Always Aubrey: July 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Mommy vs. Non-Mommy Divide (Part 2: Can Mommy and Non-Mommy be friends?)

Struggling with own my feelings over the Mommy and Non-Mommy Divide, I asked over a dozen of my girlfriends to weigh in...  with some interesting revelations!  Here's Part 2 in this blog mini-series.

Part 2: Can Mommy and Non-Mommy be friends?

I've heard the term "bros before hoes", but you'll never hear "ladies over babies"!

As I mentioned in Part 1, what bothers me most is not the kids, but what happens to the relationships between Mommy and Non-Mommy friends... how friends who used to enjoy a girls' night out together turn into complete strangers, even frenemies, as we navigate this invisible Mommy vs. Non-Mommy Divide.

Most of the women who responded felt that friendships had changed, if not ended, once someone in the relationship became a Mommy while another was not.  In many cases, the "phasing out" was similar to what happened to Becca, a newly married gal who doesn't have kids yet: "It's happened with my friends who've had children and we just don't hang out anymore, though it doesn't seem like any specific thing happened... we would make time for coffee dates in the beginning and they just got fewer and farther in between."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Mommy vs. Non-Mommy Divide (Part 1: Does it exist?)

With news stories about the "no-kids-allowed" movement spreading across the country as restaurants and even airlines discuss banning children from their services, I'm personally torn over how I should feel about it.  As a single, working woman with no plan for kids in sight, I admit I occasionally cringe when my Mommy friends post comments to their Facebook/Twitter/blogs about "poopies", from the delivery room about centimeters dilated, detailed breastfeeding stories, etc...  but I still value their experience and expertise and have learned an incredible amount from them about the art of parenting.  I love my friends' kids, and while I don't think all babies are as cute/perfect/amazing as their parents do, I appreciate them for the tiny humans that they are... even though sometimes those tiny humans act like jerks.

What bothers me most is not the kids, but what happens to the relationships between Mommy and Non-Mommy friends... how friends who used to enjoy a girls' night out together turn into complete strangers, even frenemies, as we navigate this invisible Mommy vs. Non-Mommy Divide.

It's hard not to see it as an 'us vs. them' as we all have to share the same planet.

I want kids someday, whether on my own or via adoption.  I love my financial freedom and going to movies/vacations/nice restaurants!  I'm not ready to give up my sleep to clean up another person's poo!  I want to live my single Sex & the City life, not Sesame Street.  But I LOVE kids.  I've spent so much on baby gifts for friends that I've apparently been put on mailing lists for baby magazines and formula samples.  I babysit for free for my friends (including changing diapers!), just to give them a few hours of respite or time with their spouse.  I have to stop myself from purchasing a trousseau of baby clothing because I love its adorableness.

So what's a a girl to do, as I navigate this touchy issue?

I reached out to over a dozen of my girlfriends, women from all walks of life, Mommies and Non-Mommies, to ask some questions about all of this madness... here are some of the responses, and what I gleaned from them.  I changed all names for the privacy of the ladies; these comments are meant to spark dialogue, not offend!  I got more responses than I could use, but I think it's a good representation of different people, responding honestly and openly about their feelings.


Part 1:  Does it exist?

Is there a Mommy vs. Non-Mommy Divide?  I think there is, or at least many of us perceive one.  Once you become a mother, you are a part of this collective of womanhood, the Mommy Club, bringing a new life into the world like countless before you.  It really is remarkable... but what happens if that isn't your ambition, or if you have friends who don't share in your love of mothering?  Should you be shunned/pitied by the Mommies, or abandon your Non-Mommy friends?  I do think there's a divide, because there is such heated debate over the issue of children on planes/in restaurants, openly breastfeeding, vaccinations, etc.  When the parenting comes into the public domain, that's when things heat up.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jewelry GIVEAWAY!

It's about time I did another giveaway, right?  My awesome friend Sophie handmade a set of robin's egg nest earrings and pendant for me as a perk to all of you for reading my blog and supporting her efforts to raise money for veterans' charities!

The photo doesn't do it justice... in fact, I waited a while to offer this as a giveaway because I was secretly regretting I hadn't just told her I wanted them for myself!

Who wouldn't want this beautiful set to add to their collection?  I could see wearing this with jeans or a dress... the earrings on their own are gorgeous too.

The odds are always good for winning on this blog!  Here's how to enter.


TO ENTER:
- Mandatory: Leave me a comment letting me know why receiving this giveaway in the mail would make your day!
ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
(leave an additional comment for each!)
- Mention this giveaway on your blog
- Follow me on Twitter and RT this giveaway! – @aubreyland325
- Follow Adventures in Aubreyland on Google Friend Connect
- “Like” Adventures in Aubreyland on Facebook

Contest ends on Thursday, August 11th at 11:59pm EST and is only open to residents of the United States.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Master’s as the New Bachelor’s

I read an article yesterday in the NY Times entitled "The Master's as the New Bachelor's."  As someone who is interested in pursuing an MBA (either full time or executive) it was particularly interesting to me, since one of the reasons I want it is to make myself more relevant and qualified in the eyes of hiring.  I posted the link on my Facebook page, and I wanted to share some of the commentary that followed... education is important to me, and I have a lot of smart friends who have something to say on the topic!  What do you think?

To quote the article, "Call it credential inflation. Once derided as the consolation prize for failing to finish a Ph.D. or just a way to kill time waiting out economic downturns, the master’s is now the fastest-growing degree. The number awarded, about 657,000 in 2009, has more than doubled since the 1980s, and the rate of increase has quickened substantially in the last couple of years, says Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. Nearly 2 in 25 people age 25 and over have a master’s, about the same proportion that had a bachelor’s or higher in 1960. 

“Several years ago it became very clear to us that master’s education was moving very rapidly to become the entry degree in many professions,” Dr. Stewart says."

The Commentary (after the jump!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yard Sale!

Yesterday I had my yard sale!  I definitely consider it a success... we did have quite a few things leftover to Craigslist or donate, but I sold my biggest/heaviest items and made enough for my goal: to buy my first business suit!

My friends LC and CB both brought items, and I think it was a good size sale with good selection.  I had as much fun as the last yard sale I did with CH, but I definitely have some lessons learned to take away from the day...



Yard Sale Tips from Aubrey
1.  Advertise!  And I don't mean just put a sign up on the end of your street (although that IS very important!).  I placed multiple ads with descriptions and photos on Craigslist, posted links to the Craigslist ads on local Facebook pages I belonged to.  I also spread the word to friends.  THIS is what gets people to your sale nowadays; multiple folks told me they found the sale on Craigslist, and the listing is free.

2.  Get your friends involved.  Think you don't have enough for your own sale?  Invite other friends!  I think that even two people will pool enough for a decent sized sale.  The best folks to invite are those who are getting married/combining households, have kids who outgrow things quickly, and those who are getting ready to move/downsize.  Everyone is surprised at just how much they have to contribute; it quickly goes from one box to an entire carload!  We each had an assigned sticker color, so we could help track whose items were whose, and it was a system that really worked.

3.  Prepare ahead of time.  I priced all my items with stickers the night before.  Make sure you have plenty of change; between the three of us, we were fine, but if I could do it again I would get $50 in small bills instead of $25 that I had this time.  Those $1 bills especially make a difference.  Also, set out your wares well in advance...  even though I advertised 'No early birds' and a start time of 9 a.m., I had people showing up almost two hours early, as I was putting things out.

4.  Check the weather!  Have a rain plan, wear the right clothes (I wore workout clothes because it was so hot/humid), and have sunscreen/bug spray/etc. ready to go.  I got some funny tan lines!  Also keep some water handy for yourself to stay hydrated.  It's more work than you'd think... it was a workout for me!

5.  Be willing to bargain.  You may think you've priced everything reasonably, and early in the day you can stick to your prices.  But those first couple of hours are crucial; people are spending their money at other sales, and after about 11 am your traffic slows and you risk not making sales.  Encourage early birds to return later with a promise of lower prices, and give them deals when they buy in bulk.  I think many people go into a yard sale disappointed in how much the things they treasure are "worth" to other people.  I think you need to look at the bigger picture; these items are "used" and possibly even old.  They're sentimental to you, but not others.  It's important that you realize the point of the sale isn't to profit, but to rid your house of clutter.  The money is just a bonus!  When you  look at it that way, every dollar is a treat.

Other advice?  If you have some leftover items, try Craigslist.  You can pad your garage sale earnings with a little more cash that way!  For clothing, try consignment stores.  My friend LC does a great job selling things on consignment at local shops, who offer her up to 50% of what an item sells for.

After the sale, I went out to dinner at Jalapeno's with my friend CM, who is in town visiting family.  It was the perfect way to end my day!  Can't wait to deposit my 'earnings' on Monday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza

I love pizza.  Specifically, I love doughy, tomato sauce-covered, cheesy warm pizza.  But ordering pizza delivery was taking a bite out of my budget... especially since I insist on tipping well.  So I switched to frozen pizzas, but the only kinds I liked were running me about $6 a piece, and they just didn't taste that great.

Enter Papa Murphy's.  Conveniently located near my local grocery store and on my commute home, they offer take 'n' bake pizzas (and calzones!), assembled right in front of your eyes.  They wrap it for you, then you're left to bake it on your own at home, in the oven or on a grill.

I must admit I was skeptical at first...  pizza that I have to bake on my own?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of 'takeout' food?

I would say so, until I tasted it.  YUM!  There's no time between the oven and your table, like with delivery or even pickup of a pizza made in a store.  And, to top it all off, with promotions and coupons (and I won't buy it without one of those!) I have never paid for than $7 for a large pizza, comparable to that of a top frozen pizza.  I can't remember the last time I ordered a pizza for delivery, but I have treated myself to some Papa Murphy's... and I love the great deal!  If you have one in your area, give it a try!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Swiffer... reusable cleaning pads!

Cute rainbow pattern, right?
Okay, I'm admittedly not the most 'green' person.  I use paper towels pretty often, and I don't recycle as much as I should.  But I'm ALL for saving money, and recently I found a product that I want to share!

I don't like mops/buckets.  So when it's time to clean my linoleum/laminate flooring, I use the Swiffer Wet Jet!  Recently, however, I've become annoyed with the cleaning pads... they don't absorb as much, and they seem to just push dirt around.  I need at least two every time I mop.  A box of 24 cleaning pads costs about $12, so think of it as paying $1 every time you mop your floors.  That's what happens when you become dependent on a disposable item; you're stuck buying more!

That is, until a friend on Facebook mentioned that people who make reusable pads for the Wet Jet.  Genius!  I found some on Etsy by Detroit Knitter, and scored a package of three cute reusable pads for $16.  She sews these pads with Velcro on one side and towel material on the other, and they stick to the Wet Jet really well!

I used mine for the first time today, and while it took a little extra oomph to push it around (since the towel surface isn't as thin as paper), the pads really worked and collected up lots of gross stuff.  And the best part is, I can drop them into the washing machine and reuse the pads over and over.  Having these mean I'll never sacrifice cleanliness to save an extra cleaning pad again, and for $16 I effectively eliminated something off my cleaning supply shopping list for the long haul!

Exhausted... What is wrong with me???

For a while now, I've been exhausted.  And it's not just being tired, it's a physical and mental exhaustion.  When I wake up, even after 8-10 hours of sleep, I feel like I barely have the strength to keep my eyelids open.  Literally.  Sometimes, I'm so tired when I drive to work that I feel impaired.  I don't remember portions of my commute, I can't focus, I zone out.  I have trouble staying up much past 9 p.m., and I get a full 8 hours of sleep or more per night, but nothing helps.

It makes it so hard to do everyday things.  Take care of the house, study for the GMAT (in one month... panic!), exercise, anything at all that requires me to exert energy.  I feel so tired that I will take a nap during my lunch hour, setting an alarm because I know I could sleep for hours during that nap.  I feel pretty worthless except for about 3 hours a day, usually from about 9am-12pm, when I feel alert.  Other than that, my eyes are just so heavy.  My knees feel weak, like my legs below them are toothpicks and it's all off balance.

For the past week or so, this exhaustion has been accompanied by headaches, something I've never really had before.  I get them in the back of my head, and sometimes in the front... but they really affect me in a bad way.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow; hopefully they'll be able to tell me something.  Could I be anemic?  Have chronic fatigue?  What's wrong with me?  :(  I hope I find out soon.  I can't sleep through life!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HARRY POTTER!!!

Yes, I wore this shirt.  You know you're jealous.
I FINALLY got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in theaters!!!

My opinion?  I cried.  I cried for many reasons.  Because it was the last film, because I remembered what made me emotional in the books, because it was just the culmination of so much and so many years...

I do think that this is a movie that you can't watch without seeing at least Part 1.  I'll definitely be getting the collector's edition set of all the films and watching Parts 1 and 2 back-to-back, because I think it just kind of starts in the middle of everything.

I honestly thought they could have made some parts shorter and others longer... more of the battle, the deaths, the emotion.  I feel like there was so much and it was hard to put it all out there.  Translating from book to film is difficult, and I think the books will always be superior; the films are just an augmentation and something I appreciate as a companion to the novels.

I did worry a bit how they would do the whole '19 years later...' part of it.  I do think the actors did a good job portraying themselves as older (with the exception of baby-faced Bonnie Wright as Ginny, she just isn't a convincing matron!), and it was done well.  Kudos.

All in all, I loved it.  The most important part to me was everything involving Snape, and I felt it was done well.  I'll be seeing it again, and I'm happy.  Sigh... still can't believe it's all over.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Real Housewives: REMOVE KIM G.

I watched the Christmas party episode for RHONJ today, and it ANNOYED me to bits.

WHO THE EFF IS KIM G.?!  Okay, we know who she is.  But who is this old lady trying to stir up drama with a vendetta against Teresa?  Kim G. has been trying to become a series regular for multiple seasons now, and it's pathetic.  They'll probably even include her on the reunion show eventually.  Ugh.   Gross.

I don't like someone who shows up to a party with a someone who is suing the host's sibling, knowing that sibling is going to be attending?  Seriously.  She is trying SO hard to insert herself into every situation, she's terrible.  I cannot say enough how little I enjoy watching this woman.  And she's convinced we love her... do you know what she said last year?  "You know, do people want me? I get stopped on the streets all the time, 'We love you. We love you. You bring energy to the show. You're great. You're this, you're that.' You know what I'm saying."  So maybe people in New Jersey like her to her face... but I don't.  And I think the national audience would agree with me.

Kathy's behavior was not right at the party.  She seemed a bit tipsy and made a mountain out of a molehill in her 'conversation' with Teresa.  So what if someone responds coldly to your greeting?  That elusive 'high road' the women are always talking about would be to just smile and walk away.  Duh.  Kathy and her husband were annoying this episode; she wants to justify her existence on the show as much as Kim G.

I like Melissa and Joey more and more each episode.  KUDOS to them for kicking Monica Whoever out of that party.  I hope Teresa sees it and realizes it was Melissa who had her back in removing that 'problem' from the party.  Way to go Melissa!  You're winning me over!  (I also loved her and Joe on the aftershow as well.)

I'll continue to watch what happens for now... but seriously, Bravo, get rid of old lady Kim G.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Daytona Beach

DW loving life!
My uncle and aunt rented a condo in Daytona Beach Shores, and my Grandma, who has been battling lung cancer with chemo, decided to spend a week with them there.  I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see my family, and when I realized it was only a few hours away, I hit the road!

The condo was steps from the beach, which had amazing powder-soft sand, blue (cold!) water, and flocks of pelicans flying overhead.

Dinner at Bonefish Grill
I had a great time staying at the beautful St. Maarten property, enjoying dinners at River Grille on the Tomoka and Bonefish Grill, spending a morning at the beach, and seeing my Grandma, Uncle MW, Aunt DW, cousin MS, and DW's mother MM!  I felt right at home, and I'm so glad I went down to visit; I just don't see family enough, and this month I've seen a bunch.  Lucky me!


Sunrise

Thursday, July 14, 2011

LibertyChickLive's 'I Do Not Support the Troops' Video

I don't say much about politics here, and I am not very open about my military service.  And I am going out on a limb here in sharing my opinion... so hopefully no horrid backlash.  But I felt that there is something to be said about LibertyChickLive and her posts about why she does not support the troops, as well as the 'barbaric and savage' responses she received.

LibertyChickLive is entitled to her opinion, because that is a tenet of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.    Initially, when I started watching her video, I felt she was justified in her opinion.  There are people who do not approve of our current government, or the need for a standing army.  This is an argument that has been around since our nation was born.  I get it.  I also dislike the mass 'hero worship' that we give to the troops.  I'll be honest: I will never turn away a handshake, thank you, or mini American flag as someone recognizes me for my service.  Many of these folks are veterans who fought much harder wars, and they're proud of me.  I won't be rude; I am respectful.  But I don't think that servicemembers should be idolized or glorified to the extent that they are.  We don't need to cover our cars and homes with bumper stickers and yellow ribbons, nor should anyone expect special treatment.  It's a hard life that military families have chosen, but we can't take credit for the existence of human rights.  We proudly protect these rights, because it is part of our history and country, but we are not the ones who GAVE or PROVIDED these rights.  So I understand LibertyChickLive's frustration with those who claim to have given her the ability to open her mouth... it's just taking a bit too much credit.

The responses she received, as with most comments on YouTube, were ridiculous.  These are the same people telling Rebecca Black that she should die because she can't sing, that spout hatred at Selena Gomez for dating Justin Bieber, who scream epithets against President Obama claiming he isn't an American citizen.  The ignorant are often the ones who are going to react quickly and rashly, and sadly many portrayed violent and dangerous attitudes.  LibertyChickLive posted a response video yesterday, but removed it this morning; these crazy responses only furthered justified her opinion that those in the military are dumb, evil, morally compromised... and that those who worship them are brainwashed blind followers.  And to an extent, I can see that; the death threats only hurt the argument against what she said.

But I dislike her video.  And I disagree.

What I disagree with most is her overgeneralization of an organization with over 1.5 million active-duty servicemembers.  Atrocities have been committed; we see them in the news, and the entire military has to bear the shame of such events.  It is not perfect.  It is are made up of thousands of individuals from all walks of life.  But we are not all dumb, evil, or morally compromised.  LibertyChickLive talks about how she is educated, has seen the world because she's lived in two countries...  Well, I've lived in more than a few states and five countries, speak multiple languages, hold a degree from a top university, AND I've read Orwell's 1984.  (Her reference to the novel, as if it were the Bible, made me laugh.)  I consider myself to be a humanist, and a moral person.  So for her to say I belong in a caste she has created of serial killers and baby stabbers, idiots, psychopaths...  well, I don't know how to take it without being offended on some level.  Her words are nearly as incendiary as those who left comments on her video.

Perhaps some of us are more ignorant than we should be.  There are times I want to tell people to pick up a newspaper and to watch multiple news networks to get their information.   If I can get someone to watch The Daily Show, that would suffice; even satire can provide insight.  I will not hide my disdain for Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Michele Bachmann, because I feel there is a level of ignorance there that infects the general population, inciting the mob.  But I digress.

I have seen the reaction that LibertyChickLive's video has caused on Youtube and Facebook.  It hasn't been pretty.  But social media is a dialogue, and perhaps this is one we need to have.  LibertyChickLive is brave for expressing herself, though she needs more research and tact.  As I learned in college, the best way to argue one side of a debate is to conduct research as if you're on the other side... then create sound, supported arguments for your opinion.  One should never take to Youtube without evidence and backup; the masses will call you out. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Little Couple


I love 'The Little Couple'.  I first saw Bill Klein and Jen Arnold on TV years ago, when TLC did a special on their wedding.  Now they're into their 4th season on TLC, and I watch every episode like they're old friends of mine.

I think one of the things that inspires me most is Jen's awesome career as a doctor.  Dr. Jen Arnold holds a degree from Johns Hopkins University, focused in pediatrics, specifically the tiny/fragile babies in the neonatal/perinatal stages.  She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics, working at the largest children's hospital in the country, Texas Children's Hospital.  Jen is fearless when it comes to her job!  She is so smart, poised, knowledgeable, and determined.  I think a lot of parents would be surprised to see a doctor who stands less than four feet tall, but she is brilliant!!!

Bill and Jen are a great couple.  They argue, they have their quirks, but they are so incredibly REAL.  With the show, they wanted to show that everyone in life has challenges, but when you watch it's all about how they are so incredibly down-to-earth and just like anyone else.

These days, episodes are showcasing the new house they are building (with specifications that will make it more comfortable for those of shorter stature) and their attempts to conceive via surrogate.  I'm absolutely rooting for them!  I can't wait to see what life has in store for them next.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ASOS

I'd heard about ASOS from reading People magazine's Stylewatch; I've seen it mentioned occasionally that a celebrity was wearing ASOS, or ASOS offered a similar style at a lower price.  I assumed it was out of my price range... that is, until I saw a pin on Pinterest where someone included a price tag.  What?!  I could afford it?  I had to check it out.

ASOS is, according to Wikipedia, the UK's largest online-only fashion and beauty store. Primarily aimed at 16-34 year old men and women, it offers over 35,000 own-label and branded fashion goods.  Now you can order and have it shipped to the U.S., with its free delivery worldwide guarantee.  AWESOME!  It's not as super-trendy as Topshop, another UK import, but has some really classic, quality pieces.

I've always been a fan of websites like ModCloth, but they were above my price range.  A large amount of the stuff on ASOS is more than I can afford these days.  But on clearance, we can all have a piece of this style powerhouse.  I definitely see myself shopping there in the future, even for career pieces.

Two dresses on clearance that recently caught my eye were both little black dresses in classic silhouettes for under $32.  Seriously!  Dresses of this caliber usually cost three times as much.  So head on over to ASOS for some real fashion deals!

ASOS Linen Pencil Dress with Self Belt, $31
Vero Moda 50's Fit And Flare Prom Dress, $26

Saturday, July 9, 2011

$5 Art Project

Okay, you can hardly call this an art project.   But it is a super-simple, cheap little thing I did to put something in an empty space on my bedroom wall.

When my sister AW came to visit, she gave me a box of notecards that she bought because they reminded her of me!  They were cards that featured quotes from the famous Brontë sisters, who wrote after the age of Jane Austen but are often grouped with her since they were female English authors around the same time in history.  I have read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, the latter being one of my favorite books.

The cards were so pretty that I was inspired to do something to make them a permanent part of my house.  Notecards are gone once you mail them, so I figured I would keep a set and frame them.

I picked up a large frame at Walmart for $5, cut/arranged the notecards, and hung the finished product on the wall.  Simple!  I love it because it reminds me of my sister.  :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My 'What I Wore' Project

Look at that pile of clothes!

I've talked a few times about my favorite style blog, 'What I Wore'.  I even mentioned that the blog's author, Jessica Quirk, had a book coming out... which I promptly pre-ordered and received just this week!

Before...
After reading it cover to cover, I realized I had my work cut out for me!  Using Jessica's 'Analyze Your Closet' tips, I started by overhauling my closet and dressers.  (Conveniently enough, I have a yard sale planned for this month... maybe I can spend my earnings on some new wardrobe staples!)  I dumped EVERYTHING onto my bed into one giant pile.  Then I started sorting... immediately, I was learning to make quick judgment calls on what should stay and go.  Lastly, I had to try on all the 'keepers' so ensure they were worth putting back on a hanger into the closet.  I also took her advice and put away the winter clothes, so I had more visibility of what is wearable in this Georgia heat.

What I found was that in terms of accessories (shoes, handbags, belts, scarves!) I was doing well.  I also have a collection of cardigans that rivals that of Mr. Rogers.  But I have definitely identified some needs in my wardrobe.

After!
The hard part?  Getting rid of brand-new, barely worn, or too-small clothing.  I saw so many things I'd thought I could wear or wanted to fit back into, things that (embarrassingly) still had tags on them.  I also parted with a lot of the novelty tees I had in my collection, crammed into an overstuffed dresser drawer.  (Note to self: buying a new tee from Greetings every time I'm in B-town is not helping.)  I didn't realize how sentimental I could be about clothes!

That said, I'm definitely feeling good about all my hard work today!  I love how Jessica compares getting dressed to cooking, the latter being something I'm pretty good at.  When I look at it like a recipe, I can see that I've had a billion ingredients in my closet but none that went together.  Now I know that I need to work on my core color collection (black), then branch out into my secondary color, which seems to be a palette of greens and yellows, maybe even some coral colors!  Once I've got it down, I think I'll add a grey core color collection into the mix.  :)

My Shopping List:
For my core color collection:
-black jacket/blazer
-white button-up blouse
-little black dress (plain sheath)
Undergarments:
-foundation shorts (tummy control!)
-half slip in a skin-tone color (I have an old one in white from college, though!)
-full slip in a skin-tone color
Secondary color:
-solid skirt in secondary color
-printed skirt
-printed or solid blouse in secondary color
Summer:
-white jacket or blazer
-white skirt
-printed blouse(s)
-solid blouse in secondary color
-straw belt
The yard sale pile!!!

Happy Birthday AW!

Happy Birthday to my baby sister, AW!


My partner in crime for the past 23 years....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Weekend

Trolley Tour
For this 4th of July weekend, my family came to visit!  AW arrived first, and it's been almost a week of reunion.

THURSDAY:  I had to work, then AW and I went to a work dinner at Sunbury Crab Company.  We got attacked by mosquitoes, but the atmosphere was just quintessential Coastal Georgia!  It was so pretty right along the water and the marshes.  Then we got some Baskin Robbins ice cream in a favorite childhood flavor (Daiquiri Ice!) and headed home.

FRIDAY:  For dinner, we headed to downtown Savannah to try out a restaurant I've been eyeing for a long time... Vic's on the River.  We started with fried green tomatoes (amazing!) and drinks, then devoured our meals.  I had the crab cakes and macaroni and cheese, which were delicious.  The portion sizes were good, and it was an enjoyable meal with a great atmosphere on the river.  For dessert, we strolled through City Market then over to Lulu's Chocolate Bar, getting some delicious treats to-go before heading home.

Davenport House
SATURDAY:  Mom and Dad finished up their road trip to join us for the holiday.  We grabbed lunch at Chili's then spent some time just hanging out at the house!  Everyone took a nap.  Then we headed out to the movies to watch Transformers 3.  It was a very long movie, but full of action.  Not bad for a summer flick.

SUNDAY:  We spent most of the day in Savannah, doing an Old Savannah Historic Trolley Tour, then eating a delicious lunch at Mellow Mushroom.  Then we toured Davenport House, walked to River Street for some Savannah Candy Kitchen goodies (Dad and AW always get saltwater taffy!), then headed to Fort Stewart for its Salute to the Nation.

MONDAY:  We spent the day at home, and Mom/Dad helped me around the house with some things.  We then had an early dinner at Applebee's and went back to Fort Stewart for the free Fantasia/Zac Brown Band concert and fireworks.  It was crowded, but a great show!  I think we all had fun.
4th of July

TUESDAY:  Mom and Dad headed home bright and early, and AW/I headed to Tybee Island to have some photos taken.  Then we went straight downtown and toured Mercer-Williams House, had lunch at Panera, and walked around Broughton Street.  Then it was off to the airport, where I dropped off my last houseguest!

Ben Franklin famously said that fish and visitors smell after three days.  My houseguests are all gone, and I'm missing the smell!  No matter what, I always enjoy seeing my family, and when they're gone I realize all too keenly just how much I miss their everyday presence in my life.   I'm blessed to have two amazingly supportive parents, a great little sister, and an overall awesome family.  :)



And now... back to the grind!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On sisters...

1988
Maya Angelou said, "Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at."  I think I would have to agree.  Calling it a condition is probably accurate too.

You can choose your friends, but your siblings are given to you.  And sometimes, you can't believe that someone who most closely resembles you in the world, who comes from the same exact gene pool, could be so fundamentally different from you!

My relationship with my own younger sister AW have been tumultuous to say the least.  We probably had our first disagreement before she could talk.  And while we have a million happy memories, more often than not we revisit the unhappy ones, the ones where our parents would declare, "You fight like cats and dogs!"  (Appropriately, my sister is a self-proclaimed dog person, while I live with a cat I've had since age 10.)  Even as adults we can't spend 24 hours together without argument.

2011
We fight.  We butt in.  We talk over one another.  We reopen old wounds.  We don't mind our own business.  We're unfortunately insanely stubborn so as to often prevent any resolution or apology.  We love each other, but we aren't best friends and we don't always like one another.

And yet, sitting at dinner the other night trying to figure out what we should raise our glasses to, we came to a conclusion... our relationship is quite possibly the longest one either of us will ever have.  We are separated by only three years; you might say AW's birthday this year is our 23rd anniversary!  No matter who comes along in our lives, they probably won't outlast the two of us.

So it's definitely a condition we have to work at!
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