Friday, June 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes Or Thank You Notes Volume 14

As I sit and think over the past couple weeks full of events big and small ,
I realize how horribly lucky I am.
So today I am going to stray from the norm.  
Instead of recapping the highlights, 
I'd like to take a quick moment and thank those that bless my life.
For I am the luckiest.

Thank you, Jen, for providing us with a forum to make new blogging buddies!
I have been amazed by how welcoming and supportive it is in the blog world. 
Thank you also for the Quick Takes template.  
They are all so nice and formatted. 
It makes my little organizing loving heart skip a beat.

Thank you to my dance teachers and dance family. 

You have always been so welcoming, kind, and supportive.  It was great to spend a weekend with you celebrating the opening of the new dance school.  Dance has always been such a big part of my life, but the most important thing is that it has blessed me with the opportunity to be with such amazing people.  The relationships that have come about are irreplaceable.

Thanks to my lia sophia team. 
You ladies are all the best! 
Each of you offer such good advice to me as a fashion advisor. 
You inspire me!
Thank you to lia sophia, as well, for providing a great product, but ultimately for running a company that puts the women you serve first.  There are so many exciting things coming out this weekend about the future.
I am so excited to continue and for my business to grow.

Thank you to my ever faithful study buddy and summer school roomie.

I'm so happy that we were able to reconnect.  Despite the many years between third grade and grad school, it feels like nothing ever changed and we were never apart.
Grad school would be miserable without you!
And a lone girl breaking out into Broadway musical songs at a coffee shop is just plain ridiculous.

Thank you, Emily, for the secret summer Santa chocolate deliveries, e-mail conversations, lunch line moral support, coffee and frosty Friday runs (hmm...), blazer saving, blog support...
Basically, thanks for being the best cube wall buddy ever.

Thank you for attempting to spare me from the mosquitos and not laughing too much about the constellations outlined in bites on my face. 
Thank you for coming to my rescue and applying first aid to my desk chair wounded heel and for putting up with my need to have my doctor dad look at it. 
No matter how many times you say I don't need stitches, it only make sense from him.
Thank you for coming to the coffee shop to calm my nerves after being approached by a strange man.
Thank you for practicing those tricky dance moves with me after class was over.
Thank you for making time for me despite overtime and being on call. 
Thank you, B, for everything.
I love you.

Last but not least, thank you to my family for always being there.
I could fill a book, so I will keep it short.
Grazie mille!

And thank you to you, dear reader. 
It's hard to describe how much it means to have you stop by my little corner.
Have a fantastic weekend!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Questions of the Heart: Beauty Go-To

Welcome back to number four of the five questions on my heart.  We're almost there!

Do you ever have days that you feel anything but beautiful?  You look in the mirror and you just see plain ol' day to day you?  You know that you are pretty, but you just cannot see it and you definitely do not feel it.  Maybe you are burnt out from life, feeling ill, struggling with something personal or feeling insecure.  All those things take a toll, it happens, but what do you do when it happens?

What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful?

It may sound cliché or self absorbed, but on those days I dress up a little more.  If I'm going to work I will put on a skirt or my nicest pair of slacks.  For an evening out or a weekend, you can bet my outfit will be styled around an item that makes me happy because it has sentimental value or makes me feel good about my body.  The new splurge item, a religious piece of jewelry, something in my favorite color, the shoes that I like my legs in, the necklace from my grandmother, the dress my boyfriend complimented me on, something shiny or sparkly...
Celebrities with different body types
Dressing for my body type is a big part of building confidence through my wardrobe.
I also will dedicate extra time to putting on my make up.  Eyeliner and mascara (waterproof for these extra teary days) are a must!  Something about paying attention to the little details is relaxing.
Some days it takes a lot of effort to get ready and get out the door, especially when every ounce of my being wishes I were an ostrich and could bury my head in the sand and live in happy ignorance of being "unseen."  Paying extra attention to dressing nicely, however, builds my confidence.  Even though I may not feel beautiful, I know that I look nice and I should not worry.
Last but not least, turn that frown upside down.  Because, as Little Orphan Annie taught me, "You're never fully dressed without a smile."


What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful? 
What would you like to share with other women to encourage them to recognize their value and to be beautiful?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Smiles

Because the ultimate cure for the Monday blues is 
something that will make you smile and grateful for what you have.  
These things make me smile and hopefully they will make you smile too.

Polka Dots

black Michael Miller fabric white polka dots

I love polka dots.

I do.

They make me happy.

Why?  They just do... 

That's the easy answer;  try again.

Polka dots are playful.

Can you imagine a dull polka dot? 
I didn't think so.

The colors of the dots and background only add to the playfulness of the pattern.
Contrasting colors like white on black, complimentary colors like orange on blue, and shades like lilac on lavender, you name it, the options are endless.

Polka dotted items are the things that make me stop in my tracks, turn around and take another look when I am walking through a store.
Now, throwing polka dots on something does not make it instantly better, 
but polka dots done well?

Polka dots done well shout out:
"Look at me!  I'm colorful!  I'm fun!  I'm cute and adorable! 
Take me home with you!"
Polka dots only speak in exclamations.  

It's hard to argue with such a peppy pattern.
original source unknown





Courtesy of The Busy Budgeting Mama

I also imagine some polka dots speaking with a plethora of  P's
like Pippi the personal assistant from Mr. Popper's Penguins.
Light purple on pink ones to be exact.
I know...


Happy Monday!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Smiles

I dislike Mondays. 

Dislike is an understatement. 

I dislike Mondays with a passion.

Non mi piace il Lunedi.
Saying it in Italian sounds more emphatic.

I would say hate, but then my mother's voice comes into my head reminding me that hate is the complete absence of anything good and there is good in everything.

I should not let Mondays get me down as much as I do.  They can get me into a funk that creeps into my Sunday evening, takes all the productivity out of the day itself and leaves Tuesday to pick up the pieces.  Even if the only good thing I can find about Monday, itself, is that it will be a whole week of days before it is Monday again (a la Pollyanna's take on Sundays), there are plenty of good and lovely things in life that I enjoy and I can enjoy them on a Monday.

Someone once wrote down a list of things that make me smile and told me to focus on those things when things got rough.  I carry that list in my wallet.  It makes me smile every time I see it.  I am still learning to think about that list when I am down, but when I follow through, it helps.  I recommend it. 

I started this blog to write about enjoying the beautiful gift of life, finding joy in the little things, and that is what I am going to do.  This here, little blog and I are going to make a preemptive strike on Mondays.  From now on, I am going to use Monday as an opportunity to highlight something that makes me smile.  It can be an object, idea, memory, anything.  Only criteria; it has to make me smile.

Visit next week for the first real edition. 

Now for the tough part, what to write about first?

Friday, June 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes or Working for the Weekend Volume 13

Friday!  Glorious Friday!  I have been pinning after you all week. 

1.        Last weekend’s promise of date night quickly changed when B’s best friend from high school announced he was coming to visit.  After the internal ten count pity party I allowed myself, I looked forward to meeting such a good friend that I have heard so much about the past few years.  I also could not complain because we were able to sneak in a quick trip to the 20th Annual Weiner Dog Nationals at German Fest.  What is there not to love about hundreds of dachshunds racing in brackets for the coveted title of champion?
Wow those dogs are fast!  Oh wait, they haven't started yet.
2.       It was so nice to spend time with B and his old friend this weekend.  Hearing old and new stories of their friendship and seeing them interact was a great opportunity and I feel like I know B even better than before.  Of course, there was the mandatory evening at the local board game store for a lengthy game night.  I can read your mind.  You are thinking: nerds.  Yes, it is true.  If you had any doubts on the subject I think the name of the store just might seal the deal.


3.       All my little brother wanted for his birthday was to see Ironman 3 and Star Trek in the movie theatre.  We finally got around to fulfilling half of his present and saw Ironman 3 on Tuesday.  But before we could enjoy the film, we had to prove we met the prerequisites of viewing specific Marvel films.  I can read your mind again...

4.       My house was blessed with an ant infestation as well this week.  Earlier in the evening we had spied one in the living room, ushered him outside, and thought nothing of it.  After everyone left, I ventured to my room to prepare for bed.  One ant, two ants, three ants…after guiding nine ants towards the light and spying several more, I gave up called my dad and slept on the couch.  The next morning I was welcomed by five on my vanity and more crawling on the floor.  My daddy saved the day and called the exterminator for me.  Now I am discovering dozens of ants in need of a funeral.

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah...

5.       Wednesday night we had a long stretch of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.  The predicted derecho (weather systems joined into one large severe mess) did not form, thank goodness, but we did have enough continuous downpour, hail, and winds to spend the entire night in the basement close to the only room in the house without windows.  At first my nieces and nephews thought it was great fun to hang out in the shower with Grandmommy’s comfy blankets and a mattress outside the door.  The natives got a little restless after five minutes of prayers and the shower was transformed from a car into a jumping pit.  Don’t worry “Aunt A-Stina” was being so silly because, they were “just ‘ittle jumps…just doing one more” and they were “not doing ‘nastics.”  Then the baby hit his head and the tune changed to “my bottom is on my seat!”  Being an aunt is one of the best things in life.
Almost everyone.
6.       For a few shining moments on Thursday I thought it truly was Friday.  The sunny weather after the storms gave that feeling of hope and joy I experience with the anticipation of the weekend. Fortunately, the devastation (overly dramatic, I know) of realizing there was another day between me and the desired weekend was short lived when an impromptu lunch date was planned.  Duck pastrami, French fries, and gourmet ice cream from my two new favorite places and a sweet boy on a long weekend = perfect remedy for the Thursday afternoon blues.

7.       Our parking garage has been going through some much needed renovations.  We have already gone through weeks of confusing traffic lanes and dusty cars as they worked on the ramps.  Now that the threat of snow is behind us (knock on wood), the construction has moved to the actual floor of the garage.  We received an email apologizing for the inconvenience of not being able to park on the top floor of the garage.  What they forgot to mention was the amount of vibration caused by the machines would be great enough to shake the entire building.  My cube is on the top floor and the constant feeling of the aftershock of an earthquake is thoroughly disconcerting.

Make sure to visit Jen and the other quick takers before heading out to enjoy your weekend!

Oh weekend!  If only I did not have to share you with my books.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Five Favorites: Father's Day Edition Volume 6

It’s Wednesday already and Father’s Day is just around the corner.  When it comes to presents for dads, or men in general, I often feel stumped.  My standby has always been to find something related to their interests and something that I find nice or intriguing that just may become a new interest.  Inspired by my daddy, here are my five favorites for Father's Day gift giving.

1.  Badminton is a family favorite summer past time.  We inherited our love from our dad.  The rules are not complicated, if you choose to play by them, and it’s just as entertaining to try for the longest volley.
2.  The traditional tie is a great gift for the business man that has the opportunity to wear them on a daily basis.  Despite the fact my dad only wears ties on special occasions, he has quite the collection of cartoon decorated neck gear (one year he asked for a “nice” tie for Christmas…I think we spent more on the silk snowman tie to place on top of the traditional red and blue model that fit the request).  Truth be told, he does wear all of his ties eventually.  Even if some of them are worn with scrubs on a holiday to put a smile on a patient’s face.  This tie is a great combination of fun and serious.  From far away it appears to be nothing special, but up close everyone will know that someone thinks this guy is tops.

Superman Blue Logo Print Tie

3.  Keeping with the saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, a family meal has always been the focus on Father’s Day.  Ironically this generally involves a meal grilled by my dad (my first couple attempts at grilling involved raw and blackened meat, a dog and bird poop…yes).  A friend of mine gifted her husband this sweet flipper for Valentine’s Day and I think it’s fantastic.

We flippin love you - (will not be shipped in time for Father's Day) hand stamped stainless steel spatula for BBQ or cooking in the kitchen

4.  My dad spends a good amount of time in the car at all hours of the day.  Instead of purchasing him books to read in his free time, we have purchased books on tape for a little variety on his commute.  You can find some read by famous performers which only add to the experience.  Edgar Allen Poe read by Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone- yes, please.

5.  I think most men would agree that they do not tire of their favorite team’s paraphernalia.  If they do, they hide it well.  Sometimes the ridiculousness of the item makes the gift the best, but finding a nice item that has a purpose in addition to hailing the alma mater is always nice.  From what I can tell, no one makes collegiate pie plates.  Someone should, because I have a pie to go in it.

Haha :)
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes or Catching Up on Life Volume 12

The past few weeks have been busy with a capital b.
(how are you supposed to type that saying, Busy with a capital B?)
I feel a bit out of sorts from all of it and will be happy to get back to the new normal after all the running around.  For now I'm happy to be back writing and joining Jen and the others.
1.  Two weddings on consecutive weekends is a perfect recipe for exhaustion.  I love to dance, but by the end of Kat and Chad’s big day my poor feet were almost numb.  Their wedding was beautiful and the reception a blast.  Unfortunately my camera died and all I have to share is this crystal clear snapshot and some FB ‘borrowed’ shots.


I’m so happy for my dear friends!
2.  B is officially a home owner!  He closed on his house last weekend.  While we moved the first of many loads of boxes into the garage someone set off some fireworks right above his house.  We were going about our business and a police vehicle pulled up asking if we had heard or seen fireworks.  Being law abiding citizens we reported what we knew about their location and the policeman smiled and said he knew where to go.  Looks like there may be some troublemakers a few blocks over.
3.  Another happening of last weekend was my five year undergraduate reunion.  It was so very nice to get to spend the weekend with a great group of girls from my dorm, including one of my dearest friends.  We met in class, became study partners, and ultimately realized that we were much better at studying before we became friends.  We had a great representation of our class at the reunion weekend, but I still missed seeing some of my favorite faces on campus.

4.  While running to the store and picking up some diapers for a friend stranded at home with a sick baby, I was informed that I did not look old enough to have a baby.  Yes, I know I will eventually be grateful for looking young so I accept the compliment, but there is something strangely satisfying when all the years of your life are recognized.  And to go all philosophical on the poor dear, she seemed to be operating under the premise that motherhood was something you did not do while you were young and, shall I extrapolate, in your prime years of life?  She was a sweet girl and chatted with me about my hair and my jewelry, so I have to forgive her for not realizing the undertones of what she was saying.  But deep down I really wanted to sit her down and have a heart to heart.  Dear girl, motherhood is beautiful and desirable, and when you get to be my age I hope you do not have to wish to be going on your own diaper run.  But for now I’m glad I could offer you hope that straight hair, on a rare occasion, may actually become wavy.
5.  May came and went and I will have to say my attempt at Style Me May was somewhat of a wash.  I was doing 100% with selecting my outfits based on the style prompt, 80% on taking a picture, and 5% on posting said picture, and then the week of my sister’s wedding came and it was 0% on all accounts.  Sometime in the near future I will try again. 

6.  With summer comes all sorts of dDowntown is home to the many festivals of the summer as well as to Thursday lunches on the square with music and food trucks.  The first festival of the season is the highly anticipated (except by medical professionals on duty): German Fest.  Our building is several blocks away from the fairgrounds and it is a floor tradition to make a trip down to enjoy the weekly fare.  With various obligations we strayed from the traditional Festival Friday lunch and trekked to the park on Wednesday for our brats.  I'm not a huge brat eater, but there is something about eating one outside with a polka band singing John Mayer in the background that makes it all the more enjoyable.
7.  I'm approved for my comprehensive exam!  As I look at the daunting stack of books to study, I am reminded of one of my favorite professors:
"'All right books, you just stay right there on that desk and I am going to read you.
(starts reading and yells)
Now I said, stay there!' 
Sometimes you have to teach these texts who is boss, otherwise they get uppity."
If a theologian recognized by the pope can talk to books so can I.
Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. I'm not sure if the centering will be happening from now on or not.  The formatting on blogger is doing all sorts of funkiness and centering seems to be the only safe option.  Ok, it's the only option that isn't driving me crazy.  I'm choosing to ignore the difference in spacing between photos am I the only one that this bothers?

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