I’ma Do Me.

I’ma do me.

I all to often worry way too much about how my decisions and actions affect other people. I spend time analyzing everything that I say and do…wondering how it makes other people feel or what they’ll say about me. (I’m a chronic worrier…just ask my husband.)

My shadow.Well, on my walk to work, I came to some harsh realizations. I’m given one life. Just one. And what I have so far is a pretty amazing one. If people out there, friend or foe, don’t want to support me, stand behind me, love me for who I am, and encourage me, then so be it. I’ma do me.

High voltage.
If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

I still have a lot that I want to see and do, but I can’t help but feel like I’m at my prime. I’m a newlywed with a husband that I’m crazy about. I have a growing, thriving business. I’m embarking on new adventures everyday (real estate and this very blog, for example). I have a cute little house in the perfect neighborhood. Lets face it…I love my life!

All too often I reel in my own excitement for fear of what other people think or for fear of making others feel unfortunate. I’m not doing that anymore. I’m not going to let somebody else’s thoughts, fears, insecurities, ideals, or opinions affect the way that I want to live my life or the way in which I’m excited and proud of where I am right now.  No longer will I let the disgruntlement and opinions of others put a damper on my accomplishments. I’ma do me.

(Yes, this is a play off of a rap song. Rocko said it best in “Umma Do Me,” and this song played over and over in my head while I was walking. Along with “This Girl is on Fire” by Alicia Keys.)

Kicking ass and taking names!
I’m kicking ass and taking names! (Pardon the French…it’s just how I felt.)

This is my one life and right now I’m on top of the world. Feel free to follow along. Or don’t. Either way, I’ma do me.

On top of the world.
I’m on top of the world! (It’s really the top of a ditch on the side of the road, but still.)

I’ma do me.

Walk to Work

Running Shoes in the GrassI walked/ran to work today. Well, not to actually work…that would be gross. I decided at the last minute to squeeze an ad into the new Bayou Life Magazine and had to get outfits together for a photo shoot. (Look for Salt & Pepper in the April issue!)

I live about 2.5 miles from the store, so it wasn’t too bad of a trek. Besides, it’s a beautiful day and the perfect opportunity to get in some exercise. I ran about half of the way and walked the rest. (I didn’t want to be a total mess when I got there!)

Ouachita River from the Levee

Lea Joyner Bridge on Foot
Crossing the bridge on foot was a tad scary with those grates moving up and down as cars passed! Yikes!

This walk was one of the best ideas I’ve had in a long time. It was a chance to clear my head, a chance to admire the beauty and serenity of my surroundings. During this commute, I thought through some things for work, relaxed a tad, wrote this blog post (and the beginning of another one), and solved a few of the worlds problems, not to mention the actual exercise…multitasking at its finest!

Dandelions

Dandelion in the Wind
I tried to capture me blowing the dandelion into the wind. It was only somewhat successful.

Most importantly, this walk got me back to my happy place. A place where I feel good about life. A place where I am happy and content.

The weather man says tomorrow is going to be just as pretty here. So get out and enjoy it! It doesn’t matter what you do…just go outside and do something that makes you happy and soak up this wonderful sunshine!

Cleaning Out Your Closet

The night we came home from Memphis, I unpacked my suitcase and went into beast mode in my closet. My darling husband convinced me to turn an extra bedroom into a closet (Why wouldn’t I marry him after that?!), but I’ve spent months trying to get it set up properly and more efficiently. Something on the ride home made me determined to make it happen.

This room is a work in progress, so I’ll be sharing more about it as I go along. This post is about cleaning out your closet. (That could also be about cleaning negative things out of your life, but I meant it in the literal sense.) You must clean out clutter before you can get an area organized.

Honestly, it’s quite sad that I had an entire room for a closet, and I still didn’t have room for everything. Every area was spilling over, and it felt like I could never get everything squared away. I decided that I needed to get rid of more stuff. This is the 3rd time I’ve “cleaned out my closet” in the last 4 months. Even though I’ve already gotten rid of a ton of stuff (3 storage tubs and a big box full + a few garbage bags), I still felt overwhelmed by the amount of clothes crammed into one room. Somehow I still managed to purge 2 full garbage bags of stuff.

Garage Sale PileThere are tons of suggestions on the Internet for how to clean out a closet and I’ve tried a few of them. After all, this is a very daunting task for me…I hate getting rid of anything! So here’s how I finally did it.
1. One of the most important things to think about while cleaning out a closet, is to get rid of anything that no longer fits well, isn’t flattering, or is damaged. Don’t keep a shirt with a hole in it even though the tear could be covered with a jacket. If it’s stained, throw it out. Period. Even more importantly, don’t keep anything that you don’t feel great in. One of the most common bits of fashion advise that I give is to only wear things that you feel great in. If those jeans are just a little too tight and give you even the slightest muffin top, get rid of them! If that shirt fits just a little too tight across the midsection and makes you uncomfortable, don’t keep it! It’s much better for you to wear the same flattering pieces over and over again (in different ways of course), than to wear things that don’t make you look your best. Being brutally honest with yourself in this area will help you to get rid of things that you shouldn’t be holding on to. It doesn’t matter what brand it is, how pretty it is, or how much you paid for it. If it doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks…get rid of it!!

A purging hindrance can often be weight fluctuation. You don’t want to get rid of things because you might lose/gain weight and be able to or need to wear it again. This is another area where you have to be brutally honest. And let’s face it, thinking about your weight can be brutal. It’s a good idea to keep a few pieces in a size up/down from what you’re currently wearing, especially if you fluctuate regularly. However, do not make a habit of keeping things that haven’t fit in years.

2. The second strategy that helped me was to pick a storage area for certain pieces and get rid of any that wouldn’t fit there. For example, there is no reason that my yoga/lounge pants shouldn’t fit in one drawer. So, I picked the best place for them to go and narrowed down the collection until they all fit. (Remember, you don’t want any drawers, etc. to be too full or you’ll be less likely to keep things in order. Nothing is worse than trying to cram things into an overly full drawer.) When I realized how many would fit, I got rid of a few of my least favorite pair to make it work. Realistically, why do I need more than two pair of black yoga pants? I always gravitate to the same two pair anyway.

Folded Storage
Storage tip: fold items and store them this way rather than on top of each other so that you can always see your options. I’m also a fan of color coordinating…it just looks more attractive!

I’m going to share more about closet organization soon, but you must start by getting rid of extras that you don’t need. Don’t forget rule #1. If you wouldn’t wear it on a day when you wanted to look top notch, then don’t keep it in your closet.

Anybody have any tips that’s worked for them? This is a constant battle for me, so I’m always open to suggestions!

Memphis: We Love to Eat!

Eating and trying new restaurants is possibly one of our favorite out-of-town activities. Having worked in the tourism industry, I always make a point to try local places.

I gave an account of BB King’s in this post. The following morning we had a DELICIOUS brunch at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. I don’t have any pics, but the food and atmosphere were great. It seemed like all of the ingredients were superbly fresh. I swear that these croutons were the best I’ve ever had. (I’m a sucker for croutons.)

You can’t go to Memphis without going to Bryant’s Breakfast. (Shout out to my maiden name! I tried to buy a tshirt, but they didn’t have any. Grrr.) Bryant’s has been in business since 1968, and it’s one of those places everybody goes to. We both had the Breakfast Special…the homemade biscuits are to die for! If you’re ever in Memphis, this is one of those places you must go. Tell them Pamela sent you. I’m kidding…that won’t mean a thing.

Bryant's Breakfast - MemphisBryant's Breakfast - MemphisBryant's Breakfast - MemphisBryant's Breakfast - Yum!I’m also happy to recommend Central BBQ. (I was able to buy a tshirt there!) The environment was so laid back that you felt like part of the family. The owner was working the register and chatted with us like we were old friends.

Central BBQTheir homemade seasoned chips were yummy…and rather addictive! I stocked up on extras to bring home for the girls at Salt & Pepper. I tied little name tags on them to make the girls feel extra special. =)

Prizes for the girls at S&PWe also had dinner at Texas de Brazil (not a local place, but our first time to go there). All I can say is show up hungry! For those of you who don’t know how it works, they bring around huge skewers of every type of meat you can imagine, prepared every possible way. You have a card with a red and a green side which you flip to signal whether or not you want more meat.

Texas de Brazil - MemphisIf you’re ready for more, you flip the card to green and the cycle continues. Lamb, chicken, sirloin, meats wrapped in bacon…you name it, they had it. (Sorry vegetarians!) One of my favorite things about this restaurant was the amazing salad bar. It seriously had the freshest of everything you could possibly imagine.

All in all, we tried some fantastic restaurants. I’d be happy to get to go back to most of them. I must give props to my husband – he talked to coworkers and did his research preparing a list of the best places to go. (This is a good thing because I would have just shown up and wandered in to places that looked cool. This is another reason why we are a good team.) Thanks for doing such a good job planning our trip, honey!

So…there ya have it! This sums up our Memphis trip in a nutshell. Have you tried any of these restaurants before? How about other local places you love? I’m always looking for a new restaurant to try!

Update: Read about how our trip began here. We also shopped, saw a broadway show, and hung out on Beale Street

 

Memphis: Shopping!

Anyone who knows me, knows that we will squeeze in some shopping on every trip…especially at antique stores/flea markets.

On day 3, we loaded up and drove out to Rossville to check out the Rusty Propeller. Heather over at Vintage Sale gave us some pointers on what stores to hit up. This one was just as cool as I’d hoped! I loaded up on things for our house and for the store {link}. We made several rounds through because there was so much cool stuff to see! Not to mention that the folks there were soooo nice. We could have stayed and chatted all afternoon.

IMG_1076Next, we rode over to Collierville to check out their awesome downtown. It was such a great little area! Of course, I’m a sucker for a cool downtown. We couldn’t pass up the cheesecake shop. Matt had chocolate raspberry and I couldn’t resist trying the chocolate covered strawberry.Downtown Collierville

CheesecakeCheesecake Smiles!The part I loved the most about this downtown was the cool park in the center.

Downtown ColliervilleDowntown ColliervilleThe coolest thing about it was that it offered wifi! I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a park with wifi. I took a pic of the Tennessee Bank that provides the free wifi…it’s so tiny!

Free WifiTennessee Bank_free wifiAlso in Collierville, was the Sheffield Antique Mall. I can honestly say that this place had it together! It was huge with tons of cool stuff, but the most noticeable thing was that it seemed so well run. They were having a storewide sale, which I’ve never seen at a flea market. They were also having a Mardi Gras party that night. Free food, drinks, and a live band until 10pm. We couldn’t attend, but I thought it was the coolest thing! You just don’t see flea markets with such spunk!

We loaded up on cool stuff at this store. Possibly my favorite find of the trip are these vintage sling back pumps. Being that I wear a size 4 1/2 (Crazy right?!), I don’t usually stumble upon shoes that fit me. Needless to say, I snatched these vintage beauties up!

Tiny vintage shoes

Cool, old mapsI was also pumped to find these cool map prints to hang over Matt’s desk. I’ve been really into maps and globes lately, and the wall behind his desk needs some love….these will be perfect! We also came across an old Mary Poppins record and since we saw the Broadway version (our first Broadway show) on this trip, we knew we should snatch it up! As of today, I’m thinking I might hang this one in my office.

Mary Poppins RecordOf course, vintage shopping wasn’t all we did. We had to hit up some of my favorite stores in Germantown like Anthropologie, Free People, Loft, & Banana Republic. You just can’t pass up these stores!

Overall, we had a great time exploring the surrounding areas of Memphis and found some pretty cool things to bring home. Have you ever been to any of these places? Where are your favorite places to shop when you’re out of town?

Update: Read more from Memphis here, here, here, and here

Memphis: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

When we learned of the Orpheum Theater, we knew we had to go to a show! We were lucky to catch the last showing of Mary Poppins, and it was phenomenal!

This was the first broadway show that we’d ever been to, so we were both blown away. The sets and costumes were so elaborate, and the talent was amazing. Matt worked behind the scenes at a few productions at Louisiana Tech, so he found the sets to be particular interesting. I was just amazed by all of the movement and how the scenes switched so seamlessly without the audience even hardly noticing. Plus, bright colors, singing/dancing, and flashing lights are plenty to keep a girl entertained!

My handsome hubby wore a bow tie and suspenders (which I loved!), and I wore one of this winter’s dresses from Salt & Pepper. I seize any opportunity to get all dressed up! I planned on taking more pictures, but we just didn’t get around to it.

Bow Tie & Suspenders

These aren't very good pics, but they're all I had, so I decided to post nonetheless. Forgive me.
These aren’t very good pics, but they’re all I had, so I decided to post nonetheless. Forgive me.

It wasn’t just the production that was amazing though. The theater itself was a sight to see. It was like stepping back in time to a theater from the early 1900’s. Everything was so intricate and detailed. I didn’t get to take any pictures, but you can check out their website  for a peek. (I’m not one of those people who will stop the movement of a crowd in order to snap a few pictures. In this case, I “took them with my mind” as Matt says.) If you go to their site, be sure to read the history. It’s such a fascinating place!

Mary Poppins
Again, not a good picture, but it’ll do…

If you’re ever in Memphis, make a point to see a show there. I just can’t describe how beautiful it is. Have you ever been to a broadway show? What was your experience like?

Update: Read about how our trip started here. We also hung out on Beale Street. Ate a lot and shopped!

Memphis: Rockin’ on Beale Street

One of the top things we were looking forward to for this trip was dinner at BB King’s and a night down on Beale Street. We arrived just in time to check in and get a little fancied up. (We didn’t take the first picture, and I’m majorly disappointed. Matt always says, “Take a picture with your mind,” when I’m fussing over wanting pictures. Can someone help me explain to him that’s just not the same thing?!) I digress.

We ate at BB King’s in Las Vegas and had a great time, so it was a definite on the agenda for our Memphis getaway. We’d been talking about their sausage and cheese platter since we started planning this trip! (Seriously, you must try it!)

Dinner was delicious as we expected, and the live band was awesome. It was one of those bands that had everybody dancing in their seats without even noticing it. Matt & I both love a live band. We could have stayed here the whole night but decided to go walk around a bit instead.

After scoping out the sights on Beale Street, we picked a cool, old horse and buggy to give us a tour and take us back to our hotel. We enjoyed cuddling up and seeing downtown the old fashioned way. You can see some of the details from the carriage ride here. Nothing beats getting cozy under a nice warm blanket and riding around in a horse-drawn carriage with your love.

Downtown Carriage RideDo you have a carriage ride story that sticks out in your mind? Tell me about it! This was our first one together, so I’m sure I’ll always remember it.

Update: Read more about Memphis here, here, here, and here

A Match Made in Memphis

Ok, so this match wasn’t really made in Memphis, but that’s a cute title right?! This trip was especially exciting because it was our first non-work related trip together. I’m going to post about some detailed experiences later, but here’s a little overview.

Our original plan was to go somewhere in East Tennessee, but we decided to go somewhere not so far from home so we’d have less travel time and more play time.

This is my favorite pic of Downtown. I just love how the rainy streets look!
This is my favorite pic of Downtown. I just love how the rainy streets look!

Here’s what we did:
BB King’s on Beale Street
Carriage ride/Tour of Downtown Memphis
Lunch at Aldo’s Pizza Pies
Mary Poppins at the Orpheum Theatre – our first ever broadway show!
Bryant’s Breakfast
Shopping!!
Dinner at Texas de Bazil
Central BBQ

As you can see, we skipped some of the typical things like Graceland, etc. For this trip, we wanted a simple & easy getaway. Matt’s been pretty busy with school and work, so relaxation was the goal.

Some of my favorite things about Memphis are obviously the food and live music, but I absolutely love the brick sidewalks and trolleys of downtown. In my opinion, brick and trolleys make the perfect downtown setting. What more do you need?? We were told that the trolleys are actually the original ones. I don’t know how true that is, but they looked old!

IMG_1090

It's a tad blurry...silly trolley wanted to go when I started taking a pic!
It’s a tad blurry…silly trolley wanted to go when I started taking a pic!

Downtown is so cozy and well maintained. I could walk around for hours with no actual purpose.

Speaking of walking around, we started in this cool park next to our hotel. (Memphis is FULL of various parks and river walks…another cool feature). We cruised through here on our carriage ride where the driver told us that this park had been in place since before the Civil War, 1819 to be exact. Wow! He said the stone work was original, which was even more impressive. This staircase was simply stunning…especially to think it had been there since the 1800s!

Old Stone Staircase

I had to take a picture of these cannons because our driver said these were “what they liked to call replica cannons,” as if the word replica only applied to those cannons and couldn’t be used in other contexts. We got quite a kick out of this. Seriously, I think it’ll be a running joke from now on. Feel free to join in!

Replica CannonsWe ended up walking several miles through different parks, along the river, and through some gorgeous neighborhoods. The parks and green areas are full of various commissioned art, benches, etc. It was nice to see all of the small touches placed here and there.

Pardon the crazy hair...it was rather windy!Overall, we had a great time exploring the area. I can’t wait to post more details, but for now I have laundry to catch up on…that dreaded, unavoidable post-trip task.

Have you ever been to Memphis? What were your favorite parts? We might go back again sometime, so please share!

Update: Read more about Memphis – Beale Street, Mary Poppins, shopping & eating. 

Travel Journal

I stumbled upon the idea of a Travel Journal somewhere online and thought it was a great idea! Matt & I both love to travel & explore new places, and I decided this was a perfect way to keep up with & document our experiences.

I spent a few weeks searching for the perfect book to use. I finally stumbled upon this one at Hobby Lobby. I bought some stickers to decorate the front & headed home to get started!Travel Journal (3)

The reason I chose this book was because of the page layout. I love the lines for jotting down notes and the framed boxes for trip location/date. It also has sporadic photo pages and pockets for keeping other mementoes. (The black page is the pocket…it didn’t show up too well in the picture.)Travel Journal (2)Travel Journal (4)

So….here’s my finished cover! Matt & I couldn’t agree on whether to put words on the front or not, but I like how it turned out.Travel Journal (1)

I have to get us caught up on the trips that we’ve already taken so I can be ready to include our upcoming trip to Memphis. I’ve already started adding things, so I’ll post about my journal progress soon!

Who loves mopping??

I just finished mopping and I loved it!! (No, Mom, you’re not dreaming…)

Anybody who knows me knows that I HATE to mop. It’s by far my most absolute dreaded household task. I have been known to put it off (sometimes indefinitely) & try anything to find an “easy” way. This morning I tried a new mop and a new method, and I’m sold! Mopping (3)

When my mother-in-law told me that she uses a spray bottle with a vinegar/water solution to mop, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought about that! A spray bottle?? That’s GENIUS!! (I’m sure some of you have already thought of this, but I’m still learning & this post is for the rest of you who haven’t had this revelation yet.)

I’ve started trying a vinegar/water solution to clean other areas of my home, so I already had a spray bottle ready. My MIL says she uses about a 4-1 solution, but mine was probably a little more vinegar-heavy.  No matter what solution you use, put it in a spray bottle. I’ve never had an easier time mopping…just spray a small area, mop, and move on! (If your bottle has a long stream like mine, be careful where you spray. I may have coated a wall or two and the end of the couch…oops!)

Now let’s talk about the mop. On my last make-mopping-easy attempt, a friend told me about a microfiber flip mop from Wal-Mart. Today was my first time to use it, but she’s on to something.

This is the O-Cedar Microfiber Flip Mop, and I LOVE it! I preface this by saying that I’ve tried practically every type of mop known to man in an attempt to find something I didn’t hate. Why do I love this one? I’ll break it down for you.

It doesn’t have to be rung, twisted, hung to dry…none of that. It also doesn’t leave pieces or string or sponge everywhere. Instead, once you use it, you just remove the microfiber cover and toss it in the washer. With the spray bottle, you just spray and mop. (No dipping or squirting a Wet Jet that soaks the pad and eventually tears it.) The microfiber stays wet enough to clean but dry enough to not make an even bigger mess than you started with.

When one side gets dirty, you just flip it over and use the other! I bought an extra cover so that if I wanted to mop and hadn’t washed the other one, I’d have a backup. (Like that’ll ever happen!)

The handle swivels, so you can spin it around to fit in small spaces. The only problem I had with the mop is that the handle will come unscrewed from the mop head. Once I realized this though, I just swiveled it the opposite direction and was careful to tighten it back up every now and then.Mopping (2)

My favorite thing about this mop is how thin it is. This means it will slide under practically anything…including my dining table where nothing will fit under! You can easily slide it under cabinets, under the couch, and even under a closed door!Mopping (1)

When I say that I love this mop…I’m not exaggerating. I should probably contact O-Cedar and get a commission for this awesome review! Seriously though, this mop and spray bottle technique may have changed my hatred for mopping. We’ll have to see if I’m as excited about it next time, but maybe…just maybe, I won’t dread this chore anymore!

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