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31 days to a better photo

on the eve of february, we're officially 1 month into 2012 people. how's it going? 

i confess - i've already blown one of my resolutions. that's right i fell off the "ice chewing" wagon w/in just a few short weeks of the new year. [enter lecture from my dentist.] i am however excited w/ a few add'l goals w + i have set. we're running a half (barefoot). we're paying off all our debt except our student loans (by june!). we're budgeting & therefore saving enough to purchase our first home possibly this year. and ... we have a really fun trip planned. i mean REALLY fun.

while i'm not ready to reveal the details of our trip yet (isn't that evil!?! ... bah ha ha), i am starting to plan ahead! and 1 thing that's super important before a big trip is honed camera skillz.

i've blogged about darcy of my 3 boybarians' 31 days challenge before. she hits on everything from dSLR 101 to photo composition to finishing your images in photoshop! oh snap!

so here's the challenge: there are 29 days this february (happy birthday, leap year babies) meaning by march 2nd - we'll be pros! here's the full 31 days.

i could use a little blog accountability. who wants to join me? link up below to commit. then we'll post about our experience + link up every friday to share our progress.

don't have a blog to link? please please please still join along (+ let me know w/ a comment below!)

credits:
blackjack - dafont
aw conqueror inline - font squirrel
camera graphic - stephanie corfee
31 days to a better photo - my 3 boybarians

blogs(i'm)lovin' ...

{click to explore}

a fun little south african based blog w/ "inspiration, trends and advice from proposal to ever after".

why i'm lovin'?
(clockwise from upper left)

1 // "do-able" DIYs ... including this adorable valentine's day heart garland
2 // wedding inspiration galore ... including these fun madlib guest cards (attention, bro and sis-in-law to be)
3 // loads of printables ... including these fantastic music inspired "you rock" valentines (um in my humble opinion, you can never go wrong w/ david gray!)

credits:
blog bling - pugly pixel 
blackjack - dafont
aw conqueror inline - font squirrel
photos + screengrab - the pretty blog

pottery 101 (part 2)

i didn't sleep very well last night ... 

i'm 3 weeks into my second pottery class. this session, i've decided to spend class time throwing on the wheel (because mama needs lots of practice!), which means i'm bringing all my hand building projects home as homework. i've spent my week nights (my usual DIY time) working carefully on little hand-built projects. (poor kitchen - turned workshop.) my latest piece is a primitive candle holder centerpiece for our kitchen table.

last night i went to check in on it ... and there it was - A HAIRLINE CRACK! gah - and after approx 4hrs of work!?! beginner's error - the crack is most likely bc i left the pot unwrapped allowing it to dry too quickly. what a bummer. so - yes though my teacher has warned me not to get too connected to my pottery ... i didn't sleep very well last night.

i'm still going to try to recover my piece ... in fact, i stayed up really late googling possible fixes. a little score and slip action + a thin layer of moist newspaper might do the trick (fingers crossed). "i'll never let go, jack."

in the meantime, here are a few add'l projects from my first pottery class that i forgot to share:


top left // a tiny creamer for our kitchen table. if anything - my first round of pottery was excellent glazing practice. (obviously) i'm a fan of light blue/greens, greys and whites. primitive + natural.

top right // my little pinch pot turned nest ... a perfect little bowl for my wedding rings.

bottom // i shared the before version of my berry bowls (click here) ... but they are so much cuter w/ glaze. i plan make more and give them as gifts this year.

now to find new inspiration ...

work attire ...

wade's office might be getting a dress code. a dress code, people - blah!

wade's in non-profit. i am thankfully in the music business ... where there's quite a bit more freedom. however lately i've been wondering if i could possibly earn a bit more respect around the office if i dressed a bit less like a kid, yo. i've gotten so stressed over work attire at times that i've envied my friends that are required to wear uniforms to work. ha. yup. i've been thinking about it so much ... i had an anxiety dream last night that the office no longer allowed JEANS. gah.

what would life be like w/o jeans?

a challenge i'm willing to accept ... at least w/in the workplace. in fact, i've committed to purchasing a dress or skirt per paycheck for the next few months to build my jean-less wardrobe (within the "blair's clothes" perimeters of our budget of course).

here's what i have my eye on:


1 // pretty lace dresses, dark tights and t-strap heels ... via asos
2 // oversized cardigans + polka dots ... via sunday crossbow
3 // more lace & herringbone (in fact any mixed textures) ... via sidewalk ready

credits:
blog bling - pugly pixel

oh pretty: antique heart locket

when i was in the 4th grade i won a bicycle during a raffle at the martinsville agricultural fair. i was winner! it felt amazing. i couldn't wait to ride my brand new bike to school. free at last. and wouldn't you know it ... somebody stole it within the week. boo, bad people.

it might have taken 20 years ... but i won again! this time a sweet little antique locket from erin antiques hosted on one of my favorite blogs my best friend jules:


don't worry friends ... erin has so many other pretties available just in time for valentine's day. a few of my favorites:

SALE //// vintage 1980s / 9k gold heart signet ring // LOVE ME SALE /// vintage 1970s / gold etched locket // SWEET HEART

now to decide what picture to put in my pretty little locket!


credits:
blackjack - dafont
aw conqueror inline - font squirrel
blog bling - pugly pixel

weekend-spiration: valentine's DIYs

this year has already proven to be as crazy as 2010. th{ere's pottery every monday night, bible study on tuesdays, long runs on wednesdays, group runs/dinners on thursdays and even longer runs on saturdays. finding a few minutes of free time has been a challenge. and of course when i do end up w/ a night off, like last night ... i CRASH. that's right - i did absolutely nothing last night.

as much as i needed a night off, i feel a bit pathetic. and so i've found a little DIY inspiration for this weekend. not too early for valentines day, right!?!


{clockwise from upper left}


2 // "if you get eaten by a t-rex, i will miss you" poster via yellow heart art on etsy



time to get busy! :)

knitty kitties


this might disappoint some of my readers ... but i'm not really a cat person. don't blame me - blame my horrible awful weezy sneezy allergies. however - i wouldn't mind an entire clowder of these little kitties from snowfall studio. (yes clowder is the collective term for a group of cats.)


w + i are sending that little blue kitty to a very sweet little niece on her birthday tomorrow! cute cute. happy birthday, bonnie!

so long, cupcake ...

move over, macaron. make way for the latest food craze ... the gourmet marshmallow.

confession: i have a major sweet tooth ... and i'm a sucker for sweet sticky marshmallow goodness. need proof? how about the 1/2 eaten bag of kraft jet-puffed giant mallows in our pantry. 

check out these yummy treats from nashville's own the bang candy company:

{source: bang candy company}

owner sarah souther began experimenting w/ homemade marshmallows in the summer of 2010. her friends quickly became fans and within weeks, she had requests for orders. by september, she launched the bang candy company and marshmallows became her full-time job. check out the bang candy company's variety of yummy fluffy confections ... everything from the original rose cardamom to chocolate chile to toasted coconut. each hand-dipped in belgian milk chocolate.

want to experiment on your own marshmallows? wade and i gave it a go over the holiday thanks to this recipe/blog from the smitten kitchen. and there will be several future experiments! ;) yum!

gfree chicken parmesan ...

wade and i were supposed to have the first group run last night for our upcoming half marathon. thursday runs are going to be shorter pace runs followed by group dinners. but the teensiest bit of snowfall in tennessee and everything shuts down. so i rummaged through the refrigerator/pantry for something for dinner. fresh parsley, a half block of parmesan, some frozen chicken and ... glutinos pretzels.

we never eat italian anymore. but i decided to give chicken parmesan a try - it just sounded comforting on a cold snowy evening. and are you ready for this? wade went back for seconds AND thirds!!!


since he said it was "too good not to share" ...
here's my spin on chicken parmesan:

servings: 4-6                         prep time // 15m                           cook time // 15m

ingredients:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup glutinos pretzels
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • heaping 1/8 tsp italian herb mix
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken, cut into 2" pieces


1 // preheat oven to 450°F.

2 // in a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the melted butter. in your chopper, combine the pretzels, shredded parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, salt, garlic salt, italian herb mix and pepper. transfer pretzel mix to a separate small bowl.

3 // dip each piece of chicken into thegarlic butter. then roll in the pretzel mix to coat.

4 // place breaded (pretzel-ed) chicken pieces on to a baking dish leaving a little separation between each piece. drizzle any remaining garlic butter over the chicken and bake for 15-20 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through).

that's it. 15 minutes to a yummy meal ...

did i mention that my parents are coming into town tonight? hooray. wade and i are going to go to the belcourt theatre to watch a french film, le havre. then we anxiously await their arrival. 4 people + 3 day weekend + 1 tiny apartment = quite the adventure!!!

have a fantastic weekend, too!

pipe dreams

plumber's crack? not hot.
furniture made from plumbing materials? now that's hot ...


our 9' wide x 7.5' tall bookshelves were our first project / furniture purchase as a married couple. easy peasy and a lot cheaper than purchasing metal & wood bookshelves the same size. wade is grateful that they add a bit of masculinity to our apartment. i'm just plain smitten w/ using industrial elements as decor.

check out these other sexy plumbing inspired projects ...


{clockwise from upper left}


we need a bigger house! obviously it would be a bit much to decorate the entire bedroom w/ pipe desk, bed, & coat hanger in addition to our bookshelf and bedside lamps. {someday!}


a little bonus:
while maybe that canopy bed is out of the current picture,
make your own industrial pipe curtain rods.

a quick trip to the hardware store:
2 1/2" 90º elbows ... $2.50
2 1/2" floor flange ... $10.50
1/2" x 2" long nipples ... $2.00

TOTAL: $23.00
compare to west elm's version: $69.00

noonday giveaway winner!

winner winner chicken dinner ...
hi lovelies! we have a winner! a big congrats to paulette for winning her choice of 1 of 3 lovely noonday collection necklaces. i'll be contacting you within the next couple of days so we can coordinate shipping!

thank you everyone that participate! and a special thank you to mary for hosting our giveaway! if you haven't already - please add mary's noonday page on facebook. and definitely consider noonday the next time you're shopping for a little something special ... style that changes lives!

maybe she's born with it ...

"nah i'm pretty sure it's photoshop."

a little laugh for your hump day ...


Fotoshop by Adobé from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

hey good lookin' ...

there's a new lady hanging around the munday apartment ...



unwrapping christmas presents w/ my parents is extra special. and the best part: there's a story behind each gift.

for example, this year my brother unwrapped some rather snazzy cowboy boots. the legend goes ... dad won them at the closing auction for the local opry house. unfortunately they didn't really fit his feet ... or style. thankfully they included a monetary gift tucked in the toe. ;) i should totally post a pic here to embarrass both ross and his fiancé angela! (don't worry. my parents included them to make us laugh!)

and another example, there was the beautiful antique marble chess set for wade this year. a last minute craigslist purchase that ended up including 6 hrs in the car, 1 dead battery, a tow, 1 new battery ($150 buckaroos) ... and the list goes on. needless to say the chess set is priceless!

i spent a good part of last year searching the local antique malls + craigslist + the flea market for the perfect dress form. and all along my parents had already found her ...

ain't she perty!?!


yes, she's a bit rough around the edges. aren't we all? but i love every single little imperfection!

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you have until 5pm (central) today! have you signed up for the noonday giveaway? three fabulous noonday necklaces to choose from if you win & entering is super easy so go check it out. click the banner below for all the details:

we're running a 1/2 marathon ... BAREFOOT!

okay not literally barefoot.

there's a guy in my yoga class that runs around town barefoot. i would maybe consider running barefoot if i lived near a beach in say hawaii or maybe even on the west coast where they're a little more enviro-friendly. but the streets of nashville!?! no way! okay okay tangent.

i ran a half marathon back in 2008. wade had just moved to boston. so w/ loads of new-found free time, i decided "why not" when my friend em asked me to run with her. we started training in august (really slowly --> 1 minute run + 1 minute walk) and by the first week in november were up to running 11 miles straight.

my parents and brother ross made the trip to cheer me on! ... and they of course jumped at the opportunity to capture a few pictures of me uncontrollably barfing after i crossed the finished line.


wade flew in and surprised emily + i @ mile 11 to run us in. i'm not sure if my barfing was bc of nerves or pure exhaustion. honestly: once i saw him, i had a feeling that he was going to ask me to marry him - so let's say nerves. he didn't. at least not that weekend. ha!

wow - looking back at pics and remembering every step (and blister) of my first 13.1 miles ... i'm definitely thinking "what have i gotten myself into AGAIN"!?! but the fees have been paid. the launch meeting attended. it's true folks ... we're running the country music 1/2 marathon!

so what's the deal w/ "running barefoot"? instead of running just to get in shape and prove something to ourselves like i did last time, wade and i are running w/ a team this year! we're running as members of "run barefoot" for barefoot republic.

barefoot republic is a summer camp that launched 10 years ago w/ a mission to develop Christ-centered relationships between students of diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomical backgrounds. through activities as diverse as extreme sports to fine arts and praise and worship sessions, the children form lasting friendships, discover that God has given each of them unique talents to use for His glory and tear down the barriers the world has created. learn more about barefoot republic.

because of barefoot’s intentional recruitment of culturally diverse youth, over 75% of the campers cannot afford to pay the full tuition and need some sort of financial assistance. run barefoot is an opportunity to check "running a 1/2 marathon" off the bucket list while raising scholarship money & money for future improvements of the camp property.

this year wade and i have committed to raise $1000 each. $2000 could send 6 of my inner-city bible study girls to camp for a life changing experience.

want to join us in our challenge?

1 // RUN WITH US! there's still time to sign up to run barefoot. click here for details.

2 // SPONSOR US! could you spare $1 per mile? that's $13.10. visit www.runbarefootnow.com and click on "Support a Runner". (Be sure to include either my name or Wade's name to contribute towards our individual pledges!)

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there's still time! be sure to sign up for the noonday giveaway. three fabulous noonday necklaces to choose from in you win & entering is super easy so go check it out. click the banner below for all the details:

during the merry happy ...

my office shuts down the week between merry christmas and happy new year. i commonly refer to it as my "merry happy". while most adults work (including mr. munday), this year i got a kick start on spring cleaning. why not? it's 56º outside on january 5th - feels like spring to me!

the ultimate challenge for mini apartment living is figuring out where to hide your junk. in 2011 - our attack was simple: shove it in a closet and shut the door. not this year, people. mission organization 2012. it's amazing how adding shelves to 2 closets can kick start an organization revolution. now i'm gung-ho ... leave no "closet" behind.
a few things on my to do list:

the challenge: the multi-tasker (1 part crafts, 1 part luggage storage, 1 part coat closet, and 2 parts holiday storage)

1 // purchase an over the door storage system like this one featured on better homes and gardens for gift wrap + ribbons. cute cute.

closet


 
{source: design*sponge}

the challenge: a very cluttered linen closet w/ lots and lots of little things to store.

1 // install a door mounted spice rack to store medicine. once installed, it's the perfect opportunity to toss all expired meds & cosmetics! random factoid for your thursday: did you know that you shouldn't store your medicine in your actual medicine cabinet? the heat and humidity can cause meds to lose potency before the expiration date. hmm. 

{source: cabinetparts.com}

2 // want to know a secret? i moved an entire apartment once in BASKETS. slight addiction. but one can never have too many bins, baskets, and boxes! 3 of my favorite words. a few canvas storage bins like these found at the container store are totally the ideal way to store small items that might otherwise create clutter.


3 // i'm also pretty smitten about those "shelf within shelf" organizers above. maybe w/ one of those, i could pull out the sheet i need w/o unfolding the entire stack.

okay truth is - this list could go on and on and on. inspired? what's the one room you totally need to declutter A-SNAP?!?

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there's still time! be sure to sign up for the noonday giveaway. three fabulous noonday necklaces to choose from in you win & entering is super easy so go check it out. click the banner below for all the details:


CLOSED - {giveaway} noonday

i am so excited to kick off 2012 w/ a fantastic giveaway!

mary of the sugar mountain is one of those amazing blogger blessings i mentioned in my post yesterday. besides full-time wife + mommy of 2, she works as an ambassador for the noonday collection.

have you heard of the noonday collection?

the noonday collection offers fashion forward accessories for you and your home handcrafted by artisans from around the world that receive a living wage for their work. every item is handcrafted in style, with love, and creates a pathway out of poverty for artisans around the world. in addition, proceeds go towards placing orphans in forever families.

just a taste of their awesome collection:

{clockwise from top}

1 // the funky paper beads necklace ... 74" long necklace made from individually recycled paper beads by handmade by african style - a group in uganda. lead designer and organizer jalia and her husband mentor and teach the men and women while they create these exclusive pieces.

2 // the dainty everyday necklace ... brass and stone beads hang from a 16" chain. handmade by a group in india that creates avenues of employment for economically disadvantaged artisans. the group also has a strong commitment to combating child labor in the manufacturing sector.

3 // the bouquet necklace ... a bundle of fresh cut glass beads hang from a 23" long brass chain. made by the same group in india that makes the dainty everyday necklace.

the entire collection is fantastic. look stylish while changing lives! each time you wear your piece is an opportunity to share the noonday story!

"... when you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, your night will become like the noonday." isaiah 58:10

prize: choice of either the bouquet, dainty everyday or funky paper beads necklace

giveaway ends tuesday, january 10th @ 5:00pm central
up to 3 entries per person (1 comment = 1 entry). one winner chosen at random.

ENTRY 1:
visit marybarker.noondaycollection.com. then come back and leave a comment below telling me one of your favorite items!

ENTRY 2:
tweet or fb about the giveaway. be sure to link to the giveaway - http://www.acaseofthemundays.com/2012/01/giveaway-noonday.html. then come back and leave a comment below letting me know that you shared!

ENTRY 3:
like a case of the mundays on facebook (or let me know if you already like us). again be sure to leave a comment below letting me know you like/liked.

please leave your email address in at least one of your comments ... otherwise it might be difficult to find you!

_____________________________

want to sponsor a case of the mundays and/or host a giveaway? click here to find more information. i'd love to have you on the blog!

it's a brand new day!

hello friends ...

can you believe it!?! it's 2012!

i'm hoping you had as enjoyable of a holiday as we had! for the past 3 years, we've spent christmas eve day w/ wade's family - then driven 7hrs during the night to spend christmas day w/ my family. this year, instead we spent the entire christmas weekend with his family and new years weekend w/ my family. so much better!

and the week between? i worked my tail off reorganizing/cleaning our little apt --- a great kick start to 2012. oh and i finally got around to making a christmas gift:

{wooden dolls for my niece - daddy, nyah, haven and mommy (my sister, brooke) - can't you see the family resemblance? i kid.}

so - any resolutions?

i have made 2:

1 // i am an ice chewing addict - at least a glass or 2 a day. in fact, ice has become my ultimate favorite snack. i crave it. best treat ever: crushed shaved ice w/out any flavor. yes - i'm aware this habit is sooo bad for my teeth. and yes - i'm iron deficient. in 2012, i resolve to STOP CHEWING ICE. 

2 // in 2011, i resolved to be a blogger. and i have had so many awesome blogging experiences and have met so many awesome blog buddies. but the task of blogging daily totally stressed/stresses me out! truth is - i have a loooong list of things i want to accomplish in 2012 (remember my 30 before 30 list - wow i've fallen behind). also, wade and i are training to run a 1/2 marathon together (my 2nd, his first) for barefoot republic and a trip to ethiopia some time this summer! so in 2012, i resolve to continue to blog ... but only when i really enjoy it!

i hope you'll continue to stop by occasionally and share life w/ us!
here's to a fantastic 2012. :)
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