Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Start a Book Club

Have you ever wanted to start a book club? I recently started a book club with my friends and so I thought I would share a few tips about starting one of your own!

To start a book club you only need three things:

1. A book
2. People
3. A time and place to discuss said book.

I had reservations about starting a book club because I didn't want to commit to reading a specific book every month, but then I realized it doesn't have to be a monthly thing. My book club meets once every three months (that's only four times a year!) I pick two books to read during that time. This way if someone doesn't like one of the books then hopefully they will like the other one. I obviously want to pick books people like so they keep coming. Although, I make sure my friends know that they can read one, both or none of the books and still participate. I just enjoy getting together with them and the books provide a common topic of conversation for my friends who don't know each other as well.

Most authors have discussion questions for their books available on their websites. If you have attendees who have not read the book then make sure to ask a few questions that allows the conversation to spin onto a topic that everyone can participate in. For example one of the questions started our group on a discussion about whether our city has any food that is specific to our city. You always hear about New York cheesecake, Chicago style pizza etc. (it was determined that we don't) but it was fun to come up with ideas and it allowed everyone to take part in the conversation.

You don't even need to meet with people in person to talk about books. Maybe you and your best friend live in different places why not try reading the same book every once in awhile so that you can chat about it on your next phone date.

Have I convinced you yet? Are you going to start a book club? If so, here are my suggestions for some good books to get you started; all the links take you to if you'd like to learn more about the books there.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Kring
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Things that Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

The last two books are what my book club is currently reading for our next meeting. And apparently I enjoy books that start with "the" but I did not realize this until I typed them all out here. But nevermind that, I hope you're fired up and ready to call all your friends to start a book group of your very own.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So You're Not Going To Find Out

Are you going to find out the sex of the baby?

I have heard this countless times through my pregnancy this far and at first I just went with it. When I got the question I just said yes but after giving it more thought this past week I will have a different answer from now on.

You may have realized that in my last bumpdate we are no longer finding out the gender. Jesse and I have decided to wait until the baby is here. This might be crazy especially with all the modern day can find out as early as 14 weeks! But for Jesse and I we are excited for the surprise.

To further explain, here is some of our reasoning behind the madness.

1. Although ultrasounds have come a looong way...3D anyone? They one we would get is your standard office ultrasound and I just don't think I could fully trust it. I know a few people personally and recently that have been told its a boy but have a girl or vice versa.

2. The surprise of it. I know it will be worth the wait!

3. We didn't plan to tell the names so why not the gender too?!

4. I do love me some pretty pink tutus or handsome sweater vest but would prefer not to get an overload of crazy pink or blue things. I'm a gender neutral type of girl

5. We will get what we need.

I couldn't be more excited about our decision and cant wait until May to meet our little one!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Big News!

What if I told you in this picture that we are a family of three...well its true. We are adding on to the family and although in my monthly goals for September I wanted a four-leg furry friend to add to our family, God had a bigger plan. On September 5th our lives changed...we found out we are PREGNANT!! We are beyond blessed and excited.

You may have noticed its been a little quiet around here and that's because I have been super tired. I thankfully haven't had any morning sickness but exhaustion and hunger has gotten the best of me this past month.

We had our first ultrasound yesterday. It was surreal to see our baby up on the screen moving around. I am 9 weeks and am due May 12, 2014!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Big Reveal!

Our living room painting update is officially finished. Notice I said painting update. Our living room is nowhere near complete there is some serious decorating that is going to need to happen but painting the walls provided a huge update in its self...drum roll please...

Ta-Da! We have our self a new fresh living room. Big difference right?

You can see the process of the living room here, here and here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Living Room Part 3: Baseboards

The last step to our living room project was the baseboards. Our hope is to paint all trim and doors white throughout the whole house but for starters we just did the living room. At first we thought it would be a challenge to paint baseboards next to carpet but ended up being very easy.

How to paint baseboards

With light sanding first, we started out with a clear plastic drop cloth. Then cut in 6-8 inch strips. Take a putty knife and push the plastic under the baseboard.

I went along after Jesse tucked the plastic under the baseboard and taped the plastic to pull it tighter. This helped keep the plastic out of the way when painting.

It was super simple and a lot less of a headache than expected. Stay tuned for the before and after on Monday:)

Living Room Part 1: How To Paint Wood Paneling
Living Room Part 2: Painting The Walls

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Living Room Part 2: Painting The Walls

After we primed everything we needed too it was time to paint. I was so excited to finally get color up on the walls and see it come together. 

I took on the fire place and painted two coats on it. It was kinda my little project. While I did that Jesse was off taping and trimming. I helped with the walls but he did it for the most part. I was too short for the job! ha!

One day I even came home to this...Hey at least he is having fun right?!

For our first time painting it wasn't terrible although at points I honestly thought it wasn't going to end. We used Behr for all the paint. Its not Benjamin Moore but it is good quality over some other box store paint options so we went with it. 

Living Room Part 1: How To Paint Wood Paneling

Monday, September 9, 2013

Living Room Part 1: How To Paint Wood Paneling

Lets take a trip down memory lane back a few months the house tour. Remember this dated and dark living room? Well I sure do and I'm beyond excited its gone! Spoiler alert

How to paint wood paneling

I am so thankful we tackled this painting job while we were still on the honeymoon phase of our house. It was a three week long project and after working all day it was the last thing we wanted to do but we keep chugging and made it through. Whew! At least the hardest room is done painting wise. 

This will be several parts so stay tuned this week. 

First we primed the paneling and brick. We felt it was necessary to paint the brick too because there isn't a ton of light in the lower level and we really wanted to brighten everything up. 

How to paint wood paneling

We primed it with kills complete oil based primer and boy did we learn a few lessons with oil based paint. 

How to paint wood paneling

1. Its almost impossible to get out of a paint brush so don't use your nicest one. Get a junky one and throw it away when you are finished.
2. Kills complete stinks! 

How to paint wood paneling

The good thing about oil based paint and why we used it is because it helps cover up stained wood and wood grain as well as sealing the pores of the brick. Both of which we needed it for. Overall though it wasn't a bad experience we just learned a lot and had countless trips to Home Depot. 

What were some of the hardest projects you've done in your home?

Friday, September 6, 2013

House Warming Party

This past weekend we had our first big party in our new home. After much contemplation we decided we would host a house warming party for friends and family. Although there was a lot of prep work involved it turned out to be a blast!

I wanted it to be very casual nothing over the top so we decided to grill out. Being new home owners and not have a ton of money we chose hot dogs only because they are much cheeper than hambergurs. But to spice up the hot dogs I turned it in to a hot dog bar. I am not a cook so I made the menu easy.

We had:

Hot dog bar:
  BBQ bacon
  Chili dog
  All American
Loaded potato salad
Baked beans

Because I'm not a cook and didn't want to try a new recipe on my guest for the first time I asked my mom to make the loaded potato salad. Boy was that a hit!

I have seen on pinterest the idea of putting paper down and then writing with sharpie to label all your dishes. I just loved the idea and knew I had to do it. It was super inexpensive and cheep... which I love! Thanks to my sister for doing all the awesome writing. 

Overall it was a hit and everyone had a great time. Did you have a house warming party in your new home?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where Have I Been?

So you may wonder where I have been but don't fret, I'm not leaving you guys. I have decided to take a break for the rest of the month. I have some crazy projects. From painting my house to new business projects I'm trying to get them done so I can give you guys better content. I cant wait to show you guys what I am up too:)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Insta Weekend

Yesterday my husband's company throw a picnic at Kings Island for their employees and family. It was very nice and made for a fun day. I am not a roller coaster fan so I sat out on all of them but it was great to see hubby have such good time. On the way back we stopped at an outlet mall. It was amazing and I plan on going back soon...when money grows on trees. Ha! Although our feet were dead by the time we got home it made for a fantastic day!

Follow me on instagram!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Guest Posting

Just stopping in to say I'm guest posting today over on Simply Clarke. Its about finding the perfect home. Marquis and her husband are starting the home buying process and I couldn't be more excited for them. So take some time and check it out.

Also I now have a Facebook page:) So come on over and like it!

Happy Friday:)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Living Room

After being in our house for a month now we are starting to get things organized and planing out what we want to do in each room. We are going to start the the living room first because we feel it will make the biggest impact. Its current state is dark and dated. But our challenge is coordinating it with the mural in the dinning room. Although we went back and forth on keep the mural, for now its staying. Thankfully there are lots of colors in it we can pull out.

So some living room inspiration...

We are thinking lighten everything up, brick included. Paneling and mantle white, brick light gray, walls a soft mint/teal blue. I'm so excited and cant wait to get if only our weekends could settle down a little so we can make some time! Oh well:)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Camping Weekend

Happy Monday!! This past weekend my husband and I went to our annual camping trip with my aunts, uncles and cousins. Its always a blast every year. We have somehow made it a tradition to wear superhero shirts the first day. The little cousins love it. Here are a few I took while there. More are on my instagram so check them out:) 

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Look

Have you noticed a new look here on the blog? I hope so! There is still a little more tweaking to do but yes Noelle Austin is changing it up:) There will be some other changes coming soon too. I couldn't be more excited! So hold on to your seats and check back often.

Happy Friday:)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Packing Light

As you may know by now I went on vacation a few weeks ago. You can read about it here and here. We were gone for almost a week and a half! As you can imagine that can be a lot to pack but I wanted to be minimal. Make the most out of each option. So I made a plan. I packed enough that would create 10 or so outfits. Some dressier than others. Plus I also wanted to get not only 10 days worth of outfits for me but 10 days for Jesse all in 1 medium/large suitcase. Here is how it went down.

That's it! That's all I took. Not pictured was flip-flops, dressy sandal, small accessories like earrings, belt and a hat.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Vacation Pt.2

In vacation pt. 1 I left off at the end of our Tennessee trip. After a few fun days in Tennessee though it was time for some ocean wave and sunshine. We headed to Kiawah Island for the remainder of our trip. It was absolutely beautiful there! Although it was muggy the beach was great compared to others on the east coast. While there we took several day trips to Charleston and Savannah. Both gorgeous cities with tons of history but I do have to say Charleston is my favorite. Here are some photos of our week in Kiawah.

HGTV Dream Home anyone? 

And if that wasn't stalker enough try Tara Lipinski's house right on the beach.

We ate a Lady and Sons with Paula. It was very good :)

Our total fail at a sunrise. The last morning we finally got our butts out of bed just to see this! Boo storms. Thankfully my sister in law got some killer shots a few days before us.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vacation Pt. 1

Our vacation was nice and long. It all started Wednesday July 3 right after work. We met at my in-laws house and off we were. My mother-in-law made us the cutest boxed dinner complete with yummy fudge! Our first stop was a quick hotel stay that night. After a not too shabby continental breakfast we were off to Gatlinburg TN! 

We arrived there around lunch time and was on a mission to find a yummy stop to eat...Bubba Gump! Then we were able to check into our cabin for the next few days. It was cute and cozy. Although it was rainy in Tennessee it was so nice to snuggle up in that cabin with a good book. 

The two night we were there we went and saw shows. The first night was a fun Opry filled with dancing, magic tricks and tigers! The second night the family went to the Dixie Stampede which had amazing food and was a great show as well.

Overall I loved Tennessee. I've never been there before but loved it! We had not internet those few days too so it was very relaxing as well.

Stay tuned to part 2!

PS: Happy Birthday to my little sister:) Love you girl!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Updates on the House

Although we haven't done a ton of updates we did do a few. The same night we got the keys to the house we changed all the looks to the doors. For privacy and piece of mind. The very next day after we move Jesse replace the upstairs toilet. It was broken and took 5 gallons every time it flushed. He did a great job and now we have a high efficiency 1 flush/2 flush system. To spare you looking at our before and after toilet here is a before and after of our new locks. It just goes to show little changes make big differences.

Now we didn't just have one door to replace the locks we had 3. Thankfully my husband and dad made it look like a breeze. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

House Tour!

First off I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I know Jesse and I had a great day off. Like promised I have a house tour. These are all before pictures and plan to go more in depth of what we want to do to each room in future post. 

Fun facts
  • 3 level split
  • roughly 1500 sq-ft
  • 4 bedrooms (1 on the lower level 3 on the upper level
  • 2 full bath
  • Wood burning fireplace
Front Room/Entryway 

Dinning Room

Lower Level/Family Room

Bedroom on lower level/Jesse's Office

Laundry Room/Full Bath

Full bath on upper level


Bedroom/Craft room

Bedroom/Future Nursery

Upper hallway looking down to entryway

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