Blog? What blog?

Hello, friends!

Long time no talk. 2014 is just breezing by and we’re already almost a quarter done with the year. Is that insane or what?! January was a super busy month for me. I was consistently busy and making real progress on my business goals and freelance work, in addition to working full time and cooking healthy meals each night. I even traveled to Salt Lake City for four incredible days at the awesome Alt Summit blogging conference. What a great experience! I’ve promised several of my friends I would write about this, and I still intend to. It’s just one of those things that requires a little extra time and an individual post. It was a little awkward going alone and not knowing anyone, but all in all, I’m so glad I went.


In addition to Utah, I traveled to Pennsylvania to meet my dad and his girlfriend while we visited my brother and his fiancée. We were all home in our separate states for the holidays, and we spent a whole weekend together to celebrate a belated Christmas. I miss my family so much! Earlier in the month, I also traveled with Joshua and several of his Marine buddies up to Massachusetts for the wake and funeral of a close friend. He was killed in combat in Afghanistan and left behind a beautiful wife and large, loving family. It was the saddest and hardest funeral I’ve ever been to, and it was a privilege to be there to honor his memory and the many adventures we had with him and his wife during our time stationed in Virginia.

Then came February. I just kept feeling like I was falling behind in everything. January was a strong focus on working nonstop, and so I kind of let the house go. February was a mess of cleaning up, organizing, redecorating here and there. I didn’t cook much (other than my favorite chili rice staple meal from my mama that I’ll admit I made more than once). I did travel again… This time up north to Virginia to see my girlfriends from work and to go scrapbooking at a crop night! I also had a fabulous Valentine’s Day with my husband, made him a special album of our first year together and received… get this… a star! Seriously, what a cool gift. We named it Danielle’s Valentine, and it’s in the Taurus constellation. (Yep, I’m a bull!)


I joined a beginner Crossfit class in February with a few of my neighbors. Technically, I’m not allowed to call it Crossfit because it’s not affiliated. Rather than call it “functional fitness” as I was told to, I call it Merefit after my coach, Meredith. Functional fitness sounds too long and boring for me to like it! Merefit is so, so hard. But I’m surprised to say I’ve enjoyed the challenge. That was until last Monday’s class… They just keep getting harder and harder! I have three weeks left until the intro class is over, and then I will figure out what’s next. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be ready to enter the regular class, but time will tell!


And at the very end of February, I got sick. And I’ve been sick for almost two weeks and counting. It started out with a sore throat, then a bad head cold, then a cough, and finally… A sinus infection. The doctor gave me some antibiotics and I’m almost back to normal. But man, what a way to start off the month!

Now that I’m starting to feel better, I feel like I’m in a constant state of catching up. My close friends often comment that I take on too much and I’m always “busy.” I don’t know how to not be busy. There is just so much to do, all the time! I have so many projects, goals, plans, ideas, passions and hobbies. I don’t want to give any of it up! Eventually, it all catches up with me though. I think I need to start making a conscious effort to start editing things in my life. No, I can’t say yes to everything. Do I? Yes, usually. I feel like I try to be a lot of things to a lot of different people and sometimes it all just ends up spinning out of control.


Kind of like that movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock, you know? Joshua and I rented it On Demand after I watched the Oscars and had to see it. She just kept spinning and spinning and going and going, far out into space! Side note: The movie kind of reminded me of Castway with Tom Hanks, except there was no volleyball to talk to. How sad. Thank goodness I have Lady to talk to on the days I’m feeling a little lonely working from home!

So here we are in March. I’ve already been to and from Pennsylvania again for my brother’s fiancée’s bridal shower (and caught in a terrible snow storm on the way home—eek!). I will be back and forth a lot over the next three months for all the wedding festivities. I’m a bridesmaid and Joshua is a groomsman, hooray! I just adore wedding season. Especially when it involves my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law. So much fun!


I’m still trying hard to achieve a better work–life balance, especially between my job(s), keeping a clean house, eating well, and working out regularly. For awhile it was a work–work balance, trying to juggle my day job and my freelance work. Honestly, it still feels that way a lot of days. But until I do figure it all out (and I will figure it all out, right?), I’ll try to stop back and visit this space as often as my current schedule allows. Can’t wait!

Goals // January 2014


We’re fifteen days into 2014, and what a kickin’ year it’s been already! Work has been ever-consuming after a quickie holiday break, my freelance work has been picking up, and my social calendar is quickly filling up for the first half of this year… Thank you, wedding season! It’s going to be a good one… My brother is tying the knot and both Mr. Ploscik and I are in the bridal party! Hip hip, hooray!

I’m not doing resolutions this year (*gasp* I know, I always do resolutions). But this year, my goals and dreams and wishes and plans all revolve around one little word… A word I’ll be sharing later this week. Muahaha…

These are my goals for the month of January… Ready, set, go!

  • Start blogging
  • Organize holiday decor into bins
  • Stretch!
  • Wear my glasses more
  • Complete Graphic Grace rebranding
  • Read 2 books
  • Decide on a plan for my office
  • Wear bright lipstick
  • Start a skin care regimen
  • Send Christmas gifts + cards
  • Finish nightstand project
  • Prep blog for Alt Summit
  • Take a bath!
  • Create a base price list for design & photography services

I like to keep my monthly goals a healthy mix of creative, productive, and fun. I’ve already been working on some of these, but some still have to happen before the end of the month. I’ll be sure to report on how I’m doing in February… Which is already two weeks too soon!

So what about you? Did you make resolutions this year? Are you doing monthly goals, or maybe something similar? I’d love to hear about it. I love a good goal!

Going Coastal


Hello, blogland. You may remember me from my first blog Hard Corps Love, but I’m back with fervor and ready to rumble! I mean… write.

Right. For any long lost readers, here’s what has been going on lately. And to any new readers, hello and welcome! Thank you for stopping by. :-)

Joshua received orders to Jacksonville, North Carolina… his old stomping grounds and first duty station after boot camp. He was stationed here for the first three years of our relationship and for both deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, so even though we were so not excited about moving, it does hold memories for the both of us.

This past year, we celebrated my 28th birthday in May (I’m getting so old!), our two-year wedding anniversary in June, and Joshua’s 27th birthday in July. Ladybug is already 2 1/2! She’s still our only baby, both of the four-legged and mini-me variety. Since everyone likes to ask us, we’re hoping to start trying for little ones sometime before we’re 30. We can’t wait to have babies but we’re still enjoying life just the two of us for now!

GoingCoastal-3Joshua was away at military school for two months between April and June, and during that time we made the big decision to buy our first home! More on that soon. Becoming homeowners has been exhilarating and scary, easy and exciting. We both feel so blessed to be where we are right now. I can’t wait to share all about it!

I’m still working full-time, but I’m now a 100% virtual employee for the same government contractor I worked for in Virginia. This has also been a huge blessing, especially because the job market down here in North Carolina is slim pickins. We made a whole room in our new house my home office and craft space. It’s glorious, and I’m still working on organizing and decorating it to be just the way I like.

We live 3 miles from the beach. Those of you who know me in real life know that I’m not much of a beach girl. I’d take the mountains and a deep cold lake over the coast and salty ocean water any day, but I’ve been embracing the “Salt Life” as much as I can! I even went to the beach one day this summer. I know, I know… I plan to go more next summer. We spent most of our free time moving and painting and decorating during July and August, but luckily we’ll be stationed here for the next 3 years. I have more time to adjust (and get to the beach)!

GoingCoastal-1It has been fun finding a new style for our home decor though. The dark wood, rusty oranges and mustard yellows of our previous homes just didn’t work down here, so we’ve been going for an airy, coastal feel. And we can finally paint!! Lots of blues, turquoises, grays, natural textures and white furniture. We’ve been repainting what we had and adding some new pieces when it’s in the budget. My new blog design kind of reflects the feel of our lives lately… Coastal and cool, but with a fun pop of coral… It’s working so far.

That’s all for the moment. I’m still working out the kinks of my new site so bear with me while I get things running more smoothly. In the meantime… Let me know if anyone out there is reading, and if you have a blog please leave me your address in the comments so I can stop by and say hello!

Making the Most of It

Lots of changes going on lately. I’ve been a roller coaster of emotions, but what else is new? I’m doing my best to make the most of it. Joshua and I have had our share of distance and moves, and now that we’re just finishing up three months of living apart we’ll be reunited again just in time to pack up and head south!

Memorial Day, 2011

When I first met Joshua, he was stationed in North Carolina and I was temporarily living in Ohio for my first job post-college. Not long after we met and started dating, I moved back to my home state, New York, and Joshua deployed to Iraq.

Fast forward 3 years, an engagement, and a second deployment to Afghanistan. The long distance was killing me and all I wanted was to be with him. After an unsuccessful job search in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina, I left my job in New York to freelance and live with my lover.

We were together in North Carolina for 3 months before the military sent us to our second duty station in Virginia. I couldn’t be happier. Not only was it closer to DC and a better job market, but it was closer to home in New York (7 hours vs 12 hours, on a good day).

We fell in love with northern Virginia! It’s been the perfect medium of northern + southern state-of-minds and the best of both worlds. Not as high speed and cut throat as New York tends to be, but still ambitious and determined. Not as laid back and slooooow as North Carolina tends to be, but still relaxed and full of nice people.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years to now. We were hoping to stay in Virginia at least another year or so, possibly longer. Okay, let’s be honest— I was hoping. Joshua the Marine knew better, but thankfully he’s finally understanding my need to daydream about the things I WANT to happen versus worrying about what MIGHT happen. Anyway…

Joshua got new orders. The military is sending us back to North Carolina. At first, I was slightly devastated. Freelancing in this economy didn’t work out so well for me, so what was I going to do for work? Further south meant further away from my family than I already was, and I’m already homesick for New York an unhealthy amount. North Carolina for a grunt in the Marine Corps usually means deployments, so did that mean we’d be separated yet again? And what about the wonderful friendships I’d finally developed here in Virginia?

Thankfully, things soon started looking up. Joshua will be an infantry instructor, which (god willing) means no deployments in the foreseeable future while he’s teaching. My job is keeping me on full-time as a virtual employee, thank goodness for the company’s military spouse owner, their partnership with MSEP, and the nature of my work in social media and design. My mom is planning to move down to NC later this year (and -in- with us while she’s house hunting), so that will be amazing having her so close! I know my dad will travel to see me, and my brother isn’t TOO too far away in Pennsylvania. As for everyone else… Who doesn’t love a free place to stay that’s just 3 miles from the beautiful North Carolina beaches? I shall entice my visitors with a well-decorated guest room and promises of the ocean.

Last but not least… We’re buying a house. We’re buying a house!!! And that, my friends, is a story that needs its own sparkly new blog post. But it makes me soooo excited to move again! Military life is not always the easiest, but we try our best make the most of each little moment, all the moves, and the opportunities it provides us (and life milestones!) as best we can.

Here’s to a whole new chapter! :-)

Reorganizing My Priorities

While talking with my bloggy bestie Shannon recently about how I always feel like I’m stressed out and that I have a never-ending to do list, she suggested that I eliminate some things. You know… cutting down the list, letting some things go, dropping some “hobbies.” After more than one conversation like this, I’ve finally decided that she’s right (yes, Shannon, you know-it-all, you!). Joshua has said similar things… namely, that I need to put my health before everything else and make it a priority. He’s right, too (mark this date down, Mr. Right! Mrs. Always Right is about to give in!). Taking the time out of my day to workout and eat well needs to be non-negotiable in my list of things “to do,” and after feeling overwhelmed and overly stressed for a couple of years now (mostly all with things I take on myself and add to my plate), it’s time to make some serious— mostly permanent— changes in my life. It all comes down to priorities, and what I’m willing to give and take in my schedule, relationships, and hobbies. So after a session of soul-searching and listing everything out that takes up time, needs to get done, stresses me out, or makes me happy, this is what I’ve come up with.

1. Health.

My health has seriously plummeted in the past five or so years. I’ve gradually been gaining weight, and it’s taken a major toll on my self-esteem and relationships. I’m tired all the time, I have headaches way too frequently, and eating out (restaurants, take-out, fast food, the works) is more a part of my lifestyle than I’d like to admit. Exercising has been more of an afterthought, after I “get these things done” or do this or do that. And since I’m being honest with myself, it’s been at the bottom of my “list” for far too long.

This is definitely going to be the biggest change I’m making in my life. I’m putting my health first. It should have been this way all along, but I must’ve either been better at managing stress or had less on my plate (in every aspect of the phrase) during my teenage years/early twenties, because I never used to have health issues. So before I say yes to dinner with a friend, or plopping down on the couch for my favorite TV show, or organizing my office before other things need to get done… I’m going to exercise. I’m going to eat better. I’m going to schedule working out into my planner and actually stick to it. I’m going to meal plan, grocery shop once a week, prepare my meals ahead of time, and eat in as much as possible.

I finally went to the doctor for a physical and blood work. Without going into all the details, I explained how I’ve been feeling and my concerns. My blood work revealed some downright scary things. I have hypothyroid, protein deficiency, a low white blood cell count, low metabolism and levels of Vitamin B6, and “scary low” levels of Vitamin D (in my doctor’s words).<

That’s it. If that doesn’t cause me to make a serious lifestyle change, I don’t know what will! We’re not in Kansas anymore, baby! It’s time to get real. Health, before everything else.

2. Work.

As much as I might want to put work at the bottom of my list, it’s obviously up there in terms of priorities. Do I need to work? Probably. Do I want to work? Yes, absolutely. I’ve always had big dreams and lots of ambition, but I feel like I’ve been somewhat stagnant with my career goals of late. Do I love what I do every day at my job? No, not really. Do I want to be good at it? Heck yes! I also love to spend money (it’s something I’m way too good at), and to spend it I have to make it! It gives me pride and fulfillment to excel at my job and to provide for my family, even if it’s just Joshua, Lady and I so far. Furthermore, I dream of someday owning my own business. Not the half-assed wedding invitation freelance work I do now, but a serious, legitimate, kick-ass business. I have so many ideas and so many goals, and I can’t keep putting it on the backburner. The time is NOW. Real life, real time. This is important to me, and in the words of Nike, I have to just do it.

3. Relationships.

It may seem odd that relationships, including that with my husband, is number three on my list. I have ALWAYS said “I put family first. Family and friends come before EVERYTHING.” But you know what? Unless I’m taking care of the first two things, I’m kind of miserable to be around. My weight makes me tired, depressed, and unhappy. I’m embarrassed to even admit this, but sometimes… I say no to seeing people I haven’t seen in awhile, or taking longer trips with my friends because I don’t want them to see me like this. I’m also not able to be my best self if I’m not on top of my game at work and with my finances. I need to be good at my job to support myself and my family, and if I choose to hang out with friends or talk on the phone over working on my business ideas or completing a nagging project at the office… I’m not at my best. I’m not happy. I NEED that sense of self-fulfillment to be able to give and receive love. My husband knows this. My best friends know this. That’s just it.

With that said, I do put relationships above other things because my relationships with the people I care about are important to me. My marriage is the most important, and my husband and I have had our ups and downs in the past two years. We both have our share of things to work on, but one of the biggest things I need to make more of an effort with is putting in the work. Even though I did meet my Prince Charming, life isn’t a fairytale, and neither is marriage. It really does take work, and when I avoid that, or set unrealistic expectations, or don’t speak my husband’s love language… my marriage suffers, and so do I. It isn’t fair to either of us. So marriage is priority 3.1 for me.

Then, 3.2, family and friends. I love chatting with my best friends weekly to check in, see how they’re doing, vent, and share stories. I love planning trips and get-togethers to see each other. The relationships I have with my best friends are stress-free, rejuvenating, and uplifting. The relationships I have with my family are little more complicated, mostly because my parents (and aunts, and uncles) are all going through (or coming out of) the dreaded D-word: divorce. My mom will always be my best friend, and I will always be a daddy’s girl… but finding the balance of staying out of the middle in the family drama has been difficult for me. And that’s the most I’ll say about that. It’s something I need to be cautious of and work on.

Lastly, 3.3, social media. I keep in touch with my real-life friends online, and I also have lots of relationships with friends I’ve never even met before. I guess that’s just what happens when the internet is an integral part of your life for as long as it has been in mine. There are some people I’ve been friends with for over 10 years, but I’ve never met them in person. I want to make sure I stay on top of the relationships that matter, stay in touch with the people I don’t talk to every day, and keep up on the important things in people’s lives via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I’m a Social Media Strategist for a living, after all! It’s where all my peeps are at, yo! (Yes, I just said that. Omg.)

4. Home Life.

This one is a biggie for me. I have found, through trial and error, that I’m most happy (and function best) when my house is clean and organized. The thing is, I’m a messy person by nature, so this doesn’t come easy to me. I leave my jackets on the backs of chairs (drives my husband crazy), stacks of magazines all over the house, piles of clothes and shoes on my bedroom floor… you get the picture. I’m a packrat, but I don’t want to be! I want to be a minimalist. I love-love-LOVE organizing. It gives me a natural high. I love when the house is spotless and squeaky clean. Being messy by nature means that it takes work for my house and home to be neat! So housekeeping is a definite MUST on my list of priorities. Also included in my “home life” priority list to keep me happy and on my game are laundry, finances & budgeting, and couponing. These are all important aspects of home life that enhance our overall quality of life, and I have to make them a priority.

I’m hoping that by moving couponing up from the “if I have time” priority category (or lack thereof), it will force me to make time to do it. Ha— we shall see.

5. Everything Else.

This unfortunately meant that I had to move Project Life quite far down my list, instead of dropping everything to scrapbook because it was my “stress reliever.” Because you know what? Being overweight is stressful. Having a messy house is stressful. Not loving what I do for work everyday is stressful. If I take care of these things first, I will have even more time for my scrapping projects, and everything else will fall into place.

Those other things I love to do, but never have time for? I have to learn to stop stressing about making time for them. With this list of priorities, I’ll just know that I can’t and won’t make time for them until the top of my list is in check. This includes: reading, sewing, painting, playing piano, photography, knitting, and the biggest time sucker for me— watching TV. So let me break that down…

Right now, I read blogs the most, on a daily basis. I read magazines whenever I find the time (once a week at best), and I read books, like— never. I have so many books on my “to read” list (and several “in progress” at once) so I’d love to make more time to read. I love reading. I probably have one too many magazine subscriptions too, so once they run out I will cut back (working on minimalizing!) and not renew.

I probably haven’t sewn in over a year, but I’m dying to break out my machine and make a quilt. You know… one of these days.

I last played my piano a few weeks ago, but I really can’t play it anymore until it’s tuned. And since we’re moving in a few months… piano playing will just have to be put on hold until after the move when I get it tuned.

Photography is such a favorite hobby of mine, but right now, I just don’t have the time to go out and shoot for fun. My iPhone has been my camera of choice for over a year now, so I will just have go with that and put photography on hold for awhile until I catch up on everything else in my life.

Knitting is kind of a joke, since I still don’t get it. But I am DETERMINED to pick this up eventually! I have the yarn, I have the needles, I have the books, I just need the time. I’d like to multitask and knit while Joshua is driving on the frequent road trips we take, or when I’m indulging in my worst habit/hobby/whatever-the-hell-I-should-call-it…

Watching TV. Sigh. I live for Monday nights full of dates and rose ceremonies, and Sundays with my favorite British royals and servants, and Thursdays at the hospital with my good pals Mere, McDreamy, and Seattle Grace. I love Games that involve Thrones, Projects on the Runways, Vampires that either write in Diaries or drink synthetic Blood, Wives of Army service members, planning Revenges, and walkers that are Dead. #knowwhatimsayin?

And what about blogging? Well, I’ve clearly been MIA for quite awhile, so blogging just gradually fell to the bottom of the list. Right now, it’s in the “everything else” priority category. We’ll see if that one changes in time as well! Tonight, it felt good to blog.

One line at a time.<