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.