Tuesday, November 30, 2010


possibilities.jpg{we heart it}

There are lots of exciting changes going on around our house, and though I don't want to go into too much detail just yet, I don't want to totally leave yall in the dark either.  (Plus, there is no way I can cryptically blog for the next three months without making reference to some of these exciting changes.)  And since I have the habit of rambling when I'm excited, I'm keeping myself to a one line minimum. Well, one line at a time anyway :)

Most of yall know I am close to finishing my Ph.D...
I know I've been a bit secretive about what my degree is in...
I'm not quite ready to reveal that to the masses yet...
(Not that 482 readers is really the masses lol.)

Anyway, the last step of my Ph.D program is an "internship..."
This internship is a full time, year long, 50 hours a week job that is required for peeps in our field...
Most internship sites offer 3 or 4 spots to hundreds of applicants...
Eeesh, not my favorite odds.

I have spent the last two months working on applications, writing essays, and rewriting my vita 905 times...
I submitted 15 applications to sites all around the country...
And after weeks of waiting, I am finally beginning to hear back from sites...
All good news so far.

Matt on the other hand, is at the other end of this internship process...
That is in fact, why we moved to Chicago, for his internship...
PS: we are in the same field and met in graduate school; you can read that story here...)
In August, he will graduate and officially become Dr. Matt...
(Crazy huh?)

This means that Matt has also been on the job hunt...
For professor positions to be exact...
And after months of working on applications, writing essays, and rewriting his vita 905 times...
He finally heard good news last night...
(Good news as in we're flying out next week to visit a prospective university!)

But you may have noticed a complication...
We are both going through this search process at the same time...
This makes things more difficult...
Especially because my search process isn't like a normal search process...
(Its more like a twisted grown up version of sorority rush, where a computer dictates highest mutual matches.)

So this means that we potentially may live apart for a year...
I know, it isn't ideal...
And we're not excited about it...
But sometimes you have to do what you have to do...

But if a few rare things line up, we might end up in the same place...
So for now we're playing the waiting game...
Waiting to see what sites like me...
And waiting to see what universities like Matt...

And ultimately waiting to see what that means for where we'll be next year...

And though there are lots of unknowns...
We are looking at things as an adventure...
Because exciting changes can mean wonderful possibilities...
And who can argue with wonderful possibilities?

I promise to keep you all posted, and I promise, at some point, I'll give more details.  You all and this little blog have become such a important part of my life, that I couldn't imagine not mentioning all this stuff, and because I don't say it enough, thank you for making this corner of the web such a lovely little place for me :)

My Faux Thanksgiving Break

Remember when you were in elementary school and you got a whole week off for Thanksgiving?  Wasn't that the best?  I never knew how good my ten year old self had things.  All I thought about were Barbies, sequins, little brothers, and Thanksgiving break.  What a life.  Unfortunately, the adult me doesn't get a week off for Thanksgiving, in fact, I barely got a day off.  (When I accepted the assistant manager position at "the store" I was well aware what I was getting myself into.)  But never one to let the grown up rules ruin all my fun, I forced myself to celebrate Thanksgiving all week and squeeze in some fun where I could.  I ended up with a faux Thanksgiving break even the ten year Allison would have been proud of.

DSCN3955.JPGLast Saturday, Matt and I drove a few hours to small town Indiana to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with my dear friend/old boss Jenny and her family.  We hadn't seen Jenny and Dave since their visit earlier in the summer, and I was about at my limit with missing her.  So in the car we hopped, and one state over we went.  Jenny's extended family was so welcoming and so sweet to let us crash their family Thanksgiving.

DSCN3954.jpgOh how I miss these pictures with me and my mini sized friend :)

DSCN3957.JPGTuesday, my friend Christie and I had a much needed girl's day in the city.  She and I make it a point to find a weekday every month or so to take off work and spend time playing in the city.  We usually don't have a specific plan, but of course, it always involves eating.  On this girl's day, we had lunch at caffe De Luca, a great little Italian spot in Bucktown.  I went for the spinach and goat cheese quiche, and oh my goodness, was it yummy!

DSCN3958.JPGOur girls days are always so fun (see our last one here.)  A girl's day is fabulous any day, but something about sneaking away mid week makes it feel even more special.  If you've got some flexibility in your schedule, I highly recommend a mid week girl's day once in a while!

DSCN3961.JPGI worked liked a crazy person this past week getting "the store" ready for Black Friday.  Though it was a crazy week, it was a fun one.  Here is a quick pic of what I wore to work on Wednesday.  Who says full sequins are only for special occasions?

Dress/Tunic: Express
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Leggings: the Gap
Boots: Vince Camuto
Jewelry: vintage

DSCN3963.JPGWednesday night Matt and I saw Harry Potter for the second time.  Yes, we are dorks for going to the midnight premiere and yes, we are dorks for going to see it twice :)  But this time we opted for our favorite dinner movie theater.  The only thing better than seeing Harry Potter for the second time is seeing Harry Potter for the second time with a fruity cocktail in your hand.

DSCN3968.jpgThursday for Thanksgiving, Matt and I were so blessed to spend the day with Terri, my boss from "the store," and her family.  (When I took the assistant manager position, I knew I'd be giving up Thanksgiving with my family.  But in recent years, we've been spending Thanksgiving with Matt's family and Christmas with mine, so I've gotten semi-used to turkey without my family.  Plus my family is coming to Chicago for Christmas so I am ecstatic about that!)  Anyway, we had a fabulous time and Terri was such a fabulous host.  Terri is from Texas, so we share a southern connection that has been so comforting to me as I'm getting used to life outside of Texas.  Plus, she is an incredible chef which made for an extra yummy Thanksgiving.  Even though Matt and I were far from our families, we felt right at home at Terri's and are were grateful for such a fun and welcoming pseudo-family!

DSCN3965.JPGI'm thankful for so many things, one of which is an incredible husband.  I forget sometimes just how lucky I am to have him.

DSCN3973.JPGSaturday after two nonstop days at the store Matt and I went to pick out our Christmas tree.  When we moved from Texas, I was limited in how much Christmas stuff I could bring, so rather than waste storage space on our artificial tree, I donated it and decided we'd get a real one when the time came.  And since I am a huge fan of the Christmas season, I wasted no time in breaking out the decorations.  Two days after Thanksgiving was long enough!

DSCN3971.jpgThough I had high hopes for a grand tree, reality is, our apartment is tiny.  Therefore a tiny tree was in order.  The guys at the tree place laughed when we pointed to what we wanted, but they were super nice and friendly in getting it for us.  We laughed as Matt carried it out, especially since it took the family before us 30 minutes to strap it to the top of their truck lol.

DSCN3975.JPGClearly the decorating part went quickly since there are hardly any branches to decorate lol.  Its tiny and sparse, but we love it!  And the fact that Christmas is coming means I'm that much closer to seeing my family.  (20 days to be exact!)

So while the past week wasn't filled with consecutive days off or days spent lounging in sweats, i can't say I didn't love it.  Because I have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. And that is the best faux Thanksgiving break a girl could ask for :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving.jpg{we heart it}

Happy Thanksgiving dear friends!  Its hard to believe the year has flown by so fast; suddenly its the end of November and time to gather round the table with friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for all of our wonderful blessings.  I have so much to be thankful for this year, and though I try to count these blessings every day, I'm grateful for today because it forces me to slow down and recognize all the gifts that surround me.  So today, I'm grateful for yummy turkey and laughs around the table, but most importantly, I'm grateful for the opportunity to give thanks for all the things, big and small, that make life so sweet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An In Laws Visit to Chicago

Last weekend Matt's sister and her family were in town, and we were so excited to see them!  We had a blast showing them around Chicago, seeing the sights, and consuming more calories than one person should ever enjoy in their lifetime!  Between Julie and I, we took about 865 pictures, so I tried to narrow it down to give the highlights of our weekend with them.  (But yall know how terrible I am when it comes to editing down the number of pictures I post.)  So here are "a few" of the highlights from our fabulous weekend with our California visitors.

DSC07641.JPGAfter a full Friday of sightseeing for the visitors, Matt and I got off work and met everyone downtown for dinner.  Matt's family has somewhat of a tradition when it comes to celebrating at The Cheesecake Factory, so we carried on the family pattern and had dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe on Michigan Avenue.  (Grand Lux and Cheesecake factory are in the same restaurant family.)  Here I am with Julie, my lovely sister in law!

DSC07642.JPGAs if marrying Matt wasn't wonderful enough, i got some fabulous in laws out of the deal :)

DSC07667.JPGThe next day, we met the gang at The Planetarium.  There are TONS of things to do and see in Chicago, and I had been dying to check out the Planetarium.  However, after about three minutes inside, I turned to Matt and said, "Wait, is this whole thing just all about space?!"  He just shook his head, as I disappointedly exclamed, "But I thought it was going to be all about the Planet, you know, like animals and nature and stuff!"  Lol, clearly I was confused.

DSCN3867.JPGMatt earned some solid uncle points cranking on this machine for Andrew :)

DSCN3861.JPGAnother word advice, don't go to the planetarium when  you're sleep deprived.  Comfy chairs, a dark quiet room, and a starry round sky equals a nappers dream.  We watched two different films at the Planetarium, and I didn't last more than seven minutes in either lol.

DSC07646.jpgHow adorable is my niece?  Future fashionista and a total sweetheart.

DSC07670.JPGThough it had been a dreary morning, the rain stopped later in the afternoon and allowed us to snap a few pictures with the beautiful city skyline.  Have I told you how much I love my Chicago?

DSC07673.JPGWe walked around the city for a bit and then stopped by Millennium Park for what else, pictures with The Bean!  Cause ya'll know how much I love these pictures :)

DSC07678.jpgThey never get old :)

DSC07674.JPGSuch a fun family!

DSC07682.JPGNow there is the face of trouble :)

DSC07681.JPGI could spend all day in Millennium Park, no joke.  But in the next few weeks it'll likely be covered in snow, which means my park visits will slow down till spring time.  PS: I really love this picture of Matt and I :)

DSCN3884.jpgAfter a long walk around the city, we ducked into a coffee shop to warm up.  Nothing warms your insides like truffle lattes topped with whipped cream!

DSC07686.JPGFor dinner, we headed to the oh so yummy Maggianos.  Though I love me a small, local Italian spot, sometimes you just need the yumminess of a mega spot.  And Maggianos is my favorite Italian megaspot.

DSC07689.JPGThank you Julie and Joe for treating us to such delicious dinners!

DSCN3894.JPGSunday morning we headed to Legoland, and though it was intended to be more of a "kids activity" I loved it.  That's what I think is so fascinating about Legos, no matter what age you are, you can always be inspired.  This Legoland had a mini model of the city of Chicago.  It was insanely amazing.  I could have stayed in that area for hours!

148479_466545512479_769142479_5479897_7065152_n.jpgThe boys were too afraid to ride the ride, so the girls took the dare :)

DSCN3926.JPGWe took a Lego building class and learned how to build a mini Sears Tower.  After the class, I decided how people build Legos is insanely reflective of one's personality.  Matt blazed ahead, ignoring the Lego lady, determined he could figure it out on his own first.  I on the other hand went step by step, following every direction, and freaking out if I got just one Lego wrong lol.  Maybe I should write a book about that.  "The Lego Personalities." :)

DSCN3917.JPGAnd of course, I let out a mild shriek when I saw the almost life sized Harry Potter!

DSCN3938.JPGThat night for dinner, we went to the original Morton's Steakhouse downtown.  Julie and Joe make it a point when they travel to eat at Morton's, so the chance to dine at the original was a must do.

149082_466545842479_769142479_5479903_2055638_n.jpgThe original Morton's on State Street opened in the late 1970s and they still have some of the original staff working there today!

DSCN3944.JPGThe food was delicous, but I can't lie, dessert was my favorite part.  So yummy!

DSCN3942.JPGWe were technically celebrating Joe's birthday, but who really needs a reason to celebrate when family is around?

154805_466546687479_769142479_5479909_6396654_n.jpgNothing better than a good meal with great people!  Thank you Julie and family for such a wonderful dinner!  PS: I forgot how gigantically tall those boots make me!

154701_466554717479_769142479_5480002_1995730_n.jpgMonday Matt and I headed back to work while the California crew explored the Museum of Science and Industry.  But we couldn't pass up the chance to see them one last time.  Our last dinner spot of the weekend was Goose Island, where I ordered one of my favorite cocktails, cream soda and rum.  Oh so good!

155156_466555002479_769142479_5480005_2941592_n.jpgAfter dinner, we headed for dessert at a semi new spot in Lincoln Park, The Cookie Bar.  They have just about every kind of cookie you can imagine as well as yummy gelato.  You can order either or both, and of course Matt and I opted for both, splitting a chocolate chip cookie and banana gelato sanwich.  It was such a cute spot and the guy working was super friendly, so if you're in the area, definitely check it out!

iPhoto Library.jpgIt was here that we said goodbye to our lovely visitors!  It was SO wonderful to have family in town, and we are so grateful that we got to spend time with some of our favorite people in one of our favorite places!  Thanks Julie and Co. for a fabulous visit, we love you and miss you already!

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Ad That You Can't Help But Love

My sweet friend Suzy posted this on Facebook earlier this week, and I loved it so much I had to share.  This was filmed at Heathrow Airport in London, a place I flew into many times on trips "home."  (My family lived in London for two years.)  Its a fabulous way to kick off the weekend, as I'm certain it will make you laugh, smile, and if you're anything like me, tear up just a bit.  Happy weekend!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hurry Up Harry

hp7.jpg{we heart it}

Less than 48 hours till HP7. My excitement is overflowing, and I can hardly contain myself.  No joke. Tonight at work, I kept randomly squealing whenever I'd think about the fact that his time tomorrow night, I'll be sitting in a movie theater with butter covered fingertips waiting for Harry, Hermione, and Ron to take over the world. That's right, I said tomorrow night. Because Matt and I are those people who bought their midnight premiere Harry Potter tickets last week. And if that doesn't make us nerdy enough, we agreed that we'll need to take evening naps before the movie, to ensure maximum alertness. (Translation: we are old people who rarely stay up past midnight anymore.) I mean, 1:00 am is a stretch.  2:00 am only if we are stranded with friends who are still cool enough to have the energy till party till the wee morning hours. But 4:00 am in a dark theater with cushy purple seats?  Not a chance.  So naturally, naps are in order.  And neither one of us is quite sure how we are going to function at work on Friday, but that's a minor detail.  I mean, its Harry Potter.  Oh my gosh, rereading that last sentence made me squeal again, eeek!  I can't believe its finally here.  I have to go...my excitement is making it too hard to focus on typing.  Anyone else giddy about the release?

PS: If you want to get goosebumps, squeal with excitement, and rewatch the trailer 945 times before tomorrow night, check it out here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meet My New BFF, Trench

Last February, when we found out we were moving to Chicago, I was beyond thrilled  And after about a week of nonstop happy dances, I decided I needed to prepare my closet for the big move.  I started thinking about some of the staples I would need to survive in a city that experiences four seasons (particularly the cold ones.)  At the very top of that list, was the much needed trench coat.  So for two solid months, I looked and looked, eventually finding this beautiful Michael Kors trench coat.  It was love at first sight, so much so that even Matt said, "you have to get that."  So from April till May, it sat in my closet in Texas, ready for its big move.  And then once it made the move to Chicago, it hung in the closet, waiting for the perfect rainy day debut.  And no day was better for that than this past Saturday.  Matt and I spent the day exploring the city with his sister and her family, and the weather was overcast, chilly, and rainy for most of the day.  Normally not my idea of great weather, but for a trench coat debut...perfect.  Dear readers, please meet my new (and long awaited) BFF...


DSCN3873.JPGTrench: Michael Kors
Jeans: J.Crew skinnies
Boots: Macy's
Scarf: the Limited
Bag: Urban Outfitters

DSCN3870.JPGFor now, I'm enjoying the coat as is, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with the belt, changing it out for wide leather belts and vintage scarves.

DSCN3874.JPGAnd if a new BFF isn't enough, I've got a great man beside me, and a fabulous city behind me!

I'll post a full recap of our weekend with Matt's sister and her family after I look through all the pictures (we had a blast and took enough pics to prove it lol), but I couldn't resist posting these and introducing you to my new BFF, Trench.  What's your newest closet crush?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Lately List


cake.jpg{we heart it}

Good morning my lovelies!  Its Thursday, and we're making it through the week.  I think that deserves a big "woo hoo!"  This morning I am so happy to be sharing sweet Stephanie's Happy Lately List.  Stephanie and I have never actually met, but we have several shared friends/acquaintances, so I kind of feel like I know her.  Does that make me sound like a creeper?  I hope not, because I am totally not a creeper (except on my little brother's Facebook.)  But enough about my protective and nosy big sister ways...

Here is Stephanie's Happy Lately List...

Sweating to P90X:  I just completed phase two of the P90X program, one month to go! I have come to truly enjoy the sweating, jumping, and iron-pumping workouts brought to my living room six days a week by Tony Horton. I feel stronger, more fit, and empowered. I can do more push-ups than I ever thought possible. As Tony says, “Just do your best and forget the rest!”

Discovering a new city:  My sweet husband and I moved to Nashville three months ago and this place has quickly charmed me. I’ve enjoyed discovering the botanical garden, new restaurants, the farmer’s market, great places for happy hour, cool indie coffee shops, great places to jog, etc., etc.! And autumn – Tennessee experiences autumn like you wouldn’t believe! This isn’t Nashville your grandparents knew, it’s an urban city with a cool, socially conscious vibe.

The Hermitage Hotel:  This lovely hotel opened in downtown Nashville in 1910. Last weekend, I met some friends at the Hermitage for drinks before going to see a friend perform in Swan Lake. Sitting in an oversized chair in front of the lobby fireplace was lovely …sigh. The hotel is elegant and beautiful, I can’t wait to go back! This hotel wasn't hit by the recent floods but some of the other downtown hotels were - and the Hermitage jumped right in to help them recover. I have lovedseeing Nashville's resiliency after the flood, and the can-do attitude that has brought this city together ... despite lack of media attention or much help from the rest of the country.

Cooking:  I have surprised myself in the last year by realizing not only that I can cook, that I enjoy it! I was totally that girl who would have a bowl of cereal for dinner or grab a salad from Panera on the way home. But somewhere along the way (and to be honest, getting married really helped me start a new routine) I realized I actually enjoy making a meal from start to finish. Even more exciting, I’ve started to make my own modifications and creations, thinking this ingredient would work here or this could be better if I tweaked it like that. Who knew? Makes me happy! There’s something that feels great about being able to take care of my friends and family by feeding them well!

The carpool lane: My husband is in grad school at Vanderbilt and I’m work for the university so that means we get to ride together each morning. Not only is it a great way for us to connect and figure out the day’s activities, but we save the gas money and the environment. I love that it’s something small we can do each day that really adds up over time!

Autumn: People in the south celebrate autumn like it’s a separate holiday. And I don’t blame them, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m from Texas where you have two seasons: hot and cold. You have the summer heat and the winter’s cold, and maybe a week or two in the spring you see blooms.* Here, during the fall it’s as if the trees are being slowly fire roasted, and you can see each color as it passes –  oranges, reds, browns, there’s nothing like it! *Don’t get me wrong, I’ve called Texas home for 26 years, and it has a beauty all it’s own.*

Boots: I ordered new boots from Old Navy.com in camel and brown, they are low-heeled wedges and I have worn them everywhere! Best purchase ever! I know not everyone is a fan of mail order shopping but I have become a pro at it, and just a few days later you have a little present delivered to your door!

And to end the happy lately list on an extra sweet note…I am excited to make this applesauce cake from Smitten Kitchen!

Thanks Stephanie for such a fun list!  If you want your Happy Lately List featured on this little blog, send me an email at smartandsassywithsprinkles@gmail.com.  Have a blessed and happy weekend!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekend Recap and an OOTD

harry potter.jpg{we heart it}

Its Tuesday morning and I'm just now sitting down to write a "hey, how was your weekend" post.  Eeesh, yesterday was certainly one of those Mondays, and to be honest, I think it may just be one those weeks.  Sigh.  But weekends feel even better when they follow a crazy busy week, so I'm embracing the crazy for now.  Speaking of weekends, here's how I spent mine...

-A full day shift at the store.
-A thrilling trip to Best Buy so Matt and I could purchase a "home phone."  (We need one for some upcoming phone interviews.)  I didn't even know people used those things anymore, so when we walked into Best Buy, I asked the associated, "Do you sell real phones?"  He looked confused.  Not sure why he couldn't read my mind.
-Part 2 of Matt and I's Harry Potter movie marathon.  We're preparing for November 19, by obsessively watching HP 1-6 as many times as possible.

-A day off, hooray!  Unfortunately, I had to spend it doing grown up things like cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.  Boo for being a grown up.
-A trip to stock up on firewood.  Oh how quickly this Texas girl is learning about a midwest winter.
-Watching one of the most painful Sooner football games in history.  There are no words.  It was horrible.
-Softening the painful Sooner loss with Part 3 of the Harry Potter movie marathon.

-An 8:00 am meeting at the store to prepare for the holiday season and Black Friday.  I know a lot of retail people dread the crowds of Black Friday, but I am really excited to work that day and be a part of the craziness.
-Dinner and drinks with some of my favorite coworkers.
-Watching one of our store associates as Christine, the lead in Phantom of the Opera.  She was wonderful and it was so fun to see her in her element.
-Getting out of a speeding ticket on the way home from the show.  I don't know if it was the Texas plates or my southern smile, but I got off with a stern "slow down" warning.  Woo hoo, yes sir!

DSCN3845.JPGMy friend and coworker Kathy and I waiting for the show to start.  We had great seats!

148851_448591946853_662646853_6018869_3718403_n.jpgSome of our store team with our little star!  Congratulations Grace on a fabulous show!

And here is a quick OOTD from Friday.  I feel like I wear a variation of this outfit everyday.  A dress, my leather bomber jacket, tights, boots, a belt and a scarf.  Can't go wrong.



Dress: Anthropologie
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Scarf: The Limited
Belt: Ann Taylor
Earrings: Target
Rings: vintage; Francesca's
Tights: Hue
Boots: Vince Camuto

So here's to surviving this crazy week and having a weekend to celebrate it!  Matt's sister and her family are coming to Chicago this weekend, and I'm so excited to see them and show them around our new home.  Happy Tuesday loves, have a fabulous day!