Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten Moments of 2010

1.  I graduated from LSU in May.
I graduated with College Honors after writing a thesis in my senior year and completing the other requirements over my four years at LSU.  The thesis was really hard, but I'm really glad I did it. 
To celebrate, we had a fancy party at Galatoire's in Baton Rouge with my extended family. 
My cake was awesome and my mom (especially) would have loved it.  I really missed her at my graduation and it was so hard to not have her there with me, but I know she was there in spirit. 
Geaux Tigers!

2.  I went to Napa for the first time.
My dad took me and my friend Elise to Napa and San Francisco for Spring Break in April.  It was one of the best trips I have ever been on and I am so thankful that Elise was able to go with us.  We had a fantastic time and I am glad we have that memory together as friends since we now live far apart.
It really will.

3.  I became an alumna of my sorority in May as well.  
My three and a half years as an active in college taught me so much about myself and about the world.
Seniors of 2010.

4. I moved to Washington, D.C. less than two weeks after graduation.
I moved to D.C. for an internship and to attend graduate school.  I started out living in the summer-leased dorms at George Washington University in Foggy Bottom.  
My aunt came to visit more times than I could count for work and she really helped me with moving to D.C. and getting settled (without a car).
Two of my good friends lived in D.C. over the summer for internships too and I'm so glad they were there with me.
My best friend came to visit me over the summer as well.  I hope she will come visit a lot more! 
Welcome to Washington.

5.  I had an incredible internship in D.C.
I got to see and to things I never even dreamed of seeing or doing.  I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities presented to me through my internship and for the friends I got to make while I was there.
Fourth of July on the South Lawn.

6.  I started graduate school at George Washington University.
And I completed my first semester with a great GPA.  It wasn't perfect, but I am still very proud of it.  Hopefully, I can improve even more in the future.
View of the Capitol from the Supreme Court.

7.  I moved into my first solo apartment.
And then I spent a lot of time and effort decorating it (on a budget).  And I really enjoyed that process.  My apartment isn't perfect, but I really love it. 
Chez moi.

8. One of my best friends got married and another had her first child.
I served as a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding in May in Houma, Louisiana and serve as an honorary "auntie" to my friend's baby, Micah.  And so, it begins...
Sleeping Micah.

9. I started this blog.
And that's a top ten moment of 2010 as far as I'm concerned! 
This is where I blog... sometimes.

10. The Saints won the Super Bowl.
And I was in New Orleans when it happened.  I was with a group of diehard Saints fans and I will never forget their joy when the Saints won.
Victory... and my friend Rachel her fun mom in the foreground.
This picture embodies all the reasons that I love NOLA.

Bring it on 2011- I'm expecting great things! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Few (Very) Random Observations

Well, I've made a few observations recently.  I'm just gonna put it all out there.

1.  I prefer talk radio over music when I'm driving long distances. 
When did I become a 65 year old?  But seriously, it holds my attention better than music most of the time. Weird.

2.  I'm officially not a "young person" anymore.
Proof?  The other day a family friend told me that her daughter asked for an Eminem t-shirt for Christmas. And I literally thought she meant M&M's... as in "melt in your mouth, not in your hand..."
Yeah.  That actually happened.  And I felt about a million years old when I realized what she was talking about.

3. I saw a few friends when I was in Louisiana for the holidays.  
And I've missed them.  A lot. 

4.  I am so glad I was a member of a sorority in college.  
The girls I met there are truly some of my best friends and I know I will be able to count on them for the rest of my life to be there in good times and bad.

5.  Even though I feel old, I really am young.
Everyone says that college days are the best days of your life, but I don't think that's true.  I had a great time in college but I know there are many more happy times ahead of me as I enter the period of life when my friends are starting to get married and have families.

6. I really can't believe Tennessee lost their bowl game tonight.
And in such poor form.  It was just like the LSU game all over again.  Even though that game ended in my favor, I still felt a little bad for Tennessee fans- not really for the coach since he apparently can't count correctly.  But I know how it feels to lose badly.  And it doesn't feel good.  

7.  I'm going back to Tennessee tomorrow for a few days.
I'm supposed to finally get to meet my best friend's boyfriend.  I'm pretty excited about this considering they've been together like 2 years (I think??) and I still haven't met him!

8. I saw Black Swan.
And it was odd.  But mostly because I think I actually followed/ got it. I think this because it really didn't blow my mind as much as I thought it would. Hmm...

9.  I know I said this recently, but I really do love you people out there who read this blog.
Especially random (pictureless) posts like this one.  You guys rock.

10. I like even numbers.
So I am ending this post with a tenth observation.  Haha! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas List in Review

Well, at the beginning of the month, I wrote this post on my Christmas wish list.  Naturally, it grew a bit.  And naturally, the lists for the people I had to buy for did NOT grow.  Meaning, I had to wing it with their gifts since they didn't tell me what they wanted.  Arghhh...

Today I thought I would do a little review of what I got and how it measured up (or didn't) to my expectations and what I gave to others and how that worked out.  I know this post is going to be kind of long and tedious, but I want to have it for my memories if nothing else.

My Fossil watch was better (and bigger) than expected and I really love it.  I had to order some links to get it to not be incredibly tight on my manly wrist fit the way I want, but once I get those (soon, I hope!) it will be good to go!

The colors in this shower curtain are definitely duller than they appear in the picture, but this shower curtain still beats everything I've seen on the market.  Stay tuned for my bathroom makeover sometime in January.

My brother got me a smaller bowl and attachment for my new mixer. Woohoo!  I'm super excited!! Now I will be able to make a cake and frosting practically simultaneously!  Or I can just make smaller cakes...

My aunt tried to surprise me with these plates, but I kind of ruined it.

But they are really, really beautiful.  Waayyyyy more attractive in person than they are in photos.  The colors are bright and vivid and gorgeous!

 My family members spoiled me with some other great things, including some new accessories for my apartment.  I'm sure i'll be posting on those when I get back to DC.

Now, for what I bought for others!

I ended up getting a lot of kitchen things for my dad, including a pizza stone.  Unfortunately, he already has a pizza stone, so he will be returning the one I got him.  Considering i've never seen him use the pizza stone he apparently already has, I'm glad he'll be returning it.  I'd rather him actually like what I get him.

I also bought him these: 
They are mini prep bowls from the WS Outlet.  They are made of flexible material so you can flex them to pour the contents into another bowl or pan.  He hasn't used them yet but seemed to like them okay.

Lastly, we got him this "Total Pillow."  Have you seen the awful tv commercials for this??  Well, my dad has problems with back pain so when I saw this at Walgreens (oh, the shame...) I decided to get it.  He really likes it and has been using it.  He will be able to use it as a lumbar support for the car and plane, which I think is great! 

I got my brother some really expensive shower gel (I mean, it was expensive for shower gel, not for life in general) which he seemed to like.  I also got him a gift card to his favorite restaurant.  

For my aunt, I found a cute pair of lamps at Marshalls.  She really loved them and they look nice in her bedroom.
I got the pair for $40 which was a great price, I thought!  (that cool W on the table was another one of my gifts from my aunt.  I can't wait to put it in my apartment.)

I also got her a nook cover that will be ready in about... 8 weeks.  Haha!  She was really excited about it and I'm sure she will love it when she gets it.  I knew on the front end that it would be a while before she got it but I knew she really wanted one.

Well, I hope you are happy with your Christmas gifts and those you gave gifts to were happy as well!

This will probably be my last holiday post.  Can you believe Christmas is over already?  Soon it will be 2011!  It seems like yesterday to me that we were all preparing for Y2K.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Recap (Get Ready for Pictures Galore!)

 I hope you all had wonderful Christmases with your family.  Here's a little recap of what I've been up to.

I left DC to go home to my hometown... and I finally got to meet my friend Jenny's sweet son Micah.
Can you believe he's only 7 weeks old in this picture?

Check out his stylin' baby Nikes.

Here are all my presents wrapped up! (Except for the super-last-minute ones I had to buy... oops!)

After I spent a few days at home making the rounds, we loaded up and headed to Louisiana to be with family.

Here's the before of the living room: 

Can you believe we said that we weren't going to have that many gifts this year? How silly.

Here's the after.  What a mess!

And here's my "loot".

Check out our Christmas tablescape.
It may not be the poshest thing ever- but pretty much everything we used has been used for many, many years.

I'm kind of obsessed with those red glasses.  I think they are really pretty.

And my aunt ordered a cake for us!

Here is (some) of the yummy food! The turkey my dad made was so good! It will make some tasty sandwiches this week.

On Christmas Eve, we took my dog Eliza with us to look at Christmas lights (she's been living with my aunt for the last year while I finished undergrad and moved to DC).

She was so excited to go! 

We go see this house every year.  SO MANY LIGHTS!

Last year, we started going to see a house with a light show synchronized to really beautiful music.  It is SO GOOD! 
This was the line on Christmas Eve! I'm pretty sure there were a dozen cars in front of us.

This is a really bad picture of the house.  They have a website here that you can go visit. 

Eliza was so worn out from the lights that this is what she spent Christmas morning doing:
Ha!  At least she looked cute doing it.

When she finally woke up, she opened her gifts:

She loves gifts!  She got a toy, some treats, 


a coat and snow boots!

She got a coat and snow boots because she is moving to DC to live with me after the holidays.  You will probably be seeing more of her!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and got to spend some time with the people you love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Season's Greetings

So, today while I was out shopping, the lady in line in front of me was wearing a t-shirt from Southern Belle. I first noticed these shirts when I was in Alabama over Thanksgiving and now I've seen them everywhere.  They have designs that talk about different "southern" things and some designs that highlight different colleges.  They are pretty fun overall and I think they are cute for some people.  Basically- I have nothing against them.

Until today.  And now I don't have anything against the company, but I am bothered by one of their designs.

I saw a lady wearing a shirt similar in design to this one:
(unfortunately, I couldn't find a design exactly like the one I saw today)

But her shirt read:
"Real Southern Belles still say Merry Christmas"

I mean I don't really consider myself a "southern belle," even if I was raised in the South, but I guess if I did consider myself one, this shirt would be telling me that I should reconsider that.

Seeing this lady's shirt just really bothered me.  She seemed like a perfectly nice lady and I recognize that she has every right to express her opinions, whatever they may be.  But I have to respectfully disagree with the notion that it is wrong to say "Happy Holidays."  I've seen several rants on blogs & twitter lately about how awful it is that so many people say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" and I just really disagree with that. 

To me, saying "Happy Holidays" is not about cutting Jesus or God out of the equation, it is about being accepting and inclusive.  In my opinion, you should say "Happy Holidays" to someone if you do not know which holiday (if any) they celebrate.  If you know someone celebrates Christmas, then you can say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Chanukah" or whatever.  Otherwise, why would you want someone to feel disenfranchised because of the greeting you use?  I get that most people who celebrate other holidays don't take it that seriously or offensively when people say "Merry Christmas," but why wouldn't you want to be overly inclusive rather than being so uptight about Christmas?  

I just wish people were not so enraged about the "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" thing.  If you are sincerely wishing someone a happy or merry anything and you have love in your heart for that person, why should the exact semantics matter?  Isn't the holiday season about love and gratefulness, anyway? 

Happy Holidays to you & yours this holiday season! 

I love and am grateful for all of my readers! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Gift Help

Hello everyone!  Did you miss me?  I took a little two day blogging break.

Well, now that I'm back I have a confession to make... I have a total of 1 gift purchased for Christmas.  Oops.  I have to say, when you live in D.C. and don't have a car, it isn't exactly easy to run to wherever and shop, in my opinion anyway.  I do a lot of online shopping but with finals, I didn't even really have much time to do that this year.

So... now that finals are over, I have to start finish my shopping.

Here are some things I know I'll be picking up:

Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee

B&N Gift Card for Nook

But, I am having two major issues with gift giving this year and I will happily take your advice!

First of all, I do NOT know what to get for my brother.  He's a big time fisherman who just bought a brand new boat.  I don't know the first thing about fishing accessories or something I can get him that he might like.  Does anyone out there have this issue?  I would love to find him something nice in the $40-$50 range.

Secondly, there is someone I buy gifts for who is not the best gift receiver.  This person just tosses aside whatever gift he/she receives with a really quick "Oh, thanks."  It irritates me SO MUCH.  Even if I get a gift I wasn't expecting or don't like, I try to seem like I like it, you know?  When people act so entitled about receiving gifts, it really takes the fun out of giving them for me.  Does this ever happen to you? How do you deal with it? 

And, before I go, I wanted to share the "swanky" gift that my sweet friend Emily got for me for Christmas. (Sorry, Emily- I didn't have a chance to take a photo of my actual gift before I left D.C.)
Emily ordered a CUSTOM lucite catchall for me from Nico & Lala.  Mine looks like this, but the colors are blue and beige.  It goes so perfectly with my apartment!  I am planning a bathroom revamp after the holidays (once I get my new shower curtain) and I can't wait to showcase my catchall in my new bathroom.  Thanks so much, Emily! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Frugal Finds Friday: Sequin Boyfriend Cardigans

The inspiration #1:
Sequin Boyfriend Cardigan from Talbot's for $149.00.

The inspiration #2: 

Frugal Find #1:
T Tahari "Helen" Sequin Cardigan (Petite) from Nordstrom, on sale for $48.90.

Frugal Find #2:
Sequin Cardigan from NY & Co., on sale for $35.97.
It also comes in a more subtle white.

Frugal Find #3:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Type A

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
- John Lennon 

I love this quote from John Lennon.  It reminds me to slow down and enjoy the journey.
Even so, I am a planner.  Planning things out just helps me to feel calm and relaxed.  For more on some organizational tips I have read here.

Today, I thought I would share some great planners that are out there for 2011.  I know some students use agendas that are organized with August- August, reflecting the pattern of a school year, and that works well too.  I made the switch over to a typical calendar year planner a while ago, and it has worked for me so far.  I usually wait until Christmas break to buy a planner for the new year, but I started getting a lot of questions about planning things for next year in November, and it kind of freaked me out, so I got a head start this year.

This planner from Lilly Pulitzer is the same style that I used in 2010.  Apparently, they are now offering 17 months in the planner- August 2010- December 2011.  That's a lot of bang for your buck.  These retail for $24.95.

If you are a girl who prefers Vera Bradley, here is their student agenda for 2011.  It runs June 2010- December 2011. I have to say I'm surprised to see that they've discontinued the style of planner that I used in 2008 and 2009 from Vera.  I really liked that style (it is very similar to the layout of the Lilly planer), so I am not sure how much I would love this one.  This one retails for just $15 and you can buy it here.

If you are a girl who likes to plan a little but not go overboard, this planner may be right for you.  It just offers monthly at-a-glances (so no weekly view).  This might work for you if you have graduated and are working.  I find that I need the weekly view to write down assignments and such, but that is just me. This planner is only $20 and it is available here.  Add it to your Christmas list! 

This planner from The Paper Source is simple and not fussy.  It also comes in a light blue, yellow, green and black. It has monthly and weekly views.  This version is $29.95.  It is also available in a mini version for $19.95.

Here is a fun rendering of the 2011 Moleskine daily planner.  It has daily views for those of you who need more room.  Many people love Moleskine products, and they offer many other varieties of their planners.  This one is available for $23.95.

This is the planner I purchased for 2011.  I bought it from Talbots, of all places.  It is bound with leather and the leather has a slight golden sheen to it.  I really like it- it is my first real, "grown-up" planner.  It is on sale for $39.99 here.  

Well, that's all folks.  Good luck finding your perfect 2011 planner!