6.21.2017

31 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

Are you new to Simply Us blog?  Welcome!  I'm Emily and I'm so glad that you have decided to follow our crazy life.  Let me introduce myself...here are 31 random facts about me:

Cuteness overload...I mean, look at my hands in my pockets.
1.  I’ve moved 37 times (my mom says I left a few moves out), lived on 3 continents and do a deer in headlights face when I meet someone new and they ask “where are you from?”.
2.  I’m terrified, absolutely terrified, of needles, but somehow managed to pierce my belly button, get a tattoo and let my sister pierce my ears in the downstairs bathroom.
3.  I love the color purple so much that I wore purple crocs, a purple backpack and a purple jacket almost daily in college until I met a new person and they said “Oh yea, you’re that purple girl I see on campus”. #awkward
4.  I could eat pizza every day and never get sick of it.  Seriously.
5.  I loved growing up in a big city, walking everywhere and taking buses and blame that on why I hate to drive.
6.  My dream job would be to live out of a backpack, travel the world and blog about it.
7.  People tell me I know how to relax better than most.
8.  My husband and I met in an interview to work in the Magic Kingdom and both got the job.
9.  I call him “Ironman” because that was his walkout song when he was a baseball star and I was falling in love with him.


10.  When I lived overseas, I would crave Doritos and orange juice and make it a priority to have them both, together, ASAP when back in the USA.
11.  I have had so many vaccinations, I actually have 2 record books and the last time I went in for boosters, the doctor told me he’d never seen anything like it (hence the fear of needles).
12.  Ironman always teases that I go into stores with blinders on…I will walk right past friends and family and won’t even notice.
13.  I started taking ballet lessons before kindergarten and continued until I went to college.
14.  My favorite treat in Bolivia is to go out for anticuchos…aka cow heart.
15.  I was in a spelling bee in 3rd grade, heard the girl in front of me spell “recital" wrong and get disqualified, then came up to the stand and spelled it exactly like her and was surprised to also be disqualified.
16.  I have a Bucket List with 148 items on it and always looking to add more.
17.  I love minimalist living and am happiest when I have less items of higher quality.
18.  My dream would be to live in a tiny house or buy an RV and travel around the USA and Canada for a full year.
19.  On a study tour to the Holy Land, my life was changed forever and I remember that I just said “It’s really real!” over and over and over for 3 weeks.
20.  My mom caught on fire Christmas 2001 and I ran back and forth to the kitchen with a green tupper wear bowl of water, without knowing that water wouldn’t put out that type fire.


21.  I always thought yellow’s not my color, but Ironman convinced me to buy this cute shirt^^^ because he said he loved it on me.
22.  I would have lived on brown sugar pop tarts and never exercised if it weren’t for my inspirational hubby...now I actually eat spinach and know what antioxidants are.
23.  Sometimes when I’m talking with someone, a word will still almost come out in Spanish even though we are speaking English.
24.  I hate humidity and miss the mountain view from my bedroom window.
25.  I broke up with the word “never” because when I say that, it’s like I’m doomed to do whatever it was.
26.  I’m getting ready to get my 4th passport and didn’t realize that not everyone has one, until I went to college and met them.  Seriously.
27.  On that note, I didn’t realize that not everyone missed school frequently due to city riots and blockades…so, for the first few months of college in the USA, I kept thinking I wished someone would hurry up and protest so school would be canceled.
28.  I own an essential oils business with over 800 members and make more money than any of my previous jobs, without doing much more than using social media and word of mouth.
29.  I love rainy days and overcast skies.
30.  During high school, on family vacations, my mom and sisters and I would read a book a day and pass them around…so, a 2 week vacation would mean 14 books read.
31.  I got lazer hair removal in college and haven't needed to shave in a decade...perfect for this traveler!

So, now that I've shared all my random "secrets", you're turn!  Share a random fact about you below.


6.19.2017

HERE'S TO 2 YEARS IN OUR FIXER UPPER


The day we bought our first home!

I can't believe that we have lived in this house for two years today.  And I'm pretty sure we are going through the five stages of grief...denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Our days in this house have been an adventure, but have been hard.  We bought this place knowing that pretty much the entire house needed to be renovated, but really didn't understand how hard it was going to be to live in a house while it's constantly under construction for several years.  So, we have been working days, nights and weekends and everything in between for two years.  I help where I can, but most of the burden has been on Ironman and I can tell that he is exhausted and ready to be done.  We can't wait for a weekend that really feels like a weekend and not like we are procrastinating on a mountain load of never-ending work.

On a positive note, It's been really good to go back and look at all these old photos to remind myself that we have made progress.  Since we still have so much more work to do, it is easy to forget and feel like we're stuck in a rutt.  Take a look at the changes so far...on all the photos, you can see June 19th 2015 on top left, June 19th 2016 on the top right and today on the bottom!

HALL BATHROOM - We completely tore the entire bathroom out and started from scratch.  Because the room was so small at first (see how close the toilet is to the pink tub?), we took a closet from the guest room on the left to add space for the vanity and open up the entire bathroom.

2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
HALF BATHROOM - This was our only working bathroom for about a year and it's so small, you can't sit on the toilet straight because your legs won't fit beside the vanity.  Every time we used this toilet, we would have to choose whether we wanted to sit sideways with our legs against the wall or wide open with our legs spread open and around the vanity...both were awful and uncomfortable.  So, we totally gutted it and it's going to become a half bath with a slop sink, since it's next to the laundry room.  Right now there's nothing in it but the old tile floors and new walls.
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
LAUNDRY ROOM - This room was a bedroom with the attached bathroom that is becoming the half bath.  We turned it into the laundry room (since the laundry had been in the garage) and closet space for two other bedrooms (the guest room and master bedroom).  So, now it's just a laundry room, half bath and a bunch of walls.  Also, the entrance to the kitchen has been closed up.
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
GUEST ROOM - This room was the one that lost the closet to the hall bathroom, so we just recently tore into the left wall to create a closet.  This closet is using some of the space from the laundry room above.  It's a mess right now because of all the tearing out, sheetrock and sanding, but will soon be done and painted!
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
OUR BEDROOM - This is the only room in the house that didn't need too much work.  We pulled up the carpets, tore down the wallpaper and painted.  It's the nicest room in the house for the least amount of work.
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
LIVING ROOM - We haven't done much in this room yet.  So far, we've replaced the light fixture, taken down the old window treatments and put up blinds and pulled up the carpet.  Between the living room, dining room and kitchen, we also tore out three walls to open everything up!
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
DINING ROOM - The first thing we did when we moved into this house was pull up that red carpet, only to find linoleum under it...ugh.  Ironman built the window seat and shelves that surround the windows, plus the amazing farmhouse table!
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom) 
KITCHEN - I pulled up carpet (yes that green carpet), to find foam.  Pulled that up to find linoleum.  Pulled that up to find tar paper type stuff glued to the floor.  Scraped and scraped and then gave up.  Just a few weeks ago, we finally got some professionals in to help us sand up the last bits.  We've moved some things around, built a pantry, installed some cabinets and it's really coming along.
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom) 
FOYER - Not much has changed here.  We opened up the entryway and have skimmed the walls, over the wallpaper.

2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
SUNROOM (aka future master suite) - Since we lost a bedroom to a laundry room and more closet space, we decided to use the enormous sunroom for a master suite!  We will have a huge walk in closet, a double vanity, doorless two-head shower and a claw foot tub.  We want it to be our own little retreat.
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
FRONT PORCH - The only recent changes are the flag that Ironman put up during elections and the table that we bought so that we can enjoy eating meals on the porch together!
2015 (top left) - 2016 (top right) - today (bottom)
As you can see, there have been a lot of changes over the past two years.  Right now, we are focusing on finishing the right side of the house.  Once the bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, laundry room and foyer are finished, we will move on to the left side of the house.  Then, we will only have the living room, dining room and kitchen left to be finished!  It won't be near as much work as the right side was, so it makes me feel like we are getting closer to the finish line!

This morning...730 days into this monster project!

I would say "come back on June 19th, 2018 to see our progress", but we are actually trying to finish by the end of this year!  We will keep you updated for sure and hope to have a big party when it's all over to celebrate that we made it through alive.




6.15.2017

6 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU'RE OVERWHELMED

Life can be very overwhelming at times!  I know in my case, I'll sign up for and agree to a million things and then all of a sudden hit a wall.  At that point, it's like I'm past the point of no return and have to make some changes fast.  Here are some of the things that I do when I'm in over my head:




1.  EVALUTE - First things first, evaluate your life and circumstances.  What is stressing you out and causing you to lose sleep?  Can it be avoided or is it something that you have to deal with?

2.  SAY NO - People will always suggest what you should do, but learn to say no to things you don't want to do or have time to do.  Spreading yourself too thin isn't going to benefit anyone.

3.  GET A HOBBY - By saying no to some things, you'll get to say yes to others!  Find something that you enjoy like painting, camping, going to the gym or cooking and spend some time each day doing what you love.


4.  RELAX - Everyday.  Get alone.  Unplug from electronics.  Sit on your porch, go on a walk, close your eyes or do whatever helps you feel calm and collected.

5.  SELF CARE - Make sure you take good care of yourself by eating well, exercising daily and sleeping enough hours.  If you can get away, you might even consider a vacation.

6.  GO SLOW - Although it's tempting to be busy and hurry through everything, make enough time to get everything done without feeling flustered.  This probably means you can't do as much, but that's ok...maybe you were doing too much anyway!

If you're not good at recognizing when you're reaching your limit, then make sure you have someone who will call you out and let you know when they notice the signs.  It's important to deal with being overwhelmed before you let it get to the point of complete burn out!



6.07.2017

WHY I QUIT THE CAPSULE WARDROBE

Since beginning the Capsule Wardrobe in 2014, I dress better and feel better for sure.  I still have a long way to go, but I like how far I've come.  So, let's talk about why I'm quitting...it's not what you think.

Shopping in Hilton Head!

I am a minimalist at heart and love to live simply.  I really do enjoy having less and don't mind having very little clothing.  That's not the problem.  The issue has been with timing.  Let's say, for instance, I see a tank that I would love to wear this Summer, but it's not time to shop for my Summer Capsule yet.  The Capsule Wardrobe concept would tell me not to shop until it's time and definitely not to buy yet.  But, what if I don't see that tank again?  Or what if I do see that tank, but they don't have my size any longer or I can't afford it at that point in the future because I spent my cash elsewhere?  In the past years, in order to follow "the rules", I only shopped when it was "time" to shop for the upcoming season's Capsule Wardrobe.  But, I often felt like I wasn't able to take my time and wait to buy something that I absolutely loved, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of a Capsule Wardrobe, right?

My favorite cold weather shoes...Toms wedges!

Then, one day last year, I was with my Mimi and she said something that stuck with me.  She had a set of pale pink chairs at her beach house.  I commented that I really liked them and wondered where she had found them because they looked like something out of the 70's.  She told me that she had bought them years ago and kept them in her attic.  I said something along the lines of that being silly to buy something that you weren't going to use yet.  And she replied, "Well, I knew that I loved them and would use them one day.  Even though I didn't need them then, since I went ahead and bought them, I had them when I did need them".

Rocket science, right?

My favorite warm weather outfit...birks, jean shorts and a colorful tank!

I let this roll around in my head for months.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  You know when you've waited too long to go shopping for a new pair of jeans?  By the time you do shop, you are in a panic and just have to buy something now.  How different would it be if, when you found the perfect jeans, you went ahead and bought them then?  Now now, I'm not saying go back to crazy spending and a closet packed with things you don't need.  What I am saying is learn to shop mindfully and with control.

My favorite dress...got it from Old Navy and love the bright colors!

So, I'm not technically "quitting" the Capsule Wardrobe.  I'm still a minimalist and will always be, most likely.  I still enjoy having fewer items of better quality.  I still love the 10 item wardrobe.  I'm sticking with all of it.  What I am changing is having seasonal Capsule Wardrobes.  I don't want to box myself in of when to shop for what.  From now on, I will keep a rotating Capsule Wardrobe.  When I love something, I'll buy it and add it to my closet.  When I need something, I'll start looking for the perfect fit.  When something has seen it's last day, I'll give it away or throw it away.  It's the new and improved Capsule Wardrobe...with an Emily twist!

Want more on the Capsule Wardrobe?  Check out some of my older posts:
2014 Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe (my FIRST capsule wardrobe!!!)
2016 Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe (focused on The Six Items Challenge)




6.06.2017

17 OF MY HOME TOWN RECOMMENDATIONS

A few years back, a new girl moved to Florence and I gave her a tour of the town.  She wanted all the details.  Where to go for car repairs, which dentist to use and who to go to for hair cuts.  So, I decided to put together a list of all my recommendations for anyone new to town or who needs something new.

Downtown Florence

1.  CPA: Waring & Associates Nancy, Becky and everyone else who works here are always friendly and helpful and take good care of us!

2.  Bank: Carolina Bank Lynn Wilson (on Irby Street) was so helpful when we were buying our first home, so we opened our business account here and we have been happy with both!

3.  Car: Creel Tire (843) 662-5238 Richard and Walt and the others who work here are always friendly, have fair prices and take care of everyone like family!

4.  Dentist: Dr Bryan Patterson (843) 662-1761 Bryan has a great office staff and everyone is so patient with me when I'm anxious during appointments!

5.  Eyes: Palmetto Vision Center Dr Andrews has been good to Nick and I since we began coming here!

New glasses!

6.  Dermatologist: Carolinas Dermatology Group Dr Hunter Birch is soft spoken and sweet and always makes me feel at ease when I go in for a check up!

7.  Gyno: McLeod Women's Care (843) 777-7500 I heard so many recommendations for Dr Chandler and was happy to find everyone was right!

8.  Yard: Marvin James (843) 601-2257 Marvin and his crew do a great job with our yard and have always been dependable!

9.  Facials: Roseann's Electrolysis (843) 615-2505 Roseann is welcoming, does a great job when I come in for a facial and always makes time for me pretty quickly!

10.  Hair: Stephanie Campbell (803) 968-6986 Stephanie is good at listening to my ideas, has great input when I come in for my hair and I always leave happy!

11.  Pizza: Marcos Pizza Because a good pizza always makes things better!

Afternoon Tea at Top Hat

12.  Coffee and Tea: Lula's Coffee CoClay Pot and Top Hat Special-Teas Go to Top Hat and have afternoon tea for a special treat!

13.  Shopping: Palmetto Peddler and Thieves Market are both great places to find old treasures!

14.  Breakfast: Long Grain Cafe has the best breakfast in town!

15.  BBQ: Wholly Smokin' I'm not a BBQ person, but I actually love it here!

16.  Mexican: Mi Tierra I don't even really like Mexican either, but I love this place because it's got a great atmosphere!

17.  Exercise: Rail Trail This is a great place to get outdoors, go for a run or walk, ride bikes and take kids!

Am I missing anything here in town?  Give me your favorites in town!


6.01.2017

MY TOP 10 TO DO AND SEE AROUND THE USA

Last week, I shared my top 10 to do and see around the world...this week, I'm sharing recommendations around the USA!  I spent years living overseas and traveling all over the world, so learning to love America has been a more recent thing.  There are still more places that I want to see and things that I want to do, but here are the ones that I have loved most so far:

1.  GRAND CANYON - Ever since I was a kid, I said that I wanted to do a huge USA road trip and visit the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the Redwoods.  In 2012, Ironman and I did it!  I have always known that the Grand Canyon was large, but WHOA.  There are no words to describe the immensity of it all.  Even the photo doesn't do it justice.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  We camped there for two nights, but could have spent a week and not seen it all.


2.  DOWNTOWN GREENVILLE - My favorite thing to do in Greenville, SC is to go downtown, get a cup of herbal tea, walk down into the park, find an empty seat and people watch.  It's so relaxing and Ironman and I always end up having such good conversations, almost like the park opens us up and allows us to dream together.


3.  NEW YORK CITY - As a high school graduation celebration, my mimi brought me here for a few days to sight see and see Hairspray and The Lion King.  NYC is a busy place and although I loved the sight seeing, I want to go back one day just for the musicals.  Ironman and I went back for a day and walked around a bit a few years back.  It was then and there that we decided we have to return together, for a weeklong vacation, to see several musicals.


4.  REDWOODS - Just like the Grand Canyon, the Redwoods were nothing like what I expected.  Again, I knew that they were large, but holy cow.  I could never have imagined what it would feel like to be around such enormous trees!  We camped there for 2 nights.  Our site was covered in trees and right by a creek.  It was cool weather and quiet.  Just remembering it makes me feel calm.  Ironman and I definitely want to come back here one day!


5.  YELLOWSTONE - We only spent a day here on our road trip, but I loved the color of the water. The landscape was so unique in that every direction you looked, there was something different to see.  Trees in mucky white water, deep blue pools, a raging river, trees and fields and so much more.  Although I wouldn't want to camp because of the grizzlies, I'd love to come back, stay in the lodge and see more of the park!


6.  SALT LAKE CITY - If we bought a house in any other place, it would be here.  The weather is perfect with little to no humidity, the downtown has so much to do and so many places to eat, the city is surrounded by snowcapped mountains and it's less than an hour drive to the Young Living Lavender Farm.  This is by far one of our absolute favorite places to go in the country.  Thank goodness we are leaders with Young Living, so we know we are going to be coming back here frequently for years and years!



7.  BILTMORE - Something about seeing how people used to live and dress is so intriguing.  I love history and putting myself in the shoes of those from the past.  Plus, it's so cool to see how wealthy people lived...I'm always shocked by the amount of money that people had and even have today.  My favorite room in the Biltmore is the pool.  There is basically an entire room that is completely tiled.  You walk in through a door in the side of the pool and the walkway is bolted to the walls.  So different than indoor pools today, but so genius!


8.  PAWLEY'S ISLAND - Ok, so it's not just Pawley's Island.  We love to go down to the beach.  We have our favorite restaurants, shopping areas, state parks and things to do like the annual Night of a Thousand Lights at the Brookgreen Gardens.  I think because we spent the first week of our honeymoon at the beach, it will always be a special place for us.  Pawley's is definitely awesome because we go there each summer with Ironman's family and I always look forward to it!  It's a great family beach...more space, more quiet.


9.  SANTA MONICA PIER - Since we live only an hour and a half from the beach, it's not uncommon to just head over for the day.  But, since I had never been to the Pacific coast, it was on my bucket list.  I wanted to put my feet in and say that I had been there, done that.  Let me tell you, it was not what I expected.  Dark, freezing water.  Which meant that I put my feet in, literally...only my feet.  I also had this romanticized view of what it would be to be at the beach in California.  Um, that was shattered.  Santa Monica Pier turned out to be like a west coast version of Myrtle Beach...aka a dirty, overcrowded, tourist trap.  Not what I expected, but at least I got to cross it off my Bucket List.


10.  CAMPING ANYWHERE - Every time we camp, we want more.  We love it.  I don't know if it's the getting away, just the two of us, or just being out in nature.  But, each time we camp we feel refreshed and come home happier.  I really wish that we could take 6 months and hike the Appalachian Trail together.  Most people think that's crazy and that I would hate it, but when I imagine the months of quiet nature, I feel so drawn to the idea!  Who knows, maybe it will never happen.  But, I can dream and hope for now.


Am I missing anything that you would recommend?  Let me know in the comments below and maybe I'll add it to our Bucket List!