Monday, April 6, 2015

Where is your accent from? DIY Home Accents

Three. More. Weeks.

Only three more weeks until my sweet man and I get to move into our new place!


So, naturally, I'm thinking constantly about how I can "jazz it up" without draining my wallet. Surprisingly, I'm finding quite a lot of different ideas and can't wait to get started! As I've said before, our home is small (roughly 1,100 square feet), so I have to get creative. A few of my favorite ideas thus far (some I have shared and some I haven't) are:

1. Paint
2. Hanging plates on the wall
3. Bar stool accents
4. Floating bookshelves

and on, and on, and on...

Today, I'm looking at the plates and bookshelves. See, one of my favorite things that we are putting into this new place is a beautiful, black upright piano that my fiancé got from a friend. Since it is so dark, I wanted to take something bright and decorate it without junking up its top ledge. So, what I'm going to do is collect ten of my favorite decorative plates and hang them on the wall above the piano. That way, I instantly have more color that accentuates the classic look of the instrument.

One of my other favorite ideas for the house is floating bookshelves. Ever since I was in high school, I have adored these tricky little accents because they just look so cool. The shelves themselves form the shape of a small "L" (about 6-8 inches tall with a 4-5 inch lip on the bottom). They hold about four medium sized books stacked on their sides. The cool part, is that the cover of the bottom book goes over the lip of the bookshelf, giving the impression that the books are floating. These pieces are great because they remove items from what may be an overcrowded bookshelf and place them somewhere else that doesn't crowd out another surface. They are also great conversation pieces!

Only three more weeks! I can't wait to share pictures as soon as these master plans are put into action!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

DIY Deep Interior Design

Normally, I'm more of an interior design type of writer. Today however, I want to address an entirely different type of "interior design". 

I was on Twitter the other day, and kept seeing tweets that looked like this:

"Every girl deserves this.."

"Every girl should have this kind of guy.."

I am totally for dreaming about the kind of guy you'd want to be with. That's healthy and I sure did my share. But when we start to demand that guys be chivalrous, the situation becomes completely unfair. We, as women, cannot expect guys to be Jesus-loving gentlemen if we aren't first willing to be Christ-centered.

We sure can make it easier for men to be gentlemen if we're willing to meet the same high standards we expect from them.

Here are a few of the things I do to empower myself as a lady and Jacob as a gentleman:

1. Call him out
My pastor, Chris Tomlinson, says that inside every man is either a prince or a punk. It's up to us to speak to the prince, not the punk. I think this applies across the board. Often times, we waste so many words on negativity that people just stop listening. It hasn't always been easy for me, as I'm sure it hasn't been for you, but it is my heart's desire every day to speak life into my guy and others around me because they're worth it. Remember that your guy has the weight of your world on his shoulders too. Let him know he's doing great job and that he's strong. Don't just refrain from the negative. Strive for the positive.

2. Enjoy his company
After you've been together for a long time, the tendency is to get comfortable in your relationship and stop enjoying each other's company. It doesn't have to be like that. There was some point in time where you actually enjoyed spending time together; some point when he was your favorite person in the world. Remember to choose that.

3. Pray for him 
This is a biggie. I never realized how powerful prayer is as spiritual warfare until I started praying for Jacob. Satan doesn't like people that follow God. He launches full-scale attacks on those who love the Lord, and let me tell you, Jacob loves the Lord. I've seen him fight some heavy spiritual battles, and in those moments, it's up to me to fight with him. As women, we are called to be ezer kenegdo, or "help meet". That Hebrew phrase means we're to fight with them. Yes, men are created to carry more emotional, spiritual, and physical weight than we are, but that doesn't mean we can't help them carry it out.

4. Modesty
Don't write me off just yet. I'm not going to advocate for swapping out all of your shorts for capris and committing to turtlenecks forever. I live in Florida, guys. It gets hot here. Like, drive your car with oven mitts, hot. What I am saying though, is that there's a much better way to show people that you're confident in your own skin. God created you so beautiful and so special. You were custom made for a purpose. Do you understand that? You. Are. Beautiful. By wearing clothes that cover a little more and are super cute, by the way, we create an image that perfectly embodies that. Don't sell your incredible self short. You are worth too much for that. The kind of guy you're looking for will be thankful for it.

5. Gratitude
After all is said and done, be thankful for what he does do for you. He opened the door for you? Say "Thank you". Tried (and possibly failed) to surprise you by doing something extra thoughtful? Be thankful. Tell him you so appreciated the gesture and that he is wonderful for thinking of you. You'll both be encouraged to continue the behavior and strengthen the positive communication.

And that's it.

Do you know what happens when I strive to treat both Jacob and myself with the respect and love that Jesus would require? I get my prince. He..

Opens doors for me.
Takes me out on dates.
Texts me to say "Good Morning" and "Goodnight".
Fixes things in my house without me having to ask.
Tells me he loves me and that I'm beautiful and his favorite.
Prays with and for me.
Stands up for me every day.

Too often, we demand chivalrous men but expect punks. We cry when they put us down but are shocked when they shut us out over our negative comments. That's not fair.

If you want a punk, treat him like one.

If you want a prince, treat him like one.

It's that simple.

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter @Smashley355

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DIY Living Room: Working With What You've Got.

These last two months haven't been at all what I have expected.



All I wanted was some peace and quiet. All I wanted was some time to reflect and take a breath, thankful that I have a temporary place to live, a wonderful college to go to and a family that is truly the best on this planet. But, as the old song goes, "You can't always get what you want." 

This past Thursday my fiancé and I found out that the current tenants of our new apartment, the apartment we had already said 'yes' to, the apartment that we would be moving into on May 8, decided they weren't going to move anymore. 

Excuse me?

I was heartbroken and so was he. We had finally found a place to call our own and it was ripped out from underneath us faster than we could blink. Unfortunately, there are no rules at that apartment complex stating that they can't back out after giving a sixty day notice. It was horrible for us, but somehow there was peace. 

That's the incredible thing about God. When a door closes, even when it was slammed in your face, he's always got something beautiful waiting. 

And that's just what happened. 

About three days later, one of the groomsmen in our wedding pulled my fiancé aside. He told him that he and his wife had just bought a house and were planning on moving from their cozy, little two-bedroom house. He then proceeded to ask my sweet man if we would want to rent the house from them for $125/month. 

Excuse me?

We went from losing a very expensive, yet wonderful, apartment to being offered a HOUSE. Of course, we accepted the offer and are now waiting to hear back on when exactly we can move in. 

But you know me. All I can think about is paint and carpet and possibilities. The house we've got is small, and one of the biggest complaints I hear about small houses is that it looks small. The key, in this scenario, is for me to make it look bigger than what we've got, which is actually much easier than you might think. Here are some tips on maximizing your space (specifically a living room) without maximizing your budget: 

1. Paint: One of the worst things you can do for a small room is to paint it a dark color. Our plan is to turn our small living room from dark red to cream, opening up the space to the eye and allowing maximum light. 

2. Cut the clutter: Just because we have more space than an apartment doesn't mean we need to use it all. Cut the clutter by removing what isn't necessary and watch how incredible amounts of space open up before your eyes. 

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Clean out drawers and cabinets and make them work for you! Storing DVDs, books or even pens/pencils in a drawer or cabinet will open up all kinds of free table and counter space. Just trust me.

Where do we go from here? Well, I guess that will continue to reveal itself as time marches on. One thing I do know for sure though is that wherever we end up, it's going to be home. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

DIY Space (Loving the Unexpected)

Recently, I went through a major life change in the way of living arrangements.

For the last year and a half, I was living in a condo in the Town Center. While I did appreciate the convenience of living there, it was always meant to be temporary. I got engaged in August and planned to move around the time of our wedding in June.

Not likely.

You see, throughout the time that I lived there, I kept getting sick more often than I ever had and, being a Jacksonville native, this started to strike me as odd.

So I investigated.

And I found the most mold I had ever seen in one location at one time. 

The dehumidifier was broken, amongst many other issues with the layout of the building itself. I decided to move immediately, not feeling like my health was worth the risk, and ended up moving (temporarily) into my future in-laws' house. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind or really even wanted, that's for sure. 

So, for right now, I'm living in their spare room converted bedroom. As you may be able to imagine, it is tiny and as someone who loves to nest and design where I am, I started to feel trapped. I had to figure something out in order to make my borrowed space feel the slightest bit homy.

The following is one of my favorite ways to personalize nearly any space I'm staying in without changing the entire space around. It's a kind of active, personalized to-do list that you can hang or place just about anywhere. It is my DIY dry erase board. 

What you need: 

1 large picture frame
Your choice wrapping paper/colored paper

  1. Take the picture frame and remove the back, revealing the transparent glass on both sides. 
  2. Remove the packaged paper insert that the frame comes with.
  3. Take the colored paper and/or wrapping paper and cover the cardboard part of the back the frame so that it will show through the glass.
  4. Return the back of the frame to its position on the frame. 
  5. Now you are free to write on the glass on start your to-do list. 
Done! This DIY dry erase board can now be used wherever you are living and, depending on the size, can be taken just about anywhere. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This is a wiki map project created by MMC4630 students.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DIY Jacksonville (Why I love being a native)

I grew up in Florida. Jacksonville, to be specific. Home of M.O.C.A, 7 bridges, and the world's largest cocktail party (FLA/GA-in case you weren't aware). Some would say I'm from southern Georgia, but any true Jacksonville native would most likely beg to differ. Mostly because we're the best. Here's why:

1. Gators vs. Bulldogs
My dad is a Gator. He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Gator-pride. You will never be able to convince him that any other college football team is worth rooting for, especially UGA. That's how most of us down here grew up. Football is the most important thing in the fall and you have to choose. Weather that's FSU, Miami, UF, or UCF, we are die-hards here in Duval.

2. The Beach
It's a culture down here, no doubt. In Jacksonville we have the Intracoastal Waterway (aka "the ditch") which separates suburbia from the sand, linked only by the language of flip-flops. Once you cross over it's like a different world. I guess that's what happens when you live in the largest city (land-wise) in the U.S.

3. One Spark
Two years ago, my city birthed the world's first crowdfunding festival. It's basically a giant-sized block party for entrepreneurs trying to get off the ground and let me say this: it's legit. There's tons of seed money and prizes and food trucks. Food trucks. The shindig is sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Arts (M.O.C.A) downtown and doesn't disappoint. Did I mention Berlin, Germany has now picked it up? Yes, we're going international.

One of my best friends, Jordan Poole, at his One Spark booth. He was raising money to build homes in Guatemala and will soon be releasing an EP to continue the project. 

4. The Gate River Run
Okay, so this one isn't exactly for everybody, but I've done it for the past two years. It's the largest 15K in the country and a beast to say the least. You run through downtown, San Marco, Riverside, and over 2 of our 7 bridges (The Main Street and the Hart). The race isn't for the faint of heart but it's awesome enough to attract over 20,000 people. I'm about it.

5. TPC
Every year we welcome many of the best golfers on the planet to the Sawgrass Golf Course in Ponte Vedra ("Pont-a Veedra"). There's tee times, country music, and lots of money. We like to put our best fancy foot forward at TPC Sawgrass.

There's so much more to love about Jacksonville, but these are my top 5. Is there something you love about this city that isn't on my list? Let me know!

Twitter: @Smashley355

DIY Soul Restoration (Cobwebs)

I fell.

Like Alice down a hole but I didn't land in Wonderland. I landed in an attic. But it wasn't a dream. It was my reality. I had been pushed out of my world and landed in the "real world", covered in cobwebs and dust.

I look around and find memories I faintly recognize. The writer I was going to be in the third grade. The broadway dancer I wanted to be in the fifth grade. The boy I couldn't let go of in middle school. My cheerleading days in high school. I brush off some dust for a better look. Why is this stuff here?

"A Dream Deferred" indefinitely. The packaged boxes make me claustrophobic, each holding an idea that used to be. What I didn't realize is that I never could let them go and that's why they were there, collecting dust in my attic. I've spent so much of my life buying into thought after thought that I've never gotten to use any of what I'd purchased. So concerned with doing it all that I've don't nothing at all. My heart and mind somehow became that closet no one ever wants to acknowledge is there because its too full of "stuff" you don't need.

So I went through my boxes.





Honestly, some packages needed unpacking but some needed to be moved out. The unforgiveness I found after cleaning up the hurt dust on top was the first to go. With the help of a Jesus-sized dolly it has been permanently removed.

Then I unpacked a love for writing that I've had for as long as I can remember. Each day that I type a few more words onto a tiny, lit up screen I unpack a little bit more and my heart and mind get a little bit lighter and warmer.

I guess you could say I've been doing a lot of Spring cleaning lately. Every day I'm trying to unpack a little more so that I can settle into the new me. Besides, this "house" is way too expensive to hold all of that dust and clutter. I have been bought by the blood of Jesus and hope you see that value in you too. He loves and adores that little house of yours, so help Him make more room for you to be you.

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter @smashley355