Monday, October 22, 2012

Keep Calm & Baking On...

Lately I have had the urge to bake...
So I made these...
Chocolate cupcakes with peppermint icing and sprinkled with candy cane. 
Now I want to make these...

**Please note the hint of Christmas... Oh I can't wait for Christmas and all the baking that I have planned!!**
Btw you can find all these lovely treats on my Pinterest page!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunshine & lollipops...

Somedays you have good days,
Other days you have just wish the day would start over.
When friends go though a hard time, 
All you want to do is try and cheer them up or just give them a hug.
But when they are far away it makes it a bit harder.

So thanks to an awesome idea off Pinterest,
I was able to sending a bright birthday present to my awesome cousin and friend.

Now that she has received the package I can share it.
I hope it brought a smile to her face.

I had fun making this package!
Can't to make another care package.

Monday, October 15, 2012

General Conference Quotes...

Oh how I LOVE General Conference!
The talks are always so powerful and inspirational.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from October 2012 General Conference:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Life Is Like A Bicycle

Last Saturday I became the proud owner of this beautiful vintage style beach cruiser.
I have fallen in love with this bike from the moment that I first rode it.
I love the basket on the front, it is extremely handy.
I look forward to going for more rides in the future.
Perfect way to discover Brisbane!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Things That Make Me Smile...

Pinterest has been a great means of entertain myself over the last few days at work in quiet moments.
Hope you enjoy these random but fun things

 This would be so much fun to do!!
 I really want the library!
 I wish I could do this at my work!!
So true!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Tonight I randomly found some voice memos in my itunes library.
These memos were created in June 2011 by a dear friend.
I was such a joy to discover these tonight,
They made me laugh so much remember the good times that we have had.
I am so grateful for her friendship,
Even though we are miles away form each other,
I know that we are still as close as ever and that we are there for each other.
I can't wait for November to come so that we can hang out in person!
Oh the fun that we will have, and all the laughter!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet & Simple...

And straight to the point...
I am not perfect,
I am just a girl trying to improve her life and be a better person.
I love my faith and I am proud to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The weekend was General conference in Salt Lake.
Over the next week and mainly next weekend I get to listen to the words of the Prophet and the apostles.
General conference is my favourite two times of the year. (One is in April and one in October.) 
I love listening to the words of guidance, I always find that I am uplifted and look forward to what the future has to bring.

I hope you all have a great weekend.
And if you have a spare moment this week, then I invite each of you to take a moment to listen to General Conference, trust me you will find it inspiring.
You can find all the talks and highlights on the Church's YouTube channel.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What Been Happening...

I have officially been in Brisbane for a month now. I am still loving Brisbane.
It was great this month to have a quick fly in visit from Kat! And the presents she brought with her were amazing!
I am glad to be getting settled into my new flat, I am so glad to have a space to call my own. The first thing that I did to make the space my own was to create a Polaroid heart with photos taken of some of my awesome friends.
There are some many other things that I want to do to my little space, Pinterest is great for so many ideas!
My aim this month is to discover and to step out of my comfort zone.

Do you have instagram?? 
If so leave me a comment with your username so that I can follow you :)
Mine is jess_barnes22

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Blogger: Jessica

Next blogger up is Jessica from Faith Permeating Life.

My husband and I had been talking for over a year about moving to the West Coast from Chicago when an opportunity presented itself at the right time. My husband was tired of his job as a restaurant manager and had always wanted to become a residence hall director on a college campus, and as soon as he started looking at jobs out west, he found and landed a hall director job perfectly suited for him. 
So I quit my job, we packed up a moving truck, and we spent five days driving across the country. You can find my tips for moving across the country on my blog.

We've now been here almost three months, and Jess asked me to talk about getting out of my comfort zone, meeting new people, and discovering new places in our new city, which for the purposes of my semi-anonymous blog I call Whoville.

I'll be honest that some things are working in my favor here, more so than when we were starting out our married life in Chicago. Being on a college campus again means a built-in community, both with people somewhat younger than us (our residents) and with those around our age and older (the other hall directors). Also, I've been able to take my time in finding a new job out here, so I've actually had time to get out and explore Whoville.

But even before we left Chicago, I had started to make more of an effort to get out and meet new people, something that's tough for a natural introvert and homebody like myself. I was able to bring those same skills to Whoville, where I've surprised even myself at how much I've been out and about these past few months. I'll share with you a few of the approaches I've taken to better connect with the Whoville community, so that whether you're new to an area or just want to break out of your shell a bit more, you can have some concrete steps for making it happen.

Learn the public transportation system I refuse to drive in any city, both because of the stress of being surrounded by other cars and pedestrians and because of the cost (and difficulty) of parking. But I'll admit that public transportation makes me nervous -- I hate not knowing where to pay, where to stick my card, where to stand, etc. What I've come to accept, though, is that the first time I use any kind of public transportation, I'm going to look like a clueless idiot and probably irritate some people with my ignorance. After that, I'll have a better idea what to do, and before long, I'll be a pro who sighs and rolls my eyes at those clueless idiots using the train or bus for the first time. My advice if you live somewhere with public transit: Accept that ignorance and embarrassment the very first time is a small price to pay for getting access to a system that can take you wherever you want to go. and
I never really got into Meetup when we were in Chicago because we lived out in the suburbs where there were rarely any events going on, and I hated staying late in the city after work and having to take a super-late train home. However, it's been a fantastic resource for me here in Whoville. You join groups that match your interests or demographics (e.g., I'm in one for women in their 20s and 30s), and then you can opt to receive an e-mail whenever one of your groups schedules a new event. Not only do you have the chance to meet new people who have something in common with you, but it gives you a reason to check out new places in the city, whether it's a museum, a park, or a restaurant.

Speaking of restaurants, Grubwithus is one way I started meeting new people in Chicago. (It's not in every city yet, but they're constantly expanding.) Someone organizes a meal, you pay a set price ahead of time (including tax and tip), and then you simply show up, present your ticket, and enjoy a meal with people you've never met before. I love it because it provides an organized environment in which to meet and talk with people with a set endpoint (the end of the meal), as well as a chance to possibly try out a new restaurant. Meals are family style or provide a choice from among a few entrees, and if you order drinks you'll get an individual bill at the end of the meal.

I found out about Grubwithus from Rachel at MWF Seeking BFF on her post about friendmaking services, which has several more options (some are Chicago only), and I'm sure there are even more of these types of sites out there, possibly some specific to your city!

One great and easy way I've met new people here is through volunteering. Most of the volunteer opportunities I've done have actually been events, though there are many different ways to get involved in volunteering. One that I attend regularly is volunteering at the local food bank, where you sit around these giant tubs of donated food with a few other people and bag or box up the food while chatting with the other people at your tub. It doesn't have to be an ongoing commitment, though -- even volunteering to work at a one-day local event can be an opportunity to meet new people. A great site for finding volunteer opportunities in your local area is

Find professional contacts using LinkedIn
This is a tip I got from Ramit Sethi at Since I've been job-seeking, this has been especially important for me, but it's also a way to make new professional contacts even if you're currently working full time. Ramit suggests being introduced by a mutual contact where possible, but the vast majority of contacts I've made have been completely cold, and it hasn't been a problem. Here's what I do: Go on LinkedIn and search for job titles similar to what I'm looking for or for organizations I'm interested in. Find someone I want to talk to who works near where I live. Go on the organization's website and find the person's e-mail address. Send them a short e-mail saying that I'm new in town, I worked in such-and-such field in Chicago, and I'm interested in the work they're doing. Would they be willing to meet with me over coffee to have a short chat about their work?

So far I've only had one person not respond -- everyone else has responded enthusiastically, made time for me, and given me incredibly valuable information about getting plugged into the right networks, professional organizations, etc. in the area, as well as suggesting other people to talk to. People to whom I was a complete stranger the day before are offering to look out for job openings for me and recommend me to their colleagues. It might feel awkward to send an e-mail to some random person you've never met, but believe me, it works amazingly well.

Those are my tips for meeting new people and checking out new places in your city. What tips do you have?

 --- Jessica blogs at Faith Permeating Life, where you're invited to join discussions about big issues like on marriage, faith, sex, and happiness. You can also find her as keepbabbling on Twitter.

Thank you Jessica for sharing you awesome advice!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guest Blogger: Brittany

Today's blogger is the gorgeous Brittany!

Hi GWC readers!  My name is Brittany, and I'm so happy to be guest posting for Jess today.  As the wife of an Army Veteran, I've done plenty of moving (I've actually lived in 3 separate states within a 6 month period- crazy!), the details of which you could read about on my blog Delightfully Awkward.   

One of the most important things you can do to adjust to a big move actually needs to happen BEFORE you ever hit the road- RESEARCH!  Find out absolutely everything you can about the area that you are moving to.  My husband and I knew for quite a while that we were headed to Colorado Springs, Colorado and spent months getting our hands on as much information as possible about that part of the country.  There are several different ways to do this- one obvious one is the internet.   

There are websites dedicated specifically to military moves which I utilized, but I have found several civilian equivalents since separating from the military.  Utilize Google to the best of your ability and find message boards, Facebook pages, etc surrounding the new city or region for candid personal recommendations.  I'm not suggesting to ignore state/city tourism pages- those are GREAT resources for major events and places to visit.  But you need to pad out those special and unique events with day to day information such as school systems, common traffic patterns, the best local restaurants, tattoo parlors- whatever it is that is that you consider a necessity.  Also, be sure to take in to consideration the more mundane, but incredibly important, factors like...climate!  Moving from North Carolina to Texas wasn't much of a shock- maybe slightly dryer but not noticeably so.  Colorado, however, was a complete culture shock.  North Carolina is very hot and humid, with a low elevation (my hometown was around 500 feet above sea level).  While Colorado does get quite hot in the summer, it's much drier and it's elevation tops 5,000 feet.  Not to mention the winters can be brutally cold (-16 not counting wind chill) and include several feet of snow.  These differences have a huge impact on your life- it should affect your choice in vehicles, clothes, etc.  Prepare yourself in ALL ways possible.

Next, spread the word about your move!  Make sure that EVERYONE you know is aware of where you're headed- you'd be surprised who might be able to give you tips about your new location.  Two unexpected sources of information for the move to Colorado- a former pastor and former high school teacher, who had both visited the region!  Along with warnings about how the elevation (which basically translates to lower oxygen levels in the air) can have such drastic effects, we were pointed in the direction of Garden of the Gods- a great park that is one of my favorite places to spend time to this day. 

Once you're settled in the new place, it's time for step two- getting out of your comfort zone to experience new things and meet new people!  I am the textbook example of an introvert, so this is the difficult part for me.  I mean, my blog title is Delightfully Awkward so clearly I realize how odd I can come off...and I worry that not everyone will find it delightful!  However, sometimes you just have to push yourself out of that comfortable little box we can sometimes put ourselves in.  Don't just rush into a situation that won't make you happy, though.  Sit down and think about what your interests are, and then find out what your new town has to offer within that genre.  Do you have/like pets?  Check out the local dog park or volunteer at the local shelter.  Are you into crafts/DIY?  Take a class offered at a store like Michael's or Jo-Ann's.  Huge sports fan?  Head to a local Buffalo Wild Wings or sports bar and strike up a conversation with whoever is cheering for the same team!  This way, you are still getting an enjoyable experience while maximizing the opportunity to meet people who share a common interest.  The most important part of this step, though, is the FOLLOW-THROUGH.  If you meet someone at that class, exchange numbers or twitter handles.  While it's a weird way to put it, I think sometimes people (and by people I really mean myself) expect friendship to just happen and sometimes we need to put effort into it the same way we would put effort into dating.  Make people aware that you're interested in getting to know them and being their friend- do some platonic flirting!  Be your most appealing and friendly self- the adjustment to your new location will be so much easier if you have a support system in place.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Blogger: Kristine

Today I am celebrating 1 month since I have moved to Brisbane.
And to celebrate I have a couple great guest bloggers.
They are going to share with you tips on moving city
How to set up a new life, meet new people and discover the city.

First I would like to introduce you to Kristine.
She is the blogger behind Just The Way I Am

Here is Kristine to tell her a bit about her....

I am originally from New York and moved to Arizona right after I graduated college.  Well, technically I moved to Arizona twice.  The first time was during my sophomore year in college.  My parents moved here and my dad convinced me to go with them instead of finishing school in New York.  I was very closed minded to this change and I had a miserable time so I went back to New York a year later.  After I graduated school, I was ready to move on with my life and decided to come back.  This time I was more open minded for the change but it was still not easy.  I started blogging during that time and 3 years later here I am!  I went from college graduate, ballroom dance instructor, my first long term relationship (two years long!) to a single 26 year old still trying to find her path.  This has actually been the hardest, biggest self-discovery year of my life but I can get through anything as long as I’ve got my blog!

Here are Kristine's tips...

1.      Be open to new things.  This biggest thing you need to know is nothing will ever compare to home and that could be good or bad.  Stop saying, “In ­­­­_______, this was so much better.”  The harsh reality is you are not there anymore so get over it.   Hold onto your home town memories and be open to what your city has to offer.  If people are really into bike riding, going to dog parks, or town fairs…go to them!  If people invite you to something you have never done before, try it and be opening minded.  The worst that can happen is that you realize it isn’t for you and that is ok.  Best case scenario, you win big and have fun.

2.     See what the city has to offer.  We have a site here called “AZ Central”.  It informs you on all the cool events taking place in Arizona.  From plays, art shows, concerts, grand openings of restaurants and clubs, top 10 summer/fall places to go…it has everything! See if your new home has a resource where you can find out what are the happenings of your town or city.  You would be surprised on what type of fun a small town offers, so don’t get into this rut of “there is nothing to do here”.  Go out and do some research.  When you find that resource, pick one that sounds interesting and make it a point to go.  Go as far as to make a pact with yourself to do something new once a month or more if you like.  It gives you the chance to have some fun, get out of the house and take advantage of what your new city has to offer.  Go with a co-worker, a neighbor or even by yourself!  You would be surprised what things you can enjoy even though you are alone. 

3.     Be the first to make a move.  As I get older I realized how much harder it is to make friends and moving to a new city makes it even tougher.  If you aren’t going to school, don’t have kids in school or don’t even have a job it seems nearly impossible to make friends.   God forbid you are shy, it feels like absolutely torture.  However, when you meet someone that you feel you could get along with, ask them out!  If you are going to wait to be invited to something, you are going to be waiting a while.  The reality of the situation is, this person probably already has friends and they are comfortable with their surroundings.  Not everyone you meet is going to think, “Hey, she is new.  Let me see if she wants to join me and the girls for brunch.”  And I wouldn’t take it personal if they don’t automatically start including you in their fun, they probably don’t realize how tough it is to be the new person in town.  So start asking them out to things.  Once you start making an effort to form a friendship, it will be reciprocated in no time.

4.      Trust your instincts. This is major!  You will start to eventually meet a lot of new people but don’t be desperate for dates and friends.  I once went out with this guy even though I really didn’t want to.  My thought process was “I don’t know anyone; I never have dates, why not?”  Sometimes you don’t need to have a solid answer to not do something.  If your instincts are telling you no, then listen.  It was probably the worst date I had ever been on because of my paranoid nature.  There were so many red flags throughout that date and I am still to this day convinced that this guy was high on coke.  Not kidding.  When meeting new people, if you have a bad feeling about something then go with it.  Remember, things will slowly fall into place but you have to be patient and you can afford to pass on an invite if it means not putting yourself in a bad situation.

5.     Blog about it! The whole reason I started my blog was because I moved.  I graduated school, didn’t have a job, lived with my parents and felt so alone.  Adjusting to a new home, in a new city, far away from comfort is very hard; at least it was for me.  Blogging helped me connect with people when it was so hard to do it in my real world.  I never knew the type of friends I could meet through blogging and it is so fun to look back in my blog and to see how far I have come in life.  My blog is like my own reality show and I’m the star!

Thanks for stopping by Kristine!
And for the awesome tips!
Be sure to check out Kristine's awesome blog!