Archive of ‘blogging’ category

31 Decisions I’m Glad I Made

What up readers! Long time no write!

This year I’m jumping on the blogging bandwagon and participating in The Nester’s 31 Day Writing Challenge. Get excited people! I will be writing on a regular basis again!

I participated in the challenge two years ago and really enjoyed it. It was hard, but stretched my brain and creativity to write within specific timeline and topic, and I need that structure and challenge in my life again this year. (Read more about my series two years ago: 31 Days to Financial Freedom.)

This year, my topic is 31 Decisions I’m Glad I Made.

31 Decisions I'm Glad I Made

Gulp. We’ll see at the end of the month if starting this writing challenge and choosing this topic is a decision I’m glad I made or not.

I literally came up with this idea a few hours ago (so this is a very impulse decision), but I have been thinking about this topic a lot. I just finished reading The Best Yes, and this quote really resonated with me:

The decisions you make today matter. Every decision points your life in the direction you are about to travel. No decision is an isolated choice. It’s a chain of events. If you choose wisely, your future will reflect that. But if you don’t choose wisely, the decisions you make now will take you to places you don’t want to be later.

Wow, no pressure, right?!

I thought it would be beneficial to spend this month sharing some of the decisions in my life that I am happy I made — whether it was a good decision by saying yes, or saying no, or just choosing to put forth effort and work hard at something.

I have no idea if anyone will find this interesting (besides my mom who is my forever cheerleader in anything I do), but just maybe this series will be helpful if you find yourself paralyzed when making decisions.

A few things to preface before starting this series:

In case you start to think sometime throughout this month that I’m a decision-making rockstar (ha ha ha ha), then I have a list of friends and family I’d like to give your number to. They can tell you very embarrassing stories of what lengths I go to overanalyze and make a decision. I text friends pictures of hats before I buy one. I send them detailed pro/con lists. I drive myself (and probably them) absolutely crazy trying to make a decision. That’s kind of why I want to write this series — confirm to myself that I can, and have, made good decisions to help with future decisions.

I also want to point out that while I’m going to focus on the good decisions I’ve made, I have also made some really stupid ones as well. I actually thought about naming it 31 Dumb Decisions I’ve Made but thought that would be kind of down and not very encouraging. So we will try to focus on the good.

Last point — what may have been a good decision for my life, may not always apply to yours. I think it’s really easy to see people who say, “I quit my job and started my own design shop and it was the best decision of my life!” and then think I should do the same. What may be a good decision for me (like getting a dog, spoiler alert), may not mean the best decision for you.

Here are a few things you can expect from this blog for the next 31 days:

  • A post every day by yours truly about a decision I have made.
  • A photo of the shoes I am wearing that day. I know, SO random. But a blog post without a picture is kind of boring, but I don’t have all the time in the world to create a really awesome graphic unique for each post, so I’ve decided to include with each 31 post a photo of my shoes. That will make these 31 days less stressful for me. Plus, if you really like shoes, there’s a reason to come back each day. :)
  • A few other non-31 day related posts sprinkled in between the posts. Like October goals, September (and maybe August) highlights, and finally get around to updating on my dining room wainscoting project.

So there’s the plan for this month! Who’s excited? :)

If you want to see all of the posts from this series, the links will all be added to this page.

DogVacay + A Night on the Town

I am no blog superstar by any means, but occasionally I am approached by advertisers to check out their products or pay me in exchange for a post on the site. As you can tell from the lack of sponsored posts on this site, I normally reject them. I’m not against sponsored posts per say, just am very selective about the companies I endorse and never ever want to come across as writing something just for a buck. If it isn’t something I naturally wouldn’t write about anyways, I politely decline.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from the folks at DogVacay asking whether I would be interested in using their service for my dog for free and a gift card towards a night on the town, in exchange for a blog post. They even included a picture of Leia found from my blog in their email:


Presh. Advertisers, if you want to get the attention of a publisher, find an adorable picture of their dog and they’ll be 10x more likely to pay attention to your message.

DogVacay reminds me a little of Airbnb, except for your pet. Instead of sending your dog to a boarding place, you can send your pup to stay at someone’s house. A little home away from home. Plus they include free pet insurance, 24/7 customer support and (my fave) a daily photo update so parents know what’s going on while they are away from their pet.

I love this concept, and it’s certainly something I could see ourselves using for the next time we go out of town. So I decided why not! Let’s have a fun evening downtown and see what this service is all about.

I searched the listings and found Shelly, who lives fairly close to my house, and contacted her whether she was free to watch Leia Saturday to Sunday. We met up at a dog park to make sure Leia and her pup got along (they did), and I made the reservation online. Easy peasy.

Saturday afternoon we dropped Leia off for her Dog Vacay date, then hit the town!

As much as J and I love to travel, we’re kind of boring cheapskates when it comes to where we live. We tend to stay in the five-mile radius of our house and stick to our same old restaurants and same old routine. And normally when we do anything fun for an evening, we always have to rush to be back to feed and take Leia out, so it was good to know she was in good hands while we were out.

We parked our car at the Red hat Amphitheater and explored downtown Raleigh.


We walked around downtown for a bit, stopping into a few antique shops and boutiques. We first went into Father and Son’s Antiques, which is a four-story shop filled with vintage indy treasures.


^This chair felt very Emily Henderson to me. 

IMG_1918  IMG_1907

I liked this shirt from Deco shop. North Carolina residents, are you a tomato or vinegar bbq fan? :)


After walking around for a bit, we ate dinner at Cafe Luna, a charming Italian restaurant near Moore Square. I am in the middle of the Whole 30 challenge, and it was reeeeeeally hard to stick to the diet when all I wanted bread and wine and pasta! But I was on day 18, and determined not to cheat, no matter how tempting. I ordered red snapper with grilled vegetables, and it was delicious.

IMG_1942IMG_1941Sorry for the blurry photo … I always hate being “that girl” that is taking photos of her food in a nice restaurant. ;) 


Meanwhile, I got some sweet pictures from Shelly! They went to the dog park and she said she was having a good time and behaving herself. :) It was so nice to get an update!


After dinner we walked back to the Red Hat Amphitheater for the Ray LaMontagne concert. This was my first time at the amphitheater, and it’s a really nice venue with the Raleigh skyline behind you.



The show was great! For a concert in July it was certainly warm, but not nearly as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. The whole time J and I were like Why do we never do stuff like this?! So add “do something new in Raleigh/Durham” to every monthly goal for the rest of the year. ;)

We got home late, and then picked up Leia Sunday morning. She evidently had a great time because she literally slept all Sunday afternoon:


It was so nice to go out for an evening and explore downtown Raleigh, all the while knowing Leia was in good hands.

If you’re a dog owner and need a place for your pet, use the promo code PRETTYPENNY for $10 off the next time you use

Also! A lot of readers have asked me about how to make a little extra cash if you’re trying to pay off debt or looking to make a little extra income, so if you are a dog lover, you could sign up to be a host. Sounds like a really easy way to make some money doing what you love. :)

Dog owners — what do you normally do with your pup when you are out of town? Friends or boarders? 

PS – Disclosure: If you couldn’t tell from my first paragraph, this was a sponsored post by DogVacay, but all opinions were mine. :) 

Newlywed Insurance Guide + $50 Home Depot Giveaway!

When J and I got married, we decided to merge it all — bank accounts, credit cards, where we lived, even our last names (well, I took his last name, we didn’t really merge them together… that would be an awkward last name). It is such a long arduous process weeding through all of the legal documents and personal accounts to merge your life together.

Two years later and we are still navigating through it all, one area being insurance. We’ve got auto and home insurance taken care of, and have our own health care insurance through our jobs (thank goodness), but have yet to get life insurance. It’s on our list of things to take care of in 2014, along with writing a will. :)

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shared with me a newlywed insurance guide and I thought it may be helpful for some who are about to get married or have been dragging their feet on taking care of insurance items (like me). They are also giving away a $50 Home Depot gift card at the end of this post!


Sidenote: What year do you stop being a newlywed? After one year? Five years? I’m losing track of how long we’ve been married. A few months ago I told someone we’ve been married for three years (nope) and then at a party last week I said I had been married a year and a half (not true)! What’s wrong with me.


Now for the fun part. NAIC is awarding one lucky winner a $50 giftcard to Home Depot. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter, but there are more options if you want to enter more than once. I will announce the winner next Thursday (Dec 19th).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you buy if you won the giftcard?
I have so projects on my house to do list, I wouldn’t know where to begin! J made me promise not to do any big projects until 2014 (after all the work we did the first three weeks)… but y’all 2014 is coming!! :)

Love Does | No Commitment Blogger Book Club #7

How is it already Wednesday? Oy! This week has been busy and I completely forgot to post my book review on Monday. You forgive me, right? :) In July I read Love Does, by Bob Goff, as a part of my blogger book club, and here’s the review below.

no commitment book club

What was the book about?

Love Does is a collection of stories from Bob Goff, a man who lives each day with whimsy and a passion to not just love, but to show it. Bob writes like he probably would be talking to you across the table at a coffee shop– very conversational and engaging. Each chapter relates to a lesson he has learned through experiencing and living out the love of God. He has had some pretty amazing experiences and wild journeys, but keeps it simple and his main point is that Jesus did stuff. He didn’t just talk, he did.

Did you enjoy the book? Why? Why not?

I liked the book. It was a feel-good read, and I flew through it pretty quickly as the stories were all short and entertaining. I would give this book 4 stars. It really gave me a lot to think about, but there were a few things that rubbed me the wrong love doesway.

I’ll start with the good, which most of it was. Bob reinforces through his stories that love doesn’t just feel, talk or learn — love does. His examples were good reminders and made me examine my life and see where I need to let go of trying and just do. Stop talking about the problems, and start fixing. His whimsical and joyful approach to life is inspiring, and since reading it I’ve tried to make a conscious effort not to take myself so seriously. This world is full of opportunities to show grandiose love, I just need to step out and do it.

I also loved his stories about Uganda, how he freed a few kids in the prison and fought injustices for the kids there. In fact, I wanted to read more, some background on how he got involved, more about his ministry with the kids and how more people like me can help. Maybe his next book he can devote to his humanitarian work? (He listed his personal phone number on the back page, so maybe I’ll make that recommendation.:)

Now for a few things I struggled with. At times I thought maybe the title should be “Love & Money Do.” I would LOVE to do all of the things he’s been able to do, but the fact of the matter is most of them cost money and time, and I had a hard time applying some of the stories to my life. For example, pranking a friend with a $400 hotel bill was a little lost on me. I would never dream of doing that to my friends, and have a hard time relating to someone who does.

Secondly, I had a problem with his theology, or lack of. I felt like he had the opportunity and platform to share the gospel with his engaging stories and captive audience, but was disappointed when he referred to Jesus almost like a character in one of his stories — a little vague and kind of fictional. I get that he wanted to keep people engaged and not sound preachy, but why follow Jesus more than any other good guy? I wouldn’t know from this book.

I also struggled with his chapter “Bible Doing” a little bit. He encourages people to get off the sidelines and join Jesus in the fight for good. Amen! I wholeheartedly agree that Christians need to spend more time actually living out the principles in the Bible than spending time studying and arguing over them. I have no problem with putting judgmental hypocritical Christians in their place. But I do have a problem with him bashing Bible study. He called it “stalking God” to study the Bible. Part of loving God and growing in a relationship with him is reading what he wrote. It would be like my husband leaving me notes around the house and ignoring them. I don’t need to read what he says, I’m just going to love him! If we are to follow Jesus, we need to know what he said and follow his example. And one of the examples he set was studying the Scriptures! He was well-versed in the Old Testament books and quoted Scripture all the time. I totally get what Bob was talking about, but felt it was a little extreme.

Would you recommend this book?

Yes, I would. Just take it with a grain of salt and don’t stop reading the Bible. :)

What’s your favorite quote from the book?

“And when each of us looks back at all the turns and folds God has allowed in our lives, I don’t think it looks like a series of folded-over mistakes and do-overs that have shaped our lives. Instead, I think we’ll conclude in the end that maybe we’re all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better.”

“You don’t need a plan; you just need to be present.”

Have you read this book and want to participate? Write a review in your blog and post it back here, or comment below and tell me what you thought.


Next up: August’s book is The Little Women Letters.

January: Bossypants
February: What Alice Forgot
March: Happier at Home
April: MWF Seeking BFF
May: Bittersweet
June: The Actor and the Housewife

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