Wednesday, November 30, 2011

They say it's my birthday...

So today is the day! It's my birthday! Thanks for all of the early wishes yesterday, you ladies are too sweet! I don't have terribly amazing plans for today, since of course I have the kids all day and n and lots of work to get done, but some friends and I are doing dinner at one of my favorite places for hors d'oerves. I'm pretty excited just to spend some time with them and celebrate that way. That's really all I need! I did receive some beautiful gifts from my family and I absolutely love them! Between my new watch, a new coat and some lovely other clothing items, I'm so happy and thankful to have so many people that care so much for me. Here's to making this year the best one yet!

I do wish I had a cake like this though. What's a birthday without cake?

This is usually what my cake ends up looking like! . 
Source: via Susan on Pinterest

Aren't they gorgeous? I've always been a simple gal, so the last photo probably describes what I like best: two layers with frosting in between, and make it a chocolate cake with white icing! But I'll take anything I can get! Just kidding, of course. Do you have a favorite birthday cake? This past year has been a great year of blessings and opportunities for me. I know my upcoming year will hopefully bring more and I can't wait to live each day to see what's in store.
 Happy last day of November!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Style: Chambray Casual

So what could be a better Friday than a comfy chambray shirt, leggings, my infinity sweater and my favorite boots. It may become a go-to. Emphasis on may. Thank you blogs and Pinterest for helping me with my style! Yes, I do get lots of great ideas from blogs and seeing what everyone in the blog community is wearing and making it my own. Who else wants to confess that they do that!

So tomorrow is my birthday!! I already received beautiful gifts over the weekend, so I don't have anything on my wishlist (until Christmas that is!)! Tomorrow I'll share my dream cake!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Highlight: Terrific Turkey

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had fantastic Thanksgivings. We really did have a great one. It was perfectly filled with family and lots of delicious food (emphasis on lots of delicious food!). Here were a few of my favorites:

The turkey was absolutely delicious! I know your mouths are watering, mine was! The smells were fantastic. My mom made homemade pumpkin pie (it's usually my grandma's job but my mother did it this year! It was delicious!). Wasn't the table gorgeous? My mom made the table cloths and put together all of those decorations. Isn't she a talent? I'd say so! How were all of your holiday dinners?

The rest of my weekend was filled with lots of family time and relaxing! How were yours? I did end up watching Love Actually for the first time. I need to fulfill the rest of my holiday movie lists!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Black Friday, Black Friday!

Black Friday

Madewell polka dot top, $85
Old navy shirt, $27
Vince pants, $235
Barbour tall boots, £270
Lee angel jewelry, $80

 Happy Black Friday everyone! I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving, enjoying the day relaxing and eating lots of great food with family and friends. We definitely had a delicious meal and I was such a "happy full" by the end of the day. It was a lovely day and I can't wait to enjoy the leftovers for the rest of the weekend.

Anyway, Black Friday! I'm not usually a Black Friday shopper, well, I'd probably be up and out the door by now! This is probably to a T the outfit I'll be wearing today (but with a different sweater!). I'm loving my chambray shirt and I actually received this watch as a birthday gift. I am so excited! So excited! I have wanted one of these big gold watches for awhile and I can't wait to start wearing it. I'm loving the chambray with the black leggings and of course go-to brown riding boots. Also, if I do want to venture out and shop, it's comfy too! Mostly though I'll just be spending the day getting some work done and probably do a bit of knitting. Why not?

This weekend includes a wine night and then some much needed R&R with my family. It's just what I need! What about you? How were your Thanksgivings/Black Fridays?

If you are a Black Friday shopper, what do you buy? Are you one of those insanely early shoppers? Hopefully you get everything on your lists!

Happy Weekends all!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

24 thankful things...

Thanksgiving is tomorrow on the 24th, so here are 24 things I'm thankful for this year (little things included), since we all need to reflect on them!

  1. The support of my family, friends, teachers and colleagues. I'd be nowhere without their support. 
  2. Long phone chats with Mom and Dad
  3. Coming home again
  4. Long runs and having the ability to run (despite my pace)
  5. Such a wonderful class to have and learn from. 
  6. Pianos at my disposal and lessons I love so much. 
  7. Late night chick flicks with my friends, mom and sisters
  8. Delicious food to eat
  9. A roof over my head even in my small hole in the wall. 
  10. Comfy, cozy sweaters with lots of coffee and hot chocolate
  11. My faith, my church and the support of everyone there. 
  12. Articles my grandpa sends me in the mail
  13. Blogging and the support of bloggers all over the country. It's so much fun to communicate with you all!
  14. Trips with my family. This year we headed to Colorado!
  15. Homemade goodies
  16. Warm blankets. 
  17. Nights alone to relax. 
  18. Nights out with friends that I'll never forget
  19. Knitting and taking time for me. 
  20. Milkshake nights with Ellen, Cody, and Mary. 
  21. Classical music nights with Dad. Someday we will see Michael Tilson Thomas actually conduct for real!
  22. Advice from friends I am so blessed to have. Honestly, I don't deserve all the people in my life that make me, me. I love all the laughs, advice, fun nights and phone calls. So so good. 
  23. An education and the ability to want to learn more. 
  24. Long days spent with the people that I love most. I cannot wait for this Thanksgiving. So that made me think of something like this:

I'm so thankful for everything I'm given. I'm so blessed to have what I have and I try to take advantage of all the little things that mean so much to me. What are little things you're thankful for? I'm headed home tomorrow and we're cooking for 16 of us, which is big for our family. Did I mention that our main refrigerator broke? Yes, not fun. I can't wait to start cooking! Seriously.can't.wait.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve all!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Highlight

I had an unexpected weekend highlight. I took off for home for less than 24 hours to see my little sister Mary in her high school musical, Hairspray. Mary's a sophomore there at my alma mater (and I'm a very proud alum!) and I was skeptical that they could pull off this show. After all, we're a small girls high school and it's a big show for a small group. It was phenomenal, probably the best show I've seen in a long time and it was so enjoyable. The girls (and few guys in there too!) looked like they had so much fun and everything about it was just magical. Don't believe me? Here's my sister Mary in her fantastic costume with a little bit of a bump it going on, hahahaha I love it. I was so proud of all the girls and I again am so proud to keep going back to show my spirit at good old RDHS!

I also got ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce out of the deal, so it was pretty nice! I absolutely cannot wait for this upcoming week. I'm jealous of all the two day week people. Lucky you! Oh well, I'm excited to get home to those wonderful smells and warmth of our home on Thanksgiving. Happy Monday everyone!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Mix and Match

Mix and Match

It's Friday once again! I couldn't be more excited about it, especially since its the weekend before Thanksgiving. We are so close! {av} decided that this week's theme was going to be mix and match and I embraced it as much as possible. I am loving the trend of big chunky sweaters with skirts. I just think it's so fun and cute and I loved this striped one with the blue skirt. Belting it is fantastic too. Add a big necklace, some grey tights, and brown boots and you're good to go! Now that the temperatures have cooled off quite a bit this week, the red vest is not only cute, but warm too! I want to start mixing and matching more in my own wardrobe. How do you do it?

This weekend will be fun, but work always has to be done. I have to work on some papers (maybe have a first holiday viewing of Love Actually!) and tie up some loose ends before our short week next week! (the kids have two days, we have three. Thank you district institutes!). I know the week is going to fly by next week so I'm getting prepared to head home and enjoy my favorite holiday with my favorite people. I haven't seen my brother in three months and it'll be nice to see him, along with my sisters, parents and grandparents, and aunts, uncles and cousins that will all be dining at our house. I can't wait!

Enjoy this weekend wherever you are! I'm thankful to have this blog as an outlet for me to just share my thoughts and connect with you wonderful readers. I celebrated my 100th post yesterday!! So 101 posts and 40 followers later, I'm one happy gal. Have fantastic weekends!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

I'm thankful and blessed that I've got these traits. It's so true, we do have to just start where we are and just keep going. It can be so hard sometimes. Sometimes all we want to do is go backwards and not focus on where we need to go. We need to do what we do wholeheartedly no matter how hard that is. We just have to keep going. I believe we can all do this, even when it's hard.  I'm also glad that I have this wisdom and positivity that Mrs. Washington talked about oh so long ago. I'm thankful I have my attitude and my positivity. Without it, I probably would not be where I am right now. I'm truly thankful for that. 

What are your thoughts on this Thursday? 

Weekend's almost here! Thanksgiving is officially 7 days away!! AHH the joy!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I gave in...

Ok, I couldn't help it.

I just had to.

Because it makes me smile

And he's gorgeous


Yes ladies I officially turned on my Josh Groban Christmas CD today. No judgments! Yes. So sue me! Have I mentioned how much I love the man? Well it's true. Josh Groban Noel is an absolutely beautiful album. Are there any other albums I need to listen to for the upcoming holidays? (Don't worry the new Michael Bublé is on my list to purchase!).

Has anyone else given in like me? I really have no shame!


Gift Guides Galore!

I'd say probably one of my favorite thing about the holidays coming up (don't worry I'm not rushing them, but unfortunately commercial America does it to us, and I'm ok with it!) is the holiday gift guides that just about every brand is doing on their websites. Here are few of my favorites with my favorite picks from them. Of course, I'm saying that money is no object in the process of making the guides. Money is an object for me though, so I probably won't buy any of this. However, who said there was anything wrong with looking!

The two I've found today are Kate Spade and J.Crew. I love both brands, especially around holiday time. There's nothing better than their ads and stores either. So much fun to look!

J.Crew Winter

Kate Spade Holiday Gifts

Again, I'm not skipping Thanksgiving! But still, they're so fun to look at and start dreaming up big wish lists. I can't wait for the holiday catalogues to come in also too. It's another one of my favorite reasons of why this is the most magical time of the year! Any of these little things on your wishlists? If I had to pick a few I would definitely take the Kate Spade earrings and the J.Crew Cape and wool coat. Ahhhh!

I've got more gift guide picks from a few of my other favorite brands and I'll do those as we get closer to the most wonderful time of the year.

Have Terrific Tuesdays!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Highlight

still gorgeous
This was an absolutely gorgeous weekend down here in my neck of the woods. I hope yours was the same! Saturday morning I went for a gorgeous run but I had a purpose at the end. I had to get to my local Target! And I may have splurged a little bit...hello new Leopard print cardigan, $5 gold dangly earrings, and new dress for work (and play!)! I needed some retail therapy, and since I did it at Target that never makes me feel nearly as bad.

The other enjoyment of my weekend was definitely getting in a healthy dose of chick flicks. A very healthy dose! I saw Friends with Benefits for the first time and I have to say that I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Justin Timberlake is just so darn sexy, to this day. Yes, he still sounds exactly the same as he did when he was in *NSYNC oh so many years ago, but he's gorgeous and for those two hours I wished I was Mila Kunis. It was cute.

and then we took a trip back to the '90s. I watched My Best Friend's Wedding, which is definitely one of my favorites and so, so romantic. I'm hopeless ladies, and darn do I know I am! Dermot Mulroney is also a gorgeous leading man, and he still looks that gorgeous today as well. I mean, look at him!
I also may have eaten a few too many packages of Junior Mints and indulged in my first Peppermint Mocha of the holiday season. So so yummy!

How were your weekends? What were you up to? Have fantastic starts to your week wherever you are. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I could not be more excited about it! (but more on that later!)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Golden Girl

Golden Girl

Ahh thank goodness it's Friday. I feel like it's been such a long, tiring week, but I'm glad we've all made it here to the weekend. It's been a few weeks since my last Friday's Fancies, so it's good to be back! I'm excited that this is {av}'s 50th week of Friday's Fancies and to celebrate the theme is her Golden anniversary. I absolutely love this gold sequined top. I actually am on a quest for one, so if you see one that is clearly not as expensive as this, let me know! I love the shape and flowiness of it and I had to pair it with an awesome emerald suede heel and that J.Crew envelope clutch we've all seen. I want it all. Happy Golden Anniversary Miss {av}! I absolutely love linking up to this every week and seeing everybody's beautiful creations. It's a great end to my week!

 I have been so absent from blogging. I hate it! I can't wait to use this weekend as catch up time and relaxation time for me. I think I can say that I've earned it and that everybody else has too! Yet I know that I still have lots of work to do (as always. Who doesn't really?). Embrace the weekend wherever you are. I can't wait to be back in full swing next week. Happy Fridays everyone!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Highlight

Happy New Week everyone! We are just another week closer to Thanksgiving, crazy as that is and I absolutely love love love it. I had a fantastic weekend and went home to get some R&R more like just a bit more rest, didn't have that much relaxation, but a little bit. I had a very stressful week last week, and I needed a getaway. I know that this week is a new week though and that my attitude will determine my performance of everything I need to do.

My weekend highlight was hanging out with my sister and helping her babysit the most adorable family ever. They just had a new baby a few months ago and playing with her all night was enough to make me smile. She's gorgeous (when she wasn't crying you know!) and so is her big brother and sister, who make me laugh every time I visit. I've watched this little girl grow up and she's hysterical. And she reads now! She's very good at it and even made The Cat in the Hat at nighttime sound fantastic!

Other than that, sleeping in my own comfy bed was just the best and we made lots of banana bread which I will be enjoying this morning. YUM! The other fun thing I got to do was take a quick peek downtown Chicago. I didn't really get to enjoy it this time since my trip was so quick, but my sister and I always love window shopping Oak Street just to see how we can recreate some of the high end looks. To our luck, the new Tory Burch store was opening and we just hand to go in to see it. It's absolutely beautiful! Beautiful! I'm a fan of a lot of Tory (I don't own one single item...ok I used to. Gorgeous sunglasses but they were stolen. My goal is to someday own another pair!) The clothes right now are so pretty and I'm loving the bags too.

But the thing they had that made it extra special, were macarons in orange and raspberry. and it made me want some more macarons. So if it wasn't enough, I found some on Pinterest! Are you a fan of macarons?

Happy Mondays everybody! I hope everyone has great starts to their weeks and that they all go up from here. It's Pajama Day at school today so I'll be sporting my pjs and I know my fourth graders will be too. It's going to be fun.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy November!

Happy November! Seriously I can't believe that it has come, it's ridiculous that it's finally here. Also, in addition to one of my favorite holidays being seriously right around the corner, Thanksgiving, it is also birthday month for me! I've got awhile (it's on November 30th, so trust me we have some time and you'll be hearing about it! I love birthdays, not just for me but being able to celebrate with people I love is probably my favorite part about them.

But really, Thanksgiving!! How quickly has this fall gone? I feel like we've barely had fall (maybe because I've been too busy to notice!). But here's some things I've been enjoying as of late:

Visits with family. Like I said Ellen and Cody came down last weekend and we had a blast. I wish we had more than just one weekend.

Still getting Halloween gifts from my aunt. Mmmmm Starbucks! Who's excited for those holiday cups and soon to come peppermint mochas? McDonald's has already started making theirs, I noticed the other day when I popped in there. Seems a little early McDonald's, but I can't wait to get in the holiday spirit.

Josh Groban's pandora station. Yes, call me a sap. But honestly, that voice makes me melt. On it also you will find Michael Buble and instrumental piano music. Again, like I said I'm a sap but I don't care. Oh also, side note but Michael Buble's new Christmas CD is out. Guess what is on this girl's birthday wish list?

Source: via Claire on Pinterest

Bringing out the puffy vest. It's been my perfect outer layer over my merino wool sweaters.

75% off candy at the grocery store. Bring on Junior Mints and M&Ms that I will be enjoying for a long while. (I freeze my chocolate so it lasts longer! It's a good trick for all you chocoholics out there like myself!)
Fall bandy bark! Maybe I should take my candy and put it to good use with this!

And here's what I've really been wanting to enjoy:

Actually having time to watch TV. Man it's been so long I don't even know what's happening in anything anymore. I can't wait for Thanksgiving break. Serious catch up time for this girl. I am wanting some serious TLC tv time, as well as Pan Am, X Factor, Glee, and I even have yet to watch the finale of Project Runway! Don't tell me who won please!

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

Knitting. I haven't picked up the needles in about a month. Ahhhhhh I'm dying here! Maybe this weekend this will have to be mandatory. I need to keep going with all of those Christmas gifts I'm planning on making! Aren't those scarves gorgeous??

 I have a few thank you notes to write and I absolutely love stationary and writing letters. I better get on these before I fall into "bad manners" territory!

Long phone calls with my girlfriends. Seriously, I can't go this long without those amazing phone calls. If any of you are reading this, I promise I'll call you!!

So there's a little catch up on what I've been up to lately. What have you been up to? I'm so out of touch and miss commenting on everybody's beautiful blogs!

Happy Thursday!