Sunday, May 22, 2016

Parade of Homes | Part 1




I don’t know if every area has a Parade of Homes but here in Eastern North Carolina we do in my city.  Parade of Homes is when the home builders association along with builders and realtors select a number of homes to be on display.  They are mostly new homes for sale or upscale homes that a current owner is selling.  The event runs for two weekends in the spring and I’ve been going for several years.  I always look forward to it and this year I was on the lookout for it and I was able to plan for it.  I was able to get the brochure ahead of time and decide what houses I wanted to see.  This post is a huge photo dump from the first weekend of parts of homes I was able to take pictures in.  So grab a snack and enjoy some great features of houses.



Most of these pictures go in no order in particular; it’s literally a photo dump of rooms/houses/details of a space. 



I love a good built-in.  I think they’re great above a tub like this for d├ęcor and essentials.



I love a good structured closet.





I have a few pics of this master bathroom.



Here is a look from the master bedroom into the master bathroom and closet.




And here’s the master bedroom.



I shared this pic on Instagram because I love multiple living/common areas in a home.  I love a morning room and this is a morning room/sunroom combination.  I love the almost floor to ceiling windows.



This is the living room on the opposite side from the morning room.


I really took this pic for one reason… I’m obsessed with large mirrors and I want to get one like this.



These next three houses were all out in the country.  You had to access them by going through a neighborhood and when it looks like the road is going to end, you come into a small, private neighborhood of upscale homes.







Inside this last house I took a few pics inside…the sign clearly said no pictures, but I saw a woman leaving with a DSLR around her neck so idk how that worked out.  This was a home someone lived in and they were selling.  They had several areas roped off, all that I would have loved to take pics of but was unable to.



I love a good quote on a wall, like the one in this nursery.



This playroom is kind of a loft when you come off the stairs on the second floor and it’s too cute.



If you liked this photo dump post then I’m glad and stay tuned because I have more pictures to share.  I just didn’t want to put them all in one post because it would be extra long.  I hope you found some great design ideas and some design inspo!



Monday, March 28, 2016

Erin Condren Life Planners on Sale!!!



Guys I’ve been so slack with my blog.  Sorry.  I have been binge watching a show and if you’re a binge watcher you definitely understand where I’m at in my life right now! Haha


Blogs by Aria


But before I let next week arrive I had to share a sale that Erin Condren is running right now.  As you may know, I am a planner girl and I really love my Erin Condren Life Planner or ECLP for short.  Right now the Life Planners are 40% off!!! Which is freakin awesome!!! I’m debating getting a blog planner but I’ve struggled to pull the trigger.  Why?  Because it’s something for myself.  40% is really too good to pass up if you’ve been thinking of trying an Erin Condren life planner.  They are available in vertical (the one I have), horizontal (the one I’m debating), and hourly.  So head over and check them out if you’re interested.


Blogs by Aria



vertical


horizontal


hourly



Erin Condren has recently revamped their notebooks and they are also on sale.  I really wanted to get my hands on one of the older versions of the notebook but I just never got around to ordering one.  It’s not like it was high on my priority list, so oh well.  In place of the previous notebooks they have introduced a new notebook and journal option.  They are very similar; both available in a smaller and larger size, and both available with lined or dotted pages.  The key difference is the notebook is spiral bound and the notebook is book bound.  I prefer the notebook and really want to get one.  If you know me, you know I’m a notebook fein.  I have so many notebooks…none of them that cost more than $6.  But this (these) notebook(s) will be for something special or important.

Blogs by Aria



The notebooks and journals are on sale for 25% off!!!  It ends on 4/3.  That’s why I had to come and post this quickly!!  I’ve looked online and through my emails and I haven’t seen a date listed for the end of the Life Planner sale.  If/when I find one I will let ya’ll know.




Oh and I almost forgot…if you are a new ErinCondren customer and want to save $10 on your purchase, yes even on sale items, then click here and register through my link.  You will receive an email with your code for $10 off your purchase!!!  Sweet!!!




I think that about wraps it up… back to my binge watching.











*affiliate links

*all pictures from ErinCondren.com 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Travel with Me - Joyce Meyer Conference



This weekend I went to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to attend the Joyce Meyer conference.  If you’re Christian, you may know her, she has an awesome ministry and has taught me so much about the Word and my relationship with God has truly grown thanks to her teaching ways…she just makes it very plain and real to my life.  Very much like my own Pastor at my church, I just love her.



Growing up I heard Joyce Meyer thru my Mom.  She loved listening to her.  I knew I was turning into my Mom the day I downloaded the Joyce Meyer podcast and 90% of the time, I’m listening to her each and every day.  Especially when I’m at work.  When I heard on the podcast that she would be somewhat local to me, I told my friend and we decided to go.



The conference was in Winston-Salem, NC which is about 3 hours away from me.  If not a little longer.  It’s the equivalent to me driving to Charlotte but it’s a little north of Charlotte.  It was my first time going to Winston-Salem.  But why is it so far??? Ugh.  The conference was for several days but we didn’t want to take several days off from work so we decided to go to the Friday and Saturday services.


I really enjoy praising and worshiping God with a multitude of people.  It’s an awesome experience.  I enjoyed seeing Joyce Meyer in person.  She’s a hoot.


One of my great takeaways are the wonderful resources I picked up while there.  Prior to the conference I only had one Joyce Meyer book, but I haven’t finished it.  I will.  But when I listen to the podcasts, I always hear about some of the different things she’s offering and I had an idea of what I would buy while there.  As a bonus, she offers a buy 2 get 1 free deal at her conferences only.  So of course I bought 3 items!  I can’t wait to dig in to them all, so far I have read the intro to the little purple book and it will be in my purse everyday so I can access it easily.






Of course travel means food.  My friend had already looked up some places for us to go on the trip.  The first spot was Sweet Potatoes in Winston-Salem.  We reviewed their menu online prior to going.  We were disappointed by several things.  For starters, their online menu wasn’t the same as the menu inside.  Quite annoying.  Why?  Because there’s a big difference between garlic mashed potatoes and horseradish mashed potatoes.  Anyway, they only had a limited menu and their desserts are only offered on certain days.  I ended up getting the Mama V’s meatloaf with onion and mushroom gravy served with onion strings with horseradish mashed potatoes.  The meatloaf was very flavorful but the horseradish was very detectable.  My friend wasn’t a fan of her meal.  Thankfully I ordered the half portion and didn’t spend too much money.  The restaurant had a nice ambiance and that I liked, but that’s about it.





On the way home from the conference, we stopped at Dames Chicken and Waffles in Greensboro.  I have one word for you:  AMAZING.  Yes it was quite delicious.  I had never had chicken and waffles before and let me tell you…ummm ummm good!!!  I thought the waffle was great, they have a lot of shmears you can spread on top of the waffle.  I got the maple pecan shmear to try and it was good but I also got syrup because I’m a plain Jane like that.  The chicken was seasoned and fried crisp to perfection.  We waited 30-40 minutes to get a table but it was totally worth it even though by that point I wanted to be with my husband and kiddos so bad.  Who knew I had separation anxiety???








We still had quite a way to travel to get home but there is another location in Durham, NC which is about an hour and a half away from me.  Way more doable.  So it would be great to go after a day of shopping at the Streets of SouthPoint and I could definitely make the drive home without falling asleep! Lol   I totally left my friend hanging at some point in the drive back because I destroyed my food!







I really enjoyed the conference and the trip and I am debating on trying to go to the Women’s Conference in the fall in St. Louis.  It was nice to get away and have a nice experience.  : )









Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Keep Pounding



It’s Super Bowl week!!!!  I’m super excited for one reason… my Carolina Panthers are not only going to play in Super Bowl 50 but they are going to WIN!!!



I’ve been a Panther fan since their inception in 1995 and we’ve made it to the Super Bowl before but win we did not.  And I know that Cam and all the boys are gonna kill it because this is our season to go all the way!





I had a rough day/week last week and I had popped on YouTube once I got home and for some reason it was suggesting this hype video for the Panthers.  It was on my home page and I found it rather odd that it suggested a football video to me, since I don’t watch them.  So I called my son over to watch the video with me.


As we’re watching I am really listening to the words and it was speaking to me.  I just could not get out of my thoughts last week and when I watched the video I was encouraged and fired up!


Why?



Because no matter what life throws at me… I Keep Pounding.



When life flips on me… I Keep Pounding.



When the voice in my head says “you’re never going to make it”… I Keep Pounding.



When my car is acting up… I Keep Pounding.


When I’m feeling like, what’s the point?... I Keep Pounding.


No matter what I Keep Pounding.



I have to remember that whatever is thrown at me, I am capable of handling it.  I am built for this.  And whatever I’m going through now is preparing me for something in my future.  I don’t let that scare me, I let it motivate me.  I know that in the future, the day will come where I’ll look back on times like this and I’ll see how far I’ve come and I’ll be grateful for each and every circumstance I encountered.



I resolve to Keep Pounding.  When I fall down (listening to that negative, crappy voice) I don’t stay there, I get right back up and continue along the way.



No matter what… KEEP POUNDING!!!



I truly appreciate how the Universe put that video right in my face at a time that I needed to see it and ironically at a time that I wouldn’t normally be on my computer…so thankful!



If you don’t follow football, let me say that my Carolina Panthers have had their share of ups and downs.  I love and respect the way I’ve seen this team come together and support each other and how they play the game…it’s just great to see.  To see us year after year, improving, steadily and this year was the year we exploded!!!  I mean, week after week of wins and records being crushed…a near perfect season and now we’re days away from the biggest victory to be won…I’m a super excited Carolina Panthers fan to say the very least!  : )



Whatever you do…don’t give the voice in your head the time of day if it’s saying anything that doesn’t serve you.  #KeepPounding


keep pounding super bowl 50 carolina panthers





Go Panthers!!!





Monday, January 18, 2016

Erin Condren Life Planner Wishlist



January is a month to get back on track, in many ways, but particularly financially.  If you already know, it was a rough holiday season.  I know 2016 is going to be an awesome year, but temporarily it’s a time to be financially mindful.  That means, no unnecessary spending.



It doesn’t help that when you’re trying not to spend your money, that’s when everything is luring you to pull out that credit card.  I am strong enough to abstain from indulging, but I do like to look : )  When I window shop I get great ideas for what I may want and I find that if it’s something I want bad enough, I’ll usually be able to get it…even if I have to wait a little while.



I’m adding a lot of goodies to my Erin Condren wish list.  If you’re not already aware, I have an Erin Condren Life Planner and I love it.  Not only does it keep me organized, it also serves as a creative outlet for me.  She just keeps sucking me in.  I have it bad!!



I typically wouldn’t change my covers, but she has so many beautiful covers and I figured, why not change them during special holidays?  And what’s not to love about this pretty follow your heart cover?





As if I don’t already have a sticker obsession issue on Etsy, here goes Erin Condren with some of her own cute planner stickers!






The stylized sticky notes I’m already in love with!!! I love that they snap right into the planner coils!!!










I love Erin Condren and I can’t wait to get my hands on all of these goodies!!!  I like that she has a rewards program and gives coupons for being a frequent shopper!  I’m looking forward to my first code that I believe comes after my 5th order.  My next order will be my 3rd.  I’m not obsessed or anything.  I’m not in any facebook groups or anything.  Ha!!!



If you’re interested in an Erin Condren planner or to see any of the cool things she has, check it out HERE and earn $10 off your first purchase!!!






*affiliate links 

*all pics are from ErinCondren.com






Sunday, January 17, 2016

Join Ibotta | Get $10 Welcome Bonus


savings apps
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I have a few savings apps on my phone and my favorite one is Ibotta.  I’ve shared it a few times before on the blog; I did an overview of my fave savings apps and I’ve shared how it’s a great way to save money for the holidays.




Today I wanted to share this limited time offer if you’re not already on Ibotta.  If you join today using my link you will get a Welcome Bonus of $10 after you redeem your first rebate!!!  You must redeem your first rebate within the first 30 days in order to get your bonus.  Once you redeem it within 24 hours (usually within a couple of hours) you will see your $10 bonus.  Also, you must be a brand new Ibotta user in order to get the bonus, so if you’re just switching phones, unfortunately that won’t work.




I think this is a pretty awesome deal!!!  I sure didn’t get $10 when I joined! Haha




If saving money is important to you, I encourage you to download Ibotta and you will thank me for it!  And if for some reason you don’t like it, delete it off your phone and no harm, no foul right?  : )




Click HERE in order to get your $10!!!  (downloading without the link doesn’t earn you the bonus)





Happy Savings!!!!  




*affiliate links

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy 2016!!!


Happy 2016 everyone!!!  I’m really excited for this year!  There’s an energy inside me that’s just buzzing at all of the wonderful things I know are coming for me and my family this year.



On New Year’s Eve we went to Watch Night service.  If you’re not familiar, it’s when you go to church on New Year’s Eve and thank and praise and worship God for bringing you through the year and praising your way into the New Year.  When I was a kid I had to go and I enjoyed it but as a young adult I stopped going.  I didn’t go to the club or anything either, but I just preferred to be at home.  My church offers two services for New Year’s Eve; 6:00 and 10:30 and I elected to go to the early one after work.


I really got an encouraging Word and confirmation on where I’m at in my life and having the confidence that we will win in 2016!!!  This was the first year we let the kids stay up.  That may be shocking to some but to me I’m a stickler for routine and usually will only vary off of the regular bedtime up to an hour at most.  We let the kids camp out up front and when it was time we counted down, toasted our glasses, hugged and kissed and screamed and shouted ringing in 2016!!!  It was really fun and I think our new family tradition!  : )


2015 will always be remembered as the year Crystal died.  It’s still hard.  Thanksgiving and Christmas was hard.  She was supposed to be there.  The other day at the sandwich shop I passed a woman whose shampoo smelled like hers and it hit me.  Life can change in an instant and quite frankly I’m tired of living life the way I have.  I am intentionally going to enjoy my everyday life.  I have a lot that I want to accomplish this year and I am motivated and ready to get what I want.



Here’s to an awesome year!!!





Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015



I’ve debated back and forth whether or not to do a blog post about Christmas this year.  Then I was reminded by my facebook memories that I did last year and for me personally, I like the look back.  As long as I get it up by New Year’s anyway.


I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas this year!!




For me it was our first Christmas without Crystal.  Overall, I kept it together, but it was really hard on my brother, understandably so.  Crystal is the one who did all the Christmas shopping and decorating and all of that so he’s been pretty lost without her.  I continue to pray for him and I ask you to do the same.


Usually we do Christmas morning at home, then go to my in laws then go to my Moms.  This year my Mom wanted to do Christmas Eve and it worked out great.  When my brother and nephew first arrived, you could just feel the heaviness of the energy.  He just kept saying “she’s supposed to be here” over and over and I felt myself about to succumb to the tears too.  I said a silent prayer and pushed back the tears because that’s not what I wanted this day to be.  My Mom had come up with a few rounds of the “Left-Right game”.  None of us had ever heard of or played it before and it turned out to be a riot!  It was just what we needed to stop being sad and start laughing and smiling!!  I am so grateful for that experience!!!  I was even inspired to create a Pinterest board for my future holiday parties, because this game is a MUST!!!


Before Christmas I was really stressed.  Because we went to Charlotte before Black Friday, and my job was cutting back overtime, it was really beginning to weigh on me just how was I going to pull Christmas off this year.  DH was getting a bonus which I knew would help but it just wasn’t coming fast enough and I was beginning to lose my cool.  I decided that there was just no way I was going to get it all done on a weekend, so I took the Friday before Christmas as a half day.  The plan was to get a lot of shopping done that day and the weekend and I’d pull off a Christmas miracle!!!


Instead what happened was (it’s never good when it starts off with that statement), when I was skipping to my car with glee around noon on Friday, my car wouldn’t start.  I’m growing because I didn’t cry or spazz, I just calmly texted DH to have him come get me.  My weekend plans of shopping were now ruined and how much is this going to cost was becoming the big question.  We hoped it was the battery.  Nope.  Of course it wouldn’t be something that easy.  AutoZone suggested it may be the alternator.  So I had it towed to the auto shop that I work with and was hit with the devastating news… it’s the starter.  Wanna know how much that set me back?  $350.

Yes, I know, my thoughts exactly.


I was devastated and at this point is when I started to break down.


At this point in my life I really should be used to things like this.  So maybe that’s why they don’t phase me immediately anymore.  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that, everything will work out.  And that you grow during the tough times.  And that right before the breakthrough, comes all of the turmoil.  So I’m looking at it from that point of view.  Greater is coming!!!



So outside of that…we still managed to have a good Christmas.  Sure I couldn’t get the kids everything I wanted or they wanted and I couldn’t really get anything for DH the way I wanted to.  I still got him things and the kids really enjoyed everything they got.  It was an all toys Christmas and they were happy.  And although I would’ve loved to receive great things under the tree… greater is coming.  And I guess my gift is the starter that DH had to pay since I was broker than a joker.


We celebrated Jesus and being together with family and I really couldn’t ask for much more than that. 


As a side note…. It’s been years since I’ve wanted my DSLR and it hurt my soul so bad for it to be a TSV on QVC that Saturday after my car mishap, before we knew what was wrong and how much it would cost.  They enticed me with Easy Pay and free shipping and the promise of arriving before Christmas…but because I didn’t know what the future held for my car, I had to be an adult.  As we all know, sometimes being an adult effin sux.  So maybe in 2016…here’s hoping.



I’m grateful for the things money can’t buy this year but I will do everything in my power to make next Christmas amazing!!


I hope you had a great Christmas!!!!




Saturday, December 12, 2015

It’s a Wonderful Life



Only my second all-time favorite movie.


And a Christmas Classic.


And a tradition in my life for as long as I can remember.


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When I still lived at home with my parents, I had it on VHS.  Shocking I know.  I never bought it on dvd for some reason.  When it came on tv this year I set the DVR to record because this was going to be the year I introduced it to my daughter.  I told her once you’re a few minutes into it, you don’t even notice it’s in black and white.  Sure I know they made it into color, but it’s not the same.  It’s better in black and white in my opinion.



We watched it over a few days’ time due to practices and pesky things like school for her and work for me.  We finished it up last night and at the end I asked her what did she get out of the movie?  Her response… that our lives impact so many others so we should be grateful for what we have.  Yep that about explains it!



But as an adult who has seen the movie well over 100 times who now watches it with a spiritual lens so to speak, I see so much more in the movie and I felt it would be nice to share these thoughts.



For starters, I was bawling my eyes out in the first moments after the opening credits.  I knew the people of Bedford Falls were praying to God before, but it hit me for real this time, like oh my gosh, all of these people praying to God to help George!  It made my heart so full!!! And it came out of my eyes in the form of tears!  God is so good!!!




I cried so much this time watching because I really saw myself in George Bailey.  George wanted so much for himself.  He had such big dreams and goals and aspirations and as his dreams were being crushed I realized that that is exactly how I feel in my own life.  And I remind myself that God’s plans for my life are way bigger than I can even begin to imagine and it hurts when you don’t get some of your hearts desires, but when you look back you realize that God knew exactly what He was doing! 



It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane aspects of life, especially if life has flipped on you.  When you’re down to absolutely nothing… and you feel like you have nothing left…my God!!!  But you do!!!  That’s nothing but the enemy convincing you to throw it all away.  Of course! Because then he wins.  But you, just like me, and George Bailey we are all overcomers!! And when George had his second chance at life and saw life through a different lens, he then loved and cherished everything he cursed!  Not only was he then the richest man in Bedford Falls monetarily, but he realized he was rich in love, family and friendship.  I never noticed that as soon as he came in the house after his second chance that he praised God with a Hallelujah!!!  That touched me so!  He said he wasn’t a praying man and a man of faith, but funny how he knew to pray and he knew to praise!



Pray and praise.  That’s really it right there guys.  Pray to God, He wants to hear from you.  Yesterday this scripture screamed at me and I received it.



Matthew 7:7-8  Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (NLT)



I was sitting at my desk at work and I just started to cry because God answered my prayer by directing me to that scripture and I won’t go into all of it, but it encouraged me and then noticing that in the movie after reading the scripture… it just all came together for me.


And then praise…well the bible says we are to give thanks in everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  To give thanks is to give praise.  In EVERYTHING.  That means the good, the bad, whether happy or sad, to thank Him.

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So yes, some of my dreams haven’t been fulfilled and I don’t have all that I want to have but I know that I have a wonderful life.  My prayer is “Lord please help me to see with your eyes.  Help me to see past myself and see the good.  Help me to be a blessing to others.  Help me to not complain, because I know that when I complain I am complaining against you and I know that you are blessing me.  Forgive me Father.”  Sometimes you just have to take inventory.  When I take inventory I realize that I am truly blessed.  And you will find that you are too.  We’re blessed in different ways and as I walk through this test, I am praising my way through it.  A lot of tears shed, but not all sad tears.  It’s far too easy to fall into a slump or depression this time of year and my prayer for you is that you are able to focus on something good, no matter how small.



My last point that I wanted to share is that Mr. Potter symbolizes the devil.  The devil has one job and one job only and that is to kill, steal and destroy.  What is he trying to kill?  You!!  He’s trying to destroy you!  And he wants to take everything you have from you…joy, peace, a sane mind, you name it, he wants it.  You have a marriage?  He wants to destroy it.  You have a family?  He wants to kill the family unit, he wants to cause rifts and separate you from each other.  And we as humans, have moments of weakness where we may entertain the notions of the devil… George went to Potter for help and then realized he just could not allow himself to make a deal with the devil.  He was willing to accept whatever fate was in his future.



I’m not trying to preach to you, but to encourage you… you don’t have to be a Christian to read my blog, but I am a Christian and because I watched this movie and was so moved, I can’t not share it in the way that I see it.  Jesus is the reason we celebrate the holidays and I would be remiss to not invite you to get to know Jesus on a personal level.  If you are in a place in your life where you feel you have nowhere to turn or you are alone, know that you are not.  You can turn to Jesus.  If you are in that place and you want someone to talk to or to pray for you, send me an email and I’d be glad to!!



Think about what you do have and focus on that… it makes such a difference I promise you!


Oh and if you haven’t seen this movie, please do yourself and me a favor and do!!! It comes on so much during the holidays but you can find it just about anywhere.  It’s so worth it! : )




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