Monday, January 26, 2015

Chaco Take Over : 1

Hey humans! Chaco here. I had to beg my mom to finally let me take over her internet space for a day. It took over 2 years, but I am persistent. I  am the star of my mom and dad's life, so I figured I should be the star here too.

Name : Chaco (like the shoe)
Nicknames : Waffles, Squirrel, Muddy Paws Magee, Puppy, Pups, Destroyer of All Things, and Hey You
Gender : I'm a girl, though my name makes people think otherwise.
Breed : I'm a mix. Mom and dad say I have lab, terrier, and just a little pit in me, but what do they know.
Favorite Food : Besides anything I can steal from my humans, the Blue Buffalo Healthy Starts. I go crazy for them. Forget treats, just give me that Healthy Starts!!
Favorite Color : Purple
Favorite Hobbies : chewing up all my toys creating a huge mess, scratching my belly on the carpet, whining when mom and dad aren't in the same room, running really fast so I can jump into the couch, drinking out of the toilet, snuggles with mom
Favorite Things : tennis balls, hedge hog toys, treats
Least Favorite Things : bath time, having to be on a leash
Best Tricks : going to bed without trouble, sitting

So there. Now ya know more about the most important member of the Long family. Hopefully mom will let me take over again soon! But before I go, here are a few more pictures of me, because I'm cute.

Until Next Time! Woof Woof! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

With A Heavy Heart.

I wanted to just announce that I might be a bit absent on the blog this week.

Our family was turned upside down on Friday evening. We had known that my step grandmother was sick. They had given her 2 days to 2 weeks. I never imagined that Friday was going to be the day. They decided to send her to Hospice, and within hours, she was gone. It has been a very sad time for my family. Nan was such a joy. I am so blessed that I was about the be a part of her family. She taught me so much about life, family, and laughter.

She lived with us for a short period of time when I was younger, and I am so grateful for that time. Nan was such a joy. She always had a smile on her face and knew how to make everyone around her laugh. In her last days, she was surrounded by all her kids, several other family members, as well as friends. She was a woman who was truly loved.

As sad as this time is, it is also a very happy time. Nan is now in Heaven with Jesus. She is pain free, and dancing for joy. I joked with my mom that she probably walked up to Jesus and said, "I'm going to make you some fudge. Do you want chocolate or peanut butter?" The woman could cook. She passed down recipes that will forever be a part of our family. When I eat fudge made by her recipe, or the chocolate cake with white icing she was known for, I will always smile and think of her. I will tell stories about her to my kids. While I am sad she is no longer with us, I rejoice because I will see her again!

Here is to you Nan! A woman who was loved beyond measure. This beautiful woman will be missed.

Nan is on the right, next to C, in balck and white. 

Rest in peace beautiful angel. Until we meet again.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Introducing : Nooga Designs

I've kept quite about this, but I feel the time is finally here to announce that C and I are starting a small adventure in the business world together. I would like to introduce you to Nooga Designs!

Nooga Designs creates custom wooden items made out of domestic and exotic woods. At the current time, we are only making cutting boards, but we have plans to expand our product line soon! Each board is handcrafted. We offer several pre-designed cutting boards, but custom projects are always welcomed and encouraged!

Here are some of the products we have already made! 

Color Scheme : "Stephen" 
16''x12'' with rounded corners all 1'' strips of wood
Left to Right : Walnut/Maple/Yellow Heart/Purple Heart/Bloodwood (repeating with additional walnut to finish)

Color Scheme : IC1
Left to Right : Walnut(1'')/yellow Heart(2'')/Purple Heart(1'')/Cherry(4'')/Purple Heart(1'')/Yellow Heart(2'')/Walnut(1'') 

Color Scheme : Christian
12''x12'' all 1'' strips of wood
Top to Bottom : Maple/Walnut/Jatoba/Walnut/Maple/Jatoba/Maple/Walnut/Jatoba/Walnut/Maple

Color Scheme : IC2
10''x12'' Maple and Walnut - 1'' strips, Blood wood - 3/4'' strips
Top to bottom : Walnut/Bloodwood/Maple/Walnut/Bloodwood/Maple/Bloodwood/Walnut/Maple/Bloodwood/Walnut

Color Scheme : Kaye
12''x12'' all 1''strips of wood

Once we reach 100 likes on Facebook/followers on Twitter/Instagram, we will be giving away a cutting board to one lucky winner!! Be sure to like/follow along for your chance to win!

Which design is your favorite? (hint hint, answer this)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Fitness Goals

I've tried several times to make a big lifestyle change when it comes to my health and fitness. Each time I have tried to, I get so far, then I fail horribly. So this year, I decided to set a different set of goals. I'm not getting into specifics this year. Instead I have picked a few broad goals. I'm not jumping in head first this year either. Instead I am making small changes slowly. My plans are to start with one thing, make it a habit, then add something else.

One thing I have learned is that I get overwhelmed easily, and with all we have going on this year, it would be easy for me to get overwhelmed again. That is why I am keeping this years fitness goals simple.

* Exercise more often

* Complete the 30 day squat challenge

* Eat healthier

* Complete the Couch to 5K

* Try to become a runner

* Drink more water

* Go to be earlier/Wake up sooner

* Complete P90X

Are you setting any fitness goals for 2015?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

8 Winter Date Ideas

We love winter in this house. Though we like it even more when it snows. And with winter being here, what better way to enjoy the season than with some date night ideas! Here are 8 of my favorite ideas!

1. Hot Chocolate Date : my personal favorite! Spend the evening bouncing from coffee house to coffee house trying out different hot chocolates. *Make it cheaper/at home : Set up a hot chocolate bar in the kitchen. Have different items to mix in with your hot chocolate (syrup, honey, flavored liquor, or regular liquor) and don't forget the toppings (chocolate chips, peppermint, caramel, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc)

2. Ice Skating : Chattanooga added an outdoor ice rink this season, so this is much easier for us. If your city, or a few towns over has an ice rink, take the night and go ice skating.

3. People Watch : This is something C and I do all year round. Go to your favorite restaurant, or even a local mall. While you are sitting there, just people watch. We love to make up stories for people.

4. Take Cooking Classes : Not only will you be warm because you are inside, but you will be learning something together. *Make it cheaper/at home : Instead of taking cooking classes, find a recipe and commit to making it together at home. The big bonus to this is a nice romantic candle lit dinner after all your cooking efforts. 

5. Netflix Date : This is my favorite way to get in a date night when we have a super busy week. Pick a theme for movies like a series, movies that happen in a certain city, summer time movies, action movies, etc, so that way it is always a little different. Don't do this very often or you can get stuck in a routine. Make it extra special. Sit on the same couch, pop popcorn, share a blanket, or light the fire place if you have one.

6. Take A Snow Day :  If you are one of the lucky ones who gets some snow, take advantage of it. Get outside and have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make snow angels. You are being active during this date, so that is a big bonus!

7. Build A Fort : Remember when you were a kid and built forts inside? Why not built a fort now? We did this one Valentine's day, and it was my favorite. You can combine this and the Netflix date, or spend some time just talking. Talk about your future, your hopes and dreams, anything.

8. Go To A Bookstore : Something about bookstores and winter just screams romantic to me. Big chains are fine, but if you live in a town where there is a small bookstore, go there. It is a little more cozy in my opinion. Spend the evening finding books for yourself, or make it interesting and pick out a book for each other, one they normally wouldn't read.

What are some of your favorite winter date ideas?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

26 by 26

2015 brings on 1 thing that I can honestly say I am not looking forward to quite yet. My 26th birthday is just 8 and a half short months away. When I think about that and my life, I realize there are a few things that I haven't done yet. So in honor of that, I made a 26 by 26 goal list. Nothing on this list is super exciting and some things are just simple things I want to do this year. I just want to do something extra special while I am 25, so actually completing a list of things I want to do anyway seems like the perfect idea. So here it is!

1. Run a 5K 
2. Read 26 books 
3. Take a weekend vacation 
4. Plan our 5th anniversary trip 
5. Try 5 new restaurants in Chattanooga 
6. Give up soda 
7. Find a church home 
8. Find a hobby 
9. Start making year photo books 
10. Clean the house
11. Try a Pinterest project 
12. Try a Pinterest recipe 
13. Help launch Nooga Designs 
14. Go to the TN Aquarium 3 times 
15. Take ballroom dancing classes
16. Grow this blog to a combined total or 50 followers 
17. Host a party 
18. Organize my closet 
19. Finish the office 
20. Go to the farmer's market downtown 
21. Go on 4 picnics 
22. Start yoga
23. Start investing
24. Read through Proverbs in 1 month
25. Take my mom flowers just because
26. Treat myself to a spa day when I turn 26! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

4th Anniversary Vacation : Day 9-10

I promise there won't be near as many pictures as yesterday. In fact, these days were almost picture-less. The photographers were not on duty because it was our last day. We woke up to some serious waves and lots of wind. The panorama photo below shows you the difference in the sky.

We were headed into the darker sky area. We were unable to see the sea through the windows for the majority of the day. We spent the day packing and walking around the ship. The worst part of the day was walking. With the waves as high as they were, the ship was rocking back and forth pretty horribly. As a natural worry wart, you would think I would have been worried, but I wasn't. Cruise ships are made to deal with that type of weather, and I had complete trust in the captain and his crew.

By mid day, we were finally seeing sun again. Instead of rushing to the pool like everyone else, we simply stayed inside. Lots of silly faces were made to pass the time. 

After dinner, we waited around to get all our pictures, then headed to bed as early as possible. We decided to carry our luggage off, so that meant we had to be ready to go at about 6 am. When had a small mix up with our account, but we were off and headed to get donuts by 8 am. Funny story. C built me a Build-A-Bear monkey. It goes everywhere with me. It isn't like a security blanket, but more of a sentimental item. I carried said monkey on the back of my back pack as we were leaving, and I quickly became known as the girl with a monkey on her back. 

The monkey provided lots of entertainment on the way home as well. The finny looks you get when a stuffed animal is driving your car are hysterical. The monkey also turned out to be an awesome pillow when I decided to sleep. 

After the long 7+ hours to get to my mom's house, we were able to pick up Chaco. She was beyond excited to see us, and we felt the same. I could tell she didn't want to leave though. A week with a fenced in back yard is like her personal form of heaven. We did finally leave though. When we got home, imagine my surprise when I see that my blanket hating dog is now a blanket lover. She got under the blanket on her own. 

Ever since our trip, we have been wishing to go back and Chaco has been stealing blankets like it is her job. We loved our trip, and we can honestly say it was the best yet! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

4th Anniversary Vacation : Day 6-8

Here I am, 2 months later and I am finally getting around to finishing up the 4th anniversary trip. It is crazy to think that it really was only 2 months ago that we were on the most amazing anniversary trip. Where did the time go?

Anyway, today I'm talking about day 6, 7, & 8 which just happen to be some of my very favorite days. Be prepared for lots and lots of photos.

Day 6 was a port day. We stopped in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas just like last year. St Thomas is by favor my favorite public port that we have been to. This trip we didn't spend much time there. We went into port long enough to make a phone call to C's parents and me to make one to work. Somehow we decided that our time would be better spent on the ship by the pool. We did some quick shopping for the usual Pandora charm commemorating our trip, a coffee mug, and a Christmas ornament.

Once we were back on the ship, we went straight to the pool where we stayed for hours. When the ship is in port, the majority of people go on the island/into the city, so the ship is almost like a ghost town. That is the best time to hang out by the pool. While the ship is at sea, the pool is overly crowded and to be honest, I can't handle that kind of crowd.

We drank tons of fruity drinks, because that is what you do on vacation. We enjoyed the pool, and made tons of silly faces while attempting to take a #selfie underwater. Spoiler Alert : It didn't work out so well. We had a blast though. 

Ironically enough, it got a little cooler, so we headed back to the cabin so we could watch the sun set then get ready for dinner. This trip was my best when it came to packing clothes for dinner. I loved this night because I got to wear pants and glitter heels. 

The photographer that took the above photo was actually the same one who took pictures on the night C surprised me so he took a ton of pictures. We actually have this one framed in our room. It is one of our favorites.

The next morning, anniversary day, we woke up to some beautiful sights in Philipsburg, St, Maarten. We had decided before the trip that we were going to do an excursion on our anniversary. After going back and forth, we finally settled on the yacht racing excursion. I wasn't a huge fan of the idea, but I really picked our anniversary trip when it was C's turn, so it was a compromise. It turned out to be the most fun I had all trip. 

The group was split up into 2 teams, one team was on the Stars and Stripes yacht, and the other, our team, was on the Canada 2. These yachts were actual yachts that were raced in the America's Cup Regatta Races. It was neat to learn about the regatta racing along with the yachts. We got ready for our race, and 3 laps or about an hour later, the race was over. I would love to say we won, but I don't want to lie. It was a close race though. I really had a blast and I have insisted that we go again the next chance we get.

Instead of eating in the main dining room, we made reservations for Chops Grill again this year. The service wasn't as good as last year, but then again they were also 10 times more busy this year. The service was still outstanding just a step down from last year. 

You can't see it, but C's sock says "#sock" which I think is hysterical. 

Day 8 was the start of the 2 sea day journey back to Port Canaveral which meant the vacation was coming to a quick close. Little did we know that this would also be the last day of beautiful weather. 

We slept in for the first time all cruise and it was fantastic. We looked at the activities that were going on and tried to plan out our day. We knew to avoid the FlowRider and the pool at all costs, so we stayed inside as much as possible. 

We ended up going to the art auction. Not only did we win a bottle of champagne, but we also decided to buy a piece of art. Some people think buying art on a cruise ship is a scam, and it very well may be. But we only buy pieces that we like and we always set a budget that we think is fair. We just happen to find a beautiful piece with a sunset and sailboats which holds more sentimental value than actual value to us since we went sailing this cruise. 

We finally headed to the On Air club so C could sing karaoke. Talk about a great laugh. I'm glad we aren't making a habit out of that.

Our last formal night was probably my favorite. I picked this dress just for this trip. It was my favorite night as far as attire goes. We got so many compliments which was super nice. 

After several nights of being told how to stand for pictures, the lady that took this one told us to do whatever, and after several seconds of just staring at her, this is what we came up with. It is so us, and a great remake of one of our engagement pictures.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the final recap of our anniversary trip!  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Is Here!

2015 is officially here. In fact, we are already 7 days in and I am just now getting back on this blog. I want to blame it on being super busy, but the real truth is that I am enjoying the non busy life I am living right now. As always, August - December are always pretty busy months for us, so come January, we are ready for the break.

Last year, I picked a word for the year, and I really feel like I accomplished living the year based on that word. So I decided to do it again for 2015. Picking a word though was really difficult. I know what all we have planned for 2015 and trying to pick a word to describe it all was next to impossible. Either way, as cheesy as it sounds, the word for 2015 is CHANGE. Told you it was cheesy. There are so many new aspects to life in the Long house. We have made some big decisions, and life is getting crazier by the minute. (And no, we aren't pregnant, nor do we plan to be any time soon.) I'd love to share some of the big changes with everyone, but C and I have agreed to keep it quite. We want to make sure that we are not being pulled in any direction but what we feel is what God has planned for us.

And now to link up with Anne and Jenna for the first time in 2015!

Currently Planning : Our year out! I finally got my EC Life Planner ready to go, and I have been enjoying making plans for our year in it. From planning birthday gatherings, to date nights, to Pumpkin Day 2015, to our 5th Anniversary (WHAT!?!?!), to Christmas dates!

Currently Hoping : That we get a little more snow than just flurries. It was just supposed to be like 9 degrees today was all. No chance of snow. Imagine my surprise when I look outside and it looks like a snow globe when you shake it up. Too bad non of it will stick.

Currently Baking : Nothing. I didn't bake at all over the holiday season, and I really don't feel like starting now. I think the only think I will be baking is chicken for dinner for a while.

Currently Wearing : My very favorite leggings and my very favorite cowl neck sweatshirt. It is like wearing pajamas all day! And my very favorite accessory is the new ring C gave me!

Currently Resolving : To make a great resolution list that is full of resolutions that I can actually keep! I am limiting myself to just a few goals this year. My biggest goal is to make sure we have an amazing 5th anniversary! I've got about 10 months to plan, and we don't plan on going on another cruise, so I have to really plan this one out.

2015 is going to be the year of change in the Long house, and I for one can't wait!


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