Thursday, January 26, 2012

We're Going to Vegas!

IMG 0294

If you read my Christmas recap post, you may recall that for Christmas, Matt surprised me with a trip to Vegas!  (I opened a Nevada calendar in which Matt made and glued the adorable paper Vegas sign above.  Super creative that guy.)  I was totally shocked, and not just because we said we weren't doing presents, but because we never seem to take vacations "just because."  Not because we don't want to, but because since Matt and I have been dating, our travel budget has gone towards attending friends weddings, visiting family, traveling for showers and bachelorette parties, going on job and internship interviews, etc etc.  I'm so glad we chose to make those trips happen; I wouldn't trade them for the world.  But I can't lie, I'm pretty excited to take a "just because" trip, just the two of us.  Oh and did I mention we'll be there this time in a month?  Not that I'm counting down or anything :)

So here is where I need your help....

I've never been to Vegas, and Matt hasn't been since he was a young single dude.  Our hotel is already booked, but we're a bit clueless about what we want to do in Vegas, particularly because there are so many things to choose from!  So for those of you who've been, I would be forever grateful for your insider tips, recommendations, and favorites.  Whether it's your favorite show, your favorite restaurant, or your favorite spot to grab a drink, please share!  If you've ever tried getting discount show tickets or booking ahead with a great website, I'd love to hear.  Big or small, fancy or casual, we're up for anything.

I know they say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but in this case, I'm asking you to break that rule just once and clue a Vegas-newbie in :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thrifted Vest

Hey there, long lost readers!  Sorry for my silence lately; things have been a bit crazy lately.  My job has completely consumed my life the past few weeks, and given that I don't get to see Matt on the weekends, I pretty much unplug from the world to focus on spending time with him.

Even in the midst of the craziness, however, I had to pop in and show you all my new favorite thrift find.  Two weekends ago, in honor of MLK Day, our local Savers hosted a 50% sale.  Now I've been resisting some pretty amazing sale emails lately (I'm looking at you Loft and Talbots), but I could not pass up 50% off at my favorite thrift store.  Matt initially tried to protest, but when I gave him the "are you seriously criticizing me for wanting to hit up a thrift store sale" look, he backed off.  Smart move dude; I am not one to miss a Savers sale.  Anyway, about ten seconds after we walked into Savers, I spotted this faux fur lovely, hanging ever so neatly, calling out to me.  I may or may not have squealed when I saw it.  I was certain it was too good to be true, but alas it was not.  It was a fabulous fitting, faux fur find.  (Dare you to say that 3 times fast?)  And to top it was four freaking dollars.  I mean, how can you beat that?

So here it is, my faux fur vest, in its $4 goodness.

IMG 0339Vest: thrifted at Savers
Sweater: Ann Taylor
Leggings: Ann Taylor
Bracelet: Ann Taylor
Ring: David Yurman

PS: Did I mention that I'm pretty sure I tried this exact vest on at the beginning of the season at full price?  I cannot for the life of me remember where I tried it on, and because it's reversable, it doesn't have a tag.  Pretty sure I ended up getting it for about 96% off :)

This past Saturday, I ended up throwing on my beloved vest as Matt and I ate at our favorite local breakfast spot.  Can't get enough of this little furball.

IMG 0344Vest: thrifted at Savers
Flannel: thrifted in college
Tshirt: Gap
Ring: David Yurman

So it's official.  I have a new favorite thrift find   A furry, fabulous, four dollar find.  Freaking love it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Focused Effort for the New Year

Lemon{via pinterest}

We're 10 days into January, and I'm just now sharing my focused effort for the new year.  (Reminder: I don't make "resolutions;" I make "focused efforts."  Read why here.)  I waited ten days into January to share my focused effort, just to make sure it was appropriate and fitting for me.  I'm here to report that it is doable and very pertinent for my life.

As I spent the last few days of 2011 cozied up at home in Texas, I reflected back on the past year, mainly the past 6 months, and how hectic my life has been.  My internship kicked into full gear, I became a bit of a workaholic, and worst of all, I was (and still am) away from Matt.  At some point, I'd like to blog about what this experience has taught me, but for now I'll say that living Monday through Friday as a single workaholic has led to some pretty terrible self-care.  12 hour workdays, constant caffeine, little sleep, and a rotating diet of frozen meals and canned soup.  Not good.

They say you should treat yourself like you'd treat a fancy car.  (Not that my Honda is super fancy, but I like to be prepared for the day I win the lottery and get my silver Range Rover.)  Fancy cars need consistent attention, tune ups, good oil, car washes, and a faithful mechanic.  If you want a car to run at top speed, you've got to be good to its insides.  I firmly believe that our minds and bodies are the same way.  If I expect my mind to operate at top speed, I've got to be good to my body.

I want my mind to be alert, I want to be quick witted with students, I want to engage them in the small moments.  I want to be rested so I can enjoy my weekends with Matt, drive safe on my weekend commute, and remember the small details about my loved ones.  I want to run like the best luxury car out there.  Yet I treat my body like an old beat-up hooptie.  I neglect it, pump bad gas into it, and leave the check engine light unattended to for way too long.  I keep saying I'll get to it, but I don't.  I leave it alone, treat it like crap, and hope my mind will miraculously pick up my body's slack.

So this year, my focused effort is simple.  Be better to my body.  It doesn't have a thing to do with weight, clothing size, or what I see in the mirror.  It has to do with giving my body the things it needs to help my mind operate like I expect it and want it to.  (Please note I considered capturing my focused effort with the phrase "be good to yourself," but I knew my twisted self would eventually manipulate that to mean "treat yourself" aka get massages, weekly mani/pedis, and take every Friday off work.  I know the way my sneaky brain works.)

There are a few small,  yet specific ways I'm focusing on this goal of being better to my body.

Each day...Take 1 multivitamin.  Eat 5 fruits/veggies.  Drink 8 glasses of water.  Work in 30 minutes of physical activity.  Get 8 hours of sleep. To help myself stay on track, I've embraced an easy reminder (which is now on a post-it note on my computer screen at work and on my mirror at home.  1/5/8/30/8. (1 multivitamin, 5 fruits and veggies, 8 glasses of water, 30 minutes of activity, and 8 hours of sleep.)  I'm trying to be better to my body, using these simple numbers.

I don't think I'll ever do all of these in one day.  If I do, that's awesome, but I'm not trying to be perfect.  Just more mindful.  Mindful that my brain and body are connected, and that if I want my mind to be focused, refreshed, and joyful, I've got to be better to my body.

What are your focused efforts for the new year?  Anyone else need to energize and refresh your mind by being better to your body?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Roadtrip in Numbers (and a Giveaway Winner!)


2,263 miles driven...
36 hours roundtrip in the car...
9 caffeinated beverages consumed...
7 times "Santa tracker" (aka my mom) texted to see our location..
14 Missy Elliott songs jammed...
4 times Matt gave me the "what are those dance moves?" look...
700 dollars saved by driving instead of flying...
12 minutes I had to cover my nose and mouth in Missouri.  Who knew the border of that state was so stinky?...
5 podcasts listened to...
67 dollars spent at Bucees, my roadtrip Mecca...
(Wondering how on Earth you could spend $67 without getting gas?  2 Circle E candles, 3 made to order sandwiches, 2 bags of chocolate covered pretzels, 2 cokes, 1 coconut bar, and 1 bag of Bucees beaver nuggets.  Heaven!)...
3 consecutive times Beyonce's "Run the World" was blasted...
21 outfits packed by me...
1 McDonalds goodie consumed...
(You can't go on a roadtrip at not stop at McDonalds at least once!)...
4 restrooms that made me cringe and wonder why Bucees don't exist nationwide...
2 times we sighed, "It's so good to be home."

Our time in Texas was fabulous (see pictures here), and all in all, our roadtrip to and from wasn't that bad.  When we initially decided to drive, we were optimistic, but as December 22 neared, I began to question if we'd maintain our sanity during such a long car ride.  But halfway into our journey, I realized it wasn't so bad, especially as I thought about the crowded airports and the screaming baby that seems to always sit near me on a plane.  Even as Matt and I pulled into Chicago, after 2,263 miles of driving, we both agreed we made the right choice and that it wasn't so bad.  In fact, we might even do it again :)

And for the winner of the recent Stella and Dot giveaway...congrats Kayla!  You are the newest owner of the "On the Mark" necklace.  Please email Sara ( to claim your lovely necklace.  Another big thanks to Sara for sponsoring this giveaway.  And if you didn't yet "like" Sara's FB page, I suggest you do so, because its rumored that she has some exclusive FB giveaways and deals coming up.  Just an early heads up :)

Hope your week is going well, we're almost to Friday!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Eve Celebration

This year, Matt and I were thrilled to be able to celebrate New Years with our friends in Dallas, as we made a quick stop on our way back to Chicago.  Not in the mood for a crazy, drunken New Years Eve, we talked about a low key dinner somewhere fun, but after seeing the crazy prices, we quickly changed our minds.  So we agreed to do a low key night at our friends Jordan and Ricky's.  We agreed no party dresses or heels, instead opting for leggings and oversized tunics.  An hour into the night, we ditched the tunics for pj's and Uggs, kicking off an all night Xbox Kinect Dance Central challenge and the most intense game of Catchphrase I've ever played.  When Jordan and I called it a night at 3:00 am, we both agreed it was our favorite New Years Eve in a long, long time.  Proof a good time doesn't require a fancy menu, loads of cash, or a sparkly party dress!

C310564We've been friends for nearly 14 years, and we still laugh like little high schoolers when we're together :)

C310570My midnight man :)  PS: wondering about my crazy tiger shirt?  I snagged it a while back at Savers, and though part of me thought I'd lost my fashion mind, I couldn't resist bringing it home with me.  Layering it with this vest and a pair of leggings, it was the perfect relaxed but fun NYE getup!

C310581Richenda, me, and Jordan snapping a quick pic before running off to change into our extra comfy clothes :)

1010584Annnnd with that, we're in our sweats, ready for a dance off and another glass of champagne!

1010590I hadn't seen Richenda since Jordan's wedding in March, and it was so great to see her.  Even more exciting to talk a little wedding with her, as she and her man are getting married in just a few months!

10105982011 was an exciting year for us, as we celebrated lots of fun things (a permanent job for Matt in Chicago, an internship match for me), but its also been a year of challenge as we've had to adjust to living 2 hours apart the past six months for my internship.  But I have a feeling 2012 has some fabulous things in store, and I'm so excited we get to experience them together!  Happy happy New Year to all my lovely readers; may 2012 be your best year yet!