Instagram and Anniversaries

You know what it turns out is really fun? Anniversaries.

I mean, I spent my whole life celebrating other people’s anniversaries. My parents’ was always a big deal because my grandparents would send a giant box of gifts for everyone. Two of my brothers have been married for over a decade, and the other one is only a few years behind.

It’s kind of surreal having our own now. I mean, grown-ups have wedding anniversaries. And yet here we are.

Our actual anniversary isn’t until tomorrow, but the festivities kicked off this last weekend. (What can I say? It’s our first one. We’re excited. And considering the next “big” anniversary isn’t until like, five years, we’re taking advantage of this one.)

(Side note: As you may know, Android FINALLY got an Instagram app last week. Which means I’m jumping on the bandwagon of Instagram photo blog posts. Woooooo joining!)(Although now apparently Facebook bought it and people are wigging out…I prefer to wait and see what happens before I jump ship.)(ALSO, my username is justinelorelle if you care to follow me!)

First, Joey started strong with presents with these lovely earrings. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for Kate Spade, and I’ve pretty much been wearing these non-stop for the last week.

Saturday, I had a hair appointment bright and early at 9 a.m. Cons: NINE A.M HAIR APPOINTMENT. Pros: My hair looked awesome all day. Win some, lose some.

That night was Brittany’s party. We booked a room at a karaoke place in the city and basically screamed out lungs out all night. All in all, a successful party!

Present #2 from the hubs! What can I say? I love a piece of simple gold jewelry.

Present #3! (Boy is knocking it out of the park.) Tickets to Augustana!!!! Which, as you may recall, is one of my favorite bands.

And finally, Joey’s parents took us out to dinner last night and got us a delicious cake along with a few other presents. So many presents!

Kind of crazy considering the anniversary hasn’t even happened yet. I don’t know what we’re doing for the official day (Joey has all kinds of surprises up his sleeve apparently), but I’m sure I’ll be back with another Instagram update. (I’m mildly obsessed with it.)

How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

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Friday Happiness

In lieu of yesterday’s bIg AnNoUnCeMeNt, I’ve decided Fridays are a good day to list a few things that make me happy. Lest I head into the weekend in the wrong mindset. (Psh, yeah right. EVERYONE is happy on Fridays, right?)

Anywho, here goes:

1. I’m happy I get to see my dear friend Erin and one of my favorite professors tonight in the city.

2. I’m happy I have a hair appointment tomorrow morning.

3. I’m happy I get to celebrate my friend Brittany’s departure from singledom tomorrow night.

4. I’m happy because I’m wearing my favorite jeans, and according to this lovely lady, great jeans are the answer to any problem.

5. I’m happy it’s pay day, which means I can finally order this little baby I’ve had my eye on. (With 3.5 percent cash back from Ebates ;))

6. I’m happy the hubs has the day off and can come meet me for lunch.

7. I’m happy I’m out of work at three so I can run a few errands before heading into the city.

8. I’m happy because of all the fab inspiration I find online every day.

9. I’m happy to be freelancing again.

10. I’m happy my anniversary is on Tuesday!

{source}

See you Monday!

Bedroom Decor on the Cheap

It’s official: I’m never making another decision on my own without consulting you guys first.

Seriously, you’re all so helpful! After I posted my (FIRST EVER SUPER AWESOME) mood board yesterday, packed with all kinds of questions and requests for advice, you all stepped up. I got answers through gchat, comments, emails — and they were all really helpful!

If I can get super mushy for a second, it seriously warms my heart when you guys comment. It’s especially exciting when you’re people I don’t even know in “real” life, but all responses are extremely validating.

Ok, mushy second over. In other news, I’ve started pricing out my dream bedroom. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m hoping to DIY a lot of things, but there are still purchases that need to be made.

Duvet cover: Since the Target one I referenced yesterday has since been taken off the market (d’oh), I found one at Bed Bath & Beyond (of which I am a huge fan):

The only issue is that I can only find it online. The pros of this are that I don’t have to go searching for it and I can get cash back from Ebates.com (which you know I love), but the cons are that I have to pay shipping and I’m not sure if BBB’s endless stream of coupons applies to online purchases. I need to rustle one up and check. It would be about $75, with 1 percent cash back from Ebates. (Le sigh.)

Rug: As I mentioned yesterday, as much as I love Crate & Barrel’s pretty rug, it’s a bit too pricey for my taste. So I did what any cheap-o, decor-loving girl would do and settled for the next best thing: IKEA. Their Stockholm Rand rug would work perfectly, and it’s $100 cheaper than the C&B version:

However, it’s still not exactly free, so I’m saving my pennies.

Vanity/desk: This was a perfect example of how a commenter really came through for me. So we know I love the West Elm Parsons Desk. However, we also know that it costs a billion dollars. You know what is much more reasonable? THIS little beauty from World Market:

And it’s basically the same look. I actually like it a tiny bit better because the legs add some visual interest. Plus, um, hello? Cheaper. (Although, again, not free, so I’m trying to hold out for a coupon.)(Plus, 4 percent cash back from Ebates.com.)(HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE EBATES YET?)

Other than that, I need 3 shadow boxes, fabric, a couple Goodwill lamps, and a vanity stool I can paint and recover. Sooo…yeah. Dream decor is kind of a cash suck. But I already have coupons for Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics, so that’s a start. And I’m trying REALLY hard not to let my excitement take over and make me spend a bunch of money right off the bat. I. Will. Take. This. Slow.

Anyone else ever find themselves diving head-first into projects (only to be left EXTREMELY poor)? Also, anyone have any cheap-o options to share? You know I love it when you do.

New Year’s Sum-uppance, Vol. 3

Every year, I like to do this thing I call the New Year’s Sum-uppance. It’s basically a self-assessment, so I can look back each year and be like, “ahh yes, that’s what I liked/was doing with myself at that time.” Part of the whole “this blog is kind of a diary” theory.

Here’s where things stand going into 2012:

Age: 24 (yeesh…)

Location: New York

Status: Married!

Occupation: Social Media Specialist (AKA, Professional Facebooker)

Favorite food: I think I’m going to take a leap this year and say seafood pad thai. Because that never DOESN’T sound good.

Favorite color: Gold, grey, and basically any jewel tone.

Music I like right now: Adele, Snow Patrol, Augustana, but mostly anything that I haven’t heard on the radio 8,000 times.

TV shows I watch: I really don’t want that much TV, but I kind of got into the trashy stuff this year. I mean, I’m still into Modern Family and 30 Rock, but I rely on Bravo and MTV’s “I used to be fat” to get me through the tough times.

Book I’m reading: I’ve been working my way through Dracula for a while (it’s suprisingly unsettling), mostly because without my daily commute on the train I don’t have as much time to read. I have a few things in the queu on my Kindle, though, so hopefully I’ll be moving on soon.

Favorite magazine: Self, Women’s Health, GQ, and of course, Glamour.

Goals for next year: Figure out what I really want to do with my life, build up the blog into more of a business, travel, find a way to get a puppy. Obviously. (Side note: One of my goals last year was lose 15 pounds. Suck it, self, because I lost 30. …this now ends me telling myself to “suck it.”)

Overall opinion of my life: Good. Ha.

But seriously, there are things in my life that are SO good. Marriage, friends, the fact that we live in a great apartment and have supportive jobs and aren’t threatened by scary diseases or natural disasters or war. There are things that I want to improve on, of course.

Susan once said something to the effect of that I’ll never be completely satisfied because I always want things to be better and want better things. (It was something like that, but that was the gist.)

Which is probably true. But I’m hoping to work on that. So I guess my main goal for the year is to find more contentment in things. Well, first to figure out exactly what I want, and then to actually be content if/when I get it.

If you’re reading this, leave a comment with the number one thing you want to improve on/change this year. I’m not talking resolutions, because those are like setting yourself up to fail. I mean something big, something small, something really specific that will stick in the back of your mind. Can’t wait to read them!

Top 10 Posts of 2011

Every year I post my Top Ten Posts of the Year. I do this mostly because it’s kind of interesting to see what you all like to read, or what just seems to spark your interest.

As you know, this year I made the leap into self-hosting, which unfortunately, meant losing all my old stats. So this year I’m going to pull the top ten from the old stats, since most of the year’s figures are on the old blog anyway.

What I’m saying is, it might not be EXACTLY accurate this year, but it will be pretty close.

So, without any further ado, THE TOP TEN POSTS OF 2011.

10. How to quit your job I really like this post. I think it’s one of those times I was able to put into words exactly what I was feeling at the time. And plus, it was the post that brought my blog soul mate Stacey and I together. So you can’t argue with that.

9. Can’t sleep; won’t sleep This is the second post to make the list two years in a row. Wanna know why? A lot of people image search “sleeping person drooling” or “embarrassing sleeping man”. I can’t tell you why, but I guess I’m grateful all the same.

8. Dear blog troll… Ok, I’ll be the first to admit I let my irritation get the best of me on this one. In the future, I’ll just be sticking to my “be nice or you’re not allowed to play” rule in terms of which comments are allowed to stay. Seriously, guys.

7. How not to rent an apartment on Craigslist I’m really happy to see this was a popular post. Because you know what I lot of people suck at? Renting apartments on Craigslist. Learn, people. Learn.

6. Hey there, sweet potato It’s entirely possible this post was so popular because people like Mad Men. Or sweet potatoes. I’m fine with either option being true.

5. That time I was a model This post was really fun to write. Plus, my hair still looked really good when I wrote it. Win-win.

4. The breakdown and building up of me I think we can officially identify this as the scariest thing I’ve ever published. For those of you who have never worked in the industry, journalists aren’t supposed to talk about hating their jobs. If they do, it’s supposed to be with a cavalier, joking tone about how it just means we’re so much stronger than everyone else. Which might be true. But it also might mean we’re just unkind to ourselves. I’m still undecided, but this was one of the only posts I’ve ever gotten texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years about. So you be the judge.

3. Repeat. And again. I’m really hoping this story was popular because you all know bad story tellers and not because you all think I’m a bad story teller. Oh well, I guess either way, you’re reading.

2. Check me out! I’m so humbled by everyone’s support over this. As anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can attest, it is scary as hell to discuss out loud. Everyone was so nice and I feel truly blessed to have so many people on my side. And if anyone was inspired by my story, well, that’s just icing on the cake. (Because yes, I still endorse cake. Read my story, people!)

1. Narwhals. Seriously. I don’t know about you, but I find it mildly hilarious that this wins year after year. But I have sad news. Because all of the search engine traffic for this post goes to the original on the old blog, my self-hosted blog gets zero benefit from it’s popularity. Guess now I’ll just have to get page views on the merit of my writing…gulp.

So there you have it.

I feel like I don’t say this enough, but I really appreciate all of you who read this blog. We topped out over 80,000 total views this year. That’s insane. Mostly because there’s no way my dad is responsible for that kind of figure, and lord knows I don’t have that many friends, so there must be people out there who I don’t even know who read this. And I just think you’re all pretty amazing for that.

So thank you. Thank you to my sponsors. Thank you to the people who subscribe. The people who like the blog on Facebook. Who follow me on Twitter. And a huge thank-you to anyone who ever tells their friends about something they read on here. That’s pretty much the greatest gift you can give me.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. I’ll be posting once more tomorrow, and then you won’t hear from me until the new year! The hubs and I made an impromtu decision to spend the weekend in Boston, and I have zero intention of writing anything while I’m there. But don’t worry, you know I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Why did you get married?

I’ve been doing a bit a guest posting lately, but I have to admit, this is my favorite one I’ve done so far.

Liz of the blog Happy Sighs (incidentally, she’s also one of my new sponsors!) has been working on an on-going project on the subject of Why We Wed. Here’s the philosophy behind it, in Liz’s words:

Why did you get married?

I think it’s a question we once-wedding-bloggers discuss often enough, and many of us probably think the answer is obvious. Because I’m in love. (sometimes with an added DUH.) But, recently a group of us really talked about it. Why did we get married instead of simply continuing to date, co-exist, even live together? What does “marriage” mean to each of us? It’s interesting to discuss. It’s illuminating about what the word “marriage” means for each of us. And hell, it gives us an excuse to look back at our awesome wedding photos. (win, win, WIN)

I debated writing in. I mean, I have a lot of thoughts on marriage (ask my friends), but some of what I had to say isn’t always accepted by the general public. In the end, though, I felt that I owed it to my marriage to put it into words. So here it is, my public love letter to my husband and to marriage.

Check it out on Happy Sighs here.

{Lime Green Photography}

Got stacks on deck like he saving up

Does anyone else have a random running list in their head of things they’d like to buy when their financial situation would make it not a crazy thing to do?

Or is that just me?

Anyway, here’s a quick breakdown of what’s on my wish list currently.

1. Iceland-worthy boots
I’ve had a cautious crush on Sorel boots for a while now. I used to talk myself out of it because they were pretty industrial-looking, but lately they’ve upped the style in the most attractive way. Case in point: The Cate the Great boots.

Gush. And so WARM. And good for icy scenery. Like, say, if you were hiking a glacier. Just saying.

2. Some kind of puffer jacket
This is another search inspired by Iceland. And, you know, my hatred of the cold. I haven’t landed on which one I want yet, but I like this J. Crew version because it’s not too puffy but still looks super warm.

And also this sleek version from Helly Hansen:

3. Pretty plates
Ok, stay with me on this one. It has nothing to do with Iceland, but a lot to do with how much I like pretty things. I am totally obsessed with this dinnerware. Plus, I get 40% off from my job. But it’s still an investment, so I’m trying to hold off until at least next year.

BUT THEY’RE SO PRETTY.

Phew, just had to get that out of my system.

And really, that’s it. I mean, sure, I could make lists of things that I wouldn’t be mad if I owned (see also, my I Would Wear That board on Pinterest), but in general, I’m pretty happy these days.

We’re both reasonably healthy (these lingering cold symptoms and Joey’s still-as-of-today-unexplained migraine aside)(OK, maybe we’re not that healthy…bring on the vitamins), our marriage is better than ever, we have good friends, we live in a really great apartment, we both have good jobs — I mean really, God has been pretty good to us.

I hope everyone has a safe, happy, stress-free weekend (I’m saying this to myself too…don’t stress, self!). I’ll post tomorrow for the blog-iversary (remember, big announcement!), but other than that, you won’t hear from me until Tuesday.

See you then!