Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunny Sunday and Giveaway Glimpses

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Hello lovelies!  I hope this post finds you enjoying a relaxing, sunny, and rested Sunday afternoon.  I have enjoyed a pretty chill weekend, which entailed a much needed trip home to see my family.  My mom is out of the country right now, so I had to make sure my dad and brother hadn’t starved to death or died of a Panda Express overdose.  Thankfully neither had happened and we enjoyed an afternoon of Chicago inspired shopping (more on that later) and dinner at a Mongolian grill.  (My dad literally has a problem obsession with these places.  Seriously, he’d eat there every meal if he could.)  It was nice to catch up with two of my favorite guys, although we missed my mom a lot (Hello Mom if you’re reading!)

Last week I posted about my new headband storage system and lots of you seemed enthusiastic to try it for yourself.  (If you did, let me know, I’d love to see pictures or your take on it!)  Anyway, after the project, I’ve been left with mounds of oatmeal, and as promised, I’ve been creatively making use of the contents of my storage system.  So in case you tried the system and have tons of oatmeal left over (or if you just love oatmeal), here are two of the recipes I’ve played around with to work my oatmeal mound down to a more manageable quantity :)

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Mom’s No Bake Cookies: Now, I know lots of people have their own take on this recipe, but this one is my mom’s and its the BEST.  Seriously, it would win in an no bake cookie competition.  For real, it’s that good :)

1/4 cup butter or margarine…3 Tbsp. cocoa…2 cup white sugar…1/2 cup peanut butter… 2 1/2 cup oatmeal…1/2 cup milk…1 tsp. vanilla…nuts may be added if desired (I do not desire.)

Boil butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk for 2 minutes only.  Then add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal.  Stir and place large spoonfuls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Let cool and enjoy.

Easy and delicious.  My kind of recipe :)  The other recipe I successfully conquered (I’m not exactly the best in the kitchen) was Betty Crocker’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It was good, but it made three dozen freaking cookies, so unless your jeans are just sagging on you, I’d suggest taking at least half of these cookies to work, school, hungry college students, etc.  (I graced my dad and brother with 2 dozen of these bad boys.  There were less than ten cookies in the bag when I left this morning.)

As I mentioned above, I was able to do some Chicago inspired shopping this weekend.  Now that we’re moving to a climate that actually gets below 50 degrees, I’m realizing I need to update my closet accordingly.  I’m on a budget, so it’s taking some care to do this, and when I have a little bit more time, I’m going to lay out (and share with you) exactly what my closet needs for Chicago, what I have, and what I need to keep my eye out for in the next several months.  Slow and thoughtful shopping is important to me these days, for both financial and style reasons.  I’ve had bad habits in the past of binge shopping, and well, the results are never good, financially or stylewise.

In addition to my Chicago inspired shopping, I also did some other shopping that I think you guys are going to be VERY excited about.  I shopped for my FIRST BLOG GIVEAWAY.  A  woo hoo!  I’ve been wanting to do a giveaway for a long time, but I wanted to wait until I hit 150 followers.  Now that I’m inching towards that number, I’m prepared for the giveaway and let me tell you, I think you guys are going to L.O.V.E. what I got.  I don’t want to tell you everything yet, but I’ll give you a few hints…

The store where I discovered the little lovely is in the Houston Galleria…the designer specializes in fabulous accessories…the color could not be more perfect for spring…the logo is typically in all lowercase letters.

That’s all I’m saying :)  Any guesses?  So as soon as I get to 150 followers, I’ll post the giveaway!  (Unless I can’t contain my excitement, and I give in later this week lol…)  So if you read this blog and you’re not a follower, become one, so I have this giveaway!  I am super pumped because my blog and blog friends are such a fun part of my life, and I can’t wait to give something special to one of you. 

So I’m off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday (and by “enjoy” I mean grade papers, work on my dissertation, and start/finish a presentation I have to give at work on Tuesday.)  Yeah…about as fun as it sounds :)  Have a great rest of the weekend yall!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keep Texas Close

il_430xN.122196252 {Texas Statehood necklace gold, $45)

I saw this piece from brookadelphia via Down and Out Chic today, and I am OBSESSED.  I am a Texas girl through and through, and I think this delightful necklace would look awesome layered with with a few other gold necklaces.  (I often layer two, three or four necklaces at once, and Matt likes to tell me I look like Mr. T.  Thanks honey, you’re too sweet.)  And this would be the perfect way to keep Texas close to my heart as Matt and I move to Chicago.  (I can’t stop saying it…move to Chicago, move to Chicago, ahhh!)  Even better, this would be the perfect going away gift *cough cough* from my loved ones here in Texas *cough cough.*  Just kidding, just kidding.  But for real, this necklace is the shiz (and yes, they have other states for you non-Texans.)  Ugh, love it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We Are Moving To…

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CHICAGO!  A woo hoo!!!  We are SO EXCITED about yesterday’s news and are just beside ourselves that we are moving to the Windy City.  A huge congrats to my fabulous, handsome, and smart husband who got his first pick of internships.  We visited Chicago in March 2008 and again this past January and just fell in love with the city.  (See the post from our January trip here.)  I feel so blessed to have had support from such wonderful friends, family, and blogger friends.  You all are incredible, and we are so appreciative for all your thoughts, prayers, and warm wishes.

I’ve included a few pictures below from our “match party” on Friday.  Though we didn’t know where we were headed at that point, we knew we were headed somewhere, and that in itself was a reason to celebrate!

DSCN1736 Me and two of my BFFs, Norma and Natalia.  (Please excuse the ponytail, I had to get ready in 15 minutes which is close to impossible for me.)

DSCN1743-1 Congrats Matt!  I am so proud of you :)

DSCN1755-1 BFFs and new interns.  I am going to bawl my eyes out when we say goodbye to Miguel, and I’m pretty sure Matt will be crying harder than me.  Life won’t be the same without this guy around everyday.

DSCN1770 I love my friends :)

DSCN1753-1 Hahhahahha, so one Miguel’s guy friends had these ridiculously oversized glass (which I personally thought were so super precious on him) and I decided to try them on halfway through the night.  Posing for a picture, everyone decided I looked like Taylor Swift from the “You Belong with Me” video.  See below.

61dd0b9ffab5e677_taylor-swift-you-belong-with-me.xxlarge Glad to know I look like a country/pop star portraying a nerdy teen.  I scare myself sometimes :)

DSCN1776 This picture makes me laugh one due to my dorkiness, and two, because of why we took this picture.  I won’t go into too much detail here, but let’s just say we had to work at 8:00 am the next morning, someone offered to buy Norma a drink, and she turned it down.  I was a very proud mama :)

DSCN1775-2  We are moving to Chicago, I can’t stop saying it, woo hoo!  I am so excited to share this journey with my best friend.

So there you have it, the next year of our life has a firm direction, and we could not be more thrilled!  If any of yall know anything about Chicago, available housing, shopping hotspots, local restaurants, etc. let me know.  I’m already planning for the fun that we are about to have.  Thanks again for your fabulous support, it means so much to me!  Chicago here we come!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Headband Storage

First off, thank you guys SO MUCH for all your sweet comments, prayers, and crossed fingers for Matt and I’s big news Friday and tomorrow.  Friday’s match took off lots of the anxiety, and now I’m just battling excitement to find out where we are going to be next year.  Eeek!  This might be the first week ever where I’m actually looking forward to Monday morning!

Even with the good news though, this weekend was pretty exhausting for me.  Full day at work on Friday, out late Friday celebrating the big match, and an all day work training on Saturday.  Boo for working Saturdays (especially after being out late the night before.  Big boo on that one.)  So today was spent in a coma-like state, which meant not getting out of my bed or my robe until sometime in the early afternoon.  (Ok, I lie, I actually did get out of bed a few times for important things like coffee, the TV remote, and Captain Crunch, but other than that, I remained lounging my bed.)  Oh how I love lazy days!

I did manage to muster up enough productivity to do a mini-0rganization project.  Now, before you read any further, I must share a disclaimer.  This blog is not about how to lead an organized life.  It is not about how to simplify or how to turn your home into a lovely little gem.  I am certainly not the poster child for organization, and there are several other blogs out there who have that department covered (and beautifully I might add.)  But if you are a fashion loving girl who is tight on money, space, and organizational skills, read on.  Because this, my friends and blog readers, is for you.

Most of you know this about me, but I love headbands.  And by love, I mean LOVE headbands.  Seriously, I have a bazillion, wear them at least two or three times a week, and am constantly searching for new ones to add to my collection.  (I blogged about my relationship with headbands in my first month of blogging.  See that post here.)  Since that post, however, my love has turned into a bit of an obsession and my collection has gotten too big for my once simple white basket storage system.  Last week, I realized I had to do something when I opened my bathroom cabinet and found this…


Yikes.  Can you say embarrassing?  (Please understand the trust and comfort I have with you readers to reveal this dirty little secret.)  I realized a needed to inject a little order into this chaos, and I started to think about a simple organization idea for these my beloved headbands.  I’m sure The Container Store sells fancy headband holders, but let’s get real, I don’t have $30 to spend on a headband holder.  But then…I remembered my mom’s take on headband storage from when I was a little girl.  I went to a private school for part of elementary school and since we all wore the same plaid jumpers, headbands were a must to add some flair to our lives.  To keep my headband collection neat and organized my mom used an inexpensive and easy to find item.  So easy to find many of you probably have it in your pantry now…


Yep, I’m talking about a good, old fashioned, Quaker Oats container.  If you’re doubting, have faith, stay with me, I promise, I’m going somewhere with this.  So I took out all my headbands from the mess that was my bathroom cabinet and sorted through them, getting rid of a few that I didn’t wear anymore, and then layered them closely, almost one on top of the other.  The end result?


TOTAL HEADBAND ORGANIZATIONAL BLISS.  In under five minutes and five dollars!  You can’t beat that.  Now, I’m sure there are some crafters out there who would take this project to the next level by covering the oatmeal canisters with pretty fabric or graphic paper and to you I say “you go girl!”  I myself thought about covering it in black velvet, but I was lazy and wanted five minute gratification, so I skipped that step.  In the end though, you can’t really see the oat resemblance through all the headbands, so I will leave mine uncovered.


So, there you have it.  Easy and budget friendly headband storage for the busy, non crafty, or overworked headband lover.  What do you think?  How you do you store your headbands?  If you decide to try this project, let me know how it turns out.  I’d love to see how a Quaker Oats canister changes your fashion habits ;)

And ps: I was left with a TON of oatmeal after this project, so I searched and found some yummy oatmeal recipes to help deplete my oatmeal stash.  I’ll share those later this week for anyone who decides to take on this little mini project.  To keep you intrigued, I’ll tell you it involves chocolate, peanut butter, butter, and of course, oatmeal.  Mmm mmm…

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Waiting Game

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For the past few months, we’ve been waiting.  Waiting to hear about to about where Matt would get interviews, waiting to hear how the interviews went, essentially, waiting to hear the next step of our lives.  The last step in our Ph.D program is a year long internship.  The whole interview/match process is complicated, confusing, and competitive, and in short. it sucks.  But instead of launching into nerdspeak to explain it, I’ll just say that it’s very similar to sorority recruitment.  Actually, it’s pretty much the same thing.  You apply to sites, find out who likes you, and interview at all of those sites.  Then you submit a long numbered list of your number one choice through your last choice.  Each site does the same thing and ranks applicants number 1 through their last choice (ouch for that person.)  Then, on one, big, stressful day, the computer spits out magical results of who goes where.  It’s all very mysterious, but apparently, it’s quite “efficient.”  Pssh, please.

But just to make our lives even more stressful, the big, fancy people in charge decided to split the unveiling process into two parts.  The first part you find out whether you “matched” or not.  (Translation: did the computer spit out a nice pretty internship romance for you.)  So on the first day, your reaction is either “woo hoo” or “crap.”  Well, after months of waiting, this first day is almost here.  It’s tomorrow.  TOMORROW.  So at 9:00 am tomorrow, we will either be saying, “hooray, the next year of our life is decided” or “crap, we need to figure out a plan B.”  But then, even if our answer is “hooray” we still have to wait till Monday to find out where we’ll be going.  Dang, more freaking waiting.  Our options?  Chicago, Baltimore, Albuquerque, Augusta, Oklahoma City, or San Antonio.  We are reeeeeeally hoping for one of the first two.  (Like a psycho I have already looked at apartments in both of the first two cities.  I couldn’t help myself, I had to do something with to calm my anxiety.)  So, although the computer has probably already finished it’s little matching process, keep your fingers crossed for us tomorrow (and Monday.)  We’re ready to find out where we’re going next, I’m ready to start scouring Craigslist for cute shoebox apartments, and I need to get my closet ready for a climate change.  Plus, we’re just plain tired of waiting. 

Am I the only one who hates waiting?

UPDATE: As of 7:21 this morning, Matt is “matched.”  Hooray!  But we won’t know where until Monday, dang.  Back to waiting :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stretch Your Closet

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What is it about spring that makes me want to shop so bad?  Seriously, there must be a scientific explanation for this, because every late February/early March, I begin to get antsy for all the delights that spring fashion brings.  Around this time, I begin to poke through my closet noticing the gaps in pieces I don’t have, which I then proceed to stalk online at my favorite stores.  With Valentines Day passed and the sun starting to shine, the bug is back is full force.  I want to shop!

However, there is one tiny, little, eensy weensie problem.  I am on a major budget.  And when I say major, I mean next to nothing budget.  So I’ve tried to keep my online Anthro/Banana/J.Crew stalking to a minimum because it’s painful to look without the hope of buying.  (I never understand those people who enjoy window shopping at the mall, even when they have no intention of buying anything.  I don’t get it.  It’s like going on a date with Prince William knowing you have a secret but powerful curse on you that says you can’t date him.  Whhhhy would you go and fall in love if you know you can’t end up with the hottie?  To live a life of torture where you think about what could have been, how that dress could have loved you?  See my point, it’s just not smart.)  However, this past week, I discovered a magically brilliant way to temporarily cure this late February/early March shopping bug.  Seriously, I tried it, and it worked, multiple times.  So are you ready for my big secret, the tip that might change your wardrobe and your wallet, the secret to stretching your closet in new and exciting ways?  Ok, prepare yourself, hold your breath, here it goes…

Don’t do laundry.  Yep, you read that right.  Do not under any circumstances do laundry for at least a few weeks (except the circumstance of your delicates.  Please wash those.)  I know this might sound crazy, but it works!  Three times in the past week, I’ve gone to my closet, thought, what in the world am I going to wear, and then walked out with a “new” outfit that I never would have thought to put together before.  Here is my theory: when I go to a full closet with all of my favorite staples, I know exactly what works together.  This cardigan with this flowy tank, with these layered necklaces.  It’s a sure thing, I know it works, I know it looks good, so I wear it, no hesitation.  Even if I try to take risks, having my staples and safe outfits keeps me from taking the plunge.  (Sorry for the dramatic word choice.  You’d think I’m talking about serious life decisions here.)  But when I go to my closet and my staples aren’t there, I’m pushed outside my comfort zone, and I have to make something work.  I mean, I can’t go to work naked (well I could, but I’m pretty sure I’d get fired) so I stretch my fashion self, pair things together that I’m not entirely sure of, then tweak it with accessories when I’m done.  Sometimes it doesn’t work so well, and I have try several more times to get it right, but sometimes it works really well, and I’m standing at the mirror thinking, “Why didn’t I ever think of this?!”

Here is an example from last Friday.  It was freezing here in Texas and I really wanted to wear boots.  My black riding boots were in the trunk of my car (I have a terrible habit of living out of my car) and my Uggs weren’t appropriate for work, so those two were out, which left with my black, tall, scrunchy, heeled boots that I bought a few years ago in Austin and L.O.V.E.  So I decided on the boots.  Now to choose the bottoms.  My skinny jeans are too tight at the moment (dang winter weight) and my favorite black pencil skirt was wadded up on my floor.  Hmm, ok, what about a dress?  I went to my closet, knowing I wanted black, and looked through several cocktail type dresses that were way too dressy for what I wanted.  But then I was distracted to my grouping of black jersey dresses that I practically live in during the summer.  Hmm, would this work, I don’t know, the top is way to summery, but maybe with a jacket?  Though I still wasn’t sure, I tried it, and after about ten minutes I had an ensemble I was so pleased with, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before then.  Black tights, black tall boots, black jersey dress, tan Gap bomber jacket, a big black scarf, big gold earrings, and 3 cocktail rings.  Pretty rad if I do say so myself!  I think I would have been pretty pleased leaving it at that, but that day, I got lots of compliments on my outfit, which reinforced my risk taking.  My risk taking that was forced on me by a full laundry hamper and an almost bare closet.

The moral of the story?  If you want to stretch your closet, save your bank account some grief, and still indulge the spring fever shopping itch, find a way to temporarily put some of your go-to pieces off limits.  If you’ve got a lot of willpower, then just telling yourself those pieces are off limits may work, but if you’re anything like me, you need to make those pieces unavailable.  So whether you reorganize your closet with your favorites at the back or let your laundry hamper overflow, stretching your closet can be easier and more rewarding than you think.  And I think you’ll be surprised at what you come up with and just how creative your fashion brain can be when you’ve got fewer choices!

So what about you?  How do you stretch your closet and cure the late February/early March shopping bug?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

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“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.”  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

To my friends, my family, and my sweet husband, thank you for loving me and bringing out the best in me.  You make life sweet, and I am forever grateful.

Weekend Getaway Recap (A Week Later)

Last Friday I posted my excitement about Matt and I’s surprise weekend getaway (surprise for me, planned by him) and this weekend I am finally getting around to posting some pictures.  I’d like to say I waited so that I could contain all of the gooey, love filled thoughts to Valentines Day weekend, but the truth is, stuff just got in the way.  Work, dissertation, grocery shopping, worrying about loved ones, you know, all that stuff.  Life stuff.  So while it’s a little overdue, here is a little recap of Matt and I’s fabulous little weekend getaway.

We started off our trip with an afternoon at the Houston Zoo.  I don’t know what was up with the weather, but after being dreary, cold and rainy all week, Saturday was a day full of sunshine and 65 degree temperatures.  Perfect zoo weather!  Though I’m sure I’ve been to the Houston Zoo before (I was born in Houston and lived there till I was 6), I don’t have any memory of being pushed in a stroller from animal to animal.  And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the Houston Zoo!  It was kind of weird, because it’s literally right in the middle of the city, but yet it has a ton of great animals and exhibits to see.  And because the zoo is not gigantically expansive in size, we were able to get up close and personal with lots of the animals.  Matt and I commented several times throughout the day how cool that aspect was. 

DSCN1669 One of the first stops was an indoor exhibit with a kind of random assortment of critters, but still cool nonetheless.  We watched a sea otter feeding/playtime and omg, that little dude was SO CUTE.  Seriously, I wanted to take  him home (yes, I realize the impracticality of this.)  We also saw this mini monkey things (mini as in could-fit-in-your-pocket mini) that we really loved.  I almost got beat up in this exhibit though after we say this really weird looking bird/turkey thing with insanely beautiful feathers.  I “whispered” to Matt, “What pretty feathers.  Those would look great on a headband.”  Apparently my “whisper” was not such a whisper as I got a horribly dirty look from a nearby mom.  I didn’t mean I wanted the animal to be hurt, I just wanted to pluck a little feather or two.  Don’t you think the bird would have appreciated a lighter load for the Texas weather?  Only kidding, only kidding…(PETA please don’t come after me, I would never hurt or injure an animal for a headband.  It’s a form of speech, just a little jokey, don’t hate me please.)  Moving on… :)

DSCN1670 Here we are with our little prairie dog friend.  The shadows make the picture a bit confusing at first, but look how friendly he was!  He came right up to us and posed for a portrait with us/our shadows.

DSCN1680 See what I mean about us getting so close to the animals?  It was fun to be able to get up close to see some of the things that I only see when Matt watches his weird Animal Planet/History Channel/Discovery television specials.  (Sidenote, earlier this week, he watched a 2 hour special on a man who lived in a small glass room with 100 snakes for a week.  100 snakes, for a week!  Why on Earth would anyone do that and why on Earth is my husband bored enough to watch that?!  Though I tried to distract myself with blogs while he watched it, I caught a few glimpses and nearly passed out.)  Anyway, back to the up close and personal zoo tale… pretty cool to be so close!

DSCN1700 After all animal watching, we worked up an appetite and were thrilled to see a Little Big’s right outside the zoo.  I hadn’t ever been to Little Big’s, but Matt has been several times, and he literally gasped when he saw it.  Haha, I laugh now remembering his excitement.  And after eating the deliciousness above, I totally understand his excitement.  It was beyond yummy.  If you’re in the Houston area and haven’t been here, mark it on your list of places to try.  It is dee-lish.

DSCN1701 We let our food settle and hung out in Hermann Park for a bit.  It was such a beautiful day and we weren’t in a hurry so we enjoyed some first-rate people watching.  (Please tell me I’m not the only weird0 who enjoys people watching?!)

910197_020_b After the zoo, we headed back to the hotel, but not before Matt surprised me with a stop at Anthro, woo hoo!  I’d been desperate to find the jacket shown above in black and after it sold out online, I was hoping the Houston Anthro would have it.  Sadly, they only had it this color (which I totally would have gotten if they would’ve had my size.)  But after some digging and some phone calls, the manager located a black medium in Utah, and I was giddy with excitement.  (Sadly, it arrived yesterday and was too big.  TEAR.  There are no smalls left.  Anywhere.  Sad day.)  But can we all give Matt a collective pat on the back from stopping in with no prodding from me?  I feel like Anthro is a guy’s worst nightmare: ulta girly, breakable, addictive, and expensive.  Lol, not the best combo for husbands, but Matt is fabulous, and I am thankful :)

DSCN1704 After all that, we headed back to the hotel, relaxed a little, then got pretty for dinner.  Our hotel was just a few blocks from a Grand Lux Cafe and since it was nice outside, we walked to dinner.  The food was yummy, the service was great, and of course the company was the best :)  It was the perfect weekend away, and I came back feeling both refreshed and recharged.  Thanks to my sweet and thoughtful husband for such a delightful weekend!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Character Quirks

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Whoever made this image must know me.  Seriously, it’s kind of creepy.  Although I’d definitely have to add “drinking everything through a straw” and “leaving half-drunk/half-dranken water bottles all over my house, car, office, desk, and nightstand.”  My mom once cleaned out my car for me (isn’t she nice?) and found nine, count them, NINE half empty (go ahead, call me a pessimist) water bottles rolling around my car.  But since none of these things are going to kill me, I will refer to them as “character quirks.”  Muuuuch better than bad habits don’t you think?  :)  So spill…what are your bad habits character quirks?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alice + Olivia, Please Meet my Friend, Keds

Just wanted to say a big thank you to all of my thoughtful readers and friends who commented, called, and emailed after yesterday’s post.  When I started this blog, I never imagined I’d find so much support and encouragement through blogland, but oh how I was wrong, because yall totally rock and I am so, so blessed!

Today is a new day, things look brighter, and a big smile spread across my face when I saw these little lovelies today.  If you are anything like me, you grew up living in and loving Keds.  Yep, I’m talking about the good old classic, white, lace up tennies with the little blue rectangle glued on their backside.  Oh how I loved my Keds.  (“Loved” might be a bit of an understatement; I was kind of obsessed.  I had 953 different accessories for my beloved tennies from neon pink curly Qs, colored laces, and clip on bows.  Every outfit, uniform, and costume I owned  had a Keds companion, and I thought I was just too cool for school.)  So imagine my delight today to see the latest fashion collaboration between Alice + Olivia and my sweet, sweet Keds.  Their lovechild is an unexpected, youthful, and sparkly take on the casually classic Keds.  Oh how I love thee…


Adorable, right?!  I know, I heart them thiiiiiiiiiis much!  I’m loving the silver and light pink the most, and think I’ll end up getting the silver.  But I’m guessing a few of you aren’t sold.  “Allison, what in the world am I going to wear a sparkly tennie with?”  Well I’m glad you asked…

erez If you’re a cardigan girl, pair it with this.

erez2 If you’re a tank girl, go this route.

erez3 And if you’re a simple jeans and tee girl, you’re in luck.

All of these looks would be totally precious with the new soon-to-be-mine sparkly Keds.  Everybody needs a good pair of tennies for spring/summer and I have definitely found mine!  They’ll be perfect standing in line at Starbucks, lunching with my BFFs, and running errands on a Sunday afternoon.  Oh I wish they were here already!  The shoes are set to go on sale this spring at Neiman’s, Alice + Olivia boutiques, and of course on their website  PS: the last 3 lovely pics are from my dream closet, J.Crew and are available online.  PSS: I really love the word tennies if you can’t tell from the six times I said it in this post :)

So what do you think, will you sporting some sparkly tennies this spring?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Prayers and Love

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I know my last post was looking forward to a great weekend, and thanks to an incredible, thoughtful, and wonderful husband it was a great weekend.  So refreshing and recharging, I am beyond grateful for this past weekend.  I promise to post pictures soon and gush about how much fun we had.  But this morning, something else is on my heart, something that is tugging at both my attention and my emotions.

In the past few months, several of the people closest to me have endured some really tough stuff.  Really tough.  Many are enduring these things today.  And though I’ve always known life isn’t easy and life isn’t fair, something about the past few months have hit this point home in an unsettling way.  I think about these people who are my friends, my family, my mentors, and to see them carry so much loss, confusion, pain and questioning just sucks.  There’s no other way to say it, it sucks.  Many of them are major pillars of strength for others, and even through their pain, they remain solid and steady for others.  At the glance of an outsider, all is fine, all is normal.  But underneath that calm and that strength, I know there is more, much more, than people see.  They manage to keep it together, to find hope in their situation, while I sit and wonder, how could this happen, how do they manage, how are they so strong?  So this got me thinking about all the silent pain people carry with them, the thoughts underneath their smiles, and the worry that surrounds their heart.  It made me wonder how many more of my friends, students, family, coworkers, and mentors are dealing with their own silent battles.  How many are distracted and scared, how many are broken and hopeless?  I realize I probably won’t ever know this answer, or know all the details of the lives of people around me, but I am reminded to watch how I treat others and to take the extra minute to respond with care.  I want to be thoughtful with my words, patient in my responses, slower in my conversations, and curious in my relationships.  I want to take time to tend to the people I love even when they appear strong and put together.  I want to remember life isn’t always what it seems, and people aren’t always what they appear to be.  I want to remind others to do the same, to give people the benefit of the doubt, and know that life is complicated, people are going through a lot.  I am continuing to send desperate prayers to God and constant thoughts to my loved ones, praying and hoping that their pain is lifted.  And I’m also trying to remember the pain others feel that I cannot see and be more mindful , present, and patient in my interactions with others.  May God continue to give my loved ones, you, and the millions of the people I do not even know strength, wisdom, calm, and hope.

Thanks for listening today…I know it wasn’t particularly uplifting, encouraging, or witty, but it was on my heart and needed some space to be.  Much love to you all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hooray for Friday

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It’s Friday and I’m pumped.  Pumped because it was a crazy week, pumped because we’re  meeting friends for dinner tonight, pumped because I need to recharge, pumped because our friends our hosting a Super Bowl party and I get am trying out two new recipes, and pumped because I can’t wait to catch a glimpse of Kim Kardash at the Superbowl.  (She always looks so fabulous and while I die for college football, I could give a flip about professional football.)  But the real reason I am soooo pumped for this weekend is because Matt surprised me with a quick weekend getaway.  Tomorrow we’re heading to Houston for a  zoo trip/dinner date/overnight stay (and if I’m sneaky enough, a trip to the Galleria.)  When I texted him to ask why we were going, he said, “Because I love you and its important that we take time to connect.”  Hi, I have the world’s greatest husband.  Holla!  So I’ll be gone from blogland until Monday, enjoy your weekend, I know I will!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Happiness Challenge

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So my sweet friend Rachel, tagged me in a blog post, and a secretly did my own happy dance, because I’ve always wanted to be tagged in one of those things.  As she described having to tag a friend in the post, I scrolled down thinking, “pick me…pick me…pick me…yesssssss, she picked me!”  Side note about my competitive-psychoness: In first grade, I had this crazy teacher who gave out a “student of the year” award (who the heck does that in FIRST GRADE?!) and it was based on how many stars you had on the chart on the wall.  (Yes, she publically posted stars so we could all see who was beating who.  Can you say PSYCHO?!)  Anyway, I was totally in the lead before I was out sick for three weeks with the chicken pox (on my birthday I should add.  Major suckiness for a first grader.)  When I came back to school, I’d fallen behind in the sticker stars and she wouldn’t let me make up the daily math quizzes to earn some potential stars.  Three weeks later, we had our end of the year program and the “student of the year”  award was handed out in front of the whole school and all the parents.  As she called another first grader’s name to receive the best student ever award, I cried hysterically on stage in front of everyone, coveting the public recognition.  It was horrible, scarring, and the start of my competitive-psychoness and need for reinforcement.  Dang you Ms. McMahon.

But anyway…back to my happiness post (just thought you all should know that my craziness is totally warranted lol) I must tell you something about Rachel.  She takes FABULOUS pictures.  For proof check out some of my favorite images that she captured during Matt and I’s engagement/wedding.





Like I said.  She is the shiz.  Seriously, I love her and think she is insanely talented.  Her professional blog is here (our wedding post is here.)  She’s is the bomb.  Yes, I really just said “the bomb.”  I break out the big guns for her.  Anyway (do I always ramble this much?) the happiness challenge was to make a list of 10 things that make me happy, and do at least one of those things today.  It was a challenge to create this list, not because I can’t think of things that make me happy, but because I had trouble getting the list down to 10.  In the end, I made it (well technically, I got it to 12, but who’s counting…)

My Happiness List (in no particular order)

1. Hanging out with my BFF and little brother Ryan.  Even if you’ve only read this blog a handful of times, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am slightly obsessed with my brother.  (If not, read here or here for a quick refresher.)  There is no one else in the world who I’ve laughed more, louder, or harder with.  My mom said to my dad once as my brother and I chatted, “Do you ever feel like this is their world and we’re visiting?”  Haha, we do speak our own language and get each other without having to say much at all, so how can I not be happy when I’m around the little dude?

2.  Candles.  I have two pieces are furniture that are dedicated to housing my candle collection.  It’s a serious addiction, and I can admit it without the slightest bit of shame.  If I am home for more than 15 minutes, I will light at least 1, if not the all of 30 candles in our apartment.  Sure it might look like a séance, but I love the instant coziness candles give.  Plus, the hunt for good candles at a bargain price is another source of happiness in itself.

3.  Turning on the TV and seeing my DVR has caught an episode of Criminal Minds that I haven’t yet seen.  I gasp, do a fist pump, and then hunker down for an hour of total awesomeness.  Seriously, me and the BAU team are like this (fingers crossed.)

4.  Celebrating the small stuff.  In my family, we celebrated everything, no matter how big or how small.  Every year on the last day of school, my parents would print out a banner with something like, “See ya second grade, hello third grade!”  We celebrated Valentines Day as a family with heart shaped pizza, we celebrated St. Patty’s Day with a green dinner where my mom would add green food coloring to everything (yes, we had green milk and green mashed potatoes, and yes, it was awesome), and when my mom was pregnant with my brother, we had a “congrats you’re gonna be a big sister” celebration.  I’ve translated this into my “adult life” having parties to celebrate Matt’s first solo publication, friends getting accepted into various programs and internships, and having a 100 followers party.  Life is short, celebrate the small stuff!

5.  Finding an old mix cd. In college, it was the cool thing to do to make your friends mix cd or mark a special occasion or roadtrip with its own soundtrack.  Though that idea has now evolved into an iPod playlist, there is nothing like finding an old mix cd stuffed at the bottom of your car console, desk drawer, or suitcase.  I found one from my junior year in college last week and was literally rocking out like a crazy person to Wilson Phillips, old school Gwen Stefani, and early 50 Cent.  I saw three people laugh at me as I was driving, no joke.  It was awesome and has not left my cd player in my car since. 

6.  Ballerinas.  Ballerinas are like magical Barbie dolls in my eyes.  Graceful, unique, and captivating.  I was a dancer for most of my life and there was always an overwhelming sense of joy when I was on stage.  Now that I’m semi-grown up and my body can’t bend like it used to, I remain captivated by all that is ballet.

7.  Pillowtalk.  One of my favorite moments of the day is when Matt and I settle down and head to bed.  Our schedules are crazy and sometimes we aren’t able to see a lot of each other during the day (or night if one of us is writing or reading for school.)  But on those nights where we venture to bed at the same time, I love chatting about our days and laughing about something that happened earlier in the day.  They’re simple moments, but certainly some of my favorites.

8.  Tiny, local restaurants.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trip to Chili’s or Olive Garden once in a while, but sweet, small, hole in the wall restaurants just warm my heart.  I don’t know if it’s the people, the food, the cozy atmosphere, or the feeling that the spot is someone’s pride and joy, but something about these places makes me really happy.  Matt and I have our own spot where we live, and it’s so special to us, we got engaged just outside of it, on a wooden bench. 

9.  Shopping.  I can’t lie, it really does make me happy.  Shallow and silly, maybe, but I really really really love shopping.  Though our budget doesn’t always allow for it, when it does, I’m totally there.  Nordstrom, Banana, Anthro, and J.Crew are my first stops should I make this particular happiness venture.  Online shopping does not fall into this catagory; it just doesn’t do it for me (which makes my bank account happy!)

10.  Snail Mail.  Though it’s almost a thing of the past, I work hard to keep it current for my friends and family.  I love browsing for cards and finding a card that was made for a certain friend.  I often buy cards months ahead of time and have created this giant expandable folder-box-thingie for all my cards.  My mom gave me this happiness gene because I got cards for just about everything growing up (see #4), and I always felt so appreciated and loved.

11.  Coke.  (For those of you who aren’t from the south, Coca-Cola.)  The red can, the sweet fizziness…nothing is better.  Plain and simple.

12.  Having friends and family who know your heart.  Nothing needs to be said, time can pass, hundreds of miles exist between you, yet they know you, they get it, and you feel it.  Friendships like this are precious and I’m so lucky to have a handful in my life. 

Just typing those twelve things made me happy!  So just as Rachel passed it on to me, now, I must pass it on to someone else.  Who will it be…(is your Ms. McMahon inspired competitive-psychoness kicking in yet?)  Just kidding.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who is that nutty.  I’m tagging two of my sweet friends (blog and real life) to see what makes them happy… 

Kelsey from Stuck in the Sticks, who has an insanely beautiful talent as well as a competitive-psychoness similar to mine,  and Kendall from The Stoy's Story who is one of my sweet tell it like it is friends and is about to be a new mommy.  And for anyone else out there who also wants to take the happiness challenge, I tag you as well!  Go for it and let me know what you come up with!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Appreciate the Now

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“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus

Monday, February 1, 2010

Family Date Weekend

This weekend I was so lucky to be able to hit the road and head to Houston to hang out with my family (sans Matt, tear.)  Being with my fam always makes me happy, and while Matt and I still live relatively close to my family, I’ll take advantage of any chance to hang out and be goofy with my little brother Ryan. 

 DSCN1596-1 We kicked off the weekend with a TWO HOUR drive to see my brother play basketball.  Yes, two hours, that is true fan dedication.  Please excuse the poor lighting.  No amount of picture editing could undo the awfulness that is gym lighting.

DSCN1597-1 Me and my dad.  Superfans, right here.

DSCN1621 This isn’t the best pic of me, but whatev.  Though the game didn’t have a positive outcome for my brother’s team, we still posed for a picture :)

DSCN1626 The next day, Ry and I headed out to the mall to do a little shopping for the Sadie Hawkins dance he was going to that night.  We stopped at El Rey for lunch, and omg,  If you are in the Houston, it’s definitely worth a stop over.  So yummy!

DSCN1638 The final product after a day of shopping.  I have the world’s cutest, most adorably handsome “little” brother in the world.  Seriously.  Precious.

DSCN1639Looking fly :)

DSCN1637 I’m such a proud big sister :)

After we dropped my brother off at his friend’s house, my mom and I rushed back so we could watch Miss America.  I don’t know why, but I LOVE watching Miss America.  Although halfway through the swimsuit portion as I was envying their awesome bodies, I looked down at my Dairy Queen blizzard and thought to myself, “I’m pretty sure they don’t eat these.”  But no worries, I scooped out the rest of the Snickers and polished that baby off.  We all need to live a little right?

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Miss Virginia ended up taking the crown, and though I was rooting for Miss Texas and Miss Oklahoma, I thought between the yellow dress, the rockin talent, her gorgeous smile, Miss Virginia was quite fabulous.  And I really want her earrings (along with Will.I.Am’s rhinestone shoulder pads from the Grammys.)  Not kidding.  Love them both.  The next morning, we picked up my brother from his friend’s house and heard all the scoop from the dance over pancakes and coffee at Denny’s.  (Clearly, the toned abs of the Miss America girls had left my mind quite quickly.)  We stopped at the airport to see my dad off to Calgary for a business trip and then headed back to the house so I could pack up my stuff and get on the road back to school/work/life/etc.  Boo.  The weekend is over and it was way too short.  Nonetheless, I’m thankful for such a fabulous weekend and a fabulous family!