January 31, 2015


I recently discovered the #handsatwork tag on Instagram and it's become one of my favourites to scroll through when I'm looking for inspiration. Hands are my favourite body part, because they do so much. 

I started that painting when I got home from work today, and the knitting is another blanket project which I will complete as soon as I go buy more yarn. I'm excited to feel inspired again and I'm even more excited to ride this wave as long as I can. 

(And don't forget to enter my giveaway!)

January 30, 2015

tassel garland (+ a giveaway!)

Last night I was bored and perusing Pinterest for something to do while I was waiting for Justin to come home from work. I settled on a mini tassel garland and I loosely followed this tutorial by La La Lovely.

I used yarn instead of embroidery thread and I wrapped it around my hand instead of using cardboard... And instead of using the glue gun to hold everything in place, I just tied knots to hold the tassels together. 

I made the little one above for myself, and I made this longer one to give away here! Leave a comment telling me one thing you'd like to see more of on the blog & I'll pick a winner next Friday morning.

Good luck! 

January 29, 2015

my favourite books

Books have always been a very big part of my life. I remember sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house reading Itchy Itchy Chickenpox and More Spaghetti I Say! with my mom or my grandma by my side, helping me sound out words and turn the page for me. I was four years old when I got my first library card and we used to bring home stacks and stacks of books every week. I have always loved reading, being transported into a totally different world and falling in love with characters that I can come back to again and again and again. 

I've noticed recently that I haven't been able to actually finish a book in a very long time. So I've set a goal to read 10 books this year. They can be books I've read before or new books, library books or Good Will books. These are the books that I find myself coming back to time and time again. 

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen // I was recommended this book by my therapist when I was a senior in high school. I think the first time I read it was the summer before I left for college and it captured my heart. I fell in love with the Great Depression era traveling circus world. Jacob, Marlena, August, and Rosie captured my heart and I love diving back into their world. 

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger // This book, hands down, wins the title of my favourite book of all time. The pages of my copy and dog eared and marked up to no end. I love the story of Claire and Henry and how they go through normal life, starting a relationship and getting married and starting a family while dealing with one little thing—Henry is a time traveler. Definite page turner, from cover to cover. 

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling // I remember the first time I read The Sorcerer's Stone in second grade. I was catapulted into the world of Hogwarts and magic and I never looked back. My copy of Sorcerer's Stone is ratty and falling apart and all of my books are dog eared from being read time and time again. The last time I read the series all the way through was the summer before I left for Savannah, and I'm itching to read them again. 

High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips // I owe this book a lot to my recovery from PTSD and depression. I pre-ordered it from Amazon after watching her interview on Oprah coming out about her incestuous abuse from her father, John Phillips, and devoured it in two days. I read during class, I read during dinner, I almost literally did not put this book down except to do homework and sleep.  I did a report on it for my American Women Writers class in high school where we had to read a passage out loud and reading a paragraph on sexual abuse and drug abuse and what it means to be held captive by those things was extremely freeing for me in the process of my recovery from sexual abuse. 

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey // another Oprah book. The first time I read this book I was fourteen and in a phase where I devoured memoirs about rehab and recovery from drug abuse and addiction. Even after all the controversy surrounding Frey and this book, it still remains as one of my favourites. I try to think of it more like a novel instead of a memoir to help lessen the sense of controversy that surrounds this book. 

Looking For Alaska by John Green // This is another ratty, literally falling apart at the seams, very very well-loved book of mine. I remember going to the library and always looking at this book but passing it by for something else that caught my eye. The summer I went to the Lake Forest Writing and Thinking Workshop was the first time I picked this book up and actually dived in head first. Alaska and Pudge and The Colonel and Takumi never fail to make me laugh and then cry and then laugh some more. 

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien // THIS BOOK BLEW MY MIND. I read it for the first time in AP English Lit in high school and was just floored with all the discoveries of memory and storytelling and what really is the truth. It's a collection of short stories that are all about the Vietnam war and all I can say is keep a highlighter and a stress ball handy. You will feel all the feels. 

Those are all of my favourite books that I find myself coming back to again and again. Read any good books lately? Let me know in the comments! My library card is always up for a workout. 

January 28, 2015

my first blanket

I finished my blanket last week. It's about 20x23 inches long. There are holes. There is a stripe where I knitted 8 rows instead of 6. The end where I casted off is coming undone and I have to go back and fix it, but it's done. 

I love it. It's imperfect but it's all mine. I'm still amazed that I created this out of 3 skeins of yarn and size 10 knitting needles. I casted on about 75 stitches using the long tail cast on and just went crazy. Overall I think this took me about 2 weeks to knit from start to finish. 

It's small but it's the perfect size to curl up with on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. I love knitting.

January 27, 2015

nutella hot chocolate

One of my favorite treats during winter is Nutella hot chocolate. I first discovered it in a post on tumblr in 2011 before I flew back to Savannah from Christmas break and I crave it every time it snows.

It's also one of the easiest things to make ever. 

Hot chocolate mix
Marshmallows/whipped cream (optional)

Use whichever mug you plan on drinking from to measure out how much milk you need. Pour into a small sauce pan and turn the stove on medium high heat. Use 1 tbsp. of Nutella (or just take a big heaping spoonful like I always do) and add to the milk, stirring to break up the Nutella and to make sure the milk doesn't burn. Check the temperature of the milk occasionally to see if it's hot enough yet. If you want a richer hot cocoa, use a packet of hot chocolate mix and stir that in too. When it's hot enough, pour back into your mug & top with marshmallows/whipped cream/garnish of your choice. 

Nutella hot chocolate is one of my very favourite hot cocoa creations. Stay warm & cozy out there, friends. 

January 26, 2015

magic monday

Winter is back. The snow is fluffy and so pretty and makes me want to play outside until I can't feel my toes and then come in and drink about a gallon of Nutella hot chocolate. 

Justin's sister had her baby last night! Hayden Cal was born at 6:11 pm. Justin and I are goin to see them later after Justin gets home from work and I'm so excited to meet him. 

I also finished my blanket! And started a new knitting project! And am actually inspired to paint again! This week is gonna be good, friends. Happy Monday. 

January 22, 2015

25 secrets

I haven't slept yet & I'm on my third cup of coffee

I'm a lefty

When I was born I weighed 2lbs. 

I have a metal clip in my heart holding my PDA valve closed

Less than 50 days until Adrian's opens, which means I have a countdown for spring!

I can't bring myself to finish the last season of Gilmore Girls because the plot went downhill so badly

I have 5.5 more stripes to knit on my blanket before I'm calling it done

Hardee's cinnamon raisin biscuits with extra icing is my favorite breakfast 

Runner up for favorite breakfast goes to chocolate chip waffles covered in Nutella

My daily makeup routine is eyebrows, winged liner, & mascara. 

Justin got me hooked on the Hoshin Engi manga & I can't put it down

I feel bad because that means I'm ignoring the rest of the mile high stack of books in my to read pile

I'm learning to embrace neutral colors

I still have all the words to all the songs on Avril Lavigne's first album memorized (13 years later)

My favorite condiment is barbecue sauce

"Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson always fits into every season of my life

The sun baby from Teletubbies terrifies me

I miss Sandra Oh on Grey's

And I'm super excited for Grey's to come back next week

Nothing beats putting sweaters on fresh out of the dryer

I alternate between Almond Joy, Caramel Macchiato, and Samoa coffee creamers

I want a camera tattoo

I'm a sucker for "best of _______" & "I Love the (Decade)" shows

This post took me almost an hour to write

And now I'm off to watch Grey's Anatomy on Lifetime & work on my blanket

January 21, 2015

change it up

Surprise! Sunday night I dyed my hair red again. Sometimes you just need a change of pace, and dyeing my hair red always makes me feel sassy and confident and awesome. Plus Kmart was having a 2/$5 sale on box dye so I couldn't really pass it up. Happy Wednesday!

January 20, 2015

currently, january edition

savoring my morning rituals

knitting my first blanket (only a few more stripes until it's done!)

trying to decide what to knit next

reading the bell jar by sylvia plath 

brainstorming color palettes for a painting

hurting because I got a toothpick stuck in my foot yesterday & had to go to the ER to get it out 

drinking coffee in the morning & tea at night 

vowing to get my craft space organized this week

congratulating Justin's sister, who is due to have her baby on Friday 

loving life right now

January 19, 2015

magic monday

Justin and I started a notebook where we write each other love letters.

When we first started dating, we emailed each other back and forth all the time. We talked on Skype every night. And then when we moved in together the frequency of our emails stopped. We've been trying to get better at it, but it's hard when my iPhone is our only computer. So we started the notebook, to write each other love notes and to get feelings down on paper that we can't say out loud. 

I like to think of it as an exercise in expressing how much we love each other. And it's definitely making my week magic. 

January 15, 2015

dear justin

Dear Justin,

Thank you. 

Thank you for all of your compassion these last few weeks. I know this hasn't been easy for you, the explosion of truth and lies and all the chaos of the last month. Thank you for comforting me when I am not strong enough to keep it together and comfort both of us. Thank you for not letting me run away anymore. 

Thank you for all the love notes on my bedroom walls. Thank you for the bed head selfies and the kissy pictures. Thank you for making my coffee in the morning. Thank you for telling me I'm pretty, with or without my makeup on. 

Thank you, Justin, for agreeing to work through all of this pain and hurt. Thank you for loving me as much as you do. Thank you for being the first person to stay when I asked you to. 

I love you. I love you with my whole heart and soul. I believe in us. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I can't wait for our forever. 

xo, Anna

January 12, 2015

magic monday

First and foremost, one of the things that is making me super happy today is that the windchill has been above zero the past few days. (insert praying hands emoji here)

I'm also grateful for bubble baths, strong coffee, the entertainment power of knitting, and long phone calls with my best friend. I'm realizing again how important self care is to maintain. Love yourself, take care of yourself, and you will be able to better take care of your loved ones. 

Also thankful for rebirth this week. I am learning to become more skilled in the art of letting go, in becoming more human, and in expressing myself. 

I'm thankful for cooking. I made dinner last night, baked penne and Rice Krispy treats for dessert, and as we sat down to eat, I thought, "Now I know why people like to cook. This feeling, this sense of normalcy and also accomplishment feels so good." Baked penne has pretty much become a dinner staple around here and I love it. 

I love this little life of mine. 

January 10, 2015

my new obsession

In November, I taught myself how to knit. I was majorly inspired by Elise's November installment of MAKE29 and didn't get the blanket I wanted... So I thought "why not knit it myself?!"

I've been posting progress pictures on Instagram and my knitting has been accompanying my morning coffee in pictures more often than not these days. This is a big reason why I love Instagram: when working on a project, process pictures help keep you accountable. Taking pictures of the process and documenting progress makes me feel like I'm actually working on something and accomplishing it.

Teaching myself how to knit is probably the best thing to happen to me this winter. I taught myself the garter stitch via YouTube and I'm forever thankful we live in a world with the technology that allows me to do that. I love my new hobby and I'm sure there will be more progress posts as my blanket comes farther and farther along. 

January 08, 2015

ashes to ashes

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Sometimes in order to grow we have to let go of the past. And last night that happened in form of burning old journal pages, letting go of the parts of me that are holding onto old love, blame for things that in the big picture aren't all my fault, and we burned away that part of me that was still holding onto that scared, lost little girl Cody turned me into.  I woke up this morning and I felt light, like I could just fly away. I felt free, and it feels so good. 

January 07, 2015


Last year when we went through the polar vortex I curled up with Grey's Anatomy and only left the house to go to work. Right now, the temperature outside is -3* but it feels like -26* with the wind chill. If I didn't have to work today my plan would be curling up with my knitting and lots of coffee and Gilmore Girls on Netflix. So for now I'll just have to settle for Gilmore Girls reruns on ABC Family & Grey's reruns on Lifetime while I get ready for work. If you guys are dealing with this extreme cold today, please be careful and stay warm friends. 

January 05, 2015

magic monday

Part of my one little word this year is to keep all the positive things in my life at the front of my head instead of letting all the bad things get me down. So enter magic Monday's where I'll be sharing parts of my life that I'm grateful for and the parts that are magic. 

This week I started a new knitting project, a knit blanket! Super chunky yarn + giant knitting needles = heaven. I can already see curling up on the couch with this blanket when I'm done and it's such a good motivator. 

Coffee... I'm always grateful for coffee. But I'm especially grateful for all the peace it gives me. My #annalovesmornings hashtag on Instagram makes me so happy when I scroll through it. That hour I give to myself every day with my coffee & my camera is so important to make sure I have a good day. 

Sunlight. Winter sunlight makes these dreary months so magical. Nothing like vitamin D & golden hour to boost your spirits when the sun doesn't rise until 7:30 AM and sets at 4:30 PM. 

I'm so excited for this feature to show me all the little things in my life that really do matter. It makes me excited to fall even more in love with this little life of mine. 

January 04, 2015

what i'm watching

Oh, Netflix. I love you dearly, but you also kinda make me want to chuck my phone/computer out the window at the same time. I'm so guilty of saying "Okay, I have an hour to kill, I'll just watch one episode..." and then six hours later I'm still sitting in the same spot watching TV. It's so counterproductive, but some days you just need to veg with some coffee and junk food and a marathon of bad for you television shows.

That being said, here's what I've been watching...

Grey's Anatomy // I attribute this show to starting my Netflix addiction. It was February 2013 and I wasn't yet working 7 days a week, so I figured "what the hell, I've heard enough hype about this show to actually start watching it..." and my life has never been the same. Spoiler alert: This show will ruin your life. You'll get sucked in and you will feel all the feelings.

Gilmore Girls // I LOVE THIS SHOW. When it came to Netflix in October, I hopped aboard the bandwagon and started drinking my coffee with a side of Lorelai Gilmore in the mornings. Despite that fact, it's now January and I have stalled in the middle of the last season. All good things must come to an end, but I'm sort of refusing to let this show go.

Skins // UK version or bust (sorry not sorry MTV). I got hooked on this show during the summer of 2011 and then made all my friends get Netflix so they could watch it too. I distinctly remember watching this show so much before bed I used to dream in British accents.

What Not to Wear // Stacey London & Clinton Kelley & a 360* mirror horror show. I used to watch this on TLC when I was cooped up at my dad's house on weekends in middle school. I wanted to be Stacey when I grew up (and I'd be lying if I said a part of me still doesn't).

The Magic School Bus // This is my guilty pleasure TV show, aka the one I watch when I'm cooped up in bed with a head cold and lots of chicken noodle soup. The theme song gets stuck in my head and I remember always feeling so excited when we got to watch Ms. Frizzle and the gang in elementary school.

Pretty Little Liars // Don't watch this show late at night, or during any bad weather situations. Seriously. This is one of those shows where you just keep hitting "next episode" because you need to find out what happens next. I'm currently a season behind on PLL, but maybe I'll get back into it once I finally finish Gilmore Girls.

On my list of shows to be watched, I have: Scandal, American Horror Story, PLL, & The X-Files. What are you guys binge watching these days?

January 01, 2015

one little word in 2015

UP is my new word for the year.
Up to remind me to stay positive & upbeat in times of hardship.
And also to remind me to grow up, wake up, screw up, make up, and stay up. I can't run away from my actions anymore. I need to be up, front and center, to face them and learn how to let them go. 

Unafraid served me so unbelievably well in 2014 and I can't wait to see how UP goes in 2015.