One of my favorite things about my Mom is that the most road raged I have ever seen her is when she calls another driver a turkey. That’s as bad as it get with her. So, today I admit I am indeed a turkey.

This turkey has tried writing this post about 4 times now and I keep getting bogged down and quiting. Mostly because I haven’t blogged since April and what an ashamed blogger I am. I could blame my lack of effort on a million things but mostly I just hit a blogging wall. I hit that place where I felt like nothing I did was interesting enough to express it on here. So, I went on with life, not blogging. Missing it but yet ignoring the call to write. I still kept up with everyone else’s blogs while letting this little corner of the interwebs collect dust. But, with some big changes along the horizon, I have decided its time to dust off the ole girl and do some brain dumping. And maybe someone out there might just need this little escape just as much as I do. I have indeed missed it and its time to stop living in denial.

So, in 2-birds-1-stone style, here’s whats been going on with me and some things I’m thankful for in honor of our favorite turkey eating holiday.

  • Change. Everyone hates change but isn’t it funny how much we need it? I’ve really learned this the hard way this past year. Life is nothing but a series of changes and its all about learning to cope with them. But until you are on the other side, you don’t truly appreciate how much you need it.
  • A New Start. I’m thankful for the new start I will be making December 1 when I am for the first time ever in my entire life, moving into an apartment and living completely 100% by myself. In all my 28 years, this is something I have never done and to be quite honest have been afraid of. This new start is scary and it’s something I am working on being brave about. But it’s something I need to do. So, here we go!
  • Friends. I couldn’t have made this big decision without the support of my friends. Especially my roomie of 7 years. She’s been nothing but supportive of this big change I’m making and I have no doubts that we will remain as close as ever. Thanks for your love and support, M. And your help on moving day šŸ™‚
  • Family who smile and support my crazy antics. When I first told the folks, I was moving yet again, they didn’t even bat an eye. They just asked how they could help. I love them for that. For letting me figure out who I am and what I want to do and what adventure is next without criticizing, trying to change my mind, or judging. They just love me and I love them for the space they have given me to grow up.
  • A great workplace. I work with some great people and for a very good company which I have had the priveledge of working for 5 years now. And I’m thankful that I get to work at a place I respect and enjoy coming to. And I’m thankful the new place is right down the street. Yay for spending less on gas. Amen.
  • My health. For then first time in quite a while, I can say I’m as healthy as I’ve been since high school. I’m at a place where I take care of myself, I try to eat as right as I possibly can with the exception of a latte or a cookie here and there, and I am active and feeling better then I ever have. After a great visit to the doctor earlier this year, I take great pride in knowing I am doing what I can to be the best me possible. And for that I am thankful.
  • The pugs. How can I have a thankful post without mentioning the fur children? Oh how they bring joy to my life. And it’s because of them that I am not as worried to live by myself. Trusty Bogart will keep me sane. He’ll sit in my lap and snuggle at night and be my number one crumb catcher at the new place. And Penny….well, she’ll be a great source of entertainment. And I’m sure there is plenty more patience I need to learn from her. They truly are a huge part of this single girl’s life and I’m so glad they are along for the ride.
  • And of course, my faith in a Father who knows the plans he has for me. I can’t express enough how important this truth has been for me these past few months. So greatful for his love.

And as for some petty, 1st world things I’m thankful for…

  • Starbucks lattes
  • Pinterest
  • Boots and Sweater Weather
  • My new living room practically furnished by Craigslist (post coming soon)
  • Many DIYs I have done this summer and fall I can’t wait to show you guys (posts to come)
  • The Crock Pot. Seriously.
  • Pug snores.
  • Charlie Brown.
  • Turkey on Thursday.

It feels good to be back. Thanks for coming back to read and for sticking out my hyadus. Be back soon!

Gosh, I’m almost embaressed to even come back to blogging. I can’t believe how long its been. I feel like I should catch you up on everything going on! Along with everything I mention below, I have had another encounter witht he flu this year. Yep, that makes 2 years in a row for me. Gotta love it! But I’m all better and glad to be back.

Basically everythingĀ I wrote in my last post has either happened or I am reporting on similar news…

I still love Instagram and I am so glad I have friends who love it too! I am that shameless person who posts lots of pics of ther dogs. What can I say, I’m a crazy pug lady and I own it. If you don’t like it, sorry! Find me on there ifyou have it too: melanieloren is my username.

Ā Lets catch up using Instagram…

Here’s a pic of the green river on St. Patricks Day at the National White Water Center. On St. Patricks Day, they turn the river green and provide food and live music and games…it was very laid back and lots of fun! And a beauitful day for it.

Here’s my big 6 year old boy! He has no shame. I love this pic of him, it sums him up perfectly. Sleepy, lazy, and always down for a tummy rub. Gotta love him.

Here’s that Cooper River Bridge I run accorss every year. This year was just like the others! The weather seemed to be exceptional though, we had cool breezes and sun all weekend. The bridge never gets shorter though. I did shave a few minutes off my time so I was happy about that! Till next year bridge…

My mom is in Haiti this week on a mission trip with my church from back home. I’ve been pretty jealous of her since she got to go. But I’m so happy she is having such a great time! SHe’ll be back on Saturday and I can’t wait to hear about her trip.

Here’s my absolutly glowing friend Brooke. She is a little over 8 months preggoĀ and she will be having baby Bennett by the beginning of May (hopefully!!). I was able to drop by her house and do some catching up over coffee this past weekend andĀ alsoĀ gave her some goodies I had made for her. These little onsies and blanket were made by a good friend of mine (from childhood!) names Stacey (Wentz) Lewis. She has the most adorable Etsy store called StaceyLew. I highly reccommend her for all your custom baby gift/shower needs!!

And last but not least, this little girl turns 1 today…

She loves pulling this ripped toy over her head and walking around with it on. I like to call it her dress because she insists on wearing it around the house almost every night. She is so funny. I can’t believe she’s a year old. She may be frustrating sometimes and we are still working on her stubborn streak but she is definitely all mine. Happy Birthday Penn!

Whew, sorry for the lengthy post. Hope the pics helped!

 

Seems like I have a lot of ground to cover! So let’s go with a list…

1. I did indeed get an iPhone about a month ago. I am loving it. I can’t get use to having so much technology at my fingertips. Seriously, wow. One of my favorite apps has to be Instagram. I’ve been participating in a fun “Photo A Day in March” hashtag-along and I’ve really enjoyed it! It’s encouraged me to document my life more in a quick and convenient way. Here are a few of my favorites…

Day 3: Your Neighborhood

Day 7: Something you wore

Day 14: Clouds

2. Guess who turns a wopping 6 years old tomorrow! I can’t believe he is already 6!Ā  Time flies. I remember when he was just a tiny little puppy. Now he’s my wise old man pug with his gray gotee šŸ™‚ I just love him to pieces. It’s hard to remember life without him. We will be celebrating on Saturday with a nice long walk and a doggie-canolli from our favorite pet bakery. And lots of hugs and kisses.

Here he is at 3 months old .

Here he is now, my Bogart Theodore. So handsome.

3. I’m running the Cooper River Bridge 10K again in a few weeks. It has become an annual thing we attend now and I am so excited to go back. It’s really like a mini vacation. We make it a 4 day weekend and just spend lots of time sight seeing and hanging out in downtown. I am so stoked! Here’s hoping there are no injuries and safe travels!

4. In other news, spring has sprung! Not sure if you have noticed but it gets quite warm these days in the Carolinas. I think we went from fall to about 3 days of winter to a “cold spring” straight to summer in March. Oh well, I guess that’s global warming for ya!

5. Are you excited about The Hunger Games coming out in theaters this weekend? I am! I read the first book and am working on the 2nd now. I wish I could say I can’t put it down but I’m just not that kind of reader. I can put the book down. But I am enjoying it!! I’m looking forward to maybe catching a matinee on Sunday after all the crazies clear out. Movie review to come!

I hope to start blogging regularly again…sorry again for the long hiatus!

Since a lot of my friends and family from back home and other areas read this little tiny piece of the internet regularly,Ā I figured it was time to address the obvious question I get asked pretty regularly…

“How do you feel about the DNC coming to Charlotte in September?”

Well if you know me, you know I’m really not into politics. I am a registered voter and do my civil duty by voting when election time comes but that’s about the extent. I keep my opinionsĀ to myself and prefer not to discuss politics.Ā  It seems to justĀ create awkward moments between friends and coworkers and gets everyone riled up.Ā That being said, I feel like the DNC coming to Charlotte is going to be a GREAT for our city from an economical stand point. The hotels are booking up, the restaurants will be full, and it will give Charlotte a chance to shine for a week with lots of attention.

I, however, will not be here šŸ™‚

I’ll be headed south with the pugs to a littleĀ place called North Myrtle Beach. Mert and I have gone in togetherĀ and rented a pet-friendly house with a yard and a pool only 500 feet from the beach for that week. I’m stoked! We came to this decision after we thought of the traffic, the fight just to get to and from work that week, and basically just all the extra people being in town. While I’m very glad they are coming, I’m very glad I won’t have to be here. Oh and did I mention it’s also the week of my 28th birthday? What better place to celebrate then with my feet in the sand miles from the craziness? Exactly.

Also, with M’s new place being so close to the uptown area, it’s prime real estate to rent out for the week. She is still setting the terms and working on posting it for rent but if that were to happen, she would be able to make some money while also enjoying a week at beach. Win, win!

So, if you know of anyone wanting to rent a 2 bedroom townhouse for that week, just let me know. I can get you the hook-up.

So bring it on, Democratic party….enjoy Charlotte for the week. I’ll be enjoying a little vacation and possibly catching snippets of the Queen City on tv between beach visits, naps, and meals. Pure genius if you ask meĀ šŸ™‚

By definition, the word bold has many meanings.Ā  Not hesistating or fearing in the face of actual danger. Not hesitating to break the rules of propriety. Necesitating courage and daring; challenging. Beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action.

What an intimidating 4 letter word.

I’ve recently felt challenged and led to be bold in life. It’s so easy to slide by and do just what is expected of us to get by. To not go above and beyond or to get involved. I recently have felt like I was getting into one of those ruts where I was just getting by in life. Not really going above and beyond but rather just getting through the days, looking forward to the weekends, and just avoiding being involved in anything. But, that’s just not me. I’ve always been involved in EVERYTHING. So, it was time to get out of my funk.

I’ve recently joined a service project organization called The Queen City Grange organized by my lovely friend, Jessica. I volunteered to help out with the nursery rotation at my church. I evenĀ wore skinny jeans and cowboy bootsĀ . Take that, boldness.

So, I challenge you. Are you being bold in life? It doesn’t have to beĀ a huge change.Ā But do something different.

Take a class you’ve been scared to try.
Go to that event you have been “too busy” to go to.
Hang out with that outsider you know needs some attention and love.
Face that fear you have let cripple you.
Join the church you call home.
Find a way to volunteer in your community.
Go on that life changing mission trip.
Wear white after Labor Day.

I mean, it could be anything. But do it and be proud to be bold. Because small decisions to be bold lead to big decisions to be bold. And it will make all the difference in your life.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Joshua 1:9:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

So why not be bold? There is nothing to fear.

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1. It’s really sad that I had to go back and read my last post just so I knew what I wrote about last. It’s been that long. SMH (mom, that means shake my head)

2. My room is *prettymuch* finished. By *prettymuch*, I mean I am sick of working on it and it meets the “good enough for me” standard. So, I am throwing in the towel for a while. I’ll post pictures soon. Well, I better not say soon. We know how “soon” works for me on this blog…but, pictures will be coming in the future.

3. I’m currently on a yoga kick. I was able to score a sweet Groupon a few weeks back where I get to try 10 yoga classes, 10 jazzercise classes, and 10 pilates classes for $20! Talk about a serious deal! A savings of over $300. I went to my first yoga class Ā last Tuesday and I loved it! I was sore from doing bootcamp the day before but I was amazed how stretched and better I felt after an hour of power yoga. Not to mention just the time to clear my head and do some much needed stress relief. It was great and I can’t wait to go back next week.

4. Happy Valentines Day for those of you who celebrate! I celebrate Singles Awareness Day myself, but that’s just because…well, obvious reasons. But doesn’t mean I’m bitter or don’t respect those who haveĀ  a cheese to their mac. So, Happy Valentines Day to you love birds. I won’t be celebrating with dinner or a movie but I am thinking a night at yoga is the perfect place to ignore the crowds.

5. I am going to be having fun this weekend with Melissa coming to town! Woohoo! We always seem to have so much fun when she comes to town. On the agenda for this weekend so far is a UNC Charlotte baseball game and a trip to get my new iPhone. Yay! The rest remains a mystery. I’m sure we will find plenty of trouble to get in to.

6. Penny update: I would now classify her as on the verge of slowing down. She is becoming more of a lap dog and will sit stillĀ for a picture now as evidenced by the below shot. She loves to be pet and scratched and is growing out of the “tazmanian devil” phase. She also is getting along better with Bogart every day. Happy 10 Month BirthdayPenny! I look forward to seeing how you grow up and hopefully slow down in the coming monthsĀ šŸ™‚

1. Happy MLK Day! Hope some of you were able to enjoy a day off. I was not that lucky. So, take a nap and watch the DVR some for me, please.

2. The house is coming together. Finally. I feel like M and I have been spinning our wheels getting it painted, things hung up, and things where we want them. It truely is exhausting. Not to mention you throw in a 40 hour work week, about 4 hours of part time work a week, at least 3 hours of boot camp a week, and then sleeping…yeah…time is in high demand these days. Which means we have been running like crazy on the weekends. BUT, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Pictures to come at a later date. Promise!

3. Speaking of paint, I’ve had 3 different swatches on my bedroom wall for about 3 weeks now. After much debate, I decidedĀ I was looking in the completely wrong color scale and decided to go way more….purple. Here is the color chip from the Home Depot website. It’s called Vintage Mauve. It’s rich and pretty…looks great with my new white furniture. I currently have 2 walls done. Planning to finish up the other two 2 on Tuesday. The parents are coming to visit Saturday. I’m hoping my Dad will hang my new mirror and my curtain rod for me. PLEASE, Dad???

3. I’ve added quiteĀ a few pairs of shoes to my collection here recently. I have a love/hate relationship with shoes. I LOVE shoes butĀ  I hate shelling out the dough for them. But when it’s time, it’s time. I really needed a new pair ofĀ non-working outĀ tennis shoes. The pair I’ve been wearing were bought on clearance when I as in college. So, yeah. It was time. So, IĀ got these fromĀ Zappos.com for only $50 with free shipping! I highly reccommend Zappos, by the way. Great website & company!

I also got these little beauties from Off Broadway for a super good deal. I figured it was time to add some cowgirl boots to the collection. They are not REAL boots but more like fashion boots. I figure if I wear these out, I’ll splurge on the real thing at some point.

Then while browsing through Old Navy Friday after work, I saw these cuties and got them because they were marked down from $37 to $9. And they are fuzzy and warm on the inside. Love them A LOT.

5. The pugs are starting to do this funny bonding thing. You may remember when I first got Penny last summer, Bogart wasn’t too excited about having an annoying little sister. But slowly but surely, she has started to grow on him. She wants to be next him ALL. THE. TIME. It’s so cute. But he isn’t too interested in being near her. At all, really.Ā UNLESS…they are chewing on a bone/toy. Then for some reason, it’s like he doesn’t mind her being next to him all of a sudden. These moments are few and far between but I have actually been able to catch it on film 3 times.

Exibit A:

Exibit B:

Exibit C:

I apologize for the awful quality of the photos but these moments are fleeting and the phone camera is usually all thats available. Love these 2. These little moments give me hope that they will be best of buds some day. One can dream, right?

6. Not toĀ skip around a lotĀ but I forgot to mention this earleir. I’m putting together a white frame collage on one of my walls with some photos and prints. I came accross this print the other day and I LOVEĀ IT. It reminds me of my childhood. I’m sure my Mom will know exactly where it’s from but if you can name it, you get 5 cool points!

It ALWAYS amazes me how quickly the year goes by. I think that’s a getting older thing. One that I’m not too crazy about. But when I think back on 2011, I think about so many things. Well, just looking thr0ugh my blog archives, I’m completely shocked how much has happened in the past 365 days.

Since it’s the 5th already and the month is passing us by, I’ll spare ya the photo recap this year and just name off a few important moments for 2011 for me…

Moving at New Years.
Snow storm = 2 snow days off from work.
Lots of decorating & DIY.
Did lots of cooking.
Caught the flu.
Had my wisdom teeth taken out.
Took a trip to Charleston, SC to “run” the Cooper River Bridge yet again.
Attempted to grow things. It didn’t work.
Got a part time job.
Started going to boot camp.
I got in my car accident.
Spent 4 lovely days at the beach.
Got a new car.
Spend a week in Gatlinburg with the family.
Went white water rafting.
Became obsessed with Pinterest.
I adopeted Penny and became a multi-pug owner.
Celebrated my 27th birthday.
Girls trip to Melissa’s beach house!
Became the owner of my very first Kate Spade bag.
Helped Mert raise money for the Avon Walk.
Ryder had his heart surgery and is now thriving with how whole heart (yay!)
My good firend Brooke found out she was pregnant!
Penny had her surgery.
Found out we were going to have to move at New Years AGAIN.
Supported The Mammary Clan as they walked in the
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
Made the Pugs wear their Halloween Ccostumes.
Went to a Panthers game with Melissa for her birthday!
Saw the Rockettes the day before Thanksgiving.
Spent time with friends and family for Thanksgiving.
Ryder’s 1 year birthday party!
Made lots of goodies and DIY Christmas projects.
Mert bought her new house!
Packe dup and Moved the day before going to home for Christmas.
Spent time with friends and family for Christmas.

Sprinkle in some trips to Durham and that was my 2011.

Lots planned for 2012. Hope it’s a great year.

Ā 

Well, it’s the last two weeks of the year and I feel like I’m at that exact place of panic I was a year ago. Packing. Working. Going out of town for Christmas. Packing. Working. Moving. Packing. Cleaning. It’s like a bad version of Ground Hog Day. Actually, that movie can’t get much worse.

So while I’m busy being all “Bah-Hum-Bug”, I do have big plans for my new room. Here’s whatĀ I have so far…

To make a long story short, the furniture I had was borrowed from a friend for many years. Now that I am out of college and can afford some new pieces, I have decided to return them to her and get my own things after the move. Which means, living out of some boxes and bags for a few weeks. Small price to pay for not having to move furniture twice, right? So, no biggy.

So, with the the new furniture, I have all kinds of ideas for my room including my bed, drapes, and some wall art along with picking a paint color (coming in a later post).

This dresser from IKEA has been calling my name for some time now. I’m planning to answer the call with my Christmas money in hand the first week of 2012!HEMNES 8-drawer dresser, white Width: 63 3/4 " Depth: 20 1/8 " Height: 38 1/4 "  Width: 162 cm Depth: 51 cm Height: 97 cm  And then I think I might get this little guy which can double as basket storage and a TV stand.

EXPEDIT Shelving unit, white Width: 31 1/8 " Depth: 15 3/8 " Height: 31 1/8 " Max load/shelf: 29 lb  Width: 79 cm Depth: 39 cm Height: 79 cm Max load/shelf: 13 kg

As for my bed, I love the frame I have. But, I think I might go with a softer look and to match my new furniture and do a little DIY padded headboard slip cover projectĀ made from a drop cloth that will look a little like this when I’m done. I won’t be using that DIY necessarily because I do want to keep my headboard in good condition underneath incaseĀ I ever feel like switching it up.

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In my new room, I will also have a larger window which I plan to get some sun-blocking curtains for. I found this idea on Pinterest and IĀ am smitten. To reflect the drop cloth headboard, I think I might paint some white stripes on 2 drop cloths and create curtians for either side of my window…

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I’ve been eyeing this new duvet from Target for a while now.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll keep you guys updated.

And if I get too busy to blog later this week, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New years!!

Today I’m linking up with Walk With Me By FaithĀ and her
Christmas Card Carousel.

After an afternoon of chasing the dogs around, taking probably 100 shots with only about 7 worth looking at, I finally began the search for a Christmas card on Shutterfly. After much debate I went with the following card.
I decided simple and traditional was best.

Ā Ā Ā 

BUT…if I had it to do over again, I would have sent this one out…

I’ll give you ONE guess as to who’s the naughty one…

Merry Christmas from The Pugs & I šŸ™‚

Back in the day…

The Life List

* Ride in a hot air balloon *Have a meal with someone famous *Walk across the bridge at Grandfather Mountain *Visit Paris and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower *Adopt a rescue dog *Send my parents on a trip funded by only me *Walk/Run in the Cooper River Bridge Run (April 2007) *RUN the entire Cooper River 10K (3/27/2010) *Run a half marathon (aiming for 12/11/2010) *Watch an entire scary movie without hiding my eyes or screaming * Become a Blood Donor (2/5/2010) *Go horseback riding on an actual trail out west *See the Grand Canyon *Take a cross country road trip *Sing kareoke *Backpack around Europe *Visit New York during Christmas to see Rockefeller Center (12/6/2008) *Go on a cruise with my BOMBAYS *Pull the handle on a slot machine in Vegas *Swim with dolphins *Buy an outrageously expensive handbag just b/c I fell in love with it *Attend an awards show of some sort *Win a prize on the radio (Dec. 2007) *Go to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN *Fall in love and stay in love *Become a mom *Become the coolest aunt ever *Dance with my Dad *Learn to Hula Dance *Learn Italian and use it in Italy *Read the Bible cover to cover *Witness a miracle (All of 2009-the year of watching miracles happen) *Move to the beach for retirement *Volunteer regularly for a year *Buy a house and pay it off *Leave a $100 tip for a $10 meal *Go sailing on a sailboat *Learn to surf *Be completely swept off my feet *Go white water rafting with my family (6/3/2010) *Go parasailing *Tour the White House *Return to Haiti (4/3/2010)