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!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day Six: Your Day, In Great Detail

I'm writing about my day yesterday (obviously), seeing as how today is just starting...

6:40ish Woke up before my alarm, remembered it was Friday and instantly became happier. Packed Marc's lunch, got dressed, brushed teeth, etc.

7:15 Made myself oatmeal and sat down to eat breakfast, check e-mails, and read a few of my favorite blogs.

7:50 Cleaned up the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher.

8:20 Left the house to drop Marc off at work (his car was in the shop).

9:00 Arrived to my first work appointment of the day, which was hectic. Dad informed me that the child had already eaten two full-sized chocolate frosted donuts (great, thanks!).

10:15 Headed into the office for my second appointment. The family was a no-show, so I had some time to work on reports and make a few phone calls to set up meetings for next week.

11:50 Left the office to go to my third scheduled appointment for the day, which was also a no-show. Rough morning! Instead of going back to the office, I went home and got some paperwork done. For some reason, I'm much more productive at home. I think when there are too many people in my office it's a huge distraction. Especially on Fridays, because people are more social (or so it seems).

1:30 Went to the gym. Did 45 minutes of cardio and some circuit training. I felt really good after leaving the gym. Plus, the place was empty! It was a good time to go.

3:15 Stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things for dinner.

4:00 Made a batch of peanut butter-chocolate bars for Marc's poker night.

4:30 Cleaned up the giant mess I made in the kitchen.

5:15 Realized I was going to be late to pick Marc up from work if I didn't hurry up and shower, but still put it off for five more minutes.

5:20 Showered and got ready to leave.

5:45 Left the apartment to pick Marc up from work. Sat in some traffic.

6:10 Arrived at the office. Marc wasn't finished with what he needed to do, so I waited.

6:35 Finally left his office. It was pouring down rain at this point.

7:05 Got back to the apartment and started making lasagna (also for poker night).

7:50 Put lasagna in the oven and repeated cooking instructions to Marc at least three times before leaving.

8:10 Stopped at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine.

8:28 Arrived at my friend's house and was greeted by her very cute, very entertaining 16 month old son, Justin. Played peek-a-boo and a stomping game that little Justin invented. Fed him some cut-up banana, which he smashed all over his tray (some even made it in his mouth!). Poured glasses of wine and watched Justin eat pieces of salad with ginger dressing from chopsticks--hilarious.

8:45ish Little Justin went to sleep. Glenda and I enjoyed some really tasty sushi from Wasabi and multiple episodes of Say Yes to the Dress (our Friday ritual).

11:30ish Realized I could barely keep my eyes open because I was getting so tired. Said goodnight to Glenda and headed back to my apartment.

Before midnight: Crawled into bed and waited for the coast to be clear so I could duck into the bathroom and wash my face & brush my teeth. It's tough to share one bathroom with 12 guys on poker night! I instantly fell asleep and was up bight and early again today!

Happy Saturday! Have anything fun planned?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day Five: Your Definition of Love, In Great Detail

I certainly don't claim to know a lot about love, but I enjoy the following explanation of it:

"When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!"

This quote comes from one of my favorite books, Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I first read the quote when I was in my early teens and loved it, and rereading the quote just now, I still love it-maybe even more so now that I've had some actual life experience. The book is great and I highly recommend it; the movie was okay, but a little disappointing.

So I think love is more than just the rush of emotions that you experience when falling in love. It's the day-to-day compassion, concern, compromises, and overall partnership that you cultivate with someone that will hopefully withstand the test of time. I love the analogy of having your roots entwined with another person's. It makes me think of a strong family tree. I'm also a firm believer that with love should come a lot of laughter. You need to be able to laugh at yourself and make the other person laugh, because it's healthy and fun. I wish I could elaborate more on love, but I think it means different things to different people and it's up to you to recognize your love for someone.

What does love mean to you?