Friday, August 29, 2014

It's A Jay Thing

I am not sure when I fell in love with photography, but I CAN tell you who caused it.

From the time I was a little girl, I loved having my picture taken - except school pictures, I despised school pictures. The Lifetouch lights always made my sensitive eyes water! What I did love was posing as a bride with lace fabric pinned to my hair or propped up on a pedestal of some kind and cheesing it up for anyone who would provide some applause.

My Grandpa Jay had a Canon camera with a green and orange neck strap that followed me around during my childhood. If we went to the park, the camera came too. If we did craft projects in the backyard, the camera was always nearby. With the camera was always my Grandpa; adjusting the aperture and making sure everything was focused, he would take one or two precious photos. That was the nature of photography when I was little. NO instant replay and option to delete the photos when my eyes were closed. No instant gratification of seeing the moment that was captured. No, we would have to wait until the roll of film was completely filled with carefully composed photographs and then pay another $5.99 at Rite-Aid to have the photos developed.

** I did NOT inherit my Grandpa's patience, and waiting the three days for photo processing was horrible.

I only asked for one thing that belonged to Grandpa when my parents were cleaning out my grandparent's house. The Canon with the green and orange neck strap. It is a treasure that reminds me of the many great adventures, and photo shoots, with my Grandpa.

My Dad has always liked photos too. Unfortunately for me, he was the one generally taking the photos and appears in less of them than I would like. - A habit I have made my own as well. He always asks for everyone to get together for a quick photo and I learned everything I know about being a paparazzi from my Dad. - Seriously, he is stealthy! Whenever there was a momentous life event, my Dad was nearby with his camera. The same was true for the little moments too - because a six-year old playing dress-up must have her photograph taken.

I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am for the gift of photos and the wonderful memories they hold. I am no professional photographer (not even close!) but it is something I wholeheartedly enjoy. Especially since I no longer have the added expense of film and the agony of waiting for developing!

Happy photo-taking, friends!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How To Color Block Your Closet

Did you know that before I was a spreadsheet wielding, account checking, employee in Accounts Receivable, I was a manager of the Men's Department at Robinson's-May/Macy's?

That's right. I spent my days organizing ties, suits and a lot of men's chonies. Glamorous, I know!

I won't bore you with the details or share any retail horror stories (yes, people poop in fitting rooms and yes, a customer screamed at me on Christmas Eve and my friend James found me crying under a folding table).

Retail is not for the faint of heart.

One of my favorite organizing tools I learned while navigating the world of retail sales was color blocking! This method of displaying merchandise makes a table or fixture look like a color wheel and oh-so pretty.

Color blocking is something I have done in my own closet for the last 12 years and I find it keeps my stress level low when everything is organized and easy to find as I get ready in the morning. (Hello OCD). I got a ton of comments from friends about my organization when I did my closet tour right after I moved and when I posted this photo on Instagram.

So, how do you color block YOUR closet? Allow me to explain.

1. Sort your clothes. Yes, all of them. Pull everything out of your closet and start with a blank slate. You can sort clothes by season, popularity or any common style. - I have chosen the latter. I have sections in my closet for the following:
  • Long sleeved sweaters and blouses
  • Tank tops
  • T-shirts
  • Dresses
  • Pants
  • Skirts
  • Other - Jackets, robes, etc.

2. Decide on a color block. This step is easy... all you have to decide is whether you want white on the left and black on the right or vice versa. Worst case scenario? You don't like your first pick and decide to change it later.

Color Order: white, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green, and black

3. Put your clothes away. Not rocket science, I know, but this is where you actually color block. Put your clothes away in their respective categories in color order working from left to right. Now, repeat with each category of clothing as necessary. I only have dark pants and skirts, so it makes for easy sorting of those items. I have thisawesome space saver in my closet that allows me to have sweaters on the top row and tees and tanks underneath them. Best apartment/tiny closet investment ever!

4. Upkeep. Now this is the tricky part... once your closet is an organized rainbow, you have to keep it that way! That means that after you do laundry you have to actually hang the clothing where it belongs and not just where there is available space.  It takes an extra two seconds, but I promise it is worth it!

Extra closet organizing tips:
  • When you wear something, place the empty hanger to the side - it makes space in the closet for your clean clothes and gives you organized hangers for more laundry.
  • Try to keep all the clothes facing the same way - it will help them "nest" inside each other.
  • Tank tops are best on hangers with notches in the top (so they don't slide off).

Good luck with your color blocking, friends! Send me your before and after pictures and use hashtag #pdbjayColorBlock. I would love to see them!

This post contains affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 17

You may or may not know this about me, but I LOVE all things Disney.

From the time I was able to sit in a stroller, Disneyland has been my happy place. When I get to visit the happiest place on earth, I run and skip like a five year old hopped up on Skittles! Not to mention I barely get any sleep the night before. There is just something magical about the place that used to be the home to 160 acres of orange and walnut trees.

I can't tell you my first memory of Disney or Disneyland. - It has always been a part of my life. The photo above is probably one of my favorites though - That is February 1985 and I was 11 months old. You see, my Dad was a cast member at Disneyland in his 20's and even became the maitre d' at Club 33 (my Dad is freaking cool). Disney is in my blood. My dream after high school was to tour the world with a Disney dance company, but that dream kinda crashed and burned. Hard. Suffice to say, I was heart broken, but God is faithful and has opened new doors of opportunity in my life.

I have always loved Disney songs and movies and if you are really in the mood for me to be super annoying, I dare you to name a Disney animated movie and watch me sing a song from that film in less than 10 seconds. (Black Cauldron is my weakness - I've never seen it and I don't plan on it).

Even now as a 30-year old (ugh) I have not outgrown my love of Disney (I never will) and even though I'm not one to frequent the movie theater, I will be the first one in line when a new Disney animated film comes out. Don't talk to me during it either... I won't even acknowledge your existence for an hour and a half.

*Want me to chill out and be quiet? Put on a Disney movie - I turn into a zombie.

So imaging my surprise when I discovered the most amazing thing on Meg's blog: The Art of Disney books!

Can I just cash in all my birthday and Christmas wishes for the next five years and get ALL of the books right now???

These books are incredible collections of art and contain an amazing behind the scene look at the development of the films I love.

So that is my Wish List for the week. All the "Art of ____" Disney books I can get my hands on. Here are my top choices at the moment and my Pinterest board as well:

The Art of Tangled

On another note: three more days of school and I get five (FIVE) days off from course work!  I fully intend on watching a Disney movie or two and enjoying the limited time off.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

This post contains affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Heirloom Desk

I know that everyone says that their grandparents are the best, but believe me when I say that my grandparents, Les and Betty, were the BEST grandparents any child could ask for.

(woah there cropped sweater circa 2002)

Real quick recap on why they were so amazing:
  • Gram made me cinnamon toast any time I requested it - and she used a vintage toaster that was her mother's wedding present, yes it was ancient and yes, I am now the proud owner of that toaster!
  • Grandpa always told me the story of Cinderella and her two "step-blisters" - his funny messed up version of Cinderella. He could always make me laugh until my stomach hurt. 
  • Gram would sit on the stairs and play bus driver with us for hours. I don't think she realized how she helped develop my imagination through countless adventures to far off places. She also didn't complain with my frequent request to take the "bus" to Disneyland.
  • Grandpa taught me how to pray before going to sleep. Even now, I pray at night and especially when I can't fall asleep.
  • Dress-up, craft projects, tea parties, golfing, and gardening. They did it all.
  • They selflessly shuttled me back and forth from place to place - and Grandpa always had a little ice chest in the back of the car stocked with cold pop for me.
  • They were at every band concert, dance performance, and all my graduations. They were undeniably my biggest fans. 
Losing my grandparents was hard. Real hard. (And this last month has been horrible since loosing Grandpa Crawford.) I have selfishly cried to my Mom on more than one occasion that my husband would never get to meet them and my children would never have strawberry blankets (Gram's signature baby gift) or a hand-crafted bathroom stool made by Grandpa. The Jays were more than just my grandparents, they were my friends.

Long introduction to explain just how excited I am about the newest piece of furniture I own:

My Gram's sewing table!

I cannot even describe my joy at seeing this beautiful table sitting in my living room. Sometimes I smile so big my face hurts.

Countless hours of my childhood were spent sitting in the entryway of my grandparents' master bedroom pushing the iron pedal to see just how fast the wheel could spin. Exactly what you should not do with an antique. - Gram never scolded me, she just warned me not to pinch my fingers.

I've waited four years for this sweet table to be mine. When my Mom text me to let me know it was in the garage waiting for me to pick it up, I leapt for joy. I could have sworn it was Christmas and not a sweltering hot day in June! I literally jumped up and down and ran around my apartment's parking lot - much to Houston's amusement. - Never a dull moment with me around.

I immediately cancelled any thought of hanging things on the wall in my apartment. Things would just have to move and make space for the table - and that was ok with me...even if that meant I lived with bare walls for a few more weeks.

Since I no longer have an office space, I have decided to use this as my desk rather than sitting on the couch with my computer propped up on my knee - not good for the knee, back or neck. It will be my little "nook" of sorts and I knew exactly which photo to place nearby - a photo of Gram and me that was my Grandpa's favorite (he had it on his big roll-top desk for as long as I can remember).

So I am off to blog, brainstorm and work on some homework at my new desk.

While I am at it, I think I will see how fast I can make the wheel spin.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Wish List No. 16

Ok, so I missed not one, but TWO weeks of my Wednesday Wish List. Don't judge me, it will probably happen again. 

But onward to this week... where I (kinda) have my act together and I am juggling life a little better. 

It is no secret that my wardrobe needs an update. Like, bad. I wrote about it HERE over a year ago, and you know what I have purchased since then??? Two white camisoles, one sweater and a new bra. No joke, those are the only things I can think of. 

I have been following a couple fashion blogs and I am LOVING the inspiration from each of them. They make me want to go shopping... well, I almost want to go shopping.

MK at Outfit Posts 

Seriously, those ladies have major fashion skills and manage to maintain a budget friendly wardrobe at the same time. It is a gift.

So this week I have my wish list of pretty tops from Forever 21 that I think would be great for work. The only problem? I usually FREEZE at work and end up wearing a cardigan or heavy sweater all day - and even then I am still cold and use a small blanket on my lap! That said, I love tops that work well with layers and still look pretty under sweaters. 

***if you see something you like, click the corresponding number below***

1. Crochet Sweater - A sweater to keep me warm and a pretty collar to peek out from beneath my cardigan.

2. Polka dotted Peter Pan Collar - Another example of a pretty collar. Doesn't hurt that it is polka dots either!

3. Geometric Top - I like this basic black and white top. Easy to wear with slacks or a skirt and still polished.

4. Ruched - I'm a girl who loves some good ruching! It is flattering (read: concealing) and looks more dressy than just a plain top or t-shirt.

5. Flounce - I like this top and would be able to ear it to work, under a sweater, or on the weekend by itself. Only problem? I despise wearing a strapless bra, so this one will probably be deleted from my shopping cart. Bummer.

6. Flounce 2.0 - The solution to the strapless bra conundrum on no. 5? This beauty. Still light and airy, but "regular" bra approved.

7. Teal Leopard - I like teal, I like leopard and I really like that this wouldn't make me look like Peggy Bundy. -- Gotta always be aware of the Peggy factor when wearing leopard! 

8. Sheer with a Bow - This blouse is probably my favorite! The color is pretty and I love the bow (have you noticed the trend with that yet???) - I would only worry about the 3/4 sleeves bunching up under a cardigan.

9. Ruffled Bow - This blouse is pretty, but let's be real... no one in the office would ever see the pretty sleeves and that would be a shame.      

I will be pinning more of my closet wish list items on my "Wardrobe Update 2014" board on Pinterest if you would like to follow along. Feedback, suggestions and shopping volunteers would be greatly appreciated.

Happy hump day, friends!

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Be an Encourager

Encouragement is a funny thing. Given the circumstances, a sincere and kind word of encouragement can be a drink of water to a thirsty soul. 

Sometimes it is a lovely quote.

Sometimes it is reading the perfect verse at the perfect time.

Sometimes it is a giggly baby (seriously, children are amazing medicine).

Sometimes it is a good night’s sleep.

And sometimes it is a sweet person who, unbeknownst to themselves, speaks a lightning bolt of encouragement into the dark center of discouraging thoughts. 

Discouragement says: “You’re boring.” 
Encouraging friends say: “You’re cool – dream bigger!” 
Discouragement says: “The pressure is too much, just give up.” 
Encouraging friends say: “You can do anything you set your mind too.”

Last week I was wallowing in discouragement. Coupled with some grief and some serious exhaustion, discouragement was like a poison for my generally highly motivated disposition. Self-doubt and self-deprecation followed and threatened to derail some of my most cherished dreams.

Some sweet and slightly random encouragement inspired me to shake off the disheartening thoughts and I am filled with gratitude.

I am back on track and gleefully looking towards the future and continuing to dream my big dreams. Will they all work out? Probably not, but I think it is worth a good-faith effort to find out.

(image via)

Have you ever been surprised to hear you were an encouragement to someone? I would love to hear your stories!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Losing My Grandpa

Certain things are difficult to write about. Grief is one of those things.

I've struggled with writing anything on PDBJay for a week, because I like my little space on the internet to be one that is positive and fun. But life isn't always positive and fun. No, sometimes life can be a big fat jerk.

Yesterday my family celebrated the life of my Grandpa, Kenneth Crawford.

I've struggled for a week with being overwhelmingly sad yet relieved that he is no longer stuck in a body that was so tired. Such is the dilemma of being temporary residents of these bodies while our souls long for eternity (2 Cor 5:12).

When I visited him last Monday, he was still sharp as a tack, even if his body made it challenging to express what he was thinking. He blew kisses when my Mom put chapstick on his lips, nodded in agreement to conversation and held my hand tightly while I sat with him.

He was a funny cowboy who loved his black boots and long sleeved shirts with snaps. He always knew how to make me laugh and he always had a cup of coffee - even when it was 100 degrees outside. "Gotta get the inside as hot as the outside," he would say.

When I turned 25 I called myself an "old fart." Grandpa didn't miss a beat and said: "Well, then you better make sure you stay out of the wind!" -- That has been our little joke for the last five years.

I will miss him terribly, but I am looking forward to seeing him someday - with his black boots and strong glorified body. Until then, I will be drinking hot cocoa to get my inside as warm as the outside and making sure I stay out of the wind.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Catching Up...Kinda

Wow. I totally fell off the face of the earth for a week there. I didn't complete my Wednesday Wish List for the first time since I began the weekly series (total bummer), I barely checked emails and I swear it is still July and not already August.

Midterms, work stress and a whole lot of life anxiety is no good for this lady.

But now I've got my act together and I am loving this print from Zoe Marie's Studio:

So a week ago I got together with my blogging buddies and we had a lovely time eating guacamole, celebrating Summer's birthday and dreaming big dreams for future endeavors.

The hot mess of a photo below is everyone sitting on my kitchen floor with my camera on a pantry shelf while my tripod was neglected in the living room.

It was a long day, ok? I had been up since 4 a.m. and it was after 9 p.m. when I was employing my old photo taking skills for a group picture.

Why on was I up at 4 a.m.? Because I am a construction/demo machine. Houston's best friend Derek is working on demoing and fixing up the house he and his wife, Sharonna, just recently purchased and Houston and I have been helping. Ok, Houston has been helping and I have spent most of my time playing with their toddler, Henry.


We were back again this weekend and I finally got to wield the crowbar and take out some aggression on the kitchen floor - side note: the subflooring was damaged, or the tile would have stayed.

Houston has really enjoyed getting to see Henry every weekend this month and it is so cute to see Henry recognize Houston as Shushu (Uncle) now.

When we go back this weekend, the house will look like like a completely different space with new floors, a closet and painted walls (oh my!).