Monday, January 31, 2011


Green light{we heart it}

"How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Anne Frank

Happy Monday, friends!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Small Victories

Umbrella{we heart it}

There hasn't been a lot of thrilling excitement around our house lately.  Its been a whole lot of work, snow, work, cold, work, sleep lol.  But I'm a big believer in celebrating the small things, so I thought I'd take a look at a few of my small victories from this week...

I went to the dentist for the first time in an embarrassingly long time.  And I mean a reeeally embarrassingly long time.  (As in like, 5 years.)  So bad, I know.  People often comment on how white and pretty my teeth are and I've used that as a crutch to not go to the dentist.  Even though my "white and pretty" teeth are 100% due to my parents spending bookoos of money on orthodonics.  Bookoos which resulted in two sets of braces, 3 retainers, oral surgery, rubberbands, and oh yeah, headgear.  (I'll pause with you as you laugh at the headgear mental picture.)  I was certain the dentist would tell me I needed 7 root canals or a set of dentures, but thankfully it wasn't quite that bad.

I lost 2 pounds this week.  Heck yeah, my new plan is working!  (And its a healthy, non-crash diet plan, don't worry.)  I'm pretty sure an entire pound of that loss was due to the fact that I took everything, even my hair rubberband, off before stepping on the scale lol.

I was featured on Amy K's fabulous blog sporting spring florals in the dead of winter.  If ya'll don't read her blog, you should, because her outfits are adorbs.  (I have no idea why I just typed adorbs; I've never said that in my life.  Weird.)

Matt and I finished our Chicago puzzle (mentioned in my last post.)  We'd hoped it would have taken a little longer (to stretch our entertainment dollar) but the thing was so dang addicting we couldn't stop working on it!  And after we finished last night, I totally get why some people glue and frame their completed puzzles.  Don't worry, we are not going to start lining our walls with completed puzzles, but its hard to just undo all of the hard work we did!  We're going to leave it out for another day or two and then break it down, put it in its box, and start again another day.

I took advantage of Gap's 40% off one item Facebook deal.  And guess what, I only bought ONE full price item (and two sale items.)  Yessss!  I feel so powerful over their clever marketing tricks which aimed to make me buy multiple full price items.  (And don't mention that because I bought one item I was still a victim to their tricks.  One is better than seven, so let me have my moment.)

One of the above sale items was a big, black, chunky cable knit infinity scarf.  Score.  It was $5.  Double score!  (I've been eyeing several on etsy, but couldn't pull the trigger on a few of the prices, so I say this one was meant to be.)

We finally took down our Christmas decorations.  Yes, I realize its the end of January.  I was starting to think of our tree as a nice touch of the outdoors that perhaps could stay all year.  Matt didn't agree.

Matt snagged us tickets to the opera (thanks Groupon!)  Should be interesting.  (Interesting as in I'll love it and Matt will fall asleep ten minutes in.)  But I'm hopeful.

I've only had Starbucks once in the past week.  ONCE.  My wallet and my thighs are totally thanking me, and it feels good to have some self control and stop throwing money at the man in the green apron.

We sent off the last of our Chirstmas presents.  Oopsie, sorry dear brother-in-law.

I got tickets to a reality-TV celebrity's book signing this weekend.  More details to come, but here's an early hint: She is a fellow KKG.

We finally saw Black Swan (last people on the planet, I know.)  And to the dad sitting a few seats down from me, you probably should have done your research before bringing your 14 year old daughter to the movie.  Just saying.

I made a yummy, healthy dinner without burning the house down or poisoning Matt.  Go me, go!

What small victories have you had this week?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Snapshots

DSCN4444.JPGPicking our favorites at a local ice sculpting contest.
(Living in the Arctic has its benefits!)

DSCN4446.JPGThe recipient of our vote.
(Why are seahorses so dang cute?!)

DSCN4439.JPGA bun, a bobby pin, and a brooch.  The perfect solution for Saturday hair.
(This is looking down on the top of my head.)

DSCN4449.JPGClever lunch coasters.  Extra points for the "$" in coaster.
(If you have been living under a rock, go here.)

DSCN4450.JPGSliders, mini Chicago dogs, and parmesan frites.
(I saved up calories all week for this meal!)

DSCN4452.JPGBrowsing at Barnes and Noble.
(With Matt and I "browsing" usually means buying lol.)

DSCN4457.JPGMatt and I's new evening activity.
(The puzzle is a pop art Chicago cityscape so we've had fun spotting our favorite haunts.)

DSCN4461.JPGLeisurely Sunday morning coffee.
(That isn't happened in months!)

All in all, it was a lovely weekend (even with working Friday, Saturday, Sunday shifts at the store.)  Sometimes low key, not super exciting weekends are best kind to have.  How was your weekend?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

(FIrst off, if you don't get the title reference, our blogger friendship is seriously in jeopardy.  But if you don't get it, don't worry, we can still be friends, because I take cupcake bribes to mend the damage.) Moving on...interviews are FINALLY over, and I can't even explain the relief that I feel.  Though the interview tour was pretty long and stressful, there was a major bonus.  Because not only do I happen to have the best friends ever, they also happen to be sprinkled in all the right places.  In every city I traveled, I got to stay with a dear and special friend.  And as much as I love me a cushy hotel king bed, nothing beats the comfort of staying with long time friends, some of whom I've known for over ten years.  So in true Yelp, Hotwire, and Expedia fashion, I thought I'd review my stays along my interview tour.

halcyon with steven.JPG

First stop: Austin and the Steven Suites.
(Photo circa 2005 out with high school friends with Austin.  Oh how I loved that green dress.)
I give this spot four stars.  Hotel was in a lively neighborhood, served Texas margaritas, and had fabulous sunny-and-70-degree weather.  The hotel host even gave up his bed for me so I could be well rested and awake for my 9:00 am interview.  Extra points for a fun and welcoming group of friends who gathered to eat dinner and watch ABC's Winter Wipeout.  Hysterical laughter is a great way to make me happy.


Next up on the tour: small town Texas (home of my graduate program) and the Norma and Natty Inn.
(Photo from last year's internship match party)
Oddly, as I stayed at this hotel, Norma was in Chicago staying at Hotel de Allison and Matt for one of her interviews.  But even with her out of town, the hotel was in excellent condition.  Favorite parts included a welcome basket, an E! marathon of Kendra, a couch big enough to completely sprawl out on, and fridge stocked with diet cherry 7up.  Plus a bonus stop at the best fried chicken spot in all of Texas!


For the Oklahoma stop I chose Hotel de Kelsey.
(Photo from 2002, found in my Kappa archives.  University Sing champs, go KKG!)
This hotel definitely gets four stars.  Hotel de Kelsey (and Chris) allowed late check in, a cushy guest room, and a morning coffee bar.  The best part though was the late night girl talk.  Kelsey keeps it real, and I always feel encouraged after spending time with her.

anna 5.bmp

Dallas night one: Residence Kristin.
(Photo circa 2006, though this hotel host and I go way back.  Way back as in college roommates, sorority sisters, and LaHa hosts.)
Major perks here: authentic convo, sweet and crazy dogs, and an insanely delicious dinner upon check in.  Late night cocktail and morning coffee were both cherries on top of an already wonderful stay.


Dallas night two: the Jordan Inn.
(Photo courtesy of high school drillteam 2001.  Its a Texas thing.)
I stay at this spot often, so the fact that I keep going back tells you how much I love it.  Hotel highlights include an upstairs suite, on hand pajamas, and lots of wedding talk.  (Jordan is getting married in March.)  A major bonus of this spot was the recently upgraded Xbox 360 Kinect.  Just Dance was a huge hit with this hotel goer, and I'm dying to go back for more.

family pic 1993.JPG

The mainstay hotel of the trip: Hotel Home in Houston.
(Bad denim on denim look courtesy of family pictures 1993.)
This hotel is a staple for me, and my parents were so great to let me crash for almost 2 weeks.  This hotel included big bonus perks including a free rental car, meals out, and long distance phone conferencing with interview sites.  The head of the hotel was even kind enough to take me thrifting several times and the bellhop even let me borrow his clothes.  Quality service I tell you.

So to all my wonderful hotel hosts, THANK YOU!  You all get a big four stars from me :)  This trip reminded me how blessed I am to have such incredible friends.  Seriously.  (And not just because they happen to live in all the right places.)  They know my heart, accept me for me, and challenge me to see the world in new ways.  I am continually thankful for them, even more so now that we live hundreds of miles apart.  So to my fabulous friends and hotel hosts I love to you pieces and am so grateful for you.  Hotel Allison in Chicago is open for you anytime :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back in Chicago: Trip Highlights, an OOTD, and a Blog Sale Question

DSCN4430.JPG{sweet post it from my husband}

I am finally back in Chicago and oh my goodness, it is so good to be HOME!   After my two week interview tour, I flew back Tuesday night, and have never been happier to see ice, snow, and freezing temperatures lol.  And with interviews over, I feel like I can finally breath a big, giant sigh of relief!  (I won't get official word of my placement until late February, but I did my part and now all I can do is wait.)  Overall the interviews went really well.  After the first two, I started to get the hang of it and eventually got into my interview groove.  There were some places I absolutely loved, several I liked, and a few that I wasn't so crazy about.  But overall, I am excited about what the future holds, wherever that may be.

Highlights from my interview tour...

Having Chick-fil-a within three hours of touchdown...
Getting to see my little brother play basketball as a big, bad senior...
Seeing incredible friends in every city stop (more on that later)...
Thrifting with my mom...
Enjoying real Mexican food...
Reading sweet texts from Matt (I missed him like CRAZY!)...
Interviewing with a few places in my sweatpants (phone interviews do have their upside!)...
Cruising Houston with Ryan and his sweet new system...
Having real, honest, and authentic conversations with my dearest friends...
Catching up on Criminal Minds with my mom...
Stopping at Bucees every chance possible...
Seeing a sweet friend's new baby bump...
Going to the Galleria and not buying a thing (going strong on my new year's effort!)...
Hearing words of encouragement from sites who were impressed with my work...
Jamming to my favorite Dallas radio stations...
Having dinner with my old boss from OU...
Playing Just Dance on the Xbox connect with my bff (I really want one now!)...
Indulging in my dad's famous Rice Krispie treats...
Meeting my friend Kendall's sweet "new" baby boy...
Hugging Matt when I got off the plane...

I will post more pictures of my trip once my brain gets adjusted to being back in Chicago and being back at work.  I wasn't as diligent with my picture taking as normal, because my mind was mostly focused on interview stuff, but you know me, I still managed to snap a few pics here and there :)  Speaking of snapping pics, here is what I wore today.  And if you're wondering whether or not I own any other clothes besides this jacket and this scarf, I swear I do.  These just happen to be my most favorite things right now and therefore I wear them way more than I should.  And by way more than I should I mean at least once or twice a week.  Eessh, must remember to wear the 9,000 other things crammed in my closet...




Dress: Banana Republic
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Scarf: from a London market excursion with my mom
Belt: Ann Taylor
Tights: Kohls
Bracelet: Ann Taylor
Rings: vintage; thrifted
Earrings: Marc Jacobs
Boots: Vince Camuto

*PS: Random question: I need to do a closet cleanout.  I don't have a ton of stuff, but there a few things that I don't need/fit into/want anymore.  If I did a blog sale or loaded the stuff onto Smashion would anyone be interested?  I'm not planning to make a steal off the stuff, so I don't want to put tons of time into it, but if yall would be interested, let me know.


Monday, January 17, 2011

OOTD: My Brother's Closet

Posts have been a bit sporadic lately with interview madness going on, and outfit of the day posts, well, those have been even more sparse.  But in all honestly, my outfits haven't been that exciting, because packing for a two week trip in one tiny suitcase is not my strength.  (Yes baggage fees, I'm giving you the evil eye.)  And when that suitcase has to include 2 interview suits, 2 pairs of boots, a cute bridal shower outfit, and the large arsenal of hair and makeup stuff it takes to get me presentable, there isn't much room left for regular day clothes.  Luckily, I love the oversized men's shirt look and can steal most of my little brother's flannels, button ups, and grandpa cardigans.  So for the past two weeks, its been men's shirts, skinny jeans, brown riding boots, and loads of gold bracelets.

DSCN4351.JPGFlannel: Zara mens
Jeans: J.Crew skinnies
Bracelets: vintage mix
Earrings: Matt's wedding day gift to me
Ring: David Yurman
Sunnies: Bucees


And the only thing better than flannel shirts and skinny jeans?  New shades from the gas-station-megaplex also known as Bucees (pronounced Buck-ees.)  If you aren't from Texas or haven't taken a roadtrip through my sweet state, you probably don't know what I'm talking about.  And if you're from Texas and don't know what I'm talking about, you should probably get out from under a rock and move out of Texas now.  Bucees is like the Neiman Marcus of gas stations.  Its the roadtrip taker's dream stop.  I know its hard to believe such a thing exists (and that I would get so excited about it) but Bucees is no joke.  They are the size of a small grocery store and carry the best of the best of everything travel, Texas, or roadtrip related.  I literally plan Texas roadtrips around how and when I get make a stop at Bucees.  So far on my interview tour, I've been able to make 3 Bucees stops, and trust me, I wish I could have made more.  I'm that obsessed.

Anyway, when I landed in Houston the week before last, I found my favorite pair of sunnies in pieces at the bottom of my purse.  (Apparently they make those case things for a reason.)  And after a very squinty drive to Austin, I realized I could not spend the next two weeks driving around Texas without a pair of sunglasses.  So when I saw my roadtrip mecca, I knew they'd have my back.  And at $12.99, I was sold.  So behold, my new favorite shades, courtesy of my all time favorite Texas roadtrip spot.  And in addition to shades, I walked out with a package of cherry sours, a large coke icee, a jar of candied jalapenos, a Texas sized marshmallow bar, and a sweet smelling Circle E candle.  Now what other gas station can give you all that? :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Start Stop

start stop.jpg{we heart it}

What are you feeling compelled to start/stop these days?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lost Post: A Quick Visit, the Christkindlmarket, and Rockit

In all of the Christmas craziness, I totally forgot to post these pictures!  Our friend Edgar was in Chicago the week before Christmas for two days for a stop off on his interview tour.  (Edgar is a friend from grad school so he is currently going through the same weird interview process as me.)  Though it was a quick trip, it was so good to see him and show him a little bit of our city.  I had to work most of the time he was in town, but I managed to snag Friday night off for a little fun.

DSCN4095.JPGFriday night, we all met up at the Christkindlmarket market (previously mentioned in my Christmas recap post.)  I expected it to be fairly crowded a week before Christmas, but thankfully it wasn't too bad.  I wasn't quite sure where the market was, but our friends told us to walk down Dearborn and look for the big Christmas tree.  Sure enough, it was impossible to miss.  So pretty, especially to see in the middle of freezing cold Chicago!

DSCN4097.JPGWe made an instant beeline for the gluhwein stand.  If you haven't had gluhwein, you are missing out!  Its a mulled wine, popular in Europe, typically served around the holidays.  Its basically a cross between hot apple cider and red wine.  Yum!  I first had it when my parents moved to London, and then my mom started serving it at my parents annual Christmas open house.  Then when my mom and I went to Belgium for a Christmas market, I practically lived off of it because it was so insanely cold when we were there.

DSCN4091.JPGEdgar warming up with some Gluhwein.  Having Edgar (a fellow Texan) in Chicago, made me realize how much I've acclimated to the cold weather here in Chicago.  While I was no doubt freezing this night, poor Edgar was in pain he was so cold lol.  Walking to the market I couldn't stop laughing at Edgar's spontaneous shrieks and shrills from being so cold.

DSCN4093.JPGOur favorite Chicago friends!  Without them, we wouldn't have seen half of what we have in Chicago.

DSCN4099.JPGHahaha, this picture makes me laugh out loud.  Edgar's face, the steam from our mugs, remembering how cold we all were and how fast we were trying to drink the gluhwein, lol.  A fun memory for sure.

DSCN4090.JPGCheers to the holidays, friends in town, and loving our fun city!

DSCN4092.JPGNothing like life-long friends to keep you laughing and keep you warm!

DSCN4101.JPGFor dinner, we headed to Rockit, a posh little burger joint that has recently won a ton of accolades and awards.  It was named by the Tribune as one of the top ten celebrity hangouts in Chicago, so I tried to keep my picture taking to a minimum so I didn't seem like "that person."  But don't kid yourself, if Brit Brit would've walked in, all my cool would have gone out the window.  PS: Matt and I split the Rockit burger: kobe beef, melted brie, fried shallots, and medjool date aioli on a red onion brioche bun with truffle fries.  OMG.SO.GOOD!

DSCN4103.JPGI did manage to have my friend Matt snap this picture of me, because I wanted yall to see my nails.  They're still super hard to see, but if you squint or zoom, maybe you'll get an idea.  I wanted something fun for the holidays, so when I got a manicure, I had them do a gold metallic polish with black polka dots.  It almost looked leopard, but not quite, and though my husband thought I'd lost my mind, I thought it was a fun change :)

DSCN0559.JPGAnd since I've posted twice recently about Christmas markets, I thought I'd dig up a picture of my first Christmas market, in Belgium with my mom!  At Christmastime in 2008, my parents were still living in London, so Matt and I went there for Christmas.  I flew over a few days early though so my mom and I could take a girls trip to the Christmas markets in Belgium.  (My parents went to the main market in Germany and came back with rave reviews.)  It was a short trip, but we squeezed in a lot of laughs, a lot of walking, and a lot of shopping.  Here we are in Bruges at the market square.

DSCN0535.JPGAnd here I am, with food, no surprise lol.  Did you know french fries were invented in Belgium?  Who knew?

DSCN0509.JPGThe grand plaza in Brussels.  If you are ever in Europe at or around the holidays and have time for a side stop, the Christmas markets are wonderful!  But if you can't make it to Europe, just come to Chicago.  The weather is just as cold and the gluhwein is just as good.  And ps: I promise this is my last Christmas post of the season.  Pinky promise :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Late Happy Lately Lists

hot chocolate.jpg{we heart it}

I know we're a week into January, and most of you are probably over Christmas and have moved on, but I well, haven't.  I'm still soaking up all the last little bits of the holidays.  (Confession: my Christmas decorations are still up and won't come down till I'm back in Chicago on the 18th.)  That said, I wanted to post these two Happy Lately lists that I received over the hoidays.  Your response to the Happy Lately List feature has been great!  So great that I've gotten a little backed up (sorry!)  But since these lists are holiday themed, they couldn't wait, and I didn't want to lose them because they are both so wonderful.  So for all of you who are like me and are still soaking up the last bits of Christmas, here something to make you smile today!

Jess' Happy Lately List
Coming home to BFF every night...he makes EVERYTHING better...
Finding the perfect gift for someone...
Cleaning with Christmas decorations up, Christmas music playing and a glass of wine...
My students. Coming from nothing, they are appreciative of ANYTHING. It makes me stop and think sometimes...
Getting a Yorkie for my birthday!
Hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows...
Buying my plane ticket to go home and see family for Christmas (900 miles away). There's no place I'd rather be on Christmas morning...
Amanda's Happy Lately List
The Glee Christmas episode. I loved the part when Mr. Schu talked about how when we are older we seem to forget our child-like excitement and how Christmas becomes mandatory. It was such a memorable scene. Must try to be excited about Christmas instead of going through the to-do lists in my head...
A husband who knows how much I love Christmas and does little things for me. For instance: while decorating the tree, he made supper and used our red + green Fiesta dinner plates. And was very proud of himself when I saw that he did so...
Our Christmas tree decked with ornaments. It's super sweet to see our childhood ornaments mingling together...
Pinterest Christmas boards. My daily stop to this site gives me so many good ideas (mostly tucked away for next year) that I have to "pin" to my "board"...
Christmas tunes. I love making mixes that combine the old and new. The Ella and Frank next to the Sixpence None the Richer and Norah Jones. Singing along to my favorites definitely brightens up my car rides...
And along with Christmas tunes, come Christmas movies! Again, I love mixing the classics with the new favorites. This weekend is going to feature a viewing of It's a Wonderful Life and Elf... both will be watched with a cup of hot cocoa in my hands and a husband to lean on...

A big thanks to both of these lovely ladies for sending in such wonderful Happy Lately Lists and continuing my after-Christmas cheer!  I'm curious...what holiday happiness are you still trying to soak up this first week of January?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the Road Again

pink travel.jpg{we heart it}

Hello from TEXAS! In all the craziness the past week, I forgot to mention that I was headed to Texas to start my two week interview tour.  (If you're new to the blog or aren't sure what interview process I'm talking about, you can catch up on that here.)  So far, I've had two in person interviews and two phone interviews.  Over the next two weeks, I have four in person interviews across Texas and Oklahoma and five phone interviews.  With some brilliant juggling and scheduling, I managed to book just one flight to Texas, so I can drive to all the interviews and take the phone interviews from my parents house in Houston.  I'm getting a workout just thinking about it!  Yesterday though, before I flew out of Chicago, I had a interview at a university a few hours outside of Chicago, and it went GREAT!  Definitely my best yet, and I really loved the site.  An added bonus?  The director of the site said I was a "powerhouse" applicant and it was clear that I had worked very hard in graduate school.  Umm, hello, can we say ego boost?  It was the best compliment I've gotten in a long time and certainly made me feel more prepared and excited for this crazy application/interview process.  (My friend Miguel has now taken to calling me "powerhouse" through texts and Facebook, and I can't help but laugh every time I read it.)

After I landed in Houston, my mom met me at the airport and we headed straight to my brother's basketball game.  I haven't gotten to see him play at all this year, and when we first walked in, I couldn't find my brother on the court.  He couldn't possibly be that tall kid with the man muscles.  Is he even old enough to have muscles?  Sadly, number 13 is old enough to have man muscles, but his big sister still looks for the little ten year old with a buzz cut and big ears.  Oh how things have changed :)

I'll still be blogging over the next few weeks, in addition to enjoying all my Texas treats.  Mexican food, Chick-fil-a, Diet Dr. Pepper, and real Texas BBQ.  Rereading that list makes me think...I may need to book two seats on my flight home :)

Oh ps: Those are totally my legs in the picture above.  My legs, my pink handbag, and my private jet.  Yep, uh huh, totally mine.  I'm sticking to it :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year and a Focused Effort

Hey friends, happy new year! Its hard to believe 2010 came and went so fast and that we are already two days into 2011.  Crazy.  I hope you all brought in the new year just how you wished, surrounded by people you love.  Matt and I spent New Years Eve with some of my friends and coworkers from the store, as my boss and her husband opened their home to friends on New Years.  (The same wonderful couple who hosted us for Thanksgiving.)  The party was fairly low key, with great people, great food and lots of bubbly.  Matt and I had lots of fun and were both so happy to be snuggled in our beds just after 1:00 am.  My party animal skills have never been quite on par with my peers :)

DSCN4319.JPGAs long as I've got this guy next to me at midnight, I'm a happy girl :)

DSCN4321.JPGCheers to a new year, filled with adventure, change, love, and lots of happiness!

DSCN4323.JPGOk, and lots of kisses too :)

And speaking of New Years, I bet you're wondering about my resolutions.  Well, I should tell you, I don't make "resolutions."  Nope, no sir, not here, not me.  I don't make resolutions, just like I don't go on diets.  Because if you read my New Years post last year, you know diets and resolutions just tease me with things I can't do and can't have.  So I'm a fan of "focused efforts."  Yes, very similar to resolutions, I know, but in my crazy head, less of a cruel tease.  Last year, while perusing the blogosphere, I heard about the idea of creating a phrase or word to capture your "focused effort."  Something you can say to yourself to remind yourself in times of temptation to help you make a more informed choice.  Last year, my phrase was "use what you have" in an attempt to stop being so wasteful and use the things I already have and love.  This year's focused effort is almost identical, but with more of a money component.  "BUY LESS."  Yep, that's it.  Just two little words to keep in my head for 2011.

I've shared my focused effort with a few people, and most have laughed at me.  (Apparently its no secret I'm dangerous with an Amex.)  But I'm pushing the laughter aside and reminding myself why I'm choosing to focus on these two words.  I have so much stuff.  Literally.  Its disturbing.  So many clothes, so many candles, so many rolls of gift wrap, so many headbands, so many books to read.  I have so much jewelry, so much makeup, so much stationary, so much much stuff!  I don't even see, much less use, have of what I have.  And yet, I buy buy buy.  Why I do this is another story, but the effects are nothing but negative.  Less space, less money, less clarity, less creative effort.  So while I'm not kidding myself with the phrase "buy nothing" (because that is beyond laughable) I really do want to focus on buying less and focusing on the things I already have and love.

So that's how I'm gearing up for 2011, what about you?  If you're making a "focused effort" this new year, do share, I'd love to hear!