Monday, November 29, 2010

Gimme Yo Feedback!

What up, peeps?

So my one year blogiversary (or however it's spelled. I secretly hate that word.) is in January and I'm considering doing a giveaway or two for all of you awesome readers! Here's the best part: it would be the easiest giveaway in the world. None of this, "Blog about it, tweet about it, sing a song, slap your knees, and turn your body into a human pretzel" crap. I hate that.

What I want to know from you is, what kind of item or items would you most like to win in a giveaway? And let's be realistic, ok? I won't be shipping out a Rolex or Mercedes. What kind of giveaways get you excited? What kind make you think, "Who the heck wants that crap?" What would make you squeal if you won?

I have some possibilities, but want more, so give me some idears!

Oh yea, please?

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John F. Kennedy


I wish you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Lots of love and wishes for safe travels,


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update on Question for Certain Anonymous Reader:

Remember when I put myself out there for a reader from "Police Athletic League of Jacksonville" in the hopes that said reader was a single, tall male between the ages of 24 and 33?

Well, I received an email from the reader a few weeks ago and here is what was said:

Hey!

Sorry to disappoint but I'm actually a girl, 4'10", 21 years old and a grant writer. But I am outgoing and single! haha :) Recently, I stumbled upon your blog and I added it to my list of favorites. I decided to catch up on some blog reading today and came across your post about me. I about died laughing at my desk. Sadly, all the cops I work with are men above the age of 45. Trust me, I wish there were some hot young officers up in this place! :) Thanks for posting about me, it made a rough day a little brighter!

Sincerely,
Katie {unfortunately not a 6 foot, extremely attractive man in uniform}


Well, damn. I knew it couldn't be that easy.

But, good news, all of you can continue on the quest to find me a man- which I know is your lifelong goal and dream. Yay! Keep me posted ;)

*ps, hi katie!*
*pps, C. Brooks, are you still out there? Your blog is MIA and I miss you!*


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Handmade Goods.

I'm about as crafty as Lindsay Lohan is sober & Barack Obama is a good president (oh snap! sorry, couldn't resist ;)), so sometimes I scour etsy.com and ogle over the crafting abilities of others. I just don't have the creative bug, or patience, or ability to make something pretty with my own two hands. Except for decorating and a little bit of photography, but I don't call that "crafty." So today I thought I'd give you all some wonderful Holiday gift ideas and share with you some people who know how to get in touch with their Martha Stewart side and could give her a run for her money.

First up is my dear friend, CJ, and her shop 614 Creations. CJ is a friend from college who I absolutely adore. We met in education classes when I was a special-ed major and then went to Hawaii the same semester. She is now a 4th grade teacher (pause and clap for Ceej. 5 days a week with 25 ten year olds? No thank you!) and started making and selling jewelry last winter. Her jewelry is beautiful, high quality, and unique; she also does custom orders. Prices range from $12-200, so there really is something for everybody!

Here are some of my favorite pieces currently for sale:




Beautiful, right? If you have some girls to buy for, check out CJ's shop and consider purchasing some one-of-a-kind jewelry!

Jenny is my cousin's best friend and absolutely darling. I recently found out that she started a new craft blog and was so excited! Jenny is a wonderful photographer (although I'm pretty sure it's just a hobby), but also amazes me with her abilities when she whips out her custom creations for parties, etc. On her blog, StrungByColor, she not only gives craft making ideas, but also sells some of her custom jewelry and hair accessories. At the baby shower for my cousin, she had on this necklace that she had made. I freakin' loved the thing and when I found out she was selling them now, I was SO excited!

Aren't these so cool?





AWWW! Little Maisie making her modeling debut! Isn't she the most precious pea you've ever seen? And the headband is adorable!

Such cute items: a great way to jazz up any outfit, and make wonderful gift ideas. At the very least, you can pick up some awesome ideas for you to do on your own!

Last, but not least, is Gretchen from Chichiboulie. I'm really into gift-giving, so when I found out my cousin's were having a shower for their sister Bridget, I immediately turned to etsy to find something perfect and different for her daughter-to-be. I really wanted to find a pretty print for the nursery, but I fell in love with a name print. Unfortunately, Bridge was a stinker who decided to keep the name a secret until Maisie was born, so I had to come up with a different shower gift. But, I couldn't get the print out of my head and decided to purchase it for her as a "Welcome to the World" gift. The original print is here, but I changed a few things (added birthdate and weight and changed the color of the name).

Gretchen's shop on etsy has some adorable prints and other darling items, like ornaments, invitations, watercolors, etc. She was so wonderful to work with and didn't act annoyed at my 900 questions and requests. The finished product was matted and shipped in a plastic cover, wrapped in tissue paper, and sealed with a certificate of authenticity. It was here within 2 weeks (she's in France) and I was beyond happy with the end result. I just framed it and gave it to Maisie yesterday. She and her Mama loved it!



So there ya go, holiday gift ideas at the click of a button! See how much I love you? I even do your shopping for you ;)

*I received nothing in return for this post bragging about some pretty awesome women, I just felt they deserved the recognition.*


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

New York City: Part 2

For part 1, go here. Or scroll down, because it's not like I've written a billion posts in between part 1 and now.

Saturday morning we slept in until 10ish and awoke to a beautiful day: sunny and in the 50s! Considering it was snowing at home, I was happy. We finally headed out around noon and went straight to the box office to purchase tickets for a Broadway show. I've seen countless Broadway shows (2 actually on Broadway when I was there 5 years ago, several that have come to Indy/Chicago) and was SHOCKED when Rosh told me she had never seen any (except for RENT, but that was in her hometown). She's been to NYC hundreds of times and never seen a show! It was a must and she was excited about it. Since it was her first time experiencing that, I let her choose which show we saw. Her pick?

Promises, Promises with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth

thank you google images for letting me borrow this pic.

The show wasn't until 2, so after we picked up our tickets we headed to lunch at a little restaurant called Angelo's, where we split a margherita pizza. I don't know if you guys know about the long standing war between Chicago and NYC for who has the best pizza, but it's a big deal. Chicago is all about the deep dish vs. thin, crispy crust of NYC. Honestly, I don't even know how this is a competition, as they are polar opposites, but that's neither her nor there. Anyway, all this to say, NYC has the best pizza. Coal oven baked, crispy and ever so slightly burnt, super thing crust and little sauce, ooey, gooey cheese. Angelo's pizza wasn't anything extraordinary, but it sure as shit beat Pizza Hut. And deep dish.

By time we finished lunch, it was time to head to the show. We bought student tickets so our seats were basically at the top, but the theater was small enough that it didn't matter. Sean Hayes (Jack, from Will & Grace) was absolutely hilarious. He was playing a straight guy, but a lot of his Jack character came out (which probably means Jack isn't too far off from Sean's true self) and it had me in stitches. When I wasn't sleeping, that is.

Y'all how embarrassing is that? I literally COULD NOT keep my eyes open. I had the head bob goin' and everything. I may have even done that body jerk that sometimes happens when you're about to fall into a deep sleep. The poor people around me were probably getting so annoyed with my failed efforts to stay awake by switching position every 5 seconds. The show wasn't bad, I was just THAT tired.

It was an OK production, not my favorite, but it wasn't a waste of money either. And I'm glad Rosh finally got to experience Broadway on Broadway, so it could have been terrible and I still would have been happy. Oh, no pics from inside the theater, the workers were nutty about not taking pics. They probably would have cut my arm off if I had tried.

After the show we headed Uptown to Central Park and 5th Ave. And here is where I'm going to sound uber snotty and pretentious and not give a hoot. I LOVE this area of the city. It's so posh and chic and people there look important. The stores are upscale, the restaurants are upscale, the architecture is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The building fronts are exactly how I picture NYC, with super's and awning's with the addresses, and fluffy white poodles standing next to their beautifully adorned owners. The area just exudes excessive wealth and I can't help but wonder what it's like to live that kind of lifestyle.

OK, fine, I didn't see fluffy white poodles, but I'm sure they were there somewhere.

See? Pretty building on 5th Ave.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to Central Park, the sun had disappeared and ugly skies rolled in. We walked a ways through the Park, but didn't stop to take pictures or anything. I was SO disappointed-- all the trees were still green! What a rip off-- it's freakin' fall, almost winter, get with the program and change colors already, sheesh. We came out of the park on 5th Ave (I think? Maybe? Shoot, for all I know, 5th Ave. doesn't even sit next to Central Park) and started heading down town, to Midtown.

But first, we needed a bathroom break. So, I'm pretty ballsy about things and was all like, "Rosh, let's find a hotel and use the restroom." Mind you, Central Park was right there, we had public restrooms galore, but that just wouldn't work for me. And leave it to me to pick the freakin' most expensive hotel (well, probably tied with The Plaza) I've ever seen in my life to use as a pit stop- literally. We marched past the doorman pretending like we belonged there and I'm fairly certain we both stopped and dropped our jaws the moment we stepped out of that revolving door. I kind of didn't want to leave.

View of Empire State Building while walking Downtown on 5th Ave.

However, time most go on, so once we did our thing and then spied on a wedding party at the adjoining restaurant, we headed on our way. We really didn't do anything exciting besides walk take a stroll back down to our hotel. We did stop in St. Patrick's Cathedral since Rosh had never been in and I am in love with the church and secretly hope to marry there someday. Otherwise, nothing to report that any of you would care about. Except, if you want to send me a Christmas gift, feel free to send me a bag of the dark chocolate peppermint truffles from Lindt that we were lucky enough to sample. Hea.ven.ly.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Architecture inside St. Patrick's Cathedral. Mass may or may not have been going on while I took this, which is probably sacrilegious, or something. Good think I'm Catholic ;)

By the time we got back to our hotel, it was 630 or so. We decided to relax for a bit and attempt to figure out somewhere to go for dinner. My stomach was still upset, so we wanted something light, but were having trouble finding the perfect solution. We ended up just eating at one of the restaurants in the hotel and then headed upstairs for a drink. And what was upstairs, you may ask? Why, The View, of course.

The View is a rotating restaurant on the 48th floor of the Marriott Marquis that gives you 360* views of NYC and NJ. My friend Denise suggested going here but she couldn't remember what hotel it was in. We were so excited when we realized we didn't even have to leave ours to see it! We headed up there for a drink and soaked up the views. It was absolutely beautiful and I'm so glad we decided to check it out (it's pricey. To say the least).

View from 'The View.'

Chrysler Building. My favorite building ever in terms of architecture.

Around 1030, we headed back to our room and claimed we weren't very tired but wanted to just relax. By 1115, we were passed out.

Sunday we woke up around 9, left around 11, and by 1150 I was at my gate in the airport.

I'm sure the trip doesn't sound like anything overly awesome to some of you, but we really had a great time. We laughed a lot, had great conversation, and enjoyed each other's company. It really, truly was a wonderful escape that wasn't long enough. I know we both needed a break from life and home and I think it was the perfect answer. The only thing that could have made it better was if Tavern on the Green was still open. I really think the start of a great friendship was formed. In fact, we're already planning our next getaway!

If you want to read Rosh's recap, go here.

*Except for the 'Promises, Promises' pic, all photos were taken by me. NYC, Nov 2010.*


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Not Dead...

... yet.

Remember a few months ago when I was whining about how I had so much time on my hands and was bored and needed more to do? Well, be careful what you wish for.

I need a better analogy than this, but I've literally been running around like a chicken with my head cut off since I started my new job. I won't rehash what my schedule has looked like (and continues to look like), but it's been insane. And with little computer access. Although it's not like I'd have time for the computer even if the access was there.

Maybe I should start wearing this on a daily basis?

Anyhow, I have a lot of posts I want to write (including Part 2 of my trip!), and am hoping to get some written this weekend and then set them up to be wonderful little surprises in your dashboard every so often. That's assuming y'all haven't forgotten about me!

Miss you's and hugs!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo." -- Desmond Morris

Warning: long post. What else did you expect?

Last week I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off (funny, I feel like that's how this week has been, too), but even that couldn't take away from my excitement about my trip to New York City. My blog friend Rosh won the trip and graciously asked if I wanted to join her, and I immediately jumped at the chance to go to one of my favorite places at a majorly discounted rate. Even if I'd never met the person I'd be vacationing with in person. And guess what? I had a GREAT time! We hit it off and, at least to me, there wasn't any awkwardness at all. We had a lot in common and the start of a good friendship was formed. The weekend was exactly what I needed and I seriously cannot thank Rosh enough for her kindness and generosity. The trip went far too quickly and we're already planning our next getaway :)

Your's truly and Rosh.

I'm going to break it up into two posts; Thursday/Friday & Saturday/Sunday. And then do a post about my love of NYC. And whatever photos I don't put up in those posts will show up eventually.

On Thursday, my flight was scheduled to leave Indianapolis at 7:15 p.m. I had a lot to do that day, but made sure I checked my flight status 901 times before I left because I was flying Continental, which is notorious for delays, and into Newark, which I just hate. When we left my house at 5, my flight was only delayed three minutes. When I arrived at the airport at 6, my flight was delayed three hours. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was delayed four hours. I was kind of ticked, but what are you gonna do about it? So I went to the counter and talked to the ticket lady and she told me that the 1:45 flight hadn't even left yet and there was low cloud coverage in the Newark area, which was delaying all flights (I still don't know if I believe this because the Delta flight to LaGuardia at 6:25 left on time, but whatever). She offered to put me on the 6:30 flight, which was delayed, but would get me out an hour earlier. I accepted the offer, checked my bag, and went to the atrium to relax for the evening.

I ended up calling everyone under the sun, which is proof as to how bored I was because I hate talking on the phone. Actually, I think I hate the idea of talking on the phone more than the actual act. Anyway, about an hour before I was scheduled to depart, I went through security, which took all of four seconds because my flight and my original flight were the only two left to depart from the entire airport. I got to my gate only to find out it had been delayed another 30 minutes (the departure time changed so many times in those 3-4 hours) and apparently air traffic control was trying to cancel the flight. A ticket agent told a guy that the pilots were arguing with ATC to let us leave because they wanted to get home-- apparently they won because at 1015, we boarded the plane. So, thank you Continental Pilots for telling ATC what's up.

Fortunately, we had planned to stay at an airport near the Newark Airport Thursday night. Rosh had driven in from DC earlier that day, so she was able to get us checked in and hang out before having to pick me up. By time we got to the hotel, it was after 1 am.

Insert opinion on the highway system in Newark. HO. LY. Crap. What in the heck were they smoking when they built the roads there? I've never seen anything so insane-- roads coming out of every which way, no lane markers, crazy signs I can't even describe... it was nuts. We were laughing so hard and I applaud Rosh for braving that kind of chaos, because we were just taking guesses as to which road to take. It probably didn't help that it was dark and raining and there were zero lights to speak of on said crap highways.

By time we went to sleep, it was around 2. I was exhausted and knew 6 hours wouldn't do much to rejuvenate me, but I didn't fly out there to sleep in a hotel in Newark, so we were up at 8:30 for free breakfast and then got ready slowly. We finally headed into the City around 11:45 and got to the hotel around 1.


Friday we checked into our hotel before hitting the town. We ended up getting one night free at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square and then split the cost of the other night (thank you, associate rate). We were on the 15th floor and our view was of Times Square and just PERFECT. I couldn't help but laugh when I walked in and saw how huge it was for two people. When I went to NYC fives years ago we stayed at The Hudson Hotel and our room was probably 70 sq. ft (not exaggerating) and only had a double bed. We crammed four people in there, the two adults on the bed and my friend and me on the wood floor. For five days. Definitely something I'd only do as a teen and on my first trip to NYC.

View from the room.

We literally threw our crap down and walked back out the door. We had originally planned to get up early that day and see a Broadway show matinee... but we hadn't originally planned on me getting in four hours late the night before, so that all went out the window. We postponed the show seeing until Saturday and hit Downtown on Friday. I am not kidding you when I say we hit almost every neighborhood on the island of Manhattan. I wish I had had my pedometer so I'd know how much we walked. But let's put it this way, we walked all of Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown and only took the Subway three times and never took a cab.

We decided to start at the bottom and work our way back up, so we got off at the World Trade Center stop (the map still called it this, which I thought was weird) and went from there. I was amazed how much had changed at Ground Zero and was really, really overwhelmed with emotion. Last time, you were able to walk on the sidewalk and peek through the fencing to see some of the beams still standing. This time, the sidewalk was blocked off and tons of construction was underway. This past Sept. 11, I watched Nat Geo nonstop and saw so much footage, so walking the very streets I'd seen on TV where people were literally running for their lives, I felt a sense of guilt. To be standing in a place of such tragedy where so many innocent people were killed was really hard for me to grasp. Honestly, the events of that day are still hard for me to comprehend; how thousands of lives were changed in minutes. I just can't wrap my brain around it.
Whew. OK, so from Ground Zero, we walked past City Hall where I was subsequently harassed by some drunk man who spotted me a mile away and was hell bent on making my acquaintance. This man literally bee-lined for me and zig-zagged through people to come to my side and claim, "You are So BOOOOOTIFUL!" I stopped for a hot second because he invaded my personal space and I was taken aback, but then when I realized what he was doing, I chuckled and kept going, but that didn't stop him from shouting at me as I walked away. Favorite quotes include, "Can we be friends?" "I just had to say hello." and "Why you no talk to me?" It was a riot.

We headed toward Canal Street (Chinatown) where some moron tried to sell me the worst knock-off bottle of Burberry perfume ever. When I called him out on it and listed all the flaws with the packaging alone, he said, "OK, 30 dolla." I handed it back and said thanks but no thanks, and walked away. He was adamant that it was legit, but shouting "10 dolla!" as I walked away confirmed it was anything but. Chinatown in NYC is notorious for selling designer knock-offs. I've never had so many Asians whisper in my ear, "Coach. Louis Vuitton. Prada. Chanel." OK, I've never had any Asians whisper in my ear, period, but you get the idea. Last time, I was all about buying the fake stuff... but now I'm a snob who'd rather buy the real Coach bag and didn't waste my time or money there. I ended up buying three Pashmina for 10 bucks and then we headed to Little Italy, where we were harassed again, but this time for declining eating a restaurant. This obnoxious man would not stop screaming at us and I was thisclose to turning around and saying, "Being an asshole isn't going to increase your chances of getting me to eat your food. And if you have to scream at people to eat at your restaurant, it's probably a pretty good indication of the kind of food you serve." But I didn't give in to his antics and kept walking away. Yay me. See, I told you, I think more bitchy than I speak :)

We walked and walked and walked some more in a short amount of time, hopped a subway and ended up back Midtown at Rockefeller Center. I was SO excited to exit and look left to see Radio City Music Hall decorated for Chirstmas! Y'all, since I was little I've wanted to go to NYC during Christmas, so this little bit of Christmas made me so happy. We also popped into Magnolia Bakery and were tempted to buy something (um, YUM red velvet cheesecake), but I wouldn't allow myself to buy some deliciousness. We then went back to our hotel where we collapsed for a couple hours. Rosh has a good friend who lives in Queens and he met us at our hotel and pried us out of bed and to a restaurant. We headed to Restaurant Row (which apparently is super touristy, but where we ate seemed more like a locals only place) and ate at a place called Pourhouse. Her friend paid for our dinner because apparently he has this rule that if he goes out with someone who doesn't have a full-time job, he pays. I'm thinking I need more people like him in my life. He was incredibly nice and easy to get along with and I hope I get to see him again someday. I was quite the fan.


After dinner, we headed back toward our hotel area and wandered a bit, but then my stomach started acting up so we just headed to the room and passed out. I'm sure that sounds super lame to some people, being that I'm 23 and should be out partying, but that's just not my cup of tea, and wasn't what Rosh wanted to do, either. Besides, drinks are stupidly expensive there and I just have a hard time justifying 16 bucks for a weak cocktail. So we were in bed by midnight and it felt great!


A, me, Rosh


The rest of the trip will be up later. Claps to you if you read that entire thing!

** All photos are mine taken in November 2010**


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Checking In.

Hi, all! I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello! I'm back from NYC and had a wonderful time that went far too quickly. Why can't every day be a vacay? Reality is far too real for my liking. Once I'm back into the groove of things, I'll write a post about the trip... which will hopefully be within the next couple days. Hope y'all are doing well!

Hugs!

Oh, and sorry for my lack of replying to comments before I left. I was really busy that week and hardly on my computer, but they were appreciated. Y'all are the best :)

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