Monday, February 3, 2014

Food for thought

Words of encouragement on this rainy Monday morning...

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won.  It is is is yours." - Atlas Shrugged

Friday, January 10, 2014

Currently {Friday edition}

Instead of doing a top five this week, here's what my life has been like lately....

READING I really want to read this list.  So far, I've read 7/16.  They all look so good.  Have you read any of them?

WRITING (typing):  blog posts.  Thanks for reading.

LISTENING to these new songs which I Shazam'ed:

Wild Child by Dakota Bradley
Used Up by Logan Mize
Get Me Some of That by Thomas Rhett

THINKING I'm proud of myself for cooking three new recipes this week:

{amazingly fresh and easy--just lots of chopping}

{this could feed an army, hello leftovers; delicious combination of flavors}

WATCHING American Psycho.  Have you ever seen this movie?  Very disturbing with an interesting, twist ending.  I was told via Entertainment Weekly to watch the latest episode of The Mindy Project which I never watch.  It was hilarious-Mindy hires a personal trainer.  Could not stop laughing.  

HOPING this weekend will get here quickly. Happy early birthdays to Alice, Allison, Katherine, and Mamie {my grandmother}.  Cannot wait to celebrate with you all.

WEARING my Zara blanket scarf, which I am still figuring out how to tie without making it too bulky.  This scarf {no longer available}

via Bows & Sequins

LOVING The Truffle Mac & Cheese, the Shrimp dumplings, and the Wild Mushroom Risotto from Oro.  So much fun catching up with friends at fun places in Downtown Raleigh.  I'm also loving this.  I had WAY too many American Girl Dolls, so this made me smile.  But, let's face it, the Hannah doll should be in shorteralls.

WANTING to add these things to my closet/house:


FEELING like this....


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reconstructing Amelia

First book of 2014

I first spotted Reconstructing Amelia at Target.  Target has this genius book shelving system.  Basically, it will say if you liked x book, here are 3 other books you might enjoy.  Genius target-although I ended up purchasing on my Nook for portability.

This book was part of the if you like dark books {a la Gone Girl}, then this is a book you should read next

The story centers Kate and her daughter Amelia, who is currently a sophomore attending an elite New York private school called Grace Hall.  One day, Kate, a single mom and lawyer, is at work when she receives a telephone call from Grace Hall saying that Amelia has been suspended.  Kate is flabbergasted given Amelia's past as a star pupil with no behavioral problems to date.  When Kate finally gets to the school, the police and firefighters are at the scene and appear to be hovering over a shrouded body.  Kate discovers that her daughter is dead.  The death is later ruled a suicide. 

Cut to two months later...Kate finally reappears at work only to get a text from a blocked number simply saying, "She didn't jump."

Thus starts the goose chase as Kate delves into what really happened to her daughter.  The mysteries start piling up:  elusive teachers, tight-lipped school officials, catty teenage girls, secret clubs, and inappropriate messages from blocked numbers.  Think: Gossip Girl meets Skull & Bones meets Law and Order:  SVU

It's told from three rotating perspectives:  Kate {the mother}, Amelia {the daughter}, and gRaCeFULLY {Grace Hall's blog}.

I found the blog to be incredibly disturbing when I tried to imagine attending a school where everyone's business is so out there.  The blog spares no details as it splashes the students' and faculty's reputations in the mud and airs out all the school's dirty laundry.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was not able to guess all the twists and turns that this novel took. 

The book touches on themes relating to friendship, family, loyalty, acceptance, and relationships.  While I was thoroughly engrossed in the story {had to find out who done it}, I don't know if I would say this was my favorite read.  I got tired of reading the sub-plots relating to Kate's past relationships.  I especially got lost with the plots dealing with Waardenburg syndrome {particularly because my mom has two different color eyes-one green/brown and one blue} so I found it hard to focus.  I'd read and simultaneously research to see what the other symptoms of the syndrome were.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads.  If you don't do Goodreads, you should.  I have found it is the best way to find new books!  To friend me, go to my Stay In Touch section!  I'd love to see your book recommendations.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Well, I apologize for the delay in my usual Batchelor post...

wait for it...

Juan Pablo is back

Let the Juan-isms start


Lou was really excited about all the people at the PJ Party Batchelor Viewing Party...she was not excited to sit calmly while we watched

Some scattered thoughts:

  • Seriously thought the piano pushing girl was driving a rickshaw....
  • Love the job descriptions--how do I become a job description writer?
    • Free Spirit (put your shoes on please)
    • Former NBA dancer
  • Fake Pregnancies Claire?  Not the best idea to start a relationship off with a lie
    • nonetheless, you got a rose
  • 8 second "Um, sure" with crickets playing in the background was a pretty classic way to accept the first impression rose
    • did not see that one coming
  • Amy aka "She bangs" best facial expressions ever however worst idea ever to massage someone with oils over their very expensive looking tuxedo.
  • Kylie: home girl, you knew your name wasn't called.  Not a great way to represent as the token ginger
  • Lauren, if you got dumped two weeks into your engagement, then how did you already have a wedding dress?  
  • Is it just me or did your heart melt a bit when Juan called Renee momma?  The way he said it..aiyiyi

What are your thoughts on this season of the Batchelor?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Casual Sundays

Happy Monday!  Sundays are quickly becoming my new favorite day of the week.  My only problem, too many good things happening:

Downton Abbey
The Batchelor
College Basketball
Sports (um, hello Canes)
Girls (next week)

For anyone who hasn't jumped aboard the Downton Abbey train yet, you should.  The cinematography and costumes are exquisitely designed.  The flapper trend started to show last season, and I'm loving the traditional English/early 20th century garb even more as the show progresses.

I'm not going to give any spoilers since I know many people have yet to watch the first episode (an astounding 2 hour episode, no breaks for commercial).  I am trying to wrap my head around the new characters as well as the dramatic change in plot post Matthew's untimely departure. 

What did you think of the first episode back?

My Sunday...

Downton Abbey
Still in disbelief...

Free tickets and 9th Row...yes please!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 5 {New Year, New 5}

1.  Feeling very accomplished that I purged my Gmail and unsubscribed to goodness knows how many lists {see ya on the flipside ZSpotDeals, Julep, Steve Madden, Jack Rogers, & GMAT Question of the Day}

2.  Saw this amazing thing on Etsy.  As a rule, I try and refrain from shopping on Etsy.  Why you ask?  Because it is a rabbit hole of endless things that I would love to own yet don't really need.

Exhibit A {What I found yesterday}:
Calligraphy Starter Kit
One of my goals last year was to learn Calligraphy.  In case you were wondering, it didn't happen.  How amazing is this LHCalligraphy kit??

Exhibit B {I regularly stalk her site or Pinterest for new prints and canvases}:

NEW Hadrian Canvas Print SALE

3.  Two of my friend's hosted a New Year's Eve gathering at their house- so fun not to brave the downtown chaos in Raleigh.  Getting to the point, there was food galore-oysters, dips, trail mixes, and a TON little bit of bubbly.  I ended up tasting dove {wrapped in bacon with jalapeno and cream cheese} for the first time.  One of my goals in 2014 is to try new things...and I started early...circa 9:15 PM on 12/31/13.  Verdict:  dove is delicious when prepared correctly.  Granted, whose to say what it tastes like a-la-carte.

4.  Cooked two homemade meals (one paleo and one gluten free). Boom. Recipes here and here. Lauren, I'll be your sous chef any day. 

5.  Seeing friends post holidays. Is there anything better?

Happy weekend friends. 

Thursday Motivation

Things I would like to remember in 2014 that are currently MOTIVATING me:

secrets to happiness...made even better because I love an acronym/mnemonic device...

I like to keep it simple: Remember the 4 P’s.
  1. Purpose
  2. Perspective
  3. People
  4. Play

2.  Self Magazine this month {which I snagged yesterday at Target while donning work out clothes--despite the fact that I did not make it to the gym}.  Jillian Michaels talks about her tips:  re-framing sucky days, writing down goals, defining success, and the power of rewards.  When motivated, I can be very competitive, so I am enlisting this tip:

"Let's say you want to lose 20 pounds in three months. When you reach your weekly goal, get a manicure or pedicure. When you reach your monthly goal, get a massage. When you reach your ultimate goal, give yourself $500 for new clothes. Just make sure the reward is positive and life-affirming and not 'Now I get a night on the town to get s---faced drunk!' No. Never reward yourself with self-destructive things."

I divided my personal pyramid into four brackets and assigned a goal/reward for each.

3.  Again, from Self magazine.  Failure as motivation.  I feel like I keep seeing this theme everywhere.  Failure should not be devastating or mark a total melt-down in your life.  Turn failure into a positive.   Breathe.  Re-frame.  Move forward.  Realize that failure can mean you tried.  Failure can mean you gained new perspective.  The best way to pick yourself up and move forward is to learn from your mistakes.  Failures make you humble.  They make you re-evaluate.  My amazingly resilient friend Colleen has a boyfriend, Bill, who seems to nail it.  He recently said on Facebook...

"Failure is the best tool you can use to succeed." - Bob Kulhan said that in my book

I am excited to read his book in 2014.

4.  VS Semi-Annual Sale is going on now {aka Bathing Suit season is about to be upon us my friends}.  If that's not motivation, I don't know what is.  

5.  The Peak of Tres Chic posted this TED Talk.  Elizabeth Gilbert talks about moving forward after the success of Eat, Pray, Love {Side bar: I loved the EAT part of the book and some of the PRAY, but I didn't finish the whole book}.  

Happy times back at work today friends!  What motivates you?