A Christmas Recap in Pictures

I thought I'd give you a brief glimpse at my past two weeks via photos.  This doesn't really cover everything, but that's why I'm calling it a glimpse.  Obviously.

From top to bottom, left to right:
dueling fires on Christmas morning, gorgeous sunset driving yesterday, house lit up on Candy Cane Lane, driving over the mountains, making laundry detergent, a wood bead garland in my great aunt's bathroom, Christmas tree bokeh, walking by the water back home, and getting our Christmas tree.

Featured top to bottom, left to right:
Jackson sleeping under the tree, Maica hogging my lap, hot buttered rum, breakfast hash topped with eggs and feat, delicious mini cupcakes, pumpkin rum bread pudding with whipping cream and caramel sauce, hand whisked whipping cream, me and my cousin's adorable baby, Seahawk's MNF game.

And finally, because I said I would, here are pictures of the quilt my mom made me.  On the bed and with a slight closeup.  I can't even begin to pick my favorite fabrics on it and it helped me sleep like a baby last night.  Basically, I am in love.


What Brings You Here

I'm not one to religiously track my blog's stats. I don't want to get caught up in the comments, visitors, links, etc. That's not why I started the blog and won't be my motivation going forward.

That said, every once in a while, I like to check out search terms that bring people to my blog.  Most of them make sense on some level, but some are downright ridiculous.  I thought you might enjoy reading them as well.

Makes sense:
  • diy ombre nails
  • christmas card address book 
  • e is random 
  • pinterest nails  
  • white nails with colored dots on pinterest 
  • costco poppyseed muffins 
  • dotted nail
Downright random:
  • michelle cousin 
  • "forgot how to sneeze" 
  • wet and wild london
  • new girl the 23rd candycane lane


Awkward and Awesome: End of 2011

I've been left to my own devices out here in the middle of nowhere.  (Meaning, I can't even place a call on my cell phone.)  So it was the perfect time for a quick blog post.

I've been trying to multi-task here, which means I've been a little distracted by the internets and real life.  You probably know how that goes.

I'm headed back home to the Emerald City tomorrow.  Then class starts Tuesday.  Time is flying by!

If I don't post before Saturday, have a happy and safe New Year!!!

- The spiders that keep crawling out of my aunt's Christmas tree. I'm not a big spider person (I mean, who really is) and it always feels to me that they are trying to surround me as they move across the ceiling. Luckily these are pretty small spider.
- My outfit options. I didn't really pack well for my vacation, so I have whatever was in my laundry basket when I went home, a few things I grabbed from my closet, and the five skirts I got on Christmas day.  Skirts don't really work out here on the farm.
- The wind around here has been out of control.  But only in the mornings.
- My footwear options being entirely inappropriate for a visit to hog butchering.  Hard to believe, but Steve Madden boots are made for tromping through bloody puddles.
- This break from school was not long enough.  I'll be fine but I'm a little bitter about it.  (Also, how is it the New Year already?)

- Time to relax away from it all, especially after the crazy whirlwind of the week and a half before Christmas (or the whole of December).
- Playing with my cousin's baby.  He's pretty adorable.
- All the football and basketball options right now. I couldn't be happier.
- Getting excited for a trip to Indy in the next few weeks.
- The quilt my mom made me for Christmas out of fabric that was mostly my grandmother's.  It's so gorgeous.  I'll definitely be posting a picture soon.  (I got other good stuff, too, but that was by far my favorite.)


A Quick Hello

I'm over on the east side of the state for some time with family.  My mom and I drove over December 26th and have been busy talking, eating, and playing with my cousin's baby.

I'm enjoying my time away.  I always tend to unplug over here.  At my aunt's house you're lucky if you get enough of a signal to send a text message, let alone take a phone call.  There is wifi, though.  We're not heathens. :)

While I'm busy doing things offline here, you should go check out my guest post at Decoy Betty.  It actually went up yesterday, because she lives on the other side of the world.  That doesn't mean it's too late to read it though!

I hope you are all able to enjoy some downtime as well!  I'll be back someday. :)


Awkward and Awesome: Deadline Edition

I'm rushing to finish this post before midnight, since Thursdays the days for this dealio.  (Who's annoyed that I typed dealio?!)

- The amount of cookies/cookie dough I ate today. Luckily cookie dough is hard to quantify so I can't really admit complete failure.
- Jamaica (my parent's springer spaniel) being completely annoying at night. She can't decide where she wants to be and doesn't seem to believe in sleeping much.
- My packing for this trip back home. I literally took my laundry and threw a couple things in a duffle bag.  I have many sports bras, but actual outfit options are rather low. Good thing I stayed in my sweatpants all day today.
- I only left the house today to go down to the basement.  True story.  See note about sweatpants below.
- A craft project not turning out quite as I had imagined it. It still looks good.  I think...
- The reality of trying to knit a bunch in a few days. My back is tired. Maybe if I ever actually finish something I'll unveil the products here.  Don't hold your breath.

- Eating cookies and cookie dough. Even if it was too much.
- Hanging out at home with my parents and dogs, especially when they're cuddly and cute (mostly the dogs--clarification for my cuz' :)
- Staying in my sweatpants all day. I don't care if it's not really socially acceptable. It's vacation and I do what I want.
- Break! Which includes time for catching up with friends. Many, many friends.
- My sleep schedule has actually improved since I've been home with the padres.  Yes I've still up been up late, but not as late as it has been recently.  And I've been awake before or close to 9am the past few mornings.  This is quite an accomplishment.
- Sleeping in my comfy queen bed with memory foam.  My bed at the apartment is fine, but the one I have here at my parents is so much better.

Well, I can't think of anything else good, or halfway decent as the case may be.  Have a happy Friday!!

10 Skeins of Yarn

Yarn was to Wednesday what dessert was to Tuesday.

I set out this morning with my parents for a little Christmas errand running.  I'm woefully disorganized in my gift giving.  Usually I have everything purchased and done a few weeks before Christmas.  This year, not so much.

So today my mom made a stop by Michaels.  We're trying out a secondhand/homemade Christmas this year, which I call Thriftmas (have I mentioned it on this blog yet? I can't keep my internets straight).

I got home, saw my basket of neglected yarn, and decided to knit.  I don't do anything fancy, mostly scarves and cowls, and my fixation usually only lasts a couple weeks.  Then the yarn is left in the corner of my room for months or years on end.

And there's something about the yarn aisle that always gets me.  There are so many colors and textures.  So many possibilities (which rarely occur as I imagine).

I want to make it all.

I should mention I'm not a naturally crafty person.  Or at least craft inclined.  Mostly I just have short term obsessions.  And that's why I have a shopping bag full of yarn right now, in about 5 different shades.

Hopefully something gets accomplished.


The Day of Three Desserts

Ten on Tuesday didn't happen.  I had semi-started the post Monday night (meaning I copied the questions), but stalled and put it off for the next day.

But Tuesday got crazy on me.

My dad and I got a Christmas tree. We trimmed it and put it up.  I worked on organizing my life a little.  Ran some errands.  Met a friend for a warm beverage and the most beautiful walk by the bay and through a little section of town I love (that might have involved a gingerbread cream cheese frosting cupcake).

Then it was time to meet another friend for dessert (can you see a trend here?).  I had chocolate peanut butter cake with a local amber ale.  We decided it might be good to have real food too, and stopped by the oyster bar for some eats.  Our snack ended with dessert on the house.  Because that's what I really needed.  But man, the peppermint panna cotta with lemon honey gel was really delicious.

My dad picked me up downtown and we headed to watch a high school basketball game.  When we stopped for milk afterwards, we decided to pick up the movie The Help too.  I finished knitting a cowl while watching the movie.

Then it was Wednesday.  Ack!

I have more errands and catching up with friends to do tomorrow.  And I still haven't hung any of my ornaments on the tree yet either.  And I have presents to make.  Oh well, there's plenty of time.  Right?

P.S. Happy Hanukkah to everyone who started their celebrations this week!


Candy Cane Lane

This evening, after having dinner with friends, I suggested a visit to Candy Cane Lane.  It's a place I've visited throughout my life and I pretty much equate it with the Christmas season.

(Note to my readers, if you don't like Christmas, Christmas lights, or the Christmas spirit. you should probably just stop reading.)

There was a huge line up to enter Candy Cane Lane.  After waiting in the car for a block (which probably took 15 minutes), we decided to park and walk.  The weather was unseasonably warm (46 degrees!) and we had an unobstructed view!

Here's what we enjoyed:

 Headed into Candy Cane Lane
 This house was so adorable. But we wondered, can you buy strands of alternating red and white lights or did they sort them by hand?
 Each yard had the word peace in different languages, including Serbian, Tagalong, Chinese, and more.
 It's hard to see but this yard is a polar wonderland, complete with polar bears, penguins, and ice.
 Really pretty all-white decorations.
 A view back down the street.
 A blurry but beautiful tree.
This awesoeme structure actually was suspended from the power polls and circles the hedge in the middle.  Pretty intense.

Are there any neighborhoods where you live known for their decorations?


Awkward and Awesome: Freedom

Guys, I'm still alive.  I'm free.  I'm happy.  I'm glue to the TV.  For more information, just read the following...

- My attempt at freehand drawing snowflakes. Let's just say it didn't turn out well and leave it at that.  They'd be fine, if I were 5.
- A fan deciding to throw his beer across 20+ rows of chairs in the upper deck when it's literally freezing out.
- My electric bill still hasn't come.  It's on a 60 day billing cycle (which I didn't choose and find weird), but I was last billed for service more than two months ago.  I've been obsessively checking my account balance but nothing is happening. I even called and the automated service couldn't give me more information.  I'm still concerned.
- The hours of TV I've watched today.  Let's just say I've put in a full day's work.  And it takes commitment to accomplish that.

- Attending my first NFL game, on MNF, and it was a win for my team!  Also, I got a cute, warm hat.  And had delicious happy hour beforehand with friends.
- School's out for...two weeks.  But still.  I've finished one quarter of grad school.  It's exciting!
- I am completely and totally addicted to Just Dance.  My roommate got it on Black Friday and I've been a dancing fool.  (The awkward part of the story is that want to use the moves anytime one of the songs comes on.)  It's pretty much like aerobics and I'm learning some sweet moves.
- National Cupcake Day. I celebrated. That's all I'm going to say.
- My plans for the weekend: happy hour, cohort party, brunch, brunch.  I'm sure more will come up with more as I go.  I love winter break!
- Soup weather. I love soup and we've had some good stuff recently: african peanut soup, cauliflower soup, potato and ham soup, thai curry soup.  Yum!

Ten on Tuesday: FINALS, take 1

I'm typing this Monday night, after a successful venture downtown for my first MNF and live NFL experience.  We won and I had a blast with the roomie.  Plus, we got lots of walking in, so we felt justified in partaking in some deliciously fattening stadium food.

Although I couldn't really look at my BBQ meat nachos the same after reading this story in the Huffington Post earlier today.  I managed to choke them down anyways though.  I'm a champ like that.

I'm in the final stretch of school for the quarter.  As in, I'll be done in about 24-ish hours.  A presentation and a project and I'm free!!

To fill this rather large gap in posting, I thought I'd rejoin in on Ten on Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks.  Feel free to join in on the fun.

Also, if you want a Christmas card and haven't had a chance yet, go fill out my contact form.  Don't worry, I'm the only person who will see your info.

Now, on to the main event.

1. How do you eat your eggs? 
I like mine scrambled with lots of yummies mixed in (onion, pepper, potatoes, cheese, and salsa to name a few).  I also like them in eggs benedict.

2. Do you volunteer? 
The past couple years I've worked with an awesome 5k fundraiser doing some social media work.  I'd like to get more involved down here, but haven't had the time in my schedule to make it happen yet.

3. What’s your favorite brand of jeans? 
I wear Gap fairly frequently, because I know what fits and it's not ridiculously expensive.

4. What was your child’s first word? Or what was your first word? 
I don't have a child and I don't remember.

5. Can you french braid? 
Mostly my own hair, because that's how I learned.  I just can't get other people's hair as tight.

6. Do you prefer wide rule, college rule, or blank paper? 
College rule, I think.

7. Is there a specific treat do you always make during the holidays? 
Cookies, oh, and homemade hot buttered rum.  Love that stuff.

8. Do you have a KitchenAid mixer? Do you want one? 
Best invention ever.  I love my bright red mixer.

9. What kind of computer do you use? 
Mac, all the way.

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
I love Elf.  So funny.  That said, I'm not a huge Christmas movie person.  I don't know what it is.


Running Behind

You've probably noticed my absence here.  It's likely to continue intermittently until next Wednesday when I am freed from the confines of the end of the quarter.

While I'm waiting for that day (but not too antsy because I have quite a bit to get done), I thought I'd share this little post, that my roommate (CC) did just yesterday.  I liked it!

watching: A few shows from earlier this week.  I got partially caught up with New Girl, Glee, Modern Family, Bones, and The Big Bang Thory.

eating: I made delicious Thai curry tonight.  I actually ended up eating mine like a soup.

drinking: I'm drinkless at this moment, but still addicted to egg nog lattes.

wearing: New ponte knit stretch pants from banana republic.  I could live in these babies.

avoiding: Any school work today.  My mom came down for a visit, so I was busy cleaning.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

feeling: A little stressed and tired, excited for the break and plans with friends.

missing: Cuddling with my parents' dogs.  See ya soon Maica and Jackson.  Also, I haven't seen my cousin's baby yet and it's killing me.

thankful: a father who baked bread for my sister and I, and sent down taco seasoning with my mom.

weather: Chilly.  I love brisk winter weather.

praying: Motivation, creativity, and energy.
needing: A cup of something warm.  Winter evenings just call for it.

thinking: About future employment (as in next quarter).

loving: Quality time with my mom and roommates.  It's been lovely to be in one place for a few weeks.


Finals (Something I thought I was done with 3.5 years ago)

I've been doing quite a bit of writing recently.  Not here, obviously, but for school.  And while I've had to write some all quarter, this was the first "big" assignment.  And in terms of grad school it's really not that  big.  In fact, I won't even tell you the number of pages required.

But it's been a bit of a struggle, to take a subject I've written a couple pages here or there and turn it into a paper.  But I have citations and almost enough pages.  And I really should be working on other things.  Because one paper does not the end of the quarter make.  (That totally didn't make sense at all. I know.)

Instead, I'm making pizza dough, writing a post for this poor neglected blog, and trying to figure out how I'm going to get my sleep cycle back on track.  It was 11am this morning when my eyes opened.

It's okay if you hate me.

Also, I really should type a few videos, because bills at the end of the month won't pay themselves.  Also, have I mentioned I don't officially have a job for next quarter.

On the plus side, my roommate is making me a dirty chai right now.  I'm helping her prepare for her return to Starbucks employment.  The sacrafices I'm willing to make....

Now excuse me while I go create a website.  It should be fun.


Christmas Cards and my Address Book

A few of my favorite bloggers have given their readers a chance to receive a Christmas card. It seemed like fun and will actually motivate me to get something done. I'm ordering a limited number because I don't have billions of spare dollars, or even hundreds, so turn your info quick!



Apples = Fall

Apples are one of my favorites parts about fall.  Fresh, crisp, and delicious.  And even better, they go great with things like cinnamon and brown sugar.

Enter, apple crisp.  I had a craving and a bag of apples from my parents, so I made a little.  And we even ended up making it for Thanksgiving to go with Pumpkin Bread Pudding, courtesy of Bobby Flay.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Apple Crisp
Peel and chop enough apples to get a decent layer in a 9x13 pan.  I ended up using 10-12 small and medium apples.
Sprinkle apples with white sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Melt 2 sticks butter and mix with 1 c oats, 1 c brown sugar, 1 c flour, and 1 tbsp cinnamon.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

The measurements, as always, are approximate.  And I really should have used more apples, as they cook down quite a bit.

I ate mine plain, but it would be delicious with ice cream.  Yum.  I'll do that next time.  Enjoy!


Life recently, in pictures.

Things I've been enjoying:
- beautiful sunny drives,
- cuddles with our dog,
- a decorated living room wall,
- delicious food,
- school work in the form of reading and vlogs,
- the college basketball season,
- and cider.
- delicious hot beverages in fun mugs, 
- late night music jam sessions in the car,
- dueling piano bars,
- puppies! and my favorite dog,
- more cooking time,
- a beautiful fall walk,
- an awesome concert with sweet lights,
- and a reason to wear my sunglasses in the fall.


Awkward and Awesome: Thanksgiving Edition

I know I already posted earlier today, but I actually have been working on this list since last Thursday, so I had to share all my awkwards and awesomes.  Not that anything really remarkable happened.  Still.

I hope you have a had a wonderful day, whether it's been with family, friends, or a little quiet to yourself.

- Having to go to the store multiple times in a day.  I really need to do a better job making lists, and deciding what to cook sooner.
- The movie previews on Fast Five.  I wasn't expecting much from the movie and the previews dropped my expectations even lower.
- Not getting to Starbucks once for the 2-for-1 holiday deal.  I hate missing out on a good deal, even if I'm better off not drinking coffee in the afternoon.
- Waking up two days in a row before my alarm.  Monday I was awake at 6:30am.  I had gone to sleep sometime after midnight.  You can imagine how happy that made me.
- All the reading I haven't started yet for next week.  At least I've been a blog posting machine.  Sigh.
- I know I've mentioned egg nog lattes on here before, and I think they've become an addiction.  I haven't had one since Monday, and I've been like an addict looking for a hit.  I almost left the house in my pajamas yesterday to track one down.  Thankfully, I didn't actually make it out.

- Movie nights with my sister
- Having time to cook.  It's soothing and enjoyable for me.  (Men, make a note.)
- A walk on a crisp, sunny fall day.  I should do that more often.
- Being home for a full week.  Meaning not having to do another drive down and back that whole time.  Not have to gas up.  Again.  At least for a few more days.
- The Sing Off.  Have I mentioned this show?  Have you been watching?  Were you sickened to find out the lead singer of Pentatonix was only 19?  No, just me, huh?  But seriously, that group is amazing.  If you like music, or as a geek like me, like a cappella music, you should look up their songs.  Jaw dropping.
- I'm a couple weeks away from having a functional portfolio website.  You know, on top of this blog, that other one about going green, and everything else, I'm building a website via Wordpress.org.  I pretty much live on my computer.
- An all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet yesterday. It got my stomach ready for today's extravaganza.
- THANKSGIVING!  Family, reflection, food, football, basketball, more food, food comas, etc.

Thankful Thursday

Part of me wishes Thanksgiving happened more often.  Not because of the food.  That would be unnecessary.  But because of the reflective side of the holiday.

In my family, we've always used this holiday as a time to share what we're really thankful for, no matter what is going on in life, good or bad.  And I wish I did it more often.  It's just such a great reminder that life is good.

Today, as I run around frantically preparing food, I thought I'd share a list of things I'm thankful for, right at this moment.  These are in no particular order.

1. Health
2. Amazing travels this year
3. Family
4. Good friends, old and new
5. The chance to go to grad school, and enjoying the experience so far
6. Money to pay the bills every month
7. A job flexible enough to work in my life
8. A cute apartment with great roomies
9. A fully functional, fuel efficient car
10. Dogs that like to snuggle
11. Memory foam mattress toppers
12. Blog and internet friends
13. Technology, even if it can be a pain occasionally
14. Two awesome blogs that I'm excited to put time into
15. Having grandparents that live right in town
16. My cousin's healthy new baby
17. A warm cozy bed (that is totally calling to me right now)
18. The start of the college basketball season
19. Finding out about friends and family expecting babies
20. Music that makes me want to dance

I know I have so much more than this to be thankful for.  But this is enough to remind me to be content with life.

So, what are you thankful for today?

Now go get your stretchy pants on and get ready to eat!  Happy turkey day!


Sweet Potatoes, again

I'm going back to my sweet potato kick for this one.  I'm all about sweet potatoes in the fall and winter, especially when the store down the street has them 2 lbs/$1.  My bank account and my belly win.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble
I'd love to give you amounts, but I have no idea for this one. 

I diced and lightly sauteed onions, garlic, and peppers (red and green) until the onions became a little translucent.   
Then I added the sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, and cooked the mixture until the sweet potatoes were softened.  I seasoned it with curry and cumin.  
While the potatoes were cooking, I whisked together a couple eggs and milk.  Then I added the mixture to the skillet and cooked eggs through.  

Put it in a bowl and, voila, a delicious breakfast.


Ten on Tuesday: Thanksgiving

Believe it or not, these questions are actually courtesy of yours truly.  I was feeling creative over the weekend in all my spare time and these 10 (well, actually 9, one of them is Chelsea's) questions just came out of nowhere.

It's okay.  No need to applaud.

Sorry for the excessive poor humor in this post.  I'm actually writing it Monday night and I should really, really be asleep.  It's been a long couple of days.

Let's just move on and forget that ever happened.  Except for that whole being posted on the internet.

You should definitely join up in the Ten on Tuesday fun by heading over to Roots and Rings.  Seriously.  Do it.

1. What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? 
My uncle and aunt from my dad's side of the family are driving over for a few days to spend time with us and Grampie.  The big event will be at my parents house, which will be entertaining with my grandpa in a wheelchair (he broke his hip this fall) and no entrance without stairs.  We're very accessible here.

2. What are you most thankful for this year? 
The chance to go back to grad school.  Even though I'm more than a little scared about taking out more school loans and what job I'm actually going to have while attending, I feel very blessed to have this opportunity.

3. Do you have any traditions on Thanksgiving? The parade? Football? Long naps? 
The parade is not high on that list, only because I don't like what TV has turned it into.  Just give me a shot of the main parade area with a little info now and again.  Stop with the yammering already.  I love football.  And I'm not a napper.  Never have been.  Literally never.  Just ask my mother.

4. Is it called stuffing or dressing? Is it in the bird or a separate dish? 
Stuffing; dressing goes on salad.  And we cook some of both.

5. Do you cook? 
More and more every year.  My mom had her gall bladder removed last week (we're just falling apart left and right around here), so my aunt and I will be dealing with most of the cooking.

6. What is your favorite dish? 
This is a really hard question for me.  I love food.  I'd probably go with stuffing or green bean cassarole, especially the Paula Dean version.  It may not be healthy, but it's delicious.  But there is nothing we have in our meal that I don't like.  Literally.

7. What is your dessert preference? 
I don't really like pie.  I know, Thanksgiving sacrilege.  Last year we made this really delicious pumpkin bread pudding, courtesy of Bobby Flay's showdown with the Pioneer Woman.  You may have heard of them.  Anyways, the stuff is like crack, especially fresh out of the oven.  And by crack I mean rot your teeth, OD (on sugar) addicting.

8. What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? 
I have a very distinct memory of being at Grampie's (and Grammie's) house one year.  One of my cousins had a whoopee cushion, which we preceded to place on Grampie's chair every time he got up.  We found it hilarious every time.  In related news, my day bought a book about a farting dog at Goodwill tonight.  I just thought you should get a true picture of our family.

9. Do you plan to shop on Black Friday? 
I'm considering checking out Best Buy after midnight.  There's a couple deals I have my eye on and I would actually have to get up early, just stay up for a bit.  Then I can sleep in all I want.  Last year my sister and I went.  We got some good deals and had a plan, but it was exhausting.  And I'm already tired enough.

10. What are you most dreading about Thanksgiving this year?
Probably having family around while simultaneously trying to get work and school stuff done.  I really need to get a few things accomplished.  Work for the money and school because the quarter is almost over.  Eek!


Easy Breakfast Cups

I have another recipe for you today.  Though considering my measuring practices, 'recipe' may be a bit of a stretch.  My sister found the idea for this treat on Pinterest--the place that sucks all the time and has all the pretty things.  Here's our version:

I have no idea what to call this, but it's basically a breakfast sandwich in a muffin tin.  So there you go.

You start by flattening a piece of bread and shaping into the muffin tin.  We went with 5 for two of us and it ended up being pretty much perfect.  Next we layered in cheese, bacon (cooked), and sauteed onions and peppers.  Once you have all the filling, crack an egg over the top.  Bake at 350 until the egg sets.  Take breakfast sandwich muffins out of the tins and consume the deliciousness.

A couple notes: We ended up buying an oversized muffin tin for the second batch so we could get more goodies in each cup.  Also, I ended up using a scramble egg mixture (eggs and milk) the second time.  Be warned that the mixture will expand, so don't fill to the rim.

I would love to try this with biscuit dough instead.  Yum!

What fun dishes have you made lately?


Awkward and Awesome: Late Night List

I really need to start writing these things down throughout the week because I can't help but feel like I'm forgetting things when I try to recreate the week in awkward/awesome form.

Maybe someday I actually will.

- Getting the flattest of flat tires last week.
- My lack of motivation this week.  I've gotten everything done that I need to, but I can't help but think I could have done a better job.
- Trying to maneuver two people (a.k.a. my grandparents) and their wheelchairs.  It's not easy, I'll tell you that much.
- Meeting a ton of new people and trying to remember all their names.  I fail at that.
- I've driven over 2,500 miles in the past 2 months.  Me no likey.  So many gallons of gas.
- It's that point in the quarter where I really need to create some to do lists.  Otherwise, there is always some I forget.
- Class cancellations at work.  I need those dollars.  Not that I really hate sleeping in, but I'm not exactly swimming in money.
- The ADD nature of my digital life.  The iPhone is great, but sometimes I have trouble deciding whether to use my computer or my phone for certain things, like tweeting, when both are near by.  It's pretty much a first world problem.
- My sleep schedule.  If I fall asleep before midnight, it's pretty much a miracle.

- Puppy cuddles. I got to play with a friend's puppy tonight and loved every minute of it.
- Extra time off work.
- Fun times out with friends and the movies last weekend that included a trip to a dueling piano bar.
- Successfully putting a spare on with a friend and having my flat tire fixed for free at Les Schwab.
- Having really awesome guest speakers in grad school.  Jordan Weisman was in class this week.  Google his name.  Crazy cool.
- We still haven't turned on our heat in our apartment.  Nov. 17th and counting...
- Criminal Minds.  Intense.  But not safe for right before bed.
- My hair.  The length is awesome.  My curls are cooperating.  I often wake up and head out without doing anything--whether I should or not.
- Words With Friends.  I haven't won yet, but I still love playing.  I currently have about 6 different games going.  If you want a chance to win, I'm eewiley.


Ten on Tuesday: Food, Work, and other stuff.

Guys, it's almost Thanksgiving, which means Christmas is closing in.  And that just reminds me that I'm a little behind on my Christmas shopping.

I'd rather have it mostly done by next week so I don't have to deal with the craziness that is the Christmas shopping season.  So, get your requests in soon, otherwise who knows what you'll end up with!

Now, onto to the Tuesday morning line up.  Head on over to Roots and Rings to join in the fun.

1. What are your pantry staples?
Pasta, black beans, salsa and chips, tomato products, bread, peanut butter, tea, and recently, sweet potatoes.

2. What are your refrigerator staples?
Milk, eggs, cheese, cream cheese, butter--apparently anything dairy--and fruits/veggies, which vary depending on price/availability.  I've been going for pomegranates and just picked up some asparagus.

3. You already look like Heidi Klum (or your favorite supermodel). Now, what are the top three non-physical things you would change about yourself?
My fear of letting others down,

4. What’s holding you back from your dream job? (If you already have your dream job, how did you get there?)
Experience.  In the current climate it's really hard to compete.  That's why I'm going to grad school.

5. You have $500 to spend but it has to be on one item only. Go.
Frye boots, I've been lusting like "whoa".

6. What is something that you are embarrassed to admit you buy on a regular basis?
I've cut back on my spending this fall.  Outside of bills, it's mostly food purchases, and I can't think of anything embarrassing I purchase a lot.  When I was younger lass, I purchased a lot of shoes and nail polish (a.k.a. a couple months ago).  If you know me well, and can think of something, now is the time to call me out!

7. What’s in/on your bed every night?
Me.  Usually my cell phone (a decent distance from my person).  An extra blanket.  A handful of pillows. And if I'm at my parent's, their springer spaniel.

8. What is a non-necessity item that, no matter how expensive it gets or how tight your budget if, you will always find room for it?
One pair of jeans that fits really, really well.  So versatile and helpful for putting together many an outfit.

9. What is the weirdest sandwich you’ve ever made?
I don't really do "weird" sandwiches.  I like cream cheese on my grilled cheese sandwiches, but I think that's more indulgent than weird.

10. Would you rather: Be banned from Pinterest forever, but gain a million captive Twitter followers; or, never get on Facebook again but gain five thousand blog readers?
I'd probably give up Facebook, not because I really, really desire making it big with my blog, but because I'm completely addicted to Pinterest.  I don't want to give it up.  Ever.


Life's Little (annoying) Surprises

I had invited a friend over after we finished up a school project to have dinner.  She was following me home when I heard an thumping noise and felt my car veer right.

The passenger side front tire was completely flat.  As a pancake.

But we prevailed.

You can read more about our adventure over at C's blog for class, all about learning about car care.  I was so happy to provide her with easy blog material.

(For serious, go give my friend some love.)

I came home and made homemade mac 'n' cheese for some good comfort.  And drank wine.  It just needed to happen.

Luckily, today has been wonderfully relaxing and fun.  My dad came down for the day and we spent time thrifting, eating at a great Indian restaurant, going to a college basketball game, shopping a little, and getting fro-yo.  Many of my favorite things here in Seattle.

Now I'm relaxing and getting ready to meet up with friends at an Irish pub for some evening fun.  It's like I actually have a life down here in the Emerald City.  I kind of like it (even if I could go for a little more sleep).

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends like "whoa"!


Awkward and Awesome: And so it goes.

I don't even have much to say right now, so I'll just let you read on.  Happy almost Friday!

- Day 2 of a headache that actually kept me from working yesterday. So instead I drove up north Tuesday night, hung out in bed/on the couch, and drove back down for class Wednesday afternoon.  Awesome.
- Having a ton of stuff due this next week.  It's time to buckle down and focus my energy.  You know, the energy sucked up by my head.
- My desire to stay in bed all the day long. It does not help with my productivity.  Not at all.
- How early it gets dark. It's like the day is over before it really gets going.  And I hate driving to class in the dark.  But just think, only three more months of this.
- The amount of blog reading and writing I do.  Between this blog and my blog for school, plus all of the blogs I try to follow it's pretty much out of control.
- Irritating my face with apple cider vinegar.  You can read more about on my "going green" blog.

- Whole Foods salad bar and Jamba Juice.  So good.  And healthy.  Everybody wins (except my bank account).
- Dumpster diving (or hectoring as my dad would say) with friends from grad school (also having friends from grad school) that resulted in free chocolate.
- Being able to wear my sister's pants. This is a new development that brings so much wardrobe joy.
- Getting tickets from a friend to see some college basketball this weekend. So sweet!
- Power reading through two chapters before class last night.
- My cousins adorable little baby.  I can't wait to meet him!!!
- Payday!
- Getting one of two presentations done for the quarter last night.  Also, feeling pretty good about my grade for that class.  Now I just need to build a website, no big deal.


Recent Food Stuff

Now that I don't live with the padres, I actually cook now and again.  I try to cook ALL the time, so I just make really big batches and feast of leftovers.

Anyway, I thought I'd highlight a couple dishes I've cooked recently that turned out really, really delicious.  And that I want to keep eating.

I should warn you that I don't actually cook by recipe much, unless I something pretty specific and new in mind.  But I'll do my best to estimate for you.

First up are Sweet Potato Enchiladas.  I'm seriously addicted to sweet potatoes.  You'll see it a few times.

To make these I peeled, cut, and roasted three semi-large sweet potatoes.  To roast, I left in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  While the sweet potatoes were roasting, I sauteed diced onion (1/2 an onion) and minced garlic (3 cloves--I love garlic!), added already cooked black beans (1 can) to let the flavor mix and stirred them into a bowl with corn (1 can, but I prefer frozen).

Once the potatoes were done,  I heated tortillas to make them easy to work with.  I opened up my enchilada sauce (1 large can, from scratch was not in the plans for this project) and spread a little along the bottom of the pan.  Then, one-by-one, I filled tortillas with the sweet potatoes and vegetable mixture and rolled them up in the pan.

When the pan was full, I topped it with the remaining enchilada sauce and lots of grated cheese.  I cooked the enchiladas at 350 for about 25 minutes--long enough for the cheese to melt and bubble.

A few notes: I probably wouldn't use the corn again, certainly not from the can.  And I'd be tempted to add sauteed mushrooms.  But then, I'm as addicted to mushrooms as I am to sweet potatoes.  Finally, the enchilada sauce is pretty key.  Make you pick a tasty one.  I got El Pato and really liked it.

That's the recipe for this week.  I'll do my best to continue share things I'm making.  You know, the ones that actually taste good.


Ten on Tuesday: A Potpourri

As you can see, I'm busy working on reading for school.  I actually finished a really dense chapter and promised myself a break.  In the form of blogging.  That's when you know you are addicted.  For serious.

Head on over to Roots and Rings if you want to join in this week's Ten on Tuesday questions.

1. What's your favorite television show for each day of the week?
Sunday - The Good Wife
Monday - The Sing-Off
Tuesday - The New Girl
Wednesday - Criminal Minds
Thursday - Grey's Anatomy
Friday - Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Saturday - it's my day off

And yes, I do watch a lot of television.

2. How many times do you wear your jeans before you wash them?
Until I notice visible stains or they get really stretched out.  It's an exact science.

3. What is your favorite pasta shape?
I like the "bite size" types.  Spiral, bowtie, penne--that sort of thing.

4. Do you read newspapers?
Sometimes.  I try to keep up on current events, but more often than not I read specific articles, not the whole paper.

5. Do you sleep in socks?
Never.  They drive me nuts.  My feet get hot.  I kick them off.  Then they are in the bed.  Not okay.  I'd rather tough out a short period of cold feet.

6. Favorite genre of movie?
It really depends on my mood.  Sometimes I need comedy, other times it's a good chick flick, maybe some action.  I am really all over the place.

7. How do you feel about wrestling?
Depends, are we talking WWF or freestyle/grecco-roman Olympic style.  I worked for USA Wrestling (true story) so I have soft spot in my heart for those athletes.  And once you understand it, it can be captivating.  I still find the practice areas or "mat rooms" more than a little gross (even though they are cleaned A LOT).

8. Should men pluck their eyebrows?
How do the eyebrows look afterwards?  That pretty much determines whether the plucking was a good idea, men and women alike.

9. Do you have dimples?
I'm dimple-less.

10. Do you like to camp?
Yes, definitely.  I grew up camping.  It's been a while and I definitely need to do some camping next spring/summer.  And yes, I am a bit of a fair weather camper.  It's self-preservation.


Friday Photo Dump

It's been a while (and by a while, I mean 12 days) since I've shared some photos of life recently.  Obviously, we're long over due.

Highlights from the past however long: two different Halloween outfits for which I bought nothing, a fresh hair cut (grow bangs grow!), new dishes cooked and eaten, beautiful fall colors and sunshine, and time with the family.

Happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend!


Awkward and Awesome: It Keeps Coming

I've hit that point in the quarter, with the driving and the class, where I really just want to sleep.  I'm lucky if I fall asleep before midnight.  I've spent more on gas than the past year or so prior combined.

But this program, school, is totally worth it.  And I have my days of non-work when I don't have to get up at a set time.  You better believe I take advantage of that.

Anyways, on to the awkward and awesomes...

- Having my gas cap fall off and roll under my car Tuesday night.  I was stopped at 11:30 at night.  The perfect time for a girl by herself to gas up.  And it was cold.  I did what anyone would do--put my car in neutral and Fred Flintstoned it.  Nothing like a little foot power to get the car moving and gas cap recovered without having to crawl on the ground.
- Finding a cheap gas option and that gas station being closed for the evening.
- Giving in to a craving for fast food last night.  Let's be real though, it was delicious and I made it halfway through the quarter before giving in.
- The first time having to scrape my windshield this year.  Never an enjoyable task.
- Hitting that point in the quarter at school where it doesn't seem possible to get everything done in the time left.
- My parallel parking attempt last night.  It was dismal at best.  And that's usually something I excel at.  Always have.

- Feeling like I have a lot to do and I"m making the most of my time.  What are your keys to efficiency?

- Having a class cancelled today at work--giving me time to run a few errands and drive south early enough to miss traffic.
- A fun Halloween weekend.  Old friends, new friends, outfits that I paid $0 for.
- Egg Nog lattes.  They pretty much make my life this time of year.
- Feeling like I know a little bit about web programming.  I can't really do it at this point, but I can speak a little of the language.
- the combination of Target, happy hour, and froyo.  Pretty hard to beat.
- Sunny fall days.  We've been having them regularly interspersed between the rain/fog/dark normal stuff and I love it.  It makes the shorter days doable.
- Skyping with our Finnish cousins.  It was so good to see them and catch up!
- My cousin should be having her baby in the next few days.  She's due tomorrow.  I can't wait to meet little JR.
- Finding out another cousin is having a baby later this year.  So many babies.  Except for me.  That's not going to happen for quite a while.


My Other Blog

I swear I'm not cheating on you all with another blog.  I mentioned last week that I had started up a blog for a class at school.  It's something I'm pretty excited about and wanted to share with all my readers here.

The blog is Using This, Not That over on Wordpress.  It's about my transition to making better choices in the products I'm using, both for environmental and personal health reasons.

I think it's easy to become passive as a consumer and it's really important for us to be critical of how, where, and on what we're spending our money.

I don't think there's one "right" way to live, but I do think we can also make small changes that will have an impact on our own lives and the world around us.  Those changes can even be easy and more cost effective than what we are currently doing.  For real.

I've published a total of four posts so far, so I'm pretty much an expert already (SF).

You can check out my latest post here.  I'd love to get your feedback, hear your knowledge, and have you call me out on anything that doesn't really make sense.


Ten on Tuesday: Back from a Hiatus

I'm feeling a little bit behind schedule this morning, ahem, afternoon.  Now how did that happen?  Obviously, putting together a blog post will only help this feeling.  Right?

Anyways, I'm back for Ten on Tuesday this week.  Head on over to Chelsea's blog to join in on the fun.

1. What is your favorite month?  
I really love June.  The days are long and somewhat sunny, the promise of the whole summer is before you, the grass is beautifully green, and my birthday is fast approaching.  

2. What is the best candy to get while trick or treating? 
I love anything chocolate and peanut butter.  Reese's peanut butter cups were always the best.

3. What kind of pen do you use? 
I use whatever pen happens to be lying around.  I actually can't remember the last time I purchased a pen.  Is that weird?

4. You go to a new Italian restaurant, what is your go-to order? 
Probably some sort of seafood pasta or a stuffed ravioli.  But with a side of salad so it's really healthy.

5. If you could choose to have any celebrity’s hair, who’s would you choose? 
I really love Zooey Deschenal's hair, minus the bangs because they would drive me batty.  Really, this question should read, what celebrity's hair stylist would you like to do your hair, because you know their hair doesn't look that great magically.

Also Diane Lane's hair in Under the Tuscan Sun is glorious.

6. What’s your favorite board game? 
How about some of my favorites from childhood -- Sorry, Clue, and Yahtzee (I know, not really a boardgame).

7. Do you know how to play poker? 
I've been known to play now again, but I'm not serious about it.  I can deal Texas Hold 'Em if I need to.

8. What do you think about Old Navy commercials? 
Let's be honest, Old Navy commercials have never really be pieces of art, or creative genius, but the current campaign is even worse than usual.

9. What hurts worse- a stubbed toe or a paper cut? 
That could be pretty situational dependent.  A cardboard cut is absolutely awful.  But if you stubbed your toe hard enough to break it?  That's no fun either.  Most of the time, I'd probably rather have a stubbed toe.  It hurts for a bit and then you get over it.  With a papercut, you are reminded every time the wrong liquid hits it.

10. What’s your favorite kind of pie?
I'll be honest.  I'm not much of a pie person.  I love eating raw pie dough, though.  And anything with a cookie crust is pretty yummy.


Awkward and Awesome: Brought to you by Friday

I know, I know.  This is late.  But seriously, this week has kicked my butt.  I was driving back to work-home after class Tuesday night, and for the first time this quarter I felt completely exhausted.

But I've made it half way through and we were told in orientation that this first quarter is the hardest.  And once I get through this weekend and next week and a few more weeks after that, I will be on break.  So that's not so bad, right?

I have been working on my list of Awkwards and Awesomes, so I wanted to share, even if I am a day late.

- how sweaty biking too and from campus makes me.  Not that it stops me, but I don't have to like it.
- my level of tiredness this evening. Yesterday was long, this morning was early, and I was not as productive this afternoon as I had hoped. Sometimes you just have to take a break.
- a health scare with my mom last Friday involving her heart. A stressful afternoon. Things turned out much better than expected though.
- my sleep schedule.  For serious, my body wakes up on its own, at the earliest, around 8:30am.  But since I often have to be awake late into the night, I don't mind.  The only real problem is on the two work days when I have to be up around 7:30.  That's not fun.
- forgetting my homemade apple butter at my parent's house again.  Someday I'll get to actually eat some.
- the amount of reading I have to get done this weekend.  And of course, I'm choosing to blog right now instead.

- seeing pictures of a friend's baby sucking it's thumb in utero. So freaking adorable.
- roommate hangouts that involve long walks in the park and froyo. Yummy.
- getting to cook and bake. I've recently feel in love with sweet potatoes enchiladas and I whipped up a batch of apple butter over the weekend.
- some really beautiful fall weather. There were a few days that had the perfect fall weather. The sun was shiny and the temperature was crisp. So lovely.
- getting my hair cut and styled. It's the chance to have a hairstyle you could never replicate.  I'm always determined to make them last as long as possible.
- winning a $20 gift card at a styling event with Emerald Closet at Gap last night.  So fun to have my name called!
- lots of fun plans for the weekend and finally figuring out what I'm dressing up as.  And not having to buy a thing for my outfit.  I'll share pictures soon.
- the delicious quiche and coffee I had this morning.


This Week in Photos

Now that I've had some time to play with my iPhone and it's amazing camera, I thought I'd share my life in pictures.

I've always wanted to do a better job of documenting my life through photos and now that I will always have a decent camera with me, I think I might actually accomplish it.  Fingers crossed.

It's been a bit of a crazy weekend and I'm still working hard at school stuff while watching my team lose.  You know, the fun stuff.

At least you can enjoy (?) some pictures...
Have a good Sunday Funday Fatday tomorrow!  (A.K.A. Relax, enjoy yourself, and don't think about calories.)


Awkward and Awesome: #25

If my tags are to be trusted, this is the 25th time I've participated in Awkward and Awesome.  Wowsa.  Who knew I had could be so committed?!

- still in my pajamas after sleeping in until 11:30 this morning the schedule of the past week did me in.
- trying to muster up the energy to get some school work done. Hey, at least I already worked today.  At home.  In my pajamas.
- autocorrect on my iPhone leading my roommates to think I was drunk last weekend.  I was at Hard Rock, not Hard Rick.  Also, I had only had one beer at that point.
- having to edit a transcript twice for work.
- my time online just being increased by school.  I mean, now I have an excuse, but it's pretty much impossible to get away.

- the recent blogger bake swap.  Shanna over at Shanna Like Banana sent me some really delicious pumpkin dark chocolate chunk cookies.  Thanks!
- winning Katie's shop-my-closet giveaway over at Glamorous Without the Guilt.  More fun stuff in the mail.
- my cousin sending my watch and contacts case that I left behind on my last trip across the mountains. Now I know what time it is and I can see!
- Fun plans for the weekend including a visit with an old friend tomorrow and a birthday celebration.
- Baking.  I love that fall temperatures make something warm and delicious out of the over that much better.
- using Skype as part of our class this week.  It was so cool.  Also, there's constant Twitter conversations, in case any of you who follow me there are wondering about the #mcdm546 hashtags.


Apartment Tour, the bedroom.

I thought I'd finally share a little piece of our apartment with you all.  We're starting in the bedroom my sister and I share.  We've slowly made it home and I think we're happy with it.

If only there was a little more storage.  Like a massive walk-in closet or something.  That'd be nice.  But I don't think our bank accounts could handle it.

I'm getting away from the point of sharing the pictures with you though.  So here you go...

 Left: view walking in the door; Right: Looking left towards the shower.
Top view: vanity with bedroom door on left; Bottom: looking into bedroom from the vanity area.
Top left: back towards the vanity and blackboard vinyl decals on wall; 
Bottom left: wider view of wall with dresser, TV, my bedside table; 
Middle: My side of the closet, organized by type of clothes and color;
Right: Our only window and bookshelf (mostly shoes).
Top: My bed and artwork, decal from etsy & framed pictures from Michaels, duvet cover from Ikea;
Bottom: My sister's side, tin artwork was mostly gifts, I bought her the duvet cover from Marimekko in Finland this summer.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, our shoes.  The right picture is mine and the left is ours combined.  Luckily enough we wear the same size shoes.  Winning!


The obsession is just beginning.

I don't actually have my iPhone 4S yet.  But the phone is in the same city as me now.  It's a long convoluted story that I won't get into today.  Suffice it to say, I'm a little itchy to get ahold of it and start playing.

In the interim, I've been obsessing researching iPhone cases to protect my baby from my clumsy ways.  There are a ton of options out there.  It's overwhelming.

So I did what anyone would do when overwhelmed...I bought two.

There was the practical, recommended choice, which is pretty:
Speck Candyshell
And the fun, nostalgic choice (via my brother):
eBay Etch-a-Sketch case
What do you think?


Awkward and Awesome: Yep.

My brain is a little shot.  I think it's the whole grad school, work, wandering the state, etc. stuff I have going on in life.  So this is what you get for Thursday, because I've been staring at this box for way too long.

Happy almost Friday all!

- Headaches
- Having a box of wine in my trunk for three weeks. It finally made it inside today.
- Being "this close" to being able to hang all the art in our living room. We need a couple frames and a good day of crafting.  And some paint and glue.
- Class all day long this Sunday.  I'm sure I'll learn a ton of useful stuff, but it's going to be a long day.
- The downpour on my drive home on Tuesday.  I could barely see getting off the freeway.  Crazytown.

- My purity ring that my parents bought me fitting again. This losing weight stuff is something.
- A few free groceries from my dad. And free laundry at my parents.
- Froyo...there's a fabulous place right in the neighborhood. You make your own concoction and pay by the ounce. Delicious and totally reasonably priced.
- The Sing Off.  I love a cappella music.  Times a lot.
- Sunny fall days.  The air is crisp and clean. I can't get enough.


(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Pictures from not very recently.  But enjoy anyways.  Also, these are completely untouched.  I just thought I'd add that disclaimer.
A gorgeous sunset.

DIY Sparkly Frenchtip variation

Soap making with the mom and sis.

Gorgeous flowers.

Driving an old farm truck.

Froyo and sunnies--back when it was summer.

On a wine tasting adventure.


Weekend Snapshot (pictures not included)

The weekend was a blast.  It's always great to spend time with family and I have a growing fondness for driving whenever possible.

Not only did we celebrate my cousin's soon-to-be born little baby boy (can't wait to meet him!), but I got to hang out with one of my closest friends from college, and bonfire it up for my other cousin's birthday.

I'd love to show you pictures of the weekend, but I completely forgot it on the kitchen counter.  I know that seems like a weird location, but I just had to take pictures of homemade pizza last week.

Instead, I'll improvise with a few verbal "pictures" (a.k.a. descriptions) for you.

Friday: Driving across the state, after a little meander through Redmond.  It was lovely little side trip.  Catching up with my cousin's wife, who tagged along for the ride.

Saturday morning: My cousin's shower, full of lots of food (because that's how we roll), family and friends, and some really adorable baby gifts.

Saturday afternoon: A visit to the organic farm for pumpkins and u-pick flowers.  Games at the friend's house.  Hearing about exciting life changes.  Drinking homemade strawberry lemonade.

Saturday evening: scoping out my cousin's new tattoo, his delicious birthday dinner and present time, and a bonfire with 50 or 60 of his closest friends.  Also featured at the bonfire, a pitcher of margaritas shared by my sister and I.

Sunday: Mostly spent driving across the state after watching Bridesmaid with the aunt, sister, and a completely different cousin in the morning.  Finishing up a video for work.  Watching some TV and snuggling with the Jamaica-dog.

That brings me to Monday.  During which I worked and did a little more driving.  It was a blast, thanks for asking.

(I really should come up with nicknames for each of my cousins so it's less confusing, but I don't have the energy for that right now.)

Now onto the rest of a week, which includes work, class, and a to-do list a mile long or so.


My Memories Winner

The winner of the MyMemories software is Brittany!  Congrats!  Shoot me an email at lizard22w(at)gmail(dot)com for your download code.

And don't forget you can buy your software for $10 off, and get $10 to use towards downloads, with my code: STMMMS68576.

(Disclaimer: I will receive $20 for every purchase made using the discount code. But hey, we both win!)



I'm headed off to the east side of the state for the weekend.  My cousin is having a baby and the next month and it's time to give her some gifts to prepare her.  

I'm pretty excited to see family, maybe a friend or two, and use all the time in the car to get some reading done for school.  The joys of being back at it.

In other exciting news, I ordered an iPhone 4S last night.  It was a bit of a pain, but I got an order confirm so I'm not going to complain any more than that.  Pretty much just a first world problem anyway.

Before I take off for a land far, far away, I wanted to remind you to go enter my giveaway.  Free online scrapbook software.  And your chances of winning are really high.  Don't even stop to think about it--just do it.  

And have a great weekend.  I hope to be back next week with more than three posts.  But no promises.  Life is a little crazy.

Now excuse me while I go pack.


Ten on Tuesday hits the century mark.

Psst! Don't forget to enter my giveaway

This week is the 100th of Chelsea hosting Ten on Tuesday over at her blog.  That's practically two years. Crazy!

Feel free to head on over to her blog and join in on the celebrations.  She'll be drawing for the 100th giveaway tonight, so there's still a chance to win.

1. How do you take your coffee?
Lately I've been taking my espresso in my chai.  However, this summer I started drinking coffee with just a little milk thanks to the Finnish relatives.

2. Do you prefer soft or crispy chocolate chip cookies?
Soft.  Less baked.  A cookie dough consistency.  Okay, really I just like cookie dough.

3. Do you wear a belt everyday?
No, though I probably wear a belt more now than I have in years.

4. What is your favorite color combination?
For real, I have to pick one?  Um, lately I've been digging turquoise, white, and black with pops of red.  But it really depends on the day and what I see on Pinterest.

5. Do you like sour candy?
Yes.  I don't eat it often though because it makes my cheeks hurt.  Just me?

6. How often do you do laundry?
Recently I've been doing laundry weekly, when I'm back at my parent's house, but that's unusual.  In the past, I've lasted for however long I still have clean underway.  Everything else I can improvise.

7. Did you ever wear braces?
Yes, and for much longer than the orthodontist told me I'd have to.  But I don't have the overbite anymore, so that's good.

8. Are you good at Roman Numerals?
To a certain point, then it's all letters jumbled together.

9. What is your favorite form of social media?
Twitter has been my top choice of late.  Or Pinterest.  I have been neglecting Facebook and G+.  Pick your battles.

10. How do you feel about chin dimples?
They are cute.


First Giveaway Ever!

I'm super excited about this, guys.  I am doing a giveaway.  For you.  And it's all thanks to the people over at My Memories.

This is award winning digital scrapbook software that is extremely easy and fun to use.  My Memories Suite is rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews.

I am not a scrap booker.  I love the idea of it, but don't have the patience or creativity to make what I would like.  So the idea of a digital version, when I do most of my photo work on a computer anyways, is very appealing.

I am especially excited to put it to use in documenting my trip from earlier this summer.

For example, I can highlight major locations I visited in Great Britain with a simple collage:

And while My Memories is scrapbook software, it can be used for other projects as well.

As you know, I recently moved south for the winter for grad school and still haven't had many people over to see the new place.  Someday soon we hope to have an open house for family and friends, so I whipped up a little invite:

There are countless other fun projects I spotted on My Memories, including Christmas tags, calendars, and much more.

Entering to win is simple.  Visit MyMemories.com, look at the digital paper packs, layouts, etc., and leave me a comment about what you liked.

You have through Friday to enter (before 12am PST Saturday, October 8).  I'll do a random drawing and announce the winner over the weekend.

Now go check it out!

If you can't wait for the end of the giveaway for the software, you can buy it now for $10 off the price and $10 to use on downloads.  Just use the code: STMMMS68576.

(Disclaimer: I will receive $20 for every purchase made using the discount code.  But hey, we both win!)


Fall Fashion Week: Until We Meet Again

This is it.  The end.  Finito.  It has been a fun fashion-filled week.  And I loved all the encouragement, compliments, and love floating around.

It's been lovely.  Uplifting.  Wonderful.

On the other hand, I am excited about having a little more free time.  There were a lot of blogs to keep up with.

This outfit is actually similar to what I wore on the ultimately fateful (but fun) trip wine tasting last week.  The shirt and shoes are the same, with a different pair of pants.

A word about the shoes--I purchased them this summer on my grand European adventure, and I can walk in them forever.  Seriously.  Love!

Thanks again for an amazing week!  Can't wait to see you all again next time.  Head over to Emery's blog to check everyone else out and thank our lovely host!

Outfit Details:
shirt: Nordstrom, jeans: Gap (straight leg, my new fave)
shoes: York, London, watch: Anne Klein, 
bracelet: gift from Finnish cousins


Fall Fashion Week: In a Rush

Lucky for you all, it's time for a sneak peak of the apartment (I've been here long enough I can't even call it new anymore).  It's the sidewalk out front.  Yay!

As you may or may not be able to tell, I'm a little loopy right now.  I woke up late this morning and haven't really been able to relax since.  There was work, driving, school, more work, and now a blog post.

And the blog post is definitely taking the smallest chunk of time.  And now that I think about it, that's a good thing.

It should be noted that today was a little warm for tights, except for walking to my car this morning and after class tonight.  Also not pictured is the cardigan worn during those brief periods.  You'll have to get over my omission.

Don't forget to visit Emery's blog (I'm a terrible person for not including the cool button this whole time) and check out all the beautiful women.  I'll be back tomorrow to actually look at some outfit posts.  Today was a big of a lost cause for that.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments!

(Something really weird is going on with my chin/neck here.)
Outfit Details:
dress: no clue, maybe a gift, Mom?
tights: Hue, boots: Steve Madden

As you can see I went light on the accessories.  I had my white watch on, but the battery died a little before 2pm.  Oh well.

Also, these photos were taken in about 30 seconds by my sister.  Not picture: my curtsy.  I did it too quickly for her to catch on camera.  I'm a ninja.  A curtsy ninja.

On that note, I really, really should go to bed.  Happy Thursday!


Fall Fashion Week: Magenta

I don't have many words today.  There's been some frustration to deal with and I don't really want that to spill out here.

And tomorrow's going to be a long day, that includes my very first grad school class.  6-10pm.

So I'll just leave you with my outfit for today.

And a reminder to head over to the fabulous Emery's blog to see what everyone else is wearing!

(Guest starring our springer spaniel, Jamaica.)
Outfit details:
cardigan & shirt: Gap, skirt: J. Crew 
tights: Hue (Macy's), shoes: Rocket Dog 
purse: (thrifted and gifted by my cousin)
necklace: purchased at Portobello Market in London
glasses: SpexClub

Ten on Tuesday: Doubling Up

I'll keep the intro short and sweet, since you are getting so much posting from me this week.  Here's the Ten on Tuesday questions for the week, all about traveling.  Head on over to Chelsea's blog to join in.

1. What is your dream vacation?
I'll let you know when I experience it.  I love the idea of going to a tropical destination and staying in a hut over the water.  I want to jump off the deck into the water and lounge around reading.  

2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?  
Europe this summer, hands down, was the best ever.  Costa Rica might come in at second.  A trip across the Canadian Rockies, through Calgary, and down to Glacier in Montana was another good one.  I've had a lot of pretty awesome opportunities in my life.

3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why? All expenses paid? 
Honestly, one week doesn't sound like long enough.

4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
I've used websites to book flights or hotels, but I've never booked a whole vacation that way.  Sometimes I'm tempted by deals, but part of me wonders if they would really be as good as they seem.

5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?  
Depends on where I'm visiting.  Sometimes I like to relax, sometimes I like to take in as many sites as possible.

6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?  
I'm not one to let an opportunity to travel slip through my fingers.  In fact, if there are any offers out there, I'm available.  (Not really, but I could make it happen.)

7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without? 
Clean underwear or a toothbrush.

8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories? 
Using old receipts to play hangman while on the day cruise from Helsinki to Tallinn this summer with my aunt and cousins.  We might have gone crazy otherwise.  It was a long 4 hours of sitting around.

9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
I'd probably go with the resort, but only because it seems way beyond my means.  Well, it doesn't just seem beyond my means.  It is beyond my means.  That said, there are some places it would be really cool to backpack.

10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights? 
Haha...see question five.  That totally depends on where I'm vacationing.