Life Has Been Rather Busy… But I’m Back With the Longest Post Ever!

I cannot believe that it’s been almost two months since my last post!  Wow, what an uncommitted blogger I can be sometimes. I am still hoping to build up my blog and to gain more of a following; which I realize is going to take some serious dedication and effort. I’ve been trying to take pictures of recipes I’ve been trying and adventures I’ve been having so that I can post lots of fun material in the New Year – 2015 is going to be my blogging year!

But enough of the apology for not posting, I’ve got some updates for those of you wondering about what I’ve been so busy doing these last two months! In short, since my last post I’ve traveled to the other side of the country and made several visits to see my family in Maryland. I’ve also had some great explorations around DC, Georgetown and Virginia. 

At the end of October I went to California for almost two weeks. I had the privilege of visiting my friends and loved ones there, worked in the office with my SD loves and celebrated the marriage of two good friends. I was there for Halloween (I took advantage of my freshly cut bangs/hair style and dressed up like a well known cartoon character from the 90s, otherwise known as Daria). I got to visit my favorite place in SoCal: DISNEYLAND! I even got to participate in a yummy family tradition of dear friends of mine; we made homemade donuts and watched an old thriller on Halloween night. Needless to say, I spent some much needed time with my team at work and I got to spend time with so many of my good friends from the six years that I lived there and overall it was a fantastic trip. Here are some pictures from that visit:

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I got back to DC after the first week of November and had a lot to do for work, church stuff and familial commitments – I dove right back into the routine!

Our church plant has been meeting on Sunday mornings at a local Starbucks (this coffee addict likes that of course) and our core group has been meeting on Sunday nights. Our Sunday mornings have been reminiscent of my Youth Ministry days (both as a leader and as a student). It’s been such a unique and fantastic experience to return to this concept of working through our faith “like a child” with pictures and small groups and white boards. I’m excited that our Sunday mornings have actually broken the mold (for now) of what I’ve grown accustom to expect of a church gathering.

Our Sunday nights have been times of much discussion about vision and direction, as well as getting to know one another and encouraging each other in our walks. Everyone has a story and I absolutely LOVE learning about their stories in bits and pieces and even all at once over a coffee or dinner date. I continue to grow in love for this group of people and I am beyond blessed to call them my church family. At times it’s still surreal to me to think that I’m here, living in DC on mission with such an amazing group of people. The Lord truly has spoiled us with such a well-rounded  team and it’s all possible because of Him.

November was full of good times with friends. I had friends from Baltimore come down to Pentagon City for a day and I got to meet up with them for lunch at the mall there (and do a little Christmas shopping!). I also fit in several coffee dates and dinners with people from my church that I had been hoping to connect with before the holiday season.

In other November news, my roomie Mandi and I volunteered with the McLean Bible Church Turkey Outreach and owned the frozen turkey line for a good hour. Emilie and I hosted a Hunger Games movie day at our house a few weeks ago; a group of six women came over and we literally were here from lunch until 9 pm eating and talking. We watched both Hunger Games movies in preparation for the third one being released and then a group of us from our church went to see it the day it came out. It was a blast smuggling Mexican food into the theater (thanks, Derek) and getting lost in the twisted story that is the third Hunger Games movie.

November also brought the opportunity to explore Georgetown since moving to DC. I had a fabulous tour guide; my friend Melissa actually works at Georgetown University, so she knows the area really well. We went to lunch at this delicious french cafe and had delicious savory and dessert crepes. We experienced the water front of Georgetown and enjoyed a caffeinated beverage from Baked and Wired (such clever marketing!). Here are some pictures from my afternoon in G-town and from the outreach at McLean:

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November ended on the best note of course: Thanksgiving weekend!  It’s my favorite holiday for many reasons, but most importantly this year I got to spend it with my family for the first time in a while. Not only were my brother, his girlfriend and their two kids in town from WV, but my little sister and her boyfriend were in town from VA Beach and I loved seeing my older sister and her three kids. What made it more special was that all four of my mother’s children were present for this one. We had a great time and my good friend Emilie joined us for the day. I stayed with my grandma for four days, took my youngest niece out for a birthday shopping spree and dinner, and got to visit some dear friends of mine on my way back to DC. Here are some pictures to commemorate the occasion:

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Enter December  2014. I mean where did the time go?! December came so quickly and here we are eleven days into the month and it feels like the final two weeks have already been used up. I started the month off getting a Christmas tree with the roomies, starting the decorating process of our home and preparing for my trip to California for our final work week of the year. December also started with a much needed coffee date with a great friend from my church (she is a fellow two “n” Jenn) and making cake pops for my niece’s 9th birthday party.

I went back up to Baltimore for her mustache themed party and it was so much fun. I haven’t been able to make it to any of her birthday parties because I’ve always lived too far away; it was important for me to be there and to help make it a special day. I absolutely love this little lady and her siblings. My nieces and nephews are so dear to my heart! Here are some pics from the mustache shenanigans:

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This week I’ve been finalizing my prep for my work trip next week, all while working each day and decorating/baking stuff to prepare for our holiday open house and our church’s Christmas party this weekend. It’s all fun, but as you can see it’s been really busy and I am looking forward to exhaling on January 2, 2016. My trip to Cali should be a good time of productivity and connecting with loved ones and then I’ll be traveling to see family for a few days over the Christmas weekend.

Writing this post has made me stop in the business and reflect on the Lord’s many blessings and realize how I take them for granted all too often. My hope and prayer for this up coming year is that I would be more vocal about my appreciation and love for the people the Lord has allowed me to cross paths with and to walk this life with. I also pray that I would grow in gratitude toward Him for my salvation and His plan for my life and increase the times I allow myself to get lost in knowing Him and getting to know Him better.

Now that the longest post ever is finished, this blessed (and spoiled) woman is going to bed. Good night world!

A Year Ago: October 2013

It’s October 2014 and I live in Washington, D.C. I’m a part of Redeemer City Church, I work from home, and I live only about an hour from my family in Maryland and my dear friends in Virginia. I’m just a short walk and metro ride away from almost any place I’d like to visit within my new city and I’m just a road trip away from visiting my favorite US city, which is Boston.

As I sat in church this past Sunday morning I had a bit of a deja vu moment; but I hadn’t experienced sitting in that moment before, so what was I feeling was familiar? My moment came from realizing that just a year ago I lived in SoCal, went to my CA “home” church, was a part of fantastic circles of friends and connected in community with fellow sojourners in the Christian life, worked in an office (with some amazing people, I’ll add!), used my car to get anywhere I needed to go and had to drop at least $400 and lots of vacation days to fly across the country to visit with my family and friends on the east coast. Not to mention, I haven’t been able to visit Boston since the summer of 2009.

Then I realized that I have been in this moment before – hence the deja vu. It was just 6 years ago (literally it was in October of 2008) that I sat in a chair at Copperhill Community Church and reminisced about how much my life had changed from the year before that. It was such a similar moment because I had just moved across the country about 4 months before I joined Copperhill (from Boston to Santa Clarita). I had similar thoughts of where I had come from, where I was working, the groups of friends and loved ones I had left, etc.

In my second October recollection moment it hit me that within a 7 year interval I’ve done a lot; including living in 3 different major cities. As I look back I’m so blessed to see the Lord’s faithfulness and also to see just how much he spoils the desires of my heart to travel and experience new things. When I was growing up I never imagined my life taking the turns that it has and as each new year passes I pray that I keep gratitude in the forefront of my mind.

Looking back, here are a few things that were going on this time in my life last year and memories I hold dear:

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Dinner with my team at work. Doing the typical “Scorpion” glass hold. I actually told one of my good friends that I was thinking of moving to DC this same night after the dinner ended.

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Walk for Life in Santa Clarita with these ladies. That was a great day and what a great cause to support.

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My view of trees in our neighborhood. Little hints of early Fall for Cali.

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My view from the third floor office in Valencia.

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Bowling with one of my community groups in Cali. Love these women!

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Emilie and I were accidental twinsies to church one morning. This happens often and it doesnt matter what coast were living on :).

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Team “Cops and Robbers” Halloween costume. The two are my partners in crime and will always be. #GB

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My sweet friend Jenna surprised me with homemade, heart shaped pumpkin muffins one morning. She left that at my door before work after a difficult week.

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Saugus Football game with the this crazy crew. Always an eventful time with the Schafer family.

 

New Blog Topic & Series: “A Year Ago…”

I’m adding a new blog topic to my page and I hope to update it at times where reflections lead me to think “wow, a year ago I was [fill in the blank].” Anytime I think in this manner it’s worth writing about and reflecting on what has happened since that time in my life. The Lord tends to use random moments of reflection like these to remind me of His character, to show me how much can happen in a year and to remind me that this life is but a fleeting breath – each day, month and year seemingly passing by faster than the last and in the blink of an eye.

FullSizeRender-2He also uses times with close friends and loved ones to help me walk down memory lane and to process the lessons learned; often those times are filled with both parties recalling times of great difficulty, times of unfathomable blessings, seemingly insignificant moments that changed things for good, and times full of much needed laughter! I often work out my thoughts with close friends over coffee, while we’re running errands or even while doing laundry. It’s a huge blessing to have people in my life who understand my rants of verbal processing; typically done while multi-tasking, and can take what I say with a grain of salt when needed. At this stage in life and with my recent move to Washington, D.C., some of my closest friends live 3,000 miles away now. Needless to say scheduling phone dates can sometimes be difficult; I figured what better way to have those “conversations” than to record portions of His faithfulness and provision in my life on my blog.

If you’re a topical blog browser, you’ll be able to find these type of posts in my categories under “a year ago.” By the way, if you regularly read my posts and haven’t yet subscribed I’m hoping that you will consider subscribing so I can meet my personal goal of getting 30 subscribers before 2015. I’d also love to have guest bloggers contribute to this “life reflections” category of my blog. If you’re willing and/or interested in being a guest on my blog let me know. I’d love to chat about the possibilities! You can email me at ablogseyeview at gmail dot com.

My first post about where I was in life a year ago will be coming this week – stay tuned!

Quick & Easy Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

IMG_7832Happy Friday everyone! I’m happy it’s the weekend, but even more so because I get to share a delicious chicken fajita recipe with you on the blog today. This yummy dish was introduced to me by my lovely friend, Marla. I’ve mentioned her before, you can see her in an obligatory friend selfie we took before consuming said chicken fajitas, or you can get to know her here.

My 1st Encounter with My New Favorite Chicken Fajitas

Obligatory friend selfie of Marla and I before we consumed said chicken fajitas.

Last weekend I went to visit Marla, her hubby and their sweet daughter – and had a blast I might add. We decided to do a little shopping one evening, but it was kind of close to dinner time – enter perceived dilemma, to eat or to shop?! Being the multi-tasker that she is, Marla had already planned a quick and easy dish for dinner; one that would cook while we were out shopping and also had a short prep time. Clearly I was sold on the idea!

The recipe was for oven baked chicken fajitas. That’s right, it all goes into one pan and bakes in the oven for less than 30 minutes. With Marla and I both working on the prep work, IMG_7845we cut the already short prep time in half! It’s literally cooking for dummies here and I love it! Not to mention, I was so impressed with the dish I came home and made a batch of it for myself and a friend this week. I even had enough left over to eat it for one meal a day since Tuesday and I’ve still got some to spare!

What You’ll Need & How to Make It

I know, I know – enough ranting about the recipe and just tell you what you need to be on the fajita train of deliciousness, right? I bet you’re hungry after seeing the pictures above; so without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to make your very own chicken fajitas on this feisty Friday night: *

Easy Baked Chicken Fajitas Recipe

*I modified the recipe a bit and you can do the same, as your heart desires and to your taste buds’ liking.

**You can find the OG recipe here: Color Me Meg’s blog.

Introducing New Blog Topics: Breaking the Existing Blog’s-Eye View Mold

Hello my lovely readers (not sure how many of you there are, but anyone outside of myself is a success in my mind)! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be expanding the topics I discuss on my blog. To date I haven’t really included posts about food, or products or even DIY projects – but that’s all going to change for the better.

I started this blog for many reasons, one of which focus on keeping people updated on my big cross country move from LA to DC. Now that I’m more settled I’m ready to spread my blogging wings. This blogger is ready to venture out and begin including other types of posts of a “lighter” nature than I’m prone to. If you follow my blog, you already know that I’m a deep thinker and tend to post about more involved life lessons or circumstances, but I’m also a creative thinker and love to be crafty!

The ladies I work with actually nicknamed me “Martha” after Martha Stewart because I was always cooking up something new or crafting up something I found on Pinterest or simply made up on the fly. I really am a Pinterest addict at heart and appreciate a great product find that makes my daily routines easier. I also really enjoy making stuff for other people – it’s so fun to give away food and decorative DIY crafts.

I plan to start branching out with the following topics/categories, so if you’re interested in anything related to them you’ll be able to easily find related entries by visiting my categories list:

 Cooking & Baking
Inspirations
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Products I Adore
& Recommend
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Creations for
Places & Spaces
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Bloggers: Friends
& Those I Follow
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Book Reviews
& Article Shares
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Discoveries
& Fun Finds
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With that being said, I’ll be breaking my blogging topic mold by sharing some fun finds from this past weekend, and then I’ll share about a super easy icing recipe from a random search online.

Stay tuned for those follow up entries this week – I hope you enjoy them!

20 Things You Might Not Know About Me Blog Tag

My dear friend (and roomie) Emilie Hendryx from Thinking Thoughts tagged me to participate in a blog question game – how fun! It was started to build community amongst bloggers and I love that idea. I hope to get connected with fellow bloggers I’ve been admiring for some time now, and also to share my love and respect for bloggers I already know and cherish as friends!
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A glimpse into my shortness, as shown off at the Lincoln Memorial last April.

Question 1: How tall are you?
The answer to this WILL NOT be a surprise to anyone who knows me. The question should really be “how short are you?” because I get that a lot. I think 5’2. I recall a doctor telling me that at one point I was almost being 5’3, so sadly I may have shrunk.

Here’s a fun fact: my feet rarely touch the ground when I sit all the way back in chairs.

JUST last night we had a very tall friend over for dinner (I’m talking 6’7) and when he found out my actual height he literally made a sound like “aww how cute and precious is that?” It was a bit over the top ha.

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
Does creating things in the Paint program count? Because I own Paint creations for sure!

Or being super pale and “vampire-like?” I’ve got that on lock if it counts!

Let’s see, I don’t know if it’s a hidden talent, but I have the ability to be ruin surprises – without even trying to (although hats off to my mother for throwing a rad sweet 16 for me in spite of my ruiner teenage self being so stubbornly picky and demanding). I hope one day someone can actually pull off a surprise for me – I think that would be a good time.

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Meet teenage Jenn (far right w/ long hair) and some of the family; ironically this was Eater of the year I turned 16, so likely right around the time of that party I mentioned.

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
I have more than one, so I’ll limit it to three (why 3? When I thought of limiting it to just 2 I didn’t like leaving out my 3rd thought and I also like odd numbers, so 3 it is!). Ha

  1. Not being able to find the “about” page. – I want to know about the person who is making me laugh or cry from a well written post and/or who is motivating me to try a new recipe, a new work out, a new book or a new craft.
  2. When I can’t easily find the categories list – I like to find out if they’ve blogged about anything else I care about.
  3. External links – I don’t like when they are broken or don’t open in a new window. It’s not as user friendly to have someone navigate from your site to see a resource you’re quoting.

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
LOL – again, there isn’t just one. But I will limit this to one in an effort to not break all of the rules of this post.

A lack of eye contact in conversation. I find it very telling when people don’t make eye contact and when they do.

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?
This tends to depend on the season, the year and where I am in life. Right now I’ve been playing the follow songs on repeat often:

  1. Elastic Heart by Sia, The Weekend & Diplo (Hunger Games Soundtrack)
  2. I Ain’t Leavin’ Without Your Life by the Nashville Cast
  3. A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay
  4. Three More Days by Ray LaMontagne (Life as We Know it Soundtrack)
  5. Give Me Faith by Elevation Worship

Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?
I actually don’t have one. I haven’t really jumped on the Etsy train completely; but I hope to in the future. I want to exercise my crafting nature and sell fun homemade holiday stuff like wreaths, ornaments, picture quotes, etc. One day…

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?
Does people watching count as being alone? Because it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m out and about running errands alone.

But when I’m actually alone and not interacting with others I like to work on my yoga moves – ha! – OK, that’s not true.

Let’s see, I actually like to work on “clearing my head.” My mind is constantly on and though I do an array of other stuff when it’s just me, I really like to be alone with my thoughts so that I can journal or pray out loud to clear my head and balance anything that’s going on. This tends to happen simultaneously when I decide to re-arrange or re-organize something in my room or the house.

Other things that get my attention while I’m alone include: reading, writing (I’m alone right now and decided finally posting this blog was a good use of having some down time), Netflix or Hulu marathons, and the occasional random drive or walk to explore new places.

Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?
Does coffee count as junk food, because it is seriously a treat for me. But for solid snacks, I was on a pretzel kick for a while – I mean my desk drawer was rarely without a bag at the office.

But now that I’m back in the land of Utz potato chips, I would say any junk food splurges I have are usually between that brand of chip and Oreos.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
Nope. I’m not really a pet person right now in life. BUT if I could have a BIG dog, I would consider becoming a pet person. Or even better, if someone could figure out a way for me to have a horse of my very own and still live in the city, that would be great!

Pictures of my two beloved Darcys.  Fun fact: these images are actually from a movie date my friend Kim and I had last year. We couldn't be at the same house to watch together, so we watched our versions of Pride  Prejudice and talked/text comments and pics while we were watching. It was a good movie date.

Pictures of my two beloved Darcys.
Fun fact: these images are actually from a movie date my friend Kim and I had last year. We couldn’t be at the same house to watch together, so we watched our versions of Pride Prejudice and talked/text comments and pics while we were watching. It was a good movie date.

Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
Number 1? I don’t know if I would say these are my forever number one choices, but they definitely hold a special place in my heart and I could re-read these books ever year :).

Fiction – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Nonfiction – Galatians for You by Tim Keller

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?
They’re Real! Mascara by Benefit – the tester size works better than the full tube, in my opinion.

Benefit and Two-Faced are actually my favorite overall for make-up products and Glo Therapeutics are my go to for face care. The Glo line is the best thing I’ve ever used for my face and I’ve used MANY products (thanks to my good friend Emily for introducing me to this line)!

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
This won’t be a surprise to those who know me, but I don’t get embarrassed that often and if I am feeling embarrassed it might not be that evident. So I can’t remember a time recently when I was embarrassed; maybe when I got turned around coming home from the grocery store and it took way longer than it should have because I overestimated my knowledge of the DC grid system.

On the other hand, I could tell you of several times recently when I was embarrassed for someone else… Let’s just say that people are VERY affectionate in public places sometimes and it’s a bit ridiculous.

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Notice that fierce coffee glare in those eyes (oh and the vampire-like look). The struggle is real people. It is real.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Coffee, without a doubt.

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?
I like variety in life, so this “just one” thing is difficult for me in this post. My favorite movie has been Dirty Dancing since I can remember, but The Italian Job is a very close second (the one with Mark Wahlberg in it).

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
Does none of the above count? I wouldn’t classify myself as any of the above titles. I was a dancer and I loved it. I was super involved in my church’s youth group and I loved that too.

I definitely did not run with the popular crowd or dress the part of the girls who did, but I also wasn’t completely disconnected or disliked that people bullied me or didn’t know who I was. I think I was probably somewhere in between; I’ve been a rather social person since I can remember, and that wasn’t any different in my school days (maybe someone from high school will read this post and verify if my perception was correct, or correct me by saying that I was a total nerd and unpopular person in their eyes 🙂 ).

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
USA: Boston
Outside of USA: Germany or Ireland

Question 17: PC or Mac?
For Work: PC; mostly.
Personal and Work Testing: Mac

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
If someone has a crush on me they better come out with it and make this grand romantic gesture already – in other words nothing eventful has happened in this area that’s worth mentioning ;).

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?
Female: Sandra Bullock – she seems super fun to hangout with and she looks great for her age!
Male: Robert Downey Jr. – this guy is hilarious and extremely talented!

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?
Katie Farrell from Dashing Dish –  she just seems so sweet and fun to be around. I love how her faith is clearly the driving force behind her health habits. Her blog inspired me years ago and I haven’t forgotten that. 

In addition to my dream blogger BFF above, I’m tagging the following people to do this ’20 Things You Might Not Know About Me’ Blog Tag by answering these same questions in a blog post – I’ve never communicate with some of these bloggers, so we’ll see how this goes:

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Us in Germany back in 2005 (this is also further proof of my shortness power).

1. Marla from MIPRIP: Finding Joy – She is one of my closest friends from college – We’ve known one another for about 10 years and have remained good friends even with living in different time zones, states and countries during that time – I love her so much. Her blog is full of valuable resources, encouragement for women and insight about real life experiences.

2. Michelle from The Lucky Penny Blog – Let me start out by saying, this woman can cook! I had the privilege of being on the same team with her at work for a little over a year and I love this lady. I am still honored to work for the same company and collaborate with her from time to time. Her blog is full of fun, healthy and easy to make recipes – several of which I tried first hand from her kitchen last year!

3. Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience Blog – She may never see this, but that’s ok. Ann is an author of a great book called “One Thousand Gifts” and she has this great blog. I really enjoy her unique writing style and truly appreciate the wisdom she shares in her posts. I also had the opportunity to hear her speak at the Women of Faith conference last year in Anaheim, CA. It was awesome.

4. Jillian from Refashionista – She’s another one who probably won’t ever see this, but I would love to meet her one day. She is spunky and creative and FUN! I really support her cause and why she started her blog in the first place – to not be wasteful, but to take old clothing and make it new. I like that message and she is quite witty with her posts as she shows you what she’s reinvented. I’m hoping to make a “refash” of my own soon.

5. Ashley from Southern (California) Belle – Let’s start with this: we have a mutual love for ModCloth.com and she has pink hair. That could be “enough said,” but I’ll share a little more about her. She is married to one of my co-workers, so we’ve met like once or twice at company parties, but I don’t really know her personally. But I think she seems like such a fun person to be friends with – plus she has great style and I secretly wish I could be as fashionable as she is.

* This blog post is a part of the ’20 Things You Might Not Know About Me’ Blog Tag started by April from Blacksburg Belle. She began this blog tag experiment to build community among creatives, help us bloggers to connect more and get to know each other better. This month’s topic is all about sharing just a little too much information about yourself. If you’d like to participate or want more info, check out the beginning post right here.