Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Motivational Monday – Reflecting On Losing–and Finding–Focus

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1. 5 Steps to a Productive Morning by thedailypositive.com | 2. How to Lazy-Proof Your Day by Bravely | 3. Progress, not perfection daily goal checklist by EliseJoy | 4. Motivational Poster by The Motivational Type

There’s something so fluid about productivity. That is, if you allow it to be fluid.

I can go weeks with doing everything right. I can follow the few steps I’ve laid before myself; waking up early, maintaining a decent pace at work, even exercising and cleaning. I can be wholly there and I feel great. I feel amazing, actually. Each day gets better and better as my body adjusts to a productive schedule and a full life.

It only takes one day. Not one day to allow myself to take a break: one day to stop everything. It’s like I’m cursed in a fairy tale. As long as I stay productive I can be the adventurous, independent hero the story knows and loves, but as soon as I stop, I turn into the slothful troll who does nothing but make a mess of the story line.

Maybe that analogy made sense.

I am not a marathon runner in this race of life. I’m either sprinting full speed ahead or tumbling down a hill so fast back into a lazy way of living, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance this. I know this kind of laziness is not healthy for me. Sleeping late, eating terribly, no exercise…. it physically hurts me. The back pain I’ve been dealing with for years comes back full force, my skin starts battling between too dry or too oily. Sure, I still work and still get things done, but nothing feels good. Nothing inspires me.

It’s interesting that I do this to myself. So yes, I’m still figuring it out. Perhaps it will always be an issue, but as I learn to work at home and learn more about myself, I feel like I’ll be able to better manage myself more and more each day. I’m just going to make being productive a habit that I can’t break.

So here’s to you, Monday, the start of another work week and another chance to make this week a healthy, productive one!

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Smelling the Tulips | Writing 101: Day Two

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‘They’re my favorite flower,’ I hear my grandmother say, as I gaze over the vast field of never-ending violet. Ripples of color sway lazily with the breeze and, breathing deeply, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The soft smell of tulips sitting on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot as Elvis Presley sings hymns softly in the background. She liked listening to that CD in the morning. I make my way through the field taking photos I can’t wait to post, excitement I can’t wait to share.

The things that connect us. The purple tulips in May, on her birthday. The slightly burnt coffee every morning strictly at 7 am. The voice of Elvis Presley in the morning. Things that connect all of us. The entire family. I don’t have to explain my nostalgia for Betty Boop, because they have the same nostalgia. I don’t have to wait for the laugh track when I mention my appreciation of salt and pepper shaker collections because they appreciate them too. They get it.

mamawThis woman who lived a full life, filled with everything from a childhood in the country to one of glitz and glamour. She lived. Her feisty, talkative personality filled her house with laughter. Her love of collecting filled her home, literally. But it was beautiful. It was all beautiful. Specifically I’m not talking about her milk glass collection or china teacup sets. Or her extensive, beautiful gold and diamond jewelry, mostly rings. She treasured those rings and wore them, all at once, on special occasions. No, I mean sneaking in her wardrobe as a child and playing dress up in her 1970’s polyester nightgown-and-robe sets. I mean waiting until she went to the kitchen to slip into her storage room to gaze wide-eyed at her giant collection of Betty Boop coffee cups and dolls and shirts. Once I gave her an old life-sized cutout of Betty Boop. She displayed it in her living room for years.

Finished Painting of Baker Homestead

We were never incredibly close. Or, perhaps, we were. To be close to Mamaw, was to savor the small moments. To be present and willing to listen; to be patient and willing to wait. I wasn’t a good roommate. I wasn’t. After college, I was just grateful for a room in her home at all. I came home exhausted from work and shut myself in my room to decompress for hours. I couldn’t stand watching The Bachelorette with her–even ironically–so I left that to my cousin. I would snap back with an attitude after 30-too-many-times her telling me to not wash my dishes/clothes/self while she was watching her evening shows. She couldn’t hear them, otherwise. I was patient, but I still think about the times I was not. Of course, she had an attitude as well. The kind of attitude that comes with the privilege of aging and not caring at all if what she said offended. To be close to Mamaw was to not care if she did offend, because you knew she was just trying to tell her funny story for a good laugh. Or she was just trying to make sure her precious Betty Boop valuables weren’t broken by the hands of a curious child.

I drift in and out of these memories of my grandmother. Visiting the fields of tulips is like an amplified megaphone; each petal, each smell shouting a memory directly at me. The beauty of those flowers, stretched miles and miles and miles, is overwhelming and awe-inspiring. These fields connect me to my grandmother, they connect us all. They affect me like they affect my family. There is a beautiful trust in that. Even thousands of miles apart, I know I am not alone. Through a simple song by Elvis Presley, we can share a memory, a story, a laugh. Through a single tulip, we can ensure our family history will be remembered in the most beautiful way.

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This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

I’d love to visit Amsterdam during their tulip season for my grandmother! It’s on my Bucketlist, even. This spring I at least hope to visit one of England’s beautiful gardens.


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Writing 101: Day One

Writing 101

Blogging 101: Unlock the mind.

I’m beginning a basic blogging class for the month of April. The first assignment is to write a stream of thoughts for 20 minutes straight without thinking too hard or trying to really make sense. Let’s do this.

I thought this exercise was quite interesting. I struggle so much with what to say and how to say it while writing blogs. I can never seem to formulate ANY topic, or thought. I end up posting really dull, lifeless and vague posts coupled with many, many photos. Which is fine for what it is…but I really want to do more. I want to reach into my mind and write about topics that matter to me…truly matter in the world, even. I hope this helps to really unlock my mind.

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I’ve been thinking a lot, recently, about branding myself. I think I have an interesting niche. I’d love to break into creating videos, tweets and general content marketed around that niche style. It’s really intimidating just starting out…I don’t know what my balance should be. I don’t know how to balance the humor with the legitimate adventures Taylor and I have. But week after week I continue getting vague ideas that I feel could really turn into something fun. I struggle with creating content and keeping a schedule, so I’m automatically putting so much pressure on myself to succeed that I’m basically allowing myself to fail. I think the fact that I keep getting ideas is proof enough that I should try to expand on this and see where it takes me. What if the only thing holding me back is my own laziness? This is something I’m incredibly interested in, so what if it actually becomes something? (Entire vague paragraph of vague hints of my idea: check)

I’ve been getting quite a bit of organic blog growth in the past few weeks, which is cool, but at the same time it provides another sense of panic. I wonder why the heck these people are visiting, what content brings them here and how should I expand on that. So many questions go into making a successful blog. The things is though, I really don’t care to have a “successful” blog in the strictest of sense. I don’t care to be monetized or famous. I enjoy being a personal blog, I enjoy posting photos and life adventures. However, I really do have the desire to create MORE…to do MORE. I’m torn between not caring about my blog, letting it be what it is and only posting a couple times a month, and the true desire to use this blogging space to unleash my creativity, humor and my opinion.

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I’ve done this in the past. I’ve focused and grown my content. I experimented with different topics and I’ve taken the time to slowly write down the thoughts and emotions I have with certain topics. I actually enjoy my ‘writing’ voice. I think I can come up with powerful and/or humorous opinions that move me when I re-read them. I love that! I love that I have that ability…but it’s weak. It’s not honed at all, so it’s incredibly difficult to write in that way. I need to strengthen my voice and my vocabulary. It really has proven to be true, the saying, ‘use it or lose it.’ I’ve all but lost my writing skills.

I hope to discover what blogging really means to me with these blogging exercises so that I can focus my energy on things that matter. I think blogging will always be a part of my life no matter what I discover or decide in the coming month, but I hope to really find out if ‘branding’ myself and my blog can actually be something that brings growth, followers and entertainment. If it’s not meant to be, then of course I’ll post as always. This space will always be a place for my personal life, my adventures, and the many photos I take along the way. And I’m absolutely ok with that. I just don’t want to box myself in.


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25 Things | An Update

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These winter months are flying past us.

Moving to the UK, I did fret just a little about the weather, however it really hasn’t been a problem. On a daily basis, yes, it’s much colder than Texas, and it rains so much more. But so far Texas has had more snow than Canterbury, so the cold is not so bad. I think you just learn to acclimate to wherever you are. In Texas I never would have wanted to walk in the rain… with cars so readily available and absolutely necessary to get around most places, walking wasn’t an option. With no car and every store imaginable right in the vicinity…we have no choice but to bundle up, grab an umbrella and go. It’s not bad at all, it’s just the norm.

That being said, whether rainy and cold are normal or not, it’s certainly hard to stay motivated when all I really want to do is watch Netflix bundled in a blanket. Everyday is a decision to give in to that laziness or continue on with my list of 25 things. And sometimes I choose the TV marathon. I won’t lie. But, as long as the end goal can be the same, then this will be a productive, satisfying year. I’d say I’m off to a good start in accomplishing that!

Let’s talk details: Most of what’s on my list isn’t something just the check off and be done with, but as a way to learn from and add to my life. Here are some updates to a few things.

1. Learn basic French | Learning another language is no joke. I’ve really enjoyed learning simple phrases. I can recognize about 50 phrases or words and write most of those correctly (I struggle with the punctuation).  Speaking is more difficult, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2. Take better photos | I don’t know about better, but I am learning more about my digital camera. I love taking photos around the city!

4. Visit all the countries in the UK | Check Scotland off that list

8. Learn to be | This one is usually easy for me, but lately I’ve been working until midnight some nights, just not wanting to stop being productive.

16. Become more involved in church | Taylor and I  have just been added to the Canterbury Baptist Church Student Volunteer Team. We will be working with university students, helping plan activities and meals and growing the students church community. We have been getting to know the leaders and students of this group for quite some time now, so I’m very happy to work with them. We’re cooking Tex-Mex for them this Sunday! We’ll see what they think of some of our favorite foods.

20. Send more snail mail | Yay! My request for pen pals was a large success! I just sent out a handful of postcards and plan on sending more once I get everyone’s address.

I’m excited about this year. The weather is warming up, I’m learning new things all the time. (Like, I had no idea mother’s day is celebrated on a different day in many countries. It’s March 15th here). I’m looking forward to March!


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Happy Blog-iversary!

Today is my ‘8 year’ blog-iversary. I wish I could say I had 8 years of riveting posts, but I can’t say that I do.

I’ve used this blog (under two different names) as a means to journal and share creativity. I haven’t always needed that outward form of expressing myself, so there are many empty moments through the archives. However, I thought I’d share some interesting times in my life as I go through college, marriage and career changes in the span of 8 (more like 5-6) years.

2009: One year into college, 2009 is the year I really start blogging!

I discover my love of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion and get my first non-restaurant job. 

I am faced with the horrible choice of being forced to get my first touch screen and data-mandatory phone! (Back when phones were phones)

I realize I want graphic design to be my career.

I made many, many t-shirt d.i.y.’s. This one is a dress from a 4XL t-shirt. 

I get engaged in a surprise photoshoot.

2010: The year I decided to link my Tumblr and Twitter to my blog and almost all my posts have NO TITLE. What an archiving nightmare.

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I realize what a hoarder I am

I get super into Photoshop (some more)

I made my brother this adorable Max from Where the Wild Things Are costume

I get into photography.

I get obsessed with fashion photography and move to Chictopia for. a. while.

2011: I graduated college (mid-2010) and move somewhere with no Internet until I got married so I

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Post about my bridal portraits

Self-designed wedding invitations

Getting Ready

My awesome wedding party

A beautiful ceremony

And the reception (that I starved at)

2012: Working at an exhausting daycare job and feeling so creatively unfulfilled, I began blogging again!

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I opened an etsy store selling vintage purses. This later turned into designing flyers

I tried blogging something more meaningful for the first time on the blog. (I’m still struggling with this, but I have so much to say these days that the hard topics must be given a voice!)

I got a job as a secretary which quickly moved into managing websites! 

I started noticing some sad realities in my life. Mainly the gradual decline of friendships and relationships. 

I tried my hand at d.i.y. journals!

2013: The year I blog fairly consistently! 

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I start (and fail to finish) and 365 day Photo Challenge

I tried (and fail to succeed) to organize my blog

I hint at all the friendship struggles I was having (but still try to remain positive and not get too deep)

I try my hand at recipes! Yum! & Coffee

I “win” a fun blogging award and answer questions about myself!

My husband graduates with his Master’s degree and I realize what that means for us

I finally get promoted from managing websites to managing and designing websites! Finally using that college degree to the fullest extent! Except, my creativity for blogging leaves me. 

I learn the hard way about friendships. And, of course, give a vague nondescript version of the story.

2014: After a short lull (only like 6 months, no big deal!) I decide to start blogging again! 

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I’m trying to find my focus for 2014. I love d.i.y. and photography projects, but I really want to try my hand at writing more serious posts. I’m a quiet person and have let that affect my opinions on topics, so as not to offend or hurt feelings, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to keep quiet anymore. I hope I can find my path as I begin this blogging thing over again. Every year seems like I’m starting over, because I’m just trying to find my way. Here’s the beginning: 1, 2, 3


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Journaling Challenge!

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Time to journal!

I have always loved journaling but it’s one of THOSE things. I can never consistently remember to do it. So let’s make it a challenge! I’m going to try journaling everyday for two weeks straight. I have a few journals, which will give me some leeway. One is my blogging journal where I write down post ideas and blogging tips. I also have a journal for drawing, which I use rarely. I’m not great at drawing so I use it when the mood fits. I just bought a new journal for WRITING in. Personal thoughts, dreams, you name it….This is by far the most difficult type of journaling for me. I can make to-do list and to-wish lists all day long, but writing out my days, thoughts or aspirations does not come easily! Wish me luck!

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Guest Post at The Wine Stain

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Today the all-too-kind Ashley from The Wine Stain asked me to talk about ‘being alone’ on her blog! Since I’m such a loner this was kind of the perfect topic!
But seriously, I talk about how I relax and why being alone is important to me. Check her blog out and read my guest post here. Thanks, Ashley, for the opportunity!

 


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Here’s Why

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A couple weeks ago something changed in my life. Of course such a huge change made my brain do a little spin, focus on THAT and become too tired to do anything else…including a ton of blogging.

I mentioned that my job involves managing web designers, customer service and all business matters Internet-based. This job has done a lot for me, but my first love, design, was put to the wayside as I tackled website critiques and overseeing customer service.

I’m blessed to have an awesome boss that noticed my love of design, and he wanted to see my work. I sent him 3 example advertisements last Monday. Ten minutes after the email sent, I was bombarded (in a good way) with advertising and marketing projects. I have been going full steam. I love it! This is such a passion of mine.

Eventually I’ll transition completely out of customer service and deal with marketing full time.

I’m finally slowing down, planning ahead, and slowly starting to visit my laptop again after work. (Full time designing for work is brain-draining)

I don’t want to stop blogging, because it’s become such a digital scrapbook for me to look back on. Can’t stop now, no matter how weary my new, fun job makes me. 😉

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Leibster Award

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Thank you JB from Mrs. Dork for the fun Liebster Award nomination! I really enjoyed reading her facts and answers and I hope mine are just as fun! The Liebster Award is given to bloggers with a follower base of less than 200, to help grow others’  blog readerships and to learn about each other! I have found many lovely blogs from lists of Liebster Award winners, so it’s quite effective! The premise is to give 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions and then give 11 questions that your nominees will hopefully answer. Then, nominate up and coming blogs you love!

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1. I have a ridiculous love of hot sauce. All of my food could be spicy, and I would be quite satisfied.
2. I go through my tiny apartment monthly to purge! I visit Goodwill so much. I feel great getting rid of excess, but the fact I go SO often really shows how much STUFF we have.
3. My  wedding ring isn’t diamond. *GASP* I chose it myself, and my husband had no say in the matter. (He’s been blamed before. Nope. It was my idea.) The style of ring I wanted was way out of our price range, so once I found this very nice knock-off, I didn’t look back. It’s no cheap, $10 thing, but I feel so much better about the price AND I got exactly what I wanted. In the future I may want a change. It may be diamond or it may not be. Diamonds are very beautiful, but I feel like what I chose is so much more “me.”

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4. I am very hopeful about my future. I enjoy my job and I know it can only grow from there. Being in East Texas, it’s not surprising that my job is in the oilfield business. But the creativity I get to express and the business models I’m learning from my boss have been so valuable to me. I love the graphic and web designing aspect and I’m learning about the new managerial aspects I’ve just been promoted to. I have a lot to learn. Check out the websites I oversee the design and development for at Urquhartt, LLC.
5. I’m addicted to coffee and Dr. Pepper.
6. I’m a quiet, introverted soul. I love just being; listening, breathing.
7. I love cardigans.
8. I am clueless about our immediate future. That’s exciting. Where we live is based on where my husband either 1. finds a job or 2. goes to school for his doctorate. We will be moving no matter what at the end of the summer (at the latest). Then, we’ll be moving again in a year when Taylor goes back to school. Honestly, I’m excited for the unknown. I trust our little family and I know whatever happens in the future will be a fun adventure. I’m so proud of Taylor for all he does for our family and for himself. He has so much talent and passion for what he does and I will always support him so that he can fulfill the potential I know he has.
9. I almost only watch old 90’s reruns. I watch Seinfeld and Frasier every single day!
10. I have 20/14 vision
11. The only food I can successfully cook involve breakfast, baked potatoes, or mexican!

11answers

1. Who is the number one person you would like to meet? – I have never really fantasized about meeting someone famous or influential. (I’m too practical and know how I would act if such an occasion would arise. Lame.) I think my most practical answer would be to meet some of the influential bloggers out there to whom I really aspire. I know there are blogger meet-ups, which I’d love to attend in the future!

2. What is the most used app on your phone? Or, what website do you frequent the most? –  I have several apps I use quite often (most of which I’m taking a break from now, like Facebook, Instagram…etc.) I think the most used app would be the mint.com app. It helps me keep track of my bank transactions, incoming money, and goals, like student loan payments!

3. Samoas or thin mints? – Thin Mints!

4. Do you collect anything? If so, what? – I love collecting vintage items! Cameras, art, salt and pepper shakers, and furniture! I keep it under control, though, and make sure to donate excess before I buy more!

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5. You just won a million dollars! Congratulations. What is the first thing you buy? – YIKES. I’m way too practical for these big dreams, it’s ridiculous. For the sake of being FUN while still staying true to my practical self, I may start slowly buying something fun from my Pinterest boards!

6. How would you describe your perfect morning? – Waking up early, drinking coffee outside, due to a bright and warm morning and eating egg and toast!

7. Finish the sentence. I can’t live without… – I can’t live without love. And I’m blessed to have so much given to me.

8. What makes you smile? – Comedy! I love humor in almost all forms! My husband and I are constantly laughing. I also have those special friends and family members who can really bring a smile to my face through unabashed hilarity.

9. What do you wear if you have nothing to do and nowhere to go? – Oh, fun question. I am a sweatpants girl!

10. Favorite royal? – Sleeping Beauty always intrigued me!

11. What is the best thing that’s ever happened to you? – Wow, there are too many blessings! I am grateful for in my life, the people in it and the opportunities I have been given.

11questions

1. If you were a super hero what powers would you have?
2. and what would your hero name be?
3. and what outfit would you wear?
4. What talents do you have?
5. Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone?
6. What would be your best achievement to date?
7. If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?
8. Whats the last thing you took a picture of?
9. In the event of an apocalypse (think zombie outbreak…) what would be your survival skill?
10. Who was better, the Beatles or Elvis Presley?
11. Do you keep a diary/journal?

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I’d like to nominate these lovely blogs for their own Liebster Award! I feel some may have already been nominated, but these are the current blogs I always check, so I wanted to show them some love. If you’re looking for more blog friends, these few are a good start!

1. What She Would’ve Worn
2. Coffee, Light & Sweet
3. The Rag Trade
4. Gin & Ginger – (who was nominated twice before, she’s just great!)
5. Slingbacks and Scandal
6. Making Little Adventures
7. Charlie Cecile
8. Liz Makes
9. Positively Bri
10. Ending Up Here


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Wrapping Up January

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January was lovely. Bursts of inspiration, the ability to make (and keep) my personal and family goals, and discovering in myself a determination to enrich my life in various ways.

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So far, this new year, I’ve (mostly) succeeded in keeping up with my 365 photo challenge. The end of this week, I’ll go into more detail about how the challenge is shaping itself, and what I want out of this project going forward into February.

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I’ve also succeeded in keeping up with my exercise routine. Before I got my web designer job, I worked as the assistant director to a child’s learning center and daycare (and before that, I was a teacher at the same institution). As teachers needed my assistance, I (literally) would have to run down the hallways class-to-class. I also led the arts and crafts and music programs, so I was constantly on my feet running (after little kids), dancing, or aiding teachers. When I landed this cushy desk job, it took me awhile, but I started to realize how my stamina, strength and overall well-being was slowly deteriorating. I realized to gain strength and healthiness back, I would have to make an effort to exercise. I’ve been going to the gym, stretching and practicing yoga a few days a week and I really do love it so far!

I’ve also learned…

1. I actually love to blog. I wasn’t expecting that.

2. I truly appreciate the blogging community. I was never confident in my blog enough to try to find friends. But now, I’m discovering an entire community full of inspiring people, and I hope to slowly ease my way into this world.

My hopes for this blog remain the same: to create a personal story for me to look back on at the end of the year.

And month 1 is almost complete.