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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Castle Chestnut

Today was the big day for a certain British couple.

 Oh, and the other billions of people watching. 

And for me, the best seat in the house was my living room at Castle Chestnut with several of my friends.  We all had a busy day yesterday so we gathered for the royal sleepover at about 10 pm and spent some time hanging out before we dragged a mattress into the living room, claimed our respective spots and got a few hours of sleep before the alarm clocks woke us up at 4 am. 

Before everyone arrived the proper decorations were set out for the morning.  I framed a picture of the couple (from a magazine) and set out tea cups for each guest with a variety of teas.
In each tea cup was a Prince of Wales tea bag and a bottle of bubbles.  This was the favor.  I just loved the tea cups I found at an antique place and was really excited to find the tea. 
This was the centerpiece of the table.  The extra bubbles were placed in the bird nest thing I made for Easter.  I just took out the eggs and replaced with the champagne bubbles. 
The tea choices
I framed a bunch of postcards from London.
Sara and Jill reading up on the royal couple before bed.  Oh, and Flat Stanley was with us too (more on that in another post)
Gillian and Flat Stanley cuddled up on the couch.
Even Sadie wanted to be a part of the slumber party. She and Gillian shared the couch.
Oh this is random but I'm suddenly into cucumber water so I picked up this dispenser while I was at the store  yesterday.  We needed to stay hydrated, after all.
All in all, I thought the wedding was lovely.  The gown was beautiful.  The atmosphere was uplifting. It was fun to mark a moment in popular culture with friends.  And someday when we watch their children get married, we can remember where we were on this day. 
And I think that no matter how old we are or where we come from, the little girl in each  us still likes to believe in happily ever after...

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Have you heard there is a royal wedding this week?  Yes.  It's true.  You can't watch any channel without hearing about it.  It's a good thing that I CAN'T WAIT so it doesn't annoy me in the least.  Although I'm getting kind of tired of speculating on the dress...we'll find out soon enough.  I'm sure it'll be stunning.   I'm more interested in finding out what title these two will receive that day from the Queen. 

I can't believe it's already Tuesday night.  I have been busy this week already and I'm tired.  Really tired.  So this post will be brief.  But I wanted to share something I tried today for the first time.
Bubble Tea. 

Have you heard of this?  I hadn't until about 3 months ago. 
Two students brought me one today because I had mentioned that I was very curious about it.  My assessment--it's definitely interesting.  Tea with tapioca balls in it.   At first glance, it looks like iced coffee with chocolate in it.  That would be tasty.
 Except that it's tea.  So it doesn't taste anything like coffee.  The tea tasted good. The strange part was the tapioca balls coming up through the straw.  The texture of the balls is like gummy bears.  But it doesn't taste like gummy bears at all.  Not a lot of flavor, but chewy.  Very chewy. 
I am fascinated by this.  I definitely want to drink it again. Maybe they'd take my gummy bear suggestion too.

What are your thoughts about bubble tea? 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eggcellent Weekend

I got a lot of me time this weekend.  I spent Saturday doing girly things and went to WW and to my get my hair cut.  I always look forward to my hair appointments.  I like my hair stylist and I love going to the salon because they all know me since I buy most of my nail polish from them.  And I really needed to have my hair played with yesterday.  Since that was the only thing I had to do for the day, I spent some time shopping solo.  I came home and was pleasantly surprised by a phone call.  Then I spent the evening watching TV in bed with some wine (discovering Moscato has changed my life).  I was so relaxed that I didn't end up going out like I had wanted to.  I was in bed by midnight.  HA.  So much for my social life on a Saturday night. 

Today was Easter and since I had spent the last two days doing errands, I spent the day relaxing at home.  I wanted to go to church but it's not as nice to go alone on a holiday.  I remember when I used to be excited about going to church with a pretty Easter dress on.  I'll do that again someday.  Maybe next year I'll host an Easter dinner.

But here is what Easter at Club Chestnut looked like..

I gave out these fun treats to my friends at work (and a few others not at work).  My friend, Angie, found it on a blog.  I'm not sure which blog so I'm giving a general shout out to the person that created this.  Thanks, they were super cute!  It says "Happy Easter to one of my favorite Peeps"  I gave them out on Thursday since I didn't work on Friday.
 This afternoon I colored some eggs while I watched a movie. 
 Gracie was very curious about what was going on.
 The finished product displayed in my basket that I recently picked up at a craft fair.  It looks like a nest.  I love it!  Of course I added some grass to make it even more nest like. 
And since the Easter Bunny seemed to miss my house, I chose my own basket contents this year. 

You may remember that I have been wanting nude shoes.  I found a pair at Payless--much to my surprise.
 Here are what they look like on.  I can't wait to wear them.  Maybe this week...
 And the Easter Bunny decided that I needed to get a few new tops.  I love the color of this.  Oh, and I got a cute bubble hemmed skirt to go with it.   
 And this one is sheer and flowy.  I just love the color. 
I treated myself to Chinese for dinner tonight and have layed on the couch.    It's been a nice relaxing weekend.  I wish I could have a few more days off but I'm pretty excited that it's only a 4 day work week due to the royal wedding (I took Friday off).  By the way, I got some cute things for that event...can't wait to share with you.

I hope you all had a nice Easter and spent it doing things you love to do!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dinner for Six

Well, I finally took a much needed mental health day today.  It's been another busy week and I finally hit the point that I knew I needed to be away from the office or I'd be really snotty to a student.  I actually spent the day running around town doing some errands.  Fun errands.  I'll show you the result of those errands later next week.   I actually have stayed home tonight to lay around, watch TV, and putter around the house.  I needed a break from life.  It's been a good day.

Like I said, the week was busy but last night I went to a little dinner party hosted at Sara and her husband Josh's house.  I actually supervise Sara at work.  She's amazing!  I feel like I got lucky to work with her.  Josh is hilarious. And together they are probably the most entertaining couple I've ever met.  She's been working with us since September and they have been working on their house so this is the first time she's invited work people over.  It was such a nice night with Jill, Gillian, Tara, Josh and Sara.  We laughed a lot and had a lovely meal and enjoyed some wine.  And of course the camera came out to document the fun. 

The table before we sat down.  I thought it looked pretty.
 Sara, Josh and Jill showing the delicious food.  Josh is quite the cook.
 Gillian and I enjoying our after dinner tea. 
 Sara and her little baby Ziggy.  Sara has a southern accent and it's great but it's even better when she's baby talking to her kitty. 

 I uploaded the pictures out of order but this was the tea that I tried last night.  I loved it so much that I went out today and got some.  It's smells so good and it tastes delicious.  I forgot about how much I love drinking tea.  I'm going to incorporate into my life more.
It really was a lovely night.  We are all so busy--it's nice to take time to relax and just enjoy laughing with friends over food and drinks. 

And to end my very nice day away from reality, I'm going to make myself a cup of my new tea and read my new book before bed.  So far, it's hilarious.
I actually feel great to stay home tonight  and relax.  Last night and today are exactly what I need to recharge my attitude. 

Have a great weekend!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oh the Places...

It's been awhile.  I had a busy week...it's was Greek Week so that meant I was on campus for events every night (including Friday and Saturday).  Sometimes as much as I hate working so much, I am thankful for the distraction from other things.  Keeping busy saves me. 

I did get to go to Hobby Lobby with Jill on Saturday evening.  She needed to do some wedding errands at craft stores so I was glad to go.  I picked up a few cute things too.  I wish we had a Hob Lob and a Michael's here in town.  It would be great....sigh.  I'm excited to see her make progress with wedding stuff.  You know how I love a party and the prep for it!

And when I have a lot of icky real life stuff happening, I like to find projects to keep me busy so I'm currently giving some thought to how I'd like to redo a room in my apartment.  Currently, I've got an idea for the "weird room"  It's really the office/library, but it doesn't have a door so it's just an open space.  I'd like a new desk in there and I want some more bookshelves but I haven't found what I'm looking for yet.  But I'm pretty sure I've decided on the theme in there...Travel.  Here are some things I'm starting with...

I got this vintage print map for under $5 on amazon.  I just got it this week and I'm pleased with it. 
 And I'm going to incorporate this old globe that I got from a yard sale last summer.
 I would generally never support something like this as decor but I got this Dutch doll when I was in high school.  And since I went to high school in Holland,  it's special to me.  Look at the little wooden shoes.   
 The new Paris plates will be perfect for this room too.
 And this brings me to another project for the room.  I have an album holding all of the postcards that I've collected from every place I've been.  I want to be able to display them in a creative, classy way.  I have been trying to look for ideas but nothing brilliant yet.  If you have ideas, let me know. 
 I'd also like to get some of the prints that my Dad has of tulips in Holland too.  I always loved those. 

I think this theme is perfect for an office/library.  But even with a theme, I'm still going to refer to it as the "weird room".  It adds character.

I hope you all had a great weekend! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Treats & Tags

This morning I got up early to make some dog treats for Jill's dog, Cedar's 5th birthday party.  Yes, I did say a doggie party.  It was fun...but more on that later.

The treats are wildly popular with all dogs.  It's kind of a project to do but apparently they are delicious to doggies.  I'm going to give you the recipe because if you have a dog in your life, you should make these.  They will love them.
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup non fat dry milk
3T (1 pkg.) dry chicken or turkey gravy mix
3T brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
Mix all together (the dough is VERY sticky so I let it sit before I roll it out)
Cut with Cookie Cutter (I use a Bone shape)
Bake until golden brown and firm 350 degree oven

After the baking was complete.  This recipe makes about 60 treats.
 I bagged them up so that the other  dogs could get a treat at the party. 
And I used these tags I had made a few years ago.  I love these grubby tags and wasn't blogging at the time I made them (one of Angie and my craft nights). So I figured I'd show how to do this too.  The day started out very productive as you can tell.  It went downhill as soon as I left the house, however.

Start out with some shipping tags from any office supply store.
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup instant coffee (dry)
1/4 instant tea
3 tablespoon imitation vanilla
Mix well in a bowl. Place tags in the bowl careful that they don't stick together. Let soak for 15 minutes
Lay on a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with cinamon. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Bake the tags for 15 minutes or until dry
I took the basket of treats to Cedar's birthday party.  Jill is a live on staff member at the college so she invited her buildings and it was very impressive to see how many students came to this event.  And there were several of our staff friends there too.  Not to mention some other puppies.  Our campus works with the guiding eyes program so there are lots of puppies on campus every year.  It's nice to see them walking around campus and watching them play in the residence halls.  And Cedar makes friends with all of them.  He's a popular dog around here.  So it was only to be expected that his birthday celebration would be too.  

He's looking at the candle while people sang to him.
 And he loved his treats too!
Happy Birthday Cedar!! 

I love that I live in a place that a dog's birthday party is an event. 

Exactly how it should be...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I've Been Thinking

Sooooooo.....I have been thinking a lot about getting a puppy this summer.  I have always hesitated because my work schedule is pretty crazy and I don't think that's fair to a dog.  But maybe I could change my schedule a little...maybe I'll leave work at lunch and go let out the dog.  Maybe I'll bring it to campus and let a student hang out with him/her. Maybe I'd be able to train it to be a therapy dog and then it can come to work with me.  Maybe...

I would love a puppy/dog in my life.  It might provide some excuse for me to create more balance in my work life.  I would definitely take it on nice long walks every day.  I would take him/her for puppy play dates with the other dogs on campus (our students participate in the guiding eyes program).  The point is...I would love a dog and provide a happy life for him/her. 

And these are some of the cuties that my little puppy could make friends with.  This is Baby Katie (a guiding eyes puppy on the left) and Cedar (my friend Jill's 5 year old puppy).  We went on a walk yesterday after I had a blah day and they made me smile a lot and realize how much I would love a dog of my own.  Maybe even a golden...or a Boston Terrier...or a random cutie that needs a home.  Who knows.
 Besides I have time off in the summer that would allow me to be home to puppy train.  And I have a little yard that would be good for that....

The only thing that worries me (besides my work schedule) would be these two little cuties.  Gracie and Sadie are pretty spoiled, happy cats and I would hate to ruin their world (even if it's temporary).  They are so sweet and cute and I would hate to upset them.  I've watched dogs here before and they've gotten used to it.  There was a lot of hissing to start with though. 
I woke up this morning with these two cuddled up next to me and I actually wondered if my bed would be big enough for me all of us and a puppy...

Stay tuned.  The summer is approaching.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Once Upon a Saturday

After last week, I've decided to finally close the chapter of a part of my life (the guy that I always come back to liking).  But this time, it's done.  It's fine. I knew it would have to happen eventually and I'm actually tired or waiting around for conditions to change.  They won't.  And that's that. 

So in an attempt to keep myself busy this weekend, I went to a craft show with some friends.  Well, that's how it started, anyway.  We did end up going to another little store too.  And had some lunch.  And spent the day running around town.  It was nice.  The weather was beautiful. I almost felt a little guilty because I didn't work out or spend much time outside.  But I was really excited about the things I found. 

This little cloche guy.  My friend Angie and I repotted a plant into a tiny pot to put under it.  I want more plants in my house but it never really works out because of the cats.  They think they need to taste them.  And I never remember which are poisonous and which aren't so it makes me nervous.  We'll see how this works out.
 I found this little bird thing at the country craft store.  It's kind of cute on it's own, but not super impressive.
 And I found this bowl.  I didn't think much of it either, but it's was $3 and I figured I could do something Easter related with it. 
 BUT THEN...I got it home set the bird thing in the bowl and added some floral moss (or whatever it is) and ran out to get some robin eggs to place in there.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I don't know, maybe it's not as cute as I think it is but I still like it.   
 After our day running around looking at crafts, I decided the weather was nice enough to do my first spray painting of the season.  Angie gave me this "A" a few months ago.  She is the Greek Advisor at the other college in town and they used to have all the Greek letters hanging up in a room.  But then they ripped them down years ago and Angie saved some of them.  And I'm clearly in need of having a big "A" in my home.  Here it is before...in it's  hot pink glory. 
 After a few coats of Italian Olive paint, it now looks like this.  It matches my couches. 
 I'm not sure where it needs to live but I think it'll stay on the correspondence desk for now.  Maybe I'll find a better home for it another day. 
 I had a few other projects but I'll share those another time.  I don't want to overwhelm  you with my creativity too much in one post.  Ha!

Today was really productive.  I got up did laundry and tanned. Then went to the campus lake for a Greek event and then did my grocery shopping and a few other errands.    Tonight I'm relaxing because it's going to be a busy week.  So I'm watching some TV, catching up on FB and doing my nails.  As per every Sunday night. 

What did you do this weekend? 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wise Words

It won't be surprising to most that I keep a journal with poems, quotes and lyrics that I love.  (I mean, it makes sense since I take pictures of my nail polish and my clothes, after all)  I've kept this journal since I was in about junior high.  I took it out the other night and was reading through it.  Some of the pages made me laugh (let's be honest I have Mariah Carey lyrics in there--don't judge).   I wanted to share one that always gets me.  I probably copied it in my book over 10 years ago (during a heart broken period).  But I still read it and it still rings true.

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn...

Veronica A. Shoffstall
Do any of you have one of these books with poems/lyrics/quotes?  Maybe someday I'll compile it with a forward and get it published.  Speaking of which....I need to get the new Caroline Kennedy book. 
Happy Friday!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tropical Treats

The first day of work after a fun weekend and spring break, is always a little chaotic.  And today was no exception, I went nonstop ALL day and really felt like I didn't accomplish anything of substance.  I met with a lot of students though which is fine but it's pretty exhausting and I rarely get any "work" done.  And forget about answering e-mails...I just read them and will get to them...eventually. 

Anyway, sometimes the only real structure I have in my crazy days are what food I'm consuming.  And since I'm back on board with tracking all of my food and working out twice a day, I think about food a lot but not in the crazy, craving way.  More like, how I can be healthy AND keep it interesting.  So I thought I would share two new things that have been fun additions to my life. 

First of all, I adore coffee.  I even like coffee flavored things.  I think that may be the hardest thing for me to give up if I was ever told I had to give up something. So I was picking out some new K cups and found Island Coconut.  It's great and I'm always really excited to drink coffee after my morning shred session.  

Second I decided I needed something sweet for my lunches and I'm kind of over Fiber One bars or my usual mix of bananas, strawberries, kiwi and grapes.  So I got frozen mango chunks and today was the first time I brought them in my lunch.  I threw them in a bowl straight from the freezer and by lunch time, almost all thawed (still a little frozen which I kind of like).  I highly recommend this as a snack.  I almost didn't even care about my actual lunch because I was excited to get to this.  I think this will become a regular staple item in the AG house. 

And I think I must be really ready for summer because both of my new favorite things are tropical themed.  Speaking of...I'd really love a drink with an umbrella right now...

Happy Monday!