Monday, October 31, 2011


The French term "se souvenir de" means "to remember."  This is where we get the English term "souvenir." 

I was randomly thinking the other day about my favorite things in my apartment. I must admit that my favorite things all have something in common: they are connected to great memories.  I'm a very sentimental person, so really this makes a lot of sense for me.  So, what are the stories behind some of my favorite things?

I think my absolute favorite thing in my apartment is the lamp above.  It belonged to my mom and I inherited it from her.  It was made (Yes! Made!) by her uncle.  Isn't that crazy? He made the stained glass shade!  I just love stained glass windows and this lamp is no exception to my love for stained glass. The fleur de lis is the flower of France, but also an important symbol for Louisiana.  It is also meant to represent the Iris, which was my mom's favorite flower and is the state flower of Tennessee.  Finally, the colors are very reminiscent of the Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold and green which I love. 

This piece of art is so unique! It is hard to tell from this picture, but it is a teeny-tiny pen and ink sketch of Paris.  The thing that makes this really unique is that the drawing is done on the back of a Parisian metro ticket.  I bought this at a little art market in Paris. I only wish I'd been able to afford some substantial art at that market because there was another artist selling fabulous paintings inspired by the Luxembourg Gardens! 

I've mentioned this before, but I love this print because it represents a great vacation I had in France.  (This post totally makes it sound like I summered in France growing up or something which is VERY far from the truth!! But I was a French major in college...)  The poster was also relatively difficult to track down, but the powers of the internet gave me some help! 

So, those are my favorite things in my home. I'm actually picking out my new bedding for my bed based on the lamp colors, so I'm excited and anxious to see how that all comes together. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Geaux Tigers Attire

This weekend, I am off to join some of my very best friends for two days full of catching up, laughing, tailgating, tiger-baiting, eating, drinking and merriment. 
polyvore set found here
Tailgating at LSU involves a serious day-long commitment and this time of year, the weather is always questionable. Sometimes there's rain (though it never rains in Tiger Stadium) and sometimes it is still 80 degrees well into October!  No matter what, you can bet there is lots of walking to be done and lots of good times to pass!

Enjoy your weekend. Geaux TIGERS! Beat Auburn! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Can Someone Please Explain To Me

Couldn't resist posting this adorable picture of Eliza. Her bed is from HomeGoods, where else? 
Can someone please explain to me the answers to the following questions:

Why is the generic of my prescription only $2 cheaper than the name-brand drug? And why on earth did my doctor write the prescription for the generic so I don't have a choice in the matter?  If it's a difference of two dollars, I'll pay the extra money and stick with the drug I've been taking for quite some time, thankyouverymuch.  But, since it practically takes an act of Congress to get my doctor in Tennessee (yes, I know I need to find one in DC) and the pharmacy in DC to communicate, it is a WHOLE lot less hassle to just stick with what she wrote. 

While we are on the topic, can someone tell me how CVS stays in business when their customer service is absolutely terrible? Not to mention the stores are often dirty and disorganized, with bins that will likely cause you to trip sticking out in the middle of the aisle at all times of the day.  Not to mention the insane mark-up.

Also, could someone please explain to me why grown women of the world cannot figure out how to flush the friggin' toilet in a public restroom.  I mean- COME. ON.  It is not that difficult. 

I've been wondering for about a year now why the gel eyeliner smudges on my right eye every single day without fail.  And only on the right eye.  Application order or technique doesn't seem to make a difference.  Am I the only one in the world this happens to? And it is bad people- like some serious smudging going on.  Bobbi Brown, help a sista out.  Why does your smudge-proof eyeliner always smudge on moi?

Why do vetrinarians prescribe pills that are the appropriate size for a bull mastif to my shih-tzu?  If you think she's going to eat that thing of her own will, you have another thing coming, sir.  Which means I am going to have to shove it in her throat.  Literally all.the.way.back.there.  Which isn't pleasant for either one of us.  Next time you prescribe her something, I'm refusing the course of medication until you can find a pill suitable to her size.

Why did it take my boots 3 days to arrive from the U.K. (you know, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean) via free shipping but it's taking over a week for some stationery to get here from California via the shipping I paid $8 for.  Somehow I think the answer to this relates to the answer about my generic drug question.

But really, if any of you cosmetic junkies have input about the eyeliner question, I for real need some help in that department.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Things Come

Good things come to those who wait.

Or at least that's usually what you try to tell yourself when you are waiting on things.

This post is not "deep" at all.  It is about stuff. Awesome stuff.  Stuff from the United Kingdom.  (Sadly, no- not Prince Harry or the Duchess of Cambridge. But still awesome.) 

Way back in May I became a woman obsessed with a certain purse.  I've always loved bags- like had an obsession since the age of two.  I used to walk around with a purse at age two.  Anyway, as you well know, I fully jumped on the Middleton sisters bandwagon.  When I saw the pictures of Pippa leaving the Goring Hotel the day after the royal wedding, I became obsessed with the "Pippa" bag by Modalu London in "Shark."  (It was formerly named the "Bristol.") 

So I debated about getting the bag for the longest time and by the time I decided to pull the trigger, it was on backorder until October.  Well, I ended up getting my bag a little sooner than that- I got it in September and I've been loving it ever since. 

Here's what my bag looked like when she arrived:

Ahh, so pretty!  And a great color that is neutral but still stands out.  If you are on the hunt for a really detailed review of the "Pippa" bag, Sparrows & Sparkle has a fantastic one that all but convinced me to buy it! 

I absolutely love, love, love.  

The second thing that came from the U.K. were these lovelies:

These babies are the Catalonia boot from Duo in Tan. These arrived super fast and when there was a problem with my card (word to the wise: you need to order with a credit card, not a debit card) the customer service team was super helpful! 

Please limit the judgement on my enorm calves.
This is my second pair of boots from Duo (I also own a grey pair- are you seeing a theme with the grey?) and I love the boots I already own.   And I want to point out something about Duo Boots- they fit my big ole calves!  This is seriously not easy, folks.  And if you have bigger than normal or smaller than normal calves, chances are they will fit you too!  When you order from them, you choose a shoe size and a calf size.  HELLO!!  Come to mama.  They are more expensive than the boots you'll find at DSW.  These were $285, plus free shipping and a 10% off coupon.  For a pair that will last, that fit me and that I will wear often, I can invest.  (They were an investment for me- I've been toying with ordering them for a long while.)  Anyway, I just wanted to spread the wealth of knowledge out there to any fellow big-calved ladies and small-calved ladies, too!

I think I am absolutely ready for fall now!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesdays: How I Roll

This week's "Ten on Tuesdays" is about traveling.  What a fun topic! It really can tell you a lot about a person to know how they are when they travel.  There are some people I travel great with, and some... not so much.  Haha. 

1. You’re packing for a week long vacation, do you pack ahead of time or wait until the last possible minute to pack?
I make a list way ahead of time, but I usually don't start packing until the day before I leave because I usually wait til the last minute to do laundry to ensure that everything is as clean as possible for the trip. 

Florence, Italy

2. Are you a light or heavy packer?
It honestly depends. I've gotten a lot better but I usually end up with pieces of clothing I do not wear. 

3. What are your favorite road trip snacks?
Peppermints! I love peppermints and they keep me awake if I'm driving and sleepy.  Also diet coke and water are in heavy rotation. And other "crunchy" snacks. I really like indulging in those cheese pretzel roll-up things called "Combos." Yum! 

4. Do you take any reading material along?
Of course- I always take my nook when I travel these days.  My nook makes traveling so much lighter on the reading front- literally! 

5. Do you prefer to drive or fly to your vacation destination?
Totally depends.  I don't mind flying at all, but packing is easier when you drive and driving is wayyyyy easier than flying if my dog is with me. For more on that, see this post

6. What is your favorite time of the year to take your vacation?
I do not discriminate when it comes to vacation time! 

French Riviera
7. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
See above- no discrimination.  Some favorite trips have been: Napa, the Redneck Riviera, the French Riviera, Italy, Louisiana- especially New Orleans- especially at Mardi Gras.

Napa, California
8. You are vacationing in the mountains, what is your favorite thing to do while there?
Uhm, I do not have a great personal history with vacationing in the mountains.  I once went on a trip to Helen, Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains with my family.  We did not have the greatest time, but it is fun to laugh about now. The most fun thing we did was visit the Cabbage Patch Museum.  Yes, such a thing exists and yes, I have been there.  I have the pictures to prove it.  In retrospect it was a great vacation because we were together.  At the time, not so much. 

Helen, Georgia
9. You are at the beach for your vacation,  do you like to take it easy on the beach or play all day in the water?
I like to take it easy on the beach.  Sangria, sunblock, an umbrella and a good book or good company and I could sit there all day! 

10. While your on vacation do you prefer to eat out every night or cook some of your own meals?
Depends on the vacation completely.  When we go to the beach we eat in almost every night and I would not have it any other way! When we go to big cities, of course it is great to eat at wonderful restaurants or holes-in-the-wall. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Am SO Ready!

Tonight in my class I was dreaming of all the things I'm excited to have time to do again after I graduate from grad school.  The end is nigh.  Two-hundred and fifteen days to be exact.  Not that I'm counting or anything.  Out of forty credits to complete, I have completed twenty-nine and after this semester, I will only have three left.  That's one class- my capstone. And then that's it.  The whole shebang. 

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm really looking forward to graduation.  I am so glad I have the privilege of being in graduate school- of having the intellectual capacity to be there, the means to pay for it (one way or another), and the support I need to get through it.  One of my grandmothers had a tenth-grade education.  It just blows my mind when I think about the opportunities that I've had in my life. I know I'm really lucky.

That said, I'm a bit burnt out after almost eighteen years of school. Twelve years + 4 years of college + 2 years of grad school = I'm pretty sure I've had enough now.

So, here are the things I'm most looking forward to having time for again:
- Happy hours more than once every six weeks.
- Not having to rush home in between work & class to walk Eliza.
- Having time to work on my French again. I was a French major in undergrad and even wrote my thesis in French, but have lost an embarrassing amount of language skills since then.
- Being able to attend workout classes.
- Reading. Oh, I cannot wait to have time to read something other than an article for school.
- Needlepoint.  I dabbled in needlepoint my senior year and really enjoyed it, but just do not have the time (or the funds) for it right now. I'm looking forward to doing it again.
- Learning how to sew. This has long been on my "want to do" list, so I'm excited to really learn and have time to hopefully teach myself. 
- Amping up my blog content with time to tackle DIY projects and recipes.  And having time to do more research and learn more about how to be a better blogger & writer.
- Focusing on my social life. 
- A little more freedom to travel when I want or need to.
- Time to focus just on my career without a stipulation of "after I graduate, I'll be able to do XYZ" hanging over my head.

What really amazes me are the people who are managing school + work + a family!  If you are out there reading, I do not know how you do it.  Major snaps to you, friend.

Cheers to great educations, great futures, working hard and playing hard after it's all done! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Like My Blog How I Like My Blog

When I read this post by Jenn last week, I was jumping up and down in my mind saying, "yes!!! that is exactly how I feel too!!" Here's what Jenn had to say that was so well put I can't even try to put it in my own words:

Sometimes the pressure to write something great keeps me from writing at all. After doing this blogging thing for more than 3 years, I sometimes feel like I should have evolved into this skilled writer, perfectly parlaying my thoughts and feelings into beautiful words that tug at the heart strings of anyone who reads it and makes everyone want to be my best friend.
And then I get shoved off my high horse for being so pretentious and I remember it’s a blog. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. It’s supposed to be fun and a sort of Room of Requirement for me – whatever I need it to be at a a given time, it is.
I absolutely love this for so many reasons.  I started blogging for me and I will continue blogging for me.  I'm so happy it has allowed me to connect with others, but if I get too caught up in blogging what people expect me to blog about, I can literally feel the genuine-ness slipping away. And that's no good for me or for the people who read this blog.  Sometimes you might think what I write about it super boring, and sometimes it might be.  But writing this blog is supposed to be cathartic for me. And if the only people who enjoy reading it are my best friends, that's okay sometimes.  If other people enjoy it too, that's just the icing on the cake. [Yum, cake.] 
Anywho, I say all of this to preface the extremely random post that will follow. 
  • I don't think there are many greater feelings in the world than going to sleep with a clean kitchen and waking up to a clean kitchen.  Brings me so much joy to have a fresh start in the morning.  And I can sleep with a dirty kitchen (some people cannot) but only if I am extremely tired. 
  • I am totally back on the smoothie train and I'm not sure why I ever got off because this smoothie I'm drinking is deee-lish. I started using frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit (cheaper now that berries are going out of season- at least I think it's cheaper...) and let me just say- YUM.  I love fresh berries but the frozen berries make the smoothie so. cold. without watering the smoothie down with ice.  I'm totally down with that.
  • If I don't have my gmail open in the left-most tab of my safari window, I will open another tab because I think it isn't open.  Old habits die hard.
  • I'm not sure if it is great or awful that Whole Foods- my most-frequented grocery store- does not sell velveeta. Sometimes there is nothing better on gameday than some velveeta queso. I'm pretty sure there's also little out there worse for your body, so maybe it's not the worst thing. 
  • Speaking of velveeta, I recently tried this recipe for cheese dip. I left out the bacon because I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to buy any, but yum-o! The addition of the worcestershire really kicked up the flavor.
via pinterest
  • Although I'm not sure that Columbus Day is a holiday that makes a ton of sense, I am very glad I had the day off from work.  I had to write a paper that was due that night and it was so nice to be able to do that without having to work through both Saturday & Sunday- especially since I was working on other papers and projects on those days. The to-do list of a grad student never ends. I know we all feel like that sometimes.
  • Speaking of grad school, I'm about to start on my paper about a Congressional hearing and my background noise of choice is season 6 of The West Wing. I know I am such a cliché right now and I couldn't be happier about that. I like what I like. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trying Something New

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged an A to Z  list and I thought it was a fun way to put a little more of myself out there.  Since then, I stumbled upon Roots and Rings Ten on Tuesday list.  I feel like this is a fun thing to try out on Tuesdays, so here goes. 

This week's topic is "All About Pasta." 

1. Red Sauce or White Sauce?
I prefer red sauce, but a good cream sauce never hurt anyone. 
2. Do you prefer pasta you can twirl or stab?
Stab! I actually have a HUGE preference for penne or bowtie or corkscrew.  Sometimes linguini or especially spaghetti will keep me from ordering something in a restaurant.  Craziness, right? 
3. Baked or boiled?
Hmm.. is this trying to get at lasagna/ pasta bake versus straight up pasta? I like both, although the boiled variety is usually less work in the kitchen from my experience. 
4. Do you like meat in your sauce or do you kick it vegetarian style?
When making at home, I usually make straight up sauce and then add in some other protein to the dish.  I rarely make a true spaghetti meat sauce. 
5. Where have you had your very best pasta ever?
Hmm... I really don't know. I like pasta but it's not really one of my favorite foods and I can't remember any specific dish making an impression on me.
6. What is your favorite pasta dish?
This pasta dish from Ina Garten is seriously delicious.  But it is also seriously expensive to make.  Just fyi. 
7. Do you serve meatballs when you make spaghetti or just do a meat sauce?
I don't really serve or cook spaghetti and I've never made meatballs. Growing up, my dad always made a meat sauce when he made spaghetti but that was pretty rare. 
8. What type (rice, whole wheat, egg, etc) of noodles do you use?
I try to be good and use whole wheat noodles when I cook for myself. If cooking for guests, I use whatever the recipe calls for. 
9. What type of meats or vegetables do you put in your sauce?
I usually put in shrimp and spinach in my sauce. I put the spinach in last and let it wilt just a little bit. 
10. Do you make a “Sunday gravy” to use throughout the week or do you just open a jar of whatever and heat it up? (No judgment on this one!)
This one depends. I use a pretty intense homemade sauce when I make lasagna. When I cook pasta on a weeknight, I use a jarred sauce but I pump it up with a little fresh citrus, sometimes additional garlic and pepper flakes.

P.S. Erin Condren products will be on One King's Lane today! I know my friend Nisha has been thinking of placing an order. If you have too, this might be a great chance to save some moolah depending on what deals they offer.  I think you can sign up without a referral link, but if you need one, leave me a comment with your email address embedded and I'll send one to you! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Inspiration Images

So about a month ago, Eliza (who was sleeping in my bed at the time) got sick.  Let's just say my comforter was ruined.  I felt more bad for her because she was so sick than mad about the comforter.  But, since then- she's been sleeping on the floor.  It was a long time coming anyway and I really needed to break the habit of her sleeping in the bed. 

Anyway, even before the incident I was thinking of upgrading my bedding.  Now I have the perfect excuse! 

One thing about redoing my bedding is that I want to be a little more intentional about it than I have been in decorating my apartment in the past. I love the way my apartment turned out, but I want to try out redoing my bedding with using more inspiration images and having more of a "plan."  In the past, I've gone with coordinated bedding from Pottery Barn or other stores like that.  And I'm not ruling that out this time either, but I think I want to mix it up a little bit.  Here are some of my inspirations...

via pinterest
via pinterest
via pinterest
via pinterest
via pinterest
By the way, three of these images are of rooms designed by Sarah Richardson, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite designers.   I love how she can make rooms look formal and casual and personal at the same time. 

I'm still having trouble deciding exactly what I want to do, but I for sure love looking at these pictures! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for... you just might get it.

Did anyone else hear this expression all the time growing up? To be honest, I can't even remember who used to say it or in what context, but it has always popped back into my mind at the most (in)opportune moments. 

When I moved to D.C. last June, I was honestly petrified.  As my friend Kathryn put it, "You have to make ALL new friends!!!" And she was right. I had to make all new friends.  It was overwhelming, not because I hadn't done it before, but because I had done it before.  And it was hard.

When I moved to Baton Rouge for college, I knew exactly one other person from high school.  And we were good friends (still are) but not exactly as thick as thieves.  We have different interests and once we got to LSU, we were pulled into different directions with activities.  As it should be.  I've always been lucky to have a lot of different kinds of friends and I think that has enriched my life in multiple ways.  That said, college is sort of an easier place to start all over again in the friendship category.  There are countless clubs and organizations that people join just in the pursuit of finding common interests and establishing relationships.  Even still, I can remember feeling completely alone and sort of miserable for the first year of life in Baton Rouge.  It's not that I didn't make any friends, because I did.  Some of them even read this blog (shout out to Steph, Laura & Tiffany!). 

But I just felt like I wasn't busy enough my freshman year. And for some reason to me busy = good.  Last fall when my internship stopped and my classes started, I suddenly wasn't so busy anymore.  And I wished to be busy! To have friends and be busy!

  And guess what? I got what I wished for

I'm still not sure that I have an established friend "group" as I did in undergrad here in D.C. .  This is not LSU anymore and there's no clubs or sorority to fall easily into. But I do have friends here now!! And I'm so thankful for that.  But lately, I feel like I don't have time to hang out with them.  The schedule of work and school and trying to maintain a decent relationship with myself keeps me from having the wealth of time I once had to maintain friendships.  And frankly, it sucks.  My friendships are SO important to me.  With people near, people far away at home and in Louisiana, and with people i've met through blogging! And I feel like I'm slacking with all of them lately.

So, let me throw this out to all of you.  We are all busy!  How do you carve out time to maintain relationships, near and far?

Cheers on this Wednesday! It is almost the weekend and I intend to just keep chugging along...