}); kristenwoolsey.com: September 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018

(Long winded) Life Lately!

Life Lately Update // Pugs and Pearls Blog

Jury Duty
I was called for jury duty this week. It's my second time ever being summoned, but the first time it was cancelled as I was arriving at the courthouse. This time I called the number the night before, and sure enough I needed to report. I was especially nervous because I had just heard my friend's experience of being on the jury of a brutal murder. Being the small town that it is, I figured no huge cases would be tired here. 

It's different in every county, but in our county they had everyone file into the actual courtroom and sit in the audience. There were at least a hundred of us. We all had to rise when the judge walked in, and be sworn in. He told us that there were supposed to be two juries picked for two trials that day but one settled as we were all arriving. He read the charges against the defendant, and my stomach dropped. I can't say the details of the case, but I can tell you I 100% did not want to sit through that trial and hear any of it. 

A group of 15 or so were chosen from what I think was a bingo machine, or something similar. They had to go up the jury box and read off a laminated card answering general things about them. I felt so bad that they all had to speak out in front of the entire silent room. I will say that it was absolutely fascinating to hear details about people. It really proves you cannot judge people based off how they look. 

We started at 8:30 and it took until lunch time for them to get done questioning that group. The judge and lawyers deliberated for a little bit and they picked only 5 people! The groans were very apparent. We were dismissed for lunch, and then we had to start the whole process over again. The 2 women on my right were picked for the next group so I was definitely on the edge of my seat. 

It was about 3 in the afternoon before they were done questioning that group. The questions were easy, things that you'd know the answer to, things about your life. But then every once in awhile they'd throw a weird or wordy question in there. You could tell that a few of those types of questions were directly related to the case. We got to see some 'Objection!' action to a few of the questions which livened things up a bit. I was sure that we'd be there for-ever, but they filled the rest of that jury with that group. 

I didn't even get called up! While super interesting, I wish the process was more efficient. There was no need for all of us to be cooped up at the courthouse all day long. Plus, our courthouse is over a hundred years old, and so are the benches we sat on all day! 

Disney Annual Passes
We've had Disney passes for almost our whole marriage. We got engaged there, and spent part of our honeymoon there so it's quite special to us. I think it was 2 years ago when we stopped our passes. There was a ton of construction happening and we were really too busy to enjoy going all that often. Plus even though the Florida resident passes are cheap, especially when you pay month to month- going to the parks is quite the expense. 

I will say, they have a special every January-June were Florida residents can get a 3 or 4 day pass for something like $140 and we received that as a gift last year, so we did technically have a pass in between.

Anyways, we are planning on going to Disney next month with Blake's parents. When looking at the 1 and 2 day passes, I was floored with how expensive they are! I guess I had forgotten. The Florida resident annual pass wasn't that much more, and we decided to go for it! I'm really excited! We haven't seen any of the Pandora section of Animal Kingdom and the new Toy Story land opened up this summer. We already have plans to go 2 more times after the trip with Blake's family, so it's already been worth the money. 

Working From Home
My commute is killer. It's an hour each way, and the only reason I've been doing it so long is because I love my job. Also, it's only 2 or 3 days a week. We've been talking about making some changes for a few months, but this week we actually started officially making the move to working from home. It was very daunting at first, but things started falling into place relatively easily. We have a few kinks to work out, and some experimenting to do with some logistics-but I think this should all go down in the next month or so. 

I'm really excited at the prospect of working at home. I love being at home and we already have a really good office set up. My pugs will appreciate the company too, I'm sure! There is a measure of down time at work too. It can be either slammed or slow. On those slow days it kills me to basically spin around in my chair. If I'm at home I feel like I can be productive at work and then use the quiet time to do stuff around the house. 

Our home office has already been upgraded, because we just bought 2 monitors for the volunteer construction work we've been doing. Blake is getting a new office at work sometime in the near future and he plans to take all of his Star Wars collection there. So we will have to do a little redecorating. It will be nice to make it a more neutral space-especially if I'm going to be in there all the time. 

Travel Plans
As a person who thrives on routine, and being at home...October might just kill me! We have something going on every. single. weekend! I told our house sitter just to move in for the month, it will be easier considering he will be here more days than we will! 

I've already mentioned Disney, and we are really looking forward to it! October is my favorite time to go to the parks. It's still pretty hot, but not brutal.

We also have a quick trip down to West Palm for some training. The class is only one day, so we are going to spend the rest of the time at the beach! Seriously, I have NOT been to the beach yet this year. It's been killing me! We just haven't had a chance to go. Excited doesn't even cover it!

Mid month my mom and I signed up for a 12K in Amelia Island! I feel woefully unprepared, but we will get through it! It's such a beautiful area, and I think we should have some beach time that weekend too. 

Finally, at the end of the month we have a 3 day training class that will make me feel much more qualified for our assignment. For two people with zero construction background, we need all the training we can get. 

I'm praying to normalcy throughout the rest of the month so that we can get through all of that! No more things like jury duty, please!! I even had to adjust my work schedule for the month because of all of these travel plans. I'm so grateful to work with such flexible people! I know I either handle a busy schedule like it's nothing, or the exact opposite-I flounder. It has everything to do with proper rest and having things organized. I'm going to really try to set myself up for a good month despite everything we have going on. 

Leave a comment below and tell me what your life has looked like lately!! Have you ever been on a jury? What do you think about the idea of working from home? Would you thrive in that work environment or do you need to physically go to work? Any fun travel plans coming up?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Currently Watching, Listening, and Reading

Currently Watching, Listening and Reading // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Watching
We just finished up season 1 of Suits and we have really enjoyed it! I'm excited to have found a show that has a lot of seasons already and is still on. Plus, it's really neat to see Megan Markle, knowing what she ended up doing in real life! Available on Amazon Prime.



Listening 
I really love Chalene's podcast. She always really interesting guests on for interviews about health, nutrition and just general life advice. I like to listen to the podcasts when I'm doing yard work. I can usually get 2 or 3 episodes in while mowing our yard. Last time I worked in the yard I enjoyed listening to the episode about people who are chronically late and the more recent one about cleanses-specifically those Instagram teas people are always promoting. 

Reading
Me Before You was one of my favorite books! I have issues with the ending, but the writing and the characters were so good. I wasn't planning to read After You, the sequel, but when I discovered the Overdrive app that lets you check out audiobooks from your library I decided to give it a shot. It wasn't as good as Me Before You, but I did enjoy hearing from Lou again. 

Lauren Groff writes SO beautifully. I picked up Florida because of the setting. As a Floridian I was curious! It's fun to read about places you are familiar with. This book is a collection of short stories all taking place in or having connections to Florida. I haven't finished it yet, but I already know I love the style of writing. You can seriously feel the heat and humidity rising off the page with her descriptions. Some of the stories are mesmerizing and some aren't as good.


Leave a comment for me and let me know what you have been reading, watching and listening to recently!
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

4 Year Blogging Anniversary & Behind the Name

4 Year Blogiversary! // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Having a good chuckle at myself, because until I went reminiscing and flipped through some old blog posts I thought I was on year 5 of blogging! Whoops!

Flashback to September 18, 2014 and I posted my very first post on Pugs & Pearls. Well back then it was called Pugs, Pearls & Positivity. I had so much fun going through those first few posts that I shared. I'm so proud that I went for it and hit publish even though I was so unsure at the time. Back then there was a lot more quantity over quality in my posts, but it was still cool to see the journey that I've shared here. 

Things didn't really pick up around here until about year 2, so I'm really glad I stuck with it. It's important to know if you are thinking of starting a blog that things do not happen overnight and you shouldn't do it to make money or become famous. 'Cause that ain't happenin. However, it has been really neat to work with brands and make a little money with this side project of mine. I definitely never anticipated that! 

Recognize these old logos?
Picking out a name for a blog is incredibly challenging! So many good names are already taken, and it's hard to find something both unique and meaningful. I have noticed a lot of people recently just using their name as a website name and I really wish that was a more obvious option back in 2014! I definitely didn't know anything about branding then.

I decided on Pugs & Pearls because it was a fun alliteration, and I felt that those two things said a lot about me. My pugs are definitely a big love in my life, but they also represent that goofy, quirky side of me. Pearls are such a classic accessory that really define my style. Ironically, I have yet to showcase an outfit wearing my set of pearls yet! 

Love for pugs and a my set of pearls are also both gifts I received from my husband! He gave me 2 strands of pearls and matching earrings on our 6 month dating anniversary. I had always wanted a string of pearls and he was so generous! By 6 months we knew we wanted to get married, so it reminds me of those feelings. Plus, I wore them on our wedding day!

I'm not sure if everyone knows this, but I didn't really like pugs when I first encountered them! They shed a lot, and can be rather smelly! Blake and his sister had a pug named Willy when I met him. Willy was a sweetheart, but he was one of those smelly pugs. He was cute, but I always thought I'd want a hound dog in the future. Needless to say Willy grew on me and I started to love him. When I met a certain black pug puppy, I was smitten and here we are with 3 pugs of our own. Pugs are such good dogs and I just love that they make people smile! I really love that Pugs & Pearls has introduced me to so many pug people! In fact my 2nd most popular post of all time is a detailed list of what to expect from getting a pug. 

Things have absolutely changed in the last 4 years since I first hit publish! I'm sure things will continue to change too. For now I'm really content with posting once a week, with bonus posts here and there. I love sharing great outfits, travel diaries, favorite products and pug pics! It's been fun to get to know other bloggers. It's been a learning experience working with companies. And it's ultimately been an amazing digital journal! While there are some embarrassing posts here and there, I really love looking back on the past and seeing what old me was up to. My writing has gotten better, and I've really learned a lot about design and photography along the way! 

Thank you all for following along, always leaving such engaging comments and keeping this a positive place! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

2 Anniversaries

My Parent's 30th Anniversary
Last month my parents celebrated 30 years! We knew we wanted to throw a party for them, but my parent's didn't want us to make a huge deal either. My dad and I are so similar and he was adamant he didn't want any speeches or to feel like the center of attention. We ended up throwing a really casual party at a local brewery, and it could not have turned out better!

This party also kept with tradition of unique parties, because for their 25th we did a dinner cruise!

We reserved a section of the beer garden, so it was essentially like having a back yard party. They have AstroTurf and string lights hanging overhead...it was a really cool place to do it. Our reservation also came with a tour of the brewery, a set of corn hole and all the tables and chairs we needed. Plus having it catered meant that all we had to do was show up!

My parents loved it and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! I am SO grateful it didn't rain. The forecast showed rain all week and then the day before it said it would be clear. We had planned to rent a tent, which was so expensive and it would have really ruined the vibe. Anyway, it was great. It would have been perfect if it was 10 degrees cooler, but hey when your parents got married in August in Florida-it's inevitably going to be hot. 

Unfortunately, my little brother just started a new teaching job in Brooklyn and couldn't make it down to be with us for the party. He was definitely missed, especially because this was the first thing he hasn't been able to be there for.  

I brought my camera, and took exactly one picture. (The first one below) Fortunately, lots of other people took pictures for me! I was just having such a good time! It was partly relief that everything was going so well and it was also so nice to catch up with so many friends! 






Me and my nephews in their matching outfits! Lennox got naked pretty quickly at the party, haha.
My Sister and Brother in Law's Anniversary
A week before my parent's anniversary is my sisters! Amy and Bryan celebrated 7 years this year. When we were growing up, we always made a huge deal about my parent's anniversary. Since they would almost always take a trip, my grandma would come a stay with us. We would make a cake and decorate the house before my parent's came home. I distinctly remember making one cake that was white with rainbow sprinkles, purple icing and peppermint patties stuck to the sides. It was obviously gross, but it was so exciting to have this surprise for my parents. 

This year, I wanted to sort of pass on the tradition to my nephews. My sister and brother in law spent the day together and I watched the boys. Not an easy feat! Lennox is still so little, and he can't sit up yet. And you can't really hold him on your hip because he will fall backwards. Plus he is like 18 pounds! Carter also started pre-k, so I had to pick him up from school for the first time. #Auntielife. 

After I picked Carter up from school we ran up to the store and he picked out a couple of gifts for his mom. I believe he picked a candle, a notepad, and a cup. I had already bought 2 t-shirts for his dad, and he picked which one he wanted to give him.

Then we decorated a cake, and we made a card. Carter was so excited, and I really enjoyed passing on this little tradition. He got a little hyper after I let him have some of that icing though...

I have to say, the cake turned out so delicious. That was my first time making a two layer cake. We all agreed that the dinosaur sprinkles really added something! 





Leave a comment below with your favorite anniversary traditions! Do you and your family make a big deal out of them?

Monday, September 3, 2018

3 More Netflix Shows You Should Be Watching

Stay Here
I'm so happy Netflix is making home design shows! We don't have cable, so I've seriously missed HGTV. Genevieve Gorder has been one of my favorite tv designers for years, so when I saw her face on Netflix I clicked right away! This show is about people who are renting out their homes on Airbnb or VRBO and they haven't had much success. These guys come in to redecorate and help them give their guests a 5 star experience. Of course the places turn out so nice, but they also give really helpful tips on this show which I found interesting. I would totally stay on the houseboat in episode 1 and the cottage in the vineyard later in the season!



Marching Orders
I'm not sure if I've revealed that I was a band geek in school? I became first chair in flute after starting off with the french horn and hating it. Band was so hard and my band director made me cry a number of times. Marching Orders is about the marching band at Bethune Cookman in Daytona. Their band is exclusive to say the least! It was featured in the movie Drumline. This show documents some veterans and new recruits in one of the most serious marching bands in the country. The episodes are really short and they will make you want to go to a football game!



Amazing Interiors
Obviously, I have a thing for interiors and home shows! Amazing Interiors features just that-amazing homes. I really like that each episode highlights a work in progress as well as some established interiors. It's fascinating to see what other people have done with their passions and what people are willing to spend money on! The house within a greenhouse gave me some serious dream home inspiration. 



Bonus Movie: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Oh my goodness, what a good movie! Lily James does an amazing job as an WWII era author who visits an unusual book club on the island of Guernsey. It's sweet, moving and wonderfully acted. I didn't realize it was a book, and I definitely have it on my to-read list now. 



Leave a comment below with your current favorite Netflix obsessions! We are still rewatching The Office, but these were fun to watch in between episode binging.