Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love love love

My current obsessions...I hope my Secret Santa reads this blog!
So tiny, so cute, and so unnecessary!

Now this is practical!

Love how adorable this is!
All of these images are from Pottery Barn but I am seeing glass domes and cupcake stands pop up everywhere. I know Home Goods and a few other places have them every now and then.

~Kc

You say the right thing, to keep me moving...

This morning in one of our Girlfriend emails (yes, in addition to sharing this blog we also email together as a group- we suffer from separation anxiety) I mentioned a few concerns I have about my trip next week. Within 8 minutes (EIGHT minutes) I received a bulleted response from KC detailing all the advice she had to offer… it set my soul at ease.

This glass is filled with magical wisdom juice
Karissa, you are the best! Thanks for being my personal librarian who always has an answer when I’m in doubt. I can’t wait for our “Phone-Date-Friday” followed by “Skype-Date-Saturday”- it’ll be as if you don’t really live 375 miles away.  
~M

Bottle of Choice

My husband and I were enjoying a night cap last week.  As our followers know, tequila is my drink of choice (see Green Hornet).  Technical difficulty is preventing me from posting my picture of our colorful, beautiful and delicious Tequila Sunrises.  But, I did capture this picture: my bottle of choice next to my son's bottle of choice. Cheers!  



Hugs to our followers (especially those that fancy a tequila drink),
LC

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thank You

Pinned Image

Dear Harry Conick, Jr.,
Thank you for singing one of the most beautiful versions of Ave Maria that I've ever heard.

Dear Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company,
Thank you for brewing the most delicious Fireside Nut Brown beer.

Dear LC,
Thank you for setting up TWO secret Santa exchanges this year for our family. I have a little secret from Santa--he said he'll be very good to you this year!

Dear friendly sales associates,
I know this time of year can be particularly grueling to work in retail. Thanks for being so helpful...and nice!

Dear apartment,
I'm thankful for my own kitchen and the washer and dryer. Everyday. Thank you.

Dear former boss,
You send the funniest emails. Thank you for making me chuckle about your latest scary dream.

Dear Mom,
Thank you for the Thanksgiving leftovers. My tummy is very happy this week.

xoxo,
Kate






Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maurice

Maurice was the first car that I purchased on my own.  He was a 2004 molten silver Nissan Sentra, and I loved him.  He was small, fun and reliable.  For seven years he accompanied me on my daily 60-mile round-trip commute to and from work along with all my travels from New York to North Carolina and everywhere in between.  This August, when he got sick, it was heart-breaking for me to have to trade him in. 


Goodbye old friend

My new car (a mini van) is large and smooth and perfect for my growing family, but it (I still haven't found an appropriate name) can never fully replace Maurice.  So, last week, when my new van got a flat tire, my husband took it into the dealer for repair.  Imagine my delight when he spotted Maurice looking all shiny and new and ready for a new home.


Ready to ride again


If I had been there, I'm sure our reunion would have gone something like this:



Thank goodness I wasn't there.  I don't think I could have walked away from him twice.  The good news is that Maurice was sold.  I keep telling myself he's going to a young (but responsible) sixteen-year-old who will treasure him and all his glory.  With 120,000 miles I know his fate will soon lead him to a junk yard, but I wish many, many more happy miles for my little (old) Maurice.

Hugs to our followers,
LC

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks


Sometimes I don't even know how to begin. I try to find the words...to speak from my heart and convey the feelings...the emotions...the gratitude I have but sometimes I'm left speechless. Because there really aren't the words to express how thankful I am for the blessings in my life.

My family isn't always perfect. We make mistakes. And fight. And perhaps we don't call each other as much as we should but I know they are always there. And I know they always will be. Each one of them, too. "In-law" or sibling. Parents or kiddos. They are amazing and I am thankful for them every day. No, every second of every day.

Thank you, family, for everything you do for me and for each other. I'm so lucky to have your love.


And to my little "family" of friends. I'm thankful for each text, each laugh, each drink we share. I'm so glad we met at the KFC, or on the school bus, or over a pack of crayons or at the high school basketball games or at our first job out of college. You've changed my life for the better.  In my older age, I think I've become a 'gushier' person but know that each "I love you" and each "I miss you" is sincerely meant.

Also, just so you know. I don't just think about this on Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you  all in January and July and October...and every day in between.

xoxo,
Kate

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You've got a friend...

I just got an email from a wonderful friend who, in response to hearing about my terrible-no-good-very-bad-week, sent me this...
She totally gets it! I love her. Then I opened the next attachment...

I heart her even more after that.
~M

Persuasion

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time in Vegas recently for a work conference and the entire time I was thinking about Girlfriends.

With the new year, the four of us will celebrate our 30th birthdays and we've been brainstorming destination spots for a weekend blowout. When Las Vegas was suggested a few months ago, I quickly dissed the idea. Isn't Vegas overrated?

Turns out, Vegas is pretty awesome and I've changed my ways. As such, I'd like to put Vegas back in the running for birthday options.

And in case Girlfriends need a little convincing, look at this. Pizza Hut bread sticks are a Girlfriends Weekend staple. And they deliver to THE ROOM.



Yeah, awesome, right? I know.

2012 is going to be the best year yet. I can feel it.

xox,
Kate

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If anyone follows me on twitter, you know I was in Las Vegas last week for work. My first Vegas experience and it did not disappoint. When people ask me about my trip, I gush about the food. That food! To. Die. For.

Unfortunately, I don't have any food pictures to share but I did snap a few shots with my phone.






1. Welcome to Vegas
2. Sunrise from the hotel
3. That's Barry Manilow! Oh, Barry

xoxo,

Kate

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thank you

Thanksgiving is nearly here! It's that time of year for turkey, stuffing, football, and shopping. But, most of all, it is the time for reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for in our lives.

This year has been the most difficult year in my life. I had a miscarriage in the spring. For those that haven’t experienced it themselves or know someone who has—it’s awful. It is simply awful.

The months since have been a roller coaster. I have had my ups and I have definitely had my downs. Everyone’s experience is different but I had a hard recovery process, both physically and emotionally. Every day can be a struggle not to cry. It’s amazing what little things can do to trigger all of the emotions. One second I am laughing but then a Pampers commercial will appear and I can be an absolute mess.

But, as Thanksgiving Day approaches, I realize that while this year has given me a tremendous amount of pain, I do have a lot to be grateful for in my life. I have been blessed with the most amazing friends. Kate, Laura, and Mindy (along with my best friends from college, Lindsay and Sara) have been there for me when I needed them the most. Just a text, or an email, or phone call to say hello and that they are thinking of me. It’s those little things that make you realize how much you have in life.

I am very lucky to have an amazing family. My parents have been there for me in so many ways. My poor mother has had to listen to my whining and crying a lot this year. I know it must be hard for my parents but I am so thankful to know that I can always count on them when I need a shoulder to cry on. And they will tell me when I need to pick myself up and get on with it. I need that.

But, most importantly, I am thankful for my husband. My husband has been an amazing rock. He’s listened to my hormonal rants, my uncontrollable sobbing, and my crazy venting. He wraps his arms around me tightly and holds me. This year has been hard. As long as he is by my side, I truly believe that we can make it through anything.

I'm planning on putting my worries aside this week.  I’m going to spend Thanksgiving with my family in my cozy little house watching football, eating myself full and planning our shopping strategy. I may be sad for my loss but I will forever be grateful to be surrounded by my friends, family, and my husband.  I wish that everyone can be that lucky.

Found on Pinterest. Link here
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our followers.
~Kc

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yes, Please!


If anyone has an extra $228 (actually $178, I'll contribute a $50 off coupon) lying around, please, please buy me this dress from White House Black Market.  I'm obsessed!  If Girlfriends weren't planning a trip this spring, I would totally spend all my weekly allowance savings on this beauty. 

Photo found here

Hugs to our followers,
LC

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pour a little salt, we were never here...

Sooooooooooooooo, I’m having a terrible week. Like, a REALLY bad “too-terrible-to-fully-explain-but-no-one-understands-why-I’m-always-crying” week. Thankfully, there’s this Parks & Rec video to cheer me up.

Oh Aziz, you always soothe my soul.
~M

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hunger Games

I just saw this trailer on Facebook today. It makes me want to see this movie now! If you haven't read the books from this trilogy read them now! Stop what you're doing--buy the book, download it to your Kindle or borrow it from the library. Go read them now.  It's young adult literature so it's a fast read.


I can't wait for the movie!

~Kc

Saturday, November 12, 2011

With a Jack and a Spare You're There...


If there is anything that can go wrong with a car, chances are it has gone wrong with mine. Yesterday I got to make use of my AAA Membership YET AGAIN when I got a flat tire, YET AGAIN.
Asian Mindy Calls For Help
Car problems are an annoying nuisance that I get especially flustered over since I know absolutely nothing about cars (I can change my oil and wiper blades, but gross!). My dad always used to say he wanted his daughters to know how to change their own flat tire but find a guy who’d do it for them. Well, I think the big man would be ok with me having Roger from AAA be that guy. (He rescued me in a giant tow truck instead of on a white horse. Princes on horses are soooooooo 2004). Instead of getting too terribly upset at another car failure, I decided to focus on the fact that next weekend I will be spending 3 GLORIOUS days in NYC with one of my favorite people, Katiebeans, and THANKFULLY there is no need for a car in Manhattan.
Now I’ve just got to work on paying off my tab at Pep Boys Automotive, where I’ve been the number one customer for 7 years running.
~M

Friday, November 11, 2011

Magical

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via Pinterest

I know…I know. It’s entirely TOO early to begin thinking about Christmas but I just can’t help myself. And it’s all because I decided last week to get a tree. My first Christmas tree!

I want a small crooked tree to go in my small crooked apartment. I have big plans to drink hot chocolate while I sit on the couch and smile at each tiny ornament that represents a lifetime of extraordinary memories.  It may not turn out to be the most beautiful tree but it will certainly be the most cherished tree I’ve ever had.

xo,
Kate

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

May the laughs continue

I just saw on the news that Bill Keane passed away today. For those that don't know, he's the creator of the Family Circus cartoon.  It's the first cartoon I read every Sunday. I love his heartwarming and endearing comic.

Found here

~Kc

May No Act Of Ours Bring Shame...

As a Penn State grad, a season ticket holder for football, a THON alum and a life-long fan of Joe Paterno, this has been a mind blowing couple of days. Based on the information the public has been given thus far, my disappointment in the actions of several key officials at my University is endless. It sickens me to think they tried to sweep these horrific violations of children under the rug. Despite the amount of knowledge each of them had, it was still a piece to that Sandusky puzzle and I believe they ALL could have done more. We don’t have all the answers yet and we may never get them, but those are my feelings right now: anger, disappointment, frustration and still a tiny bit of denial. To me, Penn State has always been perfect. State College is a perfect college town (especially since replacing the “Hooters” restaurant with that silly Irish pub); the football program (despite little hiccups and some poorly played seasons) has always been perfect; the over crowded, teeny tiny dorms that ALWAYS smelled like urine or pine sol have always been perfect; the ridiculously long walk on freezing cold February mornings at 8am to a class on the opposite side of campus that is a requirement even though you will NEVER use it in your career has always been perfect; even the terrible leg room in the lecture halls at the Forum Building have always been perfect. Today, even with my “PSU Pride” blinders on, I have to admit that Joe Paterno is not perfect, and that kills a little bit.

Last year I was in Beaver Stadium to watch Joe win his 400th game. My sister and I were sitting next to one another, bawling our eyes out during Joe’s post-game speech. I will never forget Deb turning to me and saying, “He’s everyone’s dad!” We laughed really hard at that, but truly it was how everyone in that stadium felt. “Our” dad, our pride & joy, had accomplished an amazing thing. I will admit that earlier this year, I was questioning whether or not Joe should still be our coach. I was questioning his health (he’s 84 for god’s sake!) and I was questioning his (and his son’s) indecision about our quarterbacks. At the time, these seemed like REALLY important things; little did I know that in just a few weeks I would be questioning the morals of Joe Paterno. Even typing that right now seems surreal.
It has just been announced that Joe Paterno plans to retire at the end of this season. Well needless to say, this is not what I pictured the day of his retirement announcement to be like. I always imagined Joe’s last game would be horribly sad for the school, losing our leader, but we’d be so filled of pride too. Now, it will be sad for a different reason and I’m not sure how much pride I’ll be able to muster up by this Saturday. I still love him (and his coke bottle glasses) and am proud of all the wonderful things he & his wife have done for our school over the years, but he’s failed us here. Our leader has let us down, and it’s not something that is easily (or ever) replaced.


When I was 6 years old and my brother was a freshman at Penn State, I learned all the words to the alma mater. For 20 some years I’ve joined in singing that song before every home game. “May no act of ours bring shame” Anyone who violates that does not deserve to be a part of our Penn State family. And somehow, I think Joe Paterno has gotten himself into that category.

We’ll miss you Joe, but it’s time for us to hold you to the same standard you always held us to. This doesn’t erase all the wonderful things you’ve done, but it still is apart of your history now at Penn State and we can’t ignore that. God bless you and your family in your retirement and god bless all the children & families affected by this tragedy. Jerry Sandusky- I have nothing to say except I hope they’re getting your place ready in hell.
Go State, Beat Nebraska!
~M

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Highway to the danger zone...

I wish I didn't have a million things to get done because what I'd really like to do is sit around and laugh at this ridiculous photo...

photo

I can't imagine anything today being better than Tom Cruise riding an Eagle.
~M

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy List

Pinned Image
found via Pinterest





Things making me SUPER happy this week

1. Bossypants by Tina Fey. I'm slowly making my way through this hilarious book. Slowly because I just don't want it to end. During the day, I escape down to the tiny kitchen in my office and giggle to myself as I read away my lunch break. It's the best 23 minutes of my 9-5 work day.

2. Ray Lamontagne. He speaks to my soul and I love him.

3. On Saturday morning, in my groggy state, checking my email and seeing a slew of emails from loved ones. Each one making me smile more and more.

4. Friday-night-belly-laughing phone date with Mindy.

xoxo,

Kate

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monkeying Around

I scored some cheap tickets to the NC Zoo through work so Joe and I went this fall. If you're ever looking for date ideas this should be one of them. It was so nice walking with my husband and having a chance to be a kid. And yes, we really are still 5 years old.  Here are some photos from our visit.


As you enter the park, you see these beautiful elephants. I was getting excited!

Good advice. Stop monkeying around, Joe!

I see a giraffe! This was the first thing I saw when we entered Africa. It's huge!

He's got friends! I still can't get over how big they are.

I think he's looking at me. I wanted him to stick out his tongue.

I was the most excited about seeing the elephants. These guys must have been cold because they stayed huddled together.
 
But, we found this sweet guy a little further down the path by himself.
 
He was entertaining himself (and us) by swinging along to some music in his head. Seriously. The guy could dance.

Hello Mr. Zebra
 
This guy liked to swim upside down. I wonder why?

Here's his friend.


The otters were adorable. They stayed cuddled together



Umm...huge.


And it was Elk mating season so we kept hear these crazy noises from the prairie.


Funny. I'm glad the zoo has a sense of humor.


And now I understand why. This guy got close! It was a bit unnerving.
 All in all, it was a great day. We had fun watching the baboons play, trying to spot the animals first, and just hanging out together. We learned that they put gorillas on human birth control and use EPT to tell if they are pregnant. The elephants are red due to the North Carolina red clay, in case you were wondering. Good educational experience. I can't wait to go back.

~Kc

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling…

Big news blog fans (by that I mean all of our moms and the person in Russia who’s been checking this site): I am going to Ireland! Well, only Dublin, and only for a few days, and in December when it’ll be freezing cold and NOT lush and green, and not for very long so I don’t really have time to do too much, but STILL- I’m going to Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. My grandparents are from there and my mom & dad made several trips in the past. Growing up my Dad always used to tell me that my face looked like a map of Ireland. Let’s take a moment to compare…

I see it now, around the eyes, no?

Not sure why he always said that (trying to console me over my paleness???) but it makes me happy to think about that when I’m missing him. I’ve been trying to put together an epic adventure to Europe for next summer, but decided I couldn’t wait that long to go somewhere. Also, I wanted to test the waters a bit because I’m going to be traveling ALL ALONE (insert dramatic pause and "shocked" face here).
That’s right, I’m going to Dublin all by myself for five days and I couldn’t be more excited. No offense to others, but there are VERY few people I enjoy traveling with (obviously, these 3 other Girlfriends are included in my favorite travel buddies) and people don’t seem to have the time and/or money to do a lot of this stuff right now. I happen to blessed with both money and time (for the moment) so there’s no point to waiting any longer.

Now, let me step into “The Real World” confessional for a second (man, remember when the Real World on MTV was the best show ever?): I’m a tiny bit nervous that I’m going to be murdered. I go back and forth on this subject, should I pre-plan my funeral or leave it up to my mom and risk ending up with a Vera Bradley casket (she has a serious problem, but I'll save that for another post)??? After being nervous for 11 days I’ve now come to the conclusion that I most likely won’t be murdered in Dublin (KNOCK ON WOOD). I’m a smart traveler who doesn’t put herself in bad situations to begin with. Plus, if someone is going to steal me & kill me in a crowded pub they are probably insanely cray-cray and would succeed in doing that even if I had 13 other people with me. So being alone couldn’t really change anything in that scenario. Anyway, back to being excited…

I’m SO excited for the trip!! As soon as I told people where/when I was going I suddenly got inundated with names of people’s friends/family that live in and around Dublin (who knew so many people lived in Ireland?), so I have more than enough “emergency contacts” to go around. Also, I’ve been using couchsurfing to connect with some lovely Irish folks. I’ve gotten loads of good advice and have a few people I may meet up with for a drink or two when I’m there (assuming they aren’t murders. Surely murderers can't type?)

So there you have it, I’m going to Dublin to match my face to some landscape. There’ll be loads to discuss when I get back, in the meantime try not to be TOO jealous over my amazing adventure.
~M

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I know that it is freezing but I think we’ll have to walk…

Oct. 29th, 2011- worst day of my life? No, not the WORST day ever, but it certainly didn’t go well. Not sure if anyone heard, but the North East suffered its first winter storm of the Fall (yes, I said WINTER storm, in October. What’s up with that Mother Nature?). Everyone on the news kept saying how great it was that this storm happened over the weekend, it wouldn’t affect as many people. Um, excuse me but I had MAJOR plans for this weekend. First, there was a home Penn State football game and I am a season ticket holder who does NOT like to miss games. On top of that, this game was going to be a historic event; if Penn State won it would be Joe Paterno’s record breaking 409th win. Obviously, one of the biggest events of my life since Joe Pa is my pride & joy and former neighbor from college! Secondly, it was Halloween weekend and after much debate (there really wasn’t a debate- as soon as somebody called and asked me to go to a party with them I screamed “YES!") I decided to participate in Halloween this year with a legendary costume. I mean, this costume idea is EPIC. I’m pretty sure these party goers would have instantly invented a costume contest just to unanimously award me for this bangin’ costume (picture a banner saying “Mindy is #1 at Halloween-ing!"). On top of all this, I had plans to do a bunch of laundry (exciting!!!)and a few hours of work (necessary!!!). Well, apparently the universe wanted none of these things to happen because we got dumped on. I mean, we’re used to a lot of snow in Pennsylvania and I am by no means a baby about cold weather, but this storm just came out of no where and we were NOT prepared.


On Saturday morning I was out visiting one of my elderly clients & preparing to leave for State College, but by 9am my brother texted me saying we would have to cancel our plans for the football game- there was going to be too much snow. Ok, major bummer but we’d regroup with a viewing party at his house, maybe I’d wear some super comfy sweatpants (don’t judge- you know you love them too) and we’d probably all have some pizza. Fun times, right? Wrong. By the time I headed home around noon, the storm had gotten a bit out of control and it was clear I needed to get home, fast. Now, for those of you who don’t know, I live on top of a mountain. Not a huge, huge mountain, but the 3 miles or so I drive up the mountain to get to my house is enough to cause A LOT of problems when there is bad weather. Our township is usually like, “Sorry suckers- you live in the middle of no where so enjoy being a hermit until we dig you out”. Luckily, my mom has an SUV and was willing to come pick me up at the bottom of the mountain (goodbye little car- enjoy your night out in the snow!) and drive me up to the house. Yeah… that didn’t work either. We dodged falling trees the whole way up the mountain (for real, it like a game of Frogger), but about 1 mile from home the SUV got stuck as well. After swearing for a solid 10 minutes, I decided we’d just walk the rest of the way, hunker down for the night and watch the PSU game with a big cup of tea. Still a decent Saturday, right? Wrong, again. We walked the rest of the way home, up hill, in a snow storm, only to be greeted by a cozy home WITH NO POWER!!!


Usually, I don’t get too upset about having the electricity go out. Sometimes I fancy myself a Jane or Elizabeth Bennett and take to my bed for the night (Come find me Mr. Darcy). Also, it’s nice to be off the grid every now and then (I am like WAY too popular, won’t this phone ever stop ringing???). All of this would have been fine if I wasn’t now COMPLETELY missing PSU’s game, missing Joe Pa making history, missing my costume celebration (I’m telling you people- GREAT idea!!!) but now it was quickly becoming a frozen tundra in my bedroom. I will spare you all of the heartache (I’m not really sure how to type out that many tears), but just know that it was a loooooonnnnnnngggggggg, cold night. And then that night was repeated on Sunday… and Monday…and, as of posting this, Tuesday. We STILL don’t have power- grrrr!!!! I’ve resorted to camping out in the Barnes & Noble cafĂ© to use their free wifi for a few hours each day to catch up on emails (and blog postings- you're welcome).

Incidentally, Penn State did win (barely) and Joe did get his record. Congrats to JoePa on his 409th win- proud to be part of the Penn State family.

As awful as these few days have been, I’m still counting my blessings. I’m really lucky that I have family whose willing to help me out, especially my poor mom who ended up getting her car stuck just trying to give me a lift (and I was in an awful mood too- sorry mom!). Major props to my brother and little nephew who came out early on Sunday morning to help me dig out my car, then stuck around to dig out our mom’s car too (aren’t big brothers the best???). Plus, he and my sister-in-law have allowed me access to a hot shower in their home during these powerless days. I have a new appreciation for anyone less fortunate than me who has the burden of sleeping out in the cold year round. Please make sure you donate any old coats, hats, gloves and scarves this fall so that other people can keep warm during the winter months. If you need information on where to donate, check here.


Here’s to hoping that I can cozy up in a WARM bed tonight, and that I never forget to be thankful for all the times I get to weather a storm from the safety of my home.


~M

*post title from “Lua” by Bright Eyes