Monday, December 31, 2012


I always love thinking about everything I've done at the end of every year. 2012 was a pretty big year, lots of changes this year, but definitely all learning experiences. I graduated school, started subbing five days after I graduated, enjoyed the summer, and started my full time job with my preschool kids in August. I also took on giving piano lessons, which I love, and have been able to spend time with lots of family and friends. It has been quite a year, and this year the holidays were fantastic. It was so low key, but I enjoyed it so much (and I got to see Les Miserables on Christmas Day. Phenomenal if you haven't seen it yet! Go!). It's been a great year.

I have been blessed with so much in 2012 and cannot wait for all that 2013 has in store. It is going to be exciting! I do pray for more peace and unity this next year. Lord knows we all need that. Thank you all again for coming and visiting my little corner of the blogosphere! It truly means so much to me. Be safe and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Fancies: Christmas Eve

Happy Friday ladies! I have been so under the weather with a horrible stomach flu virus. I don't think I had ever been this sick. Today I am resting and trying to get myself back to normal, since Christmas is almost here! I can't wait to celebrate with my family, starting this weekend.

christmas eve

It's a tradition in my family to always go to Christmas Eve Mass at our parish and on Christmas we all tend to get a bit more dressed up than we usually do for church. It's the holidays. Why not? I actually have this alice + olivia little black dress (found on sale!) and I absolutely love it! It's peplum, and it's black. What's not to love? I love adding sparkle and a little black heel. Just perfect!

Christmas morning we spend in our pajamas (obviously!) and then this year we're heading out to my grandma's Christmas Day, and then we host the day after Christmas for more celebrations. Did I mention I love the holidays? What are your holiday plans? I hope you ladies have the best holidays yet!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yes Virginia

So I was babysitting the other night and we were watching Christmas specials on TV (thank goodness they still keep the good ones like Rudolph going!). But a new one caught my eye called Yes Virginia. It is the cutest 20 minutes you will watch this holiday season about a girl named Virginia in the early 1900s who believes in Santa ,but a bully in school convinces her that Santa isn't real. She and her best friend Ollie write to the local paper asking them to prove if Santa exists. I'm making it sound so cliché, but really, it's worth watching, especially with the way things have been lately, it just brightened my night.

Watch it now, or watch it later, but here's the first part. Trust me, you'll want to keep going til the end!

image via here

Monday, December 17, 2012

There's only so many Tomorrows

All weekend, all I was thinking about was the victims. the families. Newtown. What a heinous act of violence and I am just saddened and mournful for all of those affected. As a teacher of young, young children, it pains me to see any child hurting, especially when in school. I am praying and will continue to pray for all of those families, victims and people of Newtown as they try to make sense of this. It is a great reminder that time is so short. In this case, way too short.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Fancies: Serious Sparkle


Happy Friday ladies! My computer is back and all is well at the end of this very busy week. So why not end it on good notes with some sparkle? I've seen this dress at Anthropologie and it is just as gorgeous in person! It would definitely put a spring in my step and make me feel like it is truly the holidays (another snowless December is just weird, isn't it? I love snow!). I love sparkle!

Have fabulous weekends! I can't to read and catch up on my blog reading, get in some holiday wrapping, shopping, cookie baking, etc! In other news, my sister Mary and I just finished watching Downton Abbey again! We cannot wait for January 6th, can't come soon enough! Did anyone see that PBS special on Downton that Angela Lansbury hosted? First of all, I love Angela Lansbury and it was such a good sneak peek! Who's obsessed? Have a great weekend and go check out the rest of the fancies on Long Distance Loving!

Monday, December 10, 2012


That is the word I used to describe my lovely computer! It crashed at the end of last week, so pardon my M.I.A-ness as of late! I've been working, working and working some more, so maybe it's good that my computer crashed when I've been too busy to even look at it! I hope you ladies have been having a lovely holiday season and have been able to enjoy it! I definitely have so far!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Get on my Bookshelf!

Though I don't read as much as I want to, or be in the mood for (let's be honest: I could replace reading with knitting!) but these are books that I could just flip through time and time again. Have you picked them up yet? I got Pippa's book from our library and I love it! I literally talked in a British accent while reading. The pictures are gorgeous and the ideas are fantastic for every holiday all year round. Of course, Ina can do no wrong either. We have all of her books and use them daily and I bet this one would be no exception. Then there is Nate's book which I have heard so much about. It looks fantastic. Have you read it?

Books are great gifts too and I bet any of these would make your friends and family smile! What books are on your wishlist?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've never shared this recipe before! I know you've seen lots of chocolate chip cookies here on this blog, but let's be honest, they're my favorite! This was probably the first recipe I ever baked with and has been a staple in our house for years. It is supposedly the recipe of the Mrs. Fields cookies that you could get a Neiman Marcus. Have you ever had those before? Ahh so good!

Though they're a bit time consuming, they're worth it and such a great gift to give this holiday (or just because it's a Tuesday, that works too!). Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 375
You will need

5 c. oats
4 c. flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

Process the oats in the food processor until smooth so that it has a flour-like texture. Add all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together.

Then, in a separate bowl, mix
4 sticks of butter
2 c sugar
2 c brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter first, add sugars, eggs and vanilla. Cream until smooth and combined. Then, add the dry ingredients using a measuring cup. This way you won't have flour coming up in your face! After all the dry ingredients have been added, add 24 oz of dark chocolate chips and mix until combined. It makes a lot of dough!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop tablespoon sized balls on to the sheet (I usually can fit 9 on one). Bake for 7-9 minutes. They will look a bit underdone but will cook on the sheet once out of the oven. Let cool.

Enjoy! (and I might have had way too much fun with my dad's new camera taking these pictures!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Snapshots and sparkle!

I cannot believe today is already the 3rd day of December! It feels like May around here with all of these balmy temperatures. I want my cold and snow back, please! Even though the weather around here feels like we live in the South, I'm still savoring as much holiday as I can muster! I brought out my book of Christmas carols, played my favorite Christmas CDs and even started a little baking to spread some holiday cheer.

I think that the best daily cheer I receive is my nightly walk to the train station from work. I immediately get in a good mood on this little walk! The suburb I work in does holidays up right, as seen here by the thousands of lights that are present in just one block!

How are your town's holiday lights? Does it feel like December in your town? 

*By the way thank you for all of the birthday wishes! They all meant so much to me! It was such a fantastic day filled with homemade pizzas, chocolate cake and Julia Roberts movies!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Fancies: Express Yourself Birthday Edition!

Express Yourself

Happy Friday everyone! Today is my birthday! I may seem young compared to lots of bloggers but, I'm 23 today. This past year absolutely has flown by and I accomplished most of my goals that I set for myself last year. But on to Friday Fancies! I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday then creating an outfit that I would normally just pick out!

With a few tweaks here and there, this is it in the winter! I live in jeans with lots and lots of sweaters and scarves, because it's just too easy not to. I also have a trusty black blazer (or 2...) in my closet ready to layer and dress things up a bit. My everyday gold watch is my staple, and I just treated myself on Cyber Monday to this Kate Spade Bag that I've been eyeing for months! I thought it was done but when I saw it on Monday at that price, I knew it was worth it! What are your staples?

Today I am having a low key celebration with just my family and some of my favorite foods. It'll be nice to just relax and unwind before my weekends fill up with something every night til Christmas (most of that is work!) so I can't wait! I'm so blessed to have had 22 great years with good health, family and friends supporting me, and I know that the 23rd will hold that and more!

Go to Long Distance Loving and check out more fancies!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dimple Hat

My family has heard on and on and on about this hat that I have been making. It's finally done (even though I finished it once, then it unraveled and the lovely ladies at the yarn shop rescued me!). It took a lot of work, but it is probably one of the best things I've made. and since beanie type hats are really in this year, I'm in luck! Though I would have rocked it, no matter if it was in or not!

Sorry for the dorky photos (though it was really cold this morning!!) and I can be a little dorky with how much I love to knit! I know this hat is going to be passed around in my family and I can't wait to share, it's a special one!

Ever interested in having something hand knit? Ask away!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Happy Monday to all of you ladies! Mondays after a holiday weekend are just hard, aren't they? It was so nice to have a break though! We had a fabulous Thanksgiving, eating lots of good food and playing lots of games. The rest of the weekend was spent seeing friends, but most importantly getting some much needed time with my family. We took this picture yesterday and I think that it's going to be a picture I'm going to keep for awhile. We all look ok, right? I think so!

We spent a lot of time doing absolutely nothing! And by nothing I mean eating good food, folding laundry, and laughing over how bad the movie Something Borrowed was (no offense to those of you who liked it! It really does not do the book justice at all I thought!), and enjoying again how much we love Notting Hill.

My Michael Bublé Christmas album is officially on repeat and it is cold outside! Did I mention I love you, Midwest??

Hope you ladies had absolutely wonderful holidays!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! What a beautiful day it is. There really is no better day to count my blessings than a day spent with my family. I am so eternally thankful that I have the best friends in my siblings, the most amazing support in my parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle, friends that brighten my day and make me laugh and laugh, the cutest students anyone could ask for, a home to stay warm, unwind and enjoy, opportunities to do the hobbies and passions that mean most to me, and even my most simple pleasure in the morning: a hot latte. I hope you enjoy your blessings today and your families to share it all with.

Thanks for  reading and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pumpkin Smoothie!

So my love for pumpkin will always run deep and I'm still drinking pumpkin spice lattes even though the Peppermint Mocha has come back (which I love, don't get me wrong!) and probably will until first snow. But this, cold decadent treat is not only good for you, but it's like pumpkin pie in a glass.

It's that good!

I take no credit, it is all the Pioneer Woman's doing! She's a genius right? So if you want to serve a different treat at your holiday parties, try this!

(side note: we added a tad bit more vanilla and a little sugar, but you could definitely use agave or honey instead. We also didn't add the graham crackers and we only used 2% milk)

Monday, November 19, 2012

I would sit here!

I mean, c'mon, wouldn't you? I love the simplicity that is this Thanksgiving table. Who wouldn't want to give thanks with a barn in the background? This girl would! Plus the weather is going to be nice and warm this year, it'll be great!

This year, in addition to having a traditional turkey, my cousin is making a Thanksgiving goose. Yep, we're having goose and turkey. I've never had goose but I bet it's going to be good! Duck was good and geese and ducks aren't that different right? Have any of you spiced up your Thanksgiving tables with new faire? Or are you a strict traditionalist when it comes to your meal?

*if anyone knows where the original source of this image is from I would love to know! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


So I tend to knit a lot! I give my creations as gifts and I tend to keep some for me (why not?) and because of this I tend to not buy as many knitted items in stores because I always tell myself "I can make that." Well, sometimes it's cheaper to buy in stores than to make myself. Here are a few scarves that I would definitely add to my collection:

Gap Reverse Fair Isle Scarf//J.Crew Polka Dot Snood//Gap Crisscross Cowlneck//Gap Fur Cowlneck//J.Crew Stripe Merino Snood//Gap Fair Isle Cowlneck (out of stock)//

Ok, so in my opinion Gap has it going on with scarves this year. I have a snood from them from last year and LOVE it! Where do you tend to get yours from? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Fancies: Indoor Bonfire

Indoor Bonfire

Happy Friday ladies! Though temps are going to climb up tonight and tomorrow, I still crave nights in by the fire (preferably knitting and watching my favorite cozy movie: The Holiday). Or this would work for tonight: game night with my friends! This cashmere sweater is just screaming cozy and a cowl from Barneys? Plus, you just need two pairs of slippers. Need! Sign me up!

Hope you all have great weekends! Have some cozy time and just relax...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Living with thick Hair

Maybe some of you have been able to tell from my photos, but if you didn't know I have really thick hair. Really really really thick. It's thick and wavy, and even though I wished my hair was different when I was younger, now I wouldn't change it for anything. So for all of you thick hair ladies, here are a few things that I've learned from living with thick hair:

Layer it! I've found that layers definitely have helped me make my hair appear lighter (sometimes thick hair can really look like it weighs you down!). They also frame the face and give your whole look more depth.

Don't keep it too long! I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but I always wanted to keep my hair really long. My sisters still do and it looks gorgeous on them. Me, though? With thicker hair, it is much harder to take care of hair that's really long, or really short. I keep it right in the middle, below the shoulders and it's the perfect length for me. I still get a bit of length, but it's way easier to take care of.

If you blow dry, straighten it afterwards! Maybe it's just me, but when I just blow it dry, it poofs out about a foot! Sometimes if I don't have time to straighten it goes up in a bun or pony tail, but when I do have the time, it looks pretty good straight!

Don't over brush! One of the best things I picked up from a hair stylist is not relying too much on a brush. I use my fingers a lot of the time. Sometimes a brush can add to the poof, so I brush enough, but not too much. Your hands can do the trick!

and here's my real confession, this is about all of the "maintenance" my hair gets! I wash it with $1 shampoo and condition it, but that's it. There's no product or special anything that goes into it. Could I add more to my routine? Probably, but for now, this low maintenance works for me. Any tips from one hair routine to another? What's your hair like?

image found here

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Right now, I...

Happy Tuesday ladies! Here are a few things that are making me smile on this chilly fall morning:
 Essie Little Brown Dress is on my nails. I just love how dark it is and it goes with everything!
 I love my new lucite pencil holder, which I've used for jewels, from Design Darling! I won Ashlyn's giveaway (thanks Ashlyn!) and I just love it on my ledge.
 My newest knitting project: a dimple hat from Purl Bee. I absolutely love the patterns on that website! The directions are so well written and step by step and the results are always fantastic!
 Some fun new sparkle from Charming Charlie! I love this bib necklace and it adds just the right amount of sparkle to any outfit (and the price was fantastic!)
 and speaking of fantastic prices, check out this top from LOFT that I got for just $3.88! Yes. That was the price. and I just love it!

and finally I'm loving this look from last year's Nordstrom November catalogue. Definitely a look that could go this season, yes?

Happy Election Day! Go out and vote if you can!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy November 1!

October just flew and I know that November is going to fly too. I mean, they're unveiling the Macy's windows on Saturday already. Things are moving quick! So in honor of one of my favorite months (birthday month after all and Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays) I feel like slowing down now will set the tone for slowing down a little bit during the busy rush. Because in spite of it all, I always need to remember this:
Happy first day of November!

image by Susan Hager

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Easiest Sugar Cookie Cut Outs

It's that time of year ladies: cookie time! I mean, they are the easiest gift to give and instantly make people smile. We have a go to sugar cookie recipe that is fool proof. It works every time and people just love them!

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons milk

Cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Mix baking powder and flour and gradually add to the dough. After all the dry ingredients are combined, add milk.

Now you're ready to go! Put some flour down on waxed paper and roll out the dough until your favorite thickness. Use your favorite cookie cutters and put on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees or until the cookies have cracked a tad at the top.

and bingo, you're ready for holiday cookie season! These today are ready for my little students to decorate. Can't wait to see what they do with their calabazas (pumpkins!)!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Monday!

Ok, so I may not have had 8 shots of tequila this weekend, but it was a great one! On top of having two great nights out with great friends, I worked a little, got some jobs done and yes, even watched some Gilmore Girls. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the show. Something to make you smile on this Monday morning!

I hope that all of those out east are staying safe from Sandy this morning. Seek shelter and lay low til it blows over!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fancies: 100 Celebration!

This is the 100th week of Friday Fancies! What a big accomplishment to Mrs. Alison who has brought all of us together every week in this big party. Friday Fancies was one of the first posts I ever did and have linked up on *almost* every Friday since I started blogging. It's one of my favorite posts to create and it has connected me with so many awesome bloggers. Keep up the fantastic work, Alison!


Since it's a celebration, party dresses are a necessity! I am smitten with this one that I eyed yesterday at Anthropologie and maybe someday when it goes on sale it can be mine! The color. The ruffle. I die! I spiced it up with some booties, sparkly jewels, and a beautiful white coat and I'm all set for this party! With the temperatures dropping so rapidly, I might have it swap it for my puffer coat. Jeez it's chilly this morning!

Hope you will all have fantastic weekends! I'm excited for this weekend. It's equal halves work and play and I can't wait to enjoy every second. And layer on about five sweaters. Happy last weekend of October! (where did this month go?!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Enjoy the View

Just a little advice, because it's Thursday! So just have a cup of coffee, look out the window wherever you are and know that today is a good day! You never know: tomorrow might not be as nice as today, so take in the moment. Enjoy the view.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making Time

Sometimes, I think the easiest thing we say to our friends and family is that we don't have time. We don't have time for a longer phone call, or we don't have time to run out to the grocery store or we don't have time to do...well whatever it is! And then we tell ourselves that we don't have the time to do the things that we enjoy because we use our time with either work or...other uses of our time that are not as productive as they could be (I'm guilty of this!).

Well, when you make time for the things and the people you care about, your time has more meaning. Last night, I sat down and just played the piano. I made time for it, and it was one of the best hours I've had in awhile. While I know that this can't happen every night (sadly), making time for the people and things that really make us the most happy is the best time we can give ourselves. We hear this all the time, I know, but with the holidays coming up (I heard someone say yesterday that Thanksgiving is just a speed bump to Christmas. What?!), we need to enjoy the time as much as we can and make time for the things and people that deserve our time. and we deserve it too! What is it that you ladies make time for?

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Fancies: Costume Prep!

Rosie the Riveter

I love dressing up for Halloween! I love having a good costume, but sometimes I feel like I am not the most creative dresser at the party (so I'm glad av picked this theme!). However, last year. I felt I did a pretty good job in the easiest costume that practically every woman can create: Rosie the Riveter. Just add a chambray shirt, boyfriend jeans, a bandana, and some tie up boots (or I used rain boots last year). Really easy, really cute. What has been your favorite costume you've ever created?

Since this has been the longest week ever, I'm so happy that I have nothing to do tonight. Other than that, I'm celebrating one of my best friend's birthdays and enjoying the nice weather headed our way.What are you up to? Make it a good one!

Head on over and check out more Halloween inspiration! {av} did Vanna White. So so cute!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

When a week is too long...

Because this has felt like the longest week in history and it's not even over yet, I feel like I need to do something like take a loooonnnggg drive. Or a walk. Or a bike ride. Or something that involves moving on from this long week (not that it has been bad. Just long!). Anyone else feel this way?

Besides, who wouldn't want to get in their comfiest scarf and look cute in an old vintage car?

Happy Thursday! (we're seriously almost there!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dress up your Pumpkins!

Yesterday, one of my coworkers showed me this really cute article from the Rachel Ray Magazine about fun, new ways to dress up your pumpkins. I loved what I saw and just had to scour the site for more ideas!

Usually, we're pretty traditional when it comes to the pumpkins around here: just a face carved lit up by tea lights, and sometimes, if we get creative, we'll put holes in it just for fun. Though I love our little traditional ideas, it's always fun to try something new. Don't you just love them? The pumpkins with the tea lights at the top are too pretty aren't they? Have fun gazing and go through all 36 ideas here!

What do you do with your pumpkins? Any traditions to share, or are you out of the box?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Monday!

Hola chicas! Happy Monday to all of you. I had a fantastic weekend at my college homecoming. Though the weather didn't exactly cooperate, it was a great weekend filled with lots of catch-up time with so many fantastic friends.

Got so stay with that lovely lady! We had such a great time, relaxing and doing just about nothing. It was awesome.

I got to crunch some leaves and have a night out on the town too! It really reminded me of all the awesome memories we had shared together and all of the memories we have yet to share. I can't wait to see them all again (hopefully soon!)

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 12, 2012


No Friday Fancies today, but I'd love to be wearing this. Look at those fall colors--and so easy to recreate!
I'm headed down to my college homecoming and I can't wait to see my old friends and classmates! I'm so excited to see how good the campus looks with its beautiful fall colors, cheer on my Titans, and spend some long nights full of laughter with all of the people I have missed a lot. It's going to be great and even though it's a quick little trip, I know it's going to be worth that much more!

What are you up to? I hope its fantastic!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On fall

I feel like the way this year is going, I'll blink and fall will be gone. Literally, every season has just flown this year and I do not want fall to pass me by. I want to savor little moments, like walking and crunching some leaves, and wanting to go down to the lake to see at least one sun rise.

Also on my list this fall:
I want to get a bunch of honey crisp apples. and eat them all
Have pumpkin ravioli. again
Knit all of my Christmas gifts to be prepared before the season starts (let's see if this happens! haha!)
Have pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. The best!
Spend afternoons doing nothing with my sisters
Make my first risotto in months. (I love risotto, so the fact that I haven't had it in so long is whoa! I want some!)
Go on a long run on a pretty trail filled with color!
Catch up on all the new fall tv

Is it bad that half of my list involves food? What's on your list? I'd love to hear!

image originally found here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Room with a View

Yes, I'm talking about my room. It will have a view by the time I'm done! It's started to take some sort of shape and I'm proud of it. I've successfully managed to keep my closet as neat as the day I purged things five months ago and I can now see my beautiful chair. Chairs look really good without clothes or bags on them, don't you think? I think I like it!

My most recent addition is this new book shelf (sorry for the dark photo!) that I added next to my chair. It's so cute and I love the look as if the books and pictures are just floating there.

I've also started to accumulate pictures for my gallery wall. I'm hoping to collect more frames of different shapes and colors, but for now, I was working with what I had: some wallpaper, magazine clippings, and a painting that Ellen painted of the two of us inspired by a photo at the beach so many years ago. Have to show the sisterly love (it's too pretty not to!).

Any new home decor additions in your house/room? With all of the Zara home products available, I might just be able to make my room that much more gorgeous!