Friday, December 31, 2010

Day Thirty: One Last Moment

And just like that, the Thirty Day Challenge is over. Just in time for 2011 too! I'm excited to take the blog in some new directions in the coming year and hopefully be as consistent with my posts as I was when I first started this. Thanks to everyone that's followed along thus far and I hope to make some new blog friends in the coming year.

Here's to a fun-filled 2011!

Day Twenty-Nine: Your Aspirations

Only one more post! I can't believe it! My aspirations (for 2011 and beyond) are:

Continue to be healthy and active. Challenge myself to try new activities, like a spin class that I've been purposefully putting off.

Find happiness and appreciation in everyday experiences.

Travel more! I want to take a real vacation this year, for a whole week to somewhere I've never been.

Grow in my career and explore options for grad school.

Have fun with my new Diana camera and take pretty pictures like Naomi at Rockstar Diaries.

Have a date night with my bf once a month where we try out new restaurants.

Blog more consistently! And comment on the blogs that I follow/love.

all images via

Day Twenty-Eight: Something That You Miss

I really miss my Pop-Pop. We were so close and I often think about how different things would be if he were still alive. Wasn't he handsome?! This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of him. He reminds me of James Dean a little here!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day Twenty-Seven: Your Favorite Place

I'm happy anywhere that I'm having fun with my friends and family. But I'm extra happy when I'm anywhere that stirs up some sense of nostalgia. The places that make me the happiest are:

Fenway Park. I realize this seems a little weird, but it really is a beautiful and historic place. I love thinking about all the baseball greats and generations of people who have passed in and out of the park.

The Greek Isles. Definitely the most beautiful place on earth I've ever seen. The beaches and architecture are gorgeous. It was hard to leave.

Home. Especially around the holidays when all of the decorations are up and there's a fire roaring in the fireplace.

Crystal Lake, Michigan. My family has been vacationing here since before I was born. It's a quaint little town right on Lake Michigan and it always reminds me of being a kid, splashing around in the water all day and getting to eat superman ice cream every night.

What are some of your favorite places?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Toy Poodle

This is pretty much the cutest ornament ever. I love that it resembles a balloon animal!

seen at A Piece of Toast

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day Twenty-Six: Your Fears

I don't spend all day worrying or in fear of what may happen at any given moment. There are some things that I'm just naturally terrified of (and have been for as long as I can remember).

Being attacked by a shark. Highly unlikely, I know, but the thought still terrifies me.

Flying. I despise it, mostly because I had a lot of ear problems when I was a kid and I associate flying with pain and uncomfortable pressure. Any little bump of turbulence has me lunging into my neighbor's lap. Worst case scenario: my plane crashing into the ocean and being eaten by a shark. No bueno.

Death, but not so much dying. I'm more afraid of people who are close to me dying and having to live without them. That might be a whole separate fear but right now I'll just stick to death. The finality of it gives me the creeps.

Those are the biggies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day Twenty-Five: A First, In Great Detail

Last January marked the first time in my entire life that I had ever tried skiing. I've roller skated and ice skated multiple times and had lots of sledding adventures, but never tried skiing. Nothing that I've done before really compares to it. I did all the basic research (layering for the weather, proper equipment, and stopping techniques), but actually doing it was hard to prepare for. I think you have to be willing to fall. A lot. And that was a little daunting for me. After two full days of lessons and countless trips down the kiddie slope, I felt okay. Just okay. I certainly wasn't ready to take on any of the major trails, but I had built up some confidence and could make turns and stop without falling on my face. I also used muscles that I didn't even know I had. That weekend marked the first time in years that I learned to like oatmeal and my very first time being in a New England ski town. So I guess a lot of good came out of learning to ski and taking some falls.

I'm going again this January (which I'm both excited and nervous about), and I hope to remember some of the basic skills that I managed to pick up last year. I think the hardest part is just letting yourself "go" and not try to over think every single move. I found myself being really jerky with my movements and not getting a fluid feeling until towards the end of the second day. I also blame one of my instructors for making me go on the lift just two hours into my first lesson. Ever. It was mildly traumatic. The good news is that if I have a total meltdown on the bunny slope I can always go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing (good workouts, too!).

Do you have any tips for beginning skiers like myself?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day Twenty-Four: Something That Makes You Cry

I rarely cry. It's not that I'm insensitive, it just takes a lot to make me sad enough to cry. Now that I think about it, I'm more likely to cry out of anger or being upset than out of sadness. That being said, I occasionally tear up randomly during movies and sports montages. It doesn't even have to be an emotional part and it might happen even if I've seen a movie a million times and I know the plot. I'm weird because this just started happening a few years ago. I was watching The Family Stone the day after Thanksgiving and I found myself getting a little teary eyed during one of the family scenes. That movie is so great at portraying a real family dynamic, by the way. I love it. It's a Wonderful Life has also been known to make me tear up at the end when Clarence gets his wings. Other than a few movies and random moments, I'm not overly emotional. Sentimental-yes; sappy-not so much.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day Twenty-Three: Something That Makes You Feel Better

These are all things that make me feel better when I'm tired, stressed out, or just plain grumpy (which isn't often). I'd have to say going to the gym and getting some endorphins pumping is the best remedy for a bad day. I also like giving one of my family members a call just to say hi. That usually cheers me up.

all images via we heart it

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day Twenty-Two: Something That Upsets You

This is more of a pet peeve than something that really upsets me, but I can't stand pedestrians who don't pay attention and just walk right out into the street without looking. Living close to Brown University, I encounter this problem on an almost daily basis. The funny part is, these kids are very bright, yet they don't even look both ways before waltzing out into traffic, oblivious of the oncoming Mack truck. No, really, I've seen it happen multiple times. It's like their parents never showed them how to use a crosswalk. Dumbest Ivy Leaguers on the planet.

My other pet peeve is people who talk really loudly on their cell phones at the gym. At my gym, there are signs posted everywhere that say "cell phones prohibited" yet there is always some jerk talking way too loud (usually about a topic that the rest of the cardio room doesn't want to know about). Oh, that colonoscopy that you had last week went well? Super! You must not be working out that hard if you can carry on a full conversation. The same goes for middle-aged men who are still wearing Everlast cutoffs to "lift weights" (I use that term loosely). C'mon! Even A.C. Slater has retired the Everlast gear. My final gym pet peeve: jeans. And even worse: jean shorts. That's not comfortable and quite frankly it's not good for your body. Wear something a little looser so you can breathe.

Whew, I feel better after getting all that off my chest. TGIF.

Day Twenty-One: Another Moment, In Great Detail

One of the best parts about Christmastime at my grandparents' house was always the decorating. Every year they threw a huge tree-trimming party and invited lots of friends and family to enjoy hanging ornaments on the tree while drinking cider and listening to Christmas carols. As much as I enjoyed those parties (and got away with eating too many sugar cookies), it was the set up that I enjoyed even more. My Pop-Pop collected old electric trains and we would spend all morning going into the crawl space under the basement stairs and pulling out the boxes of metal track and each individually wrapped train car. The combination of smells from the sweet pine sap of the tree and cold metal from the tracks is still a vivid memory for me. It was so satisfying to lay out the track and fit each piece together perfectly until it went all the way around the base of our tree. I can remember laying on the cold hardwood floor and being covered with prickly needles that had already fallen.

We had to make sure the wheels of each car were lined up with the grooves in the track so they would glide along smoothly and the cars all hooked together in order, starting with the engine and ending with my favorite, the caboose. The most exciting part of all was, of course, getting to slowly turn the dial for the first time and waiting in anticipation to see whether or not the train would lurch forward-it usually did. I would set it as fast as it could go, until the little toy people would topple over and fall off. I still try to tinker with the train set every few years when I'm home for Christmas and I still get just as much enjoyment out of watching it circle the track under our Christmas tree. It brings back so many great memories, which is one of the best things about this time of year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lucky Me!

I came home after a very long day to the following e-mail:

"Hi ,

We would like to personally thank you for your entry in the Lil Bee APART give away. To show our gratitude for everyone's enthusiasm, we would like to gift all our giveaway participants with the APART item of their choice (first one mentioned on your comment).

Since you have taken the time to look at our site for your absolute favorite pieces, we would like to extend an invitation to you to become an APART style ambassador (long for fan!) And post a blog entry on your selected gift item once you receive it. If you are open to this, it would be wonderful if you could possibly coordinate your personal blog post for the 1st week of December, Monday the 6th through Friday the 10th.

Thank you for commenting on our giveaway at the LiL Bee- we look forward to hearing from you soon."

I immediately e-mailed Melisa to see if this was a hoax or I was reading the e-mail correctly. When I got the reply that I had in fact won a piece of the APART collection, I was beyond thrilled (and maybe squealed with excitement a little)! I am now the owner of the gorgeous and versatile Imagine Parka and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival! This may warrant my first ever outfit post!

Become a follower of The Lil Bee before you miss out on any more fun giveaways!

Thanks, Bee!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day Twenty: This Month, In Great Detail

I have to start off by saying I have no IDEA why this month is flying by! Seriously, wasn't it just September? If time keeps going this fast there's no way I'm going to get all of my Christmas shopping done in time.

Some November highlights thus far:

breaking out winter hats and gloves. tailgating at the patriots game (technically oct. 31st but so much fun). sushi date night. hearing the first christmas song of the season on the radio. prepping to host my very first turkey day. mom coming to visit for the weekend. pumpkin pinkberry. long walks on crisp fall mornings. mulled cider. pretty foliage. holiday gift guides slowly starting to appear. having my horseshoe shirt altered so i can actually wear it. purchasing my flight home for christmas. intense games of darts at dev's. building a bookcase for the bedroom. jeans, knee-high boots, and chunky knits in heavy rotation. indoor winter farmer's market. finding a girly plaid shirt. antiques shopping downtown. getting an extra hour of sleep. the freakishly weird 65 degree day (yesterday). empanadas at cuban. magazines starting to pile up. finally finding a coffee table. morning trips to seven stars for coffee. scoring a new lululemon jacket (on sale!). holiday excitement starting to build. flannel sheets. birthday planning.

I know we're barely halfway through the month but I'm excited to cook a big turkey and even more excited to get a Christmas tree! This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Swirly Pumpkin Goodness

Last Saturday I spent more time than I'd like to admit searching for the perfect coffee table. After unsuccessful trips to both West Elm and Crate and Barrel (and maybe almost some tears of frustration), everything was made better by a stop at Pinkberry. I had been dying to try the new seasonal flavor, pumpkin. I ordered a small cup of pumpkin yogurt with the suggested toppings (graham crackers, swirly whip, and a dusting of cinnamon) and it was delicious. It was sweet without being overly sweet and had that Pinkberry tanginess to it. If you want a healthy alternative to pumpkin pie, definitely try Pinkberry's take on the fall treat. You will not be disappointed!

I'm still on the hunt for a coffee table. Suggestions are welcome!

Day Nineteen: Something You Regret

I'm not really the type of person to focus on less-than-stellar choices that I've made in the past. The way I see it, things happened a certain way for a reason and previous decisions impacted where I am today. I wouldn't want to change that. My only mild regret is that I didn't have a "typical" college experience where I went away for four years. My middle sister was the only one of my siblings who did that and she made some great friends and had a lot of fun. I, on the other hand, bounced around, attended several schools, worked full-time while taking a full course load, and took summer classes to get ahead. It wasn't necessarily ideal, but I was happy to juggle multiple responsibilities and have my own income throughout school. It taught me a lot about time management too!

So that's probably one of the only aspects of my life that I would have done differently. (But not really because I'm happy with where I am today). Thinking about regrets is weird. It really makes you see how little decisions can add up and make a big impact.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day Eighteen: Your Favorite Birthday

Let me start off by saying that it's definitely not easy to have a birthday on New Year's Eve. I'm not saying it's as bad as having it on Christmas, but it sure can be tough, especially when you're in elementary school and none of your friends can come to a party on New Year's (because it's New Year's and all). It's just not a convenient time. People are traveling and have lots of family obligations. That being said, my parents still worked really hard to make my birthdays special, and as I've gotten older, I've really come to appreciate that the whole world celebrates my birthday with me (and there are always fireworks, a huge perk). I've spent birthdays in Paris, the Dominican Republic, Pittsburgh, DC, and of course here in Little Rhody, but nothing beats a birthday spent at home with my family. In case you haven't realized it, I really enjoy traditions and am somewhat a creature of habit, so having a reliable birthday tradition was perfect.

I went through a stretch (circa 1994-1998) where every year on my birthday, my family and a few of my closest friends would celebrate by going to lunch at Planet Hollywood in DC. It was always a special treat to go to such a fun restaurant and check out all the cool movie props and costumes. I'm not sure what prompted this tradition, but it went on for quite a while. I can always remember the wall that had faces of famous celebs that we'd all try to identify. Movie clips played throughout the restaurant and the girl's bathroom was designed to look like a movie star's dressing room. One particular menu item stands out in my mind - an appetizer of chicken tenders that were coated in crushed Capt'n Crunch cereal! The best part was that we usually had the place to ourselves (because who really goes out for lunch on New Year's Eve?) and it was followed by Baskin Robbins ice cream cake and presents back at my house. Then, my parents would go out to a New Year's party and my sisters and I would terrorize the babysitter and try to stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop.

These were some of my best birthday years, and ones that I still remember fondly. I'm still not sure how I'll be celebrating this year, but I'll definitely think of my past Planet Hollywood celebrations!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day Seventeen: Your Favorite Memory

This is quickly turning into the ninety day blogger's challenge. I really do need to step it up. I like writing-a lot-I just find myself out of ideas when I actually sit down at my laptop. Oh well, back to today's topic.

I found this to be really challenging. It's nearly impossible to choose just one favorite memory from my 20+ years of existence. I've definitely narrowed it down to a cluster of memories, though. I have to say that even though my sisters and I grew up in a very urban area, we were fortunate enough to have parents who exposed us to a variety of places and different types of activities (antiquing at age 3, sure, why not!). Some of my favorite memories are days we packed up the old Wagoneer and headed into the country. We'd usually take a nice drive out route 66 towards Front Royal and go fishing, take in the foliage, or visit Uncle Clark at his farm. For some reason, I always associate these memories with fall because my dad would constantly be reminding us to look at all the pretty colors and to keep our eyes "peeled" for deer and turkeys. This was about the same time of year that my mom started using the threat "Santa's watching" to keep the three of us in line (it usually worked). Austin would inevitably need to "use the potty" about three minutes after we left our house and Birch always wound up consuming more sugar than a family of five should have in a week, but it always made for an adventure.

Once we even got to go to Skyline Caverns and walk in the underground caves to see the stalagtites and stalagmites. We'd plan out our Halloween costumes and talk about all of the upcoming holidays. I just remember it being such a happy and exciting time. If we went fishing, my mom would pack a cooler with a big lunch of ham sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and juice boxes and homemade cookies. Someone (usually me) would end up falling in the pond or at least getting soaked. We would point out cows and sheep along the drive and request different cassette tapes to be played. I really enjoyed those day trips with my family. I can't even remember the last time all five of us were in the same car together, but it's funny how I can recall all of the little details of those excursions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day Sixteen: Your First Kiss

I refuse to make this a TMI post. It wasn't memorable and it's actually better not to relive it or even think about it. Does anyone really have first kisses like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Fifteen: Your Dreams

I think dreams are fascinating. I love how they can feel so real and like they actually happened. I also hate waking up before my dream is finished and not finding out what happens. I can remember my mom have a dream decoder book growing up and whenever I had a strange dream, I would try and figure out what it meant. I actually have a couple of my own dream books nowadays, although I don't use them often. I have a hard time remembering my dreams most of the time.

When I was in college, one of my psychology classes discussed REM sleep and dreams. Part of the homework for the class was keeping a dream log, which was so much fun. About eight weeks into the course, I noticed that I could actually train myself to dream about something based on having a well-established nighttime routine and journaling about a particular topic just prior to going to sleep. It was kind of strange, but also really cool, like having some sort of super power.

I primarily dream about families and kids I work with, which can be too realistic for my comfort, but definitely shows how involved you become in some cases. Other than that, it seems pretty random. Sometimes I dream about sporting events and other times I dream about being with my sisters and parents. When I was really young, I had a recurring dream that my dad was Rambo (complete with machine gun rounds across his chest) and he saved me from my bedroom window (not sure exactly why I needed to be rescued). For some reason that one's always stuck with me. I can't recall ever dreaming about flying, but that seems like it would be exciting. Dreaming about shopping sounds fun too!

Do you have any crazy recurring dreams?

Day Fourteen: What You Wore Today

Ugh, I hate the outfit posts, especially on work days. I just don't get the opportunity to wear cute clothes to work. That's what happens when you work in a field where most of your day is spent on the floor with little kiddies. Today I did not plan well at all for the weather. It was in the mid-70s in Providence. To give you some perspective, last week it dipped down into the upper 30s at night. Crazy. Anyway, today I wore one of my favorite pair of Gap cargo pants. I've had these pants for at least three years and I live in them at work. I actually have multiple pairs because I wear them so often. When they fall apart, I'm going to need a completely new work wardrobe. I paired the cargos with a plain white tank top and a long sleeved dark green henley and wore my Toms (aka the best shoes of all time). So it was a boring outfit once again for work. As soon as I got home, I showered and changed into Victoria's Secret boyfriend sweatpants and a t-shirt to make dinner and do laundry. Also, I was forced to skip yoga due to work running late. Lame. I really look forward to yoga on Tuesday nights.

Someday I'm going to do an outfit post just to prove I dress like a normal and have some stylish pieces in my wardrobe. I swear.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day Thirteen: This Week, In Great Detail

This week has felt really hectic, even though nothing especially hectic has happened. I think the fact that the holidays are slowly staring to creep up on me has set in and there's so much that needs to be done first! I am in desperate need of some basic things for the apartment (like a coffee table) and still have some lingering cardboard boxes in the corners waiting to be unpacked. Monday through Thursday were pretty typical work days. I evaluated so many kids this week that the paperwork is overwhelming just to think about.

There were definitely a few perks to the week, however. My bff is visiting in Newport, so Marc and I drove down there for dinner on Monday (I know, Monday!) at one of our favorite restaurants, Salvation Cafe. It was by far the best Monday I've experienced in a long time and if you're ever in Newport, you absolutely have to go to Salvation. It's one of the best and most underrated places down there, a real hidden gem. On Tuesday I had yoga, which is always a nice way to break up the week. On Wednesday I made a really tasty chicken stir-fry with homemade peanut sauce and brown rice. Thursday was low-key and marked the end of Jersey Shore (which was pretty lame and uneventful). On Friday I ventured back down to Newport to hang with Bill and his girlfriend who was visiting from San Diego. I swear if he gets transferred to San Diego after Japan I am definitely visiting. No doubt about it. Marc and his friends went to a concert and one of his good college buddies stayed at our place for the night.

Saturday and Sunday were spent relaxing and recuperating from being up late on Friday. We managed to squeeze in some fun fall activities like apple picking at Barden's Family Orchard, the Hope Street farmer's market, Seven Stars coffee runs, brunch at LJ's (complete with sweet potato pancakes--I know), enjoying the fall foliage, planning a trip to Vegas (or at least discussing it), sushi (for me), and now football and kicking back. I picked up lots of fresh veggies when we were up at the farm so I'm hoping to make a healthy dinner. All in all, a very good week.

Is it just me, or is time flying?! I feel like Thanksgiving is going to be here before we know it and that means Christmas is right around the corner, too! So crazy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day Twelve: What's In Your Bag

I never bring a purse with me to work, primarily because I do a lot of home visiting and there's no need for excess baggage. Instead, I carry just my wallet and work identification. When I go out on the weekends to run errands or meet up with friends, this is what you'll typically find in my bag:

Marc by Marc Jacobs Dr. Q satchel in a burnt orange: I love this bag (even though it's a little too oversized) and the color goes with most of my neutral wardrobe, especially in the fall.

Notebook: Right now it's a striped Liberty of London lined notebook from Target. I like to have a place to jot down grocery lists, reminders, etc.

Palmer's cocoa butter stick: This is hands down the best stuff ever. It makes great chapstick and I have tubes all over the place (car, desk, purse, etc.).

Nail file: I think this one was a stocking stuffer from last Christmas. I like that it has a little plastic case.

Mac Lipglass in Oyster Girl: This gloss is great because it goes on sheer and it lasts forever!

Pens: I prefer gel pens because they're quick-drying and don't smear like ball-points. I'm left-handed so I have to worry about that sort of thing. Right now I have a black one and a sparkly purple Gelly Roll one, just for fun.

Abas clutch wallet: I've had this wallet for at lease 7 years and I love it. It's a unique texture and color and I always get tons of compliments on it. Plus, it can double as a clutch if you really want to minimize and not carry a purse. I got mine from Nordstrom. There's a similar one here. I'll be devastated if/when it finally falls apart.

Gucci Bamboo Horsebit Sunglasses: These glasses are great because of their classic shape and tortoise shell color. I can literally wear them with anything. Plus, I love the bamboo detail at the hinge. Again, a Nordstrom buy.

Goody Elastics: I always have a at least one hair tie and headband in my bag just in case I want to throw my hair up in a ponytail. These elastics seem to work the best for my hair, but now I want to try the ones from Planet Blue, too!

iPhone charger: I try to always have this on hand because my phone battery is sometimes disappointing, especially when I'm listening to Pandora or playing Words With Friends a lot that day.

Keys: Pretty self-explanatory. Car, apartment, PO box, and my gym card and grocery store discount card.

Miscellaneous: I've resorted to throwing store coupons, business cards, and rewards cards that I don't use on a regular basis into a Ziplock bag. I used to carry them in my wallet, but then there got to be too many. I obviously need a better system because this just looks tacky. Hey, at least I showed you, right?!

Not pictured: iPhone (I used it to take the awful, blurry photo) and iPod with headphones, which is currently in the car.

I think that's everything I typically carry in my bag. There's also usually a pack of gum, but for some reason that didn't make it into the picture. I promise to get back on track with the Blogger's Challenge this week. I've been busy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day Eleven: Your Siblings

We've worn matching Christmas pj's for as long as I can remember!

I am very lucky to have two amazing younger sisters, Austin and Birch. The three of us have such different personalities, yet we share a lot of common traits as well. We all have an obsessive love for anything and everything Christmas, we enjoy shopping, and we're supportive of one another. Even though we don't see each other often, I like to think that we do a pretty good job of staying in touch and keeping up with what's going on in each other's lives. It's funny to look back on the times where we couldn't even be in the same room without getting into a fight, because now we have so much fun together. When I go home to visit, one of the highlights is always going out for dinner and drinks with just my sisters. I'm so lucky to have them!

Meet Austin Gayle

She's the middle sister in the bunch and she's definitely the biggest fashionista of the three of us. Austin was always the quietest and shyest growing up. She pretty much survived on fruit alone as a child and always had lots of freckles. Now, Austin has a degree in fashion merchandising and business and works for Simply Soles in Georgetown. I admire her great group of girlfriends and her ability to wear ridiculously high heels for long periods of time. She's also really good at scouting out deals and always comes up with the best finds from stores like Loehmann's and Marshall's. She loves exploring DC and trying new restaurants. She's not exactly a domestic goddess, and is downright helpless when it comes to anything having to do with her car, but she makes me laugh and I really wish she could be my personal shopper.

Meet Everett Birch

Birch is the baby of the family. She was always extremely quirky and goofy as a kid, and she was always making plans or up to something. She survived mostly on cheese as a kid (mozzarella sticks, mac & cheese, nachos), but now she's the most adventurous eater out of all three of us. Birch was extremely rambunctious and talkative at home, but was a quiet, hardworking student at school. She had hilarious ideas about things and once had a pet turtle shell that she kept in the back yard. Birch was always performing and looking for an audience (even if it was watching herself in a mirror). Now, Birch is a senior in college and already has several job offers. She is always on the go, and balances school and work (both full time) and a social life better than most adults I know. She is incredibly ambitious and goes after what she want (and usually gets it, too). I wish I had as much energy as she does!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day Ten: What You Wore

I wish my closet looked like this.

Oops, I've kind of neglected the blogging challenge for the past few days. Fridays are casual at work, so I can wear jeans, which is really nice, especially because I spend most of my time on the floor playing with little ones. So on Friday, I wore my most comfortable, worn-in pair of Kut from the Kloth jeans with a plain grey long sleeved t-shirt from the Gap and sneakers. After work, I changed into a pair of Gap dark-wash jeans tucked into brown suede boots and worn with a white thermal tee to go out. To bed: Victoria's Secret PINK sweatpants and a long sleeved t-shirt with my old Red Sox hoodie (it was chilly!). Not the most exciting wardrobe day, but I do love fall clothes and layered looks.

Anyone have any good recommendations for basic tees/thermals that don't stretch out and lose their shape after being through the wash a few times? I used to like Gap ones, but the quality has really gone downhill in the past couple years, plus the fit is oversized to begin with.

Vintage Springs

This is quite possibly the most amazing kitchen I've ever seen. It's proof that you don't need state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances to have an aesthetically pleasing look. My favorite part is definitely the vintage truck springs converted into stools. I love the amount of light that comes in through the picture window and the cabinets are made from old fences. Check out more unique (and small) kitchens featured here today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day Nine: Your Beliefs

I believe...

in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

in wishing on eyelashes.

in acting like a kid and appreciating things like a child would.

that birthday celebrations should last at least a week.

in forgiving, but not necessarily forgetting (at least right away).

that girls and guys can be just friends.

that laughter really is the best medicine.

that the way to most people's hearts is through their stomach.

in random acts of kindness (without looking for acknowledgement).

that best friends are family.

in keeping family traditions going and starting traditions of your own.

that there's no such thing as overboard when it comes to the holidays.

in giving a courtesy wave while driving.

that one can never have too many tubes of chapstick.

in not going to bed upset or angry.

that parents aren't trying to be overbearing, they just want the best for their child.

in hard work and completing things to the best of your ability.

that karma is a very real concept.

that handwriting is an important reflection of a person.

in happy endings.

What are your beliefs?

Day Eight: A Moment, In Great Detail

When I was a little girl, I was very close to my grandfather, Pop-Pop. I was the first grandchild, so he definitely spoiled me and we always did special things together. I'll never forget one rainy fall afternoon when he told me to go down to the basement and watch a cartoon while he got some work done. I couldn't have been older than six, and now that I think about it, I was probably just five years old. Anyway, the basement phone rang shortly after I started watching my show (I was allowed to answer the phone at that point). I picked it up and it was Pop-Pop, calling me from the office phone (which was super exciting/important when you're only five). He asked me what I wanted for lunch and I requested a grilled cheese (one of my favorites). Instead of just bringing me a grilled cheese on a paper plate, we had an elaborate indoor picnic. Pop-Pop made me my special sandwich on the griddle using the heavy cast-iron bacon press that made the cheese extra melty and gooey. Then he wrapped it up and packed it with juice boxes and chocolate chip cookies in an oversize basket. We even got to use special cloth napkins and he remembered to bring me a little packet of ketchup (to dip my sandwich in).

It was the best rainy day adventure ever and it obviously left a lasting impression! I still think back to it on dreary days like the ones we've been having here in New England. Nothing beats a good grilled cheese on a rainy afternoon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day Seven: Your Best Friend

Meet Bill (or Billy as I refuse to call him).

Bill and I met in fourth grade when his family moved to Bolling Air Force Base in Washinton, D.C. We were in the same class and went all the way through eighth grade together. We became friends in 1993 and have stayed best friends for over 17 years (more than half of our lives). He's one of the funniest and most genuine people I've ever met. I can always count on his honest, completely un-sugarcoated opinion about pretty much anything. That's the other thing about Bill: he has an opinion about everything and he's certainly not afraid to voice it.

I've seen Bill through all of his "phases" in life: from geeky fourth grader to know-it-all high schooler, and popular fraternity brother, hippie, and now an officer in the Navy. Yes, the United States Navy. It's crazy to think about how much we've been through and done together. We both have an undying love for the Redskins and a passion for our careers. We have wonderfully supportive families and Bill has an irrational fear of spiders. He's a talented musician, can quote almost any movie at the drop of a hat, and most of all, is a loyal friend. I'm so lucky that we can pick up right where we left off and never miss a beat, even when he's halfway around the world in Japan on a ship somewhere.

I'm so excited to see him in just a couple short weeks. He'll be in Newport attending some classes at the Naval War College (I think that's what it's called) and we'll have the chance to hang out for the first time in almost 18 months! I can't wait to watch some football and take him out for cheeseburgers and beer (or apple pie, you know, something really American)! I am so proud of everything he's done and I know he has an amazing future ahead of him.

Travel safe, buddy! Oh, and be happy I don't have any 4th grade photos saved on my laptop. Can't wait to see you!