Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide

Yesterday I guest blogged for Rebecca at I Want to be a Domestic Goddess for her Holiday Gift Guide Series. We were asked to choose a few items under $50 dollars as well as a splurge item. Since I am obviously having trouble coming up with posts, I figured I would share my picks with you all as well!



These slippers look so warm and cozy. But honestly, most slippers look warm and cozy, right? What makes these slippers different are the bright, contrasting colors. They are so fun! I think the Green Tea slippers would really help to jazz up my pajamas! (P.S. You can get free shipping at LL Bean through December 20th!)

Personalized Clairebella Phone Case $52




This iPhone or BlackBerry case is perfect for anyone that loves to monogram everything they own. Not that I know anything about that. Ahem. There are lots of pretty patterns and color choices to choose from, making this an awesome way to personalize your phone. I would choose the Black Damask print and get Script font in Lime!

Ballard Designs Custom Stamp $40



This custom stamp from Ballard Designs is just what I need since we are planning to move soon. It can’t be ordered for me quite yet because we won’t be buying a house until the spring (and obviously don’t have an address yet), but it is definitely on my wish list. I love the classic look of the Wallace stamp. If the font and design aren’t exactly what you are looking for, you can check out the other designs Ballard offers.

Additional Custom Stamp Ink $12


An extra ink pad is the obvious companion gift for the custom stamp! While the black ink that is included with the stamp is perfect for daily use, sometimes you just need to shake things up with some color! I would go with Lime (which is obviously a favorite color of mine!) or maybe Grapefruit Pink.

Damask 16 piece Dinnerware Set from Target $49.99

These dishes would be a great addition to my current dinnerware collection. The damask print is so pretty and would be perfect for a dinner party. I would probably get a lot of every day use out of them too, just because the pattern is so fun!

Splurge Items

Before our wedding my husband bought me a Canon Rebel. I love the camera and use it often, but I would love to splurge on a bigger lens, a bag, and some photography classes. I like taking portraits, so the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras would be perfect!


I also would love a Kelly Moore Bag to carry around all my camera stuff. I have my eye on the Kelly Moore Classic Bag in Grey. It is both pretty and functional!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fun Little Saturday

Yesterday we headed out to Alexandria to have Kona groomed at PetSmart. We had time to kill so we headed to Target and TJ Maxx to buy some snow gear for our upcoming ski weekend. It started out as a serious shopping trip and progressively got more ridiculous.

First we hit up the boots section of Target. I have small feet and can usually fit into the largest kid's size, so I checked them out first since they are usually cheaper. I found a cute pair that fit really well. I didn't get an up close picture and they aren't on the Target website, but they are dark brown with light pink trim. I really liked them!

We then headed to the girls' section to check out snow pants. They didn't have any in the women's section! As soon as we saw these pants we knew I had to have them. If I am going to attempt to ski I might as well go all out, right? Plus they were only $17!


We then found the matching jacket. Awesome, no? I would have bought the jacket just to make the ensemble complete, but it was $35 and I don't NEED it. Sad.


I ended up not getting the boots because the pants have black in them and I don't want to mix black and brown. (But I will wear ridiculous plaid snow pants...crazy I know). I'm now on the lookout for cute black boots!

Next we headed to TJ Maxx where AJ found this amazing hat set. I almost died of laughter in the middle of the store. I think he would scare the children on the ski slope, so we opted to not buy the hat.

I'm not sure what got into us yesterday, but we were so silly and ridiculous. It sure was fun though!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Christmas Card Choosing Season!

I love sending Christmas cards, especially since we live away from our families. We were able to spend time with my extended family more than normal this year because we were in NY for the summer, but we still only saw most family members a couple of times. Most of AJ's family we haven't seen since 2008. We also have friends all over the country that we only get to see maybe once a year. For this reason, I really enjoy including a photo in our cards. I know our friends and family like receiving the pictures because I have seen them on their refrigerators and cork boards. And not just our picture....other people's Christmas photos are up there too (Don't worry I know I'm not that important!). This year I am combining the card with a photo and plan to use Shutterfly because they have so many pretty options! They even have some that are printed on premium card stock. Pretty and great quality? Yes, please!

I am currently trying to decide between these three cards:





I love all the damask options! Now I just need to decide if I want to go simple or choose a design that is a tad more ornate. Oh and take the perfect photo!

You can get 50 free Christmas cards too...just click here!

Disclaimer: I will be provided with 50 free holiday cards as a result of this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where do we go from here?

We are now in the stage of "where do we go from here?". I am not sure I can definitively answer that question, but we do have a few things planned that are helping us look to the future instead of dwell on the past. That doesn't mean we will ever forget what happened or the baby that we lost, just that we need to move forward and go on with our lives.

So what do we have to look forward to in the coming months?

Attending the Penn State vs. Indiana game at Fed Ex Field. We didn't attend Penn State, but I have a few friends that did and I went to a bunch of games back when I was in college. We are going with one of my friends that we haven't seen since our wedding! It will definitely be a fun time.

Hosting our parents for Thanksgiving in DC. This whole experience has really opened my eyes to the importance of family. I really miss my parents and can't wait to see them in a couple of weeks. We are lucky that our parents get along with each other pretty well despite their differences. We have spent two previous Thanksgivings together, and we always have a nice time.

Seeing Elf on Broadway at Christmas time. AJ surprised me with tickets the other night. I cried (tears of joy). Elf is my favorite Christmas movie of all time and I have wanted to see the show since the day I heard it was coming to Broadway. We are just going up for one night, but it will be a great holiday getaway.

Renting a house for a ski weekend with friends. My work friends and I just booked an awesome house in Western Maryland for a ski vacation over MLK weekend. And it is an amazing deal to boot! The house has a hot tub and a pool table and is only a few minutes away from the ski resort. It should be an epic weekend.

Vacationing in Grand Cayman with my parents. Instead of getting us a bunch of stuff we don't need for Christmas, my parents are paying for us to go with them to Grand Cayman over President's Day weekend. We haven't been on a "real" vacation since our honeymoon, so this will be a perfect escape before a stressful spring and summer (what with buying a house, moving, the bar, and all).

So where do we go from here? Apparently we go on a lot of trips and spend a lot of time with family and friends. But seriously though, being around those that love, support, and distract you really does help. And being in fun places doesn't hurt either. We will also be spending a lot of time enjoying our last few months in DC. After all of that maybe we will be ready to start trying for another baby. Until then, we are just a normal couple soaking up all the fun that we can!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two Weeks Later

It has been two weeks and I am happy to report that I am feeling a little better.

This has been one of the most difficult emotional experiences I have ever had. I still have moments where I get sad. I sometimes cry. In general, though, I am doing okay. My doctor told me that it can take months, years, or even the birth of a healthy baby before I fully accept what happened to our baby. That is tough information to hear, but I am just trying to remember that it should get easier every day.

I am not going to go into great detail about the miscarriage, my reaction to the meds, my follow-up appointment, the emotional roller coaster, or any other graphic information, but if you would like to know about my experience, I am more than willing to email with you. I found great comfort (and hope!) in the stories other women have shared with me. Each woman's experience really helped me to feel less alone and also helped me to understand my own thoughts and feelings. I hope no one has to go through pregnancy loss, but realistically I know that some women will. If it does happen, know that I am here to listen or chat.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank You

I chose to write about my loss because I wanted sympathy. Maybe that makes me selfish, but sympathy is what I truly needed at that point. What I got was so much more than that. I can't even begin to express my gratefulness for all the love and support I received from you all. This has been the most difficult week of my life, and each and every comment, tweet, email, text, and phone call has helped me to grieve the loss of my first pregnancy and slowly pushed me toward the path to acceptance. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sad News

Today was supposed to be the day that I announced my pregnancy to all my blog and twitter friends. Instead I am here writing with a heavy heart and tears streaming down my face because I found out this morning that my pregnancy is no longer viable.

I have so much going through my head right now, that I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start with feelings. Devastation, sadness, anger, disappointment, and embarrassment are the first ones that come to mind. I'm also confused because we had two positive ultrasounds. One at 7 weeks and one at 8 weeks. Warning: the rest of this paragraph is TMI. I had my first ultrasound at 7 weeks because I was spotting and cramping and we ended up in the ER. I didn't get to see the sonogram at 7 weeks, but we were told that the baby was measuring on track and that there was a strong heartbeat. I stopped spotting a couple days later and when I had an ultrasound at my OB's office a week later, again, everything looked great. I started spotting on and off the next week and it continued for the rest of the pregnancy. Up until this weekend, the spotting had all been brown. As my doctor repeatedly told me, brown blood is old blood, and I shouldn't worry too much. On Saturday, I started spotting more heavily and the blood had a reddish tint. Still, I tried not to freak out. This morning, however, I knew something was wrong. I passed a small clot and there were gobs of dark red blood. I cried the entire time I was in the shower, but there was still a small part of me that thought the baby might be okay. After all, I had been spotting before both of my previous ultrasounds and everything was fine. We decided to go to my appointment this morning, which was in the perinatal center, not my OB's office, because I would be getting an ultrasound for the first trimester screening. As soon as the ultrasound began, I knew it was bad news. The fetus only measured 7 weeks, 6 days and there was no visible heartbeat. The rest of the morning is a blur. The director of the perinatal center came into the room to deliver the bad news because the on call doctor was dealing with an emergency in another part of the hospital. We were both already in tears at that point, but I guess she had to officially go over the results of the ultrasound. Then the doctor came in and told us the same thing. She also noted that the gestational sac was way too large for 11 weeks. I am not really sure what that means and at this point, I can't remember what she told me. The director then walked us upstairs to my OB's office and we were seen by one of the other OBs since mine wasn't there today. The doctor walked us through our options and did a quick internal exam to check my cervix. It was still closed, so she reported that the miscarriage probably wouldn't happen on its own at this time. I opted for the medicine that will induce the miscarriage instead of a D&C. I know it will be emotionally and physically painful, but I think it is the best option for me. We then left the hospital and headed home.

I don't really know where to go from here. We have already told our family and friends the sad news. Everyone has been loving and supportive, but there is only so much anyone can say. I guess I will pack up my pregnancy books, maternity clothes, and the baby stuff I bought. I will put it all in the back of my closet. Hopefully it will come out again soon, but I sure don't need to see any of it right now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homemade Bread!

A while back I posted that I was going to review a product from CSN stores. Well I am just now getting a chance to review my product! I decided to order the Oster 58-Minute ExpressBake Breadmaker, which came with a free Zwilling JA Henckels International Eversharp Pro Deluxe 8" Bread Knife. The breadmaker comes with an Oster manual/recipe book as well.

We've made bread twice since receiving the breadmaker. Both times the process was super easy and the bread was delicious. I used this Rosemary bread recipe for the ingredients and mixing instructions and left the rest to the breadmaker.

I added the ingredients to the bin:

And added the last cup of flour while it was mixing:

All mixed and kneaded:

3 hours later:

All done:

Using the knife:


We have only used the standard 3 hour bread cycle, but as the product name reveals, there is a setting to make bread in 58 minutes. Pretty convenient for a week night bread making session. My only complaint about the breadmaker is that it is kind of noisy when mixing and kneading. However, I have never used a breadmaker before and they all might be noisy during this part of the process.

Also of note, the breadmaker shipped right away and was at my door in 3 days. Not too shabby. The knife, however, was shipped separately, and didn't arrive until the first week of October. I'm not sure why there was such a delay, but I guess since the knife comes free with the breadmaker purchase, I shouldn't complain too much. Especially since it is such a great knife! We didn't have the knife the first time we made bread, and it wasn't a pretty sight.

If you are in the market for a breadmaker, I definitely recommend this one! Thanks, CSN!

Disclaimer: I was provided with one $40 gift certificate to use toward any product available through CSN sores so that I could review the product. The balance of the bill was paid by me. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Clueless Saves the Day

I've had a pretty crappy day. Things were not going my way at work and when I got home this afternoon I had to deal with a washing machine repair man. Boo. Once he left and promised that the washing machine will work this time AND won't spew water all over our new hardwoods again, I settled into the couch to relax and watch some TV.

Luckily things got much better once I found Clueless on HBO. I mean, is there a better movie in the history of teen movies?? I don't think so.

Oh, Clueless. I didn't see it in theaters (I was 10 when it came out) and instead stumbled upon the movie when it was playing on HBO back when I was in 7th grade. (Thank you HBO for picking up what would become one of my favorite movies.) I would scan the little magazine (remember that thing? Oh the days before digital TV!) to find out when it would be playing and attempted to watch it every. single. time. it was on. I somehow did this without my parents knowing that I was watching a PG-13 movie without their approval. I finally got up the nerve and begged my mom to buy the movie for me once it was off HBO. I distinctly remember the Christmas I received the VHS and my mortification when I watched it with my mother at the tender age of 12. Yes, it led to awkward conversations, but i guess I brought it upon myself and can't complain too much. After that day, I kept the tape in my bedroom and only watched it with my girlfriends. Funny how the "embarrassing parts" pale in comparison to some of the stuff on TV and in movies today. But that is neither here nor there. Let's talk about my full on obsession with this movie. You already got a taste, right?

In 8th grade, my two BFFs (one is still my BFF!) and I printed the script and spent an entire sleepover watching and pausing the movie so that we could memorize every line. Do you remember what printers were like in 1998? It took us HOURS to print the hundreds of pages of script. We would replay parts of the movie until we had the next part of the script and could move forward. Why we actually needed the script, I don't remember. It's not like we couldn't have memorized the lines without it (holy triple negative). At the time we thought it was super important to have the script and obviously that it made us cool. We spent the next year quoting the movie non-stop. I guess at some point it became uncool to say "as if" and we reeled in the crazy, but now that Clueless is back as a cult classic, I fondly recall the crash course we took that night.

Needless to say I can still recite the movie to this day. And although many things went over my head back when I watched it in 1998 and there may be slightly different reasons that I love the movie now as compared to then, I still think Clueless is one of the best movies ever. And it will always brighten even the worst of days. Thanks again HBO!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pizza and Pasta at Oro Pomodoro

A few weeks ago a woman emailed me asking if I would like to try one of the restaurants participating in Rockville Restaurant Week. I of course said yes, so yesterday AJ and I ventured out to the 'burbs for our date night. We decided to try Oro Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant situated in the middle of Rockville Town Square.

Since the weather was so perfect in DC this weekend, when we arrived at Oro, we decided to sit outside. We had a view of everything going on in the square, including a group of guys that were breakdancing on the stage, the millions of kids playing in the rock garden, and the huge group of angsty teens that I'm guessing meet up in the square every weekend. Okay, maybe there weren't a million kids and all the teens weren't angsty, but there were definitely a lot of both and the atmosphere was very different than the one AJ and I are used to in DC. If you are cool with that scene, sit outside and enjoy the weather, otherwise you should take your meal inside. We didn't mind the action at all, but it might not be the right fit for some people.

Onto the food! We were served warm bread with olive oil after ordering and it was so good that we almost ate the whole basket. If we hadn't ordered an appetizer, we definitely would have eaten it all. The appetizer, Bruschette Pomodoro e Mozzarella (grilled rustic bread served with fresh diced tomato, mozzarella, garlic, oregano and basil), was very good (we ate it so fast I forgot to snap a picture), but if we had known we were getting delicious bread for free, we probably would have skipped the Bruschette.

For our entrees we decided to order a pizza and a half order of pasta to share. We went with the Polpettina (fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, meatballs, parmesan cheese) and Rigatoni alla Sorrentina (rigatoni with fresh mozzarella and basil in a light tomato sauce). So good. In fact, the pizza dough and the free bread appeared to be one and the same (and we all now know how much I loved that bread) so the pizza was a big hit. I definitely recommend both the pizza and the pasta.

The best part? We ordered lemonade, a glass of wine, an appetizer, a pizza, and a half order of pasta and our bill was less than $50 including tip. Yummy, reasonably priced food? You can't beat that. Oro Pomodoro FTW!

If you live in or near Rockville you should definitely check out Restaurant Week. It runs October 4-10, 2010 and features prix-fixe menus at 31 Rockville restaurants. In its’ second year, restaurants are offering either $8 Lunch/$15 Dinner OR $10 Lunch/$25 Dinner pricing options.

Disclaimer: I was provided with one $25 gift certificate to use toward our meal so that we could provide our opinion before Rockville Restaurant week. The balance of the bill was paid by me. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MmMMmMm Soup

The forecast for this weekend calls for temperatures in the 60's. I am so excited! The heat has been so oppressive (particularly at an outdoor wedding we attended this past weekend, ugh!) and I am ready for all things fall and winter. Particularly, soup. MmmMmm.

My two favorite homemade soups are vegetable beef soup and my grandma's chicken soup. I posted the chicken soup recipe for the DC Ladies a while back, but the recipe is so good I just have to share it again. I hope you enjoy them both!

Grandma's Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 oz. chicken broth
Celery, chopped into 1-2 inch logs
Carrots, chopped into discs
Heaping handful of acini de pepe (pasta that looks like tiny beads)
Salt and pepper
Water

Directions:
Fill a soup pot half full of water and bring to a boil. Cook chicken breasts in the boiling water until white throughout. Remove chicken from water and cut into small pieces. Put chicken back into water and add chicken broth, celery, and carrots. Simmer covered for an hour. Add a heaping handful of acini di pepe and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Vegetable Beef Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
6 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, carrots)
Heaping handful of orzo
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Cook beef, onion, and garlic in soup pot. Drain grease. Add tomatoes, water, and beef bouillon to beef mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add orzo and frozen vegetables and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Renovation Complete!

As I mentioned in my last post.....the renovation is FINALLY complete! The cleaners came on Friday and my husband moved all of our stuff back downstairs so that we could officially start using the new kitchen and dining room.

Here are the before pictures:

The wall to the right of window is now gone. A new window was put in.

The drywall covering the brick on the left and the bathroom on the right are gone. The new bathroom is in the closet straight ahead.

New hardwood floors, cabinets, appliances (except the dishwasher), and two big windows replaced the old kitchen.

The washer and dryer are now in cabinets and are side by side. And as I said before, the wall where they were housed is now gone.

After pictures:


As you can see from the first "after" picture, the exposed brick is two different colors. That is because the wall in the dining room used to be covered with drywall. Our landlords and the contractor said there was nothing they could do to fix it. It is more pronounced in the picture, but it still looks pretty bad in person. Oh well....we are moving in 9-10 months!

Anyway, I am so glad it is over. It is nice having a more open space and a brand new kitchen, but man...what a process!

CSN Review in the Works

A few weeks ago I was asked to review a product from CSN Stores. I have been putting off the review because I wanted to wait until the kitchen renovation was finished before choosing a product. Well....the time is here!

CSN has over 200 internet stores and offers a wide selection of products. You can find big items, such as furniture and exercise equipment, as well as smaller items, like wine glasses and dutch ovens. I haven't decided what product I am going to review, but I know it will be something for the new kitchen!

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Plan

By now you have probably forgotten that I had some exciting news I wanted to share. Yesterday we finally received the documentation we were waiting for....so I can officially share the good news with all of you!

AJ was offered a job at the law firm where he worked this summer! He worked very hard and put in a lot of hours, so I wasn't too surprised when he called me the morning of his last day at work and told me the good news. We made a lot of sacrifices this summer (long distance marriage, living with my parents, etc.), so we were very happy when he received the offer.

Unfortunately, this means we will be leaving DC next summer. This is a bummer for a few reasons. I have met some wonderful people here and I will be so sad to leave them. I have a pretty great job and am just getting into a groove where I feel comfortable and appreciated. I love city life and am a tad scared of moving back to a suburban area. Ahhh! Those three things are enough to induce a small anxiety attack.

On the other hand, I am so excited to be moving closer to my family (and even more excited to not be in the same quarters!). I grew up with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins by my side and am grateful that my children will have a similar close-knit family experience. I am also thrilled that we can afford to buy a house. And yes, I have already been looking. Also, I am so happy that my husband has a job. Period. In this economy, we just didn't know if he would find one. Even better, he will be working at a firm that doesn't require 80+ hours a week. That just wouldn't work for our family. Plus, he genuinely liked the firm atmosphere and the people that work there, so it really is a win-win situation for him!

As for me....hopefully I will make new friends (but, keep the old!) and find a new job back in Upstate NY. I know it will all work out in the end. For now, I am just happy that we have a plan and am so proud of my husband!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vapiano's Pesto e Spinaci at Home

I love, love, love Vapiano's Pesto e Spinaci. I order it every single time we eat at Vapiano. The last time I watched the chef prepare my dish, I realized that it can't be too hard to replicate at home. I decided to make it the other night...and it was delicious! Here is my take on the dish:

Pesto, Spinach, & Tomato Pasta

Ingredients:

Fresh pasta of your choice (I used linguine)
Bag of spinach
Container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
10 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint heavy cream
6 tablespoons pesto
pinch of red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or wok. Add the garlic. Stir to avoid burning. Add heavy cream and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow sauce to barely simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pesto. Allow sauce to barely simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add tomatoes, spinach, and basil to the sauce. Add the pasta. Toss and serve!

Happy First Day of School!

Today is the first day of school. Summer is officially over and it is back to the daily grind. I'm excited for a new school year, but it is always hard coming back after a long break. Luckily there are a few things that are brightening my day this morning!

I am wearing a pretty Vineyard Vines dress that my husband surprised me with on Friday. He knows that a new first day of school outfit is a must!

I also have a new monogrammed lunch bag courtesy of Simply Bags. The bag is black quilted fabric with kiwi thread and is the perfect size for someone who brings breakfast and lunch to work. The inside is insulated and there are two outside pockets. If you are in the market for a new bag (tote, beach, diaper, laptop, etc.), check out Simply Bags!
Disclaimer: I was sent a free sample of this product. Click here for more information.

The first day of school also brings back fond memories of the days when I was in school. During elementary and middle school, my mom, brother, and I would walk over to my aunt's house for a special first day of school breakfast with my cousins. My aunt would make Belgian waffles (which I always topped with cherries) or french toast, which was such a treat for all of us. I really hope to have some kind of tradition like this for my future kids...it made the first day of school extra special!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lunch Convo

While AJ is finishing a tall Miller Lite and eating Wild (aka super hot) wings at Buffalo Wild Wings at 11:30 AM, the following conversation ensued:

J: Are you going to be drunk before noon?

A: Only if I have another one of these. But, probably not. The hotness kills the alcohol.

J: Oh really? Is that how it works?

A: Yes, it's science. Plus, I'm on vacation, I'm allowed to be drunk before noon.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Renovation Rant

Great ready for some complaining.....

One of the advantages of being in NY for the summer was that we would not have to live through the renovation our landlords planned to do in the kitchen, dining room, and half bath. The renovation began the day after I left and was supposed to be finished the last week of July. Wishful thinking, right? Of course, it took longer than expected and we are currently living in a construction zone. When I showed up at the house two weeks ago to drop off some stuff, I started crying right in front of the workers. Construction dust covered every surface and I knew there was no way the work would be completed in a little over a week.


When we showed up this past Sunday the house was clean-ish (as in most of the dust had been removed), but there were no appliances and there was still a laundry list of things that needed to be completed (painting, installing the bathroom, granite, lighting, etc.). We headed out to the store, bought ice, water, beer, Easy Mac, and microwavable soup and set up a cooler in the living room. We have basically been squatting in our house for the last 4 days. Luckily it is restaurant week in DC, so we aren't too sad that we have to eat out every night. Still though, it is annoying to not be able to cook ANYTHING.

The other issue is that we moved all of our stuff from those three rooms into our second bedroom. And because we had nowhere else to put the stuff from NY, our bedroom is also a cluttered mess. The downstairs is a construction zone and the upstairs is a war zone. UGH.

I know I shouldn't complain too much because we haven't payed rent all summer thanks to the renovation and I know it will be beautiful once it is FINALLY completed, but for now I am stressed and upset and just want it to be finished!! Today the granite is going in and the sink should be put in tomorrow. After that they just need to do cabinet hardware and outlet covers. Fingers are crossed that tomorrow will be the last full day of construction.


Thanks for listening. I feel better :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Blurbs

While writing this post, I realized that I had lot of things I want to share. I tried to keep each event short and limited myself to one picture per blurb so that I (hopefully) don't bore everyone to death.

Here are the highlights of my summer!

We celebrated our second anniversary on July 5th. We attended the wedding of one of AJ's college roommates that weekend, so we couldn't do a big anniversary getaway. However, it all worked out in the sense that the wedding was an excuse to get a hotel room and get out of my parent's house for a couple days. Here we are at the reception, which was held at a beautiful country club in Rochester:

Instead of a vacation, we went wine trailing down Cayuga Lake on our way back from the wedding. It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun tasting wines at a bunch of different wineries. I think we came home with 12 bottles. Oops!


AJ and I ran in a 5k the second weekend of July. I finished in 31:15. It was so humid and I wanted to die during the last mile, but I ran the whole time so I guess that isn't too bad. I was hoping to be under 30 minutes, but in the end I was just happy I didn't come in last place!


I successfully hosted a bridal shower and attended the wedding of one of my best friends. Her wedding was very unique and the trip to Charlotte was another mini-vacation for AJ and I. Here we are at the reception:


We also spent a few days here and there at my grandparent's cottage, which is on a small lake in Northern Pennsylvania. I love going to the lake because I feel like I have gone back in time when I am there. We play games, read, chat, swim, drink, and eat....and that is pretty much it. There is no TV, cell phones don't get service, and you are forced to relax. And honestly, how can you not relax with this view??


While at the lake, AJ also had his first experience holding and feeding a baby. My youngest cousin just turned one and we thought he should get some practice since we are hoping to have a baby sometime in the next year. I love this picture because he looks clueless and so scared. Hahaha, poor thing.


The first weekend of August my girlfriends and I road tripped down to Wrightsville Beach for a bachelorette weekend. It stormed on Friday, but we had beautiful beach weather on Saturday and had lots of fun both nights. This was my first girl's only trip and I really enjoyed myself!


I then spent a week staying with a friend in DC because I had to get in a few summer days at work and our renovation project was not (and still is not) completed. We had a nice time cooking together and I watched more trashy reality TV that week than I did all summer. It is so much more fun to watch while drinking wine with a girlfriend.

Last weekend I headed back to NY to pick up AJ and Kona. What happened that weekend deserves a post of its own! Don't you just love a cliffhanger?? (Unless we are Facebook friends...then you already know our news!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to Work

And just like that.....my summer is over! Today is my first official work day of the school year. I can't believe it is mid-August and that the students start back next Monday! I'm not going to lie...I am so ready to be back. I love summer and having the time off is great, but there is something about structure and organization that I crave. I am so excited to set up my office, lay out my planner, and start tackling my to do list. Yes, I know I'm crazy!

My weeks in NY were fun, exciting, stressful, eventful, and involved a lot of travel. I will recap some of the highlights over the next few days, but will try not to bore you all with too many pictures or details!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Winner!

Congrats to Rachel of Observations of a Token Yankee! You are the winner of the CSN giveaway!

Thanks to everyone that participated!

Monday, June 21, 2010

CSN Giveaway!

Happy Monday!

Since I am now up in NY (with my husband!!) for summer break, I thought it would be nice to spread the joy and happiness I am feeling by offering a fun giveaway to all my readers!

CSN Stores contacted me about hosting another giveaway since my last one was so successful. This time I have a $40 gift certificate to give to one of my lucky readers. If you're not already familiar with CSN, you need to check it out! They have over 200 stores and you can literally buy anything on the many CSN websites.

As I mentioned the other day, our landlords are doing a renovation on the kitchen, dining room, and half bathroom while we are in NY. I could furnish the entire renovation just from CSN websites. I am hoping that the new bathroom has a vanity like this:



To enter to win the gift certificate go to any of the CSN websites and let me know what you will get if you win! The giveaway ends Thursday night at 8 pm EST and I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

No More LDM

The day that I have been looking forward to for the last 7 weeks is FINALLY here!

I am off to the airport to pick up my husband, which officially ends our long distance marriage. Yay!!!!! Our time apart was difficult and I can't wait to be living together and sharing our lives together once again.

Most of our weekend will be spent moving everything out of our kitchen, half bath, and dining room. While we spend the summer in NY, our landlords are doing a renovation on those rooms. When we return in August the kitchen and dining room will be one big room! I'm very excited for that. Unfortunately the bathroom will be smaller and we are losing a closet, but I still am looking forward to the changes.

On Sunday we will drive to NY and my lazy summer will officially commence (for me at least...AJ will still be working at the law firm). I am looking forward to reading the stack of books I have collected over the past few months, training for a 5k, trips to the lake, golfing, playing with Kona, spending time with my family, attending firm events, etc. I am so excited!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

G Natural and G2 Natural

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a PR firm to see if I wanted to try two new Gatorade products, G Natural and G2 Natural. I love G2 and love free stuff, so of course I said yes!

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

For athletes who thirst for natural products, Gatorade® has harnessed its 45+ year competitive edge in sports performance to introduce G Natural™ and G2 Natural™. Made with natural flavors, colors and ingredients, G Natural and G2 Natural have the same performance and hydration benefits as original Gatorade Thirst Quencher and G2, with a great taste that athletes will love. The new, natural offerings are now available exclusively at select Whole Foods stores.

Like I said before, I am a big fan of G2, so obviously I drank the G2 Natural first. In general, I like G2 more than regular Gatorade because it is lighter and not at all syrupy. I have an aversion to drinks that leave my mouth feeling sticky and heavy (umm gross), and G2 does not do that. G2 Natural is also very light and did not taste any different than G2. Given that it is made with natural flavors, colors, and ingredients, I definitely recommend G2 Natural. G Natural also tasted the same as regular Gatorade. If you like Gatorade, you will like G Natural. Given that G2 Natural has 40 calories per bottle while G Natural has 100 calories, I am again more inclined to like G2 Natural more. Either way, the Natural products are a good choice for anyone looking to rehydrate and replenish their body while working out!

G Natural and G2 Natural are available exclusively at select Whole Foods stores. Visit www.gatorade.com to find the store nearest you. Suggested retail price for a 16.9-oz bottle is $1.49. (Via Press Release)

Disclaimer: I was sent free samples of these products. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last Day

Today is the last day of school. I can't believe it is FINALLY here. While I am sure the last day of school will always be a significant day, it is especially significant for me because it is the last day of my first year of work. I knew it would be a difficult year solely because I had to prove to my school that I know what I am doing and that I am capable of holding my own in a difficult environment. It has been a long, hard year, but a very rewarding one as well. I have grown as an individual and as a professional and am very happy with the job I did. Sure, there are areas where I need to improve, but isn't there always something we can do better?

In 10 months I have changed a lot. I am more articulate and well-spoken, I can stand up for myself when I am right and I can accept criticism with grace when I am wrong. I learned how to sympathize with parents, how to control my emotions, and how to quiet my critics. I learned to not take things personally, like when I give parents negative reports and make them cry or when I tell a teacher something they don't want to hear and they get mad. I now know that "taking one for the team" is really not that bad and can help open doors, but also that I need to assert myself and not let people walk all over me. There are many more things that I have learned this year, but those are just a few examples. Each experience this year has taught me something, and I really need to reflect on everything during summer break so that I am refreshed and ready in August. Because I am not going to lie.....I am tired and ready for a break.

And speaking of August.... If you follow me on twitter you know that my position was terminated back in April due to budget cuts, but that I was reinstated earlier this month and will continue to work for my district next school year. I am so glad I can relax this summer knowing that I have a job to come back to in August!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In the Homestretch!

And we're in the homestretch!

A weekend with my husband was exactly what I needed. I am feeling refreshed and am ready for all the challenges I will face over the next few weeks. Only 18 more days of pseudo-singledom!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A New New Dress

Thanks to everyone who commented on this post. I really love the ruffle dress, but I obviously had reservations about wearing it to the wedding this weekend. I guess I was looking for validation that I wouldn't be under dressed. Most of you thought it would be fine for a wedding, but there were a few who did not think it was dressy enough. Ultimately I decided that I would rather be overdressed, so I set out to look for a new dress last night.


On my way home from the dentist I decided to browse the stores in Union Station. I never think to check out White House Black Market, but as I was walking by last night, it caught my eye. There are some really nice dresses there! I tried on a bunch and ended up finding a little black dress that I can wear to a variety of events. It is currently on sale, looks really expensive, and is super slimming. I am obsessed with this dress.

I also picked up these shoes.


I cannot wait to wear this outfit! I even tried it on again last night before bed. You can't see my shoes, but I was definitely clomping around the house in them. Sorry neighbors.




I haven't decided on jewelry yet, but I like the chunky necklace idea.

I also really liked this dress, but decided against buying it in addition to the LBD and shoes. When I sent the picture to my husband and mother, they both said I should go back and buy the dress.


I may be stopping by the store again tonight!