Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Costumes - Past & Present

Kelly's Korner has asked us to show our Halloween costumes from the past and present. How fun !

Here is a photo of me when I was about 2 years old.

And this is me 5 years ago dressed as a Pirate for work:

And here is me today, dressed as a black cat!

What are you dressing up as?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Carving!

Last night, Scott and I decided to carve our pumpkins. I had been out at Michael's one night last week, and they had their craft pumpkins on sale, so I picked up 2 of them. I thought they would be easier to carve, and if they turned out well, we could use them again next year. Plus - less mess, right?

I pulled out the Pumpkin Carving Kit that we bought 5 years ago when we first moved to Richmond, and carved our first pumpkins together. He made a ghost that year and I made a witch brewing a pot. I have pictures, but they are currently being held hostage on the Media Center, and I can't access them. Sorry.

Anyhoo. I decided I wanted to make a Hokie pumpkin (GO HOKIES). So I went online and printed out a logo that I could use as a template.

Scott decided to pick a template from our pumpkin carving kit. He decided on a freaky looking bird.

My pumpkin came out, shall I say, AWESOME. Ok, except for the crooked T. But really, that doesn't show up all that well in photos...

OK, maybe the crooked T comes out pretty obvious in photos.

Scott's took longer, because a) it was more detailed and intricate than mine, and b) he's a perfectionist.

Both pumpkins turned out beautimous!

And P.S. - Don't be under the impression that craft pumpkins don't make a mess. THEY DO. You will definitely have something similar to saw-dust all over creation after you are done (unless you are Scott, who managed to keep all the pumpkin-dust INSIDE the pumpkin), but its easy to clean up with a vacuum.

Welcome to Designed to Live!

You may be wondering why you are suddenly following a new blog that you don't remember starting to follow. Fear not! What was previously "Blakelyn's Life" has now become "Designed to Live".

I felt my blog needed a revamp. My life is no longer just about me - it's about my husband as well! The new title of my blog is a spin on the tv show "Designed to Sell". My husband and I love to work on new projects in our home, and over the past 2 years, we have designed it to live. Why wait until we are ready to move, and put all our hardwork and money into something that someone else will enjoy? That's just silly!

So this blog will now partly focus on mine and my husbands home renovation projects. I will post some of our previous projects, current projects, and all the ones we plan to do in the future. I will also continue to update everyone on mine and Scott's day-to-day lives.

Just think of this as a Blog Renovation - the meat and bones are still there, I'm just improving the design :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I've been tagged!

Lindsey over at Mommy Wonderland tagged me for this little questionnaire, and it looks like fun!

 1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

Let's see. Ten years ago, it was the fall of 1999, so I was entering my senior year of high school. I think by October, I had just applied for Early Admission to Virginia Tech's engineering department, and not long after received word that I'd been accepted! I was taking all AP classes to get college credit, and enjoying my last year of living in good ole Lynchburg.

2. What are 5 things on my TO DO list today?

 I love lists! Although I haven't made one for today just yet. Let's see...

1. Work - this has its own To Do list that is not fun or interesting

2. Hopefully finish reading my book.

3. Watch Glee tonight!

4. Email a couple friends

5. Do everything possible to avoid catching whatever cold/flu/bug is going around the office.

Snacks you enjoy...

My fave is ice cream, hands down. Anything Chocolate!

Where are 5 places you have lived?

I haven't lived in 5 different cities, but I've lived in plenty of different places.

1. Lynchburg, VA with my parents

2. Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech campus (Go Hokies!)

3. Blacksburg, VA - Townhouse

4. Richmond, VA - Apartments

5. Glen Allen, VA - Current House :)

What are 5 things I would do if I was a billionaire?

1. Pay off our house, student loans, and cars.

2.Pay off all those things for my family

3 Quit my job.

4. Start a family.


And I would also do something nice, like give to charity, but its honestly not one of the first 5 things I would do. I'm just being honest! LOL.

OK, so now its my turn to tag some of you! Here are my 5 picks for who should do this one next:

1. Mandy at My Life's Journey

2. Jackie at Chic Scraps

3. Nicole at Chatty Nicoley

4. Angela at GeekBlog

5. Jo at Diggin Around

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Photography, Birthday Party, and a Musical Reunion

Wow, has it been a busy weekend! But such a fun one. We got to see lots of friends and family this weekend, and did quite a bit of fun stuff.

On Saturday morning, Rory met us at our house, and we all headed down to Lynchburg. We had made plans to stop along the way at every old barn we could find to take a picture - this was a project we had planned for my mother-in-law's Christmas gift (shhh, don't tell.) Every time she comes to Virginia, she always says how she'd love to have a picture of all the old barns between Richmond and Lynchburg. So we made plans to take pictures of every old barn we could find, and make them into a photo book as one of her Christmas gifts. We had one little issue on Saturday morning, though: it was POURING down rain. Somehow, God was looking out for us, because whenever it was time to take pictures of the barns, the rain held up for us. Hopefully they all turned out ok - the leaves were gorgeous on the mountains.

We arrived in Lynchburg about 1:30pm and went to my parent's house to hang out before heading to Leah's birthday party. She was 8 years old on Friday, and her party was a FunQuest, the local skating rink. I hadn't been there in YEARS. It had changed a lot. We got to see all the family at the party, and Leah got plenty of nice gifts. She was more interested in skating than opening presents, I think. Here's a picture of me with all my siblings (and my hubby) outside FunQuest:

We went out to dinner with Shane, Mandy and Rory at Panera that evening, then went to the Lighthouse Cafe. It's a "Coffee House" at my parent's church where they have live music once a month. This particular night was special, because a 20-some year reunion was happening.

When I was a kid, my dad (Scotty) was in a band known as Firecreek. They played at local venues, mostly country music, and sometimes gospel. They were pretty successful, and as a matter of fact, country music singer Ricky Van Shelton was a part of their band before he became famous. But that was before I was born.

Anyhoo, one of the band members (the singer, David) also goes to my dad's church, and they often play together at the 9:30am service. They had made plans to play at the coffee house last night, and at the last minute, the bass guitar player backed out. So David emailed my dad and told him he had a new bass player that was filling in - it turned out to be another one of the old band members, Skeeter. So while it wasn't the entire band back together, it was a mini reunion. Here is the three of them (from left: Scotty, David, Skeeter):

I wish I had a picture of the three of them from 20-some years ago when they still had the band together. Listening to them play together again was pretty awesome. I brought back so many memories. I love hearing my dad play the piano - he's so good! I was able to get a couple videos last night, though they came out really dark (that's disappointing), and they don't do them justice. But here they are!

Edit: We were able to lighten both videos!

Burning Love:

How Great Thou Art:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Get to know Scott and I!

I found this fun little survey on Step Inside, and thought I'd give it a go! These are really fun questions!

First off, he's a picture of my hubby and I when we got married in Hawaii.

And off we go!

1. What are your middle names?
David and Blakelyn

2. How long have you been together?
A little over 6 years.

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Mmmm....a month at the most.

4. Who asked who out?
He asked me out to dinner. I tried to pretend it wasn't a date by wearing jeans and a t-shirt that read "As a matter of fact, the world does revolve around me." I always tell him I was upfront with him from the get-go.

5. How old are each of you?
I'm 28 and he's 29.

6. Did you go to the same school?
We met in college, so if that counts as the "same school", then yes. But we're from different states.

7. Are you from the same home town?
No, he's from New Jersey, I'm a Virginia girl.

8. Who is the smartest? 
We are both engineers, so I can't say one of us is smarter than the other. He's a genius on the computer, but I'm better in English/Writing. We are both awesome at math.

9. Who majored in what?
I'm a Mechanical Engineer, he's a Computer Engineer.

10. Who is the most sensitive?
We are both pretty sensitive - we hate arguing. I think he might be more sensitive than me, though.

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Hawaii - we got married there.

12. Who has the worst temper?
I think he does - which most people who know us would probably NOT believe. He doesn't get a temper with ME, it's usually either with his computer (90% of the time) or the project he's working on.  I have a temper, too, though. I'm SO impatient. Maybe we are equal.

13. How many children do you want?
Scott wants 2, I would like 3, but its going to depend heavily on how well I handle being pregnant. Which terrifies the bejeezus out of me.

14. Who does the cooking?
I do all the cooking, unless I"m sick.

15. Who is more social?
We are both homebodies, and we're both pretty quiet and reserved. But I think I'm better at being social than he is - thought neither of us are good at it. Hey, we are engineers, afterall!

16. Who is the neat freak?
Definitely Scott - I'm such a messy person. I'm working on it.

17. Who is the most stubborn?
Also definitely Scott! I truly do not think I'm at all stubborn, though my friend Amber has told me otherwise. LOL.

18. Who wakes up earlier?
ME! I'm such a morning person, and he is such a night person. I'm always the first one awake. Again, unless I'm sick.

19. Where was your first date?
The Boston Beanery in Blacksburg. (Say that 3 times fast.)

20. Who has the bigger family?
Immediate family - Me. I have 2 brothers, and he has only 1.
Extended family - Him. He has 5 aunts and uncles JUST on his dad's side.

21. Do you get flowers often?
No :-( (Honey, if you are reading this...hint hint.)

22. How do you spend the holidays?
It's always a lot of traveling at Christmas. We usually spend Christmas day traveling from VA to NJ, or visa versa. We alternate which family we spend Christmas Eve with each year.

23. Who is more jealous?
Me. He never gets jealous.

24. How long did it take to get serious?
Not long at all - almost immediate.

25. Who eats more?
I eat more sweets, he eats more "real" food.

26. What do you do for a living?
I'm in Project Management, he's in Software Development.

27. Who does the laundry?
I do all the laundry. It's the only chore I don't mind doing.

28. Who's better with the computer?
This question made me laugh. Haha.

29. Who drives when you are together?
I prefer that he drives, so it's usually him. Sometimes I'll drive if he is tired or not feeling well.

30. What is your song?
We never had a song, but the one we picked for our first dance at our wedding was "Me & You" by Kenny Chesney.

This is my new siggy that Mandy made for me :)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Happy Monday! I'm faking my enthusiasm, but I figure if I try hard enough to pretend I'm in a good mood about it, maybe it will come true. The power of positive thinking! Sometimes I wonder if my positive attitude is as annoying to others as their negative attitude is to me. I hope so.

Any-hoo. We have begun a new home-renovation project! Yesterday, Scott and I went to Lowe's and bought supplies to start putting built-ins in our "formal" living room. We are converting it to an office/library. So exciting! Not only will it give that room a purpose, but it will also add a significant amount of storage to a home that is very much lacking in the storage area. Great investment in the long run, I believe. Scott was able to build the base, and put the cabinets in place last night. The next task will be to tackle the bookshelves, which Scott says is the hard part. I'll be posting details & "before & after" pictures of the renovation on The Things Girls Love once we finish. I'm incredibly excited to have a place to display all of my books. :-)

In other news, our friends Chris and Keri are moving here soon! Chris will be heading up next weekend, and Keri (and Rebecca) will follow the weekend of Halloween. We are going to help them move. It's so exciting to have friends moving to our area.

Well, it's the beginning of another long week. Hope this one goes by quickly.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finally, a Weekend to Breathe

It's Friday!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned. For the first time in....6 weeks!.....I don't have a thing planned for the weekend, and I'm very excited about it. It's been a busy couple months, and I could use the break! I miss my Saturday morning yard sales, and Sunday mornings at Panera with my hubby. Those are my weekend traditions when I'm actually at home. Although yard sales may be over for this year, especially since rain is in the forecast and its FREAKING COLD. So I'll substitute with my "winter" Saturday morning tradition, which is fixing a big yummy breakfast.

I'm excited! Mandy and I have decided to participate in Fall Into Reading 2009, which you can read about on our blog. We've each made a list of books that we would like to read between now and December 22nd. We'll see how well we do. I am not a fast reader, so I only have 5 books on my list - Mandy has 6.

This past week was lots of fun. Tuesday was my birthday, so my brother took me out to lunch at Topeka's, and he gave me Wii Fit Plus for my birthday. I can't wait to play it - this week has been so busy, I haven't had a chance, but I have a feeling its going to get some use this weekend. Scott took me out to dinner that evening at Firebirds, then we did some shopping at the mall. On Wednesday, we went out to dinner with our friends Laura & Bryan, to celebrate their pregnancy. They were going to find out yesterday if the baby is a boy or a girl, but I haven't heard yet! Last night was full of awesome TV (The Office, Community, Survivor...and I still have to watch The Mentalist and Fringe...I couldn't stay up any later). I believe shopping is on my agenda for this afternoon, along with a nail appointment. I have birthday money to spend :-).

I've been contemplating starting up with my jewelry-making again for the fall, but I can't decide. It's been so long since I've made jewelry, but I've had some interest in the past few weeks, with people asking me about it. It's probably the time of year - everyone is starting to think about Christmas gifts. I considered doing another jewelry party, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. I don't know enough people here in Richmond, and it would be a lot of trouble to do it in Lynchburg. I'll have to think more about it.

Well, the Fall is officially here, in all its crappy glory. (Can you tell I'm not a fan? Go here to read my list of pros and cons of the season).  It's been raining for 2 days now, and it doesn't look like it wants to stop. It's also been COLD. Bleh - I want my warm, sunny weather back!

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeee!

It's October 13th, my favorite day of the year - because it's my birthday! I have lunch plans with Rory today, but I don't know what the plans are for this evening. I told Scott to surprise me. In the past, I've usually made my own birthday plans, but this year, I didn't plan anything. So when Scott asked me what I wanted to do, I just said "Surprise me!" We'll see what he has up his sleeve.

Speaking of my birthday, my family took me out to dinner on Friday night to celebrate. We all went to Shakers, and I had ribs and bacon-wrapped shrimp (which I just remembered, there were leftovers and I totally forgot about them....I hope my dad finished them off). After dinner, we went back to my parents' house for cake and presents. They got me an ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery - Cookies & Cream, my favorite! As for gifts, I got some awesome stuff.

Shane & Mandy bought me this Built Camera Case:

They also bought me the Holiday Limited Edition coffee by Green Mountain:

And lastly, they got me a gift card to NY&Co.

My mom and dad bought me a 1 qt non-stick Emeril saucepan. This may not sound exciting, but I asked for it and I love it - so useful! All my 1 qt pans were stainless steel, and stuff kept burning in them.

And finally, the grand prize, my new Coach Bag!

Is that not the CUTEST bag ever? Well, I think it is. I love the pink ribbon. It's black leather, so it will be perfect all winter long. 

And just because posting pictures is fun, here is a picture of the dress I am wearing today. I actually bought it about a month ago, but I absolutely LOVE this dress. And I don't even like dresses!

Hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scrapbook Crop this weekend

I feel like this week has been going on forever. Not that its been a bad week or anything, it just seems like the weekend may never get here.

It's actually been a nice week so far. On Tuesday night, Eric, Shannon and Connor stopped in for dinner on their way home from South Carolina. They'd been down there for a wedding. I fixed Chicken Tortilla Soup and cornbread, and we played Guitar Hero. It was a fun night. Connor is at such a cute age - he's talking, and with his limited vocabulary, most of his words are baby talk, which I think is adorable. Simba is terrified of both children and babies, so we were interested to see how he would respond to Connor. Mostly, he just ran away from him. Haha.

This weekend, I am heading down to Lynchburg for the scrapbook crop with Mandy. I'm looking forward to it - I have lots of scrapbooking to get done! We are going out to dinner Friday night to celebrate my birthday. I'm turning 28 on the 13th. I can't believe I'm that old already! Seeing it written down makes it look even worse.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekend with Amber

Yesterday, I announced the new blog that Mandy and I have started called The Things Girls Love.  From now on, all of my book reviews will be posted on that blog, and this one will be reserved for updates on my life. If you enjoy my book reviews, please start following us! I've just posted a review of Octavia Butler's Kindred.

So back to my life. I had such a fun weekend. And unintentionally, I had a LONG weekend. It was great. On Thursday, we attended the U2 Concert in Charlottesville. I left work about 3PM, and we hit the road right around 4:00. We had all decided to meet at Eric's to have dinner and drop off one of the cars. Everyone arrived at exactly the same time - 5:15 or so. We all had pizza, and amused ourselves by watching Connor. The kid is adorable, and actually quite funny. He gets that from both of his parents.

The concert was a lot of fun - its not every day you get to see Bono perform, so we really enjoyed it. I wasn't a fan of the opening act, Muse. Their music made my ears bleed. LOL. But we had so much fun, the weather was great (slightly chilly, being outside, but that's better than too hot). We got back to Richmond that night around 1AM, and Shane and Mandy had come back to stay the night. I decided when my alarm went off the next morning that I had no interest in going to work. Besides - I was driving to Durham that day, and needed my sleep.

I packed my bags and left town about 11:30AM on Friday. I had no idea Durham was so close by - it only took me 2 1/2 hours to get there, although I killed a half hour by stopping to eat. I checked into the room around 2:30 and Amber arrived right before 3:00. We decided to head to the Nasher Art Museum to check out the Picasso Art Exhibit (VERY cool), and another called "Beyond Beauty" which featured old photographs. We had dinner at the Magnolia Grill, then hit up another museum to see the "Water for Elephants" art exhibit by Brad Williams. When we got back to the hotel that night, I realized that I had a UTI. So at 1AM, Amber and I were out in Durham trying to find the 24 hr Walgreens that my doctor had called in a prescription to. It was quite the adventure, let me tell you. And my GPS was not cooperating.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, then went to the Farmer's Market and Craft Fair in downtown Durham to look around. We got back to the hotel and caught the shuttle to the football game. YAY! Duke's stadium is so small compared to Lane and Scott stadiums. It was like a highschool stadium, but the good news was that this meant we had GREAT seats. We were in Row N. NEVER would you get seats that good at a home game. The unfortunate part was that there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and 3-4 hours in the sun is not good for me, with my history of skin cancer. Amber was smart enough to bring sunblock, so that helped, but I still got burned on my face and hands. I ended up sitting out most of the 4th quarter just to be in the shade. But it doesn't matter. WE WON :-) Go Hokies!

After the game, we needed to relax, so we went back to the hotel for some downtime. We picked an italian place to have dinner (Pop's), but neither of us was too impressed with it. Then, after dinner, we went to the Durham Library for a book reading and book signing by Sue Monk Kidd, and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. It was so exciting! They first read passages from their new book, Traveling with Pomegranates, then answered questions. After that, they signed books - I had brought The Secret Life of Bees and the Mermaid Chair for them to sign, and I ended up buying Traveling with Pomegranates as well. It's next on my list of books to read :-).

On Sunday morning, Amber and I had breakfast at IHOP, then we both hit the road. We had a blast, and it was nice to just have a girls weekend. We both needed it.

Sunday night, Scott and I put up our Halloween decorations outside. That was fun! I love Halloween, and seeing all the kids in their costumes. I still need to get some spiderwebs for the bushes, and put up decorations inside. Maybe one night this week.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Launching: The Things Girls Love!

I mentioned last week that Mandy and I were working on a new project together. And now its time to share it with you! Go check out our new blog, The Things Girls Love. It's just what it sounds like - we blog about all the things girls (we) love, such as reading, traveling, shopping, fashion, scrapbooking, etc. We talk about our "favorite things", and hope to hear about yours as well. Pop in and see what we've shared so far. We're just getting started, but we think its going to be a lot of fun, and we hope you'll join us and share the blog with your friends. If you would be so kind as to link to us on your blog, that would be very much appreciated.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

U2 Concert

I haven't written much this week. Shame on me! There are so many exciting things going on, too, so I have to catch up. Our weekend in NJ was fun. We've decided to go back up the first weekend in November to visit, since we didn't go see any of Scott's family this past weekend. That is also the weekend before Bonnie's birthday, so we can celebrate with her.

Tonight, we are going to the U2 concert! I am leaving work around 3PM. We hope to leave about 4PM and get to Charlottesville around 5. Shane and Mandy are meeting us at Eric's house - he's going to have pizza waiting there for us. We will probably get back pretty late. Shane and Mandy are heading back to Richmond with us to stay the night, and they are going down to the beach this weekend.

Tomorrow, I'm leaving straight from work to head to Durham to meet Amber :-). I can't wait, its' going to be such a fun weekend. Hokie Football, book signing, and girl time. Can't wait :)