Friday, May 31, 2013

Travel Essentials: A Weekend in DC

Packing for my trip this weekend was much harder than I thought it would be. Maybe some of that blame could be placed on the fact that our dryer has been broken since Sunday (..and I had to frantically figure out all that I needed to bring almost a week ahead of time), but I'll put that excuse aside. Maybe I also didn't want to overpack and look like that needy girl who packs too many outfits for the first trip with her boyfriend, either. 

So what went into my suitcase?

Sundresses || Quite a few of them, actually. Since the forecast is looking to be quite warm, these seem to be the perfect option for late afternoon touring and early evening dinners outside. This one I picked up from J. Crew a few months ago and have been dying to wear it since!

Shorts and Light Tops || My new favorite shorts, the Barclay Short, are super lightweight and all of the colors match with everything. I figured they would be easy to mix and match and will be easy to run around in all day.

Cross-Body Bag || Not lugging around a heavy tote in the hot sun is definitely going to be a must. My kate spade cross-body is light enough to make it manageable, yet big enough to fit the essentials.

iPhone Charger || After spending many days romping through NYC, I know how quick phone batteries die. They die even faster when you're busy snapping pictures and using Apple Maps to navigate city streets. There are always random places to take a few minutes to charge the battery, so this baby will be in my bag the whole time.

What would you pack for a weekend long trip with your boyfriend knowing that the forecast is going to be in the 90's all weekend!?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Twenty Five in Twenty Five -- An Update

I posted here about the twenty five things that I wanted to accomplish before I turn 26.
I certainly crossed a few things off of my list this month!

bold are in progress.
crossed out are finished.

Write two snail mail letters per month.
Visit my Grandfather in Florida (April, 2013)
Move out of my parents' house.
Develop my blog.
Complete 3 classes through Coursera (1/3 complete).
Travel to Denver to visit my cousins and their babies (May 2013).
"Unplug" for an entire weekend.
Run a 10K race.
Donate to charity (Donated to UnitedWay for the Tornado victims: May 2013).
Visit Blacksburg.
Read 25 books (4/25 read).
Visit my friends who live out of state.
Meet some of my blog friends in real life.
Travel outside of the U.S.A.
Volunteer at the ASPCA or the Humane Society.
Make new friends.
Land a promotion or my dream job.
Take a road trip with my boyfriend.
Start to build a "real" big-girl wardrobe.
Spend an entire weekend lounging in bed with coffee, movies, and books.
Take a photography class.
Get rid of all of the "junk" in my life. Both stuff and people.
Pay it forward.
Be thankful for something every single day.

What do you want to accomplish before your next birthday?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm Getting Away!

This weekend, the boy and I are packing our bags and heading to DC! It's been a few years since I've been, and he has never been, so this is certainly going to be a fun trip.

Of course we want to hit the major points -- The Smithsonian Museums, all of the big monuments, and the typical touristy stuff, but I want to know what else are "Must See" things! Our hotel is on the Red Line, and we are close to the station, so we have access to the whole city!

So.. where do we eat (and more importantly, drink)?
What do we HAVE to see?
What are your favorite parts of the city?
Any hidden gems?

We plan on meeting up with a few friends Friday and Saturday, so I'd love to be able to suggest a meeting place!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Twenty Four // The OTHER Side of Me

Day Twenty-Four: Your top 3 worst traits

I don't think that anybody actually wants to talk about the bad traits they have. I sometimes get really frustrated thinking about them because I know that they are not all things that I can change. Physical attributes aside, these are what I believe to be my top 3 worst traits;

Sometimes, when other people make messes at my house, I get really anxious about it, but wont clean them up. I hate mess. I hate other peoples' messes more. Whether at home, or at work, I can't stand disorganization. However, if it isn't my responsibility, I'll just stew over the fact that it is a disaster. I really should work on the fact that I need to put my big girl panties on and either tell that person to clean it up, or just do it myself.

I am a super procrastinator. Everything can wait until the last minute. Literally, everything. Packing? The night before -- or even worse -- the morning of. Ordering/buying gifts? We're lucky if they get to the recipient on time. I hate that about myself.

I am totally non-confrontational. I HATE confrontation. If I have an issue, I tend to be way more passive aggressive than actually face the problem or issue head on. When I have been confronted, it is never as bad as I had pictured in my head. I just don't have the balls to initiate the conversation.

What are your "worst traits" that you would like to get rid of?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Fell In Love With Colorado.

I'm back! I'm back! I'm back! After what seems like the longest travel day in the world, I'm back in New York and ready to face the next few weeks.

Last Thursday, my family packed up and shipped out to Colorado. My brother and I had never been, and I don't think that we could have prepared ourselves for what an incredible trip it would be.

It all started at LaGuardia Airport where we saw Eric Trump as we waited to go through security. Pretty dang awesome, eh? After two flights, not enough sleep, and reuniting with Popop, we picked up our rental car and headed West towards my cousins' house.

Driving through the Rocky Mountains was hands down the most beautiful road trip I have ever been on. The snow capped mountains were perfection. Seriously, I'm obsessed.

Rockies in the distance.

About two hours later, we arrived at the hotel that my parents were staying at with Popop. I just could not get enough of the views -- can you just imagine waking up every day and seeing this out your window?

We met up with my cousin who I haven't seen in years, and headed to dinner at a local brewery. I highly recommend Gore Range Brewery if you are ever in the Edwards area -- the food was delicious, and everyone seemed to have enjoyed their various beers very much. They also had ample variety of sports on TV. My brother was super excited (at the beginning) to see that they had the Rangers game on!

My cousin's wife met up with us and brought the babies (my two new favorites, they're perfect) and Popop got to meet his Great-Grandchildren for the first time! It was something I will never forget and will forever be thankful for being part of it!

All of us were pretty tired after dinner, so we went to see my cousin's house, and play with the babies a little bit before bed. My brother and I were staying with them, so we dropped our stuff and jumped into our pajamas real quick.

Popop holding little Evan for the first time

Evan would not let that hat stay on Corbin's head the entire weekend.

Thanks to the time change, we were up early on Friday ready to tackle the day. The boys went out to grab coffee while me and Shannon happily caught up on our lives. When they got back, we packed up the kids and went to the diner for breakfast at the Eagle Diner. My lord, it is a LOT of work to get two kids out the door!! After breakfast, Shannon and I ran to the grocery store to get some food for a picnic lunch that we were going to have at Sylvan Lake State Park.

Now, let's talk about some amazing scenery.

Is this real life? Doesn't that look PAINTED on there? This doesn't even do it justice.

No cell phone service. Lots of family. Delicious food. Gorgeous weather. Seriously, I still can't describe how incredible it was to stand there and take it all in.

In the late afternoon, we headed back to the house and took naps. I just love naps. That evening we headed to Vail for dinner and bowling at bol. It was a high-end bowling alley with specialty cocktails, delicious food, and a great atmosphere for bowling. Popop had not been bowling in 40 years, so this was definitely something fun to do with him!

Me, Shannon and Char!

Super stylish bowling attire.

Someone left out the mayo and Charlotte decided that eating it using a french fry as a spoon would be just a fabulous idea!

After dinner and two rounds of bowling (neither of which I completely bombed.. YAY!) we took a stroll around Vail to look at the shops. That town is adorable. The cobblestone streets, little boutiques, fancy restaurants, and gorgeous scenery is enough to make me want to stay forever. As we were walking back to the car, we even saw a white tailed fox trotting through the center of town. I wish it had been light outside so I could have snapped some pictures! I can only imagine how gorgeous it must be during Christmastime with the snow falling and the decorations up. I could absolutely picture myself living there someday (you know, when I win the lottery and learn to ski).

Saturday we kept everything low key. We hung around the house, did a little food shopping, and cooked on the grill for dinner. The boys went for a LONG walk while I got to spend lots of quality time with the babies!

Char and her pretty little pony. Complete with a song that will be stuck in our heads for the next month.

She would only drink out of Popop's "big boy" glass

And she decided that she needed to do some light housework.

While Evan stocked the fridge with beer.

We grilled chicken and steak and had a super low key night. The parentals went back to their hotel fairly early and the rest of us had fun with margaritas, ski goggles, and winter hats. If ONLY I had those pictures on my phone...

Sunday morning we were up early and out the door to go to Aspen for the morning. The hour and a half drive through the canyons was even more incredible than the drive through the Rockies to get to Eagle. I still cannot get over how beautiful this state is!

We drove through what seemed like 4 different seasons to get there, but when we finally arrived in Aspen, the sun was shining and the weather was perfect! Since it is the off-season, most of the shops and restaurants were closed, but we did manage to sneak into a little log-cabin restaurant for lunch. Little Annie's had a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, and burgers. It had something for everyone, and we all enjoyed our meals. After lunch, we did a little more walking around, and even scooped up a few souvenirs.

Downtown Aspen.

We finally saw the "wildlife"

We all napped on the way back to Eagle, and when we got back, we started dinner, had some cocktails, played some Catch Phrase, and took more pictures.

We all called it an early night since we had to leave bright and early for the airport on Monday. I was certainly not ready to leave, and I made a promise to myself to get out there again soon!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Twenty Two // My Rant.

Day Twenty Two: Rant about something.
Since over the last week I have spent more hours in airports than I care to admit -- I would love nothing more than to rant about airport/airplane etiquette.

Rant #1: Pay attention. Get off your cell phone. When the screen says "Now boarding flight to Orange County, California," that does NOT mean the same thing as "Now boarding flight to LaGuardia, New York City." Put your laptop, iPad, and iPhone away and get it together. Your boarding pass will not work to get you on that plane. Oh, and everyone around you is laughing at you because we all called it.

Rant #2: Pay attention to your children. When they are running around screaming and being destructive, make them stop. I can guarantee that you would be the first person to scream at someone else if their kids were bothering you.

Rant #3: Please don't recline your seat. We are all cramped in those tiny little seats, so please don't make it worse for me. I promise that if I can go 4 hours without reclining, you can too. Pinky swear!

Rant #4: Don't wear your pajamas. We saw Eric Trump in the airport on our way to Denver. You never know who you might meet and chances are, they're going to judge you if you're wearing your jammies. Does it really take that long to put on some real clothes?

Rant #5: There is an ORDER to getting off the plane. Please don't climb over the seats to try to sprint off the plane before everyone else. It is just going to cause resentment and angriness. Also, I may try to trip you if the opportunity arises. So, watch out!

What do you hate about airport/airplane behavior!?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Twenty One // Favorite Posts

Day Twenty-One: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives.

Well. Since I only have a few (ehhh about 30) posts in general, I don't have too many to choose from.
Here are the ones that YOU guys liked the best!

What I'm Loving Wednesday
Things That Make Me Uncomfortable
A Trip To Mystic
Ten Things That Make Me REALLY Happy

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nineteen // My Favorite Bloggers

Day Nineteen: Five of your favorite blogs and why you love them.
A few days ago, I posted about my four favorite bloggers. Today I'll share the first five blogs that I ever followed!
Cupcakes and Cashmere was the first blog that I ever followed. I remember stumbling across her page and falling in love with her unique fashion sense, delicious recipes, and overall sense for a happy life. Through her site, I started to explore other avenues of blogs, and ended up where I am today!
The College Prepster came along sometime after I had graduated, and I found myself looking to her blog for fashion tips, fun deals, and organization strategies. Since Carly has moved to New York, I have loved following her adventures through one of my favorite cities!

Clare writes the blog Fitting It All In. She is at the same point in her life that I am, and I find her daily struggles and triumphs completely relatable! This was also the first "fitness" blog that I followed, and it was certainly her passion for running that kicked my butt into gear and made me choose to live a little bit healthier.

sCe, the author of Summer Wind, has recently re-branded her blog and I am in LOVE. This fellow Lilly-lover writes about her love for all things preppy! I adore her fashion sense, and would kill for a closet like hers!

Another fellow Lilly-lover and author of Nautical by Nature, Kate writes about her adventures on the West Coast as a Nanny to baby H. Has passion for the sea is contagious and sometimes I am amazed at all of the nautical things that she finds!!

Who are some of your favorite bloggers!?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eighteen // A Childhood Memory

Day Eighteen: Tell a story from your childhood. 

I had a really hard time picking just ONE memory, because I have so many that I could share. While the one I picked isn't necessarily from when I was a CHILD, it definitely qualifies as one of the best/worst/most hilarious nights of my life.

I bring you... my family's finest moment in history: The Night "Eddie the Bat" Invaded Our House

It all started on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend (okay, maybe it was Labor Day weekend, I can't be 100% sure...). My whole fam damily was walking back from a neighbor's house after a BBQ. We are cutting through the front yard and my Dad, being the nice guy he is, warns my Mom to lookout for the curb so she doesn't fall. Cute, right? Well, he misjudges the curb, almost falls, but doesn't so he can save the beer in his hand. Classy. Dad twists his knee, can't bend it, and is in tons of pain. We get back to the house, ice it, and out of the corner of my eye, I see something dark fly through the kitchen. No one in my family believes me, so we go to bed and pretend like nothing happened.

After breakfast the next morning, Dad spends the next day at the ER while they put a huge immobilizer on that knee. Saturday night, he is on crutches, but we all go out to another BBQ. Obviously it is time to celebrate the gorgeous weather and the beginning (or end) of summer. We are all tired as we finally get back to the house, and as we walk in the door, this bat swoops down and scares the poop out of all of us. This is when our true colors came out.

I immediately run to the laundry room, and put every single article of clothing on that I can find in the dryer. I lock myself in there because I know that if that bat touches me, I will have to get rabies shots, and homegirl is NOT okay with that. Naturally, I start crying, and may have ended up in the fetal position on top of the dryer.

My brother runs down the stairs and suits up with all of his airsoft equipment. He grabs his lacrosse stick and pretends to be ready for battle. God knows that if the thing had actually come near him, he would have run away.

My Mom stands in the foyer just screaming.

Dad, without being able to move his leg, has to figure something out. Obviously the rest of his family is completely and utterly USELESS in traumatic situations such as this. He crawls up the stairs with his crutches, and starts shutting bedroom doors trying to eliminate rooms that this bat could get trapped in. The bat flies back downstairs and somewhat traps itself in the living room.

Now, there are no doors in the living room, just a big 'ole hole in the wall to walk through. Dad crawls (maybe rolls, who knows, I'm still sitting in the laundry room crying) down the stairs and uses a glass door (that we had just taken out/put in the front door) to essentially play ping pong with the bat so it can't get back out. Knowing that the bat is now somewhat contained, I emerge from the bathroom to yelling to get all of the shower curtains from the house. Mom and I run around and rip these things down, and start taping them up around the doorway. We almost seal it shut, get Dad out, and have that bat trapped.


Now, we can walk outside and look in the living room window and see this icky creature flying around. It was terrifying. We get hold of "Billy the Bat Man" a few days later only to find out that we have an infestation on the outside of the house. After our experience with "Eddie the Bat," I think we would have paid him millions to get the things out of there!

To this day, I can't see a bat without getting the chills, and then the giggles remembering the night that the bat got into the house!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Seventeen // A Favorite Photo.

Day Seventeen:
 A favorite photo of yourself and why.

This photo, taken at the Luke Bryan concert last July has to be on the top of my list for tons of reasons. The biggest reason, though? It was one of the first pictures I have of myself after I had lost 30lbs last year. I remember looking at this after it had been taking and just smiling, knowing that I did it. I looked great, and felt great. That is something that I will never forget!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sixteen // Overcoming Challenges

Day Sixteen: Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it.

I certainly wasn't dealt a bad hand of cards. In fact, I'd say that I am pretty lucky in that sense. My family has been able to provide me with everything I could ever want or need, and I could never thank them enough for that.

However, I would have to say that something that I'm working to overcome right now is discovering what it is that I want to do with my life. When I graduated 3 years ago, I thought I had it figured out. I would work for my sorority for two years, take some pre-requisites for Grad School, and eventually go to Grad School for Occupational Therapy.

Well, that plan didn't quite work out and the summer after I graduated, I found myself scrambling to find something to fill my time as I dealt with the depression of graduating and trying to get things together quickly. I found a part time job in retail, and started taking classes at a community college that fall to get a head start on working towards Grad School. As I completed my second semester of Human Anatomy & Physiology, I realized that maybe this wasn't what I wanted to do with my life, and I had lost the passion that I thought I had for the field. I ended up full time at my retail job, and figured that I would try to work my way up in the company.

That plan sounded great for a whole year. I was promoted a few times, loved the women I worked with, and fell in love with the company. I was happy to go to work, the politics weren't getting to me (yet), and I didn't mind working the crazy hours. It's not like I had a TON of friends in this area, so I was just happy to be getting out of the house.

It all changed in the fall of 2011. We got a few new people at work who changed the dynamics of everything. People were fighting over petty things, I had made a few friends and was happier with my life outside of work. I was being assigned the closing shift 3-4 times per week, and was just not enjoying my job anymore. I had to get out. I was applying to 15 jobs a day, working with recruiters, and just trying to keep my head above the water.

Over the last 18 months, this has been my life. My parents are taking the heat for most of it, having to listen to me complain incessantly about how much I hate going to work. I struggle with the fact that my Psychology Degree doesn't really get me anywhere except to Grad School which is something that I'm not 100% sure of. I'd really like to discover what I want to do with the rest of my life so I can get a move on it, but I just don't have the time for soul searching. 

I struggle with this every. single. day. 
I make lists of fields that I should be looking into. 
I apply for hundreds of jobs per week and receive absolutely no feedback. 
I have no idea what I want to be doing in life, I only know what I don't want.

I know that I am not the only twenty-something dealing with these sorts of things, and while that does give me comfort sometimes, I really wish I could get things together.

What kinds of things are you struggling with right now?
How have you dealt with it?
And, how did you figure out what you wanted to do with your life!?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

This week, I am loving...

...that it is a SHORT week for me! I'm off Thursday-Monday for a super fabulous fun trip to Colorado!

...that this booger came home on Monday! Happy to have him home (except for the fact that I now have to share my bathroom again...)

...this new digital camera that I bought for all of my upcoming trips! I'm glad that I wont have to rely on my iPhone for everything. The best part? I found it on Amazon for about $80! Brand new, never been used, CANON for pretty cheap!! 




..these new purchases from Lilly! This sweater will be perfect for my trip to Denver this weekend, and I'm already in love with the winning combination of the silk Dusk Top and printed Callahan Shorts!! I just wish the weather would warm up just a bit so I can wear these shorts on a daily basis!

...and this little dress that I picked up for my oh-so adorable cousin. She will look darling in it (I just hope the two year old can keep it clean enough to snap a few pictures before it gets destroyed)!

...that I'm almost packed and ready for my family's cross-country adventure this weekend! While the 3am wakeup call does not sound appealing in the least, I am so excited to be traveling! The last few days have been spent running around like a crazy person, but I know that as soon as I step off that plane in Denver, it will all be worth it!!

What are YOU loving today?
Head on over to Jaime's blog to link up!