Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birthday Celebrations: Part II

I am 24 today! I can't say I feel much different, but I am happy to be an even-numbered age again. I just like even numbers better...is that weird? :)

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Brian made a special trip home last weekend to celebrate with me! When he said I could pick any restaurant I wanted for my birthday dinner, I racked my brain before deciding on The Melting Pot!


B had never been before (which was another reason I felt like we needed to go!), and he was concerned that fondue didn't sound very filling. I think his wording was, "It just sounds like I'm going to have to run to McDonald's and get a Happy Meal afterwards." Let's just say that after four courses of cheese, salads, dinner, and dessert, he was sorely mistaken!


We had such a great time (in addition to an amazing meal). Because dinner takes forever there, we got to just sit together and catch up on our respective lives. We spend a lot of time on the phone, but it is so different (and so nice) to just be together.


My plans for today include relaxing this morning, and then a full day of class. I'm glad I got to celebrate this weekend, because I don't have too much time today! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat cupcakes for breakfast...because it's my birthday, and I can!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Birthday Celebrations: Part I

My birthday isn't actually until tomorrow, but I did the majority of my celebrating this past weekend. On Thursday night, I met up with some of my very best friends at Amazing Glaze to paint pottery, drink wine, catch up, and mark the beginning of my 24th year!


When I was trying to decide how to celebrate my birthday, Ladies' Night at Amazing Glaze sounded like the perfect plan! A low-key, crafty night with friends is my idea of fun. :)


I hadn't gotten a chance to go in quite a while, but these Ladies' Nights are one of my very favorite events! Not only is it a great opportunity to spend quality time with friends, but you also have something to show for it when you're done. When you arrive, you pick out a plain piece of pottery and decide what colors you want to use. Then, you get to painting!


The pottery is fired in a kiln at the store, and then you pick it up a few days later! I get to pick up our pieces today; I'm so excited to see how they turned out.


Ladies' Night is fun because you can bring food and wine to enjoy while you paint. I made a yummy taco ring and brought plum wine! Amber and Kristi both brought me cupcakes, of course. They provided inspiration for the serving plate I made. :)


It was such a fun night, and I'm so thankful for all of my (not only wonderful, but very creative!) friends who came out to celebrate with me.




Monday, January 25, 2010

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama to talk about all of the things we did *not* do this week!

Because I am fighting a flu/cold/bug/sickness-thing, I did *not* skip having dinner on Friday night in favor of a vanilla Chick-fil-A milkshake, because it was literally the only thing that sounded appealing. I did *not* whine like a baby when Brian took the first sip and depleted way more of my milkshake supply than was necessary. And, of course, my liquid dinner did *not* cause me to have a horrible stomach ache all night and make me feel even worse than I already did.

I did *not* show up to my first class of the Spring semester today sans pencils, pens, paper, a textbook, and anything else remotely academic. I would *not* walk into the classroom looking like I have absolutely no idea what's going on, because I am a college graduate and understand the conventions of education.

Last night, I did *not* wake up every hour hacking up a lung, sniffling, and blowing my nose into tissues. I did *not* proceed to throw those tissues onto the floor instead of in the trash can where they belong. I did *not* return from my first class today to discover that my dog had eaten said tissues.


My Riley dog would *not* do that. Because she is *not* a moron. Obviously.

I am *not* hooked on watching the Bachelor after never seeing it before this season.

I am *not* looking forward to spending some time in bed this evening (and a good chunk of time before class tomorrow) and trying to kick this nasty bug!

Head over to MckMama's blog to read what she and everyone else have *not* been doing. :)


Friday, January 22, 2010

Signs...

Do you believe in signs?

There have been times, especially when I've had to make a hard decision or am unsure of what step to take next, when I know that God and the heavens have delivered a little message just to let me know that the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.

Sometimes, though, a sign is just something silly...but it still delivers the same assurance.

My boyfriend's room at his mom's house is still decorated the same way he chose for it to be when he was in elementary school. Because he's been away at college for the past 6 years (2 at a 'normal' college, and then 4 at WP) and never really lives there, it's still decked out in airplane wallpaper; the ceiling is painted with clouds.

It's a coincidence that Brian and I share an affinity for airplanes. Maybe flying will be a hobby we share in the future, but regardless, we both have an appreciation for them. What I have trouble believing is just a coincidence is the fact that the airplanes that have been 'flying' around Brian's room since he was a boy have these three letters on them:


LMS. Three letters that just so happen to be the initials of....you guessed it: yours truly! :)


P.S. As far as I can tell (from my Googling), there's no logical explanation for what that series of letters of means in airplane language. But I can tell you (from taking a horrendous statistics class last semester) that the probability of those three letters being my initials are exactly one in 17,576.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: Gown

 'I wish'....I could have worn the gown that
Sandra Bullock wore at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards!


I didn't watch the Golden Globes, but after flipping through some pictures, this dress quickly emerged as my favorite! I've loved Sandra Bullock since Miss Congeniality, and loved her even more after seeing The Blind Side. She just looks amazing in this dress! Plus, it's purple, and I totally dig purple. :)

Jane Krakowski

Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock also wore a really pretty purple gown. I love the one shoulder look. Head over to Kelsey's blog to play along with Wishful Wednesday!

Funny that we're talking about formal dresses today, because they have been on my mind all week! I need to find and buy one, like, yesterday. 100th Night is at the end of February, and is my second to last ball at WP. (You can see the dresses I wore to Yearling Winter Weekend, 500th Night, and Ring Weekend in my posts here and here.) I tried a couple on today, and kind of fell in love with one...but it's a bit different. It's longer on me than on this model, because I am short. But I think that's a good thing in this case.


 What do you think? Bizarre? Or is it not as different as I'm thinking it is and I should rock it with confidence?

Of course, now Brian will read this post and I always like my dresses to be a surprise. So, it'll probably be back to the drawing board. So, where do you guys shop when you need formal dresses? :)



Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Finds: Etsy!

While I am killing some time between class being over (for this week, at least!) and Brian's arrival home for the weekend (!!), I thought I would share some of my favorite recent finds from Etsy. Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've heard of this website, where incredibly talented people sell all kinds of handmade things! I love browsing all of the shops when I'm bored (the "Pounce" feature is great for finding new sellers), but I still haven't made my first official Etsy purchase...but that might have to change very soon!

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Amber has an adorable Zebra print one, and I want one too!
$8

http://ny-image0.etsy.com//il_fullxfull.113926696.jpg

I am in love with metal stamped jewelry lately.
$32

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This probably doesn't even need a caption!
$26.50

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This was made for me, no?
$15

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Adorableness.
$6.50

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So cute for keeping organized and making lists. :)
$13

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I want this for my room! (or my future bakery...)
$22

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Can I reconsider my apron choice? :)
(P.S. Goooo Ravens!)
$23

I could go on and on! For a laugh, also head over to Regretsy. Because while there are some amazing gems on Etsy, there are also things that really should have never been made in the first place. Or, as Regretsy says, "Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet!"

Hope you all have an amazing weekend! :)


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 Book List

This post is (again) mainly for my own reference as I continue documenting the books I have read. I am going to try to format it a bit like an annotated bibliography. However, I am also going to try to provide a brief synopsis and rating of each book, so anyone else out there looking for a good read has my suggestions to consider! I'm going to link to this post on my sidebar and update it throughout the year.  Although I didn't do as good of a job keeping track as I wish I had, you can also check out my post from last year! :)

I'd also love suggestions! Let me know what the best book you've read recently is, so I can add it to my "To Read" list. :)

Niffenegger, Audrey. Her Fearful Symmetry. ★★★★✩
When their Aunt Elspeth, who was estranged from their mother, dies, twins Julia and Valentina inherit her estate; however, the inseparable pair must move to London and live in their aunt's flat for one year before they are allowed to sell it. Even though I had to set aside my disbelief while reading this ghost story, especially at the conclusion, I couldn't put it down.
 Gilbert, Elizabeth. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage.  ★★★✩✩
Because I loved Eat, Pray, Love, I had high expectations for Gilbert's second book. While the insights about marriage in different cultures were interesting, I was left wishing for more of her story and feelings. At times, it felt like a documentary on marriage. An interesting read, but a bit boring at times.
Sparks, Nicholas. The Last Song.  ★★★★✩
When Ronnie is sent North Carolina to live with her dad for the summer, she is not exactly thrilled. But what unfolds that summer teaches her about falling in love and second chances.  Not usually a fan of his, but I really enjoyed this book. It's definitely a relatable love story with a bittersweet ending.
Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project.  ★★★✩✩
Gretchen Rubin spent a year test driving all of the principles and methods she could find about how to be truly happy. The book is divided into topics covering almost every aspect of life. It was interesting, but read a little bit like a research project at times. Definitely interesting and insightful, though.
 Giffin, Emily. Something Borrowed. ★★★★★
On her 30th birthday, Rachel White makes a terrible mistake; she sleeps with Dex, her best friend Darcy's fiance. Things get even more complicated when Rachel and Dex realize they have genuine feelings for one another. I couldn't put this book down, or help rooting for Rachel's happiness despite her glaring mistakes.
Giffin, Emily. Something Blue. ★★★★★
After she finds out that her fiance has been cheating on her with her maid of honor, Darcy Rhone finds herself utterly alone...and pregnant. After trying to re-create her charmed life on a different continent, Darcy comes to realize the things that are really important. I loved how this was a continuation from her first book from a different perspective, and loved it just as much.
Michard, Jacquelyn. Cage of Stars. ★★★★★
Veronica Swan feels like a normal Mormon teenager until the day when her two younger sisters are murdered by a mentally-ill man. She is then, understandably, horrified when her parents want to forgive her sisters' killer. This story of her path to understanding and, eventually, forgiveness, covered such an array of emotions, and I couldn't put it down.
Richmond, Michelle. No One You Know. ★★★★★
Lila Enderlin is a top student at Stanford working on the proof that will win her a big award in the math community when she goes missing. Her body is found in the woods a couple days later, and it is clear she's been murdered. Her little sister, Ellie, runs into her sister's suspected killer 20 years later, which pushes her to find out the truth about what happened.
Richmond, Michelle. The Year of Fog. ★★★★✩
Abby Mason takes her fiance's 6-year-old daughter to the beach and, in one split second, makes a grievous error. While she is looking into her camera lens, Emma walks into the fog and is gone. This story about the horror and pain in the year that follows Emma's disappearance makes the feelings behind the stories you see on the news all the more real.



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

*Simply Love Swap*

The lovely Katie at Loves of Life is hosting a Valentine's Day swap.

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Head on over to her blog to find out all about it. I'm excited! :)



Monday, January 11, 2010

An early birthday present :)

Thanks to the fact that my parents are beyond generous and I will be turning 24 in a matter of weeks, my lovely blog is now being broadcast to you from this beauty:

http://www.teamdigital.com.au/online_news/0908/pics/MacBook%20Pro%2013.jpg

I have been a Mac person since I went away to college (more than 5 years ago!) and got my first laptop, a Powerbook G4. I loved that computer, but in the past couple of months I could tell it was on its last leg. This shiny new Macbook Pro (which I have been lusting after forever) is amazing. It's a bazillion times faster, has so many neat features that I'm sure I've only begun to figure out (like how iPhoto recognizes the faces of people in pictures and then tags them...crazy!), syncs my contacts and calendar from my iPhone(!), and has a built-in camera for video-chatting with the boyfriend. I'm in love.

Plus, I guess you can also write papers on it. Which I guess is what I'm going to go do now. Or take dorky pictures of myself in Photobooth. Either one.




P.S. How 'bout them RAVENS?!



Okay, I'm done now. Sorry about that. :)


Friday, January 8, 2010

A Belated Christmas Get-Together

Oh my gosh, I am so happy it's Friday. Not in the "I'm wishing my life away" way, but in the "this week has been so ridiculously busy that I think I might finally have a second to breathe now that it's the weekend" way. My two winter classes started on Monday, and I've already had a total of 13 quizzes and one exam between them. Are these professors out of their minds?! I thought that shortened semesters would be a little easier, include a little less material...not so much!

Anyway, point of the story is this. I'm never taking two classes during a minimester ever again.  It's not fun, I've had my nose stuck in a textbook for the past week, and I'm physically and mentally exhausted. I wouldn't even mind if they were classes I enjoyed, but Geography and Earth Science are so dry...there is a reason I didn't take those classes in undergrad! On the positive side, one of the classes is fully online, so I at least get to listen to those lectures in my pajamas! :) I hope the next two weeks of this fly by so I can get these prerequisites out of the way and resume my normal (not quite as crazy!) academic schedule.

The bright spot in this week was taking a break to celebrate (a belated) Christmas with some of my best friends. We tried to get together in December, but finding a day that worked for all of us among all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season was just impossible! I'm kind of glad we put it off because it gave me a much-needed escape from getting back to the grind. :)


We had a potluck dinner with Italian food and exchanged presents at Joella and Kristi's. Their old apartment had a problem with bed bugs last semester (I know, ick!) but the two of them are now settled in their very own, bug-free apartment! I am hoping their new abode lets us spend a lot more time together this semester. I love those ladies, and I certainly don't see them enough!


Kristi and Amber were excited about the presents I got them...Ravens snuggies! I might need to go back and get one for myself. Just in time for some playoff action this weekend. :)


Now I'm off to take one last online quiz before I can fully enjoy my weekend (or as fully as you can with a paper due Tuesday)! And by "fully enjoy," I mean spend some quality time on the couch doing a whole lot of nothing. Did you know there's an SVU marathon on all day tomorrow? :)


Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's in Key West!

...aka the most AMAZING vacation ever.


(Disclaimer: I tried not to include nine billion pictures, but it's hard to pick my favorites so I pretty much failed. I think I took about 300 pictures of just the sunsets, so I did narrow it down!)

I am so bummed to be home, where the wind chill is making the temperatures feel sub-freezing. It's unbearable! It's almost impossible to believe that a little more than 24 hours ago I was on the beach!


Brian and I left home at 3 a.m. to catch our flight to Atlanta, and then hop on a smaller plane to Key West. When we got to Florida, we decided to try to check in to our hotel a couple of hours early. They didn't have any of the rooms we booked available yet, so we got upgraded for free! On the back of the door, the room rate was $1,000(!) per night. Needless to say, that is not what we paid!

The suite had a couch, a desk, two TVs, and a neat glass shower.  We even had a little balcony off of our bedroom overlooking the hotel's pool. What a great start to our trip...thanks, check-in lady!


As soon as we got settled and dropped off our luggage, we got to exploring! I absolutely loved Key West. The island is only about 4 miles long and everything is easily accessible, so we didn't have to rent a car. We got around on bikes, which was so fun and one of my favorite parts of our vacation!


We made sure to see the famous landmarks in Key West, including the buoy at the Southernmost Point of the Continental USA...


...and Mile 0, the beginning and end of U.S. Route 1, which goes all the way up to Maine!


Key West is also known for its chickens. Yes, chickens. They randomly wander the island, so every now and then we would hear a "cock-a-doodle-do"! Maybe I'm dumb because I totally didn't know this, but a rooster is a male chicken!


Brian and I were blessed with beautiful weather every day that we were in Key West. We woke up each morning and ate breakfast by the pool, and then set out to the beach! We spent our days at Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Ft. Taylor is on the gulf side of the island, and the water was so blue! Brian and I had to keep reminding ourselves that it was the end of December, because it certainly didn't feel like it. Palm trees with Christmas lights were probably the only reminder that it was the middle of winter!


Key West is nicknamed "the home of the sunset," and watching the sun go down every night is a huge celebration, especially at Mallory Square! It definitely did not disappoint, and we made sure to make an event of it every night we were there.


One night, we took a sunset cruise on the tallest schooner in Key West. We drank wine while we sailed off into the sunset, and coming back we enjoyed a stargazing demonstration. Definitely another one of my favorite things about this vacation!


We also got to try out some amazing restaurants, including the original Margaritaville, Jack Flats, Willie-T's, Old Town Mexican Cafe, and, my personal favorite, the Southernmost Beach Cafe (which was really casual, but had the best view, the best food, and the best drinks we had in Key West).

On New Year's Eve, Brian and I watched the last sunset of 2009 from the beach at Ft. Taylor...


...and then braved the crazy crowds on Duval Street to see a conch shell drop from the top of Sloppy Joe's Bar to mark the beginning of 2010!


New Year's in Key West is absolutely insane. I've never been to  Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but that's what it reminded me of. The street was packed, there were beads everywhere, and Brian and I definitely saw some interesting things! We watched the conch shell drop, but at another bar on Duval, a drag queen in a huge high heel drops to mark the new year! We decided to stick to the "tamer" part of the street...if you could even call it that. :)

It was so nice to ring in 2010 together and share a kiss at midnight on New Year's for the first time!


I've never been sadder to see the end of a vacation. I could have spent another week there, and maybe more! Key West was amazing, and I think Brian and I want to go back ASAP. I definitely understand why birds fly south for the winter! Hope everyone had a fabulous New Year's...Happy 2010!



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