javascript:void(0) busy that day...: February 2011

it's not me, it's you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

on hiatus.

Well, folks, we are a mere 9 hours from departure! I just finished packing and managed to get everything into carry-ons. I am a notorious over-packer, but I think I did a pretty good job this time. Jeremy has some clothes in the wash right now (he only got home from work 45 minutes ago), but hopefully he'll be all packed by 10pm and we can go to bed! We have a friend driving us to the airport, but in order to make our 6:05am flight, we'll need to be up by 3am and out of the house by 4. Can you say crabby?! Thankfully, we bought some travel neck pillows so we can catch some serious z's on our flights.

Anyway, I'm signing off until late next week. I may post some photos if I get the time, but I plan on spending as much tech-free time as I can! Have a great few days, y'all.


My sister dedicated her blog to me yesterday, chronicling my fashion do's and don'ts from my first thirty years.  Check out some blast from the past photos and commentary here.

What's your favorite "look" of mine from 1981-2011?  Personally, mine is the sad clown.  I clearly hated that costume (I told my mom I looked like a bag of Wonder Bread) and wasn't afraid to show it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I officially don't turn 30 until 5:58 EST, so I'm still in my twenties for now, right?

As mentioned in a post from last week, I spent the thirty days leading to my 30th birthday recounting my favorite memories of the last decade via facebook.  It's been such a fun daily task, thinking of all the amazing people, places and things I have encountered since 2001.  Here's the complete list, all in one place!
  1. 2004 – The infamous “Cocktails and Cleavage” birthday party on Franklin Street.  Commons Crew, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout.
  2. 2003 – Numerous road trips from Richmond to NYC, but especially Thanksgiving and the Macy’s Parade in New York City with Michael and Rich.  Thank you for letting me sleep on your couch and experience holidays in the big city!
  3. 2002 – Living in a big ‘ol house with 4 pretty amazing roommates.  Although we had our drama, the good times were GREAT.  I’ll never forget 1310 late nights with Heather, Holly, Megan and Gretchen.
  4. 2006 – Crossing my fingers, marketing myself and landing a job in Chicago.  IIT has been my home for almost five years and has introduced me to so many great friends!
  5. 2006 – Graduating from the University of Virginia with a Master’s Degree in Higher Education.
  6. 2002 – Celebrating my parents’ 30th Wedding Anniversary.  Thank you for giving me a stable household, supporting me when I needed it most and for showing me that it IS possible to love and live with someone for life!
  7. 2003 – The exploding cake incident with Meena, my BFF.
  8. 2007 – Becoming an aunt.  Thank you to my sister for giving birth to the coolest kid I know.
  9. 2004 – Learning that sometimes to move on, you have to move out… so that’s what I did.  Interstate 64 led me to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.
  10. 2002 – Dinner at Joe’s Inn with Amy… gold lame pants and cat ladies in training!  
  11. 2002 – Becoming Information Center Manager at the VCU Student Commons, attempting to fill the larger-than-life shoes of two great Michaels.
  12. 2001 – Alpha Gamma Delta.  This should really be a decade-long memory, from being a new member to becoming a Colony and Chapter Advisor.  So many of you impacted me in so many ways you’ll never know; I’m thankful every day for you!
  13. 2005 – Applying to graduate school, because literally anything sounded more appealing than another day in financial aid.  Thanks to my Cville friends for helping make those days more bearable.
  14. 2007 – Watching my best friend marry her perfect match in style at the University of Richmond Chapel and celebrating at the VCU Alumni House.  And then, defiling a poor R2D2 cake at the bar.
  15. 2007 – Grilled Cheese Mondays at the Edgewater Lounge with the Aville contingent.
  16. 2004 – The famous vacation to the Outer Banks and The Land Before Time.  Robots, fireworks, sun poisoning and seamen abounded.  Good times.
  17. 2010 – Whirlwind summer vacation, featuring the wedding of Emily and Brent in Atlanta, being lucky in Las Vegas, a drive through the desert and MLB in Phoenix.  Definitely a memory-filled week of different people, places and things!
  18. 2004 – Hard times in Charlottesville, VA.  I truly learned the meaning of lonely, but learned a lot about myself.  
  19. 2005 – Graduate School at UVa.  Learning about a true passion, meeting great friends and classmates, and finding out that you actually CAN love what you do.  Good times in and out of class with my amazing cohort!
  20. 2008 – Took a big chance and went turtle racing with a cute boy I met on the internet.  Went against my rule and kissed him on the first date-- it turned out to be a pretty solid decision. I haven’t gone a day since then without at least hearing his voice, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  <3 you, Jeremy.
  21. 2008 – Graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
  22. 2007 – Reconnecting with high school friends, especially Brooke and Louise!.
  23. 2008 – Not being afraid to ask for what I wanted at work, and actually getting it.
  24. 2001 – Becoming a VCU Orientation Leader and being inspired to take a good, hard look at Student Affairs as a career path.  Thank you to all my mentors for their guidance!
  25. VA meets MA thanks to Angel & Meena.  Nothing says "great trip" like duckpin bowling and getting pulled over in Peabody!  
  26. 2006 – Going against everyone’s advice and moving to Chicago.  All on my own, 1000 miles from family and most friends.  It’s been an adventure!
  27. 2001 – Thinking a "busy" day consisted of tanning, shopping, going to one class and watching American Idol.  Oh, to be young and carefree!
  28. 2007- Surviving my first huge, self-planned event at work-- I took event planners for granted before having to do it all myself.  So fun, but so exhausting!
  29. 2011 - Looking back on all the memories of my twenties and beyond, and realizing how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people and things I have known and seen.
  30. 2009 – Said “I love you” and never looked back. Finding Jeremy has changed my life more than he’ll ever know. I look forward to forever with that guy, he's the best!
That's all I got. I could spend an entire year talking about my favorite memories! I hope you enjoy reading them, and if you were involved in any of them, THANK YOU. Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

bahamian dreaming.

As mentioned in my previous post, we are headed to the Bahamas this Saturday.  We booked our trip in early December and have been counting down the days ever since.  I love having travel plans scattered throughout the year, as it gives me something to look forward to when times are really tough.  For example, when I was sitting in traffic this morning (1 hour and 20 minutes for my 18 mile commute), all I had to do was pull up the forecast and see this to regain my composure:

I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.  A high school senior the day before graduation.  A mother before her child leaves for their first day of school.  That is, I'm excited, anxious and scared all at once!  I'm so focused on the trip, quite honestly, that I keep forgetting my birthday is this Thursday.  This may have been the best plan I've ever had-- distract myself from turning 30 with an amazing Caribbean vacation.  I'm so focused on packing and planning that I'm not wasting any time on worrying about entering a new decade of life!

This trip will be an adventure for us both, especially because neither of us have ever been out of the country.  Admittedly, I'm a little nervous about the ideas of being in a foreign country.  Also, as a planner, I've been driving myself a little crazy trying to learn any and every thing I can about where we're going and what to expect.  However, I have gotten good at stopping myself and remembering to enjoy it all.  We're only there for 5 days/4 nights, and have lots of plans to relax, explore and do new things.  I am most excited about our two "free" adventure packages that we received from our travel company:

  • Dolphin Swim at Blue Lagoon Island : I've ALWAYS wanted to swim with dolphins, and now I'll get to do it!  We'll have about an hour in the water with the animals and then spend the rest of the day exploring their private island.
  • Exuma Powerboat Adventure : This is a day-long trip where we'll travel to a few different cays.  Along the way, we'll feed iguanas, sharks and stingrays, then have lunch and go snorkeling.  This trip is the highest rated adventure I've found in the Bahamas, and I am so pumped.  I especially think Jeremy will enjoy shark feeding time!
To those of you who have been outside the US before, do you have any tips for a first-time traveler?  Even better, if you've been to the Nassau-Paradise Island area of the Bahamas before, do you have any suggestions?  We're already planning to stop by the market on our way to the hotel to stock up on drinks and snacks so we don't break the bank buying $3 bottled water on site.  Anything else you think I should know?

Friday, February 18, 2011

friday favorites.

In the spirit of other favorite blogs, I'm going to start a weekly venture: Friday Favorites!  Every Friday, I'll feature a few items, websites or tips and tricks that I love, and that you might love, too.  

This week, as we prepare for our first-ever trip abroad (we leave February 26 for a 5 day vacation to the Bahamas), I want to share with you a few of the things that have been helping us get ready!

  • : It's like google, for travel!  I love kayak because it's easy to use, organizes things however you desire, and saves searches.  It's my favorite travel site because it combines popular deal websites like expedia, travelocity and priceline all in one.  You don't book directly through kayak-- all the site does is find the best deals, and the rest is up to you.  They also offer a cool option to track the prices of flights and email you daily, so you can get the best possible deal, if you have time to wait on travel purchases.
  • fuji finepix XP10 : Since we're headed to the beach, we decided to buy a new digital camera that we can use without fear of it being ruined by the sand and surf.  The Fuji Finepix XP10 is dust-resistant and waterproof up to 10 feet.  It should be the perfect thing to capture pictures of our underwater escapades!
  • alligator wallet : Probably not what you expected when you clicked that link!  I'm a little paranoid about traveling outside the US and looked for a long time to find something that we can store our passports in while traveling the beaches.  The Kwik Tek Dry Pak Alligator Wallet is a good size and had great reviews on Amazon; I tried them out at home the other night and everything inside remained bone dry!
  • googledocs : I seriously don't know how I would keep my personal or professional life organized without google!  Googledocs has been a lifesaver when managing our travel plans, from setting up a budget, payment schedule, packing list and even an itinerary for us.  At work, we use docs for EVERYTHING, from staff meeting notes to daily ticket sales forms.  If you've never used googledocs, go today and give it a try.  It's best quality is that I can access from anywhere, save my work and then pick up on another machine or location.  Comes in very handy for all that work I don't get done during the day and have to pick up at night!
Those are my faves for this Friday.  Have you ever used any of the items or websites above?  If so, what was your experience?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share with me?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

growing up is hard to do.

Today officially marks the start of the last week of my twenties.  I feel... weird.

It's an odd thing thing to consider that at my age, my parents had an 8 year old and a 2 year old, a mortgage and two cars.  While I have chosen different paths than my mom and dad in almost every respect of major life decisions, I still feel behind the curve.  Many of our friends are married, have pets, children and own homes (sometimes two homes!).  I, however, rent a condo, have no pets, kids and no immediate plans for marriage.  I chose to put my education and personal desires among what might be considered the norm; at times, I feel like I may have made poor decisions, but ultimately I am totally content with where, who and what I am.

I never had a bucket list of things to accomplish before 30.  However, if we are friends on facebook (and if we're not, go ahead and add me), you know that I am spending this last month of 29 sharing a daily favorite memory of my twenties.  Next Thursday on my birthday, I'll share the entire list, en masse, here.

I've always been focused on preserving meaningful moments in my life; my office at work has no fewer than 46 (seriously, I just counted) framed photos scatted on the shelves, bookcases and desk.  I find peace in occasionally glancing up and seeing familiar faces, places and remembering great times with those who mean the most to me.  I'm never without my camera and often take pictures of even the most mundane things so that I have a visual representation of things past.  What ways do you find to remember the past and your favorite things?  Do you rely on photos, scrapbooks, journals or something else?  I'm looking for ways to expand my creativity!

testing, testing: 1, 2, 3...

Trying out photo collage software.

Trial 1: Picasa.  Easy to use, but almost too easy-- not a lot of options for personalization or layout.
If you use photo software, what do you use for collages or web photos?  Anything free is my best bet right now!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

just like starting over.

Attempting to make good on my promise to update more, I've merged my two blogs into one.  This site used to be my private space, but I prefer the name to my other space, as it will allow me to focus more on my every day life instead of solely on relationship building between Jeremy and I.  We've never discussed my blogging, quite frankly because I think he might be uncomfortable with it.  So, out of respect for that, I'm getting a bit of a fresh start!  Or, in the words of Teen Girl Squad, I'm going for "A WHOLE NEW STYLE!"

That being said, I've spent A LOT of time working on the design, layout and overall mood of my page.  I'm admittedly a novice at all of this-- it's taken me probably 10 hours to get this far in terms of coding, fonts, images and the like.  So, fellow bloggers, what tips and tricks do you recommend for using html/css?  How long did it take you until you felt your blog was just right?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


My sister (Pam @ The Finders Keeper) has recently begun blogging.  I am inspired by her daily dedication to post, even when working long days and managing my 3 year old handful-of-a-nephew!  In her honor, I'm rededicating myself to posting more often.

I'm trying to decide whether to do that here, or to use another blog I currently have for private use.  This blog was originally born out of adjusting to cohabitating-- but we're nearly two years into that journey at this point.  Is it time to refocus, or should I stick with it?  Anyone out there have any input?

I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of my aforementioned nephew, little Liam.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

a day for love.

happy valentine's day to all, near and far.  valentine's day has always been a favorite of mine-- the fact that i was single for a good majority of them never really bothered me.  when i was young, my parents always made sure we had a special day, and i so enjoyed getting cards and little gifts, especially from my dad!

now that i am a "taken woman", i've always made it a goal to NOT have an overly sappy valentine's day.  it's just not me, not us.  our first valentine's day together, we had dinner at superdawg drive-in and went to the movies to see "he's just not that into you."  last year, we tried the traditional route and went for a fancy dinner at morton's that cost way too much money, and we both hated it.  too much money, the food was terrible and we felt overly pressured to fit into the romantic vibe.

this year, we went to milwaukee for the weekend, with the intention of going snow tubing at sunburst mountain.  however, we woke up on saturday morning feeling lazy and opted for plan B instead.  we tried out glorioso brothers, an italian deli i'd been dying to try, and had made-to-order cannolis at peter sciortino's afterwards.  we crossed another brewery off our list, visiting mega-brewery miller and sampling some of their (well known) beers.  afterwards, a nice nap, a big dinner and a trip to the casino.  sunday, we slept late in our amazing king-sized suite at the hilton, grabbed lunch at sobelman's, our favorite burger place, and stopped to buy groceries before heading home.  although there was no overt romance or lovey-dovey deep eye staring, it was a much-needed break away from our home and everyday lives.

tonight, we'll most likely share a heart-shaped lou malnati's pizza, snuggle on the couch and catch up on the DVR.  this is the time in my life where i'm starting to realize that it's not really what you do to celebrate something, but it's who you're with.  and, as long as i'm with my valentine today, the rest is all just background.

happy valentine's day to you, and especially to my love.  enjoy the day!

Though I know I'll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before.
I know I'll often stop 
And think about them...

In my life I love you more.