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Friday, August 31, 2012

High Five for Friday v. 4

Can you believe it's the last day of August?! For me, it's the end of summer. Classes started next week at the university where I work and I'm going to be working a lot this weekend, as students move in and we have training sessions to get through before opening day on Tuesday.

I can't believe this is going to be my fifth opening weekend at BSU. I've now officially been there longer than I was in college! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll likely see some photos throughout the weekend of our activities.

1. In the past week, we got a lot done around the house, actually the mister did most of it, along with some church friends! But as you can see, I helped a bit last weekend, both painting and removing paint.

2. Who doesn't love a free Starbucks drink? On Monday, I used a coupon I'd gotten for being a Target Red Card holder for a tall refreshers drink.

3. I love the combo of navy and coral, but don't really own much coral colored clothing ((I own plenty of navy things)), so I was happy to look down and realize I had accomplished the combo with my nail polish and hair tie!

4. If you've been around here long, you know I love to upcycle glass bottles, especially wine bottles and it often involves spray paint. But earlier this summer, at a friend's house I spotted a fun idea for holding a candle by placing it in an empty wine bottle. On Wednesday night, we had friends over for dinner so I tried it out!

5. Yesterday, I wore a bracelet that was one of my mom's favorites. Other than my diamond, which was hers, I don't wear her jewelry often. But I do love looking down at my wrist ((or hands)) which look a lot like hers :)

Since things at work are about to gear up for the busiest time of the year, I am excited to say, I have some awesome guest bloggers lined up next week. I hope you'll show them some comment love, give them a Twitter shoutout or Facebook share. Seriously, I am excited for you to read what they have to say!

Don't forget, if you're looking to grow your blog I have sponsorship opportunities available. Sign up for your $5 or $10 spot for next month! If you'd rather not use Passionfruit ads, that's totally fine. Email me and we can chat about other options for sponsorship.

Happy Friday and for those who have a three day weekend, enjoy it!

I'm linked up with Lauren for High Five for Friday.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

grateful girl {no. 40}

So, it's been a real long time since I was counting, but lately I have been thinking about all that I have to be thankful for.

261. Sites like Grooveshark and Spotify that allow me to play music I don't even own.

262. The city I think of as home.

263. A full time position and unchanging work schedule for my husband that started this week.

264. Friends who give of their time.

265. Celebrations with friends.

266. My husband's willingness to run to the store when a loaf of bread fails in the bread maker and we have guests coming for dinner.

267. Co-workers who energize me.

268. Leaving the windows open overnight and waking up to cool, fresh air.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I've been sitting on my bed for over an hour with the dog by my side. I read a few blog posts, entered a giveaway or two, all the while racking my brain for what to blog about.

I went downstairs to let the dog out and check on the work crew in our first floor tonight. Six men from our church are here to help out. I've shared a few stories before about our home renovation and the progress we've made. But really, my husband has done most of the work himself. I help with projects from time to time and he's had an occasional friend come for a Saturday.

The living room "situation" started with a leak in the ceiling over a year ago. The pipes in the bath tub leaked and ruined the ceiling, so we took down the whole ceiling just one month into living here. For over six months our ceiling was open to the floorboards in the bedroom above. The positive thing was that it allowed recessed light to be installed and I strung Christmas lights in the rafters. It's been a summer 2012 goal, to get the ceiling replaced and patch the walls, which were in terrible shape.

I don't think I even told you the best part about tonight's work is a licensed contractor, another is a licensed electrician and the rest are just guys who own tools ((and thankfully know how to use them)). I don't think one person showed up without a trowel, bucket or something!

We've only been at the church since December. These are not life-long brothers, though I believe many will become that. Not one of them attended our wedding. But these men are part of this season of life. They know us as the couple who bought the fixer upper.

So, as I sit perched on my bed with the dog snoozing next to me, I am struck by this being such a clear picture of what the Church is all about. Helping hands, ready to serve. They gave up an evening with their wives and children. These men don't get a direct benefit from giving their time, although I hope it will enable us to host a church gathering in the future. They selflessly gave their time, energy and skills to benefit us.

How are you feeling blessed lately?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

5 ideas for happy Campers

I love to camp and I shared this post on Erika's blog early in the month. I also wanted to share my ideas for a happy camping trip.

You don't often have to go far to camp. There are state parks and campsites all over. Do some online research to find out what's nearby. Use a weekend camping trip to see some sites you live near, but have never taken the time to explore for yourself. I live in Massachusetts (and have for nearly 10 years), but hadn't seen a cranberry bog until my husband and I went camping in a state forest a few weeks ago. We had to drive through dozens of cranberry bogs to get to the park.

If you go to a state park, there are likely trails on the same property or very close by. If not, it may take some research/planning ahead of time to figure out where to go for a hike. And this may sound crazy but trust me, leave your phone in the car or turn it off altogether. If you're going somewhere that's not too far from "real life," you may need to cut off your ties with reality (just for the camping trip). A break from technology will do you good ;-) Seriously, just enjoy being outside!

There's no need to sacrifice quality or flavor when you're away from your kitchen. With some planning and prep before you leave your home, you can have a delicious dinner. Foil is my best friend when it comes to car camping. There are so many meals that can be cooked in foil. I came across a list from The Food Network of 50 things to grill in foil from desserts to side dishes to meat. We cutup the veggies ahead of time, put them in foil packages, and then pop them on the grill once dinnertime rolls around. No need to pack a cutting board or sharp knife. I'm all about keeping meals simple, so you can spend your energy enjoying the place and people you're camping with.

Get to know your camping neighbors. I've learned it's very easy to do so when you bring your dog. People are often intrigued and ask questions about our dog or want to pet him, so I end up meeting the nearby campers. I only mention this as a suggestion because I'm a bit of an introvert so meeting strangers at a campground isn't my default mode. It seriously paid off recently when we forgot to bring coffee and a camping neighbor offered us each a cup o' joe after we had chatted for a bit (what a lifesaver)!

Bring your favorite (card) games. Without TV, computers, and phones, once the sun goes down there isn't much to do. I'm pretty sure card games are a camper's best friend. Get comfy in your tent or by the campfire (where ever you're most comfortable) and play a game you enjoy. We usually bring Phase 10, Uno and a regular deck of cards.

What's your must-have camping accessory?

Monday, August 27, 2012

If I had a home office...

I've been dreaming of creating my very own home office and I would use a travel theme to tie together the decor. World Market has an outstanding selection of items for home and office, along with food and accessories. Sadly, I don't live nearby one, but I do make it a priority to visit the store when I'm seeing my family in Tennessee and Colorado. And they have a website I often check out for inspiration!

Over the weekend, I dreamed up these ideas for such a home office. I want an office space to be colorful, yet simple with a rustic vibe from the chalkboard, pendant and globe. What's your favorite item I found?

1 Chalkboard with Wire Basket
2 Arabasque Indoor-Outdoor Rug, Yellow {available in other colors}
3 Green Globe with Brown Wood Stand
4 Blown Glass Bulb Pendant
5 Suzani Print Curtain Panel
6 Rowley Nesting Desk Set of 2
7 Jackson Metal Tub Chair

Did you know World Market has a fabulous Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes going on now?

Who couldn't use a getaway weekend for two? I've never been on a culinary trip, but I'm guessing there is some really great food involved ;-) Seriously, hands-on cooking classes, multi-course dinner and a foodie tour?! You better head over to enter on the World Market Facebook Page!!!

You can also connect with World Market via TWITTER, FACEBOOKGOOGLE+:and PINTEREST

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own.

Friday, August 24, 2012

High Five for Friday v.3

Happy Friday! This is my last Friday off for the summer. Did you know I don't work most Fridays in June, July an August? Can we still be friends? It's a sweet perk, but I am using time off ((I just have a lot of time to take)). 

So, what will I do? I'll probably end up online for too long ((blog reading of course)) and drink coffee in a mug ((rather than a tumbler))'s so much better that way! I don't have any set plans. There are a few potential projects to tackle.I'll probably end up doing laundry and cleaning, ha! 

The past week was a good one. I'm soaking up my last bits of summer and free evenings/weekends. It's been cooling off overnight ((getting into the 60s an 50s even)) which I just love because it reminds me fall is just around the corner!

1 -Another trip to Home Depot. This one was for molding. We now have trim around the doorway from the kitchen to laundry room!
2 -I'm always amazed how Milton stretches out. He can stretch paw to paw across our bed and he's only 35 lbs!
3 -We went out for sushi to celebrate my husband finishing his summer course and some time off before
4 -I've been doing a lot of  bread baking using our breadmaker
5 -A morning soaking up Proverbs #SheReadsTruth

See, not a bad week at all! I am so blessed and thankful for each of those things. I'm also grateful for other bloggers and their inspirational photos, wisdom and truth. I love sharing links to reads I enjoyed throughout the week as part of my Friday posts.

>>> I'm loving this blog that's new to me this week!

>>> This is not just another fashion post, but

>>> Words from Trillia spoke to my heart as I wrestle with dreams of a family and career. I don't think it was a coincidence so much of Proverbs was referred to ;-)

>>> Hayley shared some great tips things you should be doing when it comes to blogging.

>>> The DIYer in me love these ideas for meaningful artwork

What did you love reading in the blog world this week?

((I'm linking up with InstaFriday and High Five for Friday))

Less than three days left to enter the BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY of beautiful goods from handmade shops!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

playlist for summer's end

As much as I don't want to acknowledge summer is drawing to an end, it's the case. I'm about to enter into my "busy season" for work with fall classes less than two weeks away. There are training sessions to tackle and events coming up. It's time to hunker down and complete my summer to do list!

I like to come up with playlists to motivate me at work. They're usually not too hip or filled with recent hits. Most of these tracks probably haven't played on the radio in months years, I created this playlist to keep me moving ((or at least my mind moving)).

What kind of music motivates you while you're working? I'd love to know and maybe I'll put together a playlist of dot in the city readers' favorites...what do you think?!

If you haven't entered the giveaway this week, you have a few more days!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

summer trends on a budget {part 5}

Happy Wednesday ((btw the "d" on my keyboard is having issues an I keep having the re-type it each time I use it))! There are so many things on my min today ((<--- see?)). I need to be honest and tell you I've been conflicted about continuing this Summer Trends series. Laura's vlog last week really challenged me and then yesterday Molly's words struck a chord in me. Talk about internal struggle right?

I agree with Laura's caution and don't want to get caught up in adorning myself with stuff. It can easily become an idol and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I have totally struggled and still struggle with a desire to go shopping and buy cute outfits/accessories. In fact, it was a coping mechanism I dismissed for years.

You see, my mom passed away when I was 20 years old. Prior to her passing, shopping was something I always did with her. It was our thing, even though we did it less than once a month. I had so many great memories of going to the mall or Target ((we didn't do extravagant shopping by any means and usually started with the clearance racks and brought a coupon...I learned my best money saving tricks from her)) and it was comforting to walk through the mall and visit familiar stores perusing the clearance racks.

Fast-forward to living on my own in a city away from close friends an family, I found myself going to the mall "just to look" after work. It was really a silly way to pass the time. And even though I didn't get myself into credit card debt, shopping ((aka acquiring stuff)) became an idol for me. I can't say I have totally reformed and often wander into the clearance section when I go to Target to get shampoo, but I do recognize the struggle and have taken steps to avoid situations that tempt me to buy stuff.

All of which to say, I didn't ask the mister to take any photos of me and what I was wearing in the past week. That is why I am sharing cell phone snap shots today. I finally had the opportunity to do a few of the DIY projects I'd bookmarked recently. How fun is dressing up an outfit with a cute accessory?

Necklace tutorial from Oh Sweet Joy ((jersey for ties is from old shirts I no longer wear))
The Outfit ((all of which I've owned for at least a year)): skirt: Old Navy // shirt: Anthro // shoes: Target

shoes: old Crocs I spray painted the toes ((inspiration found here)). To be honest, they will need minor touch ups after each wear. Spray paint doesn't adhere to Crocs real well ;)

And there you have it, my two DIY/upcycle items to add some pizzazz to my wardrobe that didn't require spending much money. The only thing I bought was a package of wooden beads that I'll use to make a lot more necklaces.

I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday and JessiaNdesigns DIY linkup.

P.S. Adding strawberries to Joe's O's reminds me of eating strawberry shortcake and that's what I just enjoyed for breakfast. Highly recommended!

And one last thing, don't forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2 year {blogiversary}

Guess what?! Today is my two year blogiversary! Can you believe it? I would not have guessed what would become of this place when I sat at my kitchen table sipping coffee on that Sunday morning two years ago. I didn't think TWO YEARS later I'd have made friends across the country ((some of whom I've met in person)) and throughout the world. I couldn't have dreamed of the community I would be part of from setting up this little corner of the internet. I didn't even really know anything about branding or HTML ((not that I'm an expert by any means now)), but I have come a long way.

In March, I did a series on the lessons I've learned from blogging. My husband has done some designing for me and taught me most everything I know about HTML code. I seriously couldn't have done it without him! These are some of the blog banners over the past two years:

Which one is your favorite? I still love the frames, but I also love the current look, which I created myself. Have you ever wondered where the name "dot in the city" came from? I don't actually think I've blogged about it before. When I started this blog, we were living in a neighborhood of Boston known as Dorchester or "dot" for short. I liked the play on words with it being an actual place or a person ((me)), even though I have never been called Dot ((except of course for the sporadic readers who leave comments calling me such which is always good for a chuckle)).

So, how about a giveaway to celebrate the occasion?! Like I said earlier, I am so grateful for be part of the blogging community and have met some incredible bloggers and handmade shop owners. Here is the lineup of awesome giveaway items...

Sweet Mandy of Mandipidy blog + shop is giving away 1 print of winner's choice, an $18 value.

Dear Christa of Ora Dale ((shop)) + Sugarfoot Speaks ((blog)) is giving away a $15 shop credit.

Thoughtful Megan of Meg's Musings ((blog)) + Pretties by Meg ((shop)) is giving away this gorgeous minty necklace, a $20 value.

Kind Alison of Little Green Thread ((shop)) + blog is giving away winner's choice of a Date Night Clutch, a $25 value.

And finally, I'm giving away 1 month of large ad space plus a button design (250 x 250 for ad space).

Thank you for your support of my blog! Enter the giveaway using rafflecopter below. One winner takes all! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Will I See you in September?

As we say goodbye to summer days at the beach/lake/pool and look forward to all things fall...apples, pumpkin spice lattes and wearing boots and scarves, won't you consider sponsoring my blog in September?

So, you wanna know what's in it for you? If you're looking to spread the word about your blog or shop, I'm happy to help! I want to promote you through social media (think Twitter shrares and Facebook posts). If you have a new shop item, I'd be happy to help you with a post about it. Have other creative ideas? I'm all ears!

Why would I want to help you an your blog? I believe blogging (and life) is all about relationships, so I would love the opportunity to spread the word about your blog/shop. All sponsorship $$$ goes toward paying for ads I put on other blogs. For details on blog sponsorships, read on. My rates are very affordable and I hope to see you on my sidebar in September!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I'm looking for good words

This past week, I have experienced God's provision even when I didn't know I needed it. Lately, I'm struck by His goodness and care for me in the smallest of ways. While reading Proverbs 12 and catching up on SheReadsTruth study, I was also hit by verse 25 which cautions against anxiety.

A few examples of God's good word for me throughout the week:

>>> I've mentioned before my husband is beginning a pastoral internship next week. Last Sunday in church, a guest pastor was visiting while ours was on vacation. My husband was presiding, so we chatted with the guest pastor and learned he has a connection in an area we hope to relocate to once my husband is finished with seminary. I shouldn't have been surprised, but it was just the kind of encouragement my anxious heart longed for. I keep thinking about the prospect of relocation and even though it's likely two years away, I get burdened thinking of all that has to fall into place for us to be able to move and before I know it I'm quite anxious!

>>> During that same church service, I was struck by the new faces present. I was so encouraged seeing so many go up for communion and realized we may run out of juice/wine. I thought about how amazingly faithful God is. Our church only started meeting in September of 2011 and we are having to make changes like provide more food during the hospitality hour and print more bulletins to accommodate the growing congregation.

>>> While walking down the hall at work, a colleague stopped me to tell me she heard I go to Grace. She told me she and her fiance will be living nearby and plan to attend once they are married in October. Perhaps she'll be a new friend to have lunch with at work.

All of these instances cause me to question my unbelieving, doubtful tendencies. When will I learn God's in control and as much I try to scheme, my plans really aren't what matters? As was mentioned in the Proverbs 12 outline, I need to ask myself: Am I looking for a good word from the Lord rather than choosing to live in anxiety? I want to look for the Lord's good words in the days ahead.

((linking up with She Shares))

Friday, August 17, 2012

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! It's been a great week and I have a huge list of to-dos for the weekend ahead. Highlights of this past week for me include:

1 -Picnic dinner along the water in Boston with two dear friends.
2 -The two dear friends, Steph and Jess and me.
3 -Lookout doggie, Milton.
4 -A productive week at work, getting ready for a new school year to begin in a few weeks.
5 -Our new light fixtures: glass bottles the mister installed over the kitchen island (I'm still deciding if I want to paint them or not)

From around the blog world, some posts I'm loving:
Have a great weekend!
((I'm linking up with Lauren for High Five for Friday))

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the handmade giveaway from Petunia Blooms!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

question of the month: building bloggy relationships

I asked this month's sponsors to share their wisdom and experience of building relationships with bloggers and shop owners in the community. Let's hear what each had to say...

Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest
Sarah says:
I build relationships usually through emails. I like to email bloggers back when they comment on my blog and that usually starts a chain of emailing back-and-forth and a new bloggy friendship :)

Blog // Shop // Twitter // Pinterest
Nicole says:
One way that I enjoy meeting new bloggers or shop owners is simply commenting on their blog, e-mailing, or chatting with them on twitter. I think it's important to not worry about connecting to everyone, but authentically reach out to people that you genuinely want to get to know better :)

Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest
Rachel says:
For me, building relationships is all about who you have a true connection with. If I meet another blogger that I absolutely connect with, I'll tell them. (I've only met a few that I absolutely adore and have totally connected with.) I'm the furthest from being a networking guru, and I'm okay with that. Building honest, true relationships is what I'm all about and I could care less about my blog numbers. Weird? 

Blog // Twitter // Facebook
Bernadette says:
I try to connect with other blogs and readers through comment conversation. If a blog seems to ask a question, or if the content touched my heart, I try to comment. I like seeing the discussion that gets going. If someone makes a comment on my blog, I almost always answer back. They took the time to read my post, and the time to leave a comment-which is a huge encouragement to me. I have found that it only takes leaving/responding to a comment a time or two, and your start to get a relationship going. I have 3 friends in particular in the blogging world that I feel were my first blogging buddies and I appreciate them. We cheer each other on. It is great. 

How do YOU connect with other bloggers/shop owners?
...don't forget! There's just about a day left to enter the giveaway from Petunia Blooms!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

summer trends on a budget {part 4}

Does anyone else miss wearing layers? I'm talking layered shirts, cardigans and jackets. During the summer months, I miss layering. I spotted Kendi wearing this trend earlier in the summer and just loved it. My dilemma was that the denim jacket I owned was one I loved and wasn't ready to part with it.

So, I kept an eye out for a denim jacket that fit me and could become a vest. Once I saw Anna's DIY denim cargo vest and I remembered a jacket already in my closet. I had bought it at a consignment shop in the spring for about $5, but the sleeves weren't the right length. The cargo jacket was my first vest of the summer and a few weeks later a friend found a nice denim jacket at Goodwill for me. I have to say, they are my cure for layers in summer!

I really love wearing the cargo vest with a dress. It's a simple outfit, yet provides pockets. I love having pockets to keep my work keys and cell phone with me throughout the day. I know I'll get a lot of wear from this vest into the fall...more layers!

vest: Consignment shop // dress: Gap Outlet // shoes: Tom's

The denim vest is fun an casual. The collar is a bit frayed, which doesn't matter since denim is considered pretty casual, at least in the Northeast. But I wanted to wear it to work, so I felt a skirt was necessary. I chose my most comfortable skirt and a plain white t-shirt. I think the denim vest will also look great with a maxi dress or khaki shorts for the weekend. A fun discovery about this jacket is that it has interior pockets, so I can still carry my cell phone and keys with me at work without looking like it has cargo pockets!

vest + skirt: thrifted // t-shirt: Target // shoes: Rocket Dog (similar) // necklace: Beyond the Blackboard

I am grateful since fall is still over a month away and cooler temperatures won't be here for a while, to have found a cure for layering. I can't wait to put together more outfits using either vest, but I think the denim one is my favorite. I'm just a westerner at heart!

For more in the series, Summer Trends on a Budget:
>>> $7 Wedges
>>> Chambray Three Ways
>>> Colorblocked Maxi Skirt

((I'm linking up with Lindsey for What I Wore Wednesday))

What trends do you love to wear lately?

...don't forget to enter the giveaway from Petunia Blooms!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

getting to know me...

I've noticed several new followers around here lately, so I thought I'd take the opportunity introduce myself by telling you a few things you may not have picked up yet.

I am in no way lactose intolerant...I appear I have an addiction to ice cream.

I've been drinking coffee since I was 17 (it probably stunted my growth).

latte, hot or iced...I need my caffeine! 
My husband is an outstanding cook and I try not to take it for granted.

When I'm not blogging or baking you may find me upcycling anything from an empty bottle to a shirt to a book

I've lived in 6 states and Boston has my heart!

I love to travel and see new places, whether stateside or overseas.
Backpacking in White Mountains of New Hampshire, our honeymoon in Alaska, hiking Mt Pacaya in Guatemala, standing by the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

My favorite place on earth is Colorado and I lived there three times for a total of 12 years.

Tell me something interesting about you!
...and don't forget to enter the giveaway from Petunia Blooms!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

a new favorite accessory

I recently got my very own Petunia Blooms' reversible head wrap and I love it! I have the reversible headwrap in aqua pop. I love the vibrant colors and it goes with so many things.

I am so happy it's adjustable (I tie it in a square knot) with my fine/slippery hair. Usually, I can't wear a headband until it's been a whole day since I washed my hair because it will just slide off. But this one is a total keeper since it stays right in place. Also, it doesn't give me a headache from being too tight!

I also have my eye on her ruffled headwraps. Contrasting fabrics with a pretty ruffle...what's not to love?

headwraps shown in: shades of green, plum + grey, and aqua + leaves

Do you want your own Petunia Blooms headband? Well, it's your lucky day! Jacky has agreed to give away ONE headband of the winner's choice. Open to U.S. Residents only.
{enter below using rafflecopter}
a Rafflecopter giveaway
* All opinions are my own and I was not financially compensated to write this post