Your Timeline, Not Theirs [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi y’all! Happy Wednesday! I have to admit, I will be a much happier individual come 7:30 tonight (after my class presentation…), but until then I think I can dwell on some happier thoughts. Like the fact that the semester is over with in t-minus 6 weeks! I graduate in t-minus 415 days. I get married in even less! And on that note, lets run far, far away from the topic of school and head into the safe arms of wedding planning.

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If you all are anything like me (type-a, anyone?), the first thing you began to think of after the bliss of the proposal, or even before the proposal, is the planning! You will pick up a wedding planner or planning book (or books, in my case), and you will start to look at where you are, what you need to do, and where the book says you need to be. Alas, as soon as I began to see all of these demands that you “must do A before B, and A needs to be completed by this month”, I was worried. In fact, if you ask Zach, I was in an absolute terrified panic! We couldn’t do any of these things when they needed to be done; our date couldn’t be set until three months later; we were doomed!

(Please tell me you can taste the drama; I assure you, I was reeking of it for a few weeks at the beginning of the planning process.)

I think that this whole situation could have gone a number of ways; one, I could have absolutely read in to all of these mandatory suggested timelines and I could have panicked for the remaining 14 months of wedding planning. Two, I could take a big step back, look at the items I needed to do for my wedding, and create my own timeline. While I did continue the anxious complaints for a few weeks after this realization, I finally took the matter into my own hands, took that step back, and I made my own timeline.

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A book I got for myself (and my BFF when she got engaged) was A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. One of the first things the book addresses is just how much the wedding industry can really push its ideas and its deadlines onto your plate. When I read that sentence, I immediately knew that I just needed to start looking out for Team Jones (laugh all you want, I just couldn’t say number one – there’s two of us, now!). Instead of letting these wedding industry-published guidelines guide my planning journey, I sat down one afternoon and created my own timeline based on the needs of our wedding. And you know what? I just melted into a pile of organized happiness. I felt like I was in control again, and I was ready to run with my own timeline!

Here’s how I started out; I looked at the different suggested items on the timelines in my books and other magazines. I looked more at the items than the months listed so that I was more focused on what our timeline looked like individually. We knew the date wouldn’t be set until – at the earliest – late October, so we planned accordingly. We know what we do and do not want at out wedding, so we knew that we didn’t need to hear bands try-out for us. We didn’t need to do a huge cake tasting thanks to my gluten sensitivity and the fact that we had already picked our cake shop due to their gluten-free capabilities. We won’t need to look for a caterer because they are a part of the venue, and so on. Each wedding has unique attributes that either the wedding books miss, or that the wedding doesn’t need that the books include. This is what I came up with in my Google Docs for just an easy to follow wedding timeline (or my wedding goals as I like to call them):

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As you can see, I’ve already got a lot crossed off from September until the beginning of January. Just because I’ve crossed something off two months from now does not mean that I’ve screwed up my planning; rather, it is just an item that I got to before it’s due date! I think that looking at the list this way helps me see what all I need to be working on when and how soon it is due. We had to block the rooms early due to a home football game the day of our wedding – and it’s the rival game at that! So, needless to say, that point became more urgent than we had thought originally. Having my own individual timeline has really helped me see where I am and where I need to be, not where a wedding magazine thinks I should be at this point in my wedding planning.

I hope this helps, and if you all need any advice or have any other questions regarding this whole process, please feel free to ask! Just remember, this isn’t just something you can copy and paste. You can easily take the same concept, but make sure to apply your needs to the list, not the needs of some preconceived bride!

As a quick catch-up, I think now is a good time to show you all where I am on my planning goals for October (November starts on Saturday – WHAT?!):

October (11 months):
•Get ring insured (I SUCK. I’m getting the appraisal on Friday)
•Engagement pictures (10/20 @ 5pm)
•Begin registering for gifts
•Make the guest list FINAL
•Finalize the budget
•Choose top three dates
•Book the date!
◦Contact venue and photographer to see if top date is available

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Weekend Recap [Working Weekend]

…I was going to say “Good Monday morning”, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a good Monday. Specifically not this one. Happy moment, though, is I get to leave work at noon today! YAY! (My paycheck is saying otherwise…). Let’s go ahead and hop on into this quick weekend recap!

Friday, right after work, I decided it was time to continue to make the house a home. Looking back, I am so glad that I chose Friday to start this because…HOBBY LOBBY HAS ALL WALL DECOR ON SALE FOR HALF OFF. If you haven’t done so yet, GO GET YA SOME! I made out like a bandit for half the price the décor would have originally set me back, and I made out with new wall-hangings for a command center in the kitchen, a beautiful pallet for our entry, and some odds and ends for the rest of the rooms.

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On Saturday, Zach and I set off to see UK play against Mississippi State! It was our first game of the season thanks to some free tickets from my dad, so we were excited for a fun Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. While we did lose, we really played a great game against the number one team! That night, we had Zach’s best friend over to the house, and while they played video games all night, I did some homework and slept like a baby!

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Sunday brought the least exciting but most beautiful day of my weekend! I spent the majority of the day inside working on a group presentation for a class next week (can’t you feel my nerves through the computer?), and was so happy when I wrapped up my section and headed home with my windows down and sunglasses on! After a nice dinner out with my guy, we headed home and relaxed for the evening!

Now, while it is Monday, I have to say, I have gotten some touching responses (personally and on the blog) about going for my dreams, and all I can say is THANK YOU! I mean really, it touched me to read it all and inspired me to keep trying to go for what I want in life. I’m so very lucky to be surrounded by the love and support of my friends and family!

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Now, go on out there and kick this Monday’s butt!

Linking up with Bianca and Meghan!

Weekending

Oh Hey, Friday! [Dreaming]

Hello and…HAPPY FRIDAY! We’ve made it. Hallelujah emoji right about…here.

sdafawerI can’t believe this week is already over; probably just another benefit of skipping a boring Monday! This week has been filled with wedding planning, school stress, and an overload of papers on my desk at work, so today I am going to get my Oh Hey, Friday on with a little time to focus on some dreams of mine!

[one] Zach and I have been talking a lot about the future lately, and not just in the obvious wedding-tone way. We – well, I – have been talking about what we want to do with our lives. Great topic for two individuals who have already graduated from a higher education institution, right?! So anyways, this all boils down to the fact that I generally despise grad school and I’m still not sure that I’m in the right program. It’s all fun to learn, but I’m just not sure it’s where I can see myself working. Issue here? My undergrad degree will get me nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. So, I have to do something. My dream? I want to write. I don’t care what, and I don’t care how, but I just want to write. I have had stories floating through my head since I was a child, and I was a part of the creative writing class throughout high school. Why I never continued throughout college is a question that has been at the top of my mind lately, but I guess hindsight is 20/20, right? Dream number one: writing (as my day job).

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[two] I think that this one falls in the category of dreams for everyone, but I think it’s necessary to write out; I want to travel. I want to explore places far and near, and I want to do so at my own pace. I want to guide my own tours, I want to live like the locals, and I want to eat delicious food. I want to visit Italy and Ireland; I want to walk where Shakespeare walked and I want to see the beauty of Santorini. I want to go to Brazil and experience the sights and sounds – and food! I just want to go, go, go. And I have to say I got lucky to find one person to spend my life with who wants to see it all with me.

[three] I want to have a family (which goes without saying). I mean, I’m not looking for kids in a year, or even two years. Maybe I’ll think about it around 25, but for now, I will just dream about the curly-headed kids I will have and raise with my curly-headed fiancé.

[four] I will – I repeat, I WILL – own a pug someday. This has been my biggest dream yet, and Zach can definitely attest to that. We almost adopted a dog in late August, but decided not to do so yet. With our schedules, that poor pup would never have any fun free time! But someday, I will own a pug (or a puggle, or a pughuahua [Chihuahua/pug mix that I totally made up]) and I will love that dog for all of its life. This is a dream that will easily become a reality.

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[five] My last dream is already coming true, although very slowly, and it’s very cheesy. I’m going to spend the rest of my life with my absolute best friend; the person I could not live without, the person who talks me off the ledge and who gets me laughing when I need it the most. But most of all, I get to spend my life with someone who pushes me to pursue the dreams I have while also keeping a tight grip on reality. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better dream come true than my life with my best friend.

Happy Friday!

I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for Oh Hey, Friday.

I am also jumping back into Five on Friday with these lovely ladies: Darci, April, Christina, and Natasha

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Surprises Around Every Corner [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi there, beautiful readers! I hope you all have had a fantastic week already. Mine feels like it’s just starting; between a four-day weekend (Friday-Monday was a nice break), most of which was spent with my BFF and her man, and then two days of time spent with my love, it was non-stop fun! While I’m sad to see it all go so soon, I am even more excited to start my 23rd year of life. I get married during this year, I get to plan a wedding this year, I get to (almost) finish grad school this year, and I get to spend extra time with the people I love! I think 23 just might be my best year yet!

Anyways, barring any more tangential speeches, I think it’s time to get started on this lovely Wedding Wednesday. Why, you ask? Well, dear readers, besides the fact that (duh) it’s Wednesday…

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WE SET A DATE! AND WE HAVE A VENUE! AND A CATERER! AND A PHOTOGRAPHER! Whoa, I need to cool it with the caps, but I am just so dang excited! I can’t believe it all came together so well – and so quickly at that! Yep, all it took was a few phone calls and everything was ready to g- JUST KIDDING. What would life be without a few twists and turns? On Wednesday last week, as I was beginning to stress over our lack-of-date, I decided to email the remaining venues and see what dates they had available. Venue number three was very quick to respond, but with some dismal news; all but one September 2015 date were gone, swept up by those a bit more pulled together than my fiancé and I…but, not one to get too down on myself, I said thank you, and I told the event coordinator I would email her soon to see if we could come see the space again. I sat waiting for the other venue to email me back, but heard nothing (I later learned that said event staff is off on Wednesdays to make up for their weekend work…doh!).

On Thursday, I opened my email to…nothing. So, I sent another nice email, this time a little more urgent sounding, and got an immediate response. In the available dates, I saw it there. The dream date! It was free!! It wasn’t free the last time we had spoken to the coordinator, yet there it was! I just about fainted, but instead, I quickly replied that we would be there to meet her that night. Five o’clock came around, and my mother and I were wandering around, peeking into the windows of the venue. As it turns out, my email did not go through, so the coordinator had already gone home! I was more than a little dismayed, but after a kick-butt workout, I felt a bit better, and set up a meeting with the coordinator the following evening at 7.

Friday was a very, very busy day. Zach and I were cleaning the house basically from the moment we woke up until our guests arrived around 3:30. As soon as they got there, we started to get excited. Zach had to work, so my matron of honor and her guy were tagging along with me (and my parents) to see the venue! I was so stinking thrilled that I got to share that moment with my BFF of 13 years, I could have cried. Except I was just too happy. So I just smiled instead. We all piled in my car around 6:30, just in time to make it to the venue with some minutes to spare…or so I thought. As soon as we got closer to town, the interstate slowed to a crawl. We got off on our exit – and it just stopped. I had no clue what was going on, but I did know we only had 20 minutes to get to the venue – it was only four miles away! We resorted to our smart phones to figure out what was going on, and then we discovered that a popular event was going on – Big Blue Madness. Now, if you know anything about the University of Kentucky, you know that our basketball team is the best. Don’t deny it; U Conn can try to have its midnight madness, but it’s just not the same when you’re imitating greatness. Which leads me to my next point about the Cats – basketball is a religion down here. So, this traffic jam was basically a spiritual pilgrimage.

I was sitting behind my steering wheel freaking out because we weren’t going to make the meeting on time; we were pushing five minutes, and then it was 7 and we weren’t there…then the heavens opened up (not in a raining way). A lane of traffic disappeared and we were off. We were charging full speed (35 miles per hour…) in the direction of destiny! We made it at just ten minutes late, and as it turns out, my parents were running late, too. Thankfully, the coordinator is AWESOME and she was still hanging around. She was setting up for a wedding the next day, so we got to see what it would be like for our 200 guests to sit in the space; we saw what it would look like at night, felt the weather and it’s effect on the space, and my dad (who walked into the venue saying he was “along for the ride”) asked just about fifty-two questions. No joke. I just walked around the place in a daze. All I could say to myself was “This is where you’re going to have your first dance”. “This is where you hug and cry and laugh with your best friend”. This is where you will stand and look down on your family and friends as they celebrate love and life and the unity of you and the love of your life”.

Let’s just say I was getting sentimental, and I was sold.

As my father wandered off to try EVERY PART of the facility (bathrooms? they run well. upstairs? it’s just as large as the downstairs, just without the center!), my mom looked at me, and we knew that was it. I looked the coordinator in the eyes and said “I want that date”. I really wasn’t a hard sale, I’ll tell you that much. As my dad rounded back down the stairs, he said “Well, despite the convenience factor (I, of course, had a dream wedding date that just so happened to be the same day of the rival football game…) it is pretty nice”. We just told him the decision had already been made. We arranged for the contract to be emailed to me on Sunday morning, along with a payment link. And that was that.

rmrbThat was how I chose…venue number four! I absolutely was IN LOVE with venue number three, and while venue number two was amazing, it was a little too bare-bones for us. However, when it came down to it, venue number four was just about downright spectacular. It is the cheaper (but more characteristic) version of venue number one. So much of the rentals are included in the price, and the catering is run through the event coordinators; it was just perfect. It has it’s own character, so we don’t need extravagant décor. We can just work with what we have – and I LOVE that. LOVE LOVE. This venue is just spectacular, and I absolutely cannot wait for the day (just under 11 months from now!) when I get to dance the night away with my husband.

Everything is falling into place – rapidly! And with that comes some good and some bad. I think I’ll wait for another Wednesday to talk about that. In the meantime, look out for a raving review of our photographer (we took engagement pictures on Monday), and some more little details that will pop out in the near future! Thank you all so much for coming along on this journey with me. It really is great to have a community of women who have or are going on the same adventure – all of the advice and stories are just blowing my mind while also helping me take each step at a time.

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Where We’re At [Wedding Wednesday]

Howdy, howdy, howdy! Welcome to, yet another, Wedding Wednesday!

I must say, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be here this week, for a number of reasons. Zach and I are basically sitting ducks until he gets his work schedule, there really isn’t much for me to do this month that I can do without said schedule, and, to be honest, we haven’t really been in the wedding planning mood lately. It’s nothing bad, by any means, it’s just difficult to talk about what we want to do and like when, in reality, we don’t have the base to build our wedding on! So, instead of getting down on ourselves (or, really, myself), I decided to start a little baby segment that I’ll employ whenever our wedding weeks are lagging. In this lovely little chat, I’ll just go over what we have down, the ideas we’re formulating, and where we’d like to be in a month’s time. Without further ado…

wherewereat[venue] Right now, we have one thing down for certain: we are stuck between two venues. Right now, it’s the battle between venue three and venue four. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more like venue number three can’t happen…for a number of reasons. I’m kind of sad/stressed that it might not be a contender, but at the same time, we have one other top venue to choose (pending availability…). This point right here is why we have been avoiding wedding talk. It’s just gotten so down-to-the-wire as far as setting the date goes that it’s hard to think about without worrying!

[wedding party] We also have the wedding party completely chosen, including ring bearers, ushers, and readers! It was pretty difficult to choose the ring bearers because of two reasons: one, we have about…three small children to choose from, two of whom are VERY young. Two, we had to cut the flower girl because, pursuant to issue number one, we have NO girls to choose from. Seriously. None. So, we just decided to cut the flower girl, and go with two ring bearers. Totally doable! I’ve got my bridesmaid invitations just about ready to go, but I can’t share them until after November 8th. Because…

[dress hunt] We also have the day of the dresses scheduled and ready to go! On November 8th, me and my best gals (7-8 girls…I NEVER thought I’d bring so many people to the dress hunt!) will hit up three local bridal shops and, hopefully, I’ll find a dress I love! I’m not too nervous about the dress shopping to be honest. I know my price range, and I’m really just excited to experience this with my closest friends and family!

[color scheme] We have also changed and chosen our colors for the wedding, as I mentioned in Monday’s post. So, I guess I can count that as finished as well!

[engagement session] Obviously on our “in progress” side of the list are the engagement pictures! Zach now has his shirts for the two outfits, and I found some cute booties to wear. Now, all we have to do is finalize the location(s)!

[wedding party] While this is also on the finished list…Zach really needs to figure out his best man! He kind of just word vomited an open invitation to be in the wedding party, resulting in five guys wanting the bid. But ultimately, it’s up to him who goes where!

[where we’d like to be] I think we all know what falls right here. By the end of October (the 31st, exactly), we want to have the date, venue, and photographer chosen, with contracts signed. Honestly, if we get here in a little over two weeks time, I don’t think we’ll have many stressful wedding thoughts!

Although it’s hard not to worry when you have a specific month you’d like to get married in, but can’t set a date (a unique situation, to say the least!), I think Zach and I both need to just sit down, talk it out, and see where we’re willing to bend a little. I’m not so into an October wedding date (at least not any further than two weekends in), and Zach’s not keen on earlier than September (summer weddings in town are not cheap!); I think, in the end, it’s going to take quite a bit of working and wiggling in order for it to work out.

The bright side? In less than one year, I’ll be married to my best friend! I seriously can’t wait.

[But really. I think I’ve suggested eloping at least ten times…this week…]

Happy Wedding Wednesday, y’all!

Wedding Wednesday

 

Weekend Recap [The Big Move]

Good Monday morning, lovely readers!

I hope you all have the most lovely weekend these past few days! While I am sad it’s over (mostly because I feel like it flew by and I missed out on a ton of sleep), I am also ready to tackle a full week…and my bestie will be here on Friday!! I am so beyond thrilled that Jess and her fiancé Nathan will be here all weekend, and it is the perfect thought to get me through this week! It’s technically my fall break today and tomorrow, but I still have work, a personal training session tonight, and a hair appointment tomorrow night to boot! I didn’t exactly leave myself much downtime. However, I am thinking of making this a short week and taking a long, four day weekend! A week from today I will be celebrating 23 years on this planet, and I’ve already taken the day off. Why not make it even better and take this Friday off, too?

Anyways, before I keep start gushing about the week to come, let’s see how this past weekend looked. Only with a lack of photographic evidence. On Friday, after leaving work and hitting the gym for a quick sweat session, I met up with my mom and sister at David’s Bridal to figure out what colors I wanted my bridesmaid dresses to be! I had my heart set on a peach/mint/gold theme, but my mind changed. I was fully ok with changing color scheme to meadow (top left green swatch) and wisteria (top row, second from left). The colors feel a bit more “fall” like to me, and I am just in LOVE with meadow. It is a beautiful dusty color, and it fit the bill!adslfkjhwape;ofbvasdfweferafI also found these delicious treats while doing the finishing touches on my bridesmaid invitations (the invites turned out better than I could have hoped – look out for the post in a future Wedding Wednesday post):

asefrawefwefOn Saturday, Zach and I decided to make a repeat appearance at our my favorite place in the world…IKEA! We got my desk, and I was so excited I could have cried. I’ll post a picture of the finished product when I am done organizing everything, but I’ll tell you the pieces we got to put it together: I got the largest Linnmon desk top (59″ x 29 1/2″), three Adils legs, and the Alex five-drawer unit, all in white. It. Is. PERFECT. It’s a huge desk space, and the perfect amount of storage, and I honestly couldn’t have been happier! Zach is now convinced I am meant to have a home-run small business because of how happy that desk makes me (I secretly love this because some day, when I want to work from home, I will bring this back up).

Side note? Although this trip and the assembly took basically all day…I put it together all by myself! I was so proud.

On Sunday, we honestly thought we would be cleaning the house all day in preparation for our guests. However, over a nutritious lunch at Steak n’ Shake, we decided it was time: I moved out of my parent’s house for good. Nothing left but a childhood dresser and two graduation gowns. Luckily, my little brother has a huge truck, so we were able to pack my bed frame, mattress/box spring, two tall bookshelves, and one small bookshelf into the bed…in one trip. I was a nervous wreck, Zach was very amused. Needless to say, we made it, everything else made it, and although I still have about four boxes to unpack, I am officially moved in to OUR house! It was fun, sad, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time, but it’s done now. After a long, tiring weekend, the move is done, and we can keep on making this place our place.

asdfaewrweAnd on a cloudy Monday morning, I woke up in my home to find the love of my life cuddling our fur-baby (and taking over the bed). Having to leave this every morning is hard, but at least I know what I get to come home to!

Have a happy Monday, everyone! [I promise I’ll try to document life in pictures more than I do now!]

Linking up with Bianca and Meghan!

Weekending

Oh Hey, Friday! [Personalizing the Office]

It’s Friday, it’s Friday! La la la! I feel like I’ve ben waiting for this day all of my life. The hardest week of grad school (thus far) is over with, I’m half way through my semester, and in one week, MY BEST FRIEND WILL BE HERE! Granted, I still haven’t got the room ready (trip to IKEA, anyone?), but it doesn’t mean I can’t get pumped for the arrival of my BFF and her man! Let’s get to my five for this week, which is all about making my office my own space.

[one] I have been at my job for going on four months now, and the only personalization I’ve done is move the existing furniture around, and bring in a cute desk calendar. I have decided that I’d like to spice it up a little, because my space is pretty dull. I’m the only woman in our part of the office, so it makes me feel weird to put effort into my space, but honestly, some days I just can’t even want to be here because it’s so dull! Let’s bring back a nice littler reminder of what my space looks like.

office;aoisdhf[Side note: that was really fun to take…and my first successful panoramic shot!] As you can see, it’s a spacy office, but I literally have little to no personal touches. As of today, I’ve decieded a little bit of “me” in the office won’t hurt.

[two] The first thing on my list? Switch up the desk. Instead of keeping the computer where it is, I am going to push it (and the tower, mouse, and keyboard) to the back left corner. That will give me the desk space I want (it may look empty, but each time I try to write, I end up pushing my mouse and keyboard back and forth). I am also going to lift my computer just a bit with the help of a riser so that I am not hunching over the screen. I am also considering moving my bookshelf to the other side of my desk or further back against my back wall in order to allow me to push my desk against the wall.

[three] I am going to bring some unused picture frames (two for my desk and a large one for my wall) from home, as well as a picture of my family (which will be replaced again in November when we have new family pics taken) and a picture of Zach and I (after the engagement session). The big frame is already filled with random shots of family and friends.

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[four] I am going to give myself a few fun things on the desk as well. I am going to get a personalized notebook to put on the right side for some personal notes or writing; really, whatever I fancy at the time. I got an English degree for a reason, might as well use it! On the bottom left corner of my desk, I am going to switch out inspirational quotes, pictures, or just something that’ll get my brain and motivation going. I want to make this a space that I want to come to, and when I’m here I want to feel inspired. I’m going to replace my dingy mouse pad too; not to diss Marathon (my aunt works for them!), but I need some color in my life! I also want just a little succulent for the top right hand corner of the desk. Getting some sunlight (from the window) and adding a little green will definitely help brighten my day!

[five] Finally, I want to create some space for my notes and a designated area for the clutter. I need to find a desk organizer that is cute and fun for the desk top (I can place it in front of my computer riser). I found one that I love, but, of course, it’s out of stock. So I’m on the lookout for cute, functional desk organization! I also want to give myself a space on my wall (near my desk, preferably) for a cork board. I want to have a place where I can keep my post-its, a little fun quote or two, and some of my must-have papers for the office. This way I can pull off my perpetual stickies form the computer frame!

It’s always easy to make your home office your own, but I’m just having trouble finding an appropriate way to personalize a space that still doesn’t feel like my own! How have you used your personality to spruce up your work place? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Happy Friday!

I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for Oh Hey, Friday.

I am also jumping back into Five on Friday with these lovely ladies: Darci, April, Christina, and Natasha.