Saturday, November 30, 2013

Belated But Just as Grateful

This only scrapes the surface, but here are a few things I am thankful for this year:

1.) My husband who is flexible with all of life's unexpected turns but unyielding in his loyalty to and love for our family.

2.) My family who has adapted to my distance but never loved me any less.

3.) Pets. They always know when you need some extra love.

4.) Pumpkin cheesecake.

5.) New co-workers who remember that I am vegetarian when they get food for me.

6.) Scarves, my winter jewelry. They are functional, and they pull together an otherwise plain outfit.

7.) Education, the life lessons that come with it, and the doors it opens.

8.) Living in a beautiful city.

9.) My job. Not just a job but the exact job I wanted.

10.) The fact that all things peppermint are socially relevant right now.

11.) Our rental house that couldn't be any more perfect for right now. And to think that it was a last-minute move!

12.) A hot shower every day.

13.) The financial means to purchase quality food.

14.) The residents I see at work every day.

15.) Baby Mac, who made me an aunt this year.

16.) Health.

17.) The most divinely soft sheets.

18.) Text messages from Leah, my friend who should be a comedian.

19.) Friends who are family.

20.) This life.

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Save an Unraveling Sweater at Work

There I was at work, organizing marketing collateral and lugging boxes from office to office, when I realized that my favorite sweater was splitting up the left side. Noooooooo. But have no fear! The sweater was saved... by a paper clip.

Paper clips make excellent crochet needles. How's that for craftiness? I'm the MacGyver of DIY. (I admit that I was pretty proud of myself. And I saved my sweater!)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How Cardstore Makes My Life Easier

If you've ever spent more than ten seconds at this blog, I don't have to tell you that I'm close with my family and that we stop at nothing to stay connected across many, many miles! But what can a gal do when her dear grandmother isn't keen on talking on the phone and doesn't have Skype or FaceTime at her disposal? Well, let me tell you. Once upon a time, people shared words of love and good will through an archaic system called the postal service. ;)

I'm a big fan of good old-fashioned snail mail. Especially with today's technology, it means a lot to me when I receive a note in the mail. It feels more personal and thoughtful. I love sending cards to my grandma, and from what my mom tells me, my grandma loves getting them. I planned on printing a photo to enclose in my next card, but then I decided to make a card using the photo.

Cardstore offers the online convenience of sending a card in the mail. Customizing a card, including a photo in the design, and adding a personal note has never been easier. Just start by selecting a category (occasion, holiday, artist, or brand), and then choose a design. Easy.

This wasn't the first time I used Cardstore. Remember last year's Christmas card? Not only did we design our card through the website, but Cardstore mailed them out for us too. Again, easy. To make the deal even sweeter, they always have some sort of discount promotion. We're getting ready to place our Christmas card order soon.

Are you a Cardstore customer? Check out their cards (and stationery)!

** Disclosure: I received a complimentary card to send in exchange for my thoughts on the product. All opinions are my own.  As I mentioned above, I was already a very satisfied Cardstore customer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Exploring Knoxville: Mead's Quarry

We moved to Knoxville 4.5 months ago, but we have yet to really check out our new city. It's the smallest city/county I've ever lived in, but there is a lot to do in the greater Knoxville area. With Mr. TBS traveling for work so much recently, local activities were put on hold until we could do them together, but we're finally getting the ball rolling. On Saturday, we hit up downtown to go to Market Square, have lunch at The Tomato Head (so good!), and see Gravity (which we recommend watching in 3-D). We had perfect weather for an outing -- cool enough to wear a jacket, warm enough to walk about the farmers market into the afternoon. We had to rush through the market in order to catch the movie, so I'll be back again soon to really take my time.

We woke up to another beautiful morning on Sunday and decided we wanted to get out -- maybe hike. Cades Cove is one of the must-see/must-dos in the Great Smoky Mountains, but distance threw a wrench in our gears. We had no idea it was 1 hour and 45 minutes from our house! I'm sure it's totally work the drive, but we'll have to put a bit more planning into that day trip. We tabled Cades Cove for another weekend. He searched online for closer hiking trails, and sure enough, Mead's Quarry was nearby.

We weren't looking for anything strenuous -- just some fresh air and time together. Our jackets came off soon after we started walking, as our body temperatures rose. Although most of our surroundings were transitioning into a sleepy, brown state of winter, it was still beautiful. I imagine the place is packed with runners, hikers, families, and dogs during spring and fall when all the plant life is beaming with color. One thing that probably doesn't change with the season is the rocky trail. I was expecting a dirt path, but those trails are riddled with stones of all sizes (and then covered by fallen leaves). Watch your step! For awhile, my eyes were glued to the ground so I wouldn't slip, trip, or slide down a hill.

I can't even remember all that we talked about, but it was just nice to be out of the house doing something together. And we had perfect timing, because just 20 minutes after we left Mead's Quarry, it started raining! I'm sure we'll be back. It's a beautiful park with long trails, and it's close to home. I'm so glad we're finally doing things around town!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The First Familiar Face in Knoxville

For me, the hardest part of living in a new place is not knowing anyone. As much as I enjoy being home -- ignorant of what I look like and doing whatever I want -- I like knowing that I have friends nearby to meet for dinner or a drink or a movie. For many adults, co-workers become close friends. Work is where I met some of my best friends! While I like the people I work with, the stars haven't aligned for friendships outside of work, and that's okay. Those great relationships usually show up when they're least expected anyway. It could be a neighbor or a new co-worker or someone at a yoga studio. Only time will tell.

Despite the many people in this city I have yet to meet, I did see a familiar face the weekend before last! Okay, if I'm being honest, the term "familiar" is a bit loose, considering I had only seen her on her blog and in social media. Yup. Blog-life-turned-real-life friendship strikes again! I never would have thought that blogging to share things with my family and friends afar would lead me to new friends. Does anyone else think it's crazy that I can move to nearly any part of the country (and even other countries) and probably find a blog friend close by? It's kind of incredible.

When we moved to Knoxville, Britt told me she'd be in town for a wedding a few months later. I "met" Britt last summer when she co-hosted a link-up called "From Blog Life to Real Life." A year and a half later, that title sums up our friendship perfectly. Oh, the foreshadowing.

I was sitting in the hotel lobby looking at the latest photos of my nephew on my phone when she walked up. We agreed that it was weird to think that it was our first in-person meeting, because we were already friends. We hugged, took up residence in some comfy chairs, and gabbed about the wedding, Scarlett, living in the South, family, marriage, and of course, blogging. We had a really interesting conversation about how we think we're perceived through our blogs vs. who we really are. (An entertaining link-up in the making, perhaps?) I think we were mostly who the other thought we'd be. Mostly. ;) We are more alike than I had expected!

I met her dad who had been watching Scarlett in the hotel room. (I didn't get to meet the little beauty, unfortunately.) I met her mom and a lot of relatives when we moved our conversation to the bar. Her family is a fun bunch, and her parents are the friendliest folks! 9:30 p.m. became 1:00 a.m. in a flash. The group had grown smaller over time until it was the two of us standing in the lobby with her mom and aunt who were understanding of our need to post evidence of our get-together on Instagram. (Thanks again!)

This blogging thing. It's been an unexpected joy in my life for this exact reason. The people. And I'm lucky that I seem to always find the right people. Good people.

Britt, thanks for letting me crash your family time in Knoxville! You're the best!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Curse You, End of Daylight Savings.

The end of Daylight Savings kicked my derriere. It could be that I'm getting old(er), work has been grinding my brain to a pulp (in a good "I'm learning so much" kind of way), I was up until 2:00 a.m. last weekend (which only solidifies my first point), or turning clocks back an hour makes for some very sleepy evenings. It's all four of those reasons, actually. I have been wanting to tell you about my husband's birthday, meeting Britt last weekend, a sweet decor piece in my bedroom, what I've been reading, the cutest grandma in all the land, what I learned from an Instagram photo, and my job -- but by the time I'm settled in at home, I'm at battle with my eyelids. There are so many great things happening in life right now, but I haven't felt like I've had the necessary energy or time to write it all down and do it justice.

God, grant me the mental stamina (or boat loads of caffeine?) to get myself together this weekend. I can just see caffeine's new slogan now:

Caffeine: How Lindsay Got Her Groove Back
You heard it here first!

Also, how are we a week into November already?! I hope Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year don't fly by as quickly as the last four months in Knoxville have. Life, slow down!

Okay, time for work now. It's pouring outside, but I've got 11+ hours of work ahead of me and I'm feeling lethagic, so what's a girl to do? Cuddle her cats, curl her hair (I totally won today's hair battle!), and put on a boldly bright blouse. I'm comin' for ya, Friday Eve!

I hope you are well, friends. :)