcrossing postcards. Plus I am super excited to say I have a few more pen pals now (Yay!!), so I got to add a few more tallies for that 101 in 1001 goal. But on to the good stuff...

Outgoing Postcrossing:

And a couple of my latest Swap-Bot sends:

The Bella ATC I made

This was for a Mail Art swap

I decided to host my 1st swap on Swap-Bot and went with a "Mail Art For Beginners" theme. I was worried no one would sign up for it, but as of today, I'm #3 on the Top Swaps list!!!! : )

And here are the change of address cards I sent out to all the family:

And now my incoming goodies, starting with Postcrossing:

From Joy in Taiwan: "I think 'beauty' is the warm concern or a sweet present from my best friends. It makes me touched!!"

The cute back of Joy's postcard : )

Lovely flowers from Russia

I love Russian stamps!
From Nadia in Belarus: "Beauty is something that makes you smile! My friends, sun, cat... so many things : )"

Pretty flower stamps

I'm loving all the angel postcards I get from Postcrossing!!

Another pretty flower stamp

Lovely park in Sao Paulo

Weird and awesome stamps : )

And my latest one, from South Dakota
 And here are my incoming Swap-Bot swaps:

The Bella ATC I received : )

A pretty card sent along for a Bookmark Swap

The lovely bookmark I received

Even the stamp was gorgeous : )

This was included in a Say a Prayer For Me swap... So sweet : )
And here are a couple of letters from two of my new pen pals:

From Sara in Italy

From Trina in Ohio
And that's it for this installment. I'm excited about my new pen pals and about all the swaps I'm currently signed up for at!! Until next time... hope you have a Lovely Mail Day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Should I be embarrassed??

Baaa ha haa hahh... I found these as I was cleaning out my ridiculously cluttered Yahoo inbox. I remember making all of these while working at a certain collection agency. I made the first one right after the first Twilight movie came out, I believe... then just kept making them with each holiday that came up. And I used them as the backdrop on my office computer. : ) Yes, I'm a geek. And proud of it!!

Feel free to save them if you're overcome with desire to marvel at their lovliness all day... ; )

The Original:

Happy Valentine's Day:

Happy St. Patrick's Day... Hope you're wearing green:

Haa, baha... This was for my birthday:

Merry Christmas:

And then finally, a little New Moon Christmas love for you:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 8 - 30 Day Blog Challenge

Day 8 - A place you've traveled to

I was thinking about what I could blog about today and decided to get back into the 30 Day Blog Challenge I started forever ago... My last post was back in January!! How awful is that?!

I remember back then trying to decide what place I'd use for my post. I think the ones that came to mind were the Bahamas or Disney World. I haven't done any travelling abroad (yet), so I'm kind of limited... But I think I'm going with a Girl's Trip we took in May 2010.

My lady friends and I took a long weekend trip to Banning Mills in Whitesburg, GA. The purpose of this trip... to go on the Zip Line Canopy Tour! : )    (click here to go to their website for more info)

I'm not necessarily afraid of heights, but they're certainly not my favorite. So I was a little nervous about this trip... but mostly excited. The girls and I always have fun no matter what we're doing! ; )

We all pitched in and rented a lovely little cabin on site. It had 5 beds I think, 2 or 3 bathrooms, a small living room and a nice little kitchen... which even had a big wooden column in the center, perfect for dancing on! (Haa, ha, ha... I'll be nice and not post any videos, Jennifers)

So the night before the Zip Line appointment, we drove over to the nearest town (30 minutes away) to have some dinner and do a little dancing. This is where we ate:

You may recognize that picture... I edited it to make my Weigh-In Wednesday header. : ) Then after we ate, we got directions to some place where we could dance. And since I'm not a big drinker, I volunteered to drive. Wow... that was almost as much of an adventure as the zip line! We got lost several times... did several circles... then finally made our way to some hole-in-the-wall bar. So we danced for an hour or two, then decided to just go back to the cabin. We needed to get up pretty early, after all.

Me and my cousins, Summer and Heather

Mary and Jennifer
 The next day, those of us who signed up for the Zip Line Canopy Tour got up at the crack of dawn and sleepily made our way over to the huge lodge to check in. Some of us were pretty nervous at that point (Summer), but after the first zip line, I think we were all excited.

Jennifer B, Jennifer K, me, Heather, and Summer
 It was so gorgeous out there! After the initial shock of jumping out of perfectly good tree, I tried to see as much of the beautiful scenery as I could as I flew through the air to the next tree. And though I was a little worried I'd pull a "George of the Jungle," I didn't ram into anything or anybody. : )

Getting ready to jump

And there I go
Our guides were the best! (They were probably glad to see our crazy group leave though!) I did have a little mishap with one of them... The Big Daddy zip line (I can't remember what it was called... it may have actually been "Big Daddy...") was supposed to make you go so fast that you'd have no choice but to brake near the end lest you crash into a tree and a couple of guides. I was looking forward to braking, because I hadn't needed to on any of the other lines, and I wanted to try it out. So I enthusiastically set off on Big Daddy and... something didn't feel right. I wasn't going very fast, and the harness around my legs started hurting me a little... and it hadn't done that before then. But I didn't think much of it because the view was unbelievably gorgeous. But then I was nearing the end, getting ready to try out my braking when... I stopped. A good 50 feet from the tree. What the heck!? So I did what I had been taught and started pulling myself towards the end, but apparently I wasn't doing this fast enough, because next thing I know, one of the guides had come to rescue me. Well, apart from being a little embarrassed about being rescued, I was sort of ticked that I didn't get to practice my braking! So I asked one of the guides about what went wrong, and he thought my glove had gotten stuck and wedged itself in the hook thing, which is what slowed me down. But when I told him that didn't happen, he told me then it was probably that I hadn't been properly hooked up before I jumped off...        WHAT?!? So I was zooming hundreds of feet in the air and wasn't hooked up correctly?? That was lovely to know. It was fine though... they take extra precautions, so I knew I wouldn't have fallen or anything. I was still mostly mad that I didn't get to brake. ; )

One of the guides coming in for a landing

Heather, Summer, and I after the last zip line
 In between most of the zip lines were rope courses. They weren't as fun as the zip lines, but I enjoyed them too. A couple of our party were more nervous on them then on the actual zip lines, and I may have been one of them! I guess it was because you moved so much slower and had to wrap yourself around trees to get from one rope to another. Plus you had to essentially tight-rope walk from one tree to the next. But it was fun! I hummed circus music to myself as a distraction if I started getting nervous. : )

Summer on the ropes course

We made it out alive!
 Next on the list was horseback riding. And it was my first time doing that as well, so I was a little nervous again. It didn't help that our guide showed up late with a black eye that her horse had given her that morning... And although there were a couple hiccups along the way (my horse kept falling behind to eat then trotting to catch up & our guide's horse almost bucked her off), I'm glad I got that experience too.

Heather getting on her horse

Jennifer B looking right at home
I think we all had a really great time, and I hope we'll get to go back soon. I'd love to go with Matt at some point, but I definitely want to do another girl's trip there too! : )

Monday, August 8, 2011

Water for Elephants

Grade: B+
Profanity: Yes. Not a ridiculous amount but more than enough
Graphic content (sex, murder,etc.): Yes. A few fairly detailed pervy moments and some violence

I had originally planned on reading this prior to the movie coming to the big screen, but that didn't happen... But since I totally missed seeing it in the theater anyway, I guess that's a moot point.

I had heard good things about Water for Elephants, but I didn't know much about the storyline other than what I gathered from the movie previews I had seen. And although the novel stayed pretty true to what I assumed would happen, there were definitely some surprises along the way.

As a hopeless romantic, I enjoyed the love story side of things... But I was also pulled into the other sides of the story. Although there were several throughout the book, I never felt overwhelmed or had any trouble keeping up with the details. I did have trouble remembering a couple of the female circus performers names when they'd show up out of nowhere in the middle of the book, but it wasn't vital to the story.

I really loved the vintage circus setting of this novel. Gruen did a great job painting a mental picture, which is awesome for those of us with overactive imaginations. ; ) I gathered from the "Conversation with the author" at the back of my copy that she did a ton of research before writing it... And the book I purchased even had several old circus photos throughout it!

The pervy moments I mentioned up top were a little more explicit than I would have preferred... although some made me laugh out loud. (That may mean I've been hanging out with my husband too long though... ha, ha!) But I suppose they went along with the rough, gritty life of a circus worker.

I also enjoyed the back and forth from past to present throughout the book. And I won't give anything away, but I loved the ending! So I would say if you haven't read Water for Elephants, and you don't mind a little adult content, you should give it a try... I'm glad I did. : )

Next on the list is The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, which is this month's Book Club pick. I need to have it read by the 18th... which is about 35 pages a day. I kept up (and even slightly surpassed) the 39 pages a day goal I had made previously, so hopefully I'll fly through this one. ; )

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Love the new house... hate the exhaustion

Hi guys! Man, I'm tired... things have been so hectic this week!! But I really shouldn't complain because I'm so happy! : ) The new house is amazing! I love it, love it, love it!!!

I plan on doing a big post about it after things settle down a bit, especially since getting a new house is one of my 101 in 1001 items. ; )  But this'll be just a little update. Sorry... but like I said, I'M TIRED!!

So, we closed on the house last Friday. It went very smoothly, thank goodness! And it didn't even seem like that much paperwork... And as soon as we left the attorney's office, we went straight to Rooms To Go to finalize our new furniture order. That took about an hour or so...

Then we treated ourselves to a late lunch at Moe's (yummy!) and went to the old house to start loading up! A couple of friends helped us get a few loads, including most of the bigger items, to the new house, and we were able to stay there Friday night! : )

Matt took the week off to pack, move, and be there for all the people that would be coming by... Monday the cable/internet guy and the security/alarm guy came. Then Wednesday the furniture was delivered. That was kind of a mess... One item was damaged during transit (the dresser for our bedroom), which I guess isn't too bad. But the living room furniture... Oh my gosh!!! It is way too much for our living room! I don't want to blame my hubby for it, since I thought it would all fit, but he's the one that picked it out. (Ha, ha...) The set came with a couch, a loveseat with a console in the middle, and a chair. And ALL OF IT RECLINES!! So making sure there's foot room for all the reclining, plus a coffee table and end table... not going to happen.

We ended up moving it around at least 5 times, and that stuff was heavy! Especially the loveseat. I'm surprised I can even move today... Matt set it up the way he thought would work best, but I didn't like it. I agree it utilized the space the best, but it was not functional at all. The coffee table was in the middle of the room, where no matter where you sat, you'd have to walk 2-3 steps to reach it.

So right now it's how I wanted it set up... Much more scrunched but much more functional. We may have to end up moving the chair to another room, but we'll see.

The unpacking has been going kind of slow, mainly because I was waiting on all the furniture. But what we need to focus on now is getting everything out the old house. We still have a LOT of stuff to pack up there!! And the renters are supposed to move in on the 15th!!!!! Ugghhhh, that's what stresses me out the most. Just the thought of all that junk, particularly in the basement. But we just need to get in there and get it done.

So hopefully by the end of the month, we'll be much more settled... and I can do a proper post about our new home! : ) I need to do a mail post soon too. I'll just add it to my list! ; )