• Fashion is about what you wear. Style is about how you live your life. ~Ralph Lauren

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Decoration Dilemma

I love Christmas decorations but after Christmas is over, I struggle with when to take them down. I don't like them up after the 1st of the year.  But I like the lights for new years eve.  It's still festive. 

Well, last year I decided to try a new tradition in my home.  I decided that I would take all the ornaments off the tree and pack away all Christmas decorations around the house and put them away right before NYE.  I'd leave up the trees with the white lights.  So there could still be festive lights BUT no Christmas.  I like this tradition and think I will continue it into the future. 

Here is the de-Christmas tree. 
 I put out some white lights in the kitchen for the new years celebration.
 Added some of the plates I got this summer for the NYE celebration.
 I just love these plates and how perfect they are for new years.
 And this has nothing to do with anything but I really like the way this looks.  A lady I work with got me this candle at my birthday party.
Of course I still need to add some favors and hats for the new year but I think I've solved my decoration dilemma and created a tradition at Club Chestnut. 

What do you do with your Christmas/New Years decorations?

Thursday, December 30, 2010


One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is checking the mailbox and opening cards from friends and family.  I have always been kind of obsessed with mail.  I think it's because I spent most of my childhood writing letters and cards.  Especially when I lived in Germany in high school--it was before facebook, e-mail, texts, blogs, etc..   So there is something great about getting cards in the mail around this time of the year.  I especially enjoy the picture cards.  I always save them.  It's nice to see the family pictures.

(here are some of the pictures I have gotten this year)
Every year I think about doing a picture card but I've always thought it  might be weird because I don't have kids or a husband. That's fine but I just wonder what I'd put on a card that would be appropriate.  And then I got to thinking that I would like to do something different too.  Everyone sends out Christmas cards--which is great.  But I always feel a little torn because not all of my friends celebrate Christmas and I always seem to miss Hanukkah for some reason.  And I wanted to do something a little different.  So this year, I decided that I would send out a card for the new year.  And break the rules.  Why do I need to have babies or a husband to feel like I can share my life with my friends and family?  I don't.  I can make my own rules.  And of all years I want to really celebrate the new year.  2010 has been such an emotional year with many ups and many downs.  I want to ring in 2011 in my own way.  So here is my greeting to my friends and family for 2011--complete with my two cuddly girls. 
The card reads:
 ‎"Here's to the bright New Year, and the fond farewell to the old; here's to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold."

And that's exactly how I feel this year.  I'm ready for a new year with new ups and new downs.  And I want to do it my way.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Santa Loves Me

(This was a delayed post--It's been sitting unpublished for awhile)
Christmas is over for another year.   This year was  a little better than last year.  But I still find it really stressful.  I miss the days when it was magical and I couldn't wait to go home to see my family.  I still want to do that but it's just different now.  
On Christmas Eve I did a photo shoot with my cats because I found a little Santa hat in my Christmas decorations.   Much to their dismay, I must add.    Ha ha.
Gracie (the Grinch)  Doesn't she look irritated? 
Sadie Claus (or Claws) 
After the morning of torturing my cats, I headed out to pick up something at walmart and I was disgusted to find that everyone in town was also there.  And everyone was so rude.  SO RUDE.  It made me so sad to realize that for many, Christmas is about stuff.  And cheap, stupid stuff at that.  I got what I needed and headed out as quickly as possible.  As I was driving home I realized that  I want Christmas magic back.  I want to hang out with family and friends and laugh and enjoy company and not be worried about what's under the tree. 
Anyway, I went to my parents house on Christmas Eve to go to church with my Dad.  It was nice.  I needed a night away from here.  I got a decent night sleep with their dog, Gabby.  I love that dog.  No matter how long I'm away, she remembers that she loves me and wants to sleep with me at night.  I miss her.  A LOT. 
Christmas morning was nice.  I was very surprised that Santa was as kind as he was this year.  You may recall that my beloved laptop died a few months ago.  I'd been borrowing a computer from work to get by while shopping around for a new one.  Well, Santa solved that for me. 
A beautiful new laptop.  I love it and I am very grateful for this wonderful gift.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Santa!!  As I said, I know Christmas isn't about gifts but I wanted to be sure to express my thanks for this thoughtful gift.  I appreciate it very much.  We spent the day hanging out and had a nice dinner.   I headed back to my house later that night.  I wanted to stay over again but I was concerned about the snow and that my cats were alone.  I came back and fell right to sleep. 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and found a little of your own kind of Christmas magic!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have a list pending in honor of my birthday today (you know my tradition of doing lists for my birthday, right?), but I haven't finished it and I'm going to dinner with friends in a little bit.  BUT, I wanted to say a special THANK YOU to my parents for sending me my Kindle today.  YES!  I was so excited!  Here it is, in all of its glory...

Isn't she beautiful?
 And of course, it has a GREEN cover.  Love it!
 Thank you so much for this lovely little present!  I can't wait to spend some quality time playing with it. It was a nice surprise today!

And my friend, Tara, pre-ordered my Dave Matthews Calendar for 2011.  Nice right? 

I've had a lovely day so far.  I got to go to lunch with one of my favorite students who happens to share my birthday with me--he's a great guy so it was fun!  And tonight is dinner with the girls.  I love my friends and family! 

I'll be back with more thoughtful reflection on turning another year older later.  But until then, Happy Thursday! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cookies & Points

It's Monday & it's snowing.  For the second day in a row.  I'd like to say that I hate snow.  It's supposed to snow for a few more days this week.  It will stop for my birthday on Thursday.  Excellent. 

Anyway, since I'm without a computer at home I wasn't able to update this weekend.  Don't worry, you didn't miss much.  It was a low key kind of weekend.  Always good.  I went to Weight Watchers for the first time in about a month.  More on that in a minute.

 I fit in a hair appointment before I headed over to my friend, Angie's for her daughter, Ava's,  cookie decorating party.  Angie asked me to come over to help out.  It was cute--and a good reminder of how loud 3rd grade girls can be.  They were cute though.  We split them into two groups and half decorated cookies while the others made a holiday craft.  I was at the craft table.  It's good because there were lots of spilled sprinkles at the other station.  And a lot of frosting.  Ha.

Here is Ava showing off her ornament!
 The ladies busy making crafts.
 And I made one too.  It's a cute and easy little project.
It was fun party and I'm glad that Angie asked me to come over and help.  She's good like that.  She does these fun things for her kids.  I don't know if I'd be a good mother or if I ever want to be one but I sure do love helping out with my friend's kids and the fun event.  :)

So back to WW... 
Like I said, I haven't been there in a month.  I've been tracking and all but I think that I've been stalled out for a long time and I needed to take a break from the scale so I could get refocused.  And I was really pleased that there is a new program out now.  It's a little different from the old program so I think it'll be fun again.  Fruits and Veggies are no longer counted in points.  They are all zero.  So essentially you can eat the fruits and veggies and still have all the food you'd eat anyway.  That's a good thing for me.  I like to snack on a banana or grapes and it always took up some points.  And the now everyone has more points in a day.  The minimum you'd ever have is 29.  So that's where I am now.  I don't have to adjust it as I lose.  I like that. And the extra points went up to 49 for the week.  Great!  The point value for the foods have gone up in general but with the extra points and the fruit and veggie rule--I think it'll be fine.  It just takes some adjustment.  Of course, with a new program it means all of the old materials are outdated.  So there is new stuff to purchase, like a new calculator--which I will be carrying everywhere. 
All in all, I think this is the motivation I need to get back on track.  I think it's fine that my body wanted to rest for a bit but it's time to get it back on the train again.  I'm excited for weigh in next week!  yay!

So on that note, I need to go calculate my dinner...after I hit up the tanning bed to avoid the winter blues. 

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This has been a very boring week.  It rained a lot Tuesday and Wednesday.  Besides being extra thankful that it wasn't snow, I was excited to wear my new rain boots.  These are really out of character for me but I needed to get real rain boots for a long time and they sell these at the campus bookstore so I found the most festive pair. There is something to be said for practical shoe choices. 
 Things at work have been busy.  It's the end of the semester so there are lots of meetings and projects.  Blah.  I have slept on the couch for 2 consecutive nights because I fell asleep watching TV.  Tonight I will not do that, I hope.  Anyway, in between everything else, I'm trying to plan my birthday party this year.  I've never thrown myself a party and I've had very few parties in my life for my birthday.  This year calls for a party.  I need to kick off this new year with some sass.   This past year has been so up and down.  It's time to kick it off in a new direction.  So I did the invitation tonight.  Last night I bought a dress that could be a contender for the party.  It's simple but I think I can give it a little sass with cute shoes and good accessories.  The party will be on December 18th so I have a little time to figure out the final outfit. 
Oh and I have been back on track with WW.  I am drinking a lot of water and counting my points like crazy.  Next up is switching up my exercise program.  I need to join a gym again because the campus doesn't give me many options for using the gym here.  I'm not joking around anymore.  I think I want to run the 10K in October.  So it's time to do it up and stop being so bored.  :)

Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Swag It Up

This morning started off rough.  I was really unhappy a bout going back to work.  But I put on my new boots and got through the day.  Whew.  The day ended up much better than it began.  Although I didn't get home until about 9:30 pm.

 I am currently sitting on the couch watching the CMA Christmas special, and I feel like I should be doing something productive.  I glanced at the bag of the Christmas swag I am in the middle of making, and thought about finishing it.  But then....I decided that it would be more fun (and less work) to blog about it.  (does that count as lazy if I had to get up to take pictures of it?)  So here goes my little step by step of the swag.  I learned this at a craft night a few years ago.  I like to have one for each season...

1.  Cut strips of fabric.  You can decide how wide you want the fabric.  This one is about 2"
2.  I use heavy duty jute.  To begin tie a slip knot at the end and then begin tying the strips of fabric to the twine.  And that's it. 
3.  After you reach the desired length, make another slip knot at the end.  That's your swag.  I like to rough up hte edges so it's a little more frayed looking.  
 I'm putting mine on the mantle once it's done.  It's a really easy project.  You can use any kind of fabric and alternate different fabrics.  I just wanted to use a Christmas plaid this time around. 
And that's it for my creativity tonight.  Maybe tomorrow I'll actually finish the swag.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Green Saturday

I can't believe it's already Sunday night.  I don't want to go back to work and back to reality.  I was so content to hide out and do my own thing.  I went out with my friend, Gillian, on Friday night.   It was an interesting night.  Let's just say the universe has a great sense of humor.  Anyway, since Friday was called Black Friday, I deemed Saturday--Green Saturday.  I spent the entire weekend in my sweats and basically stayed at home decorating my house for Christmas and listening to Dave Matthews Band loudly.  It was very relaxing.  Although I'm not looking forward to Christmas in any way, I do like the decorations.  It does make me a little sad to think of this time of year, but it'll be okay.  Aside from a few errands, I stayed at home.  It was lovely.  And I did the same thing today.  And without further delay, here is a tour of Club Chestnut--Holiday Edition.  Warning:  the picture quality is awful because they were taken with my phone.
The main tree in the foyer.  Gracie can't stop laying under it.  It's trimmed with bows and my handmade needlepoint snowflakes. Maybe I'll do a tutorial for that one day. 
 The little tree in the living room.  It's decorated with cookie cutters and bows.  I got the stand at a yard sale this summer and until today had no use for it.  I wrapped the bottom of the tree with fabric and there are Christmas books displayed.  (please ignore the TV)
 The kitchen tree.  This is the tree I had in college--I found the apple bucket to put it in a few years ago.  I think it was $10 bucks and it's lasted all these years.  Sentimental.
 The display counter in the kitchen.  It has a few little trees and a Christmas plate and candles.
 The plate up close.  I got this at Cracker Barrel a few years ago. 
 I got this candy cane sign at a yard sale this summer. 
 And this year, I put a tree i my bedroom.  I like to fall asleep to the lights.  Plus, the mantle feels Christmasy. 
 And my Christmas card box is going to live on this little stool I got at a yard sale.
 And of course, since I have faux trees, I have to make it smell good in here.  So I'll be burning Fresh Balsam from Bath and Body Works.  I love, love, love this smell!
So that's what I did this weekend.  I really need to start planning my birthday festivities.  It's in a few weeks and I haven't figured out what I want to do yet.  So much to do...

How was your weekend? 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fun Friday

This may come as a surprise but I'm not a fan of black Friday.  I really don't enjoy the idea of waking up early and going out to stores to interact with rude people in search of the best deal on whatever is popular this year.  I suppose it could be fun in some way but mostly I think it's silly.  But with that said, I did wake up this morning (at a very normal hour) and checked my e-mail.  JCPenney sent their black Friday specials.  I wouldn't have been moved by it but I saw that the boots I had tried on the other day were on sale for $29. I spent a few minutes feeling really torn.  Stand by my anti black Friday sentiments or just go get the boots.  I even consulted Courtney via facebook chat.  She voted yes.  So I threw on some clothes and ran over to the mall.  I literally got them and headed out the door.  And it was well worth it.  I really love these boots.  And I was back in my car by 10 am. 

 And since I was out I stopped by this little country store that I love.  I just wanted to see if they had any cute christmas decorations out.  All I found was two little plates (2 bucks) and this little vintage bag.  I love these kind of vintage bags.  It's navy and has a gold chain.  I think it's adorable and I'm going to use it for a fun occassion.  And the best part is...I only spent $3 on it.  Yes, that's right.  Try not to be too jealous.  haha!
 Then I came home and had some brunch, watched some TV and then decided that since it wasn't snowing and the sun was out, I should go out for a walk.  It was cold so I bundled up and headed out.  I didn't feel like running but I did get a good workout in.  And this view was well worth it.

And on my way home I saw that there was free tanning at the tanning salon so I defrosted in the tanning bed before coming home to take down all of the fall decorations in preparation for the Christmas decorating that will commence this weekend.  Now I'm cuddled up on the couch watching Sex and the City before I get ready for a night out. 

I'd say it was a great Friday!  What did you do today?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I'm Thankful For....
  • Friends that feel like family.  I adore my friends and know that near or far, they are there for me.  And they make me want to be a better person.
  • Members of my family that love me unconditionally.
  • A job that challenges me and makes me feel like I make a difference (on most days)
  • Laughter and the ability to find the funny in just about anything.
  • Music that provides the soundtrack to my life.  (Especially country music and Dave Matthews)
  • Two little black cats named Gracie and Sadie.  They make my heart happy.
  • Coffee.  I'm not kidding.  I'm thankful for it everyday.
  • Tears, laughter and lessons in the last year.  I'm a better person for every experience.
  • My home.  It may not be fancy, but it's always a comfort to walk through the door.
  • The broken road  that is leading me to where I need to be. 
So this is my thankful list for today!  I hope you all had a great holiday with family, friends and good memories! 

"There is always, always, always something to be thankful for"  --Unknown

Sweet Treat

Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!  I woke up this morning and decided that I needed to make some cookies to bring over to Thanksgiving dinner.  I haven't made these in a few years so it was so very nice to have the house smell like pumpkin while I watched the parade.  I'm getting ready to get dressed and go enjoy some fun times with good friends!  But I wanted to share my favorite holiday cookie with you:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 can solid pack pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients and bake at 375 for 13-14 minutes

mixing it all together

Add the chocolate chips in after everything is mixed.

baking and smelling great!
The end result.  Yum!

Enjoy your day with friends and family!  I will be back later to share my list of things I'm thankful for this year!  And to my family--I love and miss you!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

I only had to work at half day today.  I got some stuff done and then had plans to play all afternoon.  My friend Gillian and I went to see a movie.  Love & Other Drugs.  It actually wasn't exactly what I thought it would be but it was good.  I secretly wanted to watch Harry Potter again, but it's probably best to not keep paying movie to see the same movie.    After the movie we walked around the mall (our local mall is REALLY, REALLY small) and then headed to pick up supplies for our respective Thanksgiving dinners. 
 We then decided that we'd take part of a Thanksgiving eve tradition that I've heard about for years but never experienced.  Because I lived overseas for high school, I don't have a hometown so I don't have any childhood friends that I would run into anywhere.   But it seems that in most places around these parts, the night before Thanksgiving is a night to go out and meet up with your high school friends.  Well, Gillian and I thought we'd make a night of it too.  It was a fun we had a good time having some cocktails and seeing some fun people.    We definitely always take a picture just like this when we go out.  It never fails.  :)
I did get to talk to my Dad tonight and catch up.  I really hate not spending the holidays with him but perhaps soon we can go out to dinner or something.  I miss you, Dad!

Tomorrow is dinner with my friends Jill and Vinny's family.  It'll be fun to see how another family celebrates Thanksgiving.

I'm really thankful for the good people in my life!  Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In My Shoes

"She always wears high heels because, according to her, flat shoes are for quitters."

Okay, so I said this week was dedicated to things I'm thankful for. But today I'm not feeling inspired to dig into my thoughts. Instead I want to share some of my favorite things. These are new additions to my shoe collection. I love heels. A lot. I know that they aren't always the most practical but I don't care. I like how a cute pair of shoes spices up an outfit. Plus, it's always good for my calf muscles.

A few weeks ago, I was literally standing in front of my closet trying to figure out how I could reorganize my shoes whilst checking my voice mail. The message was from Payless telling me that a pair of shoes that I had ordered were in. Well, that's probably the reason that I have trouble organizing. There are too many shoes. Don't judge--we all have addictions. Mine take form in shoes and nail polish these days. :)

Anyway, I headed to the mall to pick up my new shoes (I had kind of forgotten about these shoes). While I was waiting for the woman to bring them out from the back I noticed these red shoes and literally HAD to have them. I have wanted red heels for a while and never found any that weren't pleather and tacky. These are cute and a good shade.  Note:  I spent the rest of that afternoon reorganizing the shoe closet.
And in doing so I remembered that I had gotten these a few weeks ago.  I LOVE them!  My hairdresser pointed them out to me and I decided that these would surely lift me out of my funk.  While they aren't as comfortable as other shoes I own, they make up for it with the cuteness factor.  They may be my birthday shoe of choice.  Stay tuned. 
 And I wanted to mention that decided I wanted to try the ankle socks with heels and a skirt.  I got many positive comments on this.  And some that thought it was stupid.  Eh, whatever, fashion is supposed to be fun, right?  Trust me, I've seen it all magazines lately.  hee hee.
So that's what it's like to walk in my shoes lately. :)   And how to keep it light on a boring and cold night in November. 
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dresses and Music

Since this is the week of giving thanks, I want to dedicate posts this week to things that make me feel happy and thankful. 

Today I'm thankful and happy that I'm going to be a bridesmaid for my really great friend, Jill.  (I can't believe I'm just writing about this now.  She's been engaged for a while (last winter) and asked me shortly following the engagement)  She and her fiance have been dating for 13 years (high school sweethearts) so it's very exciting.  And I am so honored to have been asked because her bridal party consists mostly of her childhood friends (with the exception of two of us)  Anyway, I've been watching the progress she's making on the planning and I'm impressed that she's gotten so much done already.  The wedding is July 3, 2011.  She recently narrowed down the bridal party dresses.  I'm thankful that she has excellent taste and this dress is really cute!  :)  I can't wait to get it ordered.  My next mission is to find really cute shoes.  Flats for the ceremony (it'll be outside) and heels for the reception (because I prefer heels).  And by the way, to further showcase her awesomeness as a bride, she has her dress already, her location, her florist, and the band booked.  That's how she shuts it down...bridal style.
Another great thing for the wedding is that Jill and Vinny have asked their bridal party and parents to give them a name of a favorite love song to be compiled into a CD as the wedding favor.  I love, love, love this idea.  I hate it when people give silly tokens at weddings.  I like something with meaning and useful. 

So I'm currently trying to come up with my favorite love song.  This is proving to be more difficult than it sounds.  But I have a few in mind.  You know, something by 50 Cent or Eminem.

So that's what came to mind as I thought of what I'm happy and thankful for right now.  Thanks to Jill for including me in her special day! 

Happy Monday!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seven To Start

Everyday I wake up and try to find something to look forward to.  It hasn't been the best few weeks so sometimes that feels really difficult to do.  Don't get me wrong, there are LOTS of reasons to be happy--I don't want to sound like a downer.  But I've been really blah (yes, that's the technical term).  Friday was a tedious and annoying day at work. 

So I was thrilled to spend my Friday evening with some girlfriends having dinner and then some of us went to see Harry Potter.  (And by some, I mean minus Jill because she's never watched HP or read the books.) Gillian, Jill and Kelly and I had dinner and then Jill went to pick up one our favorite students, Luckens,  to bring him to the movie.  And we met up with Sara, my right hand in the office.  It was a really fun night and kicked off a nice relaxing weekend.

Kelly and I with Harry.
And the movie was incredible!   I've said it before but I was a slow to begin with Harry Potter.  Back in 2005 I finally got annoyed enough with everyone that told me how magical (pun intended) the books were.  So I figured I'd read one and prove that the Harry Potter mania was not for me.  WELL, that didn't really work out for me.  Turns out, I fell in love with the brilliance of the books.   I spent a good part of that year reading all 6 books and waiting with the rest of the world for book 7 to come out.  Anyway, the movie was great--and I hated when it ended.  I look forward to the last part next year.  This is probably the only movie (or set of movies) that do the books any justice.  I think I may need to see it again because I keep thinking about it.....maybe during Thanksgiving break. 

So after the relaxing Friday evening, I went to bed feeling less stressed.  Saturday morning I was up early (because I was going to go to Albany for a St. Jude event but didn't end up going) so I fell asleep on the couch for a little bit before heading out to the holiday parade in town.  Some of my fraternity/sorority students were voluntold that they would be in the parade to represent the school.  Thankfully, they all showed up and had fun (at least it appeared fun) 
The students marching in the parade!
After the parade, Jill and I stopped by a craft show and had lunch.  I had a minor work dilemma that had to be solved before I went over to where Jill was dog sitting to take a walk with all of the dogs.  Then Kelly and Gillian joined us and we ordered Chinese food and watched TV.  It was lovely and relaxing.

This morning I woke up early and went to get coffee before I settled on the couch with a movie and my down comforter.  I slept more and then woke up went for a run and stopped by the mall to get new nail polish and then reported back to my couch for another movie.   I should be cleaning out a closet right now or doing something productive, but I think that snuggling up on the couch is much more appropriate for today. 

All in all, it was a lovely weekend.  How was yours?

"No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal,
you'll never get through it without your friends."  --SATC

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have decided that I absolutely need to own a Kindle. The newest one. STAT.

The reality is that as of Tuesday I need to get some dental work done (I was so upset to learn this at my cleaning this week. Especially since teeth cleaning day is usually such a happy experience for me) and this dental work will be expensive. boo.

The other reality is that I have to replace my laptop because I can't live in a home without a computer. It's making me crazy. I swear I never realized how vital google is to my daily life until recently. Sad but true.
With those realities stated, and aside from the million other things that reside on my wish list, I have added the Kindle to the short list.
So if anyone feels like having one shipped to me in the next week or two, leave a comment and I'll provide the shipping address! :)
Happy Thursday!