Thursday, December 30, 2010

lazy days

I'm headed home tomorrow. Back to Tampa. This is the first time since I graduated from college that I've spent so much time in Chattanooga, and it has been lovely. I've had a lot of time to sit around and do very little. It has been wonderful. The worst part about having such a nice and long break is the going back park. On Monday, I return to teaching and to my kids. I love my job, but it is very fast paced and causes me a lot of stress. I think sometimes I bring it on myself, but one of my goals for the new year is to stop worrying so much and over-analyzing everything. I have some other goals that I'll talk about on Saturday when I do MJ's 11 in 2011.

While being home my mom has also been trying to convince me that Tim and I should get a dog. My mom's best friend has the cutest Maltese and a teacup Yorkie. Tim liked the idea of the Yorkie, but I just love the Maltese.
And my parents' dog, Baxter, is so stinking smart it makes me want to get a smart dog. He barks for lunch every day right around noon, when he gets his green beans. Then, he lays down with his baby for an afternoon nap. He wants dinner literally somewhere around 5:00 and he KNOWS that it is 9:00, because he starts crying to my dad to put him to bed. It doesn't matter how late we stay up, he goes into his room with the lights off at 9:00. He can still hear us I'm sure. It's the most bizarre thing.

What's a smart dog that doesn't need a lot of space? I think I'll wait until I have the summer off to train the puppy, but I really want one. Have any of you gotten dogs recently? What kind? I know they're so much work, but I feel like you don't know how much until you have one.

Also, one other question. I want one of those little one cup coffee makers like the Keurig or the Tassimo. They have a really good deal for the Tassimo at BB&B right now, but I want to get opinions. I want it to make lattes and I don't drink coffee. Do you have one? Do you like it/use it? I really want opinions on this one. Should I even get one at all? The point would be to discourage me from going to get lattes every morning and spending the money and getting the extra unnecessary egg white breakfast sandwich at Dunkin Donuts.
vs


I'm excited for New Years! We have fun plans that I'll update you on tomorrow or Saturday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Have you heard of?

Over the past few days, I've learned of, discovered, or finally gotten a chance to use some awesome websites and online tools that I want to share with you. I may be quite a bit behind in the game, but I thought I would share these awesome things with you. I'm totally telling you about them just for myself. I don't get anything from anyone for doing it, nor did anyone ask me to.

First, photobucket.
Have you heard of it? Do you use it? I just yesterday found out about it's amazing features, even though I've had an account for a while. Not only can you store photos there, but you can also edit them, crop them, add decorations and stickers and text to them. It's really endless. Since I don't have a great camera, I take a lot of cell phone pictures and can edit them and change the shape so they don't look like iPhone pics. Also, you can create collages, like the one I made in my last post.

I like that there is an html code when stored so that I can just insert the code into the html tab instead of having to browse for pictures.

Any other fun photo sites or tools I should try?

Next, ebates.com.
 Ebates is a site where you can make money by shopping online. You just create an account, and before shopping online you go through their site. They get paid for sending people to the different sites, so they give some of it back to you. For instance, I got 6% cash back at LOFT, 5% back at Nordstrom, 9% back at Nike, and other back from some other sites I've frequented lately. So far, since the beginning of December and only a little bit of shopping done through them, I've gotten back $55.31. I think that's pretty good. They pay you by check or paypall every two or three months.

If you want to sign up, you can go here. When you sign up you get something free of your choice too. (Just to be completely open, that is a referral link, so it does show that I referred you. So, thanks if you do decide to sign up. :)

Next. Modcloth.
I love this online shopping site. My sister turned me on to it after Christmas. The founders love vintage clothes, and the clothes on the site are really reasonably priced and vintage inspired. There are some really awesome things about the site as well. They are SO nice, first of all. There is a place where you can chat with them and ask them questions. They have the measurements of everything listed for you so you can decide if you will like the length. Also, there is a vintage section where they sell unique vintage items; the only problem I've found is that because there is only one of each, you will rarely see an item available. Also, and this is what is really fun, they send you free items with each order. When my mom ordered for Christmas for Kacey, she got all kinds of fun things: headbands, earrings, necklaces, etc. They aren't all super cute, but how fun is that?! 

Lastly. Polyvore.
I'm pretty sure I'm very late to the party on this one, but you can clip items from the internet and build inspiration boards on polyvore. I'm still learning how to make different backgrounds and add text and pictures, but for now, I'm having fun with the basic method of creating a set. I created a set showing some of my after Christmas purchases so you could see an example.

What internet websites can you share? I'm just blown away by these four cool ones, and I just had to share them with you! Share your favorites with me!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

holiday recap

This Christmas weekend was outstanding and just what I needed. As I constantly run my legs off in Tampa, it has been so incredibly nice to sit around the house in sweatpants and a sweatshirt and spend time with family doing what we love: chatting, watching football, and playing on our computers. That really sums up an amazing weekend.

I am lucky that I was able to have my boyfriend with my family for the first week of being home, and he loved being here as much as my family loved having him. We exchanged gifts the 23rd, since he was heading back to Tampa on the morning of the 24th. It was fun because not only did we exchanged gifts but he also exchanged gifts with all members of my family. From all of us, he racked up with some Lacoste shirts, Sperry topsiders, new earphones, Ole Miss shorts, Florida shorts, new sunglasses, and a stocking full of goodies. From him, I lucked out with a new Pottery Barn blanket, my favorite perfume in the whole world, an anthropologie shirt, gold snakeskin Tory Burch Reva ballet flats that I picked out here, and a pair of Kate Spade sandals he picked out himself. I am so lucky and so spoiled.

For Christmas eve, we went to my great aunt's house for our annual tradition. It was really nice this year, and I had fun playing with my cousin's two year old, Attickus. I walked out of the white elephant exchange with two Christmas serving dishes. As I'm obsessed with Christmas decorations, I was super excited!
Christmas morning is always exciting in our house. My sister and I since we were little have always vowed not to peek at the presents until we literally walk downstairs to open them. It was so much fun this year. Mom, Dad, and Grandma opened first, we ate breakfast, then Kacey and I opened. Because we didn't start until nearly 11 o'clock, it was fun to finish in the afternoon! We all got so many nice gifts. Kacey and I got mom a Michele watch and longchamp bag among other things; we got dad an iPhone, some Alabama shirts, and a DVD. And I got a lot of great clothes, some shoes, some dishes, and a Staub pot. This is what I was really hoping I would get.

Photobucket 
Baxter got two gifts too, and he was really excited about it.
 
The mos exciting part of Christmas weekend was the fact that it was a white one! We haven't had a white Christmas since 1989, when I was four years old. After presents and family time, my sister and I went outside and played, built snowmen, and threw snowballs. We actually had 6", so we all had fun playing!
It was fun for that day, but when we couldn't get out of our steep driveway (we live on a mountain in Tennessee) until Monday afternoon, we got a little tired of the snow.

I've had fun looking around at all of your Christmas pictures and Christmas stories. I can't wait for 2011 and all that it has in store, and I'll post about some new personal goals I have for myself in the new year soon!

Friday, December 24, 2010

In the spirit.

{image from here and here}

Merry Christmas!

I'm headed to my great aunt's house tonight to do a white elephant gift exchange with about 25 members of our family. My sister and I exchange presents when we get home, and then we get santa presents tomorrow morning. I already got my gifts from the boyfriend, as he left today. I'll fill you in on the gift excitement after the holidays! Enjoy the time with your friends and family!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wish I was here... (if I HAD to be elsewhere)

I saw this over at teaching in heels, and while I don't do many of these link up things, it seemed like a fun one to try! You can head over to For Me and play along.

I love where I am right now, at home with my family and boyfriend, but if I HAD to pick somewhere else to be right now, I think I would choose New York City. I just LOVE New York around Christmas. I love the snow, I love skating at Rockefeller Center and the gigantic tree, I love the Rockettes, and I love the cold and wintery feeling of the city.







Link up and play along!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Atlanta for three hours

For today, my plans included driving to Atlanta and back with my boyfriend to see his mom. It's only a two hour drive, and seeing that we were much closer to her here than we are in Tampa, it only made sense. 

For the past few days, I've been proud of myself and my outfits. I mentioned a few posts ago that I had started reading a few blogs (here and here) that inspired me to think more about my wardrobe and outfit selection. I only brought with me 20 piece to Chattanooga for 15 days in an attempt to remix what I brought. I haven't been taking pictures everyday, but today I thought it would be fun. It isn't something I necessarily would wear on a normal basis, but I thought today was worth giving it a whirl.
My jeans are new and from LOFT and I believe were made specifically for me. The dress is old and from JCrew, and the shirt is from Forever 21. I ended up removing the shirt by the end of the day, as it isn't 100% my style, but I liked wearing something a little different for a bit.

Because I went to Emory, in Atlanta, I really love going back and driving around Atlanta for different reasons. Today we ate at Vortex, which I had been to a few times during college. My favorite shows relate to eating and people who travel to eat, and this place was featured on Man vs. Food. He attempted to eat the double bypass burger, which has two patties and bacon and all kinds of other stuff sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Tim loves it because of the delicious food but also because of the fun ambience.


After spending an unruly amount of money at Junkman's Daughter, an amazing knick-knack store not to be missed when you pass through Atlanta, we headed to the Virginia Highlands to walk around and look at the different shops.


It brought back such great memories to go back to this area. This is where I used to go with girlfriends in college. There is a restaurant called Murphy's where my Theta family had all of our brunches after special events (like initiation and big sister revelation). There are bars that I went out to for all sorts of fun Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and/or Saturdays, and there is a store there where I worked for a bit during my Sophomore or Junior year? (it's only been a few years; I don't know why I can't remember when I worked at this place...)

I miss being in college, but I'm really enjoying my life so far as a full-fledged adult. It's a hard transition to go from getting up at ten and being responsible only for attending class to getting up at five thirty and being responsibly for running five classes...I look forward to what's to come, but I do enjoy a good trip down memory lane.

I'm loving being at home, which only adds to the memories.

What have you done lately that brought back memories? 



ps. Hello to all my new followers from the BonBon Rose girls giveaway reference! I'm so excited to have you! As you've been commenting I've been reading your blogs too and I'm loving them!! I'm excited to follow more blogs!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weekend recap

This weekend was relaxing and got me into the holiday spirit. I was home and it was nice to sit by the fire, hang out with my family, and have our first present exchange. 

Saturday was a fairly lazy day. I stayed in pajamas most of the day and we played a game of Cranium. I wasn't really excited about it, but since Tim wanted me to play since he had agreed to, I caved. It was actually hilarious, and I'm glad I played. You have to hum songs and at things out and it's just funny to watch other people do silly thing. If you haven't played, I would totally recommend it.
That night, my parents went to a holiday party and my sister, Tim, and I went over to our family friend's house. They're Jewish and love having a traditional Jewish dinner for their friends. I wish I had taken pictures, as we had SO MUCH FUN. We had beef tenderloin with horseradish, latkes with sour cream, homemade applesauce, shredded brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and dessert of donuts and chocolates. It was hilarious to sit around the table with their family, my sister and her best friend, and me and my boyfriend. We told stories from growing up, as we've been friends since we were little, and we shares awkward encounters from times we've been apart. We laughed all night. To cap it off, we watched drunk history and episodes of Modern Family.
Sunday was a day where I actually didn't take off sweats all day. That same family came over and we exchanged gifts. I got a really cool wine bottle opener from Williams Sonoma where you don't have to deal with the little armed man. I love kitchen gadgets and having a well stocked kitchen, so it was the perfect gift.
 After they left, we relaxed, watched football, and played a much too long great game of Monopoly. I normally dominate and am not the happiest loser, so when Tim overtook me with massive numbers of hotels, it wasn't my proudest moment. (Here are my boyfriend and my mom, taking everything a little more seriously than me...)
The weekend is pretty much summed up by this picture of the family dog, Baxter. We all felt this way.
 Tonight my sister's boyfriend, also named Tim, came into town and me, my Tim, my sister, her Tim, and my mom and dad went to a fun Mexican restaurant called Taco Mamacitas. They had yummy tacos, and I tried the 100 calorie margarita...I must say it wasn't that great. Here are me and my sister after dinner, and I have no idea what's going on with my poof.

Hope you had a nice Monday. Being a teacher gives me the perk of not having to work for a little bit, but if you have to, I hope you get a few days off at the end of the week!
Don't forget to enter my giveaway at BonBon Rose girls. 

What did you do this weekend?

Giveaway!

I'm so excited! I'm hosting a giveaway over at Bon Bon Rose girls! I love reading about all of the other rosebuds in their network, and I've been talking to Kristin about doing this giveaway for a little bit now! I teach full time but on the side I sell Stella & Dot jewelry! I made Star Stylist last month, which I wrote about here, and to celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway! I'm loving the blogging world, and thought more people would see about it at Bon Bon Rose girls, so I'm doing it there! It'll be up today at 3:30.

Head on over and you could win your pick of either of these two beauties:

I absolutely love the necklace and Kristin said she thought Bon Bon readers would love the ring for the holidays. Which would you prefer? Head over and read all the ways to enter at 3:30 EST! 

I'll be back later today for a weekend recap. It was so relaxing and so much fun...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home

I'm home.

I'm 25 years old and support myself fully in Tampa, but when I think about Chattanooga and my parents' house I still say "home". Not that I don't think of Tampa to be home to me too, but I don't think this concept of home will ever change for me. Am I the only one or is this pretty standard for everyone at this stage in life?

My boyfriend came home with me until the 24th, when he will go back to be with his family for Christmas eve and day. We got here to Chattanooga early and spent time catching up with my mom and sister and running to pick up little odds and ends.

It's my boyfriend's birthday! Happy birthday Tim!! My mom surprised him by ordering cupcakes from a bakery in New York called Crumbs. I forgot to take a picture before we cut into and devoured two of them, but here are the four that remain.
We enjoyed the black bottomed cheesecake and peanut butter cup ones. Left are the red velvet, chocolate swirl, chocolate/vanilla sprinkles, and oreo. Yum! 

I got him a pair of Nike Air Max+ shoes that he has been wanting and an Ole Miss windbreaker (to celebrate his acceptance to the MBA program there). I worked hard to make sure that Christmas didn't interfere with his birthday, as I know it must be the pits to have your birthday be an after thought. Any suggestions from those of you with December birthdays?

Today I also made a gingerbread house from a kit that I found. Tomorrow I'm going to make a gingerbread village and train (it's one of my favorite parts of the holidays).
For now I'm enjoying spending time with my family, sitting by the fire (which is so not a necessity in Tampa), and enjoying having an actual Christmas tree.
I hope a lot of you out there in the bloggy world are winding down with work and heading home for the holidays or having family come to visit. I'm loving reading about holiday traditions and seeing Christmas decorations. I had so much fun yesterday going through all the ornaments from the ornament exchange. I can't wait to participate in more fun events like that and interact with more bloggers!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ornament Exchange!

I am absolutely LOVING blogging and the fun ways that it's connecting me to other people. I found an awesome opportunity for an ornament exchange at Webbisodes. I quickly signed up and got partnered with Traci of The Traci Chronicles. You can see the fun ornament that I sent her on her site!

Traci is from Louisiana, and I was excited to see the ornament she got me.
I love that I'll always remember that my first year of blogging I got a beautiful fleur de lis ornament from someone who lives in Baton Rouge. I appreciate it so much, Traci, and absolutely ADORE the bling! Sparkles and glitter and sequins are so my thing right now.

Though I don't have a tree (because there isn't room for it at my house), I love all of my Christmas decorations and have found a cute home for it atop the hurricane filled with glass ornament balls.
I already know I will have a tree next year, and I have started collecting ornaments. This will be among my first Christmas tree ornaments (along with the owl I bought yesterday).

Thanks so much Traci for the cute ornament and Shannon for hosting such a fun bloggy event!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

i finished my Christmas shopping

I finished my Christmas shopping today. My boyfriend's parents were the last ones on my list, and I got his step-mom a bamboo salad bowl and tongs from Crate & Barrel and I got his dad a grilling pan and rub from Williams Sonoma. I was told those were good choices. I hope they like them.

I also Christmas shopped a little for myself. Here are a few of the things I bought:





Since my blog post yesterday, I did about 5 or 6 load of laundry and ironed it all. It was a breakthrough day, and while it took me basically all afternoon and into the evening, it was worth it. It's nice to be able to look into my closet and decide what to wear from what I own rather than what is cleanish. I had mountains of folded clothes stacked on all furniture obviously so my boyfriend would see all my efforts when he got home. They're still there...

In addition to doing all of the laundry, I also became inspired by this blog and this blog. They're both style bloggers who keep it simple and don't expect you to have endless supplies of money. Both of them label their outfits everyday, and their clothes come from places that I didn't even think about! It inspired me to sit down and think about what I have and think about what I need.

That's why I felt justified in my shopping today. They were things that helped to step up my wardrobe and add to it. These girls make me want to think more carefully about what I wear and ensure that I step out of the house everyday wearing something that is not only presentable but sophisticated and put together. I think it really does say a lot about you, and while I know what I would like for people to think, I know I don't always express that in what I wear.

I guess I've come up with my first goal for the new year:
1. work harder to ensure that I always look cute and put together when I leave the house.

As a side note, HOLY COW I LOVE FOREVER 21. I've never really shopped there because I never really have had the patience, but my goodness today I was on a shopping spree (that rivaled any I've ever had) and actually looked and shopped for clothes. I can't WAIT to go back with even more patience and time.

What are some of your favorite attainable stores? I'm going to try to spread myself beyond my staples of LOFT, JCrew, and a sprinkling of Anthropologie. I would like to broaden my horizons and TRULY need your help...

PPS. How cute is that owl ornament? I just need a tree now...