Hugs All Around

Sweet friends celebrating a Tuesday birthday. On the lake. In the spring. With the wonderful acoustic sounds of Simplified. There was dancing. And hugs all around.

Oh, yes.  My heart was happy.


On Eating

I consider myself blessed to have a boyfriend who hates eating as much as I do. It’s not that we don’t ever enjoy a nice meal, but we both think it is a complete waste of time to have to fuel ourselves just to carry on with our day. Ryan is just as picky as I am, but with the opposite things. For example, he won’t eat broccoli, yogurt, or tomatoes, and I won’t eat steak, things with butter on them, or green beans. We do share some food likes, and they are called: cookies, ice-cream, peanut butter toast, gum, cheese and crackers, peanut M&Ms, and water. Yes, water is an essential food group in our happy little lives. In fact, we probably consume more water in a day than we do food. But I don’t know how you would really compare the two, so don’t expect any statistical data.

That’s all I really have to say about that. I’ve just been really hungry lately, and I find it no bueno and totally inconvenient. One day, we are going to be the geniuses who invent food in a capsule that can be swallowed in one swallow. It will provide all of your vitameatavegamins for 24 hours and you can take it in the morning with your coffee and water and not have to ever waste time at the grocery store, preparing meals, or consuming them. Instead, we will be able to play Phase 10 with our families - no tiger snacks included.  The end.

My dad is really going to hate this.


Go 360

Image from Walgreens

Ashley and I decided to try the new L'Oreal Go 360 Deep Facial Cleanser. It is supposed to give you a pore by pore cleansing experience. Have you heard of this? It comes with the little scrublet – oh, how I love the word “scrublet”! – stuck right into the middle of the bottle, which is pretty fabulous. I thought the scrublet would be firmer, but I’m very pleased with its sea creature like qualities and bendy materials. Actually, if you have ever used a Colgate 360 toothbrush, the scrublet feels exactly like the tongue scraper cleaner thing on the back, just in a larger version. The face wash comes in four different varieties, but after debating between the exfoliating cleanser and what seemed like the “normal” variety, we both opted for the normal deep clean cleanser (the green one). We figured the scrublet would do the exfoliating for us, and that adding sand, rocks, dirt, and other such rough ingredients to the mix would be a little bit of exfoliate overkill. Plus, I’m typically 100% committed to St. Ives Apricot Scrub – which I hear is horrible for your skin – but I’ve been using it every day for about eight years now and I still have a face. Surprise!

Although I’ve only used it twice, I think I am going to be pretty good friends with Mr. Scrublet and his face wash friend. It leaves my skin feeling tight and dry and squeaky clean (which I also hear is supposed to be really bad for your skin, but that’s how I like it, okay?). It smells fresh and shampoo-ish, but, if we are being honest, I can’t really figure out how I’m supposed to use it …

Dear My Big Sister Ashley,

How do you like your scrublet? And what steps do you take to use it? Do you:
1) Wet your face.
2) Pour a small amount of face wash into your hand.
3) Rub it on your face.
4) Scrub your scrublet on your face.
5) Rinse.

Or do you:
1) Wet your face.
2) Pour a small amount of face wash onto your scrublet.
3) Scrub your scrublet on your face.
4) Rinse.

Or do you do it totally different? I’m sure it produces the same results, but I want to make sure we do it the same way because I want to be just like you. Also, do you know why it is called 360? It makes me feel like the scrublet should be two-sided or maybe something with circles should happen. Am I supposed to scrub my scrublet in circles? Did you notice that there are NO directions on the back? Oh my. What’s a girl to do?! And do you love the word "scrublet” as much as I do?  It sounds so precious, and I just want to eat it up.

Your Sister Tess


Wishing for a Perpetual Saturday

Today is Sunday and that makes me sad. I hate when weekends are over. They’re so pleasant and happy and I wish I could just live my happy little life in a perpetual Saturday.

Today my Ashley sister and I went to Ulta Beauty with intentions of switching to mineral makeup. She was successful and I was just overwhelmed and unprepared for all of the options. I’m such a sucker for the Bare Minerals infomercial, and I’d love for my skin to be perfectly flawless and porcelain-like. I think I need to do some more research before I take the plunge. And I should probably give up on my dreams of a perfect complexion under any circumstance. I did get to see my sweet nephew Alekzander, and he was nothing but snuggles and giggles and big gummy smiles that melted my heart. Apparently he projectile vomited a few hours before I got there, and that would not have melted my heart, so I’m very pleased that I missed out on that.

After our Ulta adventure, AB and I went to pilates. She’s like me and get’s everywhere 20 minutes early, so it gave us some time to catch up from our weekend apart. We were maybe the two most inflexible people in the entire gym, but we did our best despite our popping hips and tight hamstrings. Now I’m home with The Real Housewives of New York and Rex. These women are terrible and Rex is being super needy. It’s a pretty good end to the weekend, although I hate to see it go.

And have you been to Pike’s Old Fashion Soda Shop? You need to go.  Tomorrow.  They have amazing milkshakes – try the banana one – and you can take the lightrail there. I love milkshakes and I love bananas and I love sanitary public transportation.


Playing at the Panther's

Today was Ryan’s co-ed flag football tournament at the Panther’s stadium. We had sunshine and 60 degree weather that wasn’t quite 60 degrees yet. Last year it was much warmer and I wore a dress instead of a fleece jacket and got a sunburn instead of wind in my ears. Since his team did so well today, they get to play again tomorrow. And since I am a fair-weather fan and a bad girlfriend, I will probably not be there if it showers scatteredly and thunderstorms like it is supposed to. But I will get some much needed quality time with my Ashley sister and my Ashley friend (2 Ashleys in one day! Oh my!), which I’m very excited about.


Missing Limbs & Tiger Snacks

Last night I realized that I do not have enough body parts to yoga. About halfway through class, our instructor told us to place all four paws on our mats, forming and upside-down V with our bodies. Then we were to take our right arm and thread it through our left armpit and place our right hand upside down on the floor on the left side of our body. Next we lowered our right shoulder and smooshed the right side of our faces into the mat. Our booties are high in the sky still, and we are to lift our right leg back and then bring it in to rest, parallel with the front edge of the mat, under our chest. And then, we can lift our left legs and let it rest on our left elbow and press our ribcage to our right thigh. Ummm. And I think it was even more complicated than that. And people fell over. And laughed. And I think our instructor tooted once. He was a small man. But small people toot, too. I don’t judge. Plus, I have a pimple right in the middle of my forehead.  Like a unicorn.

So, even though I’m not equipped with enough limbs, I did realize that I am very good at standing still on one leg. I think this is because I spent many hours of my life standing like a flamingo – with my left foot on the inside of my right knee – while drying dishes. Here is what I think about yoga: I like it, but I wanted to like it more. I will not cross it off of the list, but once a week is enough for me. I’m going to give it a few more tries with different instructors and maybe I will learn to love it more.  Also, people clapped for me after I completed my first yoga class, and if they keep that up, well then obviously I'll keep coming back!

If you were wondering what my favorite tiger snack is, it is: sliced roma tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella. I ate it last night after we walked to The Teeter to purchase it – and toilet paper. Come to find out, I use about 97% of Ryan’s toilet paper and I should probably start a TP4RP fund. You know, “Toilet Paper for Ryan’s Place”. My dad’s name is Buffalo. Did you know? He also goes by Gruffalo now too. You can call him whatever you want though. Sometimes he will answer, and sometimes he will not. He would make me tomatoes and cheese, layer them nicely on a plate, and deliver them to me if I wanted him to. Because he is great like that. He would probably even make me a loaf of homemade bread to go with it. Would your Gruffalo do that for you? I bet not. Mine wins. The end.


Yoga Pants

If I haven’t yet proclaimed my love for yoga pants, please allow me to do so now.

Dear Yoga Pants,

I really love you. I love you in ways that I have never loved any other item of clothing (besides tights, of course). I love the way you cover my bottom half in your stretchy comforts, and I love the way you sit low and snug on my hips. I love your tiny little flare at the bottom that looks oh so wonderful with flip flops and silver flats. I love your blackness and your often times patterned waistband. I love that I can sleep in you, and I love that I can also semi dress you up and wear you to work if I cover my bum with a long cardigan. I love that I can buy you at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for $16.99 or less ($16.99 is my limit, but you are always worth every one of those 1,699 pennies). Do you hate that I own approximately a dozen of you, yet I never actually yoga? I understand that I am misusing your loveliness, but I wanted to let you know that your patience with me has paid off. Tonight, I shall yoga. And I am really counting on you to be there with me, embracing my inflexible limbs and assisting me in looking fabulous in your stretch cotton/lycra/spandexyness. Thank you for being so absolutely wonderful.

Forever Yours,



i don't really have any secrets, she told me oncei just forget a lot of stuff.
(-Brian Andreas)


Vitameatavegamin Drawer

“Hello friends, I'm your Vitameatavegamin girl. Are you tired, rundown, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle. VITAMEATAVEGAMIN."

I really do love Lucy. I think she is just swell. I used to watch her on Nick at Nite – do you remember this? Since I have healthy, but not vitaminly appropriate eating habits, I decided to start taking vitamins and calcium supplements. As of yesterday, I have now had two servings of vitamins and two servings of Viactiv chocolate calcium chews, which are actually quite tasty. (Do you like how I made up the word “vitaminly”? Did you think I didn’t think you would notice? Oh please, you are one smart cookie – I knew you’d notice!) So, my vitamins, they are of the gummy variety. I’m very pleased with them because the smell of regular vitamins makes me want to puke. Plus, I really like gummy things – like worms and bears and strawberry shapes, too. Ryan has a whole drawer full of items that smell like vitamins.  The topic of vitamin smells often creeps into our every day conversations because of this drawer and the items within. It is maybe my least favorite drawer ever.

My favorite drawer is probably my “unmentionables” drawer because it is very organized right now, with stacks according to style. One day, my BFF Katie called me and said, “Hey, what are you doing?”, and I said “Folding my unmentionables”, and she said “Folding your unmentionables?! Have you lost your mind?!” And no, I haven’t lost my mind, but I have a tendency to collect things that I love – like unmentionables, sleeveless micro-rib tanks from Target, and lip gloss from Victoria’s Secret – and it pleases me to see them neat and orderly, so I can admire my collections in full. This is not so crazy, is it?

Did you take YOUR vitamins today? You should!


And Then They Had To Go To Work

This weekend was sunny & sweet & delicious. It was filled with twizzlers, a nighttime walk to Jimmy John’s, football practice, rosy cheeks, vitamin d, salads & milkshakes, game night, Alekzander, Ashley, Andrew, and Chris & Wolfe (who just got ENGAGED! Yay!), morning music videos, silly sayings in the car, brunch, a visit to the Banana Republic Factory Store, a few too many episodes of The Real Housewives of NY and NJ, finishing the final book in the Twilight series (8 months after I started it), & major snuggles from Rex.

And now it is Monday. The end.
Thank you Ashley and Alekzander for sending me this card 4.5 months ago. Obviously I still love it.


Baby A & MVOD

Alekzander came over for game night last night. He was being as precious as ever. So we took some pictures.

His parents came too. I love them, but they’re just not as cute as the baby they created, so they didn’t get their pictures taken.

Ryan just discovered that he has music videos on demand, so that's what we are doing this morning.  You know, freshening up our dance moves and learning some new lyrics.  He also has a secret crush on Kesha - oops, that isn't a secret anymore - but I'm okay with it.  Do you know her?  She's super cute and wears cowboy boots and looks totally different than you'd think she would, which I love.

Good luck to Ashley, Andrew, and Alekzander, who are running a 5k in Concord right now!


A Small Spring Purchase

Happy spring to you and yours!  You know how I know that there's going to be a spring in my step this season?  Because yesterday I accidentally made a small spring purchase of four (4!) [fOuR] pairs of sandals.  Don't worry, they were all under $15 (except for one splurge of a pair that was $20).  And yes, of course I'll share my wonderful sandal purchasing website with you.

They're all from Go Jane and if you enter GJSHIP50 as a coupon code, you get free shipping on orders over $50.  I'm going to go ahead and tell you that you should suck it up and spend $50, because its basically like getting a free pair by not paying shipping (or maybe just one free shoe, but still!).  Good luck.  Enjoy.  And happy happy!  We're off to Ryan's football practice in the sun.


Flutter, Not Fuzz

My calendar pleasantly reminds me that “spring begins” tomorrow. Upon checking the weather forecast, I’ve realized that, indeed, spring knows what’s up. It’s not playing around and it certainly hasn’t forgotten to come this year. Tomorrow we are to expect highs around 74 and a sunny sky. I really can’t complain. The 60s and 70s are – although it pains me to say this – the perfect temperatures. You can really get away with wearing anything – and everything – but probably not nothing. I don’t think that is ever appropriate, kids. You should always wear something. Even if it is a one piece bathing suit with cowboy boots, which my sister, who is “so fashion”, wore when she was three. And since we’re all friends, I have to tell you that I, today, would maybe consider that outfit. I surely know that my mother would – especially since she now owns turquoise cowboy boots.

I still have the spring flutter bugs in my belly (Rex has toys called “fuzz bugs”, but they are NOT in my belly. There may or may not be pieces of them in his belly though). I think more than anything, March and April remind me of the beginning – you know, meeting Mr. Taylor, worrying about what I’d wear on our first, third, and seventh dates, wondering if all of the goodness could really be real, and so on. I love it. I love thinking about it and remembering and still being able to feel the giddiness of new love and the glow that came with soaking it all in. I can’t wait to spend the weekend with him with the sun shining down upon us … in CHARLOTTE! Oh, how good it is to have him home.


Six Telling Yous

There are a couple (six) things I would like to tell you today:

1) I have painted my toenails. The painting session occurred in the dark around 10pm last night, but the nail polish dries in 60 seconds, so things turned out pretty decently.

2) I couldn’t find my nail polish remover, but then I remembered that I had to bring it to work one day. Do you want to know why? Because I was helping my manager with a document and pointed to his computer screen with a permanent marker and left a big black line on it. Oops. During my search, I realized that my cabinets and cupboards are not nearly as tidy or organized as I would like them to be. I have decided that I will be spending some quality time with them soon – you know, throwing away lots of things and taking some trips to IKEA to purchase organizational items.

3) I’m finally feeling a hint of excitement about spring’s arrival. I think it might have something to do with having my toesies exposed these past couple of days. Or maybe the time change. Either way, I’m feeling some little flutter bugs in my belly when I think about going on walks and spending time outside and wearing sundresses with sandals.

4) I’m ready for a tan, but I do not want to go tanning. What’s a girl to do? My friend Kellie (Kellie … when are you moving back? Soon I hope.) uses bronzing lotions and I’ve tried them but just can’t get past the way they smell. Especially when I am in close quarters with someone else – like my honey. It just doesn’t make sense that they would make a lotion smell like burning skin when that’s what you are trying to avoid in the first place.

5) I have a date with my Ashley friend (not my Ashley sister) tonight. I’m pretty excited. Now that she has a honey too, we rarely have the same “alone” times. But tonight it’s Brixx and Birkdale for the ladies. I’ve been craving a gold necklace that I saw at Francesca’s, so I’ll be treating myself to that and a yummy pizza tonight.

6) My honey is finally coming home! He’s on a plane from London, probably taking a tiger snooze, and will land around 5 this afternoon. His travels for the month aren’t nearly over, but at least I’ll have him back American soil for a while.

The end.


I Patty, You Patty

How do you PaTtY? Do you wear bright green tights and a bright green sweater like me? Or are you afraid of looking obnoxious in public? Do you hide your green and wear it on your undies or socks, or do you maybe have green eyes? Come on people! Get your PaTtY on – it’s okay to look silly today, and every day if you prefer!

I have to give a presentation in class tonight, and I’m really pleased with my clothing selection. Last year I completely forgot, so I’m just making up for lost time.  Feel free to hate on my outfit, but please don't judge my 7:30am, jetlagged under-eye baggage - I can't help it.  Also, no, the weather is not quite nice enough to be wearing sandals, but my heels are bruised from Germany and I can't wear shoes with backs on them.  And yes, I need to paint my toenails.  Okay, PaTtY on.



There’s something about home that makes me really happy. I’m nearly positive I could make a home for myself anywhere, but for now my home is Cornelius and Rex, the comforts of my own bed, and my giant bottles of shampoo and conditioner. It is my oversized couches and unused guest room, my zillion items of clothing and the smell of Bath & Body Works Kitchen Spice and Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin scents. Home consists of my dead plants, my book shelf, an always empty refrigerator, and three sinks that I have to wipe down daily. And I love every little inch of my home. I even love the bathroom corner inches that have black cat hair in them no matter how often I clean.

I’m already ready for Ryan to get back to here, and I know he is missing his home probably more than he ever has. He’s without his luggage and it’s been two weeks since he’s been able to sleep in his own bed and shower in his own shower – isn’t it funny how important those little things are?

Here we are at the Hofbrauhaus on our last full day in Germany:


Munich Recap

It is now my final day in Germany, and we have officially proven to ourselves that we can get along just fine in a foreign city. After our long first day on Friday, we quickly decided to give up on eating dinner and spent a relaxing few hours at the hotel bar. We enjoyed our beverages, which were served with a side dish of “How do you say – gum?” also known as gummy worms. I still haven’t quite figured that one out, but it made me giggle and I ate a yellow one to please our waitress. She said “You like?” and I enthusiastically told her how much I enjoyed my worm.

We were only able to sleep until about 7:30 on Saturday morning, so we got up and ready and headed to a restaurant that our Friday tour guide had recommended for breakfast. The S Bahn (train) is how you get around town in these parts, and once we figured out how to get over to the right plaza, Ryan got on the train. Yes, RYAN got on the train. As in – I did not. I was literally a step behind him, and as I had my foot in the door, I sensed it beginning to close, and I sensed that it was not sensing me and was going to continue to close whether only half of my body was in or not. So I stepped back and the door closed. This all happened in very slow motion, and Ryan turned around to face me. I hit the button for the door to open and it didn’t. So I hit it again and again and again, and through the window on the door, I can see Ryan’s wide eyes as he is frantically motioning and mouthing for me to hit the button. And I am! I am hitting it and hitting it and hitting it. And he mouths “Stay here!” and points to the ground like he means business. And the train speeds away - with Ryan inside and me still on the platform. A German man saw the whole thing go down and he is giggling to himself. Stupid Americans. So I wait. And I didn’t move. And then I see Ryan! And he asks me if I moved. And I didn’t. But I guess I was hidden behind a pillar, so he couldn’t see me and he probably thought I got stolen or wondered off to visit with a wolf or something. Did you know you can take your wolf on the train here? You can. It makes me laugh. Anyhow, the train that he got on was heading in the wrong direction that we needed to go, so even if I had gotten on it with him, we would have had to get off and get on the one going in the right direction, so it really wasn’t the end of the world. But it could have been. I was a little scared, but thought it was mostly just funny.

After the train incident, we made our way to Marienplatz and found that the place our tourguide had recommended for breakfast was in fact not open for breakfast, so we walked around until we found something edible. Instead, we found a men’s clothing store called Wormworld (appropriate due to our gummy worm encounter the night before) and he purchased a pair of jeans, a jacket, and two pairs of socks. By this point, we hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours but we found a cafĂ© that we had peed in on Friday and decided to try that out. The menu was only in German and being the picky eaters that we are, ordering was quite a risk. I ended up with a tomato and slices of fresh mozzarella with ciabatta bread on the side and a chai tea latte. Ryan had a meat and egg concoction that was what he thought he had ordered, so we were pretty pleased.

After breakfast, we found our own way to Dauchau – a 20 minute train ride and 10 minute bus ride from Munich. I’m not sure what I had expected, but what we experienced wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. The concentration camp was still intact, and memorial plaques and other informative stations had been erected. There was also a 22 minute film that we watched, but there was a lot of reading and self teaching that went on.

After this, we napped a delicious nap and headed to Hard Rock for dinner. We ended up eating at the bar because the restaurant was so packed, but it worked out to be a good people watching experience. Lots of German was spoken, and a man tried to give me his red hat. I declined the hat and we headed to a beer hall across the street.

Yesterday we visited the Hofbrauhaus, the famous beer hall in the center of the city, and again we enthusiastically drank yummy, not-so-cold beer from mugs that I had to lift with two hands. I decided that today I would treat myself to some items so that I could say, “Oh, this – this is my _____ from Munich!” Well, apparently no shopping is done on Sundays here, as all of the stores were closed. And tomorrow we head to the airport too early to get any last minute purchases in, so I guess I miss out on owning my German _____. (I’m not sure what I was going to buy. A scarf, a necklace, a wooden pig…)

Right now I am at the airport. We had an interesting situation where Ryan’s early flight to Amsterdam got cancelled – along with dozens of other flights – and then I decided to come sit at my gate while he stood in a long line in attempts to reschedule. Three passport checks and a bag search later, I’m realizing that I should have said a much better goodbye – fully equipped with a big hug and loves. Only three days though still his European adventure comes to a close. We had a lovely time, and we bid Germany adieu.


Fairy Tale Birthday

Today is my sweet friend Heather’s birthday. Do you wonder why all my friends are “sweet friends”? Well, it’s because they are! Seriously, I have been blessed with the most lovely, happiest, kindest people, and Heather is certainly at the top of that list. She's also simply adorable! I’ve known Heather since middle school and we have stayed in touch for fourteen years. Can you believe it? Sometimes I can’t either! We went to different middle schools, high schools, and colleges, and though there were times where we lost touch for a little while, we could always pick up right where we left off. Isn’t that the best when you are able to do that?! When we were in middle school, Heather and I kept notebooks that we would write in and then exchange when we saw each other next. It was maybe the coolest thing ever. I wish we still lived close enough to do this still – heck, I wish I had been able to see her in the past YEAR! – but I suppose blogging is the next best and most convenient thing.

Heather gets this card for her birthday:

No handmade shananigans for this princess! I saw this card at Target (obviously, that’s where I would buy my cards!) and although it was probably meant for a 5-9 year old, I absolutely had to get it. Want to know why? Well, because Heather, my dears, has found her happily ever after. She’s going to live the life of a fairy princess and have her very own pink castle and unicorn, complete with a stud muffin prince who is getting back from Iraq in less than a month! Oh, and she'll also have heart shaped doorknobs and live on a cloud (very important).  The princess has waited and waited, and her patience is about to pay off. Don’t you just love love? She maybe has the best love story ever, and I think you should check it out here.

Dear Heather,
I hope you have the happiest birthday ever. Although maybe next year will be even happier, since you’ll be Mrs. McDowell by then, and that’s kind of a big deal, you know! Thanks for being you, you sassy little thing! Can we please have a visit? Soon?
Tess (in Germany!)



Day numero uno in Munich has thus far been a success. Unfortunately, it costs about 24 Euros for 24 hours of internet connectivity, and quite frankly I’m not really all that interested in partaking in that unnecessary expense. (Ryan just informed me that he’d be happy to share his internet with me and I told him I didn’t have a flash drive to transfer my wordage from my computer to his and he said “Oh, I’ve got plenty.” And I said “Plenty of flash drives?” … because, honestly, I usually carry two in my purse, which is weird, but I don’t even really consider that as plenty, so I’m thinking he has like seven or so just hanging out in his pocket. And he says, “Well, I have one. And that’s plenty for this situation.” Hmm.)

So, I’m working off of about two hours of sleep, but I’m feeling unexpectedly amazing. My flight was great and I sat by a nice gentleman from Munich who had been doing business in South Carolina. He was probably the most normal and pleasant person I could have possibly been seated next to, and I like to think that he maybe felt the same. I mean, really, when do you ever get to sit next to someone regular when you are utilizing any form of public transportation. He has a nine month old son named Alexander and he works for BMW and comes to the states four times a year and stocks up on jeans because they are $32 there and 90 Euros here. True story. I unsuccessfully tried to sleep on multiple occasions and passed on eating dinner because the suffocating smell of everyone else’s gross airplane food made me want to vomit. So I hid under my scarf.

When I landed, Ryan was waiting for me and we fetched a chai tea latte and took the train back to the hotel. The train is awesome and I wish we had such a good thing going for us in Charlotte. On the train, a little girl was singing songs in German – ones that were to the tune of English versions like “London Bridge is Falling Down” – and it was maybe the sweetest thing ever. We passed by lots of buildings and I didn’t really feel like I was in another country at all. It maybe hasn’t even hit me yet. Also, as we were passing a stretch of vacant land, I spotted my first German wolf. When I saw him, I said “Look! A wolf!” Ryan pointed out that my wolf was actually a black dog with a red collar on … he has to ruin all my fun. We made an itinerary based off of a map that he had grabbed from the hotel, and he wrote everything down on a big blue index card that I had. I have a whole stack of them with me. All different colors. Just in case. Ryan asked me if he should be worried that I carry around extra large colorful index cards. I’m not sure what that means. Is that a sign of crazy?

We had a hard time finding out hotel when we got off the train and we must have looked really lost because a sweet old lady came up and tried to help us find our way. She didn’t speak a lick of English, and Ryan only knows how to say “thank you” and “good morning” in German and I only know how to say “goodbye”, so she ended up walking us to our destination, speaking to us in German the entire time. Our hotel is AMAZING. Our room is two levels: the first level has a little potty, an entertainment station, a chair, a sofa, and a desk – the second level has a huge walk-in closet, the bed, and the big potty with a shower. I think I could live here. There’s even a cappuccino machine! We probably got back to the hotel around 10 in the morning, and I showered, got ready, and had two presents waiting for me on the bed when I was done. I didn’t know I’d get presents for coming to Europe! I guess Ryan likes me a lot and was proud of me for making the big trip across the ocean all by myself. With the help of his friend’s fiancĂ©, Korri, Ryan brought me a purse and a string of pearls from the market in China! I love them!

Once I was all bundled up and had my face on, we headed to Starbucks in the train station to meet up with a tour guide, Jared, who was leading a 3 hour walking tour of Munich. It’s cold here! There is snow on the ground which is quickly turning to slush, which means that even in waterproof boots your toes feel like they are turning black and are only hours away from falling off. I think there were probably about 14 people who began the tour with us, but the number quickly dwindled away as frost bite set in. There were many times that we wanted to give up – we weren’t very pleased with all of this history that was involved – I guess we were hoping it’d be more of a “this is where this is, and here is that place, so now you know if you want to further explore later”. Instead there was a lot of standing and jumping up and down to keep warm and tears coming out of the corners of our eyes because it was -2 degrees! (Okay, that’s -2 degrees Celsius, but it was really windy too!) Here are some of the highlights of our tour:

1) We got to see a lot more wolves, and we declared “Wolf!” at each sighting.
2) A guy had a pet goose that he rode around in a basket on the back of his bike. (That sounds like he actually rode the goose – like how you ride a horse. But, he put the goose in a basket attached to his bike, and then rode. You knew what I meant.) The goose was dirty, but I was pleased with the overall situation.
3) Jared, a 27 year old, in shape, nice looking American tour guide, wears an orange winter cap. It appears he has a head full of dark brown hair under this cap. Jared takes of his cap. And he is … completely balding. Like balding in a bad, totally surprising, wow, you should probably just shave your head, I really didn’t expect that kind of way. Ryan and I couldn’t get over it. I’m still in shock.
4) After 2 hours of the tour, we get to take a break to go potty in Starbucks. And I get another chai tea latte. It warms my soul, and the next 30 minutes seem not so painful.
5) Ryan and I successfully navigated our way back to our hotel by ourselves – no old German ladies necessary.

So here we are, typing away on our laptops – Ryan doing work, me doing play. That sounds about right. It’s almost 6 in the evening now, and though my eyes are craving a tiger snooze, I’m very proud of both of us for our energy levels and non-complaints today. I imagine we will get some dinner and then crash pretty early. Our feet our aching, but we have a whole bag of peanut M&Ms and eight bottles of 5 Hour Energy to get us through the rest of our adventure.

Tomorrow we are thinking about visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle and then participating in a “Beer Challenge” where we go to four different beer halls in four hours. We’re in the self proclaimed beer capital of the world, so I don’t really feel like the challenge is optional. Wish us luck!


Auf Wiedersehen

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen adieu! Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you!

And I'm off!  To Munich!  Thank you to Ashley and Alekzander for driving me to the airport - I'm so pleased that I get to see you both before my big German adventure.  I'll try to keep you posted on our where abouts, hooplas, happenings, and other such important matters, but no promises.  I mean, I might be off picking out my German princess castle, driving on the autobahn in my BMW, eating schnitzel, parading around in my lederhosen, drinking beer, and sitting at the stammtisch.
Did you know I used to work in a German restaurant?  It's true.  I was a hostess and wore my hair in pigtails every day.  Rye-Lee, my ex cat (he lives with my sister now), used to like when I'd come home from work and talk to him about the stammtisch.  This is a true story.  You can ask Ashley if you don't believe me.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen goodbye!  Goodbye!  Goodbye! Goodbye!



To all the Gooses:

I don’t blame you for loving our really fabulous pond – I mean, it connects directly to Lake Norman, has a fountain, and is right next to the swimming pool – what more could a goose ask for? I think it’s wonderful that you have made my home your home – mi casa es su casa, as they say – but we really need to have a talk about noise control. The honking, squalling, calling, screaming, yelling at 11pm just has to stop. Feel free to gossip all day long, but once the sun goes down, you need to shut your little beaks. Is someone feeding you leftover bread? I will have this stopped if the racket continues at all hours of the night. This is a promise.

Thank you,

PS: If you are a baby goose who was simply scared and calling for his mother in the darkness, then please ignore this note. But don’t let it happen again.


Oh, Packing

Here's what packing for a four day trip across the ocean looks like at my house:

You can see the scarf pile, the sorted items of attire that have not yet made it into a suitcase, what Rex thought of my "Don't Forget!" list, and, well, Rex wearing the alphabet scarf.  I just noticed that "bras" are on my list.  Embarrassing.  Are you wondering how I could forget such an important wardrobe staple? I'm not sure, but I assure you that it's a very real possibility.  And did you notice my nine pairs of socks?  You never know what's going to happen, people.  And is it evident that I don't wear anything that isn't black, white, or gray?  Ooo!  Do you see that coral cardigan in the cardigan pile?  That's the new one from Target - its coming - I bet it never dreamed of going to Germany for its first wear!

Oh, and these roses, they're hanging out on my desk making my heart happy.

Aren't they beautiful? Doesn't it look like they are from Japan and could easily live happily ever after with some stalks of bamboo and a Koi fish? I think so too! Actually, they are from right here in Cornelius, NC, but they do have a certain oriental feel, which is appropriate since they're from my boyfriend in China. Isn't he the best?



In celebration of my 50th post, I thought I’d share the 50 Nifty United States song with you. And then I thought that was pretty lame – since, you know, we all learned it in 4th grade and had to sing it in chorus while we wore embarrassing knee-length black skirts and white button-up shirts. So, instead, I thought I’d share a piece of the anniversary book that I gave to Ryan. Are you SO sick of hearing about our anniversary?! Sorry, this is the last time I’ll bring it up – til next year!

I made Ryan a “Because Book” – 101 reasons why I love him – as well as 50 of my favorite pictures from our 12 months together. Instead of showing you the 50 pictures (because that would be bragging), here are 50 of my 101 reasons:

i love you because you introduced me to pita pit. do you know how much i love pita pit? & i love you because you order for me when i get nervous at restaurants … especially when i have to say words like “caprese.” i love you because you always listen – even when i’m saying nothing. & because you remember all the nothings i say. i love you because you have a great smile. & especially because you fell for that line. i love you because you let me talk about babies. i really love babies – did you know? & remember when we woke up & just laughed & laughed & laughed? i love you because of that too. & when we dance to simplified … i especially love you then. i love you because you love rex – even though he plays war games on your feet. & the butterflies you still give me … those make me love you even more. i love you because you asked me how to spell “ooo!”. & because we just agreed to disagree about that one. i love you because i can spend the entire weekend with you but still miss you when i leave. & i love that you miss me too. i love you because you text me sweet nothings from europe. i love you because you love your job. & because you point out transformers when we are on walks, in cars, or on planes. i love you because you dance on the furniture. & because you make up personalized lyrics to songs. i especially love when you do that. & do you remember tiger world? i love you for taking me there on our day off. i love you because you worry about me walking home at night – even when you are with me. & because you have a personal cab driver that told me i look like a movie star. i love you because you are smart in ways that i am not. & because you trusted me to build your ikea drawers. i love you because you make my waffles extra crispy on sunday mornings. & then we get back in bed. i love you because you have a sexy email address. did you know an email address could be sexy? & i love you because you said: “there’s a fungus among us” when we were waiting for the elevator one morning. i love you because you believe in happy endings. & because you believe in making one with me. i love you because you were at the right place at the right time for me to find you ... twice. & i love you because you didn’t really want to be found. i love you because you were very pleased with my cookie balls. & because you say “very pleased.” i love you because you drive around all winter without the windows on your jeep. & because you have chicago blood. who would have thought i’d love a boy from chicago? i love you because you let me be myself – all the sillies and nonsense included. & because you have sillies too. i love you and all of your sillies. i love you because you make me see two sides of things – even when i don’t want to. & because you make me want to be a better me. i love you because you sometimes let me cheat a little in phase ten. i just love that you’re so sweet. do you do it on purpose or is that just who you are? i love you because you love your family – especially all the little ones. & because you spent so long picking out a miniature tea party set. wow, that really made me love you. i love you because you do numbers. & with me doing letters, well, i think we’re a great team. i love you because you’re you. & because you’re mine. & because i found you & now everything just feels so right.

Did you count them? Don’t. I’m pretty sure there are either 49 or 51 because, like I said, I don’t do numbers. But don’t you want to make a “Because Book” for your favorite person or the sweet love of your life? I’ll tell you how if you want me to! And thanks for putting up with my straight up sappiness – that’s just how I roll.


Edemame and Target

Rex eats edemame. He doesn’t just eat it, but he eats it passionately with his head cocked to the side. Us humans like to eat the soy beans that are inside, but Rex and his cat friends prefer to chew on the outside shells. He’ll also eat the beans, but only when I’m willing to share – usually he just steals the empty pods from my discard bowl and takes them to a secret location to devour them. It makes me laugh, and I figure a little greenery can’t hurt anything.

This morning I woke up, got caught up on laundry, and then headed to Target for more laundry detergent. Rex and I get our edemame from the frozen foods section in Target, and with that and dozens of other items in my shopping cart, I left Target $100 poorer. Many of my purchases were boring necessities – like the laundry detergent, Ziploc bags, toilet paper, face wash, travel size toiletries, honey almond fat free yogurt, fruit leathers, and mascara (I’m throwing away my six old mascaras as soon as I have a nap and get reenergized). But I treated myself to a bright coral cardigan – exactly like the gray one I just wore three times in a row – some fun bugs for Rex to play with while I’m in Germany, and a pair of pajama pants, which come with a story.

Last week, I was catching up with NieNie, and I saw that she was wearing the cutest pair of pajama pants. They looked so light and cozy and I thought: wow, I’d really love to have those pants – surely they’d make me smile as I’m lounging lazily after work or on a Sunday afternoon. What? You don’t wear pajamas on Sunday afternoon? Well then you are really missing out and I’m feeling a little sad for you as you are sitting around in your itchy, uncomfortable jeans. So, I figured Nie’s pants came from somewhere fabulous in Arizona or Utah, and I just kind of gave up on the dream of ever owning them. Well – get a load of this – as I was strolling through Target today, there they were! Patiently hanging on the rack, waiting for me to take them home and love them forever and always. And I will. I’ll let them grow old with me.

And happy anniversary to us!  Now the much dreaded packing begins ... Only four days til take off!


Outfit Repeater

Right now I’m watching the final episode of Nip/Tuck – why does it have to be over? And I don’t mean over, like I’ll have to wait six months until next season starts, I mean over like this is the last episode of the last season. Ever. My heart shed a tear or two, but there is a possibility that I’ll become a better person by not watching it - that show is certifiably nuts. But, speaking of, US of Tara starts again this month! So at least I’ll have a replacement.

Ryan is currently on a run, getting all of his energies and jitter bugs out before he gets on a plane and heads to China. He leaves this evening and doesn’t get to his destination until Monday morning. Isn’t that crazy? I can’t fathom it – and the different time zone thing is just something I’ve totally given up on trying to understand.

We’ve had quite the productive day today, and although I’m exhausted, I’m pleased that it isn’t even 5 yet. Don’t you just love that feeling? We dropped his Jeep off at the Jeep customizing place, and when he gets back from overseas he is basically going to have a whole new vehicle! It’s getting lifted, big new tires, shiny wheels, the carpet removed, a new floor liner, a new top, and lots of other things too. The top it’s getting is called a bikini top, and that makes me giggle for some reason.

Last night we went to dinner and got our favorite pasta dishes. I wore black tights and my gray boots and a gray cardigan with a light pink scarf.  And I wore the same outfit today. And I have to wear it tonight too because I forgot to pack anything else. Don’t judge me. You know you’ve worn the same thing two days in a row before – even when you had other options. Sometimes tights and boots are just so dang comfy that you don’t want to try anything else.  Sometimes we're all outfit repeaters.  Even you.  Don't worry, I don't judge.



Things are feeling pretty pictureless and a little too wordy around here in March, so I thought I'd share my all time favorite picture with you.  I'm not sure why this one pleases me so - it just does.  Even with all the large men in the background, it just makes me feel really happy.  And it was taken last spring.  Fancy that.  Maybe I will like spring this year, after all.

Tonight Ryan and I will do some celebrating of sorts for the big one year.  Who knows - maybe a little dinner or some Phase 10?  And tomorrow - oh, sad, tomorrow - I'll drop him off at the airport and he'll cross the ocean over to China.  And then, before I know it, it will be my turn! (To cross the ocean, that is!)

Ooo!  I'm trying Toasted Coconut Vanilla yogurt for my snack time today.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I have a feeling it will either be a love or a hate.


Four Thoughts for the Fourth

Times are a changing. I officially have a big girl job and I’m actually doing work at work. Can you imagine – me – working – at work? Here are some thoughts:

1) When it comes to numbers, I’m an idiot. Really. Today I was tutoring an 8th grader and couldn’t help her with her math homework on percentages. I also recently asked one of my co-workers: “How do I write 1.2 million in numbers?”

2) The alphabet is the alphabet. I was trying to figure out what kind of seat I would be in on my flight. I’m in seat K. The rows go: 3 seats, 5 seats, 3 seats (11 seats across) and K is the 11th letter of the alphabet. So, the same 1.2 million co-workers tells me I’ll be in a window seat since I’m the last seat. And I said, “Yeah, but sometimes they do it weird and backwards.” And he says, “No, Tessa. The alphabet is the alphabet. It never changes.” So, there. Look at me in my window seat!

3) I’ve recently fallen in love with Zicam. It warded off a potential cold, and I’m following the directions to continue taking to take it four days after my symptoms subside. It says not to eat or drink for 30 minutes after you take it – I think it is just protecting your taste buds from the nasty zinc effects. So, today, I wanted a piece of gum. And I wanted it within those 30 minutes. And I hesitated. What do you think? Is gum a food or drink? Or both? Or none? Circle one.

4) Ryan sent me an email about someone’s house today. He said it was attached, and felt the need to clarify that a picture was attached – not the actual house. It made me giggle. What of you opened an attachment and a house popped out. Or a hedgehog. People have them as pets, you know. And surely they take pictures of them and send them to people.

I'm so bummed I don't have a picture of my pet hedgehog to share with you.  Forgive me?


Spring is Springing

Last night a friend of mine analyzed the Charlotte weather systems and seasonal patterns for me. We were at the Rusty Rudder seeing a band play, and we noticed that the next show was going to be played outside. On the lake. THIS weekend. It snowed yesterday, and we’re already making plans to see bands play in their summer locations … 4 days after a vicious blizzard?! Okay, it wasn’t a blizzard, nor was it vicious, but there was a good five hours of moderate to heavy snowfall. And the snowflakes were huge! But quite frankly, the thought of seeing live music – outside – on the lake – this Sunday – made me want to throw up. According to my friend’s 28 or so years of living in the area, I only have about ten to twelve more days of my beloved cold weather. And then it is spring mixed with cold fluctuations, and then it is spring for real. Spring is springing, and it hurts me.  Why am I dreading the warmth so much this year? What has gotten into me? Have my heart and soul forgotten that I’m a born and raised beach girl? Does sunshine no longer run through my veins? Have I become a cold blob of dreariness and blah? Am I actually enjoying being pasty pale? And since we’re honest with each other, I need to ask myself: Is this really all about fashion? I was so sad to put away my sundresses and sandals, so shouldn’t I be happy to unbury them from their dark days of hiding under the bed and in the cobwebby corners of my closets? Woe is me. I am not happy about this. I want to live forever in my yoga pants, scarves, tights, boots, fitted long sleeve shirts, skinny jeans, silver flats, sweater jackets, and poofy vests. Unfortunately I think spring is going to come, and summer – yuck, summer! – is inevitably going to follow. Perhaps I just need a major attitude adjustment and some new items for my summer wardrobe to cheer me up? Or maybe I can just look at all my summer pictures and remember how good it was to me and how pretty everyone is when they have a tan. I do love having a tan.


Because Sharing is Caring

I stumbled upon this great website a few months ago when I was searching for something. I can’t exactly remember what it was I was looking for, but I loved it! And then, when I actually needed to use it, I couldn’t remember what it was. Doesn’t this happen to you all the time?

The website is Kevin and Amanda {Blog}, but I think it’s more Amanda’s thing than Kevin’s, if you know what I mean. Boys just don’t seem to be into the scrapbooking and crafting and blogging thing. In fact, I think they probably think it is all a bunch of hoopla. Try to use the word “hoopla” twice today. It’s a good one to re-incorporate into your every day vocabulary.

So, this Amanda gal, she has the BEST fonts ever! She has two genres of font – one of which is scrapbooking fonts, and the other is what she calls “pea” fonts. Pea fonts are created from people’s handwriting samples, and I think that is just fabulous. So, I searched and searched for an all caps handwriting font – since, you know, I write in all caps – and low and behold, I found one! It’s called Pea Sean and is pretty close to my actual handwriting. It worked perfectly for the project that I needed it for.

Check it out, find your font or submit your handwriting sample, and live happily ever after.


Real Bananas

My parental units sent me this card today. It made me really happy. I mean, how many other 24 year olds get Dr. Suess cards mailed to them at work? I feel pretty s-p-e-c-i-a-l. My mom included a very sweet note that she had written to me when I was eight. It made my heart happy. She really thinks I’m something else! Ha!

Also, my dad makes me laugh big time.  He's a man of few words, which means he is wise.  And funny.  He sent me two emails today. One said: “I just wanted to make sure those bananas were real!!!” And I said: “WHAT?!” And he said: “You know, like kickin it with real bananas!!!”

So, you see, this is maybe why I am the way I am. Don’t you love my M&D? Me too - I happen to think they’re both pretty swell. Real bananas and all!