September 30, 2008

Urban beauty

Thus begins my vacation pictures and stories....

Isn't this pretty?! It's a store. An Urban Outfitters (which I love and adore and want to have here so badly) to be exact. In downtown Charleston. Now, I love Urban just for it's cool items, but look at this building.

And the details in the ceiling and walls...

And this absolutely gorgeous chandelier....

The building was an old theater (I took these photos from the balcony that the article talks about). You can still see the lights and sandbags and curtains back by the dressing rooms in the back of the first picture. My parents were kind enough to let me stop in here when we walked by and now we're ALL glad we got to see this neat building. My parents when all over looking at all the details, and the associates were so kind and answered as many of their questions as they could.

Love it when stores don't demolish, but instead integrate INto the area. Wish more places could be like that...

Thanks, friends

I added the new sidebar, complete with a link to each of you, who wanted in on the fun. And to all of you who say that you can't write and your blog is boring....

Hog-swallow, I say. Pure silliness. You are ALL so unique in each of your "voices." I love reading what you write.

My only little quarrel is with MY SISTER who refuses to update her blog with 100's of pictures of my nephew who lives way too far from me. Please! Even just once a week. I NEED to see them. It keeps me from going crazy.

September 29, 2008

Friends who blog

I'm hoping to add another link sidebar on my little blog.


Cause I like them. Cause I use them all the time on other blogger's sites. Cause it's fun. Just cause.


I need your help.

I want this one to be a links to "friends who blog." In other words, if you read my blog and you like it and you have a blog, I want to add you!

I decided to ASK each of you because some of you may not want to be included in this little sidebar. (Those of you that have password protected sites, no worries. I wasn't planning on adding you to the list unless you specifically ask me to. Your privacy is, of course, important to me, too.)

So, if you would be okay with me adding YOU to my little sidebar list of blogging friends, let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email. If not, then we can still be friends. I'm not that easy to offend!

More vacation stuff to come. I have pictures waiting to be posted (and taken off my camera...), a complete detailed description of everything I did and saw (it's a short list), purchases made (even shorter), and random stuff (cause random is how I roll). I know you can't wait.

Oh, and by the way, it's great to be back. I missed you all and my full keyboard with monitor and internet access.

September 28, 2008

home is sweet...

...but I sure do miss vacation. Back to reality. More tomorrow.

September 27, 2008

blue skies smilin' at me

nothing but blue skies. OFF 2 THE BEACH!

September 26, 2008

The most glorious words in vacation language

“I’d like to extend my stay until Sunday.” - spoken by my dad today.

Yes, we decided to stay until Sunday because the sun FINALLY came out. It poured almost all day yesterday. Except for a short span of 30-45 minutes in the middle of the day, we were confined to the camper by the wind and rain. We read a lot, watched some Chuck (but had to ration our amount so we wouldn’t run out of episodes before we left. I’ve converted my parent to the wonder of Chuck. Yes!) and ate out at a seafood buffet.
Then last night….good gracious it was crazy windy. The dog was freaked out by the camper shaking so badly from the wind. And the rain. Sheesh. This morning we woke up to more clouds, but thankfully they broke and the rest of the day has been sunny and beautiful! The beach is FULL of everyone who has been cooped up for the last 2 days because of the rain.

When my parents asked what I wanted to do on vacation this year, I said “just relax.” And this vacation has been nothing but that. Relaxing and wonderful. One more day and then it’s back to the real world. But somehow it doesn’t seem so unbearable when I’ve been able to chill out for a while….ah, the wonder of vacation.

September 25, 2008

rainy day

Pouring cats & dogs today. We dashed to the beach 4 a short walk in between the rain bands. Most of the day was spent reading, playing games, watching CHUCK and eating. Ready 4 some sunshine.

September 24, 2008

a lovely evening

Hot dogs & mac-n-cheese 4 dinner. A sunset walk on the beach. An icing covered cookie. And now lots and lots of CHUCK. I love you vacation.

The salty air is addicting

Just popping in to say hi. It's lovely here. A little cool to get in the water and windy today, but I'm not complaining. We can still walk on the beach and soak in the salty air. And no air conditioning in the evenings, only cool, salty breezes!
On the agenda to do while still here:

The lazy river at the camp pool (yes, a lazy river!)
Go IN the ocean once it warms up a little bit and ride the waves.
Do a little shopping at the little local shops
Eat out at a seafood restaurant (the parentals idea)
Ride my bike (actually my sisters old 10 speed which is pink and grey. Cool, huh?!)
Take a few naps (Mmmm)
Eat sweet snacks
Have hot dogs for dinner tonight
Watch more of Chuck Season 1 (got my parents to love it too)
Do nothing.

Now that sounds like a list I want to check off. How about you?!!

Thanks for all the comments. It's fun to hear from you!

September 22, 2008

Cottage Girl is...

Myrtle Beach happy. Cool breeze, warm sun, ocean waves. Agenda 2nite...twilght walk on the beach and hunting 4 sand crabs. Ahhh vacation.

September 21, 2008

music is magic

....and addictive as well. Can't stop listening to "Something Pretty" by Patrick Park. Over and over again. You know it's vacation when the accomplishment of the day is listening to 1 song 10 times. amen.

history lesson

I'm at the place (literally) where the Civil War began. and I got mistaken 4 a high schooler by a tour guide. NICE.

September 20, 2008

frankly, Scarlett

I'm here in the hometown of the dashing Rhett Butler. After a flat tire on the highway, we made it. I've listened to music and done nothing but sit in a moving truck all day, but it has been just lovely!

on the road

got an early start. listening 2 Pop Candy podcasts on my Zune. nothing 2 do and loving it.

The ocean is calling my name....

As much as I love being home (and I am quite the hermit at times), there is nothing better in the world than vacations. Sweet, sweet vacations. Relaxing, exploring, swimming, walking, riding. Oh, how it warms my very soul and recharges me.

So I say farewell and promise to keep in touch. But when the ocean calls my name, it's hard to think of anything else. Please accept my apologies if you don't hear from me for a few days. I WILL try to send quick posts from my phone.

Here are a few photos just because I was looking at them the other day and remembering how grand and glorious the ocean truly is.

fyi....I'll be at a beach where the sun rises over the water and not sets, so these are NOT pictures of where I will be. Just pictures of beaches I LOVE. And I did NOT play with these in Photoshop at all. They are pure "push of the button" beauty.

September 19, 2008

From the Bro's iPhone

Shopping at H&M the other day.

Friday Finds

I think I hit the gold mine this week. There were so many GOOD ones.

The Snail and the Cyclops
. Found her on Flickr. And she has an Etsy shop. Oh, those clothes!

decor8 (one of my favorite design blogs) was FULL of great things this week. I just loved these Marie Antoinette dolls. Creepy and cool at the same time.

I got to see some Etsy artists in person when I went to a festival last Saturday. Their work was so beautiful and inspiring. Block Party Press. tigerlillyshop (loved her things!). dandelionblu (so beautiful.) TheBrokenPlate (wanted to buy her stuff so badly, but I hardly ever actually wear jewelery. my friend (hi, Mel!) bought one of these rings in a fun pattern and it was so pretty.)

Seth Cohen was the most visited person on my website list this week. Welcome back, WB!

A couple Flickr gems. One, Two, Three (ooo, I love this one) Plus, the wonderful Wardrobe Remix Pool is always inspiring. And 100% Thrifted makes me never want to buy "new" clothes again. Wish we had better thrift stores around here...

I saved the best ones for last:

The Bro shared this one on his blog. As some said online...there are no words.

Then he showed me this one later in the week. Again, beyond words.

Okay, friends, I'm off on vacation next week. I'll do my best to post when I can. I'll miss you!

September 18, 2008


Hunting around Zune Marketplace tonight looking for some new songs to take on vaca. Here are a couple I am enjoying on this fine Fall evening.

Something Pretty - Patrick Park
(you may recognize this from the video clip I posted yesterday)

Hometown Glory - Adele (found on Zach Braff's myspace a couple months ago)

A Lack of Color - Death Cab for Cutie
(Seth Cohen made me)

Apologize - Timbaland (I know, I know. I'm embarrassed to admit I like this song, too.)

Joyful Noise - Flame (The Bro introduced me to Steelroots last night. This song is so annoying and silly, but I like the chorus. And, I'm sorry, but I can't help but laugh at the video. )

Devil Town - Tony Lucca
(FNL is comin'. Only a few more days till the fall premiere. Eeee! This song gets stuck in my head.)

All But One Saint - Jeremy Larson (two words....NEW CD. Heck yeah. He's one of my faves.)

my phone likes to post too

Just testing out the little phone, so I can keep the posts coming while I'm on vacation next week. Short posts cause of my phone keypad, but still the same love behind each word...

September 17, 2008

OCD list

Since I have already confessed my slight case of OCD, I feel this is a safe environment to admit my recent cases of obsession. Remember....these things change on a whim with no logical explanation. So, while I can't get enough of it today, next week may be a whole other story.

FYI: this is why I can't make snap decisions or purchases. I must over-analyze every option until it's beaten to death. And I'm talking ANY purchase. Mascara, a new brand of laundry detergent, shoes. I have a real problem with indecisiveness. A REAL problem. Just ask The Bro. My obsessive nature is in full force when making a decision.

At this moment, I, Cottage Girl, can not get enough of....

Seth Cohen (help, me I can't stop. I now understand why TV gal had a Seth Cohen quote of the week on her column a couple years ago. He. is. adorable.)

Gum (as of late, I have to chew at least one piece a day. My favorite is Trident White peppermint flavor)

Re-arranging my wardrobe to make new outfits (plus my new pair of $12 jeans from Forever 21 that fit perfectly...must go buy more pairs. Finding jeans that fit is like catching lightning in a bottle for me)

The internet (blogs, Flickr, Pop Candy, Hulu, the WB)

Totally Rad Actions (I still haven't bought them, but I go to the site to stare at the price at least once or twice each evening. Again, indecisive is my middle name.)

Ripe tomatoes from the farmer's market

Now I'm sure you are all trying to piece together some type of common thread through all of these things. If you find one, please do tell me because I sure can't.

September 16, 2008

in the archived albums

I was hunting through old albums this evening. I came across this picture. I was 17. The summer before my senior year of high school. Which means my sister would have been going into 9th grade and The Bro would have been headed to 6th grade.

We were on vacation in FL, visiting my grandmother, I'm guessing. She lives not far from Cape Canveral, and that's where this picture appears to be. I'm thinking my grandma actually took this shot because my mom is the "family photographer" and she's in this picture.

Just a shot. Just a moment in time. Just a quick snap of the past. But one little part is my favorite. Look at my dad and my sister and me.

Here's a close-up in case it's hard to see.

That image conveys much more than I could ever articulate in descriptive words. The relationship that we had and still have. The love that is expressed without words. Simple moments that make up a lifetime.

Grab that old photo album and look through it. But make sure you look for those hidden moments that were captured so long ago. Ignore the bad hair and weird clothes (like I did ours in this photo) and look for emotions.
And then don't forget to capture them today as well. The everyday. The mundane. The simple, even non-important.

Just another reason I love photography...

****listening to this song by Coldplay (my favorite part starts at 2:22)

September 15, 2008

Don't like your choices for 2008?

Use one of these as a write-in instead.

This one is my favorite:

***found on Pop Candy, of course.

Hulu pick of the week

It's a good one. One of my favorites forever and always.


By the creator of Buffy and Angel (but don't let that deter you if you don't like either of those two shows), it's a mix of old western and space adventure. Sounds weird, right? Those two don't seem to go together. But it just works in this case. It only lasted for 14 episodes. Not even one full season before FOX canceled it, probably to make room for more American Idol (which you will NEVER see on any pick-list of mine. blech. blech. double blech.).

In a rare case of Hollywood magic, the powers that be let the cast and crew come back several years after the show was over and make a movie that was released in theaters.

September 14, 2008

the most watched

What would be your answer to this question....

What movie did you and your siblings watch the most when you were growing up? One that you could ALL agree on.

Now, we had lots of movies that we loved to watch. But finding one that we all agreed on was a little harder.

This one was always a hit. Always. In fact we wore out our VHS-taped copy of it. It was taped off the Disney channel. Anyone else remember the Disney channel in the old days?

This little movie is still the most quoted by our entire family. It went on every family vacation. It's gem of a movie, let me tell you. Unfortunately it isn't available on DVD and you can only find copies of it on VHS on ebay. What a tragedy to all kids growing up today!

I can pretty much bet you that it will be quoted when I go on vacation next week with my parents. It's just that ingrained in our psyche.'s the same characters as A Christmas Story. It was written and narrated by the same man.

September 13, 2008

shine brighter

This past week was a long, tiring week of work. We had a group here Wed-Friday. That means (in camp words) that we were doing meals for them 3 times a day. 3 meals a day for 104 people. It's kinda exhausting after a couple days.

Anyway, at the end of our last meal, I was standing behind one of our food serving lines with 2 of the other girls/friends, who were working with me. Up walked one of the girls from the group.

FYI: This group was a bunch of 17-24 year olds volunteering for a year in a school setting in the urban poor sections of city schools. They were there preparing for the year ahead of them and training for their new "jobs." It is NOT a Christian based program. In fact, last year, they asked if we could NOT pray before meals because they didn't want to offend any of their kids. (We said "no," of course because we are a Christian camp and that's that. We love when non-Christian groups use us, but we will still stand by our beliefs.)

Back to the story....a girl comes up to us and says,

"Thanks so much for all you did for us. I really appreciate it."

We replied with smiles and "thank you's." This group was so greatful to us and kind. We really love having them here.

Then she kinda stood there for a second longer and I could tell she wanted to say something else. She leaned forward a little bit and said,

"You guys love Jesus, don't you?"

To which we all beamed HUGE smiles and one of my friends said,

"Well, YES, we do!"

That girl's face instantly brightened and she replied with an emphatic,

"Me, too!!"

She went on to tell us that she was so encouraged by our staff and how we prayed and didn't back down from our faith in front of all those people. She was really excited about the year she was emarking on, yet sad too because the program was so close to the gospel, but Jesus was never mentioned. She had been having a tough time with being bold with her faith in these new circumstances and this trip to our camp had been so uplifting to her hungry soul.

I instantly forgot how tired I was, how dirty I was, how we had still more work ahead of us. That's why I'm here. To proclaim the name of Jesus. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that when I'm up to elbows in dirty cups and syrup covered plates.
But to know that one girl was encouraged to shine brighter for Jesus in the midst of the darkness around her? That, my dear readers, is eternity at work. It's nothing we can take credit for. And it's everything we hope for.

September 11, 2008

Friday finds

Pop Candy (the witty Whitney Matheson) was doing a "High School Survival Kit" this week. Movies, TV shows, books. I loved reading through the lists. The comments from readers were fun too.

I want to move into this house. I think I could write a novel here. It's just seems brimming with magic. (extra pictures here)

Absolutely loving this book right now. So full of childhood wonder and magic. I tried it several years ago and couldn't quite get into it. This time I read on a little further and discovered why it's so beloved by my friends. A great book to read out loud to kids too.

Been re-enjoying the Mammoth Men blog this week. The pictures are so beautiful and crazy and the post-processing is gorgeous.

I finally bought the Marie Antoinette soundtrack this week and it IS lovely. I love how there are 2 CD's. One with the rocky/fun/fast songs and one with the chill/instrumental/lazy music. Perfect for any mood.

This is a fun little site full of cool finds. Love this post especially.

My Flickr faves were oh, so inspiring this week too. I love going back through them and remembering all the amazing colors and shots.

I'm off to enjoy a free weekend of friends and relaxation and CHURCH! I've missed church because of work and Iowa the last few weeks and I do mean MISSED. Last week, I was working, but our church has a live webcast so I got to watch a little bit of it. I'm always excited to meet God there every week and something feels missing when I'm not there. I need that re-charge each week!

Also, my 3 year blog-iverssary is coming in 2 short weeks. Are you ready for some fun cause I'm planning for some fun stuff!!! THREE years!

I never read that one

When I opened up Blogger this morning, this blog was on the top as a "blog of note." Basically, Blogger has this forever changing list of blogs for readers to try that the "Bloggers-that-be" think are good. This one sounded interesting, so I clicked and this was the post at the top. It referenced this article from the Washington Post.

And since I love getting lost in a new book almost more than a new TV show, I thought I would play along.

What book(s) are you embarrassed to have never read?

My answers:

So many classics like:
Dr. Zhivago
Anna Karenina
Great Expectations (no I take that back. I don't like Dickens. Oliver Twist was TORTURE.)
Jane Eyre
Emma, Northanger Abby, Mansfield Park (am getting through Jane Austen slowly and loving every one)
To Kill and Mockingbird

I've never read any of C.S. Lewis' "must reads" like:
The Four Loves
Mere Christianity
The Screwtape Letters
I have such a hard time getting through his stuff. I've only "read" Narnia (finished all except Silver Chair and The Last Battle) through radio drama, which I HIGHLY recommend.

What about you?

September 10, 2008

storybook fashion

"Now and then,
in this work-a-day world,
things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion,
and what a comfort that is."
- Louisa May Alcott
Little Women

I wish I could tell you that I had a day like that today, but alas, it was full of work, work, work instead. But there is always hope that tomorrow WILL be one of those days.....

The soundtrack tonight:

Sweat Pea
You're the Inspiration
I Shall Believe (can't stand her except for this one little song)
Come What May (I need to watch this movie again. Sighhhh...)
The Glory of Love (Have you seen this video?! It instantly went into my youtube faves)

September 09, 2008


I have nothing tonight. Drawing a complete blank. I have a post all written out, but I don't like it and will probably delete it and start all over.

I ask myself what is that you want to hear tonight? What is it that you are willing to read when I've got nothin' to write? I must do something. I can't just leave it a big blank nothing for September 9th, the day that my vegetarian month comes to an end.

This is my solution. 3 things. A song. A photo. And a quote. These are the 3 things today (that aren't mine) that I choose to share.

#1. A song. One of my favorites. Two of my all time favorites together for one magical performance. I like to listen to this one on repeat for a while just to let it sink in. It also helps me forgive Josh for the great tragedy that befell me all those years ago.

#2. A photo (or the abundance of). I've gone back to stare at these about 5 times since I first saw them last night. They are perfection. I can't decide which I like better. I DO know that the little girls outfits are absolutely adorable! Tara is a true artist. I can't imagine seeing the world like she does.

#3 Here's the quote by Henri Nowen. It's a long one, but so worth it....

"Patience is a hard discipline. It's not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: The arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to its fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."

Goes perfectly with this verse that I've got up next to my computer monitor...

"Give you entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matt. 6:34 (the Message)

That's all I've got tonight.

Goodnight and farewell until the morrow...

September 08, 2008

Hulu pick

Hulu pick for this week is:


Jack Bauer is my super hero.

more photos

Completed during my make out session with Seth Cohen yesterday. It's always the nerdy, brown/messy haired, skinny, funny boys. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C.

Forget are the photos.

The guys

The girls

My favorite shot of the whole day. I think. I tend to change my mind on this several times a day. Hey, it's who I am.

September 07, 2008

It helps

New wedding photos tomorrow. In the AM, no less.

I've been cranking them out this afternoon/evening. Yesterday, too, in fact.

And I've found my secret weapon. I can take all the ridicule that will come with this confession. Yes, I can. Because, you see, I've been addicted to cheesy television all my life. The list is long and way too embarrassing to admit too. Let's just say that David Hasselhoff was involved....more than once. This is just the newest (I never watched it when it was on. Just starting with season 1 now.) shame inducing addition to the list.

What can I say? Cheesy television helps me edit. A pop up screen next to my Photoshop window is the golden ticket. You'll see the results tomorrow.

ps.....Are any of you interested in seeing a before (not edited) and after (after editing)? I thought about posting one, but didn't know if that was something that people that don't care about photography want to see? Let me know.

pss....I can hear you judging me through the screen. Don't think I can't....

September 06, 2008


Hanna wasn't as tough as we were bracing for....THANKFULLY! Lots of rain and some wind, but totally manageable. And we didn't loose electricity!

I'm tiiiired. Work, work, worked today.

Off to watch some Hulu or read.

September 05, 2008

true stories from today

Cottage Girl and a co-worker were walking towards her crepe myrtle so that he could show her what branches needed to be pruned. Suddenly, said co-worker jumps 5 ft in the air and screams un-recognizable words. Then she sees the source of his fright. A snake. Yes, the dreaded fear of her life. A snake. In her yard. Slithering away from her to hide under her car!! Blech~

Cottage Girl and The Bro ride their bikes to the beach to check on the boats. Boats must be tied down tight and plugs must be removed so they don't sink in Hanna's wake. They ride their bikes down the pier, just because it's fun to look over the side and see the water. And because it's brown wooden planks are now white from all of the bird poo. White, white, white.
They jump off their bikes and begin removing the boat covers to complete their tasks. Suddenly a loud noise occurs and Cottage Girl turns just in time to see The Bro's bike's handle bars sink beneath the river. "My bike!!!" he screams much like Pee Wee (classic Tim Burton flick). Cottage Girl can't stop laughing. The Bro must get a boat hook off the sail boat to fish his bike out of the river (ha!). Bike rescue is made and all is well.

The end...

Friday finds: the return

Kinda photo heavy this week. Guess that's where my mind has been.....

More photo goodness. Just check these out.

This girl's photos are unbelievable. You won't believe how old she is. My favorites are this, this, this, this and this. I found out about her from the Red Velvet Art blog (love, love!).

Go here. Scroll down. See that photo with the ice cream truck? I want to dive into it. I want to drink all the colors in it. It's been stuck in my brain for days now. Another reason I NEED those actions (these photos were processed with them).

These tutorials from the amazing Boutwell's (who created the actions I have been dying for) are incredible! Layer masks are slowly, slowly starting to make sense. And, no, I still haven't bought those actions yet....Did I mention I was indecisive?

I've watched this clip from 30 Rock way too many times this week. The music that plays while she is running...and Conan's "let's not do this Elizabeth"......and "Chewbacca, can I talk to Tracey?" It's so hilariously perfect!

SCC's on TV again next week.

And finally....
I cried when I read this story. Read this. The go here (scroll to the bottom and read up). I've been praying for them lots since I read this. I can't even imagine..... And their testimony is incredible!

I'm off to "batten down the hatches" for Hanna's arrival. The forecast says we could get 10 inches of rain or a couple drops. I'm preparing for the worst. And my new cottage roof is ready for whatever Hanna decides to throw at us.
Not excited about working in the rain though....

September 04, 2008

no, it's not a wedding shot

but it sure did make me smile when I found it.

Little Winnie and my favorite socks.

Jan 2008

September 03, 2008

Here goes.....


Like I told her, it was impossible to take a bad picture of her that day. She was GLOWING.

Bigger is better

There are more. Trust me. I AM going to save a bunch for them to see first, so patience, patience, patience. Plus, I'm a perfectionist and I can't make up my mind what processing I like best.

ps...thanks for all the sweet comments! Man, oh man, I needed those! You guys are the best.

September 02, 2008

your help please

I DO want to give all of you a sneak peek. I'm shocked that you are so excited to see them!

I will soon.


But normal things like grocery shopping, getting a new DVD player cause mine died, seeing my brother(for the first time in a week) and work, work, work have come first.

Last night, I was up late editing. Then I couldn't fall asleep. It was terrible.

And speaking of horrible.....groceries are outrageous! How in the world have prices gone up that significantly in the few short months that camp was going on?!! What the frak? I know I'm old when I'm complaining about the price of milk and bread. Sheesh...

Anyway, I am busily burnin' up the screen with lots of fun shots of wedded bliss. And I've been in a debate with myself over buying the Totally Rad Actions (and the Revenge too). They are so much $$$, but I know I'll use them. And this is the perfect excuse to get them too. What to do, what to do.... Invest in the future or make do with what I have. Hmmm....

So, I have 2 questions for you.....

#1. What type of picture do you want to see. Bride and groom? All the girls? The guys? The family? The details? What would make you happy?

#2. Should I take the plunge and buy the actions I want? Is it too much moola to fork over? Is it a "heck, yeah. get those bad boys" purchase?

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobie. You're my only hope.

September 01, 2008