Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Apartment Unveiling: Bathroom

Now that the apartment is finally settled, I'm excited to share it with all of you! I'm sure my mom is happy too - I've made her wait to see pictures until it's all done. Not that my place is that exciting - I didn't paint any of the walls beyond the basic apartment off-white, even though I could have, but I do think I have a unique sense of style and an amazing ability to re-purpose and reuse furniture! As I'm sharing my spaces, I'll try to point out the new uses for things.

Today I'm sharing my bathroom with you. So without further ado, click below to see the bathroom unveiling!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I won something! I actually won something!

I just did a happy dance in my living room (well, the happy dance started in the lobby of my apartment building, continued up the elevator, and culminated in my apartment but that's besides the point.)... I just got the most amazing package in the mail.

Backing up.

Have you ever entered one of those "I'll never win it but I should try anyway" Facebook contests? I rarely enter them but am so glad I did for once.

I was super excited to see that one of my favorite authors, Tana French, had a new book coming out. (You can read my review of her first two books here and her third book here...)

And then I was not-as-super-excited to see this on her Facebook page:
because I never win anything ever but I entered anyway because I figured, what the heck?

Last week when I got this email:
I honestly thought it was fake but replied anyway and just hoped that it wouldn't actually be an ax murderer coming to get me.  I received another email saying my books had been shipped and I waited not so patiently to see if it was all a scam.

Considering that I just received this in the mail:
I'm glad that I said, what the heck back when I saw the Facebook posting!

Squee!  So excited to read the new one and have copies of all the others!  She's amazing - without even reading the fourth book, I highly recommend you run out and grab a copy RIGHT NOW.


Happy Monday!

Happy Monday, friends! I am bound and determined to make this a better week than last. Not that last week was necessarily bad, it just wanted great either and I could use a great week.

Now for a quick recap of the weekend. I'm linking up with Kati again for a "Good, Bad & Ugly" style recap. It's nice to link up on things like this - helpful knowing that other people are out there sending positive thoughts my way as I deal with my uglies!

The Good - All around, it was a good weekend. My apartment is finally settled (or as settled as it can be right now!) which means I'll be doing more apartment unveilings in the next couple of weeks. The weekend was full of doing stuff around the house, spending time with friends, and watching the Olympics. The cats were certainly happy to have me home a lot!

The Bad - It's going to be another busy week, ended by a very long drive again. So much road tripping for me lately! But the road trip is for a very good reason so I am in no way complaining about that!

The Ugly - I am so mad at myself. After working so hard to grow my nails out for the wedding, I've gone back to chewing them off again when I'm stressed. It has more to do with the fact that I haven't been painting them every night because I haven't had the energy but I'm still disappointed in myself. Maybe saying it out loud will help break the habit again. I trimmed them down yesterday and painted them, hoping to break the cycle. Wish me luck!

Incorporating Color


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Simplicity

Yesterday morning I was really needing a snack at work.  It's been a long week and I was doing lunch later than normal.  So I opened up the snack drawer at my desk (yes, I have a snack drawer) and found this little gem.

I had been saving it for a day I really needed it.  And yesterday was obviously that day.

That's when I realized that I am a bit of a food hoarder.  Not in a "the world is about to end so I need months worth of canned goods" way.  More in a "you never know when you're really going to need (insert name of snack here that is only available certain times of year)" way.

Thursday night, my night time snack consisted of Thin Mints.  I ration them off all year so I'm never without.  The Girl Scouts haven't been selling cookies since, what?  February?  March?  And yet I have half a sleeve plus an unopened box of Thin Mints in my freezer and an entire box of Peanut Butter Patties.

I think I have a problem.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

It's Friday again already?  Wow.  As always, linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog!
1. The sky outside my new apartment's balcony during a storm is wicked. Seriously. Every single time it storms I wish I were a real photographer so I could capture the moment accurately.

2. Living downtown and walking to work means no more "I'll just stop at the store for x, y, and z" on the way home from work. At least, not in the car. I've eaten at Shorty's, Lexington's downtown grocery store, but I've never shopped there until yesterday. It's so convenient, they have everything I could ever need, and the prices are surprisingly comparable to the chain stores, especially when figuring in the time and gas savings.

I had also never been to their wine shop before yesterday and I will definitely be back. Excellent prices (most bottles under $20!), helpful staff, and wine tastings every Thursday. I think they just created a repeat customer!

3. The walk to and from work every day is a "favorite thing" unto itself. Even though it's hot, it is so nice to start my morning and end my day with a walk. I'm walking at least 1.5 miles every day (for people who actually work out, I am aware this isn't much, but I'm not one of those people) through the greatest neighborhoods. The old part of downtown, complete with a park, then into the entertainment district, passed the courthouse, and finally to my building.

For anyone not in Lexington, keep in mind that's only about a 6 block walk. It's just that downtown has some distinct areas and I'm lucky to go through all of them!

4. The blog redesign is a huge favorite. I think most of the glitches are worked out - at least the biggest ones - and I am loving the clean design that my friend Lindsay created. It's obvious that she knows me well because the blog is very "me" now. It matches my every day design style and I love that! What do you think? Do you like the redesign?

5. Five is still a secret to all but my real life, close friends. Could I just come up with something else to make a favorite instead of holding a place for this one? Yes. But when the secret is the absolute favorite thing going on in my life right now, it's worth leaving you all hanging.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Quick Shot of Good Karma

I am a firm believer in the concept of karma - that what you put out in the world has a direct impact on what comes into your world.  People laugh at me all the time because I have some very small, yet strange habits, that simply exist to put good karma out in my world.

I always hold the elevator for people if I see them coming.  The 15 seconds I have to wait will have no real effect on my day, even if I'm running late for something. However, depending on the building, the other person may have to wait a good 5 minutes for the elevator to come back to them and that really could have an effect on their day.

always let people merge in traffic.  The goal is that some day I'll be in a huge hurry for something supremely important and magically the universe will clear all of the traffic out of my way.  Or at least I won't miss my exit because someone was being a jerk. 

Likewise, I don't care how far behind me they are, I always pull over for a police car, ambulance, or fire truck coming up with sirens blaring.  There is nothing more disgusting to me than people who use that unfortunate situation to get around traffic faster.  PULL OVER.  If I ever need to get to the hospital really quickly, or if my house is burning down or I just got shot, I think my little habit will get help to me faster.  It certainly won't slow them down. 

I always hold the door open for people either coming or going.  Much like the elevator, it doesn't take me any extra time and it's just a nice thing to do. 

Last but not least, I always smile at waitstaff, retail workers, fast food employees, etc. I've worked those jobs and they suck. People aren't all that nice to you and you're working your butt off to make a little money. I've learned that being a little extra nice can go a long way toward getting better service - thereby making your day better. If that isn't karma in motion, I don't know what is. 

Anything you find yourself doing every day to put good karma out in the universe?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Last night, I took myself to a movie.  Anyone who knows me in the real world is aware that I have absolutely no problem going for dinner or drinks, going on vacation, or going to movies all by myself.  I’ve been in a funk lately and wanted a couple of hours to just escape the real world for a bit so thought the $13 it would take to see a movie and get some popcorn and a soda were well worth the splurge.

There are a number of movies out right now that I would love to see but since I knew I wanted to escape, I figured the new Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, was perfect.  And I was right.

If you've never been a Wes Anderson fan, you probably won't even want to see this movie.  As a writer and director, he's incredibly polarizing so I am probably one of the only people I know who simply "likes" Wes Anderson.  I don't love him and I don't hate him.  I've liked things about his movies but there are plenty of things I didn't like - and not just because I didn't "get" them.

All of that being said, Moonrise Kingdom was one of the best films I've seen in a long time.  It's the story of two young "lovers" - neither of whom are accepted by their peers or families - who decide to run away together on their small New England island.  The story follows their love story as the various parties search for them.

The film is nostalgia at its best.  Set in the 1960's, it harkens back to a day where young people's greatest fears include being stabbed with left-handed scissors.  It lives in a time where things like movie theater massacres just don't happen.  These children run away from home because they are misunderstood - she as a "disturbed" pre-teen and he as an orphan without a real family - and have found a little bit of happiness in each other.  At one point, the young boy Sam states that "something changed in them" when they met in the field to run away.  I think we've all had moments like that in our teenage years.

For me, Moonrise Kingdom was exactly what I needed to pretend I was someone else for a few hours.  Mostly, it was what I needed to remember what I used to be.  I can completely relate to being a 12 year old girl who would rather stick her nose in a book than interact with the real world.  Somedays, I can relate to being a 27 year old girl who wants the same thing.

This movie is a must see for anyone who has:
~ Ever been a 12 year old girl who has lamented that women in stories are so incredibly weak and desperately wanted strong female leads in the stories they immersed themselves in
~ Ever been "in love" as an adolescent
~ Ever been misunderstood by family or friends
~ Needed an escape after a bad day
~ Ever even remotely liked as Wes Anderson film

I don't purchase many films anymore but I cannot wait to buy this and watch it on rainy, cranky Sundays.  It reminds me of how I felt the first time I saw Garden State, minus the annoyance that was Natalie Portman.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Apartment Unveiling: Lighting

A few people (mostly my mom…) have been clamoring for photos of the new place. It’s mostly unpacked and I’ve been acquiring things to round out the design over the last week but there are a few finishing touches – like hanging the photo collage and unpacking those last few boxes – that are preventing me from taking “final” photos. Instead, I’m going to unveil the apartment little by little as I finish up those tasks.

Today, I want to brag on the lighting a little.  Mostly because I lit the apartment with four new lamps and spent... under $100!

Want to read the whole story?  Click the link after the photo for more!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I've been considering creating another series, this time focusing on my favorite "game" from college, Stabjaborhug.  Basically, it's a good, bad, and ugly game but it's a catchy name.

For now, I'll just link up with Kati for her Monday Good, Bad, and Ugly and see how that goes for a while!

The Good - We survived the night of 3 adults, 3 cats, and a dog in 475 sq feet.  It as wonderful to see my sister and we literally laughed until we cried.  If you haven't seen this - 35 Unexplainable Photos Of Cats - on Buzzfeed click that link now and laugh as hard as we did.

The Bad - The next couple of months are looking crazy.  I just want to take a real vacation and instead I'm going to be deal with an ever-increasingly crazy schedule.  I'm tired just thinking about it.

The Ugly - My attitude today is seriously crappy.  I didn't want to get out of bed.  I couldn't find the pants I wanted to wear so threw on a skirt and as I was running out the door (already late!) I realized I hadn't shaved my legs so had to stop and fix that.  My shoes are pinching my feet even though they're normally comfortable.  I have found a few little glitches with the new blog layout that didn't exist in the test version (hence the lack of pictures... what is going on with my fonts?!).  I am grouchy, grouchy, grouchy.  I feel so bad for the people who have to talk to me.

I'd say happy Monday but clearly I am not that cheerful today.  Hope your Monday is going better than mine!

Incorporating Color


Sunday, July 22, 2012

(Sunday) Simplicity

I'm home this evening, working on the blog design (which if you're reading this you're already seeing!), and apparently my little one is a bit taxed after the traveling a few weeks ago, the crazy schedule I've been keeping, and the company Friday night.  I missed my Saturday Simplicity post so I thought I'd share this with you today instead.

She was glued to my lap until my legs fell asleep so I made her move.  She refuses to actually move away though.  **Must be touching Mommy.**  

How can anyone resist this little snuggle bun when she is needing some down time?


Friday, July 20, 2012

Favorite Things Friday!

Is it really Friday again?  I mean, this has been just about the longest week ever but still.  Where is the time going?  July is almost over!

Without further ado, here are my top five favorite things this week!

1.  My sister and the new hubby will be spending the night with me tonight.  Them, their 47 lbs dog, their cat, me, and my cats.............. in a studio apartment.  Should be interesting but I'll take any time I can get with them!

2.  My girls are really loving the new place, which is making me happy.  They spent lots of time like this...
They love watching the world go buy and while the world looks really really small right now because we're really really high up, the girls don't seem to mind.

3.  Speaking of being really really high up, the view from my apartment is awesome.  Last night, I snapped these photos following one of the many storms that have blown through this week.  Note the cool shadows from the sunset, the rainbow, and the view itself!

4.  In preparation for creating a photo collage wall, I've been going through old pictures.  My best friend and I take a lot of pictures and seeing them all made me miss her dreadfully.  We're working on finding a weekend that she can come visit because we haven't seen each other since April but even if it doesn't work out due to the fact that we are both ridiculously busy, it's so awesome to know that she's even trying to come see me that it's definitely worthy of the number four spot.

5.  Can I keep number five a secret still?  Yes?  Good, because number five is actually by far my favorite thing about this week but I'm not ready to talk about it yet.  Suffice it to say that there is a number five.

Linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DIY Chandeliers

In the course of this whole move, I've been trying to make my very small space as stylish and practical as possible on a tight budget.  Thank goodness I am rather good (if I do say so myself) with DIY projects.

Because it's a studio apartment and the space is wide open, I wanted to come up with different lighting options for the two sides of the room.  The "living room" works best with floor and table lamps, which means I was looking for a ceiling solution for the "bedroom" - specifically something extremely girly.

After searching for days for an affordable chandelier option with no luck, I googled "DIY Chandelier" and hit the jack pot.  These are my favorites thus far - Which do you like best?

Can you believe those are all do-it-yourself?  Now I just need to decide which I like best!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Ah!  Am I the only one freaked out that summer is already half over?  I don't, of course, mean the literal season of summer, but rather the June - August summer that we (sorta) get in education.

In order to actually enjoy my summer, now that it's flying by, I've made a list of the top 7 things I really need to do between now and Labor Day.  I considered doing a top 10 list but it is summer after all and I didn't want to stress myself out trying to add in fun things to the craziness - that would completely defeat the purpose.  One a week suffices.

1. Lexington Legends Baseball   2. Kentucky Fried Chicken   3. Amazon   4. My sad little tomato plant

Complete description of my summer bucket list after the jump!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Great Hair Debate

Anyone who has known me for more than a year knows that I can rock quite a wide variety of hairstyles.  Let's take a quick trip through the last six years, shall we?

Yep, all of those hairstyles in the last six years.  It's been really long and really short, really brown and really red, and everything in between.

I grew my hair out for my sister's wedding and fully expected to chop it the Monday after because I've always loved it super short.  But now I'm not so sure.  What do you think?

Should I go super short again ala Ginnifer Goodwin?  Stick somewhere in the middle like this sassy style?  Or keep it longer like my new hair idol Kate from The Small Things Blog?  

Someone please weigh in.  Its not often that I need other people's opinions!

Monday Reminder: Decisions

Maybe I'm the only one wrestling with life-changing things bright an early on a Monday morning (or all the time lately!), but I doubt it.  Wanted to share a good reminder with everyone else who is also making big decisions.

Happy Monday!  May your day be productive and full of love, laughter, and good decision-making skills.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Simplicity

Haven't done one of these in a while.  This is my life right now - not simple in the least.  Hoping to have it all straightened up by the end of today... otherwise, I might go insane.

Hope your Saturday is as productive as mine!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Yeah, yeah.  No theme again today.  I suppose since I started FTF as a random assortment of things I was favoriting that week, that's ok.  Plus, it makes more sense to link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog in this format.  (Really all of that is justification for the fact that I am not creative enough for themes the last few weeks.)


These are my Favorite Things for the week.

1.  Being Broke.  Ok, being broke isn't actually a favorite thing.  But figuring out how to make approximately $40 last for almost 2 weeks when there was no food in my house is more fun than I might have expected.  For example, I justified ordering pizza the other night because a) I really really wanted it and b) I knew I could make a $13 order of Dominos pizza and stuffed cheesy bread last forever whereas a frozen pizza is two meals tops and isn't nearly as satisfying.  So far I'm on meal number 4 and still haven't run out of pizza.  Go me.

2.  My Red Pants.  Remember my first FTF post (coincidentally linked above) where I discussed my new favorite red pants?  I haven't been able to wear them lately but I'm rocking them today.  Or at least I think I am.  Because technically I'm writing this on Thursday night and am just assuming I stuck to the plan.  So if you've seen me today and I'm not wearing them please don't tell.  Either way, they're still a favorite thing.

3.  Nearing the End of Unpacking Mania.  How is it possible that I have this much stuff in my apartment?!  I'll be done by Saturday afternoon if it kills me.  Which it might.

4.  My Hair at the Wedding Last Weekend.  I am so mad that I didn't take a picture of my hair!  I found this tutorial on The Small Things Blog (Coincidentally this blogger is the sister of Lauren who I linked up with above and I am obsessed with her.  We simply refer to her as "Awesome Girl" in my office.) awhile back and knew it was exactly what I wanted for my hair for Abby's wedding.  I wasn't wrong.  Maybe someone will have accidentally taken a picture of the back of my head and I can show everyone.  It was that awesome. Trust me.

5.  Having Nothing on the Agenda This Weekend.  Enough said.

Update.  I AM wearing the red pants today AND I am rocking my own version of Awesome Girl hair. Which isn't nearly as great as her hair or my hair when the hairdresser did it but it'll do for a rainy Friday!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Redefining Happiness

A while back, I wrote a post "Celebrating Women" in honor of Mothers Day.  In addition to the writings I've done on the topic, I've been following along with some of the "Mommy Wars" (please tell me you didn't miss this little gem from The Bloggess) which really aren't limited to "Mommies" but rather have tentacles to women everywhere who are just trying to do the best they can.  Too much of the conversation these days is negativity about how women are perfect at one aspect of their life and not at every other area.

The latest controversial post to hit the big time is this article by Anne-Marie Slaughter entitled "Why Women Still Can't Have it All."  Her article, written from the perspective of an incredibly high-powered woman, resonates with me big time.  I've been doing a lot of soul searching about what my priorities are, what I see for my future, whether I ever want to settle down and start a family, what kind of person I want to be remembered as... all big things hanging over my head for the last six months or so.  I don't know what all of my answers will be to those big questions yet but I do know that I need to redefine my own version of the American Dream if I want to survive.

I've learned that no one, not men or women, no one can possibly survive and really have it all because our definition of "having it all" is a disaster.  Something has to suffer because we are not super-human.  I hate to break it to all of you out there who are still "living the dream" but it isn't possible to do everything perfectly 100% of the time!  And it may never be possible but certainly not right now.  I love Slaughter's closing paragraph of the article.

We’ll create a better society in the process, for all women. We may need to put a woman in the White House before we are able to change the conditions of the women working at Walmart. But when we do, we will stop talking about whether women can have it all. We will properly focus on how we can help all Americans have healthy, happy, productive lives, valuing the people they love as much as the success they seek.

Re-envisioning what "success" means is a tough lesson for me sometimes because I truly love being seen as someone who excels in a career-focused environment.  I like being a big fish in a small pond, if you will, but in order to be that, even though I'm new to this whole career thing and not finished with my education, I have had to set other things aside.

I don't even have a family yet or possibly ever (aka - children... because you couldn't possibly have a family if you haven't given birth) and I've still had to make some tough decisions about how I want to prioritize my life.  I took a job in a city where I didn't know anyone, far away from my family, in order to excel in my career.  I've done exactly that.  But for the first 2 years that I lived here, that was all that I did.  I can honestly say that I didn't really have friends in that time - much less have any semblance of a dating life.  In order to be closer to my family, I'll probably have to take a step back in my career.  I have always wanted to pursue my PhD but that requires me to put my career on hold completely and probably move to an entirely new and different place.    As I've realized that I can't put relationships on hold, and can't rule out the fact that I may want to settle down some day, I've realized that might mean making sacrifices in my career.  The problem is, I don't like sacrifice.

That being said, the latest realization I've come to is that maybe I don't need to be "the best" at anything.  Maybe just being average at it all is ok.  I hate mediocrity but that's not what I'm talking about.  Maybe it's absolutely perfect not to climb so high in my career, pursue the terminal degree in the same way I once thought, marry a rich doctor and have a dozen perfectly adjusted kids.  

Maybe the American dream, having it all, should be more along the lines of finding a career that you love and that you are decent at, get as much education as you enjoy getting, fall in love if you meet someone worthy of sharing the rest of your life and have kids if it suits you.  

It's not lowering expectations.  It's redefining happiness.  At least for me it is.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm Back!

Not having internet, followed by a week of wedding madness, has completely ruined the good blogging cycle I was in.  But have no fear, I'm back and ready to share all sorts of neat things with you guys!

Couple of quick updates before my lunch hour ends.
- The move is progressing nicely.  The only room that is in the least bit organized is the bathroom but it was nice to have an organized space to get ready in this morning so I'm ok with that.  Pictures to come as I finish things up!  Expect the first batch of photos this week sometime.

- Being home last week was so crazy busy, nevermind that I completely forgot to do / pack / bring back with me half of the things that I was supposed to do, but it was wonderful to be home.  I described the last few days of my visit as "wedding-themed summer camp."  It's was surreal and I feel like I came home with a whole new group of friends.  I have to say, my little sister sure knows how to pick great people to be in her life!

- The wedding itself was perfect. My sister and her husband (I think I've referred to him as her fiance more times that I can count today - I'll get used to the change!) are off on their honeymoon.  I think they thought the wedding was as perfect as the rest of us thought.  Photos to come, I promise.

- The new blog design should be up and running in the next couple of weeks.  I am so excited for the change - just have to get my "designer" a few more things that she needs, and probably give her lots of glasses of wine as a thank you for helping me redesign the blog completely redesigning my blog with a sad level of input from yours truly, and it'll be live.  Woo whee!

Ok, back to work.  The to do list couldn't possibly longer after being gone for more than a week.  I am so tired that it's hard to keep moving today.  Maybe tonight I'll just sleep and let the unpacking take care of itself.
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