just because

will blog more consistently… starting… NOW!

Happy Sunday! Apparently I took a non-intentional hiatus from blogging.. oops. I’ve been busy searching for jobs + apartments for my upcoming move to the city in June!

I’ve seriously been so {hashtag blessed, ya know} — please tell me someone gets my reference from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day — anyway, I’ve been so lucky to work with such incredible nanny families previously and I have been dreading leaving my current (AWESOME) family for fear of working for a crazy family. So after a few weeks of applying for and not loving/not getting nannying jobs, this evening I signed a contract with a family that I cannot wait to work for. They’re nice, young, normal, Catholic (YAY!) people and they have one little boy and are expecting a second babe this fall.

Oh God is so, so good.

So heres to me finally feeling a little more confident that my move is happening + going to be great. And to me blogging more now that things are falling into place.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday :)

xx, Melanie Elizabeth

(And as for the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day reference, I highly recommend seeing that movie. It’s so cute and had me and my faux children (AKA the kids I nanny for) laughing out loud!)

little flower

Stop what you’re doing & take a minute (4min., 26sec. to be exact) to watch this video! Danielle Rose is an incredibly talented, Christian singer that I’ve blogged about once before here. And today, she released her first music video! Danielle’s lovely sister, Aubry, sent me the video the other day and I have watched it 10+ times since then. Each time, I still get chills & tears in my eyes. This video makes me want to hop on the next plane to China and love on all those sweet babes that have no one to love them. THIS IS WORTH WATCHING!

And if you’re like me, and not quiet able to hop on the next plane, here’s another way you can help Little Flower!

xx, Melanie Elizabeth

written on my heart

I have a college degree and I can’t wait to be a wife + mother.

There, I said it.

I haven’t ever wanted to be anything else. God’s written it upon my heart since I was a little girl. Most of the people in my life already know this and have no issue with it. Not that they’re really allowed to have an issue with it, anyway. But for some reason, the rest of the world seems to be completely shocked when I share my career goals with them.

Very recently, as in yesterday recently, in his general audience address, Pope Francis said, “to be a mother is a great treasure. Mothers, in their unconditional and sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies against war.”  I think Pope Francis and I have a very similar thought process when it comes to motherhood, and actually everything else, but specifically motherhood. He went on to say that being a mother is a gift and that through their sacrificing, mothers help society overcome self-centered tendencies. I want nothing more than to experience the gift of motherhood.

As a college student, I had professors and employers tell me to “pick something else” when discussing future jobs. On the first day of a new course, most of the class period was spent having each student share a little about him/herself. We would share the basics like: name, year in school, major, ideal career, and something interesting about yourself. As you can imagine, my ideal career was always wife + mother. And as if that didn’t get enough funny looks, I would always follow it up with, “and something interesting about me is that I was at least 5 kids!” Most of the time the professor would laugh uncomfortably and ask what I wanted as a job, as if I didn’t understand the question. I made sure to restate exactly what I said, “I want to be a wife + mother and raise a family.” After it was clear that I wasn’t confused by the question, the professor would smile and move on to the next student. On one specific assignment, I was asked to find ways to apply things I had learned in my management class to my career of choice. I obviously wrote all about how to effectively use these techniques to manage a home & family and when I received the assignment back, the professors had left a note (along with the A) that read, “Aim higher, young lady!” Had I written that I wanted to be a nurse, would he have told me to aim to be a doctor? Or if I wanted to be a teacher, would he have told me to aim to be the principal? Who was he to tell me that my career path wasn’t high enough?

I’m pretty sure that if we went around the world and asked every mom with a college degree if she’s ever used it while raising her children, the answer would be a yes. Every. Single. Time. And that’s not saying you need a degree to be a wife + mother, but why can’t I apply what I’ve learned in college to raising a family? For a culture that is all about women’s rights and women having it all, we sure are quick to knock a woman wanting her “all” to be a family. I don’t think that every woman is called to motherhood, or that we should shame those who choose a career over family, but I just don’t understand why so many people are still so shocked at the idea of motherhood as a desire and choice. For a society full of pro-choicers, you think they’d accept that my choice is LIFE + family.

I’m not a naive tween waiting around for my prince charming to show up at any moment. I’m not counting down the literal minutes until I get married and start having babies. However, I AM looking forward to the day when God brings the man I will marry into my life. And I AM hoping & praying He blesses that marriage with lots of children. I am trusting in His plan to fulfill the desires He has placed on my heart.

If you want to read a more eloquently written post on the subject of women actually wanting to be mothers and stay-at-home-moms at that, check out Katrina of Cedars and Tiny Flowers. She wrote a beautiful post all about it here.

xx, Melanie Elizabeth

east coast holiday | christmas 2014

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love all the time spent with family and friends. I love the snow. And I don’t care how old I am, I still love opening presents! I love EVERYTHING about it. This year, I spent half of my time with my family in Charlotte and the other half with the Cooleys in Maryland! Here’s a few photos from my trips!

IMG_2730

Someone from Southwest Airlines should hire me, I could blog/post/share my love for this airline all day long! And my love for my sweet friend, Lauren, who dropped me off at the airport on Christmas Eve. First stop, Charlotte! The rest of my family drove down the day before but I think I lucked out with an extra day of work and a quick flight down!

IMG_2735

Christmas is so fun because Nick still brings such a magical, childlike innocence to the Holiday!

10891695_10152550227032894_6622653515811291768_n

I snagged this photo from my sister, Becca. After Christmas, my family spent a few days in Hilton Head. I love that my parents still hold hands when they walk together.

IMG_2755

After grabbing lunch at a super yummy Korean restaurant, Brad, Geena, & I took the littles for ice cream!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

G is the cutest pregnant woman, ever! I can’t wait to see her & Bradley as parents!

IMG_2791

IMG_2815

My godson, Isaiah, is too cute! He’s the sweetest, snuggliest little boy!

IMG_2803

Every year, the Cooleys hold a family meeting before New Years. (Alex blogged about it here.) This year I was able to attend! It’s really nice to take some time before the year ends to reflect on all the great things that happened in the previous year and take a few minutes to think about what you want out of the next year!

IMG_2853

My BFF + sister, Geena Harrington! When I visited Geena and the Cooleys for the first time about ten years ago, Geena & I stood here and took a picture in this same spot. It’s so cool to see all the awesome things God has done in our lives over the last ten years!

IMG_2840

I love this Cooley girl. Ellie always sacrifices her bed for me and never complains about it. She’s also super talented at gymnastics and rummy :)

IMG_2849_2

This is what happens when the Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers both play really big games at the same time. The solo Chargers fan (AKA Bradley) gets stuck watching his game off his computer while all the Ravens fans watched the game on the TV.

IMG_2852

I finished up my Maryland trip with a Ravens win and snuggling Cooley littles on the couch.

IMG_2990

I rang in the New Year with my friend, Lauren, and her brother + his new wife! This girl gets married THIS year!

IMG_3005

And, since my family was still in Charlotte I had to watch Alabama play in the Sugar Bowl by myself. I coped fairly well with my bottle of Veuve and some Crimson Tide Jell-O Jigglers. Sad to see them lose, but excited to watch Oregon beat Ohio on the 12th!

I’m really looking forward to all that 2015 will bring! A new job, a move to the city, baby Harrington, and Lauren’s wedding, to name a few!

Happy, happy 2015!!

xo, Melanie Elizabeth

 

a guide to the (almost) happiest place on earth // AKA Costco

Disclaimer (because that’s what all the cool bloggers do): any and all information being shared in this post is simply my opinion (based on facts, obviously).

I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything, and Costco isn’t any different. I do find myself at Costco at least once a week and I fancy myself quite the cart loading pro; it’s like playing the real life version of Tetris. I would, however, consider my dad extremely savvy in all things Costco and ‘smart shopping’. So, rather than have you listen to an impulsive twenty-something ramble on about how great the rotisserie chicken is (which it is), I’m going to have my dad, a Vice President of a billion dollar business, share the ins and the outs of Costco.

QUICK TIPS

  • The best way to maximize a Costco membership is to work off what my dad calls a ‘pantry system’, meaning you purchase well-priced items today and store them until needed.
  • Costco has a monthly coupon book. While some of the items are only a one time sale, more common household items, like toothbrushes, toothpaste, paper plates, laundry detergent, and vitamins are part of a regular rotation. (added bonus-these coupons are instant savings, so you don’t need the actual coupon!)
  • The quality of their products is second to none, whether it be their food, clothing, or beauty products.
  • Additionally, they have phenomenal deals on local restaurants and attractions. Our Costco sells $100 gift cards to restaurants for only $80 and a $70 experience to Indoor Skydiving for only $40.

BEST BUYS- here are the things we ALWAYS buy from Costco

  • Food

    • the fruit is great quality for a really good price is you don’t mind buying the large quantity
    • the meat is some of the best we’ve ever had, same with the seafood
    • the Kirkland milk is rBGH free and compared to our local grocers one of the best prices for a hormone free milk
    • the bulk canned vegetables/fruit are a great value and if you don’t use all of the item right away, it can be bagged and frozen
    • prepared meals in the refrigerated section like mac & cheese, meat loaf & mashed potatoes, and fettuccine alfredo
    • frozen meals in the freezer section, obviously. The Kirkland frozen cheese pizza is a seriously great deal, you get 4 really yummy cheese pizzas for $9.99. Also, the frozen chicken breast is a great way to buy bulk and be able to pull out of your freezer as you need it
  • Household items

    • Kirkland paper towels/toilet paper– both are great quality and a good deal
    • Kirkland paper plates
    • Kirkland bar soap
    • toothbrushes/toothpaste
    • feminine products
  • Alcohol

    • Consistently a great buy. Their beers are not always the cheapest price, but their wine selection is top notch and very reasonably priced.
    • Veuve– today, Costco was selling a bottle for $41 and the local grocery store sells it for $52
    • my momma (who is always my dad’s shopping partner and arm candy) also loves the Mionetto prosecco, which Costco sells for $9.99
  • Miscellaneous

    • electronics– we’ve bought multiple laptops from Costco and have been very happy with our purchases
    • housewares– most recently we bought a kitchen sink that is not only beautiful, but was really simple to install on our own. We also bought a Dyson Vacuum over ten years ago and they replaced it for us a few years ago after it stopped working

After spending the morning at Costco with my dad, I secretly (and not so secretly, now) wished that all members could spend thirty minutes with him to get a really quick, awesome understanding of all that Costco has to offer. And anyone who finds this post at all helpful can thank Katrina, from Cedars and Tiny Flowers, for the gentle push to rack my dad’s brain for a quick guide!

Happy, happy Saturday! Roll Tide, Bama!

xx, Melanie Elizabeth

glorious impulsiveness

I am impulsive. Very, very impulsive. Thankfully, I have yet to make a negative, life-altering decision based solely on an impulse, but most (if not all) of my decisions are impulsive. Here’s a prime example: A few months ago I wanted a car so I drove to the car dealership and drove off the lot with the first (and only) car I looked at. In my defense, I did negotiate the price and was happy with what I ended up paying, but by no means did I do any research or give this pretty important decision much thought.

I attribute much of my impulsiveness to my sanguine temperament. If you don’t know much about temperaments, I suggest taking a look at this wikipedia article. Don’t look too much into it, I can’t guarantee that it’s all right, but it does a decent job of explaining the four temperaments briefly. You can thank me later for the wikipedia lesson. While most people are predominately one personality type with traces of the other three, I could almost bet my life that if there was some blood test to prove it, I would be 99.9999% sanguine. Here’s a few of the many sanguine characteristics: bubbly personality, better talker than listener, IMPULSIVE, expressive, spontaneous, touchy-feely… the list goes on & on. I could quite literally be a case study for anyone looking for a better explanation of what a sanguine person looks like. Some famous examples are Bill Clinton, Robin Williams, Kelly Ripa, and Richard Simmons. None of whom I’m absolutely dying to be like when I grow up. They do say that Peter, ‘upon this rock I will build my church’ Peter, was also sanguine. Example A- Peter assured Jesus that he was ready to die for Him, only to deny him a few hours later. And still, Jesus made him the first pope. So obviously us sanguines have something to bring to the table. Which was why I started to write this post in the first place. This is how God made me, in all my glorious impulsiveness. Most of the time I can only think of the negative traits of my sanguine personally; like not being able to complete a task before getting totally swept away by another fleeting thought or idea or getting bored when I’m alone. So this week, I’m going to focus on finding the positives of this crazy personally God gave me. Like, the part of me that is so spontaneous and loves to just go with the flow. Or the part of me that is quick to forgive and forget; this part of me makes friendships and relationships much easier!

In all honestly, I love being impulsive! I love being able to make a decision without having to take forever to think about it. I also love my less impulsive friends (ahem, Liz), for begin able to walk me through my own jumbled, crazy thoughts.

(and as always, I’m looking for His will in my impulsiveness)

xo, Melanie Elizabeth

firmly planted friendships

(G and her bridal party; women who inspire me daily. photo shamelessly stolen from Katrina.)

 

I was in middle school when my mom told me, “show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are,” or something to that notion. As a twelve year old little girl, I had absolutely no idea how true this would ring throughout my life!

Earlier in the week, I received a text from a dear friend of mine, Angela, saying she was going to be in town over the weekend! I haven’t seen Angela since I was in high school, so I jumped at the opportunity to see her! Angela was my youth group leader my sophomore year, and she rocked. I can’t imagine how difficult her job was; Katie & I were not as in to our weekly meetings as we should’ve been, and we used the time to discuss our latest gossip rather than the gospel like we were supposed to. Angela always figured out a way to reel us back in each time and give us some sort of advice or reflection. I’m so thankful for her.

As I sat at dinner last night with Angela, her sweet sister, Anna, from In Honor of Design, and a few of their friends, I couldn’t help but thank God for placing such incredible women in my life! I really only knew Angela, and was meeting the rest of the girls for the first time, but it felt like I had known them for years. All of us are at different stages of our lives; Anna is a wife & mother, one of the other girls was newly married, and the rest of us were either single or just dating. Ordinarily, having such a random group of women meet for the first time would make for an awkward night; however, this was different. All these women shared a real love for The Lord and the conversations were beautiful. They were honest conversations about dating, work, marriage, and motherhood. You name it, we talked about it. Oh, it was so good!

The older I get, the more I have realized that when you have a true friendship with someone, and they have similar friendships with their friends, mixing groups of friends is easy. Take Geena’s bridal party for example, we were 5 friends and a whole bunch of sisters, and thats A LOT of different personalities mixing. But because we all shared a common love for Christ and Brad & Geena, we all got along so well. Between the 5 of her friends that stood up in her wedding, none of us live near each other. Cullen is all the way out West, in California, I’m in Chicago, Tara is in Philli, Liz in DC, and Theresa is in NY; but when we get together it feels like we’ve grown up together, like we were childhood friends that have been reunited. In reality, we rarely see each other and some of us have only known each other for a few short months.

The same thing goes for friends that I have known forever, and for the ones I’ve made more recently at college. The friendships that have lasted are the ones that have something deeper to them. We may have had commonalities at first, like being roommates or classmates, but the friendships that survived (ugh, for lack of a better word) are the ones that are rooted in something bigger. Sometimes, you may have nothing in common with someone, and God still turns an awkward walk around the park into a beautiful, eleven year and counting friendship.

The point in making, in case my rambling isn’t very clear, is that when you have a friendship planted firmly in Christ, it’s easy. The conversations flow, friends mingle so well, and days may pass without talking but there’s this deep love that doesn’t need daily talks, just an understanding that no matter what happens you’ll be the first one to answer a phone call or say a quick prayer in a time of need. And I don’t know about you, but to me, those are the BEST friendships.