Thursday, January 31, 2013

Almost "Legit"

So, on a whim, tonight I did something big!

Okay, not really that big, but... I bought a ".com" domain!  That's right, for the next year, the lovely URL is all mine!  I feel so legit.


The problem is figuring out how to connect it to good old Blogger. I found these instructions that made it look super easy, and it was easy until I got to the "settings instructions" page.  Mine looks different and started talking about locating the DNS setting and entering "CNAME" and "A-records."

Umm, that's where they lost me.  Do any of you pro bloggers out there know what this means, and can explain it in terms that my non-computer science mind will understand?!

I also read that sometimes it takes an hour to become active.  Combining that with how sleepy I am right now, I've decided to sleep on it (literally) and figure this out tomorrow.  But if you can help me, I'd love you forever!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cozy Sweater Dress

The balmy, spring-like weather in Dallas the past couple of days moved out with last night's thunderstorms, and it's back to typical January weather again.  So, out came my favorite sweater dress for today's work wear!

I love the cowl neck of this dress, the color, and not to mention how cozy it is! I feel like a sweater dress can make you look professional and put together, while still being comfortable!

Dress: Ann Taylor Loft // Shoes: Steve Madden // Bag: Dooney and Bourke

Monday, January 28, 2013

Living Room Makeover: Sneak Peek

Last September, I moved into my first "grown up" apartment with one of my college roommates. (I lived with my parents for two years after I graduated.)  We had a big, old blue leather sofa that was super comfy and worn in, but definitely a little on the worn out, and not so stylish, side.  It was certainly time for an upgrade!

With a new couch came all kinds of other additions, and the roomie and I are on our way to a super cute living room that matches our style and personalities.  We still have some finishing touches to do before the room is complete, but here's a sneak peek into some of the details!

I shopped around for a while before deciding that this couch from Macy's was the one.  I knew I wanted a neutral color, but nothing too bland that would blend in with our apartment walls, and nothing too stark white/ivory that wouldn't stay new and fresh for long!  I love the color of this one, and the style of the back.
Being TCU grads, we had to incorporate some purple with the pillows!

In that picture you can see the beginnings of another project- our gallery wall above the couch.  All of the photographs were taken by the roommate and I during our various world travels.  I've wanted a gallery wall for a while now, and being a travel lover, it already makes me happy every time I look at it!

Important question for y'all- what should we put on the little shelf?  We are thinking something purple, but are open to suggestions! Colors, item, good places to look?

And, when I saw this chair, I knew it belonged in our living room.  How perfect is that back?! I originally had it in front of a window, but realized the detail would never be seen, and that would truly be a shame! So now its home is near the fireplace, angled in front of a floor lamp.

More to come after our living room makeover is complete!  

Helene in Between


Thanks to Kenzie at Life According to Kenz, I found this one-day link up with Laura at The Every Day Joys.  I'm excited to share my answers and meet some new blog friends!

1. What blogs do you visit daily? Please list 1-3 of your favorites.
Oh my word, so many! I tend to scroll through my Google reader and open up any posts that catch my eye that day.  A few that I read daily without fail:
From My Grey Desk
Living in Yellow
Helene in Between

2. Are you on Instagram? If so, what is your user name?
YES! So addicting.  My username is julieccarter.

3. Can we find you on Pinterest? What's your Pinterest address, and what can we expect to see you pinning most? (recipes, DIY projects, home decor, etc.)
You sure can! I try to avoid it because I already have enough things on the Internet to distract me, so my pinboards are pretty bare.  You'll probably find me pinning most about home decor at juliecarter127.

4. What are your favorite blog link-ups to participate in? (weekly link-ups other bloggers have...any number will do...please link us to them!)
5. Why do you blog?
I have always loved to write, and Just Julie is a place for me to record all of life's little happenings, share my thoughts, ideas, and opinions, and to learn from and get to know so many wonderful people in this blogging community!
6. Tell us one random fact about yourself.
 A good thunderstorm makes me just as happy, if not happier, than a sunny day. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hump Day Happiness

For over a year now, every single Wednesday I've been sharing something that I call "Hump Day Happiness."  I post a picture of something cute, sweet, or funny on my Facebook wall, write "hump day happiness," and include a little note, wise words, or quote to complete the picture.

Sometimes the pictures are my own (think hilarious throwback family photo or a picture of my giant dog), sometimes they are pictures that other people send to me, and sometimes they are pictures that I just find online.  The idea is to brighten everyone's Wednesday and give them a little piece of mid-week happiness!

When I first started posting, I had no idea how my Facebook friends would react- would they be annoyed or not care about my silly little pictures? While I'm sure there are those people who don't, I've had so many friends tell me that they look forward to my posts every Wednesday- even bringing them up in "normal" in-person conversations! And my favorite anecdote is a friend who noticed that I hadn't posted by the late evening one Wednesday and was worried something had happened to me!

So, here's today's picture:

Hump Day Happiness: High five for the week being halfway over!
Source: via

If you have a picture to nominate for Hump Day Happiness, please send it my way anytime!

And, if you want to see all of my Hump Day Happiness posts and promise you aren't a serial killer, we can even be Facebook friends- you can find me here.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fishtailin' It

In the 6th grade, my friend Michelle often wore her hair (and styled mine, too) in a fishtail braid, way back before they were cool.  I wish I knew where she was today so I could congratulate her on being a trendsetter 12 years ahead of the game!

You see braids everywhere these days.  My hair can be difficult to style, especially in a braid, but I finally decided to give a fishtail a try myself.  I followed this tutorial that breaks it down and makes it really easy.

Finished product!
My tips:
  • Don't have a clear elastic handy?  I just used a rubber band.  You'll be cutting it out anyway!
  • Keep everything very tight.  When you cut out the top elastic, the whole braid will be loose, and you want the style to stay.  In my opinion, if you actually use a clear elastic, you can just leave it in and it will look fine, plus hold better.
  • When you get near the bottom and the pieces are more uneven (especially if you have layers), I recommend switching to a regular braid pattern to finish it off. 
  • Hairspray.  Lots of hairspray!
I'm not brave enough to try it yet, but how cool is this braid?!  

Any other (hopefully easy) braiding styles out there that you recommend?  I'm game for a little hair experimentation!

Helene in Between

Monday, January 21, 2013

Every Weekend Should Be Three Days Long

Right now I'm sipping coffee, blogging (obviously), and feeling thankful for Martin Luther King so that I get a three day weekend!

Okay, I know he did a lot of great things for equality, and I doubt his "dream" was for me to get a day off of work, but right now I'm just loving this quiet, relaxing morning!

Before I turn this into a productive day of cleaning, let's re-cap this lovely three-day weekend.

Friday night was spent at the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  If you live in Dallas and haven't been, check it out-- there are so many cool things to see and do.

My boss gave a talk there on her new book, Make Your Brain Smarter, as part of the museum's "Ingenuity" evening for adults, and we turned it into an event for our young professionals group, which I coordinate.

After exploring the museum, my roomie and I discovered a yummy Tex-Mex place across the street.  A fun night in our city- I love Dallas.

Saturday, my friend Megan and I roadtripped to a part of Texas I've never visited- little old Abilene- for our friend Liz's baby shower.  We all went to high school together, and it's nice to still be in touch a few years later.  

Baby Noah is due on Valentine's Day, but my bet is on February 2 for his delivery... I hope I'm right! Liz's hosts threw her such a cute shower, and Noah's cake was adorable! 

Of course I got excited with my gift and stuck with the monkey theme.  Can't wait to meet this sweet little baby!

I am definitely a city girl, but it was fun to take a little road trip with a friend and see a new part of my home state and get "away from it all."

Don't worry, we followed it...

And, the highlight of my Sunday was going to my parents' house for family dinner. There's no place like home.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Social: Top 3's

Sunday Social

1. Top three favorite foods: Pizza, Sushi, Tex-Mex

2. First three things you do in the morning: Check phone, put in contacts, brush teeth

3. Last three things you do at night: Drink lots of water, set alarm, scroll on my phone (which I shouldn't do because it usually wakes you up!)

4. Three TV shows you never miss: The answer to this is actually all, because I don't watch much TV.  But if I'm going to tune into anything while cleaning/folding laundry or just in need of a little relaxation, it's usually something ridiculous-- Teen Mom, Catfish, or The Bachelor.  I know, I know.  Judge me!

5. Three places you want to visit: Austria, Italy, Germany

6. Three people you can always count on: Mom, Dad, Sister.  Family love is unconditional!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

30-Second Thursday: Little Things that Annoy Me

30 Second Thursdays

Linking up to vlog again for 30-Second Thursdays! This week's prompt was three of the worst/annoying things you can think of. 

I didn't want to get too "gloom and doom," so I made mine three little things that are just annoying!

What are the most annoying little things you can think of?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Favorite Dress

I wanted a new dress for a fun work event last year, but hadn't found time to go shopping.  I was at the mall during my lunch break purchasing things from Paper Source for that event when I spotted this lovely dress in the window at The Limited.  I tried it on, loved it, and bought it right there.  Not bad for a lunch break, right?

I used to avoid anything in the "yellow" family because of my fairly light coloring, but this dress is more of a marigold, and I've been told many times that this color favors me- which is great because I love this dress! It's bright, cheerful, classic, yet young and fun!

Dress: The Limited // Belt: The Limited // Jacket: Macy's // Shoes: Antonio Melani  

The sales lady convinced me to try on the belt with it, and I saw what she meant- it makes the outfit by adding another layer and is just a great piece.

I wore this yesterday and finished off the day feeling fabulous by getting my make-up done with good girlfriends at the new Blushington in Dallas.  Such a cute place, and right next to DryBar- go get your make-up and hair done for a date, event, or if you just want to be pampered!

Do you have a favorite dress that you go to over and over again?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Social: Blogging

Sunday Social

1. What is the name of your blog?  How long have you been blogging?  Just Julie! I started this blog in February 2010 as a place to post pieces from my creative writing class (see example here.)  I only posted occasionally with life updates until this past fall, so I guess you could say I really got into blogging in October 2012.

2. Why do you blog? I have always been a communicator, and writing is a huge passion of mine.  I love to "meet" other bloggers and take a peak into their lives, and share about my experiences too.

3. What is the first blog you ever followed?  I can't remember! I started with "real life" friends and then followed others through link-ups.

4. What is your favorite post you wrote in 2012?  For Grandpa John

5. What are you blogging goals for 2013? To write whenever I feel inspired and not be afraid to be "real", and to continue to find great blogs that I enjoy reading.  

6. Top 3 favorite blogs to follow?  There are so many I love, it's hard to choose, but a few that are always a joy:
From My Grey Desk
Gracefully Made
Helene in Between
Life According to Kenz
Living in Yellow

What are your favorite blogs that I need to start following?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Saturday morning each month, I volunteer at a local nursing home and play Bingo with the residents.

Only a couple of them can walk on their own without assistance.  But whether they walk, wheel themselves, or are pushed up to a table in the dining area where we play, you better believe that they are ready with their cards promptly at 9 a.m.  And if we don't begin the games on time, they sure let us know!

I learned early on in my volunteering that if I walk around during the games, I better not block their view of the cards being called, or else they'll tell me to move...loud enough for everyone else to hear.  And while some are so appreciative if you catch a number they miss and cover it for them, others are a little more feisty or independent and want to do it themselves.

Just like school children, they sit at the same table every week with their usual friends.  They are sticklers for the rules and are quick to tell the volunteers when we forget something.

There's Vera, who is very well-spoken and always makes sure that her tablemates haven't missed any numbers on their Bingo card.  You can tell she's the one that watches out for everyone else, a good friend to have.

This morning Vera asked us where George, another resident, was, and we found out he's sick and not doing well.  As I left the nursing home, an ambulance had just arrived, a common occurrence in a nursing home.  But as I drove away, two firetrucks and another ambulance were arriving, meaning something was really wrong this time, and I couldn't help thinking that it might be George and hoping he's okay.

There's Dolly, who came in today with a very bruised forehead and black eye from a fall, hair completely white, but fingernails painted a perfect, youthful pink.      

And there's Eleanor, who doesn't have much dexterity in her fingers anymore, so I sit and help her with her cards.  She might need me to cover the pieces, but she doesn't miss a single number. And every week, she has a big, fabulous flower in her hair.  

They may be old and in a nursing home, but they are still people.  They want to have fun, and love and be loved, and find joy in things they still can do, like play Bingo.    

I love learning their different personalities and getting to know them, and there are so many things that I wonder.  I imagine all the things they've seen in their many years, and all the places they've been and people they've encountered.

What was their spouse like?  Were they a teacher, a banker, a businessman, a homemaker?  What's the craziest thing they did when they were a teenager?

They make me appreciate being young.

Waking up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning is tough, but I never regret the time I spend with "my elders."

And I hope that someday, if I do wind up in a nursing home, someone comes to play Bingo with me too.
Helene in Between

Friday, January 11, 2013

High Five for Friday


TGIF! This was the first full week after Christmas break, making it seem extra long/tiring! Looking forward to a combination of productivity, fun, and relaxation this weekend!

Saw this on Instagram and thought it was so cute and a great motto : )

Why yes, I did follow the Wienermobile almost all the way to church! 

I love my new "one-minute devotionals for women" book.  It's just the little thing I need to put my faith in the right perspective every morning before beginning my day.  This one really stuck out to me and completely shaped how I approached my work this week.

Sometimes I say ridiculous/stupid things.  Sometimes my roommate hears them and documents them on Twitter.  And sometimes, I post them on my blog! You're welcome.

Calisthenics with this hottie, aka my roommate.  Keeping up my fitness resolution is easy with this workout buddy! Also, yes, our Christmas tree is still up and it's January 11. Oops.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

30-Second Thursday: Celebrity Doppleganger

30 Second Thursdays

Linking up with Wifessionals for 30-second Thursday... here's my first ever vlog! (For those of you who are new, video + blog= vlog).

Side note, is there anyone who actually likes to hear their own voice?!

We are sharing about our celebrity dopplegangers.


^Mischa Barton

What do you think?  Is there a celeb that I resemble more?  Who are your famous look-alikes?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Me in an Outfit

If you haven't met me yet, you'll soon figure out that my favorite colors are pink and purple.  People tell me all the time that these are colors they associate with me, and they just plain make me happy!

Linking up for the first time for "What I Wore Wednesday," I figured what better way to start than with an outfit that's pretty much me in a nutshell?

Nearly everything I have on was a Christmas gift- my mom sure has good taste! I love the color and shape of the shirt, and she found it and the necklace at Charming Charlie, so they were completely affordable. 

My wardrobe really is quite a mix of inexpensive and slightly higher-end items.  I care more about quality and versatility than labels, so if I'm going to pay a lot more for an item, I want it to be something that lasts.

Coat: J. Crew // Shirt: Charming Charlie // Jeans: CP at Dillard's // Shoes: Tory Burch // Bag: Tory Burch // Necklace: Charming Charlie // Nails: "Chinchilly," Essie 

And, of course, the family dog wanted to be part of my photoshoot!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Just Me

You'll see a lot of other faces in my posts here- my family, friends, co-workers.  All people I dearly love and with whom I spent my time.

What you don't see are mentions of children, a husband, a significant man in my life.

Just me.

If you look back a year or so at my posts, you'll find plenty of mention of a significant someone who was once a part of my life.  I haven't deleted those posts because they are a chronicle of my past, and I wouldn't be who I am today without that person.

We dated for almost 8 years.

Yes...a really long time. The reaction I would get from most people was "WHAT?! EIGHT YEARS?", and then almost inevitably, "why aren't you married yet?"

I'll spare the full story, but basically, we were high school sweethearts who spent the last two years of our relationship several states apart.  We had a plan that involved us winding up back in the same state and getting engaged, then living happily ever after... the perfect ending.

Fast forward to last spring, and he decided to stay 1,400 miles away in California, not ready to get married, not ready to progress in our relationship.

Bottom line, I felt we had reached a no-win situation and that he was giving up on us.  So, I made the incredibly difficult decision to end our relationship.

After nearly a decade of investing time, memories, feelings, into a relationship, I was back at square one, on my own for the first time since I was 16.  It was without a doubt the hardest thing I've been through in my life.

But here I am, seven months later, doing just fine.  I love my life and the people in it, and I have learned more about myself and what I'm looking for than I ever thought possible.  Instead of dwelling on the past, I focus on moving forward.

Too often I see friends, and even people I barely know, staying in a relationship with a person they know isn't right for them, because they are terrified of the unknown, scared to be labeled the dreaded "single."  

I would rather be single, just me, with an open heart ready and waiting for someone who will love me fiercely and fight to be with me, than be in a relationship that isn't fulfilling.

I hope one day my posts will include pictures of a boyfriend, fiance, then husband, in addition to all these other wonderful faces, but until the Lord finishes writing the next chapter in my love story, it's just me.  And that's okay.

Newlywed Moments