Saturday, December 15

Five Years

October 2012...Our California Birthday/Anniversary trip.

Our first picture together...October 2003.

Our wedding day...December 15, 2007.

Five years ago on a stormy afternoon in downtown Memphis, I married my best friend.

I love you, Jonathan Hardin -- yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever. You are my heart.

Tuesday, November 13

Gerald & Joan

It's Facebook official -- I have launched my very own graphic design business, Gerald and Joan! It's really just a little passion project, but I'm so excited! If you'd like to check out our brand-new Facebook page and "like" us, you can find that here. Yay!

It's funny how such a small thing can make you feel so inspired. Between G and J and the holidays, I think I'll be blogging more in the immediate future! See you soon!

Monday, September 24

Little Sister's Birthday Blog Post

Today my little sister is 26 years old. I'm not sure when she grew up, but she did. If she's old, then that makes me older. How incredibly depressing, but every year has been good to us. When I think back through all the memories, I realize that we have had such a blessed life.

Sadly, I don't have many old photos in Memphis (that is something I really hope to change before the year is out), so I stole these photos off my mom's Facebook page. The top one was Lauren's first Christmas. That's my dad dressed up as Santa. I had no idea. The middle two pictures were taken in England (after a birthday (Lauren's, I think) and around Halloween). The bottom one is a family portrait from Sears that was taken in LA. I really didn't like that dress (the collar was itchy), but I loved the purse that came with it. It was a heart-shaped wristlet with a bow. I even had a purse fetish back then. Some things never change.

Gosh, I love those ladies. I am who I am because of them, and so is Lauren.

Good times, happy memories.

Happy Birthday, Lauren.

Monday, August 13

The Hardest Day

I'm grateful that the hardest day only comes once a year. It has been this way for almost a decade. Despite the passage of time, August 13 doesn't get any easier to bear. We try not to dwell on the past, but this day defines everything we have become. We cling to each other, to memories and to the belief that what is physically absent is not missing from our hearts and minds. As we go forward, we have learned not to take life and love for granted. We now know what is here today might not be here tomorrow. 
In some ways this year has been harder, as the California house is gone, and we haven't been out west in almost a year. In some ways it has been easier, because my mom is finally settled in Oxford, and I have my grandma's things in my home. I hope one day I don't pay so much attention to this date. I want to focus on the good and forget this day that has torn my life into two pieces -- the before and the after. 

Still it is important to remember that the after brought the happiest period of my life. Less than a week later, Ole Miss came into my life...and Jonathan.

Here are my tribute posts from 2010 and 2011.

In closing, let me say that I am not an American Idol fan, but as I was leaving Oxford this morning, I was moved by a song sung by one of its winners. I was listening to Q93.7, the station that I listened to every morning during my three years in Oxford, and the DJ came on and said she dedicated this song to the Olympic athletes.

Because I watched three Olympics in California (1996, 2004 and 2008) and was in LA during the 1984 Olympics, I feel a special love for them. These lyrics brought me to tears today for so many reasons.

Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringin' us along
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear.               
Trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Just know you're not alone....
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Thursday, July 19

#200: Two Hundred Posts

Wow, that's a milestone, especially when you consider what a terrible blogger I've been of late. My head is filled with ideas tonight, but unfortunately, it's too late to make them a reality. Instead, I'll save them until tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday after all, and we have a clean house, a neat yard and three workouts under our belt.

Plus the Olympics start in seven days and they're in LONDON!


Wednesday, July 18

#199: Life Lately

 Getting used to the new living arrangements...

 White walls...

Naturally, we have painted pink roses, vintage pyrex and vintage cookbooks. 

It's the beginning of a new era in the Hardin cottage...We'll be switching out the red couch covers and pillows (for something more neutral) next.

I'm still trying to figure out how to display everything in our "new" space. The lack of color makes bad displays painfully obvious. We'll get there.

In case you were wondering, all wall hangings (and the living room lamps) are courtesy of my grandparents. I love, love, love having their things in our home. 

I have treasured these things my entire life, and now I have them around me every single day.

It's quite wonderful.

Check out this brotherly love. That's wonderful too.

Tuesday, July 17

#198: Want List

Because I was there....I need one of these (this one is my favorite) and so does Jonathan.

I love the summer Olympics. Wish I could be in London for them!

Monday, July 16

#197: Weekend Wrap-Up

Saturday was spent painting our sunroom. Boy, painting bricks is rough, especially when you're taking the color from blue to white. When we put our brushes down at 2 a.m., I was dog-tired. Sunday was spent cleaning up before heading down to Oxford. I had an early Monday morning client meeting, so it gave my a reason to visit my family and one of my favorite places on earth. I could easily settle back into the Oxford pace. It made me pine for Jonathan. He loves it just as much as I do, and we don't get down there often enough.

Monday evening was spent rearranging my grandma's credenza (which I brought back from Oxford with the help of my sister and her fiancé) and hanging old paintings (also my grandma's). As Jonathan was pulling the credenza from the Jeep, he found a menu to Love's BBQ, which was one of California haunts in the '80s. It closed decades ago, but I still remember it fondly. The irony of the take-out menu was not lost on us -- the name Love's is enough, isn't it? And when you consider that the menu had been stuck behind that drawer for 20-plus years and then traveled all the way across the country to the BBQ capital of the world (by way of Oxford, of course), it really hits home just how beautiful life can be sometimes.

When we need a sign from above, we always receive one.

Twenty-five years ago Porter's predecessor, my grandma's black lab, Brandy, ate his daily meals in front of this credenza. Now Porter will hang out with it.

Thursday, July 12

#193: Youth United

After a two-month hiatus, we had a Youth United meeting tonight -- my second as a volunteer -- and five students and one parent showed up! That doesn't sound like much, but two of our members weren't able to attend and honestly I wasn't expecting to see anyone. I've been really down in the dumps over the way things have been going with the program since I became a volunteer, so it cheered me up to see five smiling faces and lots of my former Habitat coworkers.

Wednesday, July 11

#192: Break and Back

After a two-week mid-year hiatus, I'm back. I needed some time to clear my head and ponder life. Plus, I've been in a royal funk about missing our annual beach trip. Talk about depression! I was really sad about it, which in turn made me feel worse, because I have so many reasons to be grateful. Anyway, I'm back, and here's a photo summary of the past two weeks:

July 1 - July 3...painting the living and dining room...

 Ollie and Porter were not happy about it...

 I take that back...Ollie was happy about it when he was able to hide under the covers on the couch!!

Signs we were supposed to be in California...July 3

July 4 at the 61st Annual High Point Neighborhood Fourth of July Parade. 

 July 6...Pre-Birthday Dinner for Jonathan at Saigon Le. Another California sign? Rivers count as water, right?

 July 7...Morning of Jonathan's 33rd Birthday...Our first cucumber (and a few tomatoes) from our garden!

 July 7...Lunch downtown for Jonathan's birthday...

 Lunch at the Rendezvous...

Cake at home!

 July 8...a friendly kitty stopped by to visit us

Today was my weekly work from home day, and I created my first-ever ad for the Ole Miss football program. I have to admit that I'm pretty pumped about this, even if I doubt I'll make it to a game this year. It's a full-circle type of thing. Making my alma mater proud!

Wednesday, June 27

#178: Work Outside

Porter and I enjoyed my second "work from home Wednesday" under the carport. I brought out a table and my laptop, and thanks to modern technology, I was able to spend my morning outside while checking a bunch of projects off my to-do list. At lunch, we went inside, and I worked at the dining room table the rest of the day, but the morning's fresh air was so good for me. Porter liked it as well, as you can see. He spent half the time sleeping, and the other half to the time growling at the construction workers on the other side of our fence. He's so random.

Tuesday, June 26

#177: Hair

Robin Tucker cuts my hair, and she does a fabulous job. She's especially awesome because she works with my schedule:"5:30 on Wednesday? Come on!"

And then I'm in and out in 40 minutes. You can't beat that.

She has led a really incredible life -- lots of travel, doing hair for celebs on movie sets, etc., so she's always got some great stories. She recently lost her gran, and she told me that she'd been helping her aunt clean out her gran's house. I asked her if she'd found anything special during this incredibly difficult, yet healing process, and her face lit up. She not only showed me an incredible handmade birthday card she'd made for her gran in the 80s, but she also had an iPhone photo of her gran's handwriting on the back of furniture that she'd marked "Save for Robin if she wants it!" back in 1990.

Fitting somehow, as it's summer and I'm missing my grandma more than ever.

She's also headed to LA in two weeks. I told her to stick her feet in the ocean for us.

Monday, June 25

#176: Wedding Brain

This post is for my little sister who is getting married next April. Of course, she already knows exactly what she wants, but I'm inspired anyway. Flowers, cake, invitations, love...what can I say? I'm smitten. Here are a few things that I love for weddings right now:

Source: via Crystel on Pinterest
Source: via Crystel on Pinterest