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January 22, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday!


Thoughts for Thursday

Linking up with Nat and Annie today!

1. Prissy's Ponytails: After a long hiatus my Etsy shop is back up and running! You can check out the shop here! There are some fun new prints and I am still adding more to the shop. If you haven't yet tried fold-over elastic hair ties I suggest you do-- I love them because they fit nicely around my wrist and don't give my hair much (if at all) of a ponytail bump so I can take my hair down after work and not have to re-wash again if I don't want to. A quick spin with a curling brush and it's as good as new! 
2. The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up: I recently started reading this book about organizing your entire home and it's pretty amazing. I am not very far in but I was already inspired to clean out two closets in my house and get rid of all of the things that don't bring me joy. I ended up with two trash bags filled with stuff and it is a great feeling! Here is the description from Amazon:
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
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3. The Sylvia Dress from Boden: I am loving the colors, print, and style of this dress. The pink and dark green is stunning and a combination I am obsessed with ever since returning from Italy last year. We have 3 weddings this year and I think this dress would be perfect for all of them! Not the I need a new dress considering I just cleaned out my closet but I really do love this! Has anyone ever purchased from Boden? I love their clothing but can never bring myself to purchase anything because the price tag is a bit too high. Are the prices worth it?


Happy Thursday, friends! I had a two-hour delay this morning so my Thursday is off to a pretty good start! 


January 21, 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

I cannot believe we are almost at the end of January 2015. As usual, time is flying by and it will be June before we know it!

Here are some things I hope to make happen in 2015:

Travel... 2014 was a great year in regards to traveling! I finally made it to Europe which has been on my bucket list forever! We also traveled to NYC, Pawley's Island, SC, Seneca Lake, NY, Atlanta, GA and finished the year off with a trip to Pittsburgh, PA. 2015 will hopefully be filled just as much travel for us with trips tentatively planned for Louisville, KY, Vail, CO and Las Vegas, NV (for me), a trip to the Pacific Northwest, and hoping to fit in a vacation with my family as well! I truly love traveling and hope to focus on it and do lots of it in 2015!
Venice, Italy

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Seneca Lake, NY

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New York City

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Burger at BRGR in Pittsburgh

Read... This is something I love to do but sometimes I find myself opting for my phone instead of books... anyone else do this? Last year, I set my Goodreads (follow me!)goal at 30 books but only read 13. I set my goal at 30 again this year and I really hope I accomplish it. I've already read one book, Astonish Me, and it was so so good! It took me a little time to get into but I ended up loving it. I am currently working my way through Wild, which I have to admit I am not loving as much as apparently everyone else in the world. If you read it, please tell me it gets better! I have so many books on my to-read list! 

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Watch... I am totally watching Friends from beginning to end on Netflix! I am on episode four of the first season and I am loving re-watching all of these episodes... such a great show! I also want to start Jane the Virgin.. I haven't heard much about it but Gina Rodriguez was so beautiful and inspiring at the Golden Globes that I can't help it!


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Relationships... I want to connect more with my friends in more meaningful ways. Every now and then, G and I will FaceTime with our friends in various places across the country and it is always so much fun! I want to do that more and call more and write meaningful emails more. I want to attempt to physically see them and actually follow through with it.  Life is really all about relationships and if I don't invest in them what do I really have?  I want to do more activities around the city with G and I want us to spend more Saturday mornings being active and doing things together.. and less mornings being lazy! G works long hours and is out of town often, I don't work long hours but I do work a physically and mentally demanding job so it is often that we are watching TV while looking at our phones instead of talking and connecting on the weeknights. I want to change that.

I am excited for what this year has in store for us and I hope it brings us just as much joy, laughter, and adventure as the previous years!

I've seen most everyone's posts about 2015 and I am wishing you all the best of luck in making all of your dreams come true in 2015! 

October 17, 2014

The Friday Five!


Linking up with the ladies for another installment of Five on Friday!
I hate mornings. And mondays. And working. But other than that I'm entirely happy.

1. I couldn't resist the card above.. sometimes it is so true! But today I have the day off which I am so grateful for! I'm sitting here drinking coffee, writing this post with a sleepy love pup at my feet-- this is the life!  I have plans to hit Target, Whole Foods, and Michaels. I am also planning to get some chores done around the house and we have people coming to replace all of the broken closet doors in our house! So excited. 

2. I recently started using activated charcoal to whiten my teeth and it works! I was skeptical at first but it has whitened my teeth and lifted some stains. I use the brand above, found at Whole Foods, and I take one capsule and break it open and sprinkle the charcoal on my toothbrush. I have a separate toothbrush that I use for this. I then brush my teeth in circles, taking care to be gentle so as not to damage my tooth enamel. After that, rinse, rinse, rinse with water. I do this every few days and it has definitely made a difference. However, don't expect a Ross Gellar teeth whitening situation, it's definitely a more subtle whitening. Also of note, this will stain porous surfaces. It didn't stain my bathroom sink at all but I do this with a towel laid down anyway. Oh and don't be alarmed if there is still black residue in your gum line after all the rinsing, that happened to me and I panicked so I brushed with baking soda and all that did was irritate my gums. When I brushed my teeth the next morning, the black residue came right off.  
Haha. I can ride my bike one million miles, but it is true, I can only run for two minutes.

3. Another year, another Baltimore Running Festival relay that I am ill-prepared for! I think I've run once since my half-marathon in May. Once. Ugh, I am not sure why I do this to myself and I definitely don't advocate for running without training but I can't back out now. To make it worse, I'm running leg three this year, which is shorter than the leg I ran last year but it's apparently mostly uphill. Great. At least this year, my co-worker is also running leg three so I'll have someone to talk to while I'm waiting. Won't have someone to talk to while running though, he's planning on running an 8:30 mile. No thank you. I'll stick with 10:30.
Goat Cheese Lemon Pasta with Kale Recipe on twopeasandtheirpod.com Make this easy pasta dish!
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4. Planning on making this goat cheese lemon pasta with kale  from Two Peas and their Pod on Sunday and I am so excited. It looks so good and I am looking forward to eating kale in another form besides salad. Also planning on going to see Gone Girl on Sunday so it's shaping up to be the best day ever. 

Happy Friday, friends! 





October 16, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday: Honesty Edition

Linking up with Nat and Annie today for Thoughts on Thursday!

I've been having a lot of thoughts lately about my life, things I would like to accomplish, habits I would like to kick, traits I would like to embody, things I would like to start doing...

You get the idea. I figured I would write them down here since this is Thoughts for Thursday after all!
tiny tribe magazine | Showcasing stylish children's interiors | BLOG
via originally sourced from The Wellness Warrior
1. I have to accept that with my new job title comes a lot of new responsibilities. I am still learning what is expected of me and figuring out this job as I go. My new job title comes with a lot of administrative responsibilities that I wasn't expecting which means I need to be at work earlier and stay later if I want to accomplish everything. This means less free time, which admittedly, has been an adjustment. I am happy in my new title but trying to accept that there are concessions that need be made and that is simply the way it is right now.  By concessions, I mean less time spent falling into the black hole that is the Interwebs. Sad face.
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2. Relating back to number 1, I need to stop procrastinating. This is one of my least favorite traits about myself. I have more to do now with my job and grad school plus the usual stuff that's my responsibility like the house and for the most part, the dog so I need to stop putting things off and manage my time better. Like A LOT better. I'm not saying I'm super busy because truthfully, I'm not any busier than anyone else (and I'm really starting to hate people who continually state how busy they are) but my time management skills are so lacking that I'm rushing to get things accomplished and I hate that feeling. By the way, I'm The Cleaner, The Panicker, The List Maker, and The Perpetuator all in one. 

3. Relating back to 1 and 2, I need to go to bed later. I know that sounds counter-intuitive because someone trying to better their life usually wants to get to bed earlier but I find that I'm getting in bed early just because I think it is a good idea. However, when I get in bed, I'm not all that tired and I end up playing on my phone or watching T.V. before even attempting to fall asleep. I could be using that hour or so to complete tasks around the house such as laundry or emptying the dishwasher. I need to start getting in bed about 15-20 minutes prior to attempting to fall asleep. 

4. I need to drink more water throughout the day. I love water. I drink a lot of it when I am at home but I definitely do not drink enough during the day at work. It is very challenging to drink water during the day because I am in and out of the building, on the field, in the gym, in my health classroom, or attempting to find someone I need to talk to about something student related and my H2O never seems to make the trip with me. I need a Camelback to wear during the day, ha. Anyone have any tips on drinking more water during the day? I would love to hear from other people whose jobs aren't necessarily stationary.
Read the article - "When Life Hacking is Really White Privilege" and maybe think twice about the next time you do something
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5, I need to think more positively. I have an inclination towards pessimism and it is not a good character trait. I am in total juxtaposition of my husband who always thinks positively and has little tolerance for a "woe is me" attitude. I am guilty of thinking and speaking negatively and more so of complaining. I want to stop being a complainer and start living more gratefully, which is definitely going to require a lot of work on my part. 

6. Lastly, I need to be better about keeping my word. Far too often, I make plans or promises and I don't keep them and then I feel guilty about breaking them. Terrible feeling. I stumbled upon this nonprofit, Because I Said I Would, recently and really resonated with me. It is a social movement about bettering humanity through promises made and promises kept. I want to be better about this in all areas of my life: work, friends, appointments, exercising, etc. My trouble with this definitely goes back to my lack of time management skills and procrastinating. I often have to cancel things because I have other things that must be accomplished but if I had managed my time correctly I probably wouldn't have to break plans or promises. 

Hopefully posting these thoughts will keep me accountable. Maybe I'll give periodical updates to keep myself accountable..?



October 15, 2014

Weekend in Cape May, NJ

Friday afternoon, some gal pals and I loaded up the car and headed north to Cape May, New Jersey for the weekend. Our husbands and boyfriends all take an annual guys trip to see the Redskins play an out-of-town game (Phoenix, this year) so we decided it was high time we did something, too! I've never been to Cape May before and it was absolutely lovely. It is such an adorable little town and we had a wonderful weekend of eating great food, drinking wine, and shopping. It was so nice to get away with the girls and the weekend was just the relaxing weekend I needed. Girls trips should happen every month!

Everyone got in at different times on Friday so we posted up on the couch with wine and pretty much talked and laughed the entire night. We are all in different stages in our relationships with these boys of ours (newly dating but serious, dating and living together for years, newly married, married for ten years, etc.) so there was much to be discussed and I really got to know some of these ladies better than I did before. Nothing like pizza and red wine to bring chicks together! 

We stayed at a house about mile from the beach. Since it's off-season and we knew we wouldn't be laying out on the beach, it was perfectly priced for the location. It also lent itself to being girls weekend friendly-- huge sectional couch and big plush chair so we all fit comfortably during our gabfests! The house sleeps 10 people and there is a huge backyard with a table and chairs, chaise lounges, and a grill, making it great for families as well. There are also Adirondack chairs on the porch that I would definitely take advantage of in the summer!  Here is the link to the house we rented if you are interested in heading to Cape May!
Saturday morning we were up bright and early for breakfast at The Mad Batter. This place is so cute and the food was amazing. I had a Belgian waffle with a side of hash browns. I am making a bold statement here, but I have to say that these hash browns may have been the best I have ever had. Cooked to perfection and perfectly seasoned!


Unfortunately, the weather wasn't so nice on Saturday but that didn't stop us from hitting the local shops and doing our part to support the Cape May economy. Among a few things I picked up: the softest mittens I've ever had on my hands (perfect for freezing cold Redskins games to come), a Cape May Christmas tree ornament, a beautiful dark green plaid scarf for only $20, and a print of two Schnauzers drinking red wine (I could not resist). After all that shopping, we were hungry and hit up The Ugly Mug for some beers and appetizers to tide us over before dinner. 




After our day out, we headed back to the house to get ready for our dinner reservations at The Pier House that night. 

Self-timer for the win! Wearing J.Crew Swing Sweater  (currently sold out) and 7 For All Mankind The Skinny Jean (a part of the Friends & Family sale using code Family25).  Not pictured but wearing the J.Crew Factory Sylvia Wedges in Bronzed Clay.

Dinner at The Pier House was nothing short of amazing. I had the lamb shank with asparagus and lemon and oregano potatoes. While dinner was very delicious, the desserts were out of this world. We shared 4 desserts: triple chocolate mousse, creme brulee pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and a peanut butter and chocolate ice cream pie. It was like the scene with Meg Ryan out of When Harry Met Sally, there were so many "oh my Gods" uttered at the table, people were beginning to stare but the desserts really were that good! We headed back home and ended the night with a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. That game is always so hysterical.

Sunday morning we woke up to the sun shining! We decided to take the opportunity to get some exercise and walk to breakfast. A few of us were feeling the effects of the night before so we decided to hit up Uncle Bill's Pancake House, which was fine but I wouldn't recommend it. The food was okay but definitely not what we were going for. A couple of the girls had to leave after breakfast so they headed back to the house and the rest of us went back to the shops to pick up some items we missed the day before. I stopped to snap a few pictures of the beautiful Congress Hall. I am definitely going to try to get my husband to bring me here to stay for a long weekend soon! 






On our way home, we took the scenic route home and it was lovely. Cape May in October really is gorgeous. The temperature was perfect - not too hot, not too cold!







The rest of the day was spent hanging out and enjoying each other's company. Those of us that stayed had dinner at Lucky Bones on Sunday night and ended the night with a viewing of The Devil Wears Prada. I forgot how much I like that movie! Lucky Bones was very good, we all ordered pizza and I shamelessly ate my entire pie! It was the perfect atmosphere to end a girls weekend - laid back and we could sport jeans and tee-shirts. 
Monday morning before heading back home, we had breakfast at Bella Vida in West Cape May. Maybe I don't go to breakfast often enough but again this place was so, so good. I had french toast with a side of bacon and the french toast was some of the best I've ever had! It definitely has a laid back vibe and the service is not fast-paced like some other places you might go to for breakfast. Personally, slow service doesn't bother me at all and sometimes, like in this case, I rather enjoy the opportunity to linger over coffee and conversation. 
All in all, it was a great weekend spent with great friends and it was hard to get back to the daily grind yesterday. I would definitely recommend Cape May if you are looking for a girls weekend destination! Thankfully, I have a 3 day week this week so I think I can make it!









September 16, 2014

Lately...

Lately I've been....
Munching.. not much of anything. The husband was gone all of last week and is gone again this week so I haven't done much cooking. I also contracted a nasty cold so I don't have much of an appetite. I am hoping to get back on the dinner train next week. 

Sipping.. coffee. In a weird turn of events, I've started drinking (and loving) coffee these days. I had tea this morning but I'm thinking I'm going to continue on the coffee train as well. 

Reading... Full Catastrophe Living. It's a super crunchy book about being mindful and I am really enjoying it. I read several books over the summer and one of them was The End of Your Life Book Club and the author referenced this book a lot so I was intrigued and bought it. I had to buy a used copy off of Amazon but it seems there is an updated version being released on September 24th. Pick it up if you're like me and want to be practice being more mindful about life. 


Listening to.. The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora. I am obsessed with Sam Cooke's Nothing Can Ever Change this Love

Looking forward to... a few things this week! Going to try out a new fitness class tomorrow night, dinner with a some girlfriends on Wednesday, and heading to the outlets with my mom and sister on Saturday! 

Hoping.. to make some changes in a few areas of my life soon! Feeling a little like I'm in a rut in a few areas of my life and need to make some changes. 

Thinking.. about fall and how fast the time goes! It was cold outside this morning. I don't know if I am ready for all of this. 

Wanting... money to grow on trees. Ha. 

September 10, 2014

Venice, Italy {3}

     On our third and final day in Venice, we hit up the sightseeing. We started the morning with a bright and early vaporetto ride to Doge's Palace for the Secret Itineraries tour. Generally on our trips, G and I like to have a balance of doing our own thing and guided tours that either provide knowledge or adventure, depending on where we are vacationing. The Secret Itineraries tour of the Doge's Palace provided us with tons of insight into the Venetian judicial system and included tours and information on: Casanova's cell, Bridge of Sighs, the Three Seats of the Magistrate, the Doge's apartment, and the archival room of the Grand Chancellor! That's just a few of the things that were touched on during this tour. If you are interested in learning more about the extensive judicial history of Venice, I would definitely recommend this tour. We both really enjoyed it. 



The Archival Room of the Grand Chancellor

View from the 2nd floor of the Doge's Palace
View from the Bridge of Sighs 
The ceiling of The Golden Staircase which lead to the Doge's Apartment 

      Immediately following the Secret Itineraries, we had a private tour set up of St. Mark's Basilica. First, if you are visiting Venice in the summer, I highly, highly suggest booking a tour for St. Mark's. The line was incredibly long and it was very hot outside. I don't think G would have made it inside if we had to wait in line. I also recommend the private tour because it was super informative and we were taken to areas of the cathedral that were not open to the general public. Since we were there on a weekday, it was nice because our tour was specifically set up during the time the lights are on in St. Mark's (typically from 11;30-12:30).
     This cathedral is so visually stunning, it's unreal. I don't know how else to describe it except to say it is basically covered in gold and is sometimes referred to as the Church of Gold. The area that we got to see on our own depicted (among others) stories of Christ, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, and obviously, St. Mark. The cathedral itself houses the tombs of both St. Mark and Jacopo Sansovino, the sculptor and architect who built the Golden Staircase and contributed to many of the buildings around the Piazza San Marco. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside St. Mark's and there was a lot of construction work on the outside of the church itself so I didn't really get any good shots of the structure.
This is not St. Mark's Basilica but the winged lion pictured is the symbol of St. Mark

     After our busy morning, we were starving and I was so pumped when, after a little while of wandering we stumbled upon Antico Forno! Jillian wrote rave reviews about it so I was happy that we happened upon it, plus I was definitely ready for a pizza lunch! I absolutely loved the slice of pizza I had but G mis-ordered and ended up with tuna fish pizza! I thought it was pretty funny. However he was not amused and went back for a another plain cheese slice (we shared a piece prior). 



     After my requisite afternoon nap back at the hotel, we headed out to a little square to watch the Italy v. Costa Rica World Cup game. To be honest, we were expecting a little more fanfare but it was fun nonetheless!



     We ended the evening with a gondola ride and it was truly one of the highlights of our entire trip, at least it was for me, ha! I knew it was something that I really wanted to do and would regret not doing, but if you wanted to save some scratch, a ride in the front seat of a vaporetto is also pretty amazing! Gondola rides are very expensive but totally worth it, in my opinion! I would definitely recommend doing the gondola ride in the evening, it was so beautiful and serene and also, not as hot! 





     Our last dinner in Venice that night was actually kind of horrendous, but it overlooked the canal and I was already feeling sentimental about leaving Venice behind so I didn't mind the terrible food too much. The wine made up for it anyhow! We also had our first gelato of the trip on our last night in Venice and it was so good. I had pistachio and G had tiramisu. I truly loved Venice and hope I get to return one day. If you are planning a trip to Italy, do not miss Venice!