candle to cotton ball & q-tip holder.

Why pay $15-20 for a product when you can make it yourself using things you already have around your house? Come on, everyone has candles lying around that have already or almost run out of wax. I know I do. The other day, I took one of my Yankee candles and scraped out the last little bit of wax left in it, washed it, and peeled off all the labels creating a cotton ball/Q-tip holder for our bathroom. It looks just like any product you would find in the store, only I didn’t pay anything extra for it. It was extremely easy to make.

Turning old stuff into new, practical things is so fun to me. Anyone else have any projects they’ve made using household items? It’d love to hear about it.

message chalkboard.

I am so thrilled to have found this baby at a yard sale for $4. What a steal.

I know it might not excite everyone the way it does me, but I love chalkboards! This one kind of has that vintage feel to it too. When I brought it home, I realized the chalkboard was so old that chalk didn’t write on it well. So I took chalkboard spray paint and re-painted it with another coat in hopes of bringing it back to use. After letting the paint dry on the chalkboard, it worked! I was excited, because I honestly thought it might have been a waste of $4. I stand corrected, however.

My dad has a cool hobby that involves finding old, antique things  at yard sales, antique shops, flea markets, etc. and refinishing them. It’s actually really neat to see what he starts with and then seeing the final project. So he restained the frame with a little bit of a darker tent so that it would look nicer. The orginial color looked a little rough. It turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I especially love the little chalk drawer. Baller.

I bought the white vase at Walmart for 97 cents and the flowers were $2. It’s the perfect fit on the ledge and it adds a touch of color and style. I really like how it turned out.

I have some other fun, thrifty projects I’ve done this summer. And some that I’m currently working on. I’ll post more when I get a chance. The craziness of wedding season is almost over.

5k results.

If there was ever a proudest moment in my life, it was on Saturday morning when I ran a 5K. I know what you might be thinking…”Geeze, she’s humble”. But I’m not talking about being proud of myself. I’m talking about my DAD! My dad ran track in high school, but has not run competitively since then. Saturday was his first road race ever and he ran it in 40 minutes and 13 seconds. He finished 3rd in his age division and received a medal after the race. His goal was to finish the race in under 40 minutes and while he barely missed that, him finishing the race and doing as well as he did, is enough of an accomplishment in itself, in my opinion. He was pleased with the results and, of course, his family was as well.

the front had the race logo on it and the back had his place and age division.

He said after the race that he plans to run the entire 5k in December when my whole family does one in Gatlinburg, TN. He has been working so hard for this and I can’t wait to see his future results.

Right before the race (about 8:15am) it poured down rain. My hometown had not had rain for about 6-8 weeks according to my parents so it was a bittersweet moment, because they needed the rain, BUT at about 8:28 it stopped raining and we started the race. It barely sprinkled once around the 2 mile marker and the rest of the time was pretty pleasant…a bit humid, but not bad. After we crossed the finish line, we posed for a picture and a minute later it was a torrential downpour. We had to move under a canopy. Is God good or what for holding off that rain for the EXACT time of the race?!

my dad, an official 5k-er!

I’m just so unbelievably proud of him for setting these goals and for working so hard to achieve them. He is such an inspiration to our entire family and I’m very encouraged by his determination and perseverance. You have one very proud daughter, Dad. Thanks for being my hero. I love you!

1 year down, a lifetime to go.

After one year of marriage we are officially pros, right? It feels weird to say we’ve been married a year. It has flown by, most of the time. I’m grateful for all the time we have gotten to spend together and for this life we get to share together (I can get pretty corny, I know…just wait).

Over the past twelve months we have learned so much about one another and even about our own selves. It’s such an adjustment going from being your own, independent-self to living with another person and having to work together with them on practically everything. I have learned more about forgiveness and submission, true love and respect, honor and trust than I ever thought possible. It’s one thing to know these things are important in a marriage, but to put them into practice 24/7 (especially when you don’t feel like putting in that effort) is truly a challenge.

Marriage is hard. I won’t lie and say everything is perfect all the time and that we never have issues, because honestly…it’s not and we do. I will say, though, that because of this, God’s grace is more evident in my life than ever before. And what a wonderful thing to see. Grace is a beautiful thing. It’s a relief to know that we don’t have to be perfect, to know that our main goal isn’t to look like a Hollywood movie, but most importantly bring glory to God through our marriage and to strengthen one another’s relationship with Christ.

One thing I love about our relationship is how much fun we have together. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t have me laughing like a little kid. He always has something fun planned and I love being adventurous and spontaneous with him. We’re our own version of a romantic comedy, only we’re probably the only ones who think we’re funny.

He not only makes me laugh, but makes me a better person as well. He’s always encouraging prayer and time in the Word. He is so generous and caring and he would do anything for anyone in a heartbeat. There are times when I just want to be lazy or let people solve their own problems (how lame of me); that’s not my husband. Never. At the drop of a hat, he is there to help. It always challenges me, which is just what I need sometimes. God knew exactly what he was doing when he brought the two of us together.

I’m so thankful I get to call such a wonderful, Godly man my husband. I’m not an expert on marriage and I probably never will be. I just hope to continue to learn as much as I have this past year and be able to look back on every year knowing we did our best to love and serve one another and the Lord.

Flowers sent to me at work. What an awesome surprise!

Happy one year anniversary, babe. I love you more every single day. Thanks for letting me be your wife.

Colon Cancer Awareness 5K

After a brief sabbatical, I decided to return to running once again. I had taken nearly a month off due to heat, laziness, and knee issues after the half-marathon. But yesterday I got the sudden urge to go out and run (I know right? In 102 degree weather, what was I thinking?). I was going to wake up early and go for a short run, but it was already SO hot outside that I said, “have you lost your marbles, jill?” and went back to bed for another hour.

After the sun went down last night, it really didn’t feel bad at all. So I walked over to my neighbor, running friend’s place and asked if she wanted to run. It worked out perfect, because she was already in workout clothing and said she wanted to. It felt pretty good for not having ran at all in the last month.


Next Saturday, July 14th I’m going to run a 5K in my hometown with my Dad. It’s to support Colon Cancer Awareness. He doesn’t have colon cancer (just to clarify), but he has been running/walking a lot lately and has set a goal to finish a 5K this year. I’m incredibly proud of him and encouraged by him.

I registered for the race online ( and saw that we get these awesome dri-fit shirts when signed up!

i love dri-fits.

I’m looking forward to the race. I think we’ll have fun…as long as it isn’t 107 degrees at 8AM.

NY Adventure (Pt 3 – The Journey Home)

I’m sure one day I will be telling my kids this story and be laughing my head off, but right now it still gets me fired up just thinking about it.

We flew Southwest Airlines, like we always do, but this time they had us routed an insanely dumb way to get from NYC to Buffalo. The genius’ at SW decided that it makes sense to send people way south to take them even futher north than they were in the first place, maybe that’s why their flights are so cheap. Either way, it was rediculous. So we fly from NYC to Baltimore and get in around 6:30PM. We ate dinner and hung around our gate looking at pictures from our trip. Our flight was suppose to leave for Buffalo at 9PM and get into BUFF a little after 10.

Around 8PM, we got an announcement that our flight was delayed due to weather. It was now suppose  to depart at 10PM. There were huge storms coming through Maryland (it’s the ones reasponsible for all the power outages right now). Needless to say, we didn’t leave at 10PM. As the storms began to hit Baltimore, I was actually glad we didn’t leave, because that storm was farocious. Winds at 90 MPH and lightning strikes 3200 an hour. That’s insane.

Around 12:30 AM, we finally started to board our plane. We sat there for awhile and took flight a little after 1 AM. We got in to Buffalo at 2:15 AM and by the time we got our bags, used the restroom, and got our car from long-term parking, it was quarter til 3. Our hotel was 45 minutes south of Buffalo, because we wanted to get a little bit out of the city for the next morning (little did we know we’d be getting in the next morning, wishing we’d had just got a room in buffalo). So we drove to our hotel and arrived at 3:30 AM. I ran in to check in and get our room key. I walked up to the desk and said, “Sorry we’re so late, storms delayed our flight. We’re hear to check in.” And I gave her our name. Here was her response:

“Unfortunately I just did our nightly update and as of 3 AM you were considered a ‘no show’. Now I will have to charge you full price for the (same) room, which is $154.” Get the freak out of town, lady. I’m not paying $100 more for a room I had reserved in my name just 30 minutes ago. I was livid, exhausted, shocked, and nervous. I had no idea where we would go. I just knew there was no way we were paying $150 for a room for 6 or 7 hours of sleep.

We told them we weren’t happy with their service, considering I had called earlier in the evening to make sure if we checked in late we’d still have our room reserved and the lady never gave me a time of when that ended. Also, the fact the front desk lady said she couldn’t do anything to help us out. Having worked in retail, I know that was a lie, but we let it go and said we’d find somewhere else to stay.

There were only two other hotels at that exit, both of which charge close  to $100 for rooms. I had so much adrinaline in my body from how angry and annoyed I was that I said, “We’re driving home”.

So, I drove the first leg of the drive since I was wide awake and then my husband took over after about 2 1/2 – 3 hours. He drove for awhile and then we realized we were both so tired that it was dangerous if we didn’t pull over a sleep for a bit. We found the first exit with a rest area and knocked out, setting our alarms for an hour. We woke up feeling a bit refreshed and grabbed some coffee and breakfast, before getting back on the road. He drove for awhile and then I took over for the final leg of the journey.

We weren’t actually heading home, but to his hometown to see all of his family that was in town for the 4th. So we made it there at about 2 PM. We were exhausted, but knew we needed to stay awake so that we’d be able to sleep that night. We spent the day out on the boat on the lake and by bedtime (9PM, haha) we were very much ready for a good nights rest. And boy, was it the best night of sleep ever. We were out.

Like I said, maybe one day I’ll think this story is funny, but for now I just want to whine about it, because it was awful. However, I think what made the ending of the trip somewhat bearable, was just knowing how much fun we had in New York. At least we were blessed with safety during our traveling and that is truly what’s important in the end.

NY Adventure (Pt 2 – NYC)

NYC was a completely different scene from Niagara Falls. In Niagara, we were very laid back and went with the flow. In NYC it’s not possible to be laid back. It is a constant going, moving, doing kind of city. We were able to spend 4 days and 3 nights in New York, so we got to see everything we were hoping to see.

official nyc-ers.

We spent the rest of the day just exploring the downtown area. We saw times square, empire state building, the Rockefeller center, central park, grand central station, and bought m&m’s at m&m world.

middle of times square

chocolate lover’s paradise.

We were tired after our early morning traveling so we turned in pretty early on our first night there. We woke up Wednesday morning and went to the Museum of Natural History to see  the exhibits and we had heard the guy who does all the stunts for Spiderman was going to be repelling down the building to promote the new movie and the new spider exhibit at the museum. Then low and behold, out walks Andrew Garfield who plays Spiderman in the newest movie. It was fun to see all of this in person and with being obsessed with Spiderman growing up, I was in love!

go, spidey, go!

andrew garfield

We had to leave shortly after Andrew came out, because we needed to pick up our passes for the Late Show with David Letterman. I had received a call the week before saying we were selected for the tickets and we could pick them up the day of the show. When we went to pick them up, we must have impressed someone, because they wrote on our passes front row! During the show we were literally ten feet from David Letterman and the guest on the show, Channing Tatum! Pretty awesome. The musical guest was Gaslight Anthem. We hadn’t heard of them, but they were really good. They’re a rock band from New Jersey. It was a really fun show and we are so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. The show aired last Wednesday and if you look closely you can see us for about .5 seconds after a commercial break. I guess that’s one tenth of my 15 minutes of fame. Apparently you can watch it on We weren’t allowed to take pictures at all, not even in the lobby. But we snuck one with our passes, because we were going to have to turn them in.

outside the theatre.

trouble makers.

That night, my friend that we were staying with went with us to put our names in the lottery for “Wicked” tickets. Wicked is one of the best musicals on broadway right now. I’ve never heard a bad comment about the show, so we really wanted to get tickets. Out of a hundred or so people, my name got drawn! I was so shocked, but extremely excited. When you win tickets through the lottery, you only have to pay $25 per ticket, so we were able to go for $50 and we were front row! It seriously was one of the coolest things I’ve been to. The actors were amazing, the costumes, the set, the story itself was just absolutely incredible. We loved every minute of it. We even got to meet the girl who played elphaba, because we happened to be walking right by the door she came out. What an unexpected surprise!

wicked awesome is what it should be called.

girl who played the lead role, elphaba.

Needless to say, it was quite an exciting day and we had a blast. After the show, we walked around times square again just to see it at night.

Our last full day in NYC was spent seeing the 9/11 Memorial (ground zero), the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. The 9/11 memorial was unbelievable. The emotion you feel when you walk in and see the thousands of names on the waterfalls is overwhelming. The museum is still under construction so we didn’t get to see  that which was a bit disappointing, but it was still neat to see the memorial. The waterfalls actually stand at the exact spot the buildings once stood. Pretty cool.

 Following that, we took the ferries to Liberty Island and Ellis Island which was neat, because we could see the ny skyline and it was just an all-together beautiful day. The Statue of Liberty seems so small in pictures and on TV, but in person…wow. It’s enormous. Unfortunately it was under construction so we couldn’t go in the base of it, but at least we got to be that close to her. Ellis Island had a cool museum and it was interesting just to see how things operated there and almost put yourself in their shoes. To think about our ancestors going through all of that is, in my opinion, admirable. They left their lives in other countries for a life of freedom and opportunity with nothing but a suitcase or two. And here I am because of them. It just really makes you appreciate your heritage…and America, of course.

new york skyline

lady liberty.

After visiting the islands, we decided to walk to the Brooklyn Bride (actually to be more accurate, we were going to take the subway there, but got turned around and ended up right in front of the base of the bridge after miles of walking – haha, smooth). But the bridge was really neat and of course my civil engineer husband loved it. Now that we’ve seen the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges he sleeps a little better at night. Haha kidding. On our way back down the bridge we saw a cute Asian man waiting to cartoonize someone. We thought, “you’re only in nyc once, why not?” So we let him draw us. Tell me if you see a resemblance.

it’s quite the active bridge

I have a lobster claw for a foot.

 We had half a day on Friday, because we needed to be at the airport between 2:30 and 3, so that meant being on the bus around 1:30 (it takes about an hour with all the stops). So we spent the morning walking through Central Park and went back to the Museum of Natural History for a while, because we hadn’t gotten to see much earlier in the week. Then we ate at the Shake Shack before we headed out. It was delicious and their shakes are fantastic (go figure). Central Park is one of the coolest parks I’ve ever been in. It’s about 2 1/2 miles long and about 1 1/2 miles wide I’d say. There’s so much to do there and see. We didn’t have time to go in the zoo, but we at least stopped by to see it.

just out for a friday stroll

the bridge from a scene in “enchanted”.

It was a bittersweet departure from nyc. We had a great time, but we were ready to be home. We missed our small town (compared to nyc). We are so thankful for such great weather (minus the heat) and very grateful for safety while traveling so much during the week. God is good and always takes care of us!

Since I’ve occupied your time long enough, I won’t bore you any longer (if you’ve even read this far – I know it’s a long post). But be sure to check out NY Adventure (Pt 3 – The Journey Home) coming later this week. It’s sure to be entertaining to anyone, but the two of us, considering what we went through to get home.

NY Adventure (Pt 1 – Niagara Falls)

I seriously need a vacation from my vacation. What an amazing, exhausting, fun, hot, exciting week!


The first part of the week we spent in Niagara Falls, New York and Canada. We drove up there and it ended up only being between an 8 and 9 hour drive (not including all the stops for gas and food and other random fun stops). We got to Niagara pretty late Saturday night because we took our time getting there and stopped at a National Park on our way up. We spent all day Sunday and Monday in Niagara. We did the Maid of the Mist tour (remember where Jim and Pam got married on the Office?) which was incredible. We were literally about 20 feet from the base of the falls. We were soaked by the end of the ride, totally canceling out drying and straightening my hair, but it was very much worth it.

i’m on a boat

the Canadian falls from the boat. (they do everything better…)

ponchos, what a great souvenir…

Needless to say, we loved the falls! I’m a huge waterfall lover so this was paradise for me. We crossed the international border on our bikes, which was fun. The man at the border patrol told us to ride straight through the traffic and not wait in the line of cars. We made our way in between hundreds of cars to get to the front – a little scary, but fun. The Canadian side was a lot nicer than the American side (sorry ‘merica, time to step up your game a little). Not only were you able to get a better view of both the American and Canadian Falls, but there was more to do there and it was cleaner and nicer looking in the town/area around the falls. The Canadian side reminded me a lot of Gatlinburg with all of the tourist-y stuff, restaurants, and attractions.

Hello, canadian…army man? Who is that?

At one point we gave into the arcade games at Dave and Busters and bought some tokens. I dominated at ski ball as usual and we came out of there two candy bracelets richer. Score.

We celebrated my 24th birthday while there. We ate at the Rainforest Cafe, which was delicious as always. The gorilla next to us was entertaining.

On our last day in Niagara, we went to a Vineyard/Winery about 30 minutes north of the city along Lake Ontario. It was beautiful up there. The lake really looks more like an ocean, but if they say it’s a lake, I guess it’s a lake.

Shultze Vineyard

Ocean Ontario…I mean Lake.

 We went back over to Canada on our last evening in town and decided to check out the casino that we had heard was really neat. Being that we aren’t big gamblers, we weren’t going in there expecting to win the big bucks, but we had a couple Canadian pennies so we played the penny slot machines. We didn’t win. Big surprise. However, it was indeed a really neat casino and I’m glad we went in.

Canadian pride. But I still love America.

Stay tuned for NY Adventure (Pt. 2 – NYC) along with the ending of all endings to a vacation. You WON’T want to miss it.