Things I Love Thursday

2 Sep

Well hello again, friends.  It seems that I’ve been somewhat MIA the last month.  I’d apologize to you about my lack of posting, but I’m really not all that sorry (whoops)!  Of course I’ve missed sharing my thoughts and getting your feedback, but my impromptu hiatus was a nice little vacation.  Like a social-networking rehab of sorts. It’s amazing how freeing it can be to let yourself off the hook …even when it’s your own projects.  Social media stresses me out.  It’s just one more thing to worry about.  Between my blackberry, Facebook, LinkedIn, this blog, Twitter, and multiple email accounts, I feel like I constantly have to work to assure I’m up-to-date on everything going on in the lives of my “friends” and stay on top of any and all communications passing through the various vessels.  Sometimes I think about just deleting them all and enjoying my freedom.  Maybe one day I will. I’ve mentioned the idea of deleting FB once and everybody I told basically shunned me.  People are apparently very serious about Facebook!

Things I love Today:

– Fall approaching with means so many good things:  (here’s my response, theoneinpink) Football, sweatshirts, traveling, campfires, crisp & cool morning air, good TV, hot coffee drinks, colorful leaves and peaceful drives, Sunday naps on the couch-monster, and prepping for my favorite holiday of all- Christmas (I also start preparations in October, which really just means listening to tons of holiday music. I have to make myself wait until October begins or people want to injure me).

– Upcoming travel plans starting with tomorrow’s trip to Chicago! (then followed by Frederick, Vegas, Gatlinburg, etc).

– Smore’s bars. Or the real deal.  Any combination of graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow works.

– My blogging vacation.

This pretty cleaver idea from UPS.  I like the idea of not lugging  bags through the airport, on cab, busses, etc.  Having my bag hand-delivered to my room might be pretty sweet.  And if I wasn’t flying SW, therefore having to pay for a checked bag, I might look into it.

– Simply Lemonades.

– A good pulled-pork BBQ sandwich with french fries (or onion rings) and a giant sweet tea.

– Manicured Nails.  Manicures are usually a definite no-go for this girl due to a serious polish problem. (the polish stays for maybe a day, starts to chip, then I can’t resist the urge to peel it all off).  I hated spending money for something that was so short-lived.  But recently I’ve gotten a few manicures and not only did I LOVE how beautiful my nails were (as opposed to my own artwork, which i consider pretty decent) the polish actually lasted around 5 whole days.  A miracle in nail-care.  I’m slightly obsessed now.  This is one expensive habit I probably need to break… but might continue jussst a little bit longer.  My favorite colors lately- Essise Beach Party, and Heavenly Sunset.

– My dad’s 30th anniversary gif to my mom.  Pictures to follow.

– My best friend (below with her future husband) getting engaged!! Wedding planing round 2! Couldn’t be happier for Niki and Chandler.

– Seeing MY boy tomorrow, finally, after 7 long weeks.  We get 5 days together this time and I can’t wait.  Plus, our visit will be taking place in Chicago, which means lots of fun entertainment options (i.e. eating & shopping).  I haven’t checked Man vs Food yet to see what delicious eateries might be in our path, but I will.


A Cold Day in August

1 Aug

Who gets a cold in August? Really? Two years in a row, no less.  Although, to be fair, I’m almost certain last year’s illness was really the swine flu.  And since it happened to coincide with MJ’s memorial service, was just all-around miserable.  Chills, fever, coughing, dizziness, and sneezing all made worse by moments like Mariah choking up while singing “I’ll Be There” in front of Michael Jackson’s friends and family.  That was truly a miserable, non-stop-tears&runny-nose day.  Luckily, this time around I’m fairly certain it’s just a cold.  No fever, no chills, just really tired/drained and congested.  I don’t understand how I can make it through col&flu season every year just fine, but end up sick in the middle of a 100 degree summer?

Regardless, I need to be better by tomorrow.  One- it’s my little sister’s first day on the job (full-time-big-girl-real-world job).  And two- I have my quarterly (because that’s all I can afford) 4-hour salon appointment.  Needless to say, it’s going to be a loooong day.  I’ve tried my very best to use my weekend to get through my cold so that I can be ready to go tomorrow.  I hate using PTO for sickness, I’d MUCH rather use them for fun things!  Since I’ve been cooped up in my room doing my cold-stricken duty of “resting”, here’s some things that have kept me entertained:

FRIENDS. Yes I know I watch way too much, but it really does make me feel better, I promise.  It just never gets old.

Reading. What? Did I say that? Yep, I did.  Thanks to your suggestions (via comments, texts, tweets, etc) I’ve started reading Eat, Pray, Love.  I’m only about 1/4 of the way through- because I’d really rather have my eyes closed when I’m laying in bed with a cold than using them to read- but I love it so far.  And you’re right, Erika, it definitely isn’t doing much to curb my desire for travel!

Blog-Browsing.  I’ve spent a few hours ogling over the beautiful weddings on 100 Layer Cake and salivating over the recipes from The Pioneer Woman.  Inspiration for now & later.  🙂

Plotting ways to waste all of my money.  I can’t even tell you how much I love everything in both of these stores (Anthropologie and J.Crew), but I can tell you that I’ve already spent thousands of dollars in my mind on some of the beautiful things I found in them (via their catalogues and websites). I actually own the super-cute sweater (be jealous) but this look is just so cute.

Anthro Sweater Anthro Dress

J.Crew J.CrewJ.CrewJ.Crew

sidenote/question– Is this girl Behati Prinsloo? I’m pretty sure it is.  I fell in love with this model when I frist started seeing her in VS PINK ads (mainly because of how much she resembled Ellen Pompeo- Meredith, Grey’s Anatomy- see it??).  She looks gorgeous. And in case you don’t happen to see it… I’ve provided an illustration. Twins, I swear it.

Shark Week.  Yeah, there’s not a whole lotta explanation needed here.  Who doesn’t love some good shark stories to scare you out of ever stepping foot into an ocean again (as if JAWS weren’t enough)? Speaking of, I need to break out my JAWS t-shirt this week, I suppose.  Call me a shork! (Shark-Dork. I just made that up, cool, huh?) So, I can’t really claim this as sick-becky entertainment since it starts today, but I just had to include it.

Random History Channel Specials– Speaking of good TV, I just saw a special called, “Most Extreme Airports”.  This was equal parts awesome and terrifying.  I definitely wanna ride the fence at St. Maarten.  (Or at least lay on the beach as the plane flies over!). I don’t see a schedule for re-air, so you’ll have to do your own research if you want to see what I’m talking about.  Here’s a few of my favorites: St. Maarten (Princess Juliana International), Lukla (Tenzing-Hillary) with a TINY runway with an enormous drop-off in the middle of the Himalayas, and Courchevel with its ski-jump runway. Scary!

So Much for Reading Rainbow

23 Jul

Apparently the only thing I learned from that show was a really cool song. IIII cannn gooo annyywhere.  Oh, and I thought LeVar Burton was pretty cool too.

So, I never thought the day would come.  I actually don’t think anybody could have seen this coming… I, a self-proclaimed non-reader, am asking for book suggestions.  Ever since the days of forced (even during our sacred summers) reading and book reports, I’ve sworn off the whole idea. It wasn’t for me, I decided.  Those people who said, “Aww, the book was SO much better than the movie”… well not if you didn’t read the book!  I always enjoyed the movie.  There was never a disappointment upon comparison for this girl.  I don’t know why I didn’t get passed down the love-to-read-for-the-fun-of-it gene from my mother.  She’s one of those who can read a whole book in a day out by the pool.  Must be a middle-child thing.

I’ve tried, over the years, many times to start reading.  I’ll go to the store, pick out a book (after judging it by it’s cover, naturally) and bring it home.  THEN, I’ll hide it somewhere deep in a dresser or closet where I can forget about it and feel a little less guilty for not reading it.  If I keep it out on the nightstand it looks at me with this “you don’t love me” sadness and I think, “you’re right, I don’t, now where did you hide the remote”.  While I have to admit that I actually DID enjoy the very few books I read because I wanted to, I just can’t seem to find the motivation to start another one.  You see, I buy them because I want to read them, but then that moment comes when I think “I shall read now”, and my brain goes into overdrive thinking about all of the other possible (mindless) things I could be doing with my life.  The enormously large collection of chick-flicks and TV on DVD start calling to me.  My computer starts craving some attention.  My bed sucks me in for a nap.  There’s always an excuse for why I can’t and a better activity on the to-do list.

But now I’m going to try, once more, to read. For fun, no less.  I live at home with my parents (aka: not with friends to occupy my time), my friends that are in town are always busy with their own interesting lives, my boyfriend lives 5.876 billion miles away, it’s too hot to be outside for more that 10 minutes at once, and there is no good TV on during the summer.  I’m bored!!  While I could be perfectly content to continuously cycle through the seasons of FRIENDS and The O.C or watch Pride & Prejudice for the 118th time, I think it’s time for something new.

So help me.  Give me some ideas for reading material.  Hey, there’s a chance I may even already own the book! I might just have to assemble a search & rescue team to find it…

(I’d prefer something outside of vampire/werewolf teen drama and romance novels, thank you!)

PEE ESS- Did you know what Reading Rainbow might be making a comeback?? I hear that Mr. Burton tweeted a little something about a RR 2.0. “Take a look.   It’s in a book…”  I’m not quite sure if the song’s really that good of if it just brings back happy memories of school when it was still fun (naps and crafts).

A Marlie Performance (or two)

23 Jul

Remember those videos of my dancing and singing niece that I blogged about a few TiLT’s ago… that you couldn’t see because they hadn’t yet been uploaded to YouTube?  No?  Oh, well here they are anyway.  My sister-in-law put them up.  Enjoy!

Things I Love Thursday

22 Jul
New York City Section-

Ok, I know it's Shia LaBeouf... but you get the idea. Hot.

  • New York City businessmen.  Yummy.  I’m in love with how snazzy the men of New York dress for your average workday.  I’m use to khakis and polos (which if fine, don’t get me wrong), but these men dress with a purpose.  And they look goooood.  I couldn’t stop gawking.  Very sharp!
  • Air Conditioning.  We literally baked on the concrete in 100 degree weather.  It was unbearable.  Air conditioning and shaded sidewalks were our safe havens.
  • Absolutely ridiculous dinner conversations with friends. Yikes!
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar. I cant help but thinking “why didn’t I think of this??” every time I visit the candyland. Dylan Lauren, you’re me hero.
  • H&M.  Because the chain has yet to see the need to open a location in Nashville (MUCH needed), I have to wait until I travel to shop here.  I love that I can get cute, affordable work clothes.
  • NOT getting migraines when I travel.  It rarely happens… if ever.

Non-NYC (normal) Section-

  • Co-workers bringing their babies into the office.  I’d like to bring them all home with me.
  • The Kotex approach to selling tampons (by poking fun at the way other’s promote their feminine products).  Hilarious, I love these!  One & Two
  • Celebrating birthdays.  There were three just today- Brother, Best Friend, Co-Worker (and friend).
  • These beautiful rental-apartments in Paris.  How perfect are they? I must must go there.  Who’s coming with me??

The BENEFIT of Frequent Shopping

21 Jul

As many of you know, I have a makeup addiction (or obsession, whatever).  Because Sephora is a beauty addict’s dealer of choice, I obviously spend a good bit of time and waaayyy too much money in there.  I’ve mentioned their Beauty Insider program once before, but I feel compelled to share again.

With every dollar spent in Sephora you accumulate points.  Once you get to certain point levels you have the option to take whatever free gift they have at the time.  They have point breaks at 1oo and 500 points.  You can pass up the 100 point perk and wait for your 500.  You could get both.  Whatever moves you.  I’ve been hovering above the 500 point range for a little while now because I wasn’t quite sold on the gifts and wanted to wait for something I’d enjoy more.  So the last time I stopped in and made a purchase, the kind lady checking me out informed me that I was at 700(ish) points and directed me to the example of the current 500 point perk.  It was a Benefit Cosmetics sampling.  I got it.

Here it is.

I love Benefit products and have used a ton of them over the years (bronzers, blushes, highlighters, glosses, mascaras, eyeliners, perfume… you name it).  And even though I had already tried and approved most of the products that came with the gift, I still went for it.  It was too cute to pass up (which is also a weakness of mine when shopping- the overly adorableness of packaging).

Here’s a few of the products in it:

Mini Full Finish Lipstick in “lady’s choice”.  I’ve never tried this product until just now (as I’m typically more of a gloss girl).  I’m not sure that the color is right for me but it goes on super smoothly and seems to be non-drying.

.  .  .

Mini BADgal Lash Mascara & BADgal Plum (eye color intensifying) Mascara.  I’ve not tried the Plum yet but I love the original BADgal Lash.

.  .  .

Mini Creaseless Cream/Shadow Liner in “r.s.v.p.”  I’ve actually purchased this product in the exact same color before and love it. Pretty light color, no creases, lasts forever.

.  .  .

Not Pictured:

Stay Don’t Stray– A primer for the eye area (including both eyeshadow and concealers).  Haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it’s as fabulous as the rest.

Posie Tint
– A lip and cheek stain.  I’ve used this product in this color (and the Bene-Tint color as well).  I use it mainly for my lips.  It’s great to put it on in the morning and forget about it.  You can apply a clear gloss or chapstick to keep lips hydrated, but the color from the stain lasts for hours.  Helpful hint; use a toothbrush to exfoliate lis before applying so that the color isn’t cling to flaky lips. Gross.

They change out the reward products fairly often and you can usually score some pretty awesome deals this way.  If you shop Sephora and haven’t signed up, you’re missing out.  You might as well get rewarded for you reckless spending, right?

Cheap Travels

21 Jul

One thing I love even more than traveling is inexpensive traveling.  Spontaneous inexpensive traveling is even better.  I got to spend last weekend in New York with some friends (boyfriend, best friend, and best friend’s boyfriend to be exact).  The idea of NY came up several weeks prior and due to the overpriced ($400+) airfares, was quickly dismissed by all.  All, but myself that is.  Once I get excited about something I won’t let it go until I have 100% proof that all hope is lost.  Luckily, my persistence paid off.  I found roundtrip tickets to NY for $160 (that was $69 each way pre-tax).  Take that, doubters!  The excitement was back on.  Then, to make our lives even better, Chandler’s (the best friend’s boyfriend) mom scored us a free hotel room.  So, the grand total of my travels to the city (excluding the unavoidable shopping, dining, and cabbing expenses) = $160.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I’m not always so lucky with my travels, but I definitely do my research.  Here are a few resources that I’ve found helpful along the way:

Southwest Airlines.  I heart Southwest.  I really do.  They’re typically my airline of choice when booking in advance (at a minimum of 14 days).  They generally have very reasonable fares (check out their “Wanna Get Away” tickets for the best prices) and the planes, flight crew, etc. are all nice.  I’ve been enrolled in their Rapid Rewards program since I started my relationship with them on my first flight to Las Vegas.  It’s been quite a rewarding relationship.  The benefits of flying SW are numerous; the often joke-cracking and sometimes musical flight attendants, the $0 you are required to pay for bag number one OR two, the free drink coupons that come with your free roundtrip ticket reward,  the peanuts/pretzels that you get no matter how short the flight, and so much more.  It’s just a fun airline who allows their employees to have fun, making the whole experience that much better for the customers.  A couple of things to note about SW; They don’t advertise on other travel websites (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.) so you have to remember to check the sw website separately when doing your research.  Also, there is no assigned seating and no difference of class.  All seats are basically first-come-first-serve.  Flights are boarded in groups assigned by the order in which you check in (which can be up to 24 hours prior s take-off).  A few recent exceptions to this standard include the “Business Select” tickets (which just give you priority boarding and a free drink) and “early bird Check-in” which allows you to check in ahead of the masses by paying an extra $10-15.

American Airlines.  Although I hate to cheat on my beloved SW, occasionally they leave me no choice.  When I don’t plan my trips enough in advance or I happen to plan a spontaneous getaway, I’ve learned to look at AA.  While the SW fares are guaranteed to increase as the travel date approaches (which totally makes sense in the whole money-making business, but doesn’t encourage last-min travels) I have found in the past that AA will sometimes have ridiculously low fares at the last-minute.  I’m not sure how or why they do this when other airlines are offering the same ticket for close to 3 times as much, but I definitely won’t forget it.  The trick with these tickets is to check back frequently as prices can change daily, and to look at all the dates around your travel… sometimes a day can make all the difference in price.  One note here is that these unusually cheap tickets are non-refundable, and can’t be transferred or exchanged without paying a whopping $150 fee, so make sure you’re 100% before clicking the purchase button.

Travelzoo.  A friend turned me onto this website a couple of years ago and I love it.  This isn’t like Expedia or Travelocity.  Travelzoo doesn’t overwhelm you with every travel destination known to mankind… they simply present you with the best deals of the moment.  You can go on and look at the hotels/flights/packages to a region that are currently being offered at great prices.  They take the best deals from the previously mentioned websites and bring them all to one place so you don’t have to do all the work.  In addition, you can sign up for the Top 20 email alerts.  It’s simple to do and you will receive a weekly email containing the 20 best deals of the week.  There’s some pretty great stuff on there.  If nothing else, it’s a fun reminder of all the great places out there you’ve yet to visit.

Tripadvisor.  After finding a hotel I usually run it through the tripadvisor website to see what I’m really dealing with.  I love reading the reviews and looking at the pictures.  Every hotel is going to put up professionally taken well-lit and perfectly orchestrated pictures of their location, but tripadvisor travelers will show you what it looks like in real-life.  Trust me, it’s good to see.  (Having said all this, I do realize that generally 90% of people who leave reviews on these types of sites are the people who’ve had problems.  People expect a good hotel and good service so don’t feel compelled to leave remarks unless they are seriously disappointed… but something like bedbugs, loud street noise, or dead bodies under the bed- you never know- are definitely things I want to know about beforehand).

Locals.  Locals are an invaluable assets to any traveler, especially when making a trip for the first time.  Ask around.  Ask you friends (both real-life and strictly Facebook), relatives, and complete strangers.  Some of the best suggestions come from the people who know the area the best or have had good experiences before.  Sure, you can go to various websites and look up the top restaurants/bars/shopping/attractions, but that can be so overwhelming sometimes with the abundance of information. So, when in doubt.  Ask a local.

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