The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright

Sooooo….Luna has a virus and has been running a fever for 3 days now. She has not slept at night, therefore I have not slept. I also started running this week (along with P90x3) to prepare for the Mud Run and Warrior Dash. My body is so so so tired, as is my mind. I just spent a very long time writing a very long blog all about Texas, my shameless Texas pride and the reasons I left Texas for probably ever. I said things like “the armpit of Texas” and other negative things about my hometown. Then, I explained how leaving gave me a brand new perspective and respect for the place that molded me into the ball of sunshine I am today. It was a lovely post.

Then, my computer died and my post was forever lost. The above paragraph was the best I could do to recreate it. Now, just enjoy these beautiful pictures of the place that will always be “home”. Then, pretend you just read something enlightening, witty and a little humorous.

The whole family together; a rare occasion.
The whole family together; a rare occasion.
Playing washers under the restaurant on the water...Texas style.
Playing washers under the restaurant on the water…Texas style.
Sweet sweet girl loving on my Luna.
Sweet sweet girl loving on my Luna.
Playing at the park
Playing at the park
Luna dressing up in a fancy vail at her Honey's shop.
Luna dressing up in a fancy vail at her Honey’s shop.
My nephew chasing a duck in the local park.
My nephew chasing a duck in the local park.



My weekend was so fun that I couldn’t even manage to squeeze in some blogging action. I did write lots today but alas our internet is broken and Comcast is mean. So, tonight I’ll share some photos I found while finally unpacking our photo albums the other day.

I planned to arrange our dvd’s, books and albums in about an hour one afternoon and ended up spending four hours looking at thousands of old photos. Thanks to these crazy pregnancy hormones I cried and cried over most of the old pictures. Lucky for you, I snapped a few photos of photos on my phone, and since my phone has a tiny bit of internet signal out here in the woods its pretty much all I can do tonight.


Little Hilarie…always a ham.


Me and Kelly…gearing up for the Shrimpfest pageant. Yes, that’s a real thing.


Me and my favorite girls getting ready to perform in high school…yeehaw!


Me and dad….awwwww.


Baby Belle!


Meeting Hilarie Duff.


The moment I knew Husband was the one…I convinced him to dress up as Peter Pan after just meeting him. This was at our Disney cast member pajama party.


Classic sister photo. Seriously Mom, what were you thinking!?


3rd grade slumber party!


My last day working at Blizzard Beach with one of my best friends.


And the most adorable Minnie Mouse you ever did see.

So many good memories…and many more to come.


What I DON’T Miss About NYC

The view from Brooklyn Bridge
The view from Brooklyn Bridge

After my last Top Ten, “What I Miss About NYC“, I think it’s only fair that I write another…..”What I Don’t Miss About NYC”. So, let’s get down to it.

1. My smoking neighbors. I think everyone in my “non-smoking” building smoked weed and cigarettes. Since our walls were thin and a billion years old (give or take a few) we had a constant whiff of smoke seeping into our apartment. Eww.

2. The extra expenses. EVERYTHING in NY is soooo expensive. Groceries, toiletries and restaurants are two or three times as expensive as anywhere else. Don’t even get me started on the fashion…

3. Winter. Way too cold and way too long. Brrrrrr rabbit.

4. Rude waiters and sales clerks. I am typically on New York’s side when I hear that “people in NY are rude.” I defended New Yorkers by saying “People just keep to themselves,” “people are in a hurry,” or, “they are just as nice as people anywhere, you just don’t know them!” The majority of waiters and sales clerks do not get my defense though. They are just plain rude. New York has the worst customer service I have ever experienced.

5. The radiator. The radiator in our apartment sounded like someone was beating metal poles with a baseball bat ALL NIGHT LONG. It also made our tiny apartment exactly 250 degrees, even when we turned it off.

6. The laundromat. I don’t really think this needs explanation, but in case you are one of those lucky people who have always had a washer and dryer in your home I’ll help you understand. The next time you need to do laundry, preferably when the hamper is over-flowing, grab your hamper, detergent and bag of quarters and walk 2 or 3 block to the nearest laundomat. Now spend a couple of hours doing laundry, throw it all back in the hamper and walk back to your 4th floor walk-up apartment. Then, let me know how much fun you had.

7. No bathtub and no dishwasher. We missed both of these very important amenities in both Albania and NYC. I will never again take these simple things for granted!

8. The stairs. Our house has stairs, which I love, but they are nothing compared to living in a 4-floor walk up. Carrying groceries, shopping bags and luggage home always sucked. But the worst…the absolute worst…is when I’d leave for work with just enough time, get to the bottom floor and realize I left either my keys, my purse, an umbrella, my shoes or my lunch upstairs.

9. Tiny space. Our NY apartment was less than 400 square feet. It was cozy and just right for a short time in the city, but only  a short time. I LOVE how much space and how many closets we have now! It’s glorious!

10. Dog poop. I hated picking up Belle’s poop when I walked her. I hated constantly looking out for other’s dog poop that was not picked up even more.

There it is…sorry New York, but you aren’t perfect.

(I still miss you though.)


Instagram…it’s about time

I got Instagram when it first became the new hot thing, but shortly after I became the social media coordinator at work. Instagram doesn’t allow you to have multiple accounts, and singing in and out every time I wanted to switch was such a pain in the butt. So, I decided to delete my personal account and only use Instagram for work. Such a dedicated employee…I know. Anyways, I am no longer an employee, and can now dedicate more time to my own social media. Yay!

The day I left NYC (also my last day of work) I opened a new Instagram account and I now feel like the “first day on the Internet kid”.



Here are a few of my photos over the last week…

IMG_6359 IMG_6360 IMG_6425 IMG_6428 IMG_6442 IMG_6443 IMG_6449 IMG_6451 IMG_6458IMG_6477

I also opened a Vine account a couple of weeks ago, but I’m still learning the ropes. It’s probably the easiest app to use, but everyone else’s videos are SO cool and creative! I’ll get there eventually, and I’m having a lot of fun learning and playing on Vine.

You can follow me on Instagram @PositivelyPanicked, and Vine @HilarieMZ (or just follow me on Twitter!) and I’ll be sure to follow you! You can expect way too many pics and videos of Belle and Starbucks cups, and maybe a few house pics too.




Goodbyes Suck


I’ve been MIA the last couple of days while I wrapped up my life in NYC. I had to finish work, pack all my crap into one suitcase (probably shouldn’t have shopped over the last month, woops), get lots of last-minute details organized and of course, say goodbye. I said goodbye to friends, co-workers and the Big Apple. It’s time; time for us to part ways.

Now, as I sit in the airport waiting for yet another delayed flight, I am overwhelmed with SO MANY emotions. I am so happy to get to see Husband tonight. I am sad to leave my friends and my job. I’m excited to see our new house (I’ve only seen it once in person!) and I’m scared about the many changes happening in our life. Also I feel incredibly guilty. I hate saying goodbye, because it always makes me feel guilty.

Me, on the way to the airport.
Me, on the way to the airport.

We have moved a lot in the last 8 years, which has warranted many farewells. Saying good-bye to so many friends always reminds me of the wasted time. The time I should have spent developing these friendships. I’m great at making the most of any situation and taking advantage of wherever I am, but I often focus too much on the adventure and not enough on the people. It’s the same feeling I get when someone passes away, like “I could have done more”.

My friend Sara is the opposite. She loves people, makes friends so easily and no matter where she is there are always friends with her. I cannot tell you how many times Sara forced me to go out with her in Albania, and I cannot thank her enough. See, I get set in my ways and I get comfortable. I’m shy when I first meet people and often it’s just easier to hangout with Husband, do our own thing, and avoid the whole “getting to know you” with strangers. It so easy to write this blog, spill my guts and be completely open and honest with the world. So why is it so hard to do this in the real world?

Sara didn’t care about my shy introverted tendencies. Sara knew we were meant to be great friends. She made sure that we had coffee together everyday, ate lunch together several times a week and very often went out at night together. Many of my favorite memories in Europe are with Sara. If it wasn’t for her being persistent and making an effort to spend time with me, I don’t know if we would have the friendship we have now.

So, as I leave New York I cannot help but feel guilty for not spending enough time with my friends here, and for not making a bigger effort.

The older I get the harder it is to get out, meet new people and make new friends. I try to make excuses like “I already have some kickass friends”, “I’m tired”, “It’s too cold to go out”, “I’m too busy”, and “I just want to stay in with Husband”, but the truth is that it’s just hard to make friends and I’d rather to take the easy route.

No more though, I’ve learned my lesson this time around, and I’m done with the easy/lazy route. I’d rather have more memories with more friends.

New York, you were wonderful to me, but we must say “Good-bye”, or rather, “See you later”. You better believe that I will be back! I have friends to visit and more memories to make. Nashville, here I come!!!


Project Dream Home: Master Bedroom

The first room we will focus on in our new home is our bedroom. We agreed that having a nice place to sleep and relax was most important, especially since we will be working on the rest of the house all day. Like, the living room and dining room, I want our bedroom to feel cozy and comfortable. I want to be able to relax and fall onto a giant white cloud to fall asleep.

This is a pic of our room before it belonged to us.(Yes, the entire house was full of animal print decorations.) Anyhow, there is a long entryway to the room, there are patio doors to the right that open up to a private deck and the entrance to the master bathroom is on the left. There is also a row of windows above the patio doors, lots of sunlight!

master bedroom

The first goal is to change the color! I don’t even think I can sleep in a room so brown. Here’ the color scheme I chose.


I’ve already ordered a white fluffy and ruffly comforter from Joss and Main, but I can’t find a photo of it. Joss and Main is one of those “flash sale” sites with lots of incredible pieces for the home (Thanks Kali!). It looks a little like this one from Anthropologie…I think, I can hardly remember now!


My father-in-law is the most talented craftsmen ever, and sometimes, when I’m really sweet, I can convince him to build me something fabulous. Husband has learned a lot from his Dad’s craftsmen skills too. With the two of them, I am certain to get some beautiful furniture created for our new home. My first project for them is a headboard.


I LOVE this natural looking carved headboard, but my father-in-law is actually upset because it’s too easy and simple. Oh well, he can do easy things too.

There are so many excellent ideas for a master bedroom on Pinterest! I’ll try to narrow down my board and share my favorite ideas with you.

In this one, I love the bench at the end of the bed, the lamps and the bedside dresser.


Then there’s this romantic room. The chandelier, the wooden dresser, the big white chair and the neutral colors are so peaceful.


In this next one I really like the bright pop of color. The lamps are really nice and I especially like the French doors. One day I will change our sliding patio doors to French doors.


This cute little room has a great shaggy rug and I like the idea of keeping a dresser at the end of the bed instead of against the wall.

dresser@endofbed &chandelier

One thing I want the most is an occasional table that slides over the bed. I am ALWAYS doing work in bed. I work on my laptop, watch TV, read, eat and whatever else is possible. Wouldn’t it be perfect to work on this table then just roll it to the end of the bed when it’s time to sleep or get up in the morning?

occasional table

I’ve found lots of cute night-stands on Pinterest too, that I think they can be created inexpensively. My idea is to get a couple used stands, sand them, paint them and create my own beautiful refurbished nightstand.


Only 3 more days until I join Husband in our new home and can finally start all of the many many projects I’ve planned!


Project Dream Home: Kitchen

While looking for a house, the room I cared the least about was the kitchen. I rarely cook, so I focused more on important rooms like the closets, the master bathroom and the decks. Now, that we actually have a home and are wanting to start a family, I am beginning to realize that learning to cook might be a good idea… Especially since I keep telling Husband that I will make a great stay-at-home Mom. I don’t know how long Husband will consider cooking frozen pizza and Kraft mac and cheese a decent meal. Eh, who am I kidding, Husband loves easy junk food just as much as I do.

Our new kitchen is a galley kitchen. If you don’t know what this is, don’t feel bad. I didn’t know either. It’s a two walled kitchen that opens up on each end, and you can walk through it like hallway. The best photo I could find online of our kitchen is this…



Here’s a little view at the opposite end from the dining room…



The colors will be the same as the living room and dining room since they are all connected. I think the living room walls will be champagne, one wall in the dining room can be sea-foam green, and maybe the kitchen wall will be rustic gold?


My first plan for the kitchen is to expand it into the dining area, but that may have to be done in a couple of years. Until then, we will need to use the bit of kitchen space we have wisely. Of course I found many genius ideas on Pinterst.

good.idea do.this.easy. do.this.too do.this.also


There is a skylight in the kitchen with a hanging rack for pots and pans under it, which is just perfect. I will use this and as much wall space as possible. I love keeping our utensils, cutlery and pots out where they are easily accessible, like on the wall.


The kitchen does not need much work, but I would like to refurbish the cabinets soon. Doesn’t the color on the inside of this cabinet look awesome?


One day I will get a deep sink and new appliances, but there’s no real rush.

ruggalleykitchen goodcolors galleykitchen


What do you think? Can I learn to cook in our galley kitchen? (Remember, if you say “no” I’ll have the perfect excuse to never cook!)


Project Dream Home: Dining Room

I mentioned in  the last “project dream home” post that our living room and dining room open into each other. The entire second floor is an open floor plan. This will give you an idea…

PLEASE keep in mind this is NOT our furniture...heavens no.
PLEASE keep in mind this is NOT our furniture…heavens no.

Because the plan is so open we will use the same color scheme throughout these rooms.

for all of 2nd floor


There are 2 decks that come off the dining room which means lots of sunlight (yay!). The dining room is enormous, way bigger than the actual kitchen, which is not ideal. Eventually we would love to expand the kitchen into the dining room so we can have more counter space, but until then we must work with what we have. Here’s another view of the dining room. I love the large white cabinets at the end of the room, just not quite sure what to use them for…



CanNOT wait to paint this room! Here’s one more photo with a different angle…

all walls seafoam? coordinate with living room champagne?


I have no clue what to do in this room because we are so not formal dining room people. When buying a home I imagined we’d get one with a cozy kitchen nook like this:

breakfast nook


However, we do have people over very often, so I have no doubts that we will use this room a lot. I just need a way to make it look more like us; casual, fun and comfortable. Of course, I still want a giant chandelier to pretty it up.

I like the idea of mismatched chairs too. I always loved that Monica had mismatched chairs in her kitchen on FriendsIt looks like the kind of house you can visit, put your elbows on the table, accidentally spill your wine and not worry about using the wrong fork.

good.colors.good with living room mismatchedchairs more.mismatched

I have seen lots of coffee bar ideas on Pinterest that I love, and it’s obvious that my house will need one of these.

part.of.whitecabinets in dining room turned into coffee bar

Haven’t decided where it will go yet, but I will need this picture next to it…



What do you think? mismatched, informal and cozy? Or no?


Being Brave

I had a doctor appointment today. It was just a standard check-up. My doctor wanted to see me one last time before I move to Tennessee. My last appointment went fairly well. My medicines had been working, and I really like my doctor so my nerves were relatively low. This doctor appointment was not quite as calm.

As excited as I am about moving and being a homeowner, I am also very very anxious. I don’t feel anxious. I feel excited and stressed at times, but not anxious. However, my body has a mind of its own and has been showing every symptom of anxiety, including: headaches, mouth ulcers, inability to eat/digest food, insomnia and panic attacks just to name a few. So, when my doctor asked “How have you been?” it took every bit of me not to cry.

I hate admitting that I am not don’t feel perfect. I typically only go to the doctor when I am sure that I am 100% healthy. I make sure to get eight hours of sleep the night before, eat only the healthiest of food the day before and I don’t even have coffee until after each doctor appointment. Every visit feels like a test, and I’ve always been a straight A student. I only want to answer her question with “Awesome! I feel absolutely perfect!”

The doctor just stared at me as I whispered “Not great” and then said “So tell me what’s going on”. I love my doctor she is calm, sweet, understanding and never treats me like I’m crazy. She takes everything I say very seriously and then proceeds to talk to me like child who is afraid of the dark. She assures me that I will be okay, things will get better and that it is perfectly acceptable to use a night-light when I am scared.

The doctor has been my substitute psychologist as well. She always asks me to tell her EVERYTHING, so I do. The words spill out of me like a faucet I can’t turn off….I’m moving. My husband isn’t here. I have to leave my job. I’m living out of a suitcase. I don’t have a new job. I’m scared I can’t get pregnant. I don’t know if I even want a teaching job. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t be at my house right now making sure the jobs are all getting done. I have one million things to do before moving. My medicine isn’t working. I had a panic attack in the stairwell….

She listened and let me talk without ever interrupting. When I finished she calmly said that she doesn’t deal well with change either. Some people just have a hard time with change. Even changes that one may be very excited about. She then gave me a list of things to do (workout more, eat healthier, drink less caffeine, don’t be too scared of my Xanax prescription, check blood pressure more often), and I just thought “awesome, more stuff to add to my list”.

We said our good-byes and thank you’s, and I left feeling utter relief. I began walking towards Starbuck’s (my big girl reward for going to the doctor) and without warning began crying. I don’t know if I felt so relieved to have survived another doctor appointment, or maybe it was verbally releasing all my concerns or that I just needed to cry. Whatever it was, I stood on the sidewalk between the doctor’s office and Starbucks and cried. I didn’t want strangers to start throwing pity change my way, so I pulled on my sunglasses and pretended to play on my phone as the tears rolled down my cheeks.

*I wrote this blog last night because I was feeling brave. Brave because I am still facing my fears, and brave for being so open here in my little blog world. However, I also felt wrong. After, all the news reports, photos and videos from yesterdays tornado’s in Oklahoma it just did not feel right to share a story about my “bravery”. I was brave, yes, but I cannot imagine the bravery the parents, teachers, neighbors, doctors, fire fighters and friends of the Moore and Oklahoma city are all showing.

Instead of ending this with a proper conclusion, which I suck at writing anyways, I’ll end by just sending out some positive vibes and a big giant prayer to everyone effected by the storm.

And with this video…because it’s so happy and so moving.

This woman lost everything. EVERYTHING. She’s thankful to just be alive. Then, in the middle of the rubble, she finds her love! Such a miracle.


Project Dream Home: Living Room

I have endured long distance a lot in mine and Husband’s relationship. It’s never been easy, but we make it work. I always say “if you can endure long distance you can endure anything in your relationship”. I have also been through  decorating and painting with Husband. Making these types of decisions is not easy either, and typically ends in a fight…..and eventually Husband apologizing. NOW, I can officially announce that being in a long distance relationship while also decorating your first house is just ridiculously hard. 

Thankfully, I have you to help me. My latest “pins” have been for our living room. I’ll give you a little idea of what I have to work with…



I stole this photo from the online advertisements for our house. It’s just one corner of the living room, but I wanted to show the doors out to the deck. Mostly I wanted you to see the horrible furniture and decor set up in the house before we bought it. Also, you get a glimpse of the black and while tile fire-place. What is not seen here is stairway, the other half of the room (where the TV will go), and the open side that goes in to the dining room. This whole level is very open. It flows between the kitchen, dining room, living room and 2 decks. 

My main goal with the living room is to keep it cozy. I love oversized couches, super soft furniture that you sink into, blankets and a touch of nature. Luckily, we will have lots of natural light. We have lots of visitors and people stay with us no matter where we live, so I want all of our guests to feel right at home in our living room. 

In this photo I love the giant windows, the indoor tree, the exposed wood, and white couches.


I love the L-shaped couch in this next one. I hate sectionals, but this is okay. I’ll take the dog too. I also like the bright pops of color.

living room3

Windows! Windows! Windows! I want this much sunshine in my house everyday! I love the neutral colors and the bright salmon colored table in the middle. 


The next one is pretty girly, but doesn’t it make you want to sit down with your best friend, drink tea and gossip about all your other friends?

living room

Love the couch with the blue striped down the middle. The green plants add the perfect amount of color. Obviously, I love these windows. The exposed ceiling is nice too. 

living room2

I am actually a terrible decorator, but Pinterest and the free magazines at all the fancy furniture stores here have helped me a lot. I plan to just mimic my favorite setups. I can recognize when something looks good, I just can’t create that “look” on my own. (In case you didn’t notice our NY apartment was green and purple, like the Incredible Hulk, not my best decision.) I am pretty crafty though…although I haven’t done any “crafts” in a couple of years. Hopefully, it will all come back to me because I plan on creating some not-too-hard money-saving pieces like this coffee table below. This tutorial makes it look doable. 


Hopefully, we can easily re-tile our fireplace too.

tile fireplace

Husband is very strongly against having neon green walls again, so I think we are going to go with this color scheme instead.



What do you think?