big moves & half birthdays

Over the past few weeks, a couple super awesome and fun, life changing things have occurred which I would love to share with you. In fact, both things began or happened on the same day. 

Before I get ahead of myself though, if you want to follow along with our adventures of newlywed life, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).  It doesn’t send you crazy stuff or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!

The first thing that happened is that our girl Blue turned six months old and we celebrated with a family photo session on the bed. 

For a pup who is not allowed on the furniture, that is quite a big deal.

She still loves the outdoors, probably even more than me, and would love nothing more than to spend all day, every day outside.

Which she can’t really do at the moment because she is recovering from being spayed. That cone of shame is legit.  She is so confused by it.  You are more likely to find her completely stationary, whining in confusion than anything else.  

Related Post: Oasis

She likes chicken in her food better than beef, she loves learning how to heel, and she thinks that working out with mom is super fun.  She recently chewed through her first rope and loves getting balls stuck under couches… until she realizes that she can’t get them back out again.

My other piece of fun, exciting, potentially life changing news news is that I signed up to be a Beachbody health and fitness coach and I’m super excited!  I am working on my website, learning the business, the lingo, and mostly just enjoying myself so far.  I was already on a path of discovering my own fitness journey while sharing it with others, so I decided to jump in and try coaching!  

I have been telling anyone who breathes about Beachbody since I started using it a couple years ago because I have major heart eyes for the programs.  They also have superfood smoothies and other products that I am fast falling in love with.  

Needless to say, we have some exciting things happening in the Shugart household this year.  I thought 2019 would pale in comparison to 2018.  Boy was I wrong.

If you have any questions for me, like what I do as a coach or if you want to know my fave workout programs, I’m down to talk about it any time.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

oasis

Our backyard oasis begins!  At least that’s what Blue thinks.

Our little five month old golden retriever can’t get enough of being outside.  For the first several months we had her, we didn’t have a fence.  Literally every time we took her out to go potty (which is A LOT with a puppy), we had to put her on a leash and go out with her.

Related post: The Pitfalls of Potty Training

Luckily, in late January, we had a fence installed.

Before I get ahead of myself, if you want to follow along with our adventures of newlywed life, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).  It doesn’t send you crazy emails or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!

A few weeks after we installed the fence and began enjoying the blissful life of dog parents and home owners with a little more privacy, we had gutters installed.

We learned while house hunting that a lot of homes in the area do not have gutters.  This was super weird to me.  As someone who basically grew up in the pacific northwest, as well as someone who has a lot of experience with southern rain storms, the fact that our house had no system to divert water away from the foundation of the home (that rests on sand, might I add) was insane to me.

I am happy to report that these first time home owners continue to fall in love with our home a little more every day.  Especially now that our yard is fully fenced and now that we can rest easy every time it rains.

Until next time,
Jamie out

refurnishing our home was a nightmare

Wamie house update!

In this cozy place we call home, we have been working hard to make it everything we want it to be.  We have added pantry shelves, gone through countless paint samples to find The One, installed a fence and gutters, and so many other odds and ends that we are so excited to share with you in future posts.

But first thing’s first, if you want to follow along with our adventures of newlywed life, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).  It doesn’t send you crazy stuff or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!

Okay, let’s be real for a second. 

Some of us only dream about fully refurnishing our home, but rarely get to do it.  Especially not all at one time.  Usually we painstakingly save up for that new couch.  We stalk Black Friday sales for our new flatscreen.  We refinish cheap furniture that we find at an estate sale.  Refurnishing from scratch only happens in our dreams.

Well friends, let me break it down for you.  I’m not sure that it should be a dream.  I would call it more of a nightmare.  

If you want to read all about how we lost all of our furniture in Hurricane Florence, click here.  If not, here’s a quick breakdown. 

We searched for and put an offer in on a home in North Carolina while we were living in Arizona.  The day we left for North Carolina, my car was rear ended in a tiny town in New Mexico and we found out it was a total loss (read about that here).  Because we were under contract for a home we would be financing, we couldn’t replace my car until we closed on the house.  Luckily, everyone we worked with was a rockstar and we closed just a few days after we got into town.  The following day, we emptied our storage unit and found out that we had lost a LOT due to water damage.

On some level we were expecting some damage.  But to lose all of our furniture?  We literally kept our kitchen table and two chairs, a tiny desk, a drink cart, and our bed frame.  Those were the only furniture items that survived.  

Luckily we had insurance and had saved some money while in Arizona.  Through our own savings and the generosity of others, we have been able to mostly refurnish our home and are loving everything.  Here’s a breakdown of everything we have so far:

Couch

We found this beauty at Ashely Furniture, which is actually where be purchased almost everything for our new home. We found that the value and quality met exactly what we wanted at a price we could afford. This three seater is soft to the touch, firm, and perfect for our living room.

Chairs

These chairs are one of our favorite things. We bought them the same day we got our couch and the sectional we put in the bonus room. They are a similar fabric to the couch above but are not from the same collection. They are situated right next to our window and are perfect for afternoon book reading sessions with a big mug of tea, or for a late night blogger who may or may not writing this from one of these chairs.

Bookcase

If you are ever in need of anything for your home, Wayfair is like the Amazon of furniture. We have been so excited to find some great pieces on their website.

We actually purchased two of these bookshelves, intending to put them both in our office. However, while arranging our living room, we found that putting the bookshelf here tied the whole room together and made it exactly how we wanted it. It’s a grey wash finish and we only put very specific and limited books here so that we wouldn’t overwhelm the space.

Bonus: my parents were getting rid of their coffee table and end table and we were able to snatch them!

Nightstand

We got our bedroom pieces from Ashley Furniture on Black Friday. We were blessed with some very generous friends who gifted us a mattress and therefore only had to replace our nightstands and dresser in the master. I wasn’t so sure about the arrangement of this nightstand initially, to be honest—with the shelf on top and the drawer on the bottom—but it has actually been great for this bookworm who adores reading before bed.

Dresser

The dresser is from the same collection as the night stand, and like the bookshelves is a grey wash. It is a good size dresser—not too deep or gargantuan, but has great drawers that offer a lot of storage space. Bonus: being a newlywed and learning to share space for clothes is teaching me how to declutter and get rid of things I don’t need. Also, having your storage unit flood will do that to you too.

Mirror

So funny story. I put this mirror on my amazon wishlist (linked here if you want one!) and got two of them for Christmas! I am putting the second one in our guest bedroom.

Sectional

This stunner is from Ashley Furniture. It is a four piece sectional that we specifically chose so that it could fit upstairs in our bonus room. Our bonus room is the the only room in the house with a TV so we have to be intentional about any time spent watching shows or movies. We are so excited about this space, and this sectional has been perfect!

Side tables

The sweetest girl who I used to work with gifted us their old end tables that fit perfectly in this space. We have loved them!

TV Stand

Yet another gem we found on Wayfair. Our TV stand is our newest piece and I absolutely adore it. Again, it is a grey wash modern farm house furniture item and I can’t stop ogling it. God bless my William for putting it all together (some assembly required!).

Really this nightmare of refurnishing our home is a blessing in disguise.  We get to choose everything we want and build a cohesive home.  We get to start from scratch with items we picked together and can build our marriage in the comfort of new beginnings. 

While the stress and time spent on insurance and trips to the dump was overwhelming, and the time spent in stores and online searching for what we need was only lessened by the fact that I love shopping—while all of this is real and hard, we can find joy in our time spent with one another. Our lives in this home will be much more enriched because of everything we have been through.

What do you think of our progress so far? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Until next time,
Jamie out.

My Word for 2019

Do you ever give your self a word, or a mission, or a phrase to cling onto?  Something that makes decisions easier and priorities clearer.  Will and I started prioritizing early on in our relationship.  Underneath God and our relationship, we put family.  This helps us make so many important (and maybe seemingly insignificant) decisions clearer and easier.  

I have never chosen a word for a year before now.  Sure, I have set new years resolutions that I rarely, if ever, keep, but this year I am approaching things differently.  I have set personal and professional goals, as well as giving myself a word to focus on.  To be my driving force for learning and growing in 2019.

My word is Simplify.

Much in the way that people say “don’t put yourself in debt during the holidays to show people how generous you are, or how much you love them,” my approach to Simplifying is very similar.  I view Simplifying as a way to gain freedom.  Freedom from overcommitting.  Freedom from clutter.  Freedom from being overwhelmed.  Freedom from feeling obligated.  It is a means to prioritize, and that prioritizing begins with practical steps, that turn into habits, that change the way you look at things, so that the things you look at change.

Some practical steps I have already taken include deleting unused and unwanted apps from my phone and turning off notifications for basically everything.  I already feel this freedom.  There is much less pressure—much less anxiety—much less obligation when I look at my phone. 

Other practical steps include cleaning out the fridge every time I go grocery shopping.  Making the bed every day.  Throwing out expired medications.  Keeping lists on my phone for easy access at grocery stores.  Reducing the trips I make to stores so that I have more time for my family and other priorities.  Making a master spreadsheet for my photography business to simplify keeping track of everything for myself and my taxes.  Getting rid of clothing that has holes, that I never wear, and that doesn’t bring me joy.  

Etc.

I am so excited to dive into Simplifying my life this year and to experience the freedom it brings.  Does anyone have any suggestions for me?  For ways that I can Simplify in 2019?

Do you have a word for 2019?  Leave it for me in the comments!  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out

my Instagram Top 9 2018

This is my official “top nine.”  The one the app pulls up for you and says, “Here!  This was your year!”  And these were my most liked posts on mrsjamieshugart from 2018.

While I actually think this Top 9 did a pretty dang good job, I still stare at it and think, “How on earth can my 2018 ever fit into nine little photographs?”  

According to this photo, 2018 was our Golden Retriever Blue (who is quite important, don’t get me wrong), our new furniture, our NEW HOUSE (first time home buyers—holla!), us, and adventures.  Not a bad representation, but probably not exactly what I would choose.

2018 in a nutshell:

  • Will and I spent the first three months apart.  We took our engagement photos and then he was whisked away.  
  • Just as soon as he got back, we got married, honeymooned in Maine, lived a few more weeks in North Carolina, and then packed all of our possessions into a storage unit for safe keeping.  
  • We drove over two thousand miles away to Arizona to spend four months with each other, with work, and with the desert.  
  • I launched my blog, we road tripped to Utah, explored several national parks (including the Grand Canyon), spent a weekend in San Diego, and ate all of the tacos we could stand.
  • After four months of desert living, we began our trek back to North Carolina and I got rear ended on the first day of our drive.  My trusty little car was a total loss.
  • Just a few days later we arrived in North Carolina and closed on our house.  
  • The next day we emptied our storage unit (that had flooded in our absence) and discovered that basically all of our furniture was toast.
  • Within 5 days, we bought a house, lost all of our furniture, picked out our puppy, and bought a new (to us) Toyota.  
  • Just two weeks later we brought our Golden girl Blue home.  The first month was extremely overwhelming and all of the emotions of the car accident and storage flood caught up with us during our lack of sleep during puppy and potty training.
  • Will started his new job with a much busier schedule that will demand a lot from us in 2019.
  • I started working almost full time as a photographer, being self employed and working a lot from home.

WHAT.  A.  CRAZY.  YEAR.  WE.  HAD.  If I could choose my own top nine for this crazy year, these photos would be it.

#1

My baby nephew was born and adopted in February.  This is what I had to say at the time:

For this child I have prayed.

Little baby Harkni, how we have prayed. And we know now, why it all happened the way it did. Because you were absolutely always His plan, and without the years of waiting and praying and sadness, we wouldn’t get to love you the way we get to love you. We wouldn’t have YOU, and what a beautiful and miraculous thing that there is now this precious new person in the world. And that precious new person is ours to love.

We are so blessed. We are so happy. We are so in love. Our family is growing this year, and 2018 is The Best Year Ever.

With all of our hearts, baby Harkni.

#2

My bridal shower!

This was a crazy season for me.  I was stressed beyond measure (planning is NOT my thing) with the wedding, Will was far far away from me, and I was working all hours of the night and day with my full time job, photography on the side, and worship team shenanigans.  My amazing work family threw me a surprise bridal shower that was extremely generous and made me feel so loved.  My bridesmaid/bestie and her mama also threw me this shower on the day I got my hair done for the wedding (conveniently) at this adorable and delicious restaurant downtown with some of my very favorite ladies.

May you all feel loved the way I was blessed to feel so loved.

#3

#4

#wamieswedding

In April, we got married in my parents’ backyard under sunny blue skies.  I wore lace and tule and we didn’t have a first look.  I watched all the guests arrive through a slit in the blinds of my parents’ master bedroom and ogled my fiancé in his tux from afar.  Will cried when he saw me and we said sweet simple vows.  We snapped a couple pictures and then spent the reception with our loved ones before we jumped in a very decorated car that told passersby to honk, JUST MARRIED! and drove to Raleigh to stay the night in a fancy hotel before setting off the next morning for our honeymoon.

#5

On our honeymoon, we went to the beach, but in coats.  We didn’t get tan, or drink cocktails, or go snorkeling.  We flew to Maine—my dream vacation—and stayed in a little cottage outside Bar Harbor on an island called Mount Desert.  We drank wine and ate blueberry preserves.  Our first little breakfast, I got crepes with Maine blueberries and we drank our way through the island’s coffee supply that week.  We wore activewear and fleece and hiked up mountains to see the views.  We looked off into the distance of the Atlantic on a very clear day and had lobster multiple times at fancy restaurants on the bay.  Will tried a glass of twenty dollar scotch and we did a Marvel marathon to prepare for the release of Infinity War.

We even went to see a lighthouse that I had been ogling pictures of for years.  I had saved a photo of the very lighthouse to my phone exactly two years prior.  To the day.

#6

Our Arizona adventures!

After packing up and moving, discovering hotel and desert life, and launching our blog, we began to realize our dream of visiting as many National Parks as possible, beginning with the Coronado National Memorial.  We love hiking, camping, and exploring.  We were stoked when we found out that Coronado has a cave that you can explore without a guide!  We hiked the half mile trail up the mountainside and then spent a long time exploring the depths of the cave with one headlamp and one sort of okay flashlight.

We then drove up a windy, dirt road to a view point.  If you turn around, you can see well into Mexico.  It was beautiful and green because of monsoon season, and we were so blessed to experience it.

#7

The Grand Canyon

Another dream of mine!  And a culmination of all of my goals and aspirations in Arizona.  I did a work out program called 80 Day Obsession specifically to be able to keep up with my super fit husband on all of our adventuring in the desert.  At the Grand Canyon, we got up around 3am to make it to the rim in time to watch the sun rise.  We then hiked the rim trail for over twelve miles and spent over 13 hours in the presence of the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.

#8

A Cacti Goodbye to Arizona

This photo is a great representation of our Arizona adventure.  On our last weekend, we drove up to Saguaro National Park to catch the sunset among some of the biggest cacti I have ever laid eyes on.  We had a mini photo shoot with my camera on a tripod and the remote in my hand.  It gave us a moment to slow down and cherish every adventure we had been on, the four months we had gone through just the two of us, and this incredible way to start our marriage.  It was a bitter sweet last adventure in the desert, but it was probably one of the best ideas we have had to date.

#9

All of our last two months of 2018 wrapped into one photo, with our new house and our new furniture and our new pup.  What a whirlwind the last 70 days of 2018 were!  I’ll be honest, I hope we don’t go through any more of those, but WHEN we do I will be grateful to do it with Will by my side.

Last year was a blast!  (Most of it!)  I was a little sad to see it go, to be honest.  2018 was very very good for my soul.  For our marriage.  For our future as the Shugarts.  We are so blessed to have had 2018.  

Now here we head into the unknown of a new year.  Our bags are unpacked.  We are setting down roots.  We have plans and adventures and explorations to do.  The world is a big place, so let’s hop to it, shall we?

Until next time,
Jamie out.

Puppy’s first holidays

Blue update #3—3 Months Old!

Our girl Blue is three months old, growing like her life depends on it, and loves spending time with us and her toys.

My favorite things about the past month:

  • Blue’s explosive growth
  • How she is finally learning that her crate isn’t a negative place
  • Watching her run behind a grown dog and how cute and clumsy she looks
  • Watching her with my 10 month old nephew and how quickly she has learned to be gentle with him

My least favorite thing:

  • How she won’t stop chewing on my bathroom rug

Things I have learned:

  • She looooves learning
  • She notices when one of us is gone
  • She is still a puppy and new to this world

Blue turned three months old on her 13 week birthday!  She has changed so much since we brought her home just a few weeks ago.  She weighs over twenty-five pounds now and her paws are ginormous.  She got her rabies shot and has only one set of shots left in her puppy vaccines.

Around week thirteen, she began to become a little more aware.  She recognized that things can be scary, or that she can get hurt, or that some things are unknown.  She would get nervous and distrusting of things she didn’t know or understand, and if there was a loud startling noise, she reacted more dramatically than she would have just a week before.

Blue has gotten better since then and is growing in confidence in her own home and den.  She got too big to ride on my lap in the car, so she is relearning about car rides by riding in the back and isn’t the biggest fan.  She started playing with my sister’s dog, a five year old chocolate lab named Coco, and has so much fun with her in her fenced backyard.  Coco is really good with her, being gentle enough but still having fun rough housing and being pups together.

She is growing like a crazy pup!  She is super playful, but her eyes will suddenly droop and she absolutely must take a nap.  The other day when we were wrapping presents, she couldn’t sleep through the noise so she went to our bedroom to take a nap by herself.  That’s the first time she has done that!  She always loves being underfoot or napping with her head on our feet.

We are excited to start taking her on walks, to dog parks, and to keep teaching her more things.  She loves sitting and laying down, and her new chew toys she got for Christmas are her favorite toys still.  She loves her big fluffy bed, but isn’t so sure about baths or being brushed.  The last time I had to give her medicine, she did great and ate the whole thing.  

Over the next month we expect her to continue growing quickly and hope that we can accomplish more leash training.  We hope to get her a fenced backyard ASAP so that she can explore and enjoy, as well as become comfortable outside on her own.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

Christmas With the Shugarts

2018 was the year of the tabletop Christmas tree due to our tiny puppy.
The breakfast master.
We opened stockings at home, had a giant breakfast, and then went to my parents’ house for family time.
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It is hard to be a little pup when there is no time to nap and so many people to take care of.
Dinner.
Nephew.
Finally able to rest with Auntie Kasey.

Until next time,
Jamie out.