A Masquerade Ball

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Masquerade Ball in Chicago.  We heard about it through my husband's work.  They offered to pay for any employee who wanted to attend the affair, so we decided why not?  

Since our friend Dan lives in Chicago, and well, he's a blast to hang out with, we decided to ask him and my sister if they would like to get all shnazzed up and wear some masks for a good cause.  Here's what we ended up with.  

I was really happy with how our outfits turned out.  Since being out of college and not able to attend formals or high school dances anymore- it is always fun to find a reason to buy a new dress and get prettied up.  So I decided to go all out.  I found a fabulous dress on sale at the BCBG Maxxaria Outlet, found the boys' masks at Party City (they don't need fancy ones being boys right?), and found the masks for my sister and me at Pier 1, surprisingly.  Although the price for the masks was a bit more than I wanted to spend- it was definitely worth it to feel like the bell of the ball.  

When we arrived, I must admit the event did not seem as elaborate as I expected.  But maybe I have watched a few too many episodes of Gossip Girl and was expecting far too much.  With that said, immediately upon arrival there were cameras flashing at the guests arriving- so it was fun to walk through the doors and feel like you were someone special.  After walking in, we scoped out the room to find silent auction items lined up along the left wall, a dance floor and DJ in the middle, and a photobooth and later hot dog stand (random) along the other side of the room and then of course, there were two bars in the back.  Naturally, being an event with an open bar- the bar areas were quite crowded.  

We decided to grab a glass of wine and make our debut in the photobooth right away.  Here are a few of the shots that made it onto the website.  

After hitting up the photobooth and wandering around a bit more, we decided to visit the bar again to grab a new cocktail.  [I must be honest and say that open bars can be a very tempting thing.  I'm sure they're not as alluring for everyone, but being that in college I may or may not have gotten caught up in that "fun world" of drinking for longer than I'd like to admit- there's a small part of me that jumps out and says OPEN BAR? woohooo!  Even though it doesn't have the same draw that it did in the past, because God has transformed that area of my life, I'm still human.  I mean, free drinks? there's got to be a small part of everyone that finds that tempting.]  Okay- enough said... now back to the fun.

One of my favorite things to do at a social event is people watch.  To simply sit back and observe (without being creepy), wondering what people are talking about, where they came from, what they're drinking, it can be so much fun!  My sister and I are practically pro-people watchers.  In the midst of one of our spurts we noticed a cameraman following around a couple girls throughout the night.  After some time, our curiosity got the best of us and my sister got the full scoop.  Have you ever heard of Jerseylicious?  Apparently it is a reality tv - Jersey Shore-esque- type of show.  And now they are starting one called Chicagolicious.  Apparently they decided that a Masquerade Ball would be an appropriate environment for the debut show.  Man, that was interesting to find out.  It definitely answered my question as to why the cameramen were only following the two girls who were wearing the least; one of them was basically wearing some form of a leather jacket with it zipped up halfway to reveal her lacey bra and not so modest fake breasts.  

After a lot of people watching, some dancing, a second visit to the photobooth, the event was coming to a close.  So we grabbed a few more pictures- to make sure to capture the fun of the evening and headed on our way.  Attending this Masquerade Ball made me realize how much fun it is to attend events like this.  It also makes me wonder why we don't do things like this more often?  Why aren't there more balls?  In highschool and college, there seemed to always be fun events going on- someone was always planning something.  Why does this seem to slow down quite a bit when you're an adult? If I could have it my way, (and money were no issue) I would plan lots of fun events: from Masquerade Balls, to Murder Mystery Dinners, to Trivia Nights, to Black-tie Galas.  But I guess, until I either win the jackpot or find myself hired by a fabulous event-planning company, I will have to scrounge the internet to find fun events going on that I can attend.  

For now, I will admire the photos, and fondly remember the fun night we had- and do it all over again when I find the Next Big Thing. 
Here's a few more photos... Enjoy

Just a verse that's jumping out at me today: "So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.  Walk in all the way that the Lord has commanded you so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess."

A bit uninspired?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The other day I ran across someone's facebook status that said this, "[I say there is no such thing as a lazy person; he's either sick or uninspired. If a person is sick, he should go to his doctor. If he's uninspired, there are several things he should do. He should read and re-read this book, listen to motivational speakers, and associate with inspirational people. - Zig Ziglar, "See You At The Top."] And I totally related to it!  Mainly the first part about a lazy person basically just being a sick or uninspired person.  And since I am not sick, I must say that I am feeling a bit uninspired.  I am not sure what my next step in life is, but it is reassuring to think that if I can just get inspired, then I can make it happen.  Isn't that the truth though?  If you didn't have anything to get up for in the morning, wouldn't you be really tempted to just stay in bed?  Well that's kind-of what it feels like to be uninspired- it feels like a lack of motivation to get going because there seems to be no direction in which to move.  
To inspire means 
a : to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration
b : to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on <was particularly inspired by the Romanticists>c : to spur on : impelmotivate <threats don't necessarilyinspire people to work>d : affect <seeing the old room again inspired him with nostalgia

That's what I need- to be influenced, to be spurred on, to be affected.  That is my goal from here on out.  To trust that God is going to inspire me, to guide me as He does and to be proactive in finding and following things that get me moving! 

"The Lord God himself will fight for you"

Friday, February 24, 2012

My good friend Nicole, whose blog I have linked as "another fabulous blog", and I have decided to read Deuteronomy together.  [And by together I mean, we both read it at the same time, from across the country- we do not live in the same state.] It is a way to hold each other accountable to getting in the Word.  I am thankful that she picked this book because so far it has been a good journey.  Check out her free writing blog to hear some thoughts she has about her journey.

Today I was reading Deuteronomy 3- and there was a verse that jumped out and spoke to my heart.  Deuteronomy 3:22 says, "Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you."  The context of the verse is Moses speaking to Joshua reassuring him that God has given him the land across the Jordan and that he need not be afraid.  In Deuteronomy, Moses describes the journey that God lead them on in the desert- and he goes through the different accounts where God delivers people and land to the Israelites.  What is super cool is that God is not just protecting Joshua and Moses and the Israelites, but he protects all his people.  He says, "Do not provoke them [referring to the descendants of Esau] to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on."  Then later he says, "Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land.  I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession."  And then in verse 2:31 he says, "See I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you.  Now begin to conquer and possess his land."  God is totally watching over His people- protecting them- providing them with land and guiding them in the way that they should go. 

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to experience God in the way that Moses and Joshua did.  To literally have God say to you "I will give you this country", that would be nuts wouldn't it?  But what's crazy to think about is that our God is not changing.  He still protects us and delivers us and fights for us.  It amazes me how God really does fight for us.  

I find that particularly reassuring right now because I am a little frustrated (to put it lightly) with a situation my husband has been put in at work.  Without being mean and sharing everything that's been going on... he has been working his tail off and does a great job at it- and is still getting pounded and in my opinion not treated very nicely or getting the recognition he deserves. He basically has not slept in weeks- (seriously- he came home at 7 am to sleep for 2 hours today).  OKay- I'm getting distracted.  My point is- I would like to bust into that place and give someone the "How to and what for" and tell them what I really think of how things are going and fight for my husband.  Upon reading verse 22 "the Lord your God himself will fight for you" - it gave me a sense of peace.  In all reality, I know that me going in and having a hissy fit wouldn't do anything for us- but sometimes that's all I wanna do.  [I actually played over in my head what an argument with one of his superiors might look like- don't worry, I of course had the last word ;)].  It is so good to be reminded, that I am not the only one that wants the best for and is willing to fight for my husband.  I know that God has this situation in control and because He loves my husband and calls him his own, He will in fact fight for him.  The struggle that I must deal with is trusting in that and letting God have control of it.  

I am so thankful for the reminder of how God protected His people way back in the day; And I am so thankful that He STILL protects and fights for His people.  God is good- and I will cling to that verse, try to let go of my anger, and know that the Lord God himself will fight for what's in his will for ME.

Cute Clutter?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

So I have decided that one of my favorite things to do is go antique-ing.  But when I say antique-ing, I am not talking about the kind where you go and spend $175.00 on a mirror.  I am talking about the kind of scrounging through many consignment shops, and antique shops to find a treasure for a great deal.  I have always had a love for "old" things, but it wasn't until recently that I really started to enjoy it.  For the centerpieces at my reception, we gathered silver pieces (tea pots, tea cups, trays, vases, etc.) that were then filled with flowers in different arrangements on each of the tables.  This was actually a lot of fun to do because I got to do a lot of antique-ing.  And now I love to look for items for decorating the home!  My goal is to stay in the range of "cute clutter" and not cross the line to "cluttery crap"- so please do tell me if I've indeed crossed that line.  :)

One of my favorite places to look is Samara's Garden.  It has a mix of both expensive pieces as well as great finds and steals.  I just recently grabbed a few frames from them.  And then- I grabbed one of my latest projects.  It is a door - probably a part of a french door and I got it for $3.00.  :)  I was very excited about it.  The top of the door is open, and the bottom still has the piece of glass intact.  It is a work in progress and I am trying to decide what I think of it at this point.  Here it is! 

One of my favorite aspects of the door is the keyhole!!  I used to love collecting old keys when I was little, so I absolutely loved this.  

What I did was buy "wire nails," pretty much the smallest kind, and some thin wire.  Then I tapped the nails into the back of the door and strung the wire across and wrapped it around the nails.  
Here you can see one of the nails with the wires wrapped around.

And here's the final product!  I actually staggered the wire, so that every other row is a little bit in front of the other.  This allowed me to fit a few more pictures on the wire.  My goal is to eventually find some smaller clothespins so it doesn't take up as much space, but this will do for now.  

I am looking forward to doing other projects around the home- Pinterest is very inspiring for this.  But for now, here are a few more of my cheap antique-ing treasures!! Enjoy.

I found this mirror for $8.00- isn't it stunning?
Okay, so I might be obsessed with random frame/photo walls-
but I just love them!  I love the look of the empty vintage frame,
which I got for $10.00!! (And yes, I do need to still fill that other frame,
but you get the picture...hah get it?).

Until next time... 

Endure vs. Enduring Love

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I have been thinking a lot, over the past few days, about what it means to endure.  At church on Sunday, the pastor spoke on 1 John 2:12-17 with the title of Love that Overcomes.  (you can check out the sermon here)  It was a great message, but there was one part in specific that stuck out to me and that was about having enduring character.

I don't know about you, but I feel like the word "endure" has a negative connotation.  For me it puts a sour taste in my mouth; it reminds me of the icky difficult times in life where someone has had to encourage me to "hang in there!" or "stick it out!" Literally- ENDURE! Ugh- I hate that.  When you're in a hard place, you never want to hear hang in there- you want someone to affirm you in your frustrations and say- "yeah, man totally- get out of there! bail bail bail!"  But that's almost never the right thing to do.  

To endure, by definition, means "to carry on through, despite hardships; undergo" or "to bear with tolerance."  The more I think about it, isn't that really what life is in entirety?  Aren't we simply to endure- through it all?  Maybe I am speaking as a bit of a negative nancy because I feel like I am being challenged in this area of enduring in several instances in my life right now.  Here's a little snippet of what's going on in my world of enduring.  

My husband works at a job in the investment banking world; this is not your average run of the mill job where you work 40-50 hours a week and come home to your wife for dinner, spend the weekend relaxing.  No no, this job is hard core.  Last week, he worked 95 hours.  Let me say it one more time so you actually believe me 95 hours.  That is not normal nor is that okay in my opinion, I don't believe that is how God created us to operate.  This has been very difficult for both me and my husband.  I love him, so of course I want to be able to see him more- I don't want to be sitting at home wondering if he is going to be home for dinner only to find out he will actually be working until 5:00 a.m.  But then I need to expand my perspective and think of how it affects him.  He is living in a world of expectations; what I expect of him as a husband, what his boss expects of him, and what he himself expects.  And that is exhausting.  He barely gets any sleep.  He had maybe 12 hours off this past weekend.  He is spent- and yet I am so proud of him because he just keeps plugging along.  He, right now, is a perfect example for me of what it means to endure.  

So as you might now see, when the pastor said something in reference to having enduring character- I seriously chuckled to myself a little bit because I feel like that is the story of my life right now.  And to be honest- the idea of enduring right now just makes me wanna barf.  But then I am challenged because this is exactly what God is asking us to do.  It is exactly what Christ did for us on the cross.  He didn't say, "no way God- I'm not doing this, I'm not carrying on through this whipping and being nailed to the cross- I'm out."  He stuck it out, he literally hung in there for our sakes.  And that's where I think the word endure takes a turn.  

As I was thinking about what endure means and thinking about all the negative aspects, it made me think- well why do we say that God has enduring love then?  How can one really good thing- be mixed with something that feels so heavy!  And then it hit me.  When you combine the word endure with love it becomes a whole other matter.  Enduring love is awesome.  Enduring love is a love that carries on through despite hardships, no matter what.  That is the love that God has for us - and it's what God is asking us to do; to have enduring love for him and to have enduring love for those around us.  

That is super hard.  Last night I got in an argument with someone very dear to me and it was just icky.  And all I could think of during the argument was endure, endure, endure.  And when you are angry that is not something that you want to hear.  I really wanted to chuck the phone across the room- but I didn't because I love her and I want to show that enduring love that God loves me with, to her.  I want to be a demonstration that I will love others through all the hardships, through all the ick, and not run the other way when difficulty arises.  

I feel like this post took a turn from what I originally thought it was going to be.  I thought I was going to write about what enduring looks like and how we need to lean into our awesome God who has an enduring love for us, so that we might be able to endure through the tough stuff.  (how many times have I said endure in this post? hah).  But what I feel like has come out of this is the reminder that- having enduring love is such a tricky thing, and yet isn't that the mark of a believer?  In John 13:35 Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  

Moral of the story: I need to endure in more ways than one.  I need to endure through this heavy time with my husband working all the time, carrying on through it.  I need to be thankful for the enduring, never-ending, unconditional love that God has for me.  And I need to work on my execution of enduring love.  I haven't changed my mind that enduring is difficult- because that would be a lie- but I think I have been reaffirmed in that enduring is worth it.  

Photo Collage Wall- reconnecting with my love for crafts

Sunday, February 19, 2012

When I was little, I used to love "crafting".  My sister and I would have our friends over- I remember crafting most with two sisters Carolyn and Monica- and we would ask "what do you want to do?"  We would then go through the list; we could play a game, we could build a fort, we could play hide and seek, or we could craft.  In the basement we had a box or two FULL of odds and ends for crafting.  Candle making kits, wooden little boxes to paint, thread to make bracelets (which we did often), or googley eyes to glue on who knows what.  Crafting was GREAT!  But as I got older and busier with playing instruments or sports or hanging out with my friends, learning to drive, all that fun stuff when you grow up, I started to craft less and less.  

I'd like to say that now I am returning to my roots with my love for being crafty.  I am always envious of people who are super creative- and come up with awesome ideas of things to make.  Pinterest makes it super easy these days to find really cool ideas or helpful DIYs to make the crafting easier.  And yet for whatever reason it is just way easier to be lazy- think of a cool idea and not act on it.  

My goal is to change my ways- and when I find, or think of, a cool idea- to actually DO it!  My Photo Collage Wall was the first of my creative attempts and I must say I am very happy with the end product.  A friend of mine had shown me a wall that she had done and so one day I decided to go for it. 

I am the type of person who if I get an idea in my head, I have to act on it and FINISH it right away.  I don't like to drag it out; I am not sure if that is my impatience acting up or my desire for instant gratification.  Who knows.  Anyways- my point is, I finished this project in about half a day.  

Since I just got married 3 months ago, you will notice that a lot of what I'm going through, or the pictures that I put on here (check out my Fave Photos page) have to do with my wedding.  I was so happy with the photos we got and well, I'm still a newlywed so I decided that's what the wall would consist of.  

I suppose I can just stop blabbing and show you what I did.  
Step 1: buy frames from Goodwill- approx. $11.00
Wipe down the frames Clorox wipes.
Step 2: Pick the pictures to put in each of the frames,
and arrange them according to measured space above the couch.
Step 3: Nail them to the wall.
Step 4: Enjoy and be proud :)
When I got finished, I was seriously SO proud of the work I had done.  It might seem a bit silly- but it's like when you are little and you finish a project at school and what's the first thing you do when you get home?  "Mom!!  Look what I did!!"  That's how I felt- only now I was saying, "Chris, look what I did!"  

What I learned from this little project? I am totally capable of being crafty and handy and being able to achieve the cuteness level that I so desire for our apartment.  I am hoping this will be the beginning of many posts that will fall into the Crafty Mindy section of my blog.  [In fact, I just recently picked up and started a project with a french door, bought some more old frames, and even found a super cute vintage-looking mirror (for $8.00 might I add) for our bedroom.  AND I found a really awesome idea for some wall art with an old door; I am super excited to get started on that!!]  

So cheers to our inner child with the desire to be creative and then show off what we've done.

The Beginning

Friday, February 17, 2012

Here I am writing my first post- finding myself excited for this new journey as a blogger :)  I have always envied people who have these awesome blogs and have an ability to share what's going on in their lives in a way that is interesting and relatable.  In some ways I hope that my blog can be like that- and yet my goal is not to entertain everyone who crosses my page.  My goal is to treat this page as a creative outlet.  That is something that I have been working on these days as I figure out what this "new" life as a current housewife has for me.  I am stretching my creativeness.  

Last night, I found myself working on 5 different projects at once- attempting to make my new home a somewhat artsy (in a Mindy sort of way) comfortable abode where I can be proud of my newfound craftiness, handiness, and stretch myself in new ways.  It is a work in progress, as is this blog.  Like my projects at home, it is going to be a bit messy as I figure out I want it to look like and how pretty or artsy or creative I want it to be.  

Post one- check.

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