Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogging: Am I Over It?

Well hello, friends! I can only assume you all missed me terribly when I didn't blog yesterday. And that is the topic of today's post.

Lately, I have been feeling less inclined to blog. For the most part, I feel like I have managed to still keep up with posting, but I haven't always been pleased with my content. There have been times when I've thrown together a post just to have a post, and life has been so crazy lately I've struggled with pimping out my blog on all the social media outlets.

In short, blogging has fallen down to the bottom of my to do list.

I know I had some big ambitions with this blog--get new followers, maybe start accepting sponsors, join up with some networks, blah blah blah. At the moment, however, I don't feel prepared to do any of that, because I am just not motivated to keep up with posting.

Don't fret, I'm not officially quitting (I know you probably almost had a heart attack, Katie), just scaling back a bit and re-evaluating. When I first began this blog, it was because I loved writing and I wanted to be able to put my writing out there in the world. (And, okay, it was also to document our wedding plans--tomato, tomahto.) I had this thought that keeping up with a blog would stimulate my creative juices (or whatever), and I would have no problem with buckling down and writing the novel I have always dreamed of publishing.

Instead, I'm spending my days staring blankly at the computer, trying to come up with a post topic, or browsing around trying to find the perfect picture or GIF. God forbid I post something without some sort of graphic!
See how I managed to get at least one picture in this post?
via Giphy
Blogging has become a stressor in my life, and meanwhile, my novel still sits there on my computer, waiting for love and attention that never comes. Yes, there is plenty of support and encouragement from the blogging community. Honestly, the community aspect was completely unexpected--I was startled to find that there were others who honestly liked what I had to say, and were always ready to offer kind words when I needed it. However, I'm feeling like I'm falling behind in the community. I know I should not get into the game of comparison, but I see these other blogs that have so much going on--sponsored contents, huge giveaways, popular linkups--and I just know I do not have the time, energy, or space in my head to make that happen for my blog.

I'll admit, I even get so angry sometimes when all a blogger has to do is post up a couple of stupid GIFs and say "this is funny," and all of a sudden she's got devoted readers and followers like no other. When that happens, I think, "gee, maybe I should just post about dumb stuff and I'll get where I want to be." Then I remember that I've always taken pride in not doing what everyone else is doing, and I refrain. (I should note that I'm not even referring to a particular blog here--just the blogs in general that seem to have pointless content, and yet people come back to it every day).

via Giphy
Now that I've rambled on enough, let's cut to the chase--am I over blogging? No, not completely. I still love writing blog posts when I've got a great idea, or when I need to process my emotions (case in point). I do think I will start posting around three times a week, instead of five. I've always believed in quality over quantity, and I'm disappointed in myself for letting that rule slide, just so I could keep with the blog.

I also just can't quit you, other bloggers. I do enjoy the community I've found in the blogs I read and connect with every day, but at this point I really need to take a breather and figure out how blogging is going to fit back into my life, without totally stressing me out.

All Love,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fear Will Hold You Back

Hello my dear readers, and I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend/beautiful Easter Sunday. My brother and his girlfriend came to visit and we had a great time showing them around Loudoun. The weekend included local, craft beers; a feast of crabcakes; a wine tasting; and of course, Easter mass on Sunday followed by a feast at Matt's parent's house.

I was sad when the weekend came to a close. The next two weeks at work are going to be painful, and I have to work this weekend, so no break for me. I know I've probably said this five million times, but this time of year is so stressful at work. Plus, I'm starting this adventure as  Lia Sophia advisor, and I am taking another grad school class next month, and the weight of it all is just starting to get to me. You know me--once I get stressed out about one thing, I actively seek out MORE things that will add to my workload, just to see how much I can take.

Anyway, I wrote today's post back in November when I sponsored the Life of Bon. I never published it on this blog, and I felt it was appropriate today. Now that I am pushing 30, I've been thinking a lot about what I have done with my life, and what I have yet to do. I feel like the former is a short list, and the latter seems to get held up with my severe levels of procrastination.

Maybe this is just me, but when I was in college it was kind of cool to roll your eyes, sigh, and talk about how you're such a procrastinator. I would be up until 3am, playing John Mayer on repeat until I couldn't take it anymore, and then I'd get up early to finish and print off that 8 page paper with only 15 minutes left to jump in my car and head to class.

 photo 8279c8b3-2922-4757-a727-114baa3dbde4_zps4a8b6779.jpg
Birthday cakes: A typical result of my procrastination in college.
Looking back, there was always fear involved--fear of failure, or the fear of creating work that was not up to standard. I also couldn't help but doubt myself. The truth is, when I have these big, important projects coming up, I slowly start to doubt that I am capable of creating high quality work that is completely my own. All that negativity just creeps in and settles in my soul and brings me down. It reaches the point where all I want to do is avoid it, so instead of doing what needs to be done, I'll play candy crush, or read a book, or even go do laundry, because I just don't want to face the fear that I will never be good enough for the standards I've set for myself.

I really want to write a novel--I've wanted to do it for years, and just recently I actually started to work on it. However, I have all this fear pushing me away from it, on top of all these other things that I still need to do as an adult. I can't just drop everything and write, as much as I would like that--I have to take care of my other responsibilities first.

I'm trying really hard to push through years of fear and doubt over my capabilities. It's an uphill climb and most days I just want to quit. Somehow, I keep trying, and I know I don't want to give up right now.

What kind of fears are you battling right now? Remember the words of one of my favorite songs, "Break the Sky," and maybe we'll get through it together:

"fear will hold you back, if you believe in that."
--The Hush Sound

Break the Sky by The Hush Sound on Grooveshark

All Love,

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Have We Learned? Birthday Edition

Friends, this weekend wraps up my birthday (two) week(s) celebration! It's been quite a grand time, but I think we're all ready to move on and just get on with being 27 already. (BTW, the reason Matt let me pick out a dress for my birthday was because of the movie "27 Dresses." I thought that should mean I get 27 dresses, but Matt disagreed.)

I've learned a lot in my many years on this earth (I mean, I'm practically pushing 30), but today we're just going to review what I've learned from my two week birthday celebrations.

- I've learned that coming up with 30 things for a 30 before 30 list is a lot harder than it seems.

- I've learned that water damage can make a memory card do some kee-razy things!

What is that, fried alligator quiche? I don't even know.
- I've learned that my sweet husband has some mad rhyming skills.

- I've learned I have a serious problem with pizza. I usually eat it at least twice a week, and I don't even care if it burns my mouth because IT TASTES SO GOOD.

- I've learned that ahi tuna, pico de gallo, and avocado is one of the greatest marriages of food in the history of the world.

- I've learned I'm ready to let go of "Let it Go." Unless, of course, we're talking about the version I made up, about Millie doing her business. That song is ready to take the world by storm.

- I've learned that birthday celebrations sure do change over the years. At this point, no one wants to sit around and watch me smash a cupcake in my face.

But everyone wants to see a baby smash a cupcake!
- I've learned that good things can happen to those who wait--the weather managed to get itself together just long enough to give us a glorious weekend for my birthday. It promptly lost itself, however, the following week when it decided to sleet. Ya win some, ya lose some.

- I've learned that my friends really do know me so well--I sure hope they never stop sending me glitter birthday cards.

That about does it for my birthday celebrations! Thanks for sticking around these past two weeks through all of my prolonged birthday nonsense.

And if you're DYING to get in on the "What Have We Learned?" action, then you TOTALLY can! The Style Dunce and I will be starting a bi-weekly linkup in May. So mark your calendars friends, it's time we start sharing our knowledge!

Have a glorious, Easter weekend,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Birthday Scavenger Hunt: Part Two

It's Thursday, and Thursday always feels like such a relief--it's so close to Friday, you feel like you just might make it after all.

Thank you to everyone who left thoughtful, positive comments on yesterday's post, and for all those who sent love and prayers my way. April 16th is a difficult day every year, and it always leaves me feeling exhausted and drained.

On a positive note, yesterday also marked three years since Matt and I went on our first date. I feel lucky that I found him at just the right time, and lucky that I have him by my side every year, when days like yesterday leave me feeling completely wrecked.

Not to mention, he completely made my birthday with the scavenger hunt he created! If you missed the first part, you can catch up here.

As you know, the last clue led us to the mall for some retail therapy. Navigating the mall was a bit touch and go at first, and I almost didn't find a dress! (Can ya believe it?) When it comes to shopping, I can actually be REALLY picky--especially when someone says "let me buy you whatever you want." It's only when I'm not supposed to be spending money that I end up going crazy.

Luckily, I stumbled across the perfect maxi dress at Lord and Taylor--it was navy blue and a lace cutout in the book. The best part is that the length was perfect, no hemming needed!

My next clue magically appeared in my shopping bag, and it read:

"Now that we're outfitted a dinner awaits, just where we are going, you'll just have to wait! Alright, Alright, you'd like a clue, try this on for size it's foreign to you! However, I've heard that they specialize in meat, The King of Crash hit 60, how Colossus a feat!"

This one took me a minute, because all I could think was we must be going to a baseball themed restaurant, which was weird. Then I remembered, "Ruth. Baby Ruth," and ding ding ding! We had dinner reservations at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Matt and I had never been, but we had always talked about going. 

After the shopping trip, we went home to relax and hang out with Millie--it had been an exhausting day, and being around so many people in the mall made me want to take a nap. Matt had one more clue for me, and we both couldn't wait until after dinner, so I went ahead and opened it up:

"Wow what a steak! R.C. is a beast! Nothing better than wifey, and this gigantic feast! Now to the good part, a surprise deluxe, after you read this close your eyes and duck! J/K Kidding, you'll need your eyes open, created for your, your heart be golden! Happy Birthday Love! --Matty"

I opened up my gift and it was the most awesome, personal thing anyone has ever got for me--two hand painted cards of the First Couple of Sports Cards!

In case you didn't know, Matt works in sports cards, all explained in this post. He had asked the guy who does artwork for one of the companies to make these back in December. The background is actually from the resort we stayed at for our honeymoon in Costa Rica, and the words read, "all the roads led to us," because that is basically the inscription on Matt's wedding band ("all the roads led to you"). I may or may not have teared up a little. 

After a few hours of rest, we freshened up and headed out for some serious steak. Dinner was delightful, but definitely a place to be reserved for a special occasion. The memory card on my camera had malfunctioned, so all we have are a collection of iPhone photos. I hope it will do. 

We returned home around 9:30pm and promptly got ready for bed (I am pushing 30, remember?). It was a packed day and we both got up around 7am (Millie didn't want me to miss a moment of my birthday!), so bedtime was calling our name. 

Looks like we are almost to the end of Birthday (two) week(s)! I'm a little sad for it to be over, but also excited to get to it and start being a 27 year old!

Treasure Tromp

All Love,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hokie Strong

Hello, dear friends. I know I had promised to wrap up part two of my Birthday Scavenger Hunt, but I felt the need to write about something else today.

Seven years ago, I was a sophomore at Virginia Tech. It was a cold, spring morning, the weather not unlike what we've had this week. I was awakened by my RA knocking at our door. Still drowsy from sleep, I heard her tell my roommate to "stay away from the windows." She had already left by the time I dragged myself out of bed and asked my roommate what was going on. She told me there were reports of a shooting on campus, and we had to stay in the room until we got the all clear.

That was it. We thought nothing more of it as we went about our business as best as we could while being confined to our dorm room. There had been a similar incident at the beginning of the year, but it hadn't really affected the campus.

It is shocking to me now to think about how naive we were--how hopeful, how innocent, and how unsuspecting we were of the nature of the world around us. My roommate and I shared a pack of crackers and a Mountain Dew, because we had nothing else to eat, and we watched some trashy daytime talk show. Sometimes I just want to so desperately to go back to that carefree moment, before everything we knew was changed.

I don't remember how or when we started hearing the news reports of what was going on--I just remember being completely numb and in shock. My roommate and I were both frantically sending Facebook messages and IMs, trying to account for our friends, because the phone lines were completely tied up. At one point, one of my friends told me there were 22 victims, and I flat out told her she was wrong. I said, "they must have made a mistake or a typo on the news, there's no way the number is that high." I wanted so badly for that to be true, for the number of victims to stop climbing, but it didn't, and in the end we had lost 32 of our classmates and professors.

Seven years later, I know I still haven't completely processed everything I feel about that day. There are a lot of emotions that I continue to push down when they come up, and there are other things I can't even discuss on this blog because they are just too personal. Seven years later, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to mark this day without being reduced to tears. We were all so deeply changed and so deeply hurt, all trying to manage it the best way possible.

I do know that I will forever be part of a community that will neVer forgeT, and I find strength in that, in the same way my friends and I found strength in each other during the remaining weeks we spent on campus that semester. I find strength in my family, in my parents, who arrived in Blacksburg the following morning.They did all they could and more for me and my brother during that time following April 16th. I find strength in my husband, who won't make me talk about that day unless I want to talk about that day, and is still able to comfort me even when I cannot articulate what is wrong.

I live for 32--on my best days, and on my worst days; through the mundane, the interesting, the highs and the lows. I live for 32 when I'm bored, irritated, mad, or unhappy, and when I'm overjoyed, excited, carefree, or content. Every day and every emotion is a gift that 32 from our Hokie community had taken away from them. I live for 32.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Treat Yo Self: Tory Burch

Happy Tuesday, friends! I'm obviously still celebrating birthday shenanigans, and I can't wait to share the rest of #scavhunt14 with you all tomorrow. Today, let's talk about one of the many perks of having a valid email account around your birthday--birthday discounts. I typically delete emails from the same companies every other day of the year, but I pay special attention come April to make sure I don't miss out!

Of all the Birthday coupons I get in my email inbox, the best is always from Tory Burch--since last year, they have sent me a $50 credit to use online or in store for my birthday.

Friends, this is a huge deal. I LOVE Tory Burch, but I don't love their prices--definitely out of my league, most of the time. Since they don't offer up as many (and as good) surprise sales as Kate Spade, I usually only make a few Tory Burch purchases per year. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy with my purchase and have always felt it's a good investment, but I just can't always spend the money on it. 

Obviously, with a $50 credit, I'm about to go crazy. 

WHAT will I buy?!?! There are so many things I want from Tory Burch, but I'm going to limit myself to just one purchase so I don't kill my bank account. Hear are a few things on my wish list:

As you can see, this is quite the dilemma. Should I go for a pair of the shoes? BUT WHICH ONES?!?! I think I might need to buy the flats, wedges, AND thong sandals, but then I also think that wouldn't be a nice thing to do to my checking account. The jewelry case is lovely and would be so handy for travelling, but then again, the random zip cases I use now work just fine, so why fix it if it ain't broke?

And did you SEE that beautiful, blue satchel? Everyone needs a satchel, Indiana Jones had one.

Sadly, the satchel is out of my league. In the end, I'll probably just buy the perfume or sunglasses, because those are within my budget. If the sky was the limit, I'd obviously buy it all.

What do you think, dear readers? What would you go for if you had a gift card to Tory Burch?

p.s. I didn't receive anything to write this post--I'm pretty sure everyone gets $50 credit for their birthday if you sign up for a TB account online.

All Love,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Birthday Scavenger Hunt: Part One

Hello friends! It's back to the Real World today, after an amazing birthday weekend. Don't worry about me though--remember, this is a TWO week celebration, so there's plenty more where that came from!

This past weekend, Matt outdid himself for birthday celebrations. He created a little scavenger hunt (which he'd been planning for months), and took me to several fun spots around Loudoun. As he promised, it was a "fun filled day of activities." For easy reading, I've divided this into two posts--let's get started!

Before we went to bed Saturday night, Matt had a clue waiting for me on the pillow. It said:

"To my wife on her birthday of 27 years: Your day will begin with hugs and cheers! Downstairs we go to toast a great day, and find our next clue, away we go play! Saddle up Doodle, let's all take a walk, briskly the pace, no time to talk! The hint you are seeking, the very next clue, you may need to Google the last name 'Giroux'!"

I was immediately blown away by the fact that he was able to write out a rhyming clue--I don't think I'm capable of that! My next thought was "better Google that Giroux dude!" I knew he had to be some sort of athlete, and of course I was right--he's a French Canadian hockey player. My initial reaction to that was "are we going ice skating? That seems like a lot of work." Then Matt gently suggested I think about his first name, Claude, and the light bulb went off--we were going to take a walk over to Claude Moore park. It's across the street from our neighborhood, and would be a good place to walk the Strudel Doodle. 

Anyway, Millie helped me sniff out the next clue, and we returned to the house for mimosas ("toast a great day") and to get ready.

The second clue of the day read:

"Our very next step, only minutes away, jump in the shower, continue the day. Audi gassed up, all ready to go, destination unknown, yet dying to know. Think Mickey, Minnie, and Winnie the Pooh, blue eyes and beautiful, both me and you!"

OBVIOUSLY we were going to see our niece, Charlotte--she LOVES Mickey and Minnie, and she's a beautiful, blue eyed baby. 

Of course, Matt made me second guess myself many times, but I was right the first time. Charlotte was sleeping, but she still had a clue for me, which said:

"Charlotte loves Kay Kay, her auntie, the most, isn't she the cutest? I just have to boast! Lookout for veggies, cheetos and fruits, the way she eats is too darn cute! When Charlotte gets hungry, avocados and grapes...Have fun with Matt on the very next date!"

Did you guess correctly? We were on our way to a winery! My first guess was actually a farmers market, which actually wasn't totally wrong--we stopped at the cutest little farm shop on the way to the winery for a snack. I had the most delicious egg sandwich EVER. 

Next, we drove up to Hillsborough Vineyards (and that's one winery less on the 30 before 30 list), and the view was absolutely stunning. We were the first ones there (not too many trying to taste wine at 11am on a Sunday), so we got to pick the best seats in the house for sipping our wine. 

There was obviously another clue waiting for me at the vineyard (which I assume Matt handed over to the employee while I was in the bathroom). This clue said:

"Cab Sauv, Merlot, Pinot Noir, seven drinks in, do you know where you are? A winery silly, a friendly reminder, it's time for Matty to be a tad bit kinder! Next gift for you requires some fashion, to Nordstrom we go, you're looking quite dashing!"

Matt admitted that rhyming "fashion" with "dashing" was a bit of a stretch, but I loved my clue anyway. Also, HELLO retail therapy! He knows me so well. 

Friends, I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave you hanging! I know you're dying to know how the rest of #scavhunt14 turned out--if you follow on Insta and Twitter, you probably already know. If not, never fear! Part two will be up and running on Wednesday. 

All Love,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Birthday Confessions

Well friends, we are about to close out part one of the birthday (two) week(s). It might seem sad, but we have quite the weekend planned--little Miss Charlotte's 1st birthday party is on Saturday, then Matt has a "fun filled day of events" planned for Sunday. It's going to be a big, awesome surprise and I can't wait to fill you in on all the deets!

Anyway, I've got a lot of random, birthday-related thoughts in my head, and there is no better place to get rid of them than a good ol' Confessional Friday!

- I confess I had a terrible experience at a restaurant in Ashburn last night. At first, we thought they were just incredibly busy because there was some sort of event going on, but then it became clear we were just being ignored. Homegirl even KNEW it was my birthday week--not cool.

- I confess I was going to buckle down and work on a blog post, but then I took this quiz instead. Apparently, I'm a 90s movie connoisseur.

- I confess I caught up on New Girl last night, and wait, WHAT?!?! Guess I'll be annoyingly vague about this, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I am not okay with this. Not. Okay.

- I confess I didn't post anything for yesterday's so-called "National Sibling Day" because I don't like to do all the things everyone else is doing on Facebook. However, my brothers are pretty cool and stuff like that.

- I confess I am excited for the baby chicks to come to our office tomorrow. Excited because this year they will be in an office on the opposite side of me, and not in the office directly next to me.

- I confess I literally began bouncing around with excitement when I saw a package from the Allen Brothers waiting for me when I got home. I'm going to eat that red velvet cake allllll weekend. Thanks Mom and Dad!

- I confess that it is going to be impossible to work tomorrow. Beautiful weather AND my birthday weekend?!? It will be a struggle for sure.

Lastly, I confess I absolutely cannot wait for this weekend--it's going to be amazing.

All Love,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

30 Before 30

Hello, friends! I know we took a break with a fashion post yesterday, but now it's back to the birthday festivities!

It's time for me to come clean and confess my age--I'm about to hit the big 2-7. I know, I know, I'm still in my twenties and all, but this past week the reality of that age hit me. You all--I'm pushing 30 at this point! When I was 26, I still felt like a young 20 something, but now all of a sudden I'm only three years away from a new decade, and so close to my 10 year high school reunion that had always seemed like it was ages away.

In short, I'm feeling my age.

Since I'm a blogger, you KNOW I've got to put out a 30 by 30 list (OBVI!). Friends, hold on to your seats--this is the 30 by 30 list to end ALL LISTS! I hope you all will be by my side every step of the way. You know I'll be blogging about every single thing that get's crossed off this list. Let's go!

1. Eat at every Taco Bell in the state of Virginia
I've almost got all the ones on the I-81 corridor off the list.

Charlottesville TB: Check.
2. See Britney
No explanation needed.

3. Finish my Masters degree

4. Visit all of the wineries in Loudoun County
Okay, so there are 42 wineries, I've been to five, that means I need to go to how many per year until I'm 30? Somebody, come over here and help the psych major with her math.

What would a 30 by 30 list be without wine?
5. Go to Harry Potter World
But only if it means I will meet Harry Potter and Dobby isn't dead.

6. Have a baby
JUST KIDDING. Maybe? Maybe not? I don't know?

7. Get Millie certified as a therapy dog.
She loves everybody! She would be so good at this! She just needs to be just a little less crazy.
It's going to take at least another two years to get her calmed down enough for that.
8. Finish that Facebook de-friending I started three years ago.
I can only work on it when I've had a few glasses of wine. Otherwise, it is WAY too boring!

9. Go to at least one more football game in Lane Stadium
 No more excuses! It's been too long since I've been surrounded by thousands of Hokies.

It's also about time for me to be a Hokie model.
10. Finally finish watching Lost
So don't tell me what happens, even though I'm 99% sure I already know.

11. Go ice skating
Except it better not be real cold, and I better not fall on my face. Falling on my butt is okay, I've got plenty of padding there.

12. Participate in a 5K
This seems to end up on almost every list I ever make, and it never comes to fruition. Maybe I can make it happen in three years.

13. Write a novel
Write the whole novel, half of it, three chapters--just SOMETHING.

14. Finish  Project Gryffindor
Once again, can someone please do the math for me?

15. Reread the entire Wheel of Time series
That's 14 books, around 900 pages each...maybe I should just make "hire a mathematician" one of my goals.

Well, this is embarrassing--I couldn't actually come up with 30 things in one post! Can you blame me? I've set some pretty lofty goals here--I've got a lot of Taco Bells and wineries to hit up in the next three years.

Lucky for you, this is a birthday TWO week celebration, not a birthday one week, so part two of the 30 before 30 will be arriving next week!

linking this post up with Virginia Bloggers for Friday Favorites

Treasure Tromp
All Love,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fashionably Late: Leggings and Stripes

Hello and Happy Hump Day! I'm sorry if you were expecting another grand, birthday-related entry today. When you're stretching your celebrations out for two weeks, it's tough and also kind of boring to post about that stuff every day.

I thought we would switch it up a bit today with a fashion post; after all, it's been more than a few weeks since you've caught a glimpse of my style, and I hate to deprive my readers like that.

We all know I can't get enough of my leggings. Spring is taking it's sweet time to arrive around here, so we're getting lots of weird weather--not freezing cold, but not warm enough for short sleeves. It makes me miserable.

Good thing I have my amazing leggings to cheer me up! They're so perfect for these transitional seasons. For this outfit, I mixed it with stripes and a brightly colored cardigan--just so I can look like spring, even if it might not feel like it outside.

cardigan // Apt 9 (similar); top // J. Crew Factory; leggings // Hue; boots // Tory Burch; purse // Kate Spade (similar); watch // Michael Kors; sunglasses // Ray-Ban; necklace // Lia Sophia
I think one of these days, I might figure out how to appropriately take an outfit picture. Maybe someone could give me a lesson for my birthday? And while we're at it, how about a fancypants camera? With a professional photographer? It's not a lot, but that's really all I'm asking for my birthday.

All Love,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Treat Yo Self Tuesday

Hello, Tuesday! Good to see you, you second day of my Birthday Week (two weeks), you! It has been difficult to write a post tonight, when I've got a sweet doodle being needy and episodes of Parks and Rec to catch up on, but somehow I've managed.

It's time to keep up our birthday week theme! Of course, it's also TREAT YO SELF Tuesday, so you probably have some idea of what I'm going to talk about--all the many ways I've treated myself in birthdays past.

2006: I'm going to start here with Freshman year--because that's when I really got into planning my birthday, and that's when I started posting pictures on Facebook, which makes it a perfect birthday to blog about. I wore a crown and was eternally captured with this face:

2007: Oh, what a memorable birthday! I had a lovely dinner with friends at T.G.I.Fridays (oddly enough, I was obsessed with friend green beans). Later that evening, I consumed two shots of rum and beat the living daylights out of a pinata. The evening was appropriately concluded with Taco Bell and a BSB dance party.

2008: The big 2-1! I did what anyone would do for their 21st birthday--I threw a Disney Princess themed party.

I dressed as Belle (obvi!), but since I was a poor college student, I settled for a yellow sundress and a crown, instead of a ballgown.

2009: This was cool--I threw a party, invited all my friends, bought a keg of Yuengling, and COULD NOT DRINK ANY OF IT because of medication I was taking for Crohn's. Womp womp. On the plus side, a group of guys did serenade me with "Love Story," so I guess that worked out.

It was also cool when this former friend of mine took me to dinner for my birthday and said she would buy me a drink--OH GEE THANKS, why don't you pay for my glass of water since I can't actually drink?!?! Cheapo friend didn't even offer to buy me dessert. NBD because I ended up throwing up later, what up Crohn's Disease!

I obviously have a lot of feelings about this birthday.

2010: I treated myself to a new haircut, new dress, and a night out with some of my best friends in DC. I also unwrapped some of my presents while sitting in a bathroom, which just seemed like the right thing to do.
Please note the HSM card. Some things never change. 
2011: This birthday was probably the best of them all. I was out celebrating (for the third time that week), and I met a cute guy at the bar who ended up marrying me.
Never suspected I would be meeting my husband that evening. Also, the caption on FB for this picture reads, "It's my birthday y'all, it's pretty cool and stuff like that!" CLASSIC.
2012: A quarter of a century! This kind of celebration calls for a big time TREAT YO SELF--obviously, a trip to Vegas with my fiance was in order.

2013: Last year's birthday was tough--it was right after I lost my grandma and I did not feel like celebrating. I kept things low key, but I did treat myself to lunch and dinner with some awesome friends.
And we obviously spent some quality time with this sweet girl.
2014: I've got a lot in store for this year's celebration. Mani/pedi, margaritas, a little bit of retail therapy, and some quality time with friends and family. Matt also has some secret thing planned that he has manged to keep under wraps for months, so stay tuned for updates!

How do you TREAT YO SELF for your birthday week?

All Love,

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just Another Music Monday, V.17

Hello friends! Miss me? I can't say I blame you. I'm sorry for dropping off the face of blogworld momentarily--last week was awfully chaotic as I was preparing for our first, overnight Science Camp for the kiddos. You know the weekend is a success when someone shows their appreciation by decorating your car.

By the time I got home Sunday evening, I was exhausted. I took today off work (obviously), and later today I have a mani/pedi scheduled. This morning I plan to spend quality time with the doodle, and make plans for my upcoming Birthday (two) Week(s)!

That's right, you heard me, TWO WEEKS of celebrating the day of my birth! Sometime back in college, I decided that birthday celebrations should not be limited to one day. After a particularly rough winter, I've declared that my celebrations will last not one, but TWO weeks!

I'm kicking it off today with, obviously, the mani/pedi, and celebrations will be concluded during Easter weekend, when my brother and his girlfriend come to visit. For today's Music Monday, I've got a special, birthday playlist. No, this is not going to be cheesy, birthday related songs (so sorry if you were hoping to here "In Da Club" on today's playlist). These songs are all somehow related to my birthday.

My bff, Ashley, and I have a tradition of sending each other mix CDs for our birthdays (and for Valentine's, Christmas, graduation, etc). We're always trying to include new music that we know the other will love, as well as guilty pleasure pop music that we would never turn down (Miley's "See You Again" was on my Christmas mix in 2007).

In honor of my bff and my birthday, I bring you the best songs of our birthday playlists over the years (and then some!).

Birthday Week 2014 by Kate T. on Grooveshark

All Love,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Goals

Hey there friends! It looks like Spring might actually be gracing us with her presence. Yesterday was a tropical 70 degrees and there was plenty of sunshine to be had. I sincerely wish I wasn't feeling so awful so I could have enjoyed it more (I know you planned that, Mother Nature, and you're still not invited to my birthday party).

Despite whatever thing I've come down with this time, I'm feeling so hopeful now that spring weather is here. I just want to go run around and do ALL the things (except not really, because even taking Millie on a two minute walk exhausts me). I'm still trying to rest up and get better, so instead of running around in the glorious sunshine, taking down one goal after another, I'll list it all here for you, dear readers. I'm going to set a June 1st deadline to get it all done, and then we'll focus on goals for Summer! (Or, I'll get tired of it and won't mention it again--who knows what could happen?)

1. Try two, new recipes.
At least one from the Harry Potter cookbook (obvi), and another from my Le Creuset cookbook.

Delightful Cauldron Cakes!
2. Hit up the gym AT LEAST 2 times a week
Warm weather is upon us, which means people are going to see a lot more of my arms and legs, so I should make them presentable.

3. Paint furniture.
Specifically, paint the desk, chest, and bookcase that are currently in the office.

4. Purchase and install at least one ceiling fan.
We've been in our house for almost one year--ONE YEAR--and some of these rooms really need some overhead lighting.

5. Stop eating so much pizza.
Just kidding! No really. Maybe? I get embarrassed now when I call Joe's because we order from them at least once a week, but on the other side, pizza is really good. I can't stop, won't stop.

6. Write one chapter of my book.
I have seriously failed at writing my novel. At first, I set goals of "write 10,000 words," and then "write 3,000 words." Now, let's just get one chapter done this season and I'll be pleased.

7. Enjoy the sunshine
I think we're all tired of complaining (and hearing each other complain) about the cold, miserable weather, so now that the temps are rising we need to shut up and enjoy it.

8. Learn more about becoming a Lia Sophia advisor
Is this a silly idea? No, really, I'm seriously considering it but also seriously scared. I keep thinking "you're no good at selling stuff!" then I remember how I sold enough fruit in marching band to pay my way to Canada, so maybe I'm not as bad as I think.

Also, hello discounted jewelry!
9. Clean out the garage
I know garage floors don't need to be the cleanest, but there's piles of the gritty stuff they spread around before snow/ice that's made it's way into our garage and it drives me nuts. Also, a fair amount of clutter has accumulated out there, and every now and then I trip over the shoes we leave piled by the door. So, yes, that room needs some organizing, stat.

10. Throw at least one social gathering.
Remember that margarita machine I bought for Matt's birthday? It barely got used. Now is the time to break it out and try some new marg recipes.

There it is, a nice, even list of ten goals for the new season! I'll check in at the beginning of next month and let you know how it's going, maybe even invite you over for a margarita or two. (Just kidding on that last I'm not, be my friend?)

What are your goals for this season of new life?

All Love,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Treat Yo Self Tuesday

Friends, I am ill. No, no, don't worry, I'll be okay. I'm going to make it on my own! Seriously though, I'm miserable--my head is all stuffed and I think I may have been run over in my sleep by a train or something. I've somehow managed to pull myself together long enough to put together a post, because that's how much I care.

Anyway, I thought it would be appropriate to write a TREAT YO SELF post in regards to being sick. After all, the best way to recover from a little sinus infection is a healthy dose of TLC--and you know I'm not talking about the pop trio from the 90s here (but playing "waterfalls" on repeat couldn't hurt). Here are a few of my favorite ways to treat myself when I'm sick. Scientifically speaking, it may not cure my illness, but isn't 90% of it all mental anyway?

1. Lunch at Panera
If I'm able to drag myself out of the house to make it to the doctor, then I can easily stop by Panera on the way home for tomato soup and grilled cheese. A girl's gotta eat to keep up her strength, right?

2. Netflix
If there was ever a time to binge watch every season of the Following, this would be it. Make sure you've got tissues, crackers, ginger ale, trash bag, WHATEVER you need right next to you so you don't have to ever leave the couch.

3. Read all the books
When I was sick over Christmas, I read the entire Divergent series in the span of a week. It makes me feel like less of a lazy bum if I'm lying on the couch reading, not lying on the couch watching TV.

via Giphy

4. Bubble baths once a day or more as needed
And maybe you should do some online retail therapy so you can order more bubble bath, just in case.

via Giphy
5. Speaking of retail therapy...
Think of all those times you get an email from your favorite online sample sale site, but you just don't have the time to browse while at work--well now you do! You're not doing anything but lying on the couch, might as well be productive and buy that console table that was only $199 on Joss and Main, right?

6. Nap Marathons
Some days, I really miss my college schedule when I finished up with my classes by noon and then it was time for a five hour power nap. I like to relive this days whenever I'm sick.
via Giphy
7. Internet videos
I NEVER watch any of those viral videos people post to Facebook, because I just never have the time. Oh, sure, I know what you're talking about when you say "that a Capella version of drummer boy!" or "the parents sing the entire Frozen soundtrack," but I don't actually watch them. Being home, sick on the couch, is the perfect time to waste an entire day with pointless viral videos. Like this one.

8. Use it for all it's worth
When I'm sick, I'm out of it for a few days then I feel better. However, I make sure that everyone knows I'm still "recovering," so I can't do certain things, like do the laundry, go to the gym, spend the entire day at work--you know how it is.
via Giphy
Hopefully, a day of rest and a good dose of NyQuil will be all it takes to get me back to normal. How do you treat yo self when you're feeling under the weather?

All Love,
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