Monday, October 24, 2011



My 1970-something Raleigh bike, looking like new!

Well, maybe not new. But close enough!

I decided that since right now is not the time to invest in a brand new bike- I may as well fix up the one I already have. So I bought a Groupon and despite the wide-eyed stares I got as I wheeled this bad boy through Sun & Ski to the bike department... I decided to go for the works. Lube up the gears. Replace the brake pads. Tighten the nuts and bolts.

My Raleigh deserves nothing but the best!

Of course the sweet bike enthusiast at the counter called me a few days later to make sure I wasn't doing any "serious riding" on this bike.

No worries there, buddy!  At least not yet. :)

The thing about tune-ups is that they're necessary. It's not always practical to trade the whole thing in and go brand new. I'm thinking about that a lot lately; I'm making my end-of-year doctor's appointments, prepping for my annual review at work and reflecting on all that was 2011; 2012 is just weeks away, you know. I'm tuning myself up- body, heart and mind.

Tune-ups are necessary. It's good to take a look at the gears.  Sometimes things get rusty or broken or just need a little TLC. It's important to replace the brake pads. We all need to stop every now and then. It's vital to get the alignment just right, the tires true. We've got to stay the course, keep pushing forward. The frame needs re-bending, the tires need air. Stand up straight and take a deep breath.

Yep, tune-ups are necessary. And even though the frame is still just a little bent out of shape (a certain car may or may not have run over the bike altogether recently) it's still standing strong.

A quick tune-up, and this bike is ready to rock and roll.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I had my first- and not last, I'm sure- major surprise expense as a homeowner this weekend.

My heater/AC unit... which so faithfully carried me through the double-dip snow storm this winter... and the record-breaking heat wave this summer... went kaput.

It's 10 years old, so it's not necessarily a shock. But when the technician broke the bad news Friday, I did what any strong, capable single homeowner does in that situation:

I bawled my eyes out.

Instead of my life flashing before my eyes, my "wish list" flashed before mine. A trip to Europe, a new bike, a Canon camera, and yes- several pairs of fabulous heels- all expenses I would have to put on hold for a new unit reeled through my mind. Gone! In a flash! Stupid AC. Dumb heater.

The good news? It's all going to be OK.  This is just a casualty of being a homeowner. The unit was replaced this weekend. And though I'm out a few bucks (ahem)... I worked out a payment plan that won't break the bank. Or dash my dreams completely.

I'm SO thankful for my parents- who walk me through these kinds of things. I'm thankful for a job that allows me to take care of these kinds of things. It's a small, tiny bump.

I'm sure I could make some major life ties here; bumps in the road happen. Ah, the joys of home ownership. It's not what happens, it's how you react.

But, I'm not going to. At the end of the day, my unit broke down. And I fixed it. And that's the end of it.

I'm going to appreciate the simplicity of it. Not everything in life can be fixed so quickly; this can, and for that I'm thankful.

So thankful, in fact- I might just go buy a pair of fabulous heels to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Checklist? Check.

Some days, there are so many things I want to do that it just seems overwhelming. Do you ever get that feeling?

I'm not talking the litany of to-do's we all constantly have running through our head; my checklist has reached massive proportions, since we're talking about it.  Where did summer go?!  That car wash I've had on my to-do list since May needs to happen soon before my car is covered in 3 feet of snow.

But anyways... no, I'm referring to the big picture to-do's. Today, walking down the hall at work, I had a sudden thought.  Before I'm 30, I want a new bike, a Canon 5D and a trip overseas.

.... And still, a car wash.

Obviously it's a matter of prioritizing. I'm sure I can accomplish all of those things before 30. Just like my smaller, more manageable daily checklist; if I prioritize just right, I can pick up a bridesmaid dress AND redeem my AA miles for that big trip, all on Saturday!

Ah, checklists. Do they do us good? Or just remind us of the dot-dot-dot, the stuff that's still lingering out there to get done in a certain amount of time?

I'm the queen of checklists. I have a giant yellow notepad at work. I have lists on my computer, my iPad, my phone. Scraps of paper all over the house. Do, Do, Do, Check, Check, Check.

Some people really need those checklists to stay accountable, to remember. I'm one of those people who puts something I've already done on a checklist, just to check it off. So for me, I need less pressure.  It's OK if the checklist gets lost, things are crossed out prematurely or just neglected altogether.

No matter what, the "grind" always gets done. Bills are paid, dry cleaning is picked up, doctor's appointments are made. And yes, cars get cleaned before winter.

I'm ready to set my to-do list aside and focus a little bit more on my get-to-do list. Excited-to-do, Saving-Up-To-Do.

Note to self: create "can't-wait-to-do" checklist.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Second Lap

Today feels like summer's last hurrah.  It started cool, hit warm and balmy around mid-day and ended breezy with storms on the horizon. Currently, it's thundering and lightning outside. If I didn't know better- I'd say this is any Oklahoma day in April or May.

But, it's mid-October! And winter is knocking. We had a few days of fall- more than we usually get- and now it's time to surrender to the cold. 

I took a walk tonight and soaked it all in; no running, just walking and breathing in the air, the trees with their leaves still intact, the dry, empty riverbed. All of that will change in just weeks.

Ah! The rain literally just started as I type this. Tomorrow it will dip into the 30's; maybe Old Man Winter is closer than we think.

All of this talk of changing seasons makes me very aware that I've come full circle in my house. I'm on my second seasonal lap. I embraced a fall with golden leaves in my first backyard; I shoveled snow off my driveway in the winter; I prepped my most interior guest room closet during a particularly tornado-threatening spring; and I woke up before the sun to run during a brutal, record-breaking summer.

Yep, the first lap is complete.

The house itself is closer than ever to feeling "finished." I'm picking up pieces I love, decorating it slowly and with care. As with a lot of things in my life, it's been a project. Sometimes slow and frustrating- searching for the perfect piece, saving money. But all in all- it's been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. 

I can't wait to show you all pictures! But for now, a little more time. There are a few final touches before the big reveal.
So, in the meantime, thanks house.

For filling my home with family and food on Thanksgiving...

For reminding me to have hope...

For keeping me warm....

For keeping me cool...

For returning a piece of my heart....

And for being such a beautiful place to call home.

Winter, come on down.  I can't wait for lap two.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lounge Links

I'd like to try something new on Sundays- "Lounge Links."  I think it's a great way to sum up things that inspired me in a given week- from what I'm reading and cooking to drinking and thinking. That way, I can look back a month or year from now and see what I thought was relevant. Who knows- maybe you'll find a new favorite author or blog out of it!

So, here we go.

I loved this article on finding peace in turbulent times by Michael Hyatt this week. Actually- I read this a few weeks ago and saved it, and finally blogged about it yesterday.  It's nice to be reminded that finding peace doesn't mean changing our zip code or our relationship status on Facebook. It's so much more than that.

This year was a semi-hiatus from shower planning for me; last year and the year before... and the year before... I was planning bridal showers and baby showers left and right! One of my best friends recently got engaged and the shower planning is once again underway! (Finally, the VIP button will get used again!)  I wish I could find a blog like Bump Smitten for wedding showers. Bump Smitten is SUCH an incredible source for baby shower planning- certainly a go-to from now on.

One of my freelance projects is picking up steam. I'm producing a pilot- and eventually, TV series- for a guy who owns his own tile & stone company in Tulsa, OK. The show is Do-It-Yourself meets Reality TV and has been a year in the making. Our premiere is January- more to come, of course! In the meantime, follow True Blue on Facebook & Twitter for updates- managed by yours truly. :)

What are you reading? I finished some great books the past few weeks... and I think I desperately need to buy this. I'm terrible at editing.

But I can't WAIT for the Cupcakes and Cashmere book... Joy the Baker's Cookbook (which comes out on my birthday, ahem)... and already out, the Design Sponge Book. Hello Christmas present? :)

Whew. So there you have it. Links that inspire me, entertain me and keep me busy!

Can't wait to see what catches my eye this week!

What has inspired you lately?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finding Peace

Finding peace in the midst of chaos is a tricky thing.

Over the course of the past year, I made it my quest to find peace.

Of course, I didn't think that was what I was doing. At the time, I knew two things: I needed to get in shape spiritually and get in shape physically.

This year, I incorporated daily quiet time into my morning. I also started exercising every day. And slowly but surely, peace seeped into my life.

One stills me; one awakens me. Both allow me to think, pray, relieve stress and steady myself as I head into the day.

I don't think this is the magic formula; I just know it's my magic formula. The combination of these two things allows me to find a peace that is unshakable.

For the most part. :)

I read this article by Michael Hyatt not too long ago. The conclusion? Peace should not depend on our circumstances. It's not a "grass is always greener" scenario.  We don't find true peace by taking a fancy vacation or moving to a new city or making any outwardly physical change; it all comes from within.

Of course that's easier said than done. For my friend who's a new mom of two kids under the age of 2; peace is hard to find, day or night. Or my friend and co-worker who is losing his job at the end of the month, with 4 kids at home to feed; I bet he would argue peace is circumstantial.

There are no easy solutions. But having looked for peace in all of the wrong places- a shaky relationship, a half-way commitment to a job, a semi-devoted commitment to my spiritual life- I know that real, lasting peace takes time to find, and is worth fighting for once it's found. 

Because it's usually right within our reach, all along.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Long Weekends

A few weeks ago, I looked at my employee account at work and realized I had 22 vacation days to use... or lose... by the year's end.

Um, wow! And yikes?!

So I set out taking 3 day weekends. This weekend will mark my third 3-day weekend in a row! 

So, 3 days down... 19 to go?

I guess I have a few more long weekends coming in November, too!

I'm loving this time off. I get so wrapped up in my work and in life in general- and it's so refreshing, relaxing, restful to just have 3 whole days to run errands. Or sit on the couch and do nothing. Or take lots of naps. My favorite is going to Starbucks Friday morning- at 9:30 or 10, after I've slept in, of course- when I should be at work.

But I'm not.  I'm at Starbucks with no where to go. Such a rebel.

This long weekend will be the last for a few weeks. And a crazy few weeks it will be until my next long weekend. I will be working non-stop... including Saturdays & Sundays.

So I really need to make this one count.

I think I'll go back to River City and claim this bench I saw last weekend.

And maybe I'll make this apple cinnamon coffee cake Friday morning. At 10am, of course, when I have that sneaky feeling of skipping class.

Ah, long weekends. What's your favorite way to unwind?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Little Magic

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other
Pulled their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to kill the two dead boys.
If you don't believe this story tall,
ask the blind man- he saw it all.

Not your typical nursery rhyme, huh?  :) I will say one thing about this poem:

My entire family has it memorized and will say it in unison frequently.

From Disney princesses and dusty fairy tales found at my Nanny's house... to rhymes about dead men and songs about flying witches... fairy tales, folk lore, magic, has always been a part of my life.

And this time of year- Halloween, where ghosts and goblins and witches abound- it always stirs the pot (no pun intended) and makes my imagination run wild.

Oh, imagination. Is there anything more important to give to a child? And while my roots, my true beliefs, my foundation is my faith...

... I'll never turn down a story with a little magic.

Which is why I've so voraciously read these three novels the past three months.

All stories with a bit- OK, a lot- of magic. Wonderful, captivating stories of things we know not to be true. But when the moon is just right and the wind is howling and the leaves are changing colors and winter is knocking... just the kind of stories you want to curl up with and let your imagination run wild.

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern

This book is beautifully written- the premise, a magic circus, a love story, a tale of choices and following your dreams. While I loved the concept- and truly, the writing is beautiful, full of imagery you can't imagine- I never could connect with the characters enough to fall in love with the book.  Still- a great read. And a movie in the making, I hear.
The Twelfth Enchantment
By David Liss

Enchanting is the perfect word for this book. Full of spells, mystery, romance, the right to freedom and even undertones of spirituality- I loved this book. I connected fully to the characters and found myself wishing it was a trilogy. Or at least would have a sequel.

A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness

This book was unlike anything I have ever read- a true discovery. This book made science fascinating, which for this anti-math/science girl is impressive! It's a mystery, a race against the clock, a forbidden romance (how can you resist a vampire, seriously) and with two more books on the way... I'm hooked.

A little magic for a magical season!

There was a little witch, who didn't know what to be
A happy witch? A wicked witch?
She had a choice, you see.
So she hopped up on her broom, and took her cat along
She circled all around the moon and sang this little song:
"Which witch shall I be?
Pumpkin says it's a mystery.
If you were a witch which would you be?
Oh which witch shall I be.
Shall I say booooo
or laugh with glee?
I'm wondering, I'm wondering,
Oh which witch shall I be?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Destination Unknown

One new show I've kind of gotten into this fall is Hart of Dixie on the CW with Rachel Bilson. There are definitely some cheesy moments- but I like a good New-York-girl-moves-to-the-sticks plot line.

The thing that always bugs me is how the main character is always so reluctant. Doesn't want to move. Doesn't want to adjust to her new city. Doesn't want to fall for the hot lawyer with the southern drawl.

Um, what?!

While watching the saga unfold, I always think to myself... I would love it if life suddenly picked me up and dumped me somewhere brand new. New people to meet, a new town to learn to love. 

And yes, sign me up for the hot lawyer with the southern drawl.

I love where I am- I feel like Tulsa, Oklahoma and my "Brookside Bungalow" is exactly where I'm supposed to be at this time in my life. I love my life and my work and my friends and my routine. This is home.

But every now and then... it's fun to wonder what joys a new town would hold, what fascinating things I'd experience. And I obviously don't even need to mention the whole lawyer-and-a-gentleman thing.

If God decided today you were meant to be somewhere completely different... where would you cross your fingers you'd land?

Sometimes I think somewhere overseas- an apartment overlooking Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Lots of people and activity- easy to get lost.

And other times, I think a small Alabama town would be delightful. Nosy neighbors, beautiful sunsets. Peace and quiet- easy to be found.

For now, Tulsa suits me just fine. A mix of loud and quiet, lost and found. Maybe not forever- but definitely for today.

Now, if only that lawyer can find his way to northeastern Oklahoma.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Work In Progress

I would be remiss not to start this post with....


Ah, yes- OU/TX weekend in the south. There's really nothing quite like it.

While the masses head south to Dallas for the game, I'm planning on having a quiet weekend at home in Tulsa. My 3-day weekend is off to a great start- drinks with friends Thursday night, coffee & a play date with my favorite kiddos this morning, a walk on the trail (and a really cute guy on a bike), and working on the house.

Today, I went window shopping at one of my favorite antique stores- River City Trading Post in Jenks.

I've decided I'm going back for this bench. It's just too cute not to have! It's a great size for my living room- and paired with the Tulsa skyline pillow I have my eye on at Dwelling Spaces- it will be the perfect addition to the house.

My guest room/office is a serious work-in-progress right now, but there's a definite gray theme going on. So of course, I adore the mirror on the right. I love the one on the left, too. But the gray one- love the shape, love the color. Have to have it.

And finally, this. I have an obsession with windows frames, door panels- odd pieces of a house that can be re-purposed into something cute. Every time I see one, I tell my sister- I know there's something there, something cute to make out of it. Well- this might be it. I love the black stenciling on the glass. Lindsay's Lounge, perhaps? Another great office addition.

The house is at an exciting milestone this month. My one-year anniversary is this week!  I can't believe I've lived here a year; what a fantastic, memorable year its been. This house already has so many memories- I feel like I've owned it for 30 years!

... even though the mortgage statements say I still have 29 years to go. :)

I'm planning a little anniversary happy hour in the coming weeks- and a big post with the most updated pictures of the house! Still a work in progress- I figure it may be that way for a while to come- but it's slowly taking shape and I wouldn't hurry the process along, even if I could (afford it!) It's a journey in finding my style, what constitutes "home", a little creativity (both DIY and financially) and a lot of fun.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more on my, as the local real estate shows call them, "Brookside Bungalow!"

Monday, October 3, 2011


Friendship is a precious thing.

I have always believed that- and I hold my friendships in the highest regard. We need our friends- to cry with us, to vent and gossip with. To pray with us. To take us out for coffee or cocktails- depending on the situation. To celebrate engagements and babies and to mourn relationships that end.

Friendship is such a precious thing.

This week, I...

-Celebrated my friend, across the ocean, who had her second baby boy!
-Shared a bottle of wine, a few tears, and a good vent session with my best friend
-Had coffee with two of my favorite friends
-Celebrated the engagement of my oldest friend!
-Caught up with a friend who lives many miles away

Friendship is such a very precious thing.

The best part about these friends, these girls I surround myself with, is that we're each in different parts of life. Babies, careers, marriage, single-ness, ups, downs- but we all lift each other up and support one another.

I think that has become the definition to me of a solid, true friendship. When you lift another up, you are a friend for life.

Sometimes, I think God surrounds us with friends who are in varying places in life- to teach us, to better enable us to lift each other up.

Friendship means honoring your past together.

Friendship means respecting your present.

Friendship means trusting someone to lift you, to carry you into the future.

Friendship is a precious thing.

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