I've Got a Friend on Lake Wylie

And my toenails are looking not so hot.  Don't judge.


Sweet Saturday

Oh, sweet Saturday, I really loved you. Sleeping in, a full tank of gas (compliments of Mr. Taylor), a trip to the market (with Starbucks coffee in hand), tomato sandwiches, a delicious nap, Phase 10 (after a quick trip to Target when my Phase 10 cards were nowhere to be found), a family sized bag of Twizzlers, and sitting outside while eating a vegetable bowl from Eez … it really couldn’t get much better than this. Life is oh so good. 

What?  You don't make fish faces and take pictures of your boyfriend pumping gas?  You should start.  Ready.  Set.  Go.


Rudder Mints

After my snuggles with Oscar yesterday morning, I headed back home to spend the day on Lake Norman. Not too many boats were out – maybe we were the only lucky ones given a four day weekend – but we had fun, got some sun, and escaped the rain just in time. Ryan came over that night and we ventured out to the Rusty Rudder to see a new local cover band, Burning Bright. The Rusty Rudder has green mints in a bucket by the door. They are yummy. You can take 12 if you want.

Today we are pretending like it is raining outside so we have a solid excuse to stay in, be lazy, and enjoy each other's company without interruptions.  Do you ever do this?  Everyone needs a good (pretend) thunderstorm once in a while.



I am having a love affair with a little fellow I like to call Oscar. Oscar is a blanket that we adopted from the uptown Marshall’s back when Ryan’s condo was “going green”. Although Ryan did start recycling (a lot) when he met me, our version of “going green” involved replacing all red items at his place with a calming light sage green color. We found pillows, paintings, candles, and wonderful leaf patterned rugs that all came together in a matter of a weekend’s time. The most important purchase, however, was Oscar.

It took a little while for me to warm up to Oscar, but our relationship grows stronger every time I visit. He just recently received his name, and he frequently eats breakfast, watches television, snuggles on top of the covers, and lounges on the couch with me. Sometimes he just likes to be carried around on my shoulders, and other times he prefers to stay in bed all day long. I think Ryan is a little jealous. But the whole thing is really his fault since he is the one who brought him home in the first place. We’ve tried to locate his twin brother – you know, so Ryan would have a blanket to use at his own house – but someone else must have scooped him up. We hope he is loved.

Today I have the day off. We've already sent Ryan off to work - coffee and oatmeal in belly - so Oscar and I are going to catch up on The Real Housewives of New York. Big things we’ve got planned for our Friday morning together.


Happy Half

Happy first half birthday, sweet Alekzander!

 Oh my goodness, you are loved.


Free RED

Today I bought one and I got one (free!) and helped the global fight against AIDS in Africa. How great is that? I suggest you scurry your little tail on over to Gap and check out their GAP (Product) RED collection to do the same. Who doesn’t love a free t-shirt, made from super soft 100% African cotton? And who doesn’t love a good cause? If you don’t love the RED line for yourself, then maybe pick up some tees as gifts. Half of all of the proceeds go straight to The Global Fund.


Honey-Less Honey Shake

Next time your honey goes to Vegas – or anywhere, really – I suggest you make this honey-less honey milkshake that I just invented. It is maybe the yummiest (healthy) treat I’ve ever tasted. Here’s what you need:
  • 1 six ounce container of Archer Farms Thick & Creamy Fat Free Honey Almond Yogurt
  • 1 (or so) cup of skim milk
  • A splash of Starbucks Hazelnut Syrup
  • 1 pint glass full of ice cubes
Blend everything in the blender, pour, and enjoy! If you are wondering why I have Starbucks Hazelnut Syrup, well, I’m right there with you. I imagine a tiny splash of almond or vanilla extract would be fine too. The amount of milkshake that I made probably could serve two normal people – it filled about 1.5 pint glasses, but of course I drank it all.

So maybe your honey doesn’t travel 3 weeks in a row? That’s okay too. You can still pretend like you are honey-less and make yourself a frozen yum.


Double Dose

Today I get a double dose of Alekzander!  He and Ashley just came over to share a picnic lunch with me. Ashley brought fresh spinach bagels from Bagel Bin, and we drank pineapple juice and made cream cheese messes as we played peek-a-boo with the baby. Tonight, Ashley and Andrew are getting an adult night out while I babysit their sweet boy at Ryan’s place uptown. I doubt there will be too much babysitting going on, since Alekzander will arrive at his bed time, but I’m excited to see him again and to give Ashley and Andrew a little break. I’m equally looking forward to my relaxing evening in! Was your lunch date as cute as mine?

I didn't think so.  I bet his mohawk wasn't as cool either.


The (Photo) Chronicles of Ryan's Travels: Part Dos

Ryan spent Tuesday night and Wednesday in Toronto, Canada. I’ve always inexplicably loved the idea of Canada, and when I told Ryan this, he said: “Why do you love Canada? No tigers and no EspaƱol!” (Because those are clearly the only two things I talk about right now.) And then I told him that I hate colored walls and he told me not to worry about it because he does too. This is how our (texting) conversations go. Really.

Here are some snapshots of Canada. Do you love it? Let’s take a trip.

Last night he came home and spent some QT with his fabulous girlfriend. He leaves for the Vegas bachelor party (not his) way too soon.  For some reason I wasn't invited.  Don't you think I'd be a great chaperone?  Me too.



Sometimes I wonder what dreams are made of. Last night’s in particular. First, I was at an annual get together with all of my parents' friends and their children (most of who are now fully grown). The Odum, Cullen, Vitz, Martin, Thow and other families were all in attendance – it was a great big bash, and it took place in a house that was straight out of the 1970’s. In a back room, there was a resistance training pool (I think I maybe made this up – you could swim with or against the flow of the water – do these exist?). As part of this annual party, all of the kids had to get in the pool and race to swim against the water - the first person to grab the lima bean shaped piece of plastic (kind of like a “snitch” from Harry Potter) was the winner. We did this three times, and I won! Every.single.time. Of course everyone thought I was cheating, or the game was rigged, but it wasn’t – I was just a fantastic swimmer! Obviously! (Do you know how much I hate swimming? It’s a lot. Especially in pools.)

So then fast forward a dream or two. You know how time changes and places change without warning in most dreams? That’s what happened here. (Background: A girl in my Tuesday night Circuit Training class is pregnant. She is only 15 weeks, but her belly has already popped out like a little basketball resting between her hip bones. This is her fourth baby, and she is maybe 90 pounds, and cute as a button. Mom: I am NOT pregnant. Don’t worry.) But in my dream, it was me who was with child, working out at the YMCA. My stomach looked exactly like hers does, except it was see through! My skin was clear and you could see right into where the baby was growing. As it got bigger and bigger, it turned, faced away from me, and you could see it’s big blue eyes staring out into the world. Everyone loved seeing this, and the baby loved it too. Eventually, I had to cut slits into all of my shirts and dresses so that the baby could see – if it couldn’t see, it would cry inside of me, and I’d get really bad hiccups and throw up for an hour. What the heck?!

Are your dreams as crazy as mine? Circle yes. (Just to make me feel better.)



Something about today feels like Thursday. The weather is cooler and I feel sleepy – like I’ve already put in a solid four days of work. Today my best friend Katie sent me a text message asking me if I’d tried doing a somersault recently. Her texts are few and far between, but they are always filled with fantastic little bits of her life. I’m assuming she was trying to teach her niece, Vaida, how to somersault … apparently without success. I think her 73 inch legs have simply grown too long to somersault properly. I wish I had that problem. But I probably have some other problem hindering my somersaulting abilities – like too big of a head. I honestly haven’t tried. Sometimes I do cartwheels in Ryan’s rat infested parking garage. Do you? Katie also has 73 inch hair to match her 73 inch legs. It’s blonde. And thick. And wavy. Or straight. Whatever she wants, it is. I think she should probably come visit me. And bring her Vaida too. She’s maybe the cutest little girl ever. I just love those two. So, can you somersault? Try it. Especially if you are in your office. I think I’m about to close the door and give it a whirl.

Vaida: Dick Bennett Photography


The (Photo) Chronicles of Ryan's Travels

Ryan travels a lot for work. Typically, it is to somewhere really fantastic – you know, China, Chicago, Amsterdam, the beaches of Florida, London, California, Switzerland, Vegas. What this means is: I miss him a lot. But he’s very good at staying in touch (via text and emails … he doesn’t really do phone calls much), and here are the beginnings of his travels this week:

1) The view from his room in Sarasota, Florida:

2) Second row seats right behind home plate at the Cubs game in Chicago:

3) Views of Chicago from the condo:

Did you know Ryan is from there and is borderline obsessed with Chicago sports? It’s true. But I’m okay with it because bears are pretty cute – especially the Cubby Bear. He kind of looks like Rex a little. Yes?  Tomorrow, Ryan's off to Toronto, Canada, and then it's home (I think?) for a night or two!


A Sunday to Smile About

Today I slept lazily until 9:30. Maybe this isn’t really considered a good session of sleeping in, but considering my four hour nap and early bed time on Saturday, I certainly didn’t need the extra rest. I visited Jesse, my soft spoken, tattooed, artsy hair stylist, at noon and got “a little trimmy.” I can’t tell you how many times he used the word “trimmy” while I was there, but I’m just going to blame it on the fact that he confessed to staying up until 3am and being hung-over. He said he was so glad I was his first client of the day, but I’m not really sure that the feeling was mutual.

After getting my hair did at South Park, I met Ryan for lunch in Ballantyne. I had the yummiest caprese salad ever, and I even got free garlic knots! Who doesn’t love free garlic knots? I said goodbye to Ryan, wished him well on his work travels, and I took my full tummy over to my sister’s house. We got in the baby pool with Alekzander, read books, went shopping, played baby, fed baby, cuddled baby, and ate dinner – pierogies and zucchini and squash (Markovitch staples!).

Maybe you don’t know this, but my sister Ashley hates to shop. I mean really hates it. Except when she’s with me (I think). We find great finds and spend great spends and come home with lots to show for the little money we spent. Today we both hit the jackpot with Old Navy workout clothes – I think we each probably left with about 8 or so items! Woah! And I got lucky with a new pair of running shoes that were on sale and then on sale again. I think they ended up being almost 60% off and are the exact same pair I had been looking at on Zappos, but in a much better color. Here they are in Zappos pink (mine have a neon green/yellow accent color):

Do you love them? Me too. Especially for $42!


Visualite Visuals

[i love my friends. i am lucky. and in love.]



Tonight we are going to see our favorite local band, Simplified, play what is said to be one of their last big shows in Charlotte. I’m assuming this just means for the summer … I hope! We got spoiled being able to see them in various Charlotte venues any night of the week, and we’ll certainly miss their live music while they are off doing big things. (Lucky for us, our friends Zac and Lindsay lined them up to play at their June wedding in Wilmington, NC! How special!) About 11 months ago, Ryan and I traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi for the weekend to see them at the Hard Rock Casino. We really love them, and I think you will too. You can watch their videos here and here.

It’s Friday! And so far I have had zero rat encounters (wish me luck when I head uptown tonight)! Today is a good day, indeed!


Rat Attack

Dear Ryan,

 Unfortunately, Ashley and Andrew will not be joining us tonight. I’m going to attend a class entitled “Cardio Interval” at the Lake Norman YMCA at 5:30 this evening. It should last approximately 45 minutes to one hour. After this, I will shower and then depart for our uptown living quarters and arrive around 7:45. I will leave it to you to decide on our activities for the evening. I’d be fine with any dining arrangements – or none at all. I will bring your set of FNL discs, and I would like to suggest that we watch United States of Tara. Please let me know what you would like to do, as I would appreciate being able to dress appropriately for the occasion – as in business, casual, or loungewear. However, if you suggest business attire, I will not be joining you this evening.

I hope your stressful day is just part of a small spell – hopefully things will ease up soon.

Warm regards,
Your Small Tiger (YST)

That is how my evening started. Ryan really likes when I send him old-school professional e-mails, and I really like writing them. I also really like going to visit him at his place uptown, and I really like eating, or not eating, with him. We did eat – Pei Wei (pronounced Pay Way, not Pee Wee, like I kept saying) – and it was yummy. Our fortune cookies and ice-cream were tasty too. We watched a good episode of US of T, and I declared that I shall now refer to my left and right as “liger” and “raptor”. This was totally unrelated to US of T, and Ryan said “okay”. Then I got the major giggles-turned-belly-laughs because I made a chicken noise on accident. And then I got whiney because I was tired, but I really wanted to stay up to finish watching Criminal Minds. We really love Criminal Minds – do you? Can you tell that we had a really nice, relaxing, and silly evening together? We did.

And then I woke up. Half asleep, I exited the building into the parking garage. I took a step, and maybe another step, and here, at 6:33 am, began my no-good-very-bad-day. Have you ever had a no-good-very-bad-day? They really stink. Once my little flip-flopped feet hit the concrete of the parking garage, I felt something scurrying about. Scurry-scurrying claws were suddenly scurry-scurrying ON me. Yikes. I froze. I screamed. I ran. I calmed down and squealed a little more and danced around a bit, trying to get any rat germs shaken from my feet. GROSS! And then I looked down and saw blood starting to puddle up in my shoe. Double gross! So I did what any reasonable 24 year old female would do: I stood in the middle of the parking garage on one foot and called my boyfriend. And I called and called, and I called again. He didn’t answer, so I decided I should be a big girl and go to CVS to get some hydrogen peroxide for my rat bite. It was closed. Boo. So I did what any reasonable 24 year old female who can’t get in touch with her sleeping boyfriend would do: I called my sister. Lots of phone calls were made, and the conclusion (which I knew already) was that I needed to seek medical attention. Relatively quickly.

I stopped at a 24 hour CVS and poured hydrogen peroxide all over my pinky toe in the parking lot. The sizzles of a clean wound momentarily pleased me. At 7:30 am, I located the nearest Urgent Care and was promptly sent to the ER to begin my series of rabies vaccines. Ugh. Really? Really, yes, I was sent there, yes, I was admitted, yes, I wasted 4 hours of my life and probably a couple hundred dollars, and yes, I was extremely irritable (near tears) by the time I left. But no, I didn’t need the rabies vaccine. So basically, I got a really expensive tetanus shot … and they didn’t even give me a band-aid. Of course I am incredibly grateful to hear that there are no reported cases of rabies in US rodents, but can you see why this was a no-good-very-bad-day? Why didn’t the Urgent Care people know this? Is this privileged information that only ER doctors can google?

So now my giant shaving injury has a new friend. Giant Shaving Injury, meet Tiny Little Rat Wound. TLRW, this is GSI. I hope you guys go away. Really soon.

Do you like my new nail polish?  Circle yes or no.  Did you read about my mom’s snake bite? I bet you didn’t think that you needed to wear protective rubber boots in parking garages. You certainly should start. And did you read this sweet letter that Alekzander wrote me?  Thanks for making my no-good-very-bad-day be actually not so bad.


Welcoming Baby Gracelyn

Once upon a time, this beautiful little lady fell in love.
Lucky for her, he was smitten, too.
(How could he not be?)
She counted down the months, weeks, days to their wedding.
Her favorite color that day was green apple green.
It’s really fun to say. Try it.
Green apple green.
They went on a wilderness adventure of a honeymoon.
Playing with bugs, sticks, and log cabins.
Then they bought 6 acres of land.
And started to build a house.
To live happily ever after in, of course.
And do you want to know something else?
In the wee hours of this Wednesday morning, Stacey became a mommy! 
Welcome, sweet baby Gracelyn Joy.
I can't wait to see what you make of this big, big world.
You certainly will be loved.


Happy Heart

I got your requests to see more pictures from our weekend. (Ha!) Unfortunately there was only one night of photography, but it was a good one.

Here’s why my heart was so happy for 48 hours in a row:

- Yummy dinner at Soul
- Surprise Puma presents
- Blue Moon
- Dancing by myself at midnight
- Peanut butter toast and kickboxing
- Healthy lunch at a new pub in the Epicenter
- Season 1 of Friday Night Lights
- Watching Brothers on our makeshift fort
- Waking up to cooler weather
- New gray nail polish acquired from our Target trip
- Tiger snacks at Zoe’s Kitchen
- Running my first mile to the YMCA
- Meeting a pair of Ryan’s old friends on The Green uptown
- Chocolate milkshakes after our work out
- Sleeping soundly

Mmm! I love a good weekend!


Tiger Stripes

I’m not sure if quirky is the word to describe me, but something deep inside my brain, heart, or soul, makes about 70% of what comes out of my mouth be about cats. Big cats, little cats, striped cats, black cats, meow cats, roar cats, good cats, bad cats, it really doesn’t matter. This isn’t to say that I am, or ever will become, the CCL (crazy cat lady, if you will). The CCL is a special breed of lonesome that I know nothing of. It’s really hard to ignore my obsession with singing about big jungle cats, and Ryan not only accepts it, but feeds into it.

This weekend I had a near death experience involving a razor. Okay, so it wasn’t even close to near death, but it resulted in 3 inches of missing skin on my right ankle and a fair amount of blood. Ryan fixed me up and made me all better with his magical gauze pads and athletic tape. Four hours later while we are in the middle of watching a movie: “Ooo! Do my new stripes make me look more like a tiger?” … “Yes.” Yes, they do.

He even took me to Tiger World once.  Have you been?  They have lions.  And tigers.  And bears.  Oh my!  Also, they have peacocks and panthers and monkeys with red bums.  Be careful of the multi-colored baboon ... he's crazy.

Do you love them?  How about my new stripes?  Do you want to go to Tiger World?  Okay!  I'll go with you.


The Day of Mothers

It’s Mother’s Day. Hooray! Don’t you just love your mom? Me too. My mom is little. She likes to garden and eat lettuce salads with cottage cheese on the side. She worries like all mothers do – well, maybe a little more, but that just means she loves us extra big. My mom knits fabulous things like scarves, baby blankets, bigger human blankets, bunnies, cats, hats, and socks. She also weaves baskets. Really. Once upon a time, I would call my mother and say, “Hi, Mom! What are you up to?” and she would say, “Oh, you know, knitting a sweater.” Or sometimes she would say, “Basket weaving, what about you?” And we thought we were being so silly – like it was the equivalent of saying, “Just scuba diving with your father.” Turns out, now she really is doing that when I call her (knitting or making a basket … not scuba diving). Almost always. And when she says, “Oh, just sitting here knitting a bunny,” I think it sounds very silly, but it is completely true. She’ll make you one if you ask.

My mom wears cowboy boots and writes rhyming poems about bandals (see the comments section). She was a teacher for a long long time, and now she is living happily ever after in her 100 acre woods that are really 1/100 of 100 acres. She’s always very good at playing pretend, and she likes to make up songs to sing to her animals. My mom thinks she is pretty funny, and I think she is too. Ten years ago she wore a winter hat to bed because her head was cold, and she will still laugh so hard that she cries when she retells the story.

My mom really likes to shop – which explains a lot about me and nothing about my sister. Her favorite stores are TJ Maxx and Michael’s, and she’s the queen of finding bargains. She hates the grocery store, and sometimes sits in the car and calls me while my dad is inside shopping. She reads all the time and sends lots of greeting cards, which I love. My mom is a coffee every morning and no breakfast kind of gal, which also explains a lot about me. She is very thoughtful and creative, and loves to give and receive homemade gifts – aren’t they just the best? When I was little she would push me so high in our backyard swing that I would go to the moon. And then she’d say, “I love you up to the moon and back again!” And I do too! Again and again!

Happy mother’s day to all the mothers out there – especially the sweet new mommy friends like Ashley, Mandy, and Lindsey, and the soon to be mommy Stacey.



Last night we celebrated our fourteenth 7th at Soul, a sweet little tapas lounge just on the outskirts of uptown Charlotte. Most of the items on their menu have strange names, which Ryan and I don’t usually do well with, but we both ended up enjoying what we ordered. We started off with edemame and I decided to try falafel. Woah! Me trying new things is almost unheard of, but the waitress did a good job of talking me into it. It was served on a pita with tzatziki sauce, basil, tomato, and onion, and it was yumm-o. Ryan got some kind of meat and cheese panini concoction and a side of garlic and herb fries. When his fries came out, he asked the waitress what she called them and she said “side of fries” - no fancy name for those guys. The atmosphere was awesome – they also had a little sushi bar and an outdoor patio. We’ve already discussed inviting Ashley and Andrew to our next adventure there – and maybe you want to come to? Try it – I think you’ll like it. They also had an expansive “bubbly” selection – so if that’s your thing, I think it’s their thing too, and well, maybe you could be friends.

Happy 14th, Ryan. And happy happy Saturday to everyone else. I hope you are doing nothing today. That’s what we’ve got going on over here, and I am loving every minute of it.


92% of 50

Last night Ryan wondered aloud why I was so terrible with directions, geography, simple math – actually anything that is really practical in my everyday life. He said this much nicer than I have paraphrased, but all of it is true – I only know my right from left about 30% of the time. And then he brought up the fact that I can’t even name the 50 states. So, my friends, we had a little challenge. He was actually very good at this, naming the states in geographic sections, but I do have to tell you that there was a brief minute or so when he was convinced that there were 52 states. You know, 50 continental and then Alaska and Hawaii.

Things slowed down once he got to 45, and then came Arizona and New Jersey. And then things really slowed down. Nebraska trickled in slowly. And by some miracle, I, yes, I, Tessa the geographically challenged, thought of the final three states. Wait. Three? That means we are at 51. And then we got wondering if there really were 52 states! So we thought about it and looked. And looked again. And again. And then came Delaware. And we looked. And looked. And looked again. And then we realized that silly old Montana had snuck on there twice. Thank goodness – only 50! And once Maryland and Alabama came, we had them all. All fifty, nifty states.

So, a couple things:

1) My boyfriend is really smart. Yeah, yeah, I know.
2) Have you heard his 90% theory? He thinks that giving 90% to everything is the best way to go. Most of the time, the energy required to get that last 10% just isn’t worth it.
3) See above. The last 4 states took longer to think of than the first 46 combined. I think he would’ve happily settled for a 92 had he not been out to prove something to me.
4) Yes, that is a grease stain next to Washington and Oregon. It doesn’t please me.

Happy Friday! And congratulations to my sister Ashley! She is graduating from Queens with her master’s degree today! (I hope she learned her 50 states somewhere along the line in her 20 years of education!)


Oh, The Cinco

Yesterday everyone was asking me for advice about good Mexican restaurants, wondering if I’d eaten chips and salsa, and if I planned on drinking a margarita. What? I don’t eat Mexican food. No. And no! And then it was about 3:00 in the afternoon when I said to myself, “Self, it is Cinco de Mayo. That is why all of these strange topics keep arising today.”

On top of Cinco de Mayo, it was also Ryan’s friend James’ birthday. We met him and his wife Shannon at RiRa – an Irish restaurant that had a fiery accident about 9 months ago. It has been completely redone with beautiful wood floors, black and white tiled bathrooms, and fabulous chandeliers and light fixtures. Shame on me for not bringing my camera. After a quick birthday cheers and some hugs, James and Shannon scurried off to dinner, and Ryan and I went next door to Town Tavern to hear some acoustic tunes. Our favorite song was “Bye, Bye, Bye” by NSync. The guy did such an amazing job with it – it sounded nothing like a boy band cover and it made everyone giggle a little when he started playing it. After Town Tavern, we walked over to BlackFinn for dinner. I claimed non-hunger, which is very typical of me, and then ravished through a plate of broccoli and a side of rosemary new potatoes in about three minutes. We sat outside and watched the city life move past us as we tried to figure out the relationship status of the people at the tables around us. Do you do this? It’s so fun.

Can you believe it? Tomorrow is already Friday! Aren’t you just pleased as punch to have the weekend right around the corner? Me too!



When I was really little, I went through a phase where I went “plttt” after everything I said. You know the noise that you can make by sticking out your tongue, puffing up your cheeks, and blowing? That’s the one. So I’d say, “Hi … plttt. I’m Tessa … plttt. This is my Barbie doll … plttt. Wanna play? … plttt.” My grandmother came to visit once and asked my mom if she thought I’d ever grow out of it. Thank the stars above – I did! Can you imagine? “Hi … pltt. I’m Tessa … plttt. I’m here for the interview … plttttt!”

I just learned about this when I was home for Easter last month. So we all did it … plttt. A lot … plttt!  Try it.  I think you'll think it's pretty fun.

It's okay if you think my family is weird.  We can eat an entire box of Wheat Thins in an hour.  What can yours do?



So, here we are on our 4th day of May already. Did you notice it was here? Me neither. I have a tendency to rush my weeks away by – oh, you know – working, going to grad school, constantly cleaning, putting gas in my car, putting food in my belly, and other such activities that don’t exactly float my boat, if you know what I mean. But what about the sweet moments that we want to press pause for? Wait. Slow down. Hold up. Can we have the best of both worlds? Can we rush away the unpleasants while simultaneously savoring the pleasants? Or are you just a Pollyanna who is glad for it all? Surely we can find some sort of joy in nearly everything we do, but unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn’t feel so. I mean, how do nine page papers and spending $125 at the eye doctor really make you feel? Exactly.

But, nay, this is not a place for complaints, remember? This is where we say our thanks and give our lovings and share our smiles. So here are some little treasures that I’ve already pressed pause to enjoy this week:

• Short little phone chats with some long distance friends
• My early morning blog reading session – I have a whole list to click through, don’t you?
• A brief encounter with my new friend, Maria, who helped me at the YMCA last night
• Gap guava flavored lip balm (although I’m quickly running out)
• Alone time at the grocery store, collecting “treats” for my busy boyfriend
• Thoughtful text messages that make my phone buzz throughout the day
• Warm vanilla sugar hand lotion
• Finding a water bottle in my car when I was painfully thirsty yesterday
• A conversation with the eye doctor’s assistant about our shared love of skirts and dresses
• A sweet card that Rex received in the mail from Tank
• Strangers on the phone asking how I am doing, and sounding like they really care what the response will be
• My light pink ultra fine tipped Sharpie

What are yours?


The Bandal

On Saturday night, as you can see in the weekend pictures below, I wore a pair of sandals that have caused quite the stir of opinions. I purchased them while I was with my sister a few weeks ago, and she said nothing of them at the time. I asked for her opinion on the color, and she agreed with me that taupe was the best option – as black was too black and brown was too brown, taupe kind of did a blending trick with my skin, making the sandals a little less of a statement. Actually, at that point, I didn’t think they were much of a statement at all. I just thought they were a pair of sandals that I happened to like, that happened to be inexpensive, that happened to be in a size 6, conveniently nestled into their box and patiently waiting to find a home.

So, the opinions that my friends and boyfriend had about my “ankle braces”, as Ryan so lovingly called them, led me to do a little research (on Google, of course). Apparently these sandals are nicknamed “bandals” – as in boots/sandals – and have recently been scrutinized by many self-proclaimed fashion police. Some celebrities have been spotted wearing them, and it has been said that they can be both a “do” and a “don’t” depending on the shape of your leg. And what if the bottom of your leg has no shape? Or is twig shaped? Sarah – who always looks super cute – approved and is thinking about investing in a pair as well. So, I take that as a “do”.

I don’t know. What do you think? I think I like them. And I will probably wear them no matter what. Don’t you hate when people ask your opinion but already have their mind made up? Me too.



A Stacey Shower

Today is the day that one of my closest friends, Stacey, will be showered with love in celebration of the baby that she is growing in her belly. This is such an exciting time in her life, and it is events like this that make my heart long for the days back in college when we were next door neighbors inside the same house. Stacey was always just a step – literally a step (not even a hop, skip, or a jump) – away from my bedroom. For a few months we even shared the same room and sometimes we would talk to each other via our computers, which were only about three feet away. We learned to like the same music, eat the same foods, knit the same scarves, and go on the same walks – two miles each way. When we both lived in Virginia, we would see each other nearly every weekend, even though we were an hour apart. Stacey has the sweetest soul and a contagious sense of humor that will bring out the sillies in anyone. She is going to be one fantastic mommy.

I know her heart is prepared for parenthood, which is fast approaching, and I hope she gets everything she needs today to prepare her home for her precious baby’s arrival. Happy Baby Shower, Stacey! Siobhan, Sarah, and I are sending well wishes from Charlotte this morning. I miss you every day, but today my miss is extra big.

Can you tell I use the same scrapbook paper for everything?  Are you sick of it?  Do you have a Michael's coupon you want to share?