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Happy Holidays Friends!

I love that it's December and finally time to pull out the decorations and blast the holiday songs.  This time of year, everyone softens and focuses on what is most important in life.
Isn't it wonderful?
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Anyone else seeing this tonight?

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Happy Monday! 

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend.  The weather here in Florida was perfect.  After our afternoon of service -which turned out to be less helping sick children and more scrubbing toilets- I had the chance to attend a gorgeous wedding and then a singles event (so that I can start working towards a gorgeous wedding of my own).

Alas, the wedding of the friend was beautiful but my singles conference was not.  Such is the life of a single woman.  However things are looking up for me!  I got hit on in Target this morning before work.  He told me how beautiful I was and then gave me his number and email.  I'm not planning on acting on it, but what a lovely boost to my morning.

With Thanksgiving coming up soon I wanted to share a few things I'm grateful for . . .

*  I have the best family in the world (I know I'm biased)!

*  I live in such a gorgeous place.  The weather is absolutely perfect this time of the year.  I want to pinch myself!

*  My new place is looking prettier and prettier every day.  I know I haven't posted pictures yet.  I'll do a full reveal when it's all together.  Beauty is something that I value and living in a lovely place feels magical to me.

*  Yesterday while I wrote a paper and took a final, my little dog just sat next to me smiling at me like I'm the greatest human in the world.  It's pretty hard not to feel special after a moment like that.

Here's to a lovely week!

p.s- my scheduled post didn't work right, so this is technically showing up on Tuesday . . . sorry.
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Friday's Fancies . . .Golden Anniversary

Valentino platform heels, $875
MICHAEL Michael Kors michael kors handbag, $470
Alexis Bittar crystal teardrop earrings, $270
H M long necklace, £6.99

Happy 50th Friday's Fancies {AV}!  It's such a fun way to start a weekend.  Don't forget to hop over and see all the golden masterpieces on her blog.  I love browsing and making an outfit all my own.  Day dreaming with no price limits opens my minds and just lets me play.  Today I'm playing with gold, but in a monochromatic, feminine way.  I slipped in an inexpensive H&M necklace in honor of the new H&M store that opened yesterday in Tampa!  Yay!

With H&M on every corner, it quickly became a staple of my European shopping.  More than once since returning home I've wanted to hit my favorite haunt again.  It's the perfect place to try on trendy pieces for an itty bitty budget.  I don't know about you, but I'm reluctant to spend $50+ dollars on a trend that may or may not work on me. H&M is the answer!  (Forever 21 is also a great answer)

So, what is everyone up to this weekend?  For Veteran's Day my entire office is leaving early to go serve at various community centers.  I'll be serving at the All Children's Hospital in Saint Pete.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to work for an organization that believes in giving back and doing more in the community.

This weekend there will be dancing and celebrating!  I really wish I had this gold outfit to wear.

Happy Weekend!

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I'd have to dig in order to find the WORST picture of me ever taken.  I was in after my freshman year in high school.  I had decided that my widows peak was terrible and needed to be gone.  In one sudden burst of inspiration while shaving my legs, I quickly shaved off my widows peak.  Problem solved?  No, not really.  Soon I had strange stubble on the top of my head.  Thinking about hair growing out is painful.  Thinking of one tiny patch of hair growing out on the top of your face is excruciating.

I was also blessed to have horrible acne.  In retrospect, it wasn't any worse than typical teenage acne, BUT I was not the girl with lovely skin.  When you combine this all together, I have a picture of me, forever immortalized in the play bill for "On the Town", with a strange spiky widow's peak and red speckled skin.

Big pores and acne prone, I've always loathed my skin.  As I've gotten older, I've learned that my skin is actually very sensitive and when it's perfectly cleaned and moisturized, it can be quite pretty.  Harsh acne products only make things worse.  Too much foundation and other make up can make things worse.  So what has made a HUGE difference for me?

It's not cheap and I know now there are all kinds of affordable "skin clean systems" (of which I have no clue about . . . maybe they work?  maybe they don't).  I love my Clarisonic.  Last year I received an email from mom asking me if I'd want a gadget or a gift card for one of my Christmas gifts.  Intrigued I said ''gadget" and I unwrapped the Clarisonic Mia.  The Mia is a less powerful version of Clarisonic.  It cleans your skin gently and thoroughly and leaves your skin ready to drink up anything else you want to put on it.  Whether it's my a.m. serum and moisturizer or my p.m. serum and night cream . . . my skin is ready, soft, glowing, and fantastic.

I know some of the online reviews say it changed their skin overnight.  For me, it wasn't overnight, but a year later, my skin is so much softer, cleaner, younger and healthier than it was two years ago.  That alone makes the price tag worth it.  I also love that by using it I'm caring for the skin I've been given.  It's not a cover-up or an illusion.  My skin is just happier and healthier and I thought you should know.

Add it to your Christmas list this year!

Image and great review via

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Tonight I was asked to share a spiritual thought for Relief Society . . . a message about service before making blankets for children in need.  I thought through the topic and planned a sweet, uplifting, make-you-want to change the world message.  I like messages to be hopeful, bright and make you ready to take action.

This morning as I woke up, I felt strongly like I should share two experiences . . . personal experiences . . . depressing experiences.  I fought it all day and then wrote out a message with the experiences sandwiched between uplifting, joyful messages.  When I stood to speak, only the experiences tumbled out.  I felt exposed and vulnerable, with all the peppy parts of me washed away.  I knew it was what needed to be shared.

But it's just so hard to self-disclose like that.  I used to be the girl that self-disclosed all over the place . . . oozing truth, honesty and feelings.  Something has changed in me.  Maybe it's the coaching and the counseling, where self-disclosure comes carefully, thoughtfully and rarely?  Maybe it's just growing older and a little more guarded?

For all the awkwardness I feel now and felt while exposing my heart and experiences to a room full of women, I'm grateful that I did.  I believe that when we do what we know we should, even when it's difficult, wonderful things are in store.  There is no other way!

Authentic communication isn't just about the happy, the peppy and the sweet . . . it cuts to the heart of a matter and speaks soul to soul.

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 Image via

I want to apologize for my spotty blogging.  The truth is that I have been living in the 80's since mid-September.  I have been living sans internet at home.  I thought I'd be able to get by with internet at work, but increased work at work (imagine that) made it next to impossible to do much of anything online.  

For my friends with whom I've lost touch, I'm so sorry.

For my readers who don't even bother to read anymore, give me another chance.

I'm back and am blogging from my home office right this very second!
- Me

Has everyone watched Pan Am on ABC?  I love it!  In fact, my thoughts today are inspired (in part) by a moment in the pilot episode of the show. 

I'm a firm believer that we will always receive according to the deep, deep, deep desires of our hearts.  Before you throw your computer on the ground and start yelling at me and blaming me for any and all the bad things that have happened to you, give me a chance here.  An example from my life is that I'm more than a little bummed that I'm not a darling housewife and mom at this point in life.  I am.  I admit it.  However, in the pilot episode of the show Pan Am Laura (the pretty blonde above) is getting ready for her dream wedding and she sees her sister's suitcase open with her passport inside.  What does she do?  She runs.  She runs out on her wedding and into the life as a Pan Am stewardess.  I watched it and something welled up inside me.  I knew to my very core that I could relate to her.  I knew immediately that seeing and exploring the world firsthand was/is a massive priority to me -perhaps more than I'd ever considered.

When I married I will never wonder "what if".  What if I had married in my early twenties the way I almost did?  Would I have had the same opportunities to travel?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I'll never know.  What I do know is that NOW I have had so many experiences abroad and I love them all.

It makes me want examine my desires, my deep, deep, deep desires and to make sure that they are in line with my life goals and my values.

Do you think you can change your desires?

I do.

I believe that through focus, habits, and prayer, bit by bit our desires can be molded to what we truly need in life.

Take a moment quiet moment today and think about your inner desires.  Is there anything that needs changing?

I've already found a few tweaks to make in mine.

Happy Monday!

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