Saturday, December 29, 2012

iBlog

I'm starting my 2013 resolution of blogging more with a new toy. To fuel my Internet-obsession (it's almost a problem), boyfriend got me an iPad for Christmas.


One of the main reasons I wanted a tablet was to make blogging a little easier on myself. As it stands now, I have to email photos to our shared laptop, download them, then upload them for use in blog posts. This is a most daunting process, and therefore doesn't entertain my interest for long. Hopefully now that I can access all of my photos from one location, this process will be a little easier. :)

I am also looking for any recommendations on must-have apps. I've got several on my iPhone (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) but am curious if there are any that I might be missing.
Lord knows I don't want to be behind the times, said the biggest bandwagoner ever. ;)
Let me know your favorites!

Cheers!

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolution Solution

I'm not a huge fan of new year's resolutions... are you?

I find them to be generally pretty harsh. It seems that most often they are conceived of grand, open-ended ideas like "I want to lose weight", and almost always ends in failure.

Why? Because Valentine's Day is a mere two months away there is no end number in sight. As someone who has not only drank the Weight Watchers Kool-Aid, but also bottled and sold it to my friends and family, there is one thing that WW has taught me: SET GOALS. You can't conceivably set a resolution for yourself that is impossible to achieve if there are no attainable specifics. This pertains to every single aspect of your life, not just weight loss. Setting a goal of "I want to lose 10 pounds this year" puts an expiration date on your goal, and therefore a time requirement.

But really... if you dispute that it was simply because Valentine's Day was a mere two months away, I could not stand to argue. 
Dark chocolate heart-shaped Peeps, say what?

I have a handful of GOALS this year, myself. This is a list of things that I would like to do and/or improve upon before 2014. If I put them out there and publish this list for all the world to see, then surely that must hold some accountability? Here's hoping!
..........
TAKE THE NCIDQ
The NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) is the governing credential for becoming a licensed Interior Designer. This is a big one. This very exam is why I chose the school I did, the career path I'm in, and the overall course of my future. No pressure, though.

READ MORE {for pleasure}
This could be a two-birds-one-stone gig simply taking the above goal into consideration, but I'd really like to make a dent in my bookshelf. After all, I still haven't finished the '50 Shades' trilogy... what?

FIND ORGANIZATION FOR THE PANTRY... and stick to it
This seems like such a simple request, but alas the bread always seems to creep up next to the beans and I can't keep the blasted salsa away from the mandarin oranges and the cereal has a mind of its own. It's like the Pantry of Babel. I have recently been inspired by the clear container / chalkboard label craze and I'd really like to go ahead and book my ticket to that party.

DRESS MORE PROFESSIONALLY 
While I do a relatively good job of maintaining a professional wardrobe at work, I completely fail at pulling outfits together. I have hanger after hanger of scarves, more dangly earrings than I know what to do with, a handful of skinny belts, and enough heels to open a small boutique, yet I never seem to put in the last little bit of effort to accessorize. It can make such a difference.

BLOG MORE {than I did in 2012}
The last few months of 2012 have given me a resurgence of excitement for blogging. I hope to bring that excitement into 2013 with a few regular topics and posts. Stay tuned!

..........

There you have it. I sincerely hope to stick with these goals all year. Some are relatively easy, others will be decidedly more difficult but all are things I really WANT to accomplish. Here we go.

What are your goals or resolutions for the next year? Are you aiming big? Do tell!

Have a safe & fabulous New Year's Eve, friends!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Christmas Pajamas


type A personality: A temperament characterized by excessive ambition, aggressioncompetitivenessdrive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency. (via

If you're reading this blog, regardless of how well you may know me (or if you know me at all) you may have come to the conclusion, at some point during my many, many ramblings, that the above definition is a most suitable description of myself. I do my very best to not hide my true personality in my writing, regardless of how neurotic I may come across. This is me... for better or worse, this is really me.

I have never doubted that I possess some amount of Type A, but the last line in the definition states that the individual may have an "unrealistic sense of urgency". Well, I have this down to an art and the events of today will prove this theory undeniably accurate. Observe, the story of the Christmas pajamas.

.........................

It all started a couple of weeks ago... I was checking out the "gifts under $25" post via Your Modern Couple when I saw the cuuuuuutest pair of gold dotted white flannel pj's from Target. Darling. I immediately started plotting how cute it would be if I could get my hands on them, and maybe monogram my initials on the front pocket, paint my toes gold, and prep myself for the most fabulous Christmas morning outfit ever. You see... last year, also while visiting Spencer's family, I noticed that the camera never stopped flashing... even when you have that 'just-rolled-out-of-bed-no-time-for-makeup-barely-combed-my-hair' look coupled with the equally interesting 2XL night shirt and mismatched pajama bottoms. It's quite a look... let me tell you. 

Unfortunately, things got busy and I sort of forgot about my grand idea. Momentarily

I revisited the grand plan on the day before Christmas. Also known as Christmas Eve. You know... one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

It started innocently. A quick trip to Target for a cute pair of matching pajamas.
Note: The matching part of this story is crucial. I had my eyes set on the original pajamas (which were no longer available by this point) and they were a two-piece set. Therefore, this set had to be a two-piece set. Refer back to the Type A definition. 

Luckily, there was a sale. Even better, the jammies were CUTE. After trying on a couple of different ones, and getting the opinions of everyone in the pajama-going entourage, I settled on a teal, button-front set with little owls performing various winter-y tasks (you know... skiing, sledding, tree-trimming... all of the things you might find an owl doing). I was happy. I approached the register and as the girl rang me up, she announced my total... "that'll be $32.34". Excuse moi? The sign clearly read 50% off! "I can call someone to go take a look for you", she said. I agreed. Another employee followed shortly, shaking her head in sympathy, "I'm sorry", she said, "these aren't on sale". A normal person would have probably either a.) just bought them anyway--afterall, these were suddenly an urgent necessity, or b.) said "no thanks" and walked away. I chose option B. I guess everyone has their limits. 

This story could have ended here, with either scenario. But no... I was on a mission. A mission for Christmas pajamas. This would simply not do.

Spencer volunteered to take me to the mall after lunch so that I could find some. We started at JCPenny and moved on (unsuccessfully) to Victoria's Secret, Bealls, Gap, Dillards, American Eagle, and Express. By this point, an hour had passed. Now... notice that I didn't say I didn't find any that I liked, because that simply wasn't true. Every pair of themed pajamas I picked up, be it snowflakes, flannel, or matching plaid sets, Spencer proclaimed "my mother has those". Obviously, this wouldn't bother me, but I can't say the same for him. Spencer and Kristen (his sister who had joined us) were ready to go home, but I was fueled.

We drove across the parking lot to Old Navy. Surely they will have something, right? Wrong. Apparently, there was a massive sale on pajamas earlier in the morning. The aisles were wiped clean as though the Mayan Apocalypse had struck down right here in this very spot. The only thing I could find were a pair of bottoms with dancing stars. As I said before... everyone has their limits.

In this same vicinity, we tried Kohls (where I nearly had a 'I'm-never-going-to-find-anything-I'd-better-just-buy-these-rose-print-pajamas-that-I'm-pretty-sure-every-nursing-home-resident-owns' meltdown, but we persevered). Luckily, I was talked off the ledge and we proceeded to Ross, World Market (for beer), and on to United (for groceries) and Walgreens. Now, to be fair... I did find a pair of bottoms at Walgreens, but I was sternly warned before exiting the car that if I was to come back with a pair of pajamas from Walgreens, I would not be allowed back in the car. Tough crowd.

There was one place I had not been to. One place I was sure to never go in this car: Walmart. Seeing as I was accompanied by two anti-Walmart enthusiasts, I knew there was no way I was stepping foot in the parking lot... despite my pleas. I sulked the whole way home, quietly, determined, scheming up a plan to get there.

Spencer's mother is a frequent Walmart shopper, and has no shame in this. "It has everything I need", she disputes... an argument lost on her children. I knew there was hope. We emerged from the car, only a few grocery bags in hand when we were met with the inevitable question "did you find any pajamas?". I lurched into my sob story, already putting my plan into action. Spencer's father offered to drive me to Walmart, but of course, would not exit the car. Again... I was told by my beloved I would not be allowed in the house. I could see this was going nowhere, and I started to shift my tactic. I was desperate. "Will someone please take me to Target? I will pay the $30-plus dollars, I JUST HAVE TO HAVE CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS!"

About an hour later, Spencer's mother called me into the kitchen. "I have a plan", she said. I was intrigued. "I'm going to come into the living room in a couple of minutes and say that I ran out of milk, and I am going to make a grocery run. Then together, we'll go to Walmart." "OKAY!", I exclaimed, "...but could you say we are going to Target so there is no question?" She gave me a funny look, but agreed. Sure enough... the plan worked, and we were off to Walmart at 9 PM on Christmas Eve.

Now, if this is something you've never experienced, there's probably a reason for that and you should trust your judgement. The place was crawling with people. Every square inch there was someone, buying something, for someone. But I managed to come out ahead. Racing toward the intimates section, I bobbed in and out of people trying on sunglasses, hats, and scarves. I flew past the moms and dads buying CD's for their children, and children whining over their need to get home so Santa will come. I finally reached the PJ's and to my amazement, there were several options to chose from. My sights landed on a matching grey set, with little Scottie dogs wrapped in red, pink, and green bones. Adorable. It was mine.

We raced home, while I transferred our loot into a Target bag. We discarded the evidence (the Walmart bag) in the garage. Our plan had went off without a hitch, and they were none the wiser to our grand scheme. Success.

So, I couldn't drone on and on without showing you a picture of the infamous pajamas (and matching socks, thank you very much, because... why not?). But please, BE WARNED, the below picture was taken Christmas morning and I am not wearing a lick of makeup. If you have a weak stomach... avert your eyes. It's the bare-faced full monty here, people.

These are darling. Take my word for it. 

And, just because it would be cruel to make you sit through this entire rambling post for that, here are some additional pictures of Christmas morning. We awoke to snow (again this year!) and it snowed all day long. There was family in and out all day long, a delicious lunch of turkey, ham, brisket, dressing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, roasted green beans, mushrooms, asparagus, and brussels sprouts, and more gifts than I have ever seen in my life. It was a fun day!

"the kids" opening their stockings.
coffee in hand, of course. 

spencer opening london's stocking.

me with both of our kiddo's stockings.
they have enough treats to last until 2020. 

holy wrapping paper! 
it snowed all afternoon.

lovely.
Hope you all had a wonderful day of celebrating! Cheers to a fabulous 2013!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry, Merry!

Just a few photos of merriment this evening.

We've enjoyed three full days of eggnog, A Christmas Vacation, wine, peppermint chocolate bark, brisket, baked ham, Christmas light strolling, shopping, truffle making, magazine-reading, knitting, Texas Tech visiting, and lots of Lifetime movies. It's all been glorious. And there's still four days left.

Now, if you'll excuse me Home Alone just started and there's a great big bowl of Blue Bell Gingerbread House with my name on it. Christmas Eve perfection.

Have a very Merry Christmas, friends!














XOXO,
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

TTU: Revisited



We are visiting Spencer's family in Amarillo for the holidays. As always, we have to make the 2-hour pilgrimage to Lubbock to visit the Texas Tech campus. It's a must.

Spencer and I met at Texas Tech several years ago. It's still a huge part of our lives--the school, the tradition, the memories... it was a very instrumental foundation in our relationship.

I know, serious stuff.

We were recently gifted a DSLR camera from my uncle. We have taken the opportunity while on vacation to test it out, and were really hoping to be able to get some good shots of our beautiful Spanish Renaissance-inspired campus. However, the weather was less than cooperative. The sky was brown and red, wind gusting up to 20 MPH, tumbleweeds were rolling by, and the smell of manure from the impending rain was abound.

Ah... Lubbock. 

The only good shots we got were of the new-ish replica of the official Texas Tech class ring. Pretty cool! It really is identical to the real thing.

It was a short trip, but a good one. Got some new gear and got to spend a little time on the home turf. All in all, not a bad day :)




the seal at the main entrance to the university
Thanks, and wreck 'em!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Howlidays!

I don't know if you heard the rumor, but Santa Paws is coming to town.
I'm sorry... I just couldn't help myself.

Since only a handful of holiday cards went in the mail this year, despite my very best intentions, please accept the forthcoming greetings from the furry babies in our lives. Sending you big, sloppy, wet kisses from our home to yours!


Merry EVERYTHING, ya'll!
XO!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Happy, Joy Joy!

Two rather large boxes of JOY were just delivered to our office.

sprinkles holiday cupcakes
 ...and who says money can't buy happiness? ;)

It can buy cupcakes. And that's the same thing.

Have a sweet Tuesday!

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new shoes, new 'do & other shenanigans

After last weekend's whirlwind of parties and social get-togethers, we welcomed this weekend's "pajama-full / no plans / do whatever we feel like doing, dangit" two days of bliss. And it was glorious.

Friday evening, we made a suuuuper simple dinner at home (pasta with grilled chicken and broccoli), split a bottle of Cabernet, and spent the evening with Mr. Don Draper and the rest of the cast of Mad Men. In my opinion, the best Friday night we've had in a while!

Saturday morning yielded the typical amount of laziness including a walk to Starbucks, some DVR surfing, and of course a little knitting. It was rainy and cold this weekend, so we stayed inside and didn’t do much of anything. The only bit of excitement came on Sunday evening, when we returned home from dinner to find that London had dinner on her own… one of the Christmas ornaments that I’ve had for almost 3 decades.

Neat.


The Christmas Caper strikes. 
The ornament is a stuffed hobby horse with “Baby’s First Christmas” embroidered on the front. It was given to me for my first Christmas (obviously) from my Godparents. They had a tradition of giving me an ornament every year until I was confirmed. Up until this weekend, I have never lost a single one. The green yarn that was used for the hobby horse’s tail was still dangling from her mouth when we spotted the rest of the evidence. Despite the fact that it was a little off-putting to have her eat it, when she ducked her head in shame all was forgiven… for the time being.  


lucha
Sunday, we had lunch at a local taco bar downtown, Lucha Libre. It’s a trek for us in Del Mar, but totally worth it. I got my haircut later that afternoon and as I was getting dressed to go, it became evident that I was in a state of denim emergency whereby my ill-fitting jeans would simply not due for our pending trip to the Lone Star State.

I have concluded that while in theory it seems as though too-big-jeans would be a good sign (possibly indicating weight loss…possibly) that in reality they are uncomfortable and awkward and look like they belong with a tool belt and a hard hat. Not exactly the look I am going for.  

Since it was clear that a trip to the outlet mall was beckoning, we didn’t fight it. After getting my wig split (which may yield even shorter in 2013 if my hairstylist has anything to do with it) and the pilgrimage to the outlet, I walked away with not only a new pair of jeans, but also a gorgeous new pair of Banana Republic cheetah print flats, and a stellar new purse (thanks, honey! xo). I typically don’t purchase a lot of flats {since I am relatively short to begin with and firmly and ardently believe that heels make you appear thinner (it’s true)}, but I actually had the perfect outfit already in place for these little cuties, of which will likely make an appearance on Christmas Eve. Plus… they were 50% off. Need I say more?

love!
i have the inane ability for creepy head shots.
it's a gift. 
london claimed this little gift bag from my salon, too...
i just love the wrapping!
After a quick dinner, we returned home to find the littlest Christmas menace had struck again, claiming another ornament. Of course, it was another irreplaceable—an egg-shaped ornament depicting the nativity that my second grade teacher had given to our whole class. She really knows how to pick ‘em. Why waste time on the numerous freebies near the bottom of the tree? Let’s go one branch higher and strike gold, shall we?

fro yo: it's whats for dinner.
i said quick... not healthy. 
I will say that neither of these ornaments was particularly beautiful, but they did hold some significance. Needless to say, the bottom four branches of the tree are now stripped clean, and the 9’-0” tall tree looks a little top-heavy. And to think… I strategically placed the non-breakable ones at the bottom for fear of a cat-astrophe.

no cat-astrophes here. 
Regardless of the shenanigans, it was a particularly relaxing weekend. Even though I stayed in my pj's for the majority, I managed to stick to Netflix and DVR without ever having to turn on the news. I didn't think I could handle it. My heart aches thinking about what the families of these individuals are going through right now. I can't help but see their stories as I scroll through Facebook, or catch my eye on one as I click to my Internet home page. My heart pulls a little more each time I stop to read. My thoughts are with everyone involved in the tragedy and hopes for the new year to bring healing and peace.

We leave later in the week for T-E-X-A-S; and therefore, this may be one of my last (wordy) posts until then. In any case, wishing each and every one of you readers a wonderful holiday. Enjoy time with your family and friends, and hug them extra tight.

h a p p y   h o l i d a y s!


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Friday, December 14, 2012

these are a few of my favorite [winter] things...

I'm a sucker for seasonal goodness.

Like some sort of rodent saving for winter, you can find me at the local Rite Aid rooting through box after box Russell Stover Raspberry Whip Eggs in the spring. I have grown accustomed to the stares and glares as I approach the check-out, candy eggs spilling from my full arms, while I get the rhetorical "will that be all?" from the girl behind the register.

Winter time is no exception.

These are some of the new finds I have been l-o-v-i-n-g this holiday season!

Dunkin' Donuts Mocha Mint Flavored Ground Coffee
In a word: yum.
I am a huge fan of the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, but it's not always on my diet or in my budget to partake (though really... the 'in my budget part is the only part that stops me). On a whim, Spencer suggested we try the Mocha Mint flavored coffee by Dunkin' Donuts. I'll admit, as a total coffee snob my first instinct was to turn up my nose and reach for the pricier stuff instead, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's not only delicious, but tastes eerily similar to my beloved SPM. If you like chocolate, mint, and coffee (and who doesn't?!) you must give this a try! It won't disappoint.

via

Bath & Body Works Holiday Traditions Vanilla Bean Noel Candle
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a flickering candle on the countertop, especially at Christmastime. The glow of a yummy scented candle creates the perfect mood for white chocolate peppermint popcorn and an old favorite Christmas movie. The Vanilla Bean Noel Candle from Bath & Body Works is always a favorite. It wouldn't be the holidays without it!
via

Inexpensive DIY Gifts & Decor
Holiday and budget are two words that almost never go together. I am loving all of the Pinspiration this year!

via my pinterest board


What are you swooning for this season?

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Itty Bitty Santa Hat


Ya'll, I have the craftiest friends. I mean really... I love it.

My knitting friend / Texas newbie (woo!) Allison over at Pookah Knits has been feverishly crafting up Christmas cheer, and let me tell you she's got it down to an art. From clothespin ornaments to knitted Santa boots and hats, she's filling up her tree and I am grinch green with knittery envy. I adore all of these tiny treasures, especially the Santa Hat. I want to join in the fun, too!

So, I accepted her challenge. If you can call it that.


Tah-dah! A tiny little Santa hat is born. It has already found a home atop a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that I'll be serving at dinner tonight. A cute, fun little way to add one more ounce of holiday cheer to an otherwise unseasonably cold and gloomy Friday.

I'll toast to that. Cheers!

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