July 27, 2011

Expecting A Call?

Recently I have fallen in love with all things vintage, and unfortunately for my bank account, a new little antique store has opened up right across the street. With new items coming in every week, exploring has become one of my favorite pass times. Just a few days ago I walked in to find this piece and it was love at first sight.

Who wouldn't fall for this cute little phone bench? I wonder who has used it and what sort of important calls were made from that incredible orange seat!

Currently I'm doing some research on restoring antiques because, as flashy as the orange-and-nautical motif is, I think it needs a little updating... will post photos of the finished product, but I just couldn't wait till then to share my find!

Ring, Riiinnnnng,

Stuff I Like: An Optimist's Soundtrack

Silence is golden, but music is something so priceless. Whenever people ask me what type of music I like, I never know how to answer. I'm not the type to seek out new artists or browse iTunes looking for the latest hits... no, I like music that touches my emotions. Ask my college roommate - once a song struck a cord with me it was set on repeat for a month!

That being said, when my friend Kettie told me about SterioMood, I was ecstatic! This free sight allows members to create playlists based on the mood you're in!

.... And wouldn't you know it, there is a playlist titled

Check it out the next time you are in a sour mood, or if your silence is a little less than golden :)

"One Day Like This,"

July 1, 2011

Heads-Up on the Header

For those of you who've been faithfully following my blog, you have probably noticed that I have been promising a new layout for quite some time now. Well, a change is one its way! Now that I'm a college graduate I have some spare time to devote to fun thing like this.

More after these messages...

June 30, 2011

DIY ~ Floral Vintage Skirt Makeover

While snooping around the local thrift store I found this fabulous vintage skirt and fell in love with the retro floral pattern. The length of the skirt was more circa 1960 though, so I had to do some clipping and hemming to bring it up to date. After loosing ten inches and adding a new button, it was time for a fashion show!

I paired the finished product with a mustard colored tank, a grey cardigan, and some nude peep-toed, kitten heals. Plus an orange bag to bring out the colors in the skirt. Oh la la!!

Walking on sunshine,

June 7, 2011

A Tasty Summer

      I've discovered that I love to cook! Of course there were the times I helped my mom in the kitchen, but now I'm planning, grocery shopping, and cooking on my own. Its been a creative outlet for me. Since my lunches have consistently been a peanut butter sandwich and carrot sticks, so I look forward to each time I can devote a couple hours to preparing and savoring a new dish. 

Because my current state of internetless has prevented me from blogging regularly, I have been keeping a photo journal of my favorite meals and am excited to finally be able to share them!

Chicken Salad with Sweet Potato Fries: 

Pasta Cooked with Veggies, served with Salad and Iced-Tea: 

 Stir Fry in my new cast-iron skillet: 

The final product! Beef Teriyaki Stir-Fry over Rice: 

Chicken and Veggies....

 ...Tossed with Pasta and a Cream Sauce:

Well there you have it, a little peek into my life as a chef :)

Bon App├ętit!

May 18, 2011

Summertime and Internetlessness

Well, summer has officially begun! At least it should have started by now... the weather doesn't seem to be cooperating too much. At this moment, I'm staring out the window if this little coffee shop, sipping my hot caramel latte, and staring at the rain.

Why, you might ask, am I in a coffee shop at the ungodly hour of 7:15am? Well, let me tell you: My new apartment doesn't have internet....yet. So I got up before work to write some emails, pay some bills, and of course, check  my Facebook. Hopefully, my internetlessness won't last too much longer, but we'll see. The last place I called told me it was going to be $47.50 a month to get  internet in my one bedroom apartment.

And so I keep asking myself.... why did I ever move out of the safety, comfort and security of my parent's wireless internet connection?

Dancin' in the rain,

May 13, 2011

Vacuum Cleaner Excitement.

"So, when is it, exactly, that I'll feel like an adult?" 
This is a question I have been asking myself for most of the week. Tomorrow will by the one-week anniversary of my graduation and it was still feeling pretty surreal. I say "was" because all that has changed now.

Two days ago my Mama and I went shopping for my new apartment, which was more fun than anything. We roamed the stores looking for the essentials, and then, we turned down the vacuum cleaner isle of Walmart. 

"Does your place have a vacuum?" My mother asked

"No, we were talking about needing to get one."

"Well how about this? It's small and inexpensive and should work just fine for your little place." 

A few texts later and I had the approval of my roommates and the little Bissell in the bag! But, believe it or not that still wasn't the moment that I felt like an adult. No, it was the following morning when I woke up, from dreaming about the apartment, wondering how long it would be before I could test out my new vacuum cleaner. 

Resignedly yours,

May 9, 2011

A Whole New World...

"To live is so startling it leaves 
little time for anything else." 

~ Emily Dickinson ~ 

Post Graduation Bucket List - Take 2

Well, I've been a college grad for less than 72 hours and its been a interesting few days. 
 Entering the world of adulthood comes with its ups and downs... it's crazy to think that I'm not going back in the fall, or that my days of sitting in class and eating cafeteria food are over. Now its on to paying rent, cooking meals, and grumbling about the price of gas!

In honor of my graduation, I thought it was fitting to revisit the Post Graduation Bucket List I posted a while ago. Here's a brief update: 

(You should know: Strike - Accomplished   |   Italics - In Progress   |   Bolded - Still on the "To Do" list)
  1. Get a job (just starting with the basics here!) 
          Just accepted a position a couple of weeks ago and I start Monday! 
  2. Find some means of transporting myself to said job
          Working on this one - with any luck, I'll be the owner of a little VW Cabrio in under two weeks.
  3. Develop a budget
    Working on it, but it looks like I'll be set.
  4. Become a coupon clipper
    Thanks to my wonderful Mama, I have a little coupon collection already.
  5. Get involved in my home church
          A slight change of plans, I won't be going back to my home church regularly, but instead I'll be continuing to attend a wonderful little church close to my apartment. 
  6. Find 1 reason to smile each day
  7. Seek a community of friends
  8. Journal often
          Er... working on this one! 
  9. Run a 5K marathon
          I've been waiting for the rain to stop, great excuse huh? 
  10. Curb my appetite for new dresses (see #3)
          Well, I needed a new dress for graduation right??
  11. Stay in-touch with college friends
  12. Visit said college friends
    Less than a month until the Lyon/Wright wedding!
  13. Scrapbook my semester in Rome
  14. Take up upholstery (Call me crazy, but I want to be able to do this...and this!)
          A summer project perhaps? 
  15. Become a "regular" at a tiny, romantic coffee shop
  16. Keep fresh flowers in my place of residence
  17. Read books for fun
    Thank goodness for Amazon Prime - just a few days to wait :) 
  18. Subscribe to 1 or 2 magazines and read them faithfully 
  19. Continue my love affair with chalkboards... and maybe even act on my feelings
  20. Write notes to those I love
  21. Blog faithfully on my boring life as an adult
    Does this post count as a start? 
  22. Enjoy every cup of tea I have
  23. Master the art of wearing heals
          Well, I didn't trip on the platform at graduation and survived the muddy lawn. Check! 
  24. Get a library card and use it often
  25. Keep thinking about jobs in Europe...
          I never stop thinking about it. 2012 here I come! 
Here's to adulthood,

April 28, 2011

Dreaming of Sand and Sunshine

I saw this amazing print on Folksy and now I'm itching to escape the rain and run off to sea...

Screaming for ice cream,

April 23, 2011

Matchbook Magazine... Just Something Lovely :)

My fabulous Kettie Friend introduced me to Matchbook Magazine a couple months ago and I've never seen a magazine so full of pretty things :) This photo is just one post from the "Daily Spark" section of their blog.


Springtime and Zombies and Commencement – Oh My!!

What a crazy semester this has been. It’s the last of my college career, and probably the best so far. It has been a rough ride in places, but I've made the best friends I have ever had and found myself being stretched and growing in so many ways.

Graduation is going to be bitter sweet. In some ways I cannot wait to get off campus and away from school. The distance will be much needed. But, of course there are going to be things I’ll miss. My housemates, classes, theater… I’m going through theater withdraw already actually.

It has been wonderful to get involved in theater again. First with the Cherry Orchard and then the student directed one-acts. Special thanks to Sofia for allowing me to be part of her pantomimes and to Kevin for writing the best Zombie script this side of Greenfield! As a shy freshman I would have never guessed I’d be painting my face like a mime and running through the cafeteria as part of a Zombie flash mob. It’s been fantastic!

And then there are my housemates. Ten wonderful girls that have made this year incredible. How could I have made it without all of you? J

So many great memories, but the future is looking promising too. I have a little apartment with a few pieces of furniture and I’m looking forward to the time when it will feel like home. A job is in the works and pretty soon I’ll be the owner of my very own vehicle.

Bitter-sweet… so many things to be sorry to leave, and so much to be excited about in the future.

So much thinking,

April 20, 2011

Its a Brand New Day

Some kind of magic 
Happens late at night 
When the moon smiles down on me 

And bathes me in it's light 

I fell asleep beneath you 
In the tall blades of grass 
When I woke the world was new 
I never had to ask 

It's a brand new day 
The sun is shinning 
It's a brand new day 
For the first time 
In such a long long time 
I know 
I'll be ok 

Most kind of stories 
Save the best part for last 
Most stories have a hero who finds 
You make your past your passed 

Ya you make your past your passed 

It's a brand new day 
The sun is shinning 
It's a brand new day 
For the first time 
In such a long long time 
I know 
I'll be ok 

This cycle never ends 
You gotta fall in order to mend 

And it's a brand new day 
It's a brand new day 
For the first time 
In such a long long time 
I know 
I'll be ok

Smiling always,  

March 10, 2011

Post-Graduation Bucket List

The future is big and wonderful... but too big and wonderful to leave unfilled with happy plans! So, since I am about to enter into the world of real adulthood, I have decided to create a bucket list for my first year out of college. This is just a start...
  1. Get a job (just starting with the basics here!)
  2. Find some means of transporting myself to said job
  3. Develop a budget
  4. Become a coupon clipper
  5. Get involved in my home church
  6. Find 1 reason to smile each day
  7. Seek a community of friends
  8. Journal often 
  9. Run a 5K marathon
  10. Curb my appetite for new dresses (see #3)
  11. Stay in-touch with college friends
  12. Visit said college friends 
  13. Scrapbook my semester in Rome
  14. Take up upholstery (Call me crazy, but I want to be able to do this...and this!)
  15. Become a "regular" at a tiny, romantic coffee shop
  16. Keep fresh flowers in my place of residence
  17. Become the proud owner of some colorful Fiestaware
  18. Subscribe to 1 or 2 magazines and read them faithfully 
  19. Continue my love affair with chalkboards... and maybe even act on my feelings
  20. Write notes to those I love
  21. Blog faithfully on my boring life as an adult
  22. Enjoy every cup of tea I have
  23. Master the art of wearing heels
  24. Get a library card and use it often
  25. Keep thinking about jobs in Europe...

Dreaming about that last one, 

March 8, 2011

A Thought for Today

"If you want to lift yourself up, 
 lift up someone else.”
~ Booker T. Washington

Chewing on this food for thought, 

March 7, 2011

Real Life is Right Around the Corner...

People say that college is the best four years of your life. I hope that's not true. Two months from tomorrow I graduate. Don't get me wrong, the last four years have been wonderful. The experiences I have had and the friends that I have made will be with me for the rest of my life. But its also brought some of the toughest experiences of my life too. Lets hope that things don't all go down hill from here!

So yeah...two months.

I have a small brain aneurysm every time I think about it.

No, I don't have any plans yet, thank you for reminding me. Real life seems to be closing in so quickly and its exciting and frightening all at the same time. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds, and nervous that I somehow won't be able to cope with it all.

Two months...Freshman year it seemed like these final days would never come. Maybe if I just close my eyes, all the scary insurance and loan monsters will disappear. No? Well then... here's to a fan-stinkin-tastic last two month of college - may they be the best yet!

Wide-eyed and wondering,

February 25, 2011

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Its been kind of a blue day today, so to regain some optimism I decided to steal this great idea from another blog I like, and write about some of my current obsessions!

1. Flats - Black, brown, purple, sparkles, open-toed, moccasins, sandals...basically, I'm in love with any type of flat shoe!

2. Coffee - Honestly, it has been my saving grace this semester. How else would I survive an 8am class, three days a week, without my freshly brewed cup-o-joe? Top it off with some vanilla-caramel creamer and life is oh sooo good. 

3. Pearls - Especially when they're worn by Audrey Hepburn. Oversized pearl earings might just be my favorite accessory at the moment. The big ones are fake of course, but there is nothing like taking my string of real pearls out for an evening.  

4. Impressionism - Maybe it was growing up with a pair of artists for parents, maybe I'm bitter because I  could never master realism, or maybe its just because real life sucks sometimes and I wanted an idealistic view of the world - either way, I love keeping company with Monet and van Gogh!  

5. Big Sunglasses - Summer, winter, fall or spring, sunglasses are a favorite accessory. What I dislike is spending an arm and a leg on my fashio--I mean, eye protection. Recently, I discovered that thrift stores are a fantastic solution. Now if I could just decided which pair to wear...

6. Fiestaware - A recent obsession of mine, I love the idea of having a cabinet full of colorful dishes. I feel like life would be a little bit better every time I set the table! Definitely see myself owning some place settings - minus the silverware and glassware (yuck!)  

7. White Roses - In Europe, people just walk around with flowers, buy them off the street, or give them away for no particular occasion. That must have been when I discovered my passion for roses, but not just any roses, the white ones.  

Walkin' on sunshine, 

February 13, 2011

Thoughts on Confidence

Self-confidence can often be taken as arrogance. Yes, pride can wiggle in and pervert our sense of self BUT - listening to that inner voice and knowing what you believe is not pride, or arrogance. It is a confidence that children of God are called to because of our identity in Christ.

I really like what Jane Austen had to say about this:

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

As a Christian woman, it is wrong for me to allow poor self-esteem (or arrogance for that matter) to get in the way of living.

February 7, 2011

Thinking of Spring Time

Its raining today so I just needed some ModCloth loving <3

You can share my umbrella,

Get Creative....

What could be better than a tall, dark and handsome guy? One who can sing! My sister introduced me to this music video by Leon Jackson a couple of weeks ago and I can't seem to shake the beat. Actually, I might even be dancing as I write this (makes typing quite interesting).

So ladies and gentlemen...for your listening and viewing pleasure:

Gettin' Creative,

January 30, 2011

Dear Aerobics Class,

Dear Aerobics Class,

Thank you so much for reminding me of how many muscles I have. Who would have thought that my thighs, back, neck, arms, and yes...even my rear, had so many tiny muscles I had forgotten about. Well, they are not forgotten any longer!

Hears to heating pads and ice packs,

January 25, 2011

Bottled Memories

Do you ever wish that you could hold on to a moment? A happy time where the world is so perfect that you want to hurry and capture it in your memory before it fades. But before this can be accomplished, the moment has passed, and the memory is only a shadow.

There are several points in my life where I wish my memories could have been bottled and tucked away to be saved for later. Moments in Rome are some of the most common. The moment I first saw the Pieta, or stood a the altar in Saint Peter's with tears streaming down my face, the cow bells in Austria, the stillness of mountains, seeing the Mona Lisa, the feel of riding the metro, and the faces of the group I learned to love. Moments that are gone and can never be recovered.

Every now and then somethings brings one of these moments to mind. A photo, a word, a smell...somehow, it transports me back to that moment for a split second.

Moments are such strange things. They are so beautiful, powerful and even life changing...and then they're gone. But if we didn't leave them behind, how could we move onto experiencing the moments that the future holds for us? We can't relive memories but there are new ones to be gained every day.

Perhaps that is how we make it through life. Treasuring moment past and hoping for the ones to come.

From memory lane,

January 4, 2011

Imagination: Such A Slippery Thing

Its been a while since my last post on An Optimist's Alcove. Last semester traveling took over my life, then working consumed the summer, and once again I was back to school...in short, growing up, taking responsibility and trying to figure out how to be an adult. Exciting right?

The problem with the blogging bug is that once you're bit - it sticks with ya. Its been a while since my first bout with the blogging bug, but it would seem that I've got the itch again.

So what sparked this change?

A few weeks ago my Dad came home from work and shared a quote that he had received in an email:

"Every child is an artist,
the trouble is remembering
that when you're an adult."

If you know my Dad, he's more a slow moving type of person...it takes a lot to get him motivated, but that one simple quote seemed to do some magic. Before I knew it, he had built an entire website!

On my first visit to HendersonWorks I was really impressed with the snazzy layout and the the great display of artwork. My Dad truly is an artists, and I not only think he remembered it - but now the whole world knows! He's got a great vision too, and hopes that HendersonWorks will also someday showcase the artistic talents of his brothers.

Passing on the inspiration...

Helping with his blog inspired me to once again resurrect An Optimists Alcove as a place to ponder and reflect. With so much going on and so many changes on the horizon, I need to remember that little child with an overactive imagination, and not loose her in the shuffle of "real" life.

Somewhere over the rainbow,