friendship circle

Thursday, May 31, 2012

via pinterest
Last night a good friend came in town and my husband went to meet him for a beer.  Andy has been in both of our lives for many years and the excitement my husband felt when he got to spend some time with an old friend was adorable.  It's that feeling that no matter how long you've been apart, when you're together, everything is the same.  I love that.  It's a good feeling to know you've got true friends.

me andy and hubby.  2009 chik-fil-a bowl

So, today I am thankful for my friends - friends that are more like sisters.  Friends that are honest and real.  Friends that know way too much about me, but love me anyway.  Friends that I will grow old with.  I am thankful for emails, texts and phone calls when we can't be together.  I am thankful that when I am a bad friend, they are good friends.  Thankful they are there in every walk of life.  You could have 50 or you could have 5.  Whatever your number, cherish those true friendships.  Cling to them when life gets rough but also when life is peachy.  Let them share in you joys just as you need them in your sorrows.  God has placed these people in your life for a reason.  Love them, encourage them and most importantly, make them smile. 

To my girls,
I don’t tell you enough how much I love you and how much you mean to me.  Thank you for standing beside me in all of my joys and all of my sad times.  You are my sisters. 

Here's a few of those special ladies...

2003 - oh highschool
2006 - sophomore year in college. love them.
2008 - college graduation party. so fun.
2004 - senior year prom.  yes we always took pictures like this.  you're lucky i didn't post the professional one we had done in 8th grade....
2010 - so lucky Matt's friends have good taste in girls :)

weekend fun. weekend sun.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I don’t think Matt and I could have packed more into 3 days.  It wouldn’t be possible.  I am so grateful for amazing friends, close family and bud light.  Here are a few pictures I snapped from our Memorial Day Weekend rendezvous...

like father like daughter.  me and george rocking our nerd glasses.  or, as he likes to say, "our Buddy Holly glasses" 
my sweet mommy and sissy
the birthday girl and her hubby
my sweet brother-in-law and his touching speech
cookout with The Clines.  So happy to have them all the way from Nashville :)
golf buddies
look at my form....
showing off

memorial day weekend checklist

Friday, May 25, 2012

memorial day weekend

So excited for a three day weekend!  
Here is my weekend checklist, what's yours?

i still believe.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

photo credit: Furnished Photography

This quote was found scratched on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany.  It was written by a Jew hiding from Nazi persecution.  Talk about faith when it made no sense.  Talk about choosing hope when it was easy to give up.  Talk about unconditional love when your heart hurt from fear.  Talk about perspective.

I found this quote and I loved it.  So I did some research to find the source, and when I did, it stung a bit.  It touched a part of my soul that needed encouragement.  I could write pages upon pages about the inspiring message this quote has left in my heart, but I will stop – because it needs no explanation. 

Choose faith.  Choose hope.  Choose love.  Life will never give you more than you can handle.  Don’t harden your heart to the world even when it’s hardened itself to you.

Happy Thursday.

weekend catch-up

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday, is that you?  ALREADY?!?  Goodness the past five days have flown by thanks to jam-packed plans and lots of fun.  I apologize for my late start this week but when I first gave this blog life, I promised myself it would never be something on my to-do list.  I would never feel obligated to write something just for the sake of posting something.  Each post on Gratefully Inspired is a part of my heart, my soul and the inner-craziness that is my brain.  It is my safe-haven and breath of fresh air.  And it will never be a place of obligation or annoyance.  So yes Wednesday, you may have snuck up on me, but I’m not scared.  I’ve still got you, Thursday and Friday to make my mark…

So, about those past five days of utter chaos.  One of those days was Saturday – sweet Saturday.  I loved everything about you.  For starters, I slept in until 10.  OK I’ll say it again.  I slept in until 10.  And it was amazing.  Sure it was interrupted sleep as my pup Sevilla felt the need to bark to her cousin Ellie in the room next door, but it was a form of sleep and I needed it.  Then, my sister-in-law, Sarah, and I took our less than 15 pound pups on a three mile walk.  We were so proud (and ecstatic that they slept the next two days). 

After our walk it was lunch with our identical-looking husbands then I was off to Raleigh to shower a best friend before her wedding.  The shower was beautiful and I wish I could take credit for all of the cute little touches and decorations, but I simply can’t.  Oh, and I forgot my camera – gasp.  So the pictures below are followed with photo credits because I completely stole them from Instagram and Facebook.  But nonetheless, it was beautiful and delicious (delicious describing the five different martinis and matching cupcakes there for tasting).  Not to mention, the shower was in a boutique full of to-die-for dresses, clutches and jewels.  Martinis and dresses – a girl’s dream.

But as more of my friends jump on the marriage train I learn more and more about myself and about them.  It’s crazy inspiring how you can have a 20 year old friendship and still learn new things about each other.  This weekend I learned the meaning of a Bridal Shower and a little bit more about my friend.  When I was engaged, some of my friends threw me a bridal shower and others threw me an engagement party.  I was humbled and taken aback by the thoughtfulness each one of them put into those special days.  I was overjoyed and so happy. But I don’t think I grasped what all went into that day.  Last weekend, looking in from the outside, I saw just how much thought was put into the showers and parties, and the love behind the thought. 

Ever heard of a champagne circle?  Me either... until Saturday.  Towards the end of the shower, there was a small group left.  After dancing around like crazy people and singing at the top of our lungs, one of the other bridesmaids suggested a champagne circle.  Everyone cheered and sat down (apparently they had done this before).  In my mind I was thinking, “Aw fun, drink champagne and tell funny stories about Anna.”  Well I was wrong.  As each person passed the bottle, they shared things of which they are grateful.  Some girls talked about Anna’s kind spirit.  Other’s talked about her love and support for them throughout the years.  But all were thankful for Anna – and her presence in their lives.  When the bottle got to me, I immediately started to cry.  Typical me.  I don’t even have to speak to tear up.  But I was overwhelmed with emotions.  I was thankful for Anna too, and her constant presence in my life over the past 15 years.  I was thankful for her great friends who have become my friends too.  Thankful for the man whom she will marry in two short months.  I was thankful to be witnessing such a precious moment in time.  And it was then that I saw a whole other side to hosting a bridal shower, engagement party – anything for a bride-to-be.  For those of us hosting the shower, it was like some sort of love offering, showing our support and gratefulness for Anna in this pivotal time in her life.  It was also a promise.  A promise to stick by the couple in the future, come what may.  A promise to love their children and continue to be present in their lives.  The feelings extend beyond the hosts undoubtedly; it extends to the people who came.  The people who wanted to come but couldn’t and sent cards.  I had felt all of these things in the past when hosting things for other great friends.  But I have never been able to verbalize or truly put into plain terms what it was, until now.  The showers and parties leading up to a wedding are fantastic – loads of fun.  But they are also something sacred.  A time when the bride and groom are shown just how loved they really are. 

So Anna Banna,
You are loved.  And you will continue to be loved.  Your love and support for me leaves me humbled and grateful and I feel beyond honored to stand beside you on your special day.  Saturday was a testament to the person you are.  A person of integrity, compassion and selflessness.  Casey – you’re a lucky guy.  I love you and am so excited for July 14!

Ps – Nashville – brace yourself.

Now for some stolen pictures….

the happy couple - anna and casey
photo credit:Megan Tunnell

photo credit: Erin Anderson

the beautiful bride and maid of honor
photo credit: Caroline King

wear. birthday party. volleyball style

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm so glad it is Friday and I'm so excited for a jam-packed fun weekend!  I've got my brother-in-law and sister-in-law heading in town tonight, a shower for a best friend tomorrow and a volleyball style birthday party for my other brother-in-law Sunday.  Crazy fun, I know.  But this birthday party ordeal has had me perplexed all week as to what to wear.  It's in the afternoon and we will be playing volleyball.  In the sand.  All day.  But I still want to be cute.  It is a party after all...  So here are some looks I'm going for... which one is your fav?

neon cutoffs and a flowy white T.  found here

light denim shorts and bright top. found here.

short gym shorts, cute over-sized top and messy hair. found here.

boyfriend jeans with a cute scarf.  found here
white shorts and cute linen top.  found here.

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Birchbox Goodies

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One of my best friends recently clued me in on a little secret called Birchbox.  Now, I am officially obsessed.  The excitement I feel when I open my mailbox every month and see the little tan and pink box waiting for me is indescribable.  I know I know, I’m dramatic – but it’s true!  Birchbox is a monthly club where you receive sample sizes of some of the best beauty products on the market.  The products can range from eye creams to perfume, depending on your preferences on your profile.  The best part?  Trying pricey products before you invest!  I am a big fan of organic skin care and natural products so every month I receive a variety of organic and natural products.  I chose not to receive hair products because I’m pretty much married to my Sebastian, but the choice is yours!  So log on, request an invite and get excited all right here.

My May favorites?  Here they are…

1. Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment
Why I'm hooked - it's light and offers some shine but not glossy.  It also provides SPF 15 so I don't have to worry about chapped lips.  The tint is perfect for day but can take you right in to the night!

2. Miracle Skin Transformer

Why I'm hooked - this lightweight moisturizer is perfect for my sensitive chest and decollette.  It evens out skin tone, offers a slight tint and has SPF 20!  Perfect for every day and that is how often I plan to use it.

Do you use Birchbox?  What are some of your May favs?

words from an inspiration

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

picture taken by me in Napa Valley, California

I’m 26, had 4 different jobs since college and still I wonder, “what will I be when I grow up?”  I started out college “knowing” I wanted to do Public Relations with a side of Spanish.  Then I hated it.  Press releases, product comparisons – both made me want to vom.  I should’ve switch majors for sure but I stuck it out and graduated with a PR degree.  I got a job as a “translator,” that’s what my resume says at least.  I really did do a lot of translation but I also did a lot of other “stuff”… so I kept looking for “my dream job.”  Then I found it – a sales person.  Yes, something I could do.  Except I was selling Anheuser Busch products… something I knew little about.  I mean I love a cold Bud Light at a Wolfpack tailgate, don’t get me wrong, but I was not the best sales rep for beer.  But nonetheless, I was excited and eager to prove myself.  Six months later I finally accepted the fact that I was terrible at my job and was only hurting myself.  My hot boyfriend (and now husband) had heard me mention a few times that I should’ve majored in education so he convinced me to study like crazy and go back to school; eventually getting my Masters in Teaching.  So there it was; my dream job – a 2nd grade Reading Teacher – but still I wanted more.  I wanted to teach English as a Second Language and use my long years of studying Spanish. 

So life switched gears and moved us to Wilmington and here I am; an English as a Second Language Teacher and I really do love it.  I love my job.  I love my kids.  But – you guessed it.  I’m on to the next.  I want to do more.  Prove more.  Be more.  That’s not to say I want a career change like in the past – no definitely not.  And that’s not to say that I want a change next year or even in five years.  But it’s in my blood to constantly look to the future.  I can’t help it.  Ever since I was a little girl I was told “I can do anything I want in life,” and that is what I’m doing.  So in 5 years maybe I will get my PhD and become a professor.  Or maybe I will start up that Literacy non-profit that has been brewing in my head.  Who knows, maybe I’ll finally start up my event planning business against all odds.  But the thing is that despite what my career holds, I do know one thing – the woman I want to become.  I look back and realize it didn’t’ matter what I was doing, it mattered who I was.  None of the other stuff makes a difference if I’m not a person of respect and integrity.  So instead of focusing on the next big career or what I hope to accomplish professionally, I choose to focus on a better me.  A me more like God.  A heart more like Jesus.  A friend I want to have.  An ear that listens without judging.  A laugh that is loud and sincere.  And a voice that speaks kindness and truth and not gossip.  The rest will take care of itself.  Because in the end, it’s not what I was that will be remembered – it’s who I was.  And that is the legacy I want to leave.

So Ms. Von Furstenberg – you go girl.  You are a woman of grace and dedication and everything else seemed to work out for the best.  Oh, and your timeless wrap dress?  Perfection.

photo credit: Annie Leibovitz found here
photo taken on the wedding day of Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller in 2001

weekend re-cap

Monday, May 14, 2012

Here we go again Monday... it's you.  I choose not to acknowledge you because I'm so sleepy.  Instead I will focus on my weekend past, so here it is.

Friday - long run with puppy, grilled out with hubby, biked to bro and sis-in-law's house, watched Easton sleep in big boy bed.  impressive guys.
Saturday - slept in, errands and more errands, some pool time, date night with hubby and time with my grandparents.
Sunday - church and brunch with my sweet in-laws. house/lot hunting with hubby. cookout with the parents, grandparents and sister's family

Whew!  Busy weekend, but grateful for time spent with my family.  A now some pictures...
happy mother's day to me.  love, the sweetest and craziest pup you'll ever meet

my sweet mother-in-law and my nephew... i know he's precious.  and her scarf?  so cute.

my grandmother and my other nephew... gaga and wade

checking out my movie theater

you want to eat him up right? me too.  except he's crazy.

my daddy with his daddy.... love

hubby and daddy manning the grill

my sissy and her family.  i know i know, my nephews are adorbs!!

my mama with her tablescape

my oldest nephew.  he has a special part of my heart.  i will fight to take him to prom.
i will fight to take each nephew to prom come to think of it.... sissy.....jenny..... tell your boys sorry but they don't need to ask anyone.... aunt denise has already taken care of that :)
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