My family

My family

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Challenge: Why do I blog?

Blog Challenge - Day 31

Heck yeah......we made it!  Now you know everything there is to know about me.

You're welcome! 😉

I started blogging when our family moved from Texas to Minnesota.  

Jim's job transferred us up here to the Arctic Tundra and I wanted a way to share our adventure with my family back home.  

The only readers are my friends and family and that's exactly the way I want it!  

Over the years, I've started using the blog as an electronic family yearbook.  

Each year, I transfer the blog posts to a hard-bound book using Blurb.

I will eventually make copies for each of the kiddos.  

Thanks for hanging out with me this month!  Now that 2017 is in full-swing.....I'm excited to catch you up on what's been going on around here.  

Love you guys!!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Challenge: Makeup Bag

Blog Challenge - Day 30

Southern girls learn pretty early on that you must keep two sets of make-up/essentials......
one at home and one at work (or in your purse).

To be honest, I don't wear a ton of make-up.  I make up for the extra room in my bag with a pretty strange assortment of essentials though.

I've never gotten into the expensive cosmetic brands.  

In fact, I buy most of my make-up at the drugstore.

Cover Girl has been my go-to brand since high school.  

If it ain't broke, don't fix it girls!😉

Here's what make-up I can't live without.....

1)  Under-eye concealer
This is the only thing I splurge on.  I alternate between Mary Kay and MAC.

2)  Mascara
Always black.  Always with a curved wand.

3)  Eyeliner
Black in the winter months;  brown in the cooler months.  I's weird.

4)  Blush
It's on my 2017 to-do list to try liquid blush because mine wears off too quickly.

5) Powder
I have a one compact at work, one in my purse, one in my bathroom vanity and one in my car.  I loooooooove the way Cover Girl powder compacts smell!!

Here's what else I have to have within reach.....

1)  Hand sanitizer
I blame this on Jim.  I never used it until Mr. Clean came along.  😊

2)  Hairspray
Because Southern girls know that the bigger your hair, the closer to Jesus!

3)  Mouthwash

4)  Cinnamon mints/gum 
Other flavors need not apply.

5)  Nail file/clippers
Another Southern girl rule:  Clipping your nails in public is not allowed.  
No ma'am!  
Bathrooms only girls!
You can, however, FILE your nails in public.  

6)  Contact case & rewetting drops

7)  Lubriderm lotion
Again.....other brands need not apply.

8)  Cortizone cream 
I have no idea why but I use cortizone cream on a weekly basis.

9)  Lip balm.  Lots and lots of lip balm.  
Seriously.....if I was stranded on a desert island, this is one thing that I would have to have.  

I have about 153 tubes of Burts Bees "Fig" lip balm in total.  I stash this stuff my jacket pocket, my desk drawer at work, my purse, my car, in Jim's truck.......everywhere!

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Jim has a tube in the pocket of his jeans.  I'm always asking him to carry it for me.  

I've gone waaaayyyy past the obsession phase.

"My name is Charlotte and I'm addicted to lip balm."

Because of my migraines, I can't go without peppermint oil.

My sweet hairdresser turned me on to this Aveda blue oil roller ball several years ago.

If I feel a migraine coming on, I roll this onto the back of my neck, my shoulders and temples.

It works 9 times out of 10.

One more day for the blog challenge!!  See you tomorrow.  💛

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Challenge: Travels

Blog Challenge - Day 29

Great timing! 

 I just finished this page in my bullet journal (click here to read more about the journal).

Some of my favorite USA visits....

High school road trip

My parents took Charlene and I on a two-week road trip to CA and back.  We passed through Colorado and Nevada on the way out.  Through Arizona & New Mexico on the way back.

New York

A long weekend when Garrett was just a baby.

New Mexico

Family trip to Angel Fire. (That's Tracey on the slopes!)


I love the Destin area up in the panhandle.  Those white beaches are amazing.


New Orleans is magical.

Click here to read about my latest visit.

It's always especially exciting to travel OUTSIDE the United States.


Duh!  Favorite trip of all time.

Click here to check it out.


Girls only cruise with Denise, Charlene, Tracey & Mom.


My favorite part was climbing the waterfall in Ocho Rios.

Needless to say, traveling is my favorite past time.  😀

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Challenge: Looking forward

Blog Challenge - Day 28

Jim and I are about to start a new and exciting chapter as empty-nesters.

I'm looking forward to seeing what that looks like.  💜

Next year also brings a few trips I'm really excited about.....

The MS Walk is in the Spring.

I'm hoping Jim and I get to spend some time up north during the summer.

Delanie leaves for college later in the summer and I'm looking forward to checking out the campus.  She first visited the campus in 2014.  It's sweet to look back at that first trip where she fell in love with The Going Band from Raiderland. 

This cutie graduates college in December.  That will be a party to remember!

Lots to look forward to!! 😊

Friday, January 27, 2017

Challenge: Recipe

Blog Challenge - Day Twenty Seven

My all-time favorite recipe comes from Jim's mama, Ruth.

Her homemade mac and cheese is to die for!  In fact, we have it for supper (nothing else, just this gloriously cheesy goodness) several times per month.

If you put this stuff on top of your head, your tongue will beat your brains out trying to get at it.  😉

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Challenge: Oldies

Blog Challenge - Day 26

Throwing all the way back to high school.

This photo of Charlene and I was taken at our graduation in 1987.

It's not the best quality but it's one of my favorites because, even though we are fraternal twins, I can see the resemblance.

Love this girl! 💙

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Challenge: Blogs

Blog Challenge - Day 25

There are several blogs I read on a consistent basis......each for a different reason.

I really like this blog because the blogger lives not far from where we used to live in Texas.  Its a mixture of a family blog and a foodie blog and I really enjoy it.  

Even though this is a fashion blog, the blogger has a great sense of humor and does a fantastic Bachelor/Bachelorette recap each season.

There are a few reasons I love this blog.  What drew me to it at first was her home decorating style.  I love that "cottage farm house" look.  The blogger writes about her adoption journey and it is incredibly moving.  Her husband is a fantastic photographer and I am awed by some of his work.

This one is a tear-jerker.  Click here to read my previous post about it.  It chronicles the life of a country music couple as they battle cancer.  The husband is the blogger and he has a way of writing that just holds you captive.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Challenge: Books

Blog Challenge - Day 24

I can't remember a single book from my childhood.  I can remember absolutely devouring Danielle Steele books during high school (loved the drama!).

Here's a look at the books on deck in my Kindle....

It's kind of a hodge podge of authors/genres.  

Motivation - his podcasts are awesome too!

Romance/drama - I've read everything she's ever written.  


Crime drama - His Alex Cross series is awesome.

Romance - The only thing I don't like about her is that she releases older books under new names for selling purposes.  Kinda aggravating.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Challenge: Dream Job

Blog Challenge - Day 23

I've been lucky to have two careers in my lifetime:  teaching & insurance

Growing up, I never considered being anything other than a teacher.  I loved every year I taught and have the best memories.  

Then the opportunity to learn the insurance industry came at a time in my life that I needed an alternate option.

I really enjoy working for State Farm and especially my agent.

When Jim and I retire down the road, my dream job would be to open a non-profit boutique similar to the one I volunteer for - Art2Heart - up north near Gull Lake.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Challenge: Best things

Blog Challenge - Day 22

Hands down, the best thing that happened this year is our trip to Italy.

The Amalfi Coast was paradise.....relaxing, recharging & soaking up the sunshine.

A day trip to the Isle of Capri left us in awe.

We finished the trip with a week in Rome and brushed up on our history.

Absolutely the best thing that happened this year.  In fact, it makes the top three best of my lifetime!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Challenge: Fave Foods

Blog Challenge - Day 21

Charlene and I were born in New Orleans so it's no surprise that cajun food is my absolute favorite.  In fact, she and I spent as much time in restaurants during our recent trip to NOLA than we did shopping & sight-seeing combined!

Click here to read about our big adventure.


Roast beef po-boys.....

Shrimp creole....

Growing up in Texas solidified my love of chicken fried steak.  

My favorite place in the DFW are is Babe's Chicken.  

Babe's is a casual restaurant that serves family-style.  

You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Challenge: Hard times

Blog Challenge - Day 20

When I think about the hardest time in my life, it's no surprise that it has been the years since my mother died.  

My family has always been extremely close.  So close that it was a big surprise when it shattered after my mom died in 2013.  

It was especially bitter-sweet for me because she and I weren't in the best place at the time.  She was upset with me for moving away.  I'm typing this with a knot in my throat.  

Everyone deals with death differently.  I tend to push the hurt back until it demands to be felt.  When it comes bubbling to the surface, I need to be alone to deal with it.  

In the past, when someone died, I was comforted by the fact that their spirit was still around keeping those they left behind company.  I couldn't tap into that thought this time because I couldn't imagine why she would want to be anywhere near us on Earth when there was so much to see in Heaven.

Slowly but surely, my family is finding their way back to each other.  

These days the good memories are winning over the sad.  I'll take that win! 💙 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Challenge: Collections

Blog Challenge - Day 19

Two things:

College sweatshirts

I can't count the number of college sweatshirts I have.......hundreds (not exaggerating at all!)

Not just any college sweatshirt.  It has to be embroidered with the schools logo.

Jim picks one up several times a year when he travels for work.  

A few of my favorites....

Naval Academy:  My parents bought this one for me in the nineties.
Duke University:  One of Jim's travel souvenirs.

Pepperdine:  I picked this up when I visited Denise (she was travel nursing) in Malibu. 

The kids have given me tons of these beautiful crystal figurines over the years. 

Denise send me the newest limited edition snowflake ornament each year.  

That reminds me......I need to find a curio cabinet to put these suckers in! 😉