I'm a half century old! Wait... no I'm not.

As I may have mentioned before, math is not my strongest point. I walked around for about a week telling people that I was going to be HALF A CENTURY OLD!! before Brian finally stepped in and informed me that I was turning 25, not 50. Ah, well-- at least I was blissfully unaware.

It was a lovely little day filled with not much at all, which I'm all about these days. Pretty pink roses were delivered, we did lots of Christmas shopping during the day, I was gifted a lovely gorgeous exciting new camera, we went to a nice dinner, and then climbed into bed to watch Christmas Vacation... because Brian had never seen it before. A moment of silence for him, please. (sidenote: I am ALL ABOUT Christmas movies, and he's never seen the majority of my favorites, including It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street... I don't know what planet he grew up on, but these were absolute holiday staples in my young movie-watching life. Because I only want the best for him, I'm force-viewing all of my favorites before I leave for Texas. He can thank me later.)

Sunday morning Brian made breakfast, I stayed in my pajamas until 1, and then we went to his parents house for World War Thr... I mean to watch the Patriots game and decorate the tree. Whoop. It was not relaxing or fun. It was stressful. There was lots of yelling about the tree and things falling and things being crooked and... and I have to do that with my own family in one week, and one family's dose of drama is about all I can handle and I much prefer it to be my own family, thankyouverymuch.

Anyways, now the week has begun. My crazy week. I fly home to Texas after work on Friday which means that I now have two and half days to get two weeks worth of things done, including finish shopping, do laundry, pack, get gifts together that I'm taking home, grocery shop for meals this week and for Brian to have food while I'm gone, and bake enough treats for my entire department (100+ people). If anyone has any suggestions about holiday treats that pack well individually and are always a hit, I'd LOVE to hear about them. I need treats for the 8 admin people in our group, plus treats for our janitorial staff and my bus driver (just because they work hard and always have a smile!), and a bunch of more basic treats to put out in the kitchen for our lab.

My camera cord finally came and I uploaded a ton of pictures (dating back to apple picking in October), so I'm going to do a post of picture catch-up.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!!

reasons why this saturday is oh-so-lovely.

Reasons Why I Am Loving This Saturday Night

*After a long week of chest cold #2 and being exhausted and worn out, I'm feeling good and like myself again!

*Our third roommate has moved to New Jersey for three months for a work extension program. All I can say is alleluia- the break is needed. I'm excited for this little bit of time that Brian and I have just for us. I spent all day today cleaning and making the place look as close to mine as I could, and it feels GOOD.

*Brian took Level 1 of the CFA exam this morning... make that all day. I drove him into Boston to check in at 8 this morning, he had an hour break around noon, and then I picked him up at 5. He's put 200 hours of studying into this exam, and has openly admitted that he probably put more time into studying for this exam than he did for all of his studying through college... and he studied a lot. I was so nervous that I would pick him up and he would be in a horrible mood, but my wonderful boy was ALL SMILES. Seriously, my prayers were answered. Every time I thought about him today, I sent a little prayer his way, for him to be focused, to be calm, to not be overwhelmed... Needless to say, he whistled and chatter-boxed the entire way home, so I'm thinking we're pretty confident :) He won't find out the results until mid-January, but he said tons of kids were walking out with him, talking about how hard it was, and that he just really didn't feel like it was all that difficult.

We're both so glad that it's over-- I'm the easily-rattled one in our relationship. In the three years that we've been together, I've seen him worked up enough times that I could count on one hand. These last few days, he's been completely nervous and on edge. To know that he feels confident and so relieved that it's finally over is an answer to my prayers, indeed.

*I'm sitting on the couch with a lovely (large) glass of red wine, waiting for Brian to wrap up playing on his XBOX so that we can go to dinner at our favorite dinner spot. A night with my boy, stress free? Sign me up, please.

*I decorated for Christmas today. We're getting our Christmas tree tomorrow and going to breakfast, and then I'll put all of our ornaments and such on (my favorite part)-- love. Love it. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and I'm really getting back in touch with the real and true reason for the season, which I feel like too many people tend to forget at times. It makes my heart happy.

*My birthday is next weekend. I will be a quarter of a century old. I'm terrified... yet excited.

*I fly home to Texas for the holidays with my family on the 17th. Although my parents shattered my world and informed me today that they'll be getting a fake Christmas tree (I'm all about the real), I absolutely cannot wait to be home with my family to do all of our lovely holiday things together. Christmas movies, decorating the tree, cooking and eating 'til we burst, Christmas Eve mass... it's what the holidays are all about :)

Two posts in one day is shocking. I'm off to dinner. Au revoir, my friends!

my ladies, my friends... my girls.

I am a true, firm believer in having amazing girlfriends.

There are friends who come and go, friends who you've recently met and are just getting to know, friends who you can maybe call for a girls night out but not for a no-makeup-early-morning brunch... these friends are good to have and are wonderful at bringing you lots of smiles and fun times. As much as they're your friends, they aren't your girls.

Your girls who have seen you through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad. The girls who you know that you could call in tears and that they would do anything in their power to right whatever is wrong, and who would show up at your door with wine and junk food to cheer you up. The girls who are gently honest, managing to find a way to tell you what you need to hear without making you hurt more than you already do. The girls who have seen you through the crazy nights out and the lazy nights in. The girls who are the first in mind when you think of you want to stand by you when you get married, have babies, and get older together.

I'm lucky enough to have a close handful of my girls. They are all wonderfully beautiful and special to me in their own individual ways, which is why I'm so lucky to have them in my life.

One can make me laugh and laugh and knows just which Friends quote to throw my way at random, or to always text stories about how our parents need our dogs to practice on for future grandchildren. She has known me the longest and maybe knows me the best. We've danced through high school football games, picked up late night Sonic and driven all over our tiny hometown, spent more time watching Gilmore Girls in our respective living rooms than we could ever remember to count, and had more of the hilarious-to-us moments and memories that you can really only share with those friends who have known you since forever. We can hold conversations with each other while looking at each other in the mirror while putting on makeup, and I will never judge her for loving peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. She is an amazing and wonderfully beautiful person, inside and out, who is honest and truthful and trustworthy... and I love her for that:

Another never fails to brighten my day with her loving and kind words, always unintentionally exuding this perfect happiness, which comes from how full she is of love and happiness and God in her own life. She shows care, concern for and devotion to her friends, which is more appreciated than she will ever, ever know. When I first met Brian, she was the first to know all of the details, and has supported me through all of my ups and downs of moving across the country. Today has been an emotional rollercoaster (hello, girl week), and right when I needed someone, my phone rang, and it was her. We talked and laughed and cried for an hour and a half, and when we hung up, I felt lighter and happier and uplifted-- she is the special, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime kind of friend who can do that to you, and she has saved my heart more times that I can count. I love her sweet soul to pieces:

Another who has the exact same chipper, positive, happy personality and outlook on life that she had when I first met her in 6th grade orchestra, with me at the cello and her at the violin. Girlfriend is so amazingly intelligent and is currently in med school (so proud of her!), and you better believe that I will do everything I can to see her graduate! We always always make a date to meet up when I'm at home, and I always know to set aside at least three hours for our coffee/lunch/catch-up extravaganza, and I look forward to it from the second that we say goodbye to the second that we meet again. She is just a wonderful person inside and out, and we have the kind of friendship where we just pick right back up where we left off the last time that we were together:

This lady has known me since kindergarten-- we met fighting over a red crayon and were inseparable from there on out. We were together through all of the dramatics of school-- first crushes, first kisses, first breakups. Skinned knees and broken hearts, Barbie dream houses and riding our bikes to the neighborhood park without our parents (big stuff). I'll never forget the time she tried to roller blade down Suicide Hill or when we were walking her dog and he ran into a neighbor's backyard, complete with a huge dog, and we ran to the front door screaming to call 911. We hit big bumps in middle school and went our separate ways in high school, but once we grew up and realized that it was okay for our worlds to be different, I was one of the first to be called when her sweet baby Abigail Rose was born. We still talk and see each other and even though we may not be quite as close as we are with others, we will both always be each others firsts best friends, and that's a pretty fabulous title to hold:

As I stated earlier, this morning was a bit rough. I'm missing my friends at home so much, and talking to Keegan brightened my afternoon. It made me think about how truly blessed I am to have such wonderful women in my life. I wouldn't trade my friendships with these ladies for the world, not only because we've been through so much together, but simply because they're my girls. And really, how fun is it to go through life without your girls right there with you, along for the crazy, fun, tragically fabulous ride?

Delusional from all of The Stress.

Stress is not my friend... my friends.

When I get overwhelmed, I stress and get anxious and testy and irritable and just... every negative characteristic that a normally lovely person could embody. As of right now, at 9:18pm on Monday before Thanksgiving night, I am 52 kinds of stressed. It has made me a not pretty person the last few days, and that is something that I am surely not proud of. I'm working on balance, but again, like the stress, I don't do balance very well... which often leads to the stress.

There are so many things that I have to get done this week that I sat down at work today and had to make a list. The really sad thing is, I had so many things that needed to get done spinning around in my head that I couldn't even figure out what to write down first. While I may not handle The Stress well, I am Queen of the Lists. Lists make my world go round, and with so much calmness and togetherness and rationale. Lists just make sense, and I'm good at them. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but my boss has told me on multiple occasions that my ability to organize and give a sense of order to things is/was one of my selling points. As easy as it is for me to make the lists, it's actually getting things on the list checked off that freaks me out.

(Goodness gracious could I possibly be rambling anymore about absolutely nothing? Bless your heart if you're still reading.)

Anywho, my list. What I have to get done between now and Saturday afternoon created a three page list. Three pages, my friends. There's shopping and returning things, wrapping gifts, running errands, going to the grocery store two more times, cooking dinners for us, packing lunches, making my cornbread dressing and stuffed mushrooms for Thanksgiving, and making my five appetizers that I (crazily/nuttily/insanely) volunteered to bring to the baby shower Saturday. Overwhelmed is an understatement. Brian's been great at helping and not complaining a bit, but he's also studying for the CFA exam (which he takes December 4th-- prayers, fingers crossed, wishful thoughts-- any/all of the above would be so appreciated!), so I feel guilty asking for too much help... so I'm powering through it and trying to be Super Girlfriend, which basically means I will collapse in an exhausted heap and stay in my pajamas all day Sunday.

I'd just like to note that this is all done in the name of love and good impressions. Brian's mom's best friends are hosting the shower, so all of his family and family friends will be there (it's a couples shower, so legitimately everyone). Even though I've met them all numerous, countless times before, I'm still geared up with making all of the apps because I envision everyone snacking on my crostini and rosemary skewers, saying "Wow, these are a-ma-zing. Who made these?! Katie did? Wow Bri-- you're such a lucky guy!!"

Perhaps I'm delusional, but it's thoughts like these that I entertain myself with that keep me a-goin'!

A girl's gotta have her shoes!

My happy place has finally been found. After (literally) weeks of boot hunting, I have found two pairs of boots (basic black and brown) that I absolutely adore.

Let me preface this post by sharing the fact that I am one of the most indecisive people on the face of the earth. I am a little nervous about the day when I'll have to start planning a wedding, because Oh, have mercy! I can only imagine all of the decisions to be made.

As a general rule, I check out most things online before I actually make the purchase. If something is proven (or supported in a general consensus amongst other shopaholics such as myself) to be worthy of purchase, I typically have no problem swiping my card. I'm a big fan of investment pieces, such as spending a bit more on a good coat or a pair of boots in a sensible color that can be worn with many outfits, in many different situations, on many different occasions. As much as I may love a bright red peacoat or taxicab yellow rainboots, I know in my heart of hearts that a) as cute as they may look on that celebrity that I spotted them on, there's a low chance that I could pull the look off, and b) I don't have the option of owning 10 different coats and 10 different pairs of rainboots that may match whatever I need them to match for the day. And so I shop sensibly and buy what I like and think is cute and flattering, but I also always always keep in mind how much wear I can get out of the piece, how sensible it is, and how long it will last me. In this case, once I'm home with my purchase, I'm giddy and gleeful and peek in the shopping bag like a kid checking out their new toys-- I'm in love.

However, if I have doubts about a potential purchase or, even worse, buyers remorse after the fact, I dwell. I dwell and I hem and I haw over it until Brian reaches his Limit of Toleration (which I am SO good at testing) and tells me to please just make the return that I know I want to make. And so I do. I return it and feel less guilty and know that I made the right decision, and that all is right with the world.

And then I go shopping again and the cycle starts all over again.

When I started out on my boot hunt, I was desperate for a pair of brown riding boots. Now, if I had an unlimited budget, I'd have these babies on my feet as we speak:

In a moment of shoppers excitement, I sent Brian the link one day at work. His immediate response? "You'd better get cracking on selling that book." What a buzzkill-er. Anyways, considering I do not currently have $300-400 of disposable income on my hands, I did not make a Frye purchase. However, I cannot honestly promise that I won't strong-arm my someday babies into the whole equestrian activity so Mama can wear her Frye boots to their practices. And seriously? They have a kids line. Small Frye. They're the tiniest, most adorable little boots ever, and I almost cannot stand the cuteness. Small Frye = genius on the marketing front.

Knowing that my loved ones would appreciate Christmas gifts and that my student loans must continue to be paid, I moved on to more budget-friendly options (i.e. I hit up Macy's and DSW). In all honesty, as much as I love to shop, shoe shopping stresses me out. It all goes back to the sensibility question of the considered shoe. Yes, that is an a-ma-zing red pump, but where on earth where you wear them? Do you own anything that matches that? Well of course red is your color, but can they match that color red for the cast you'll need when you fall and break a limb because have you SEEN that heel? So I stand there and debate and stress myself out and leave empty-handed because my poor little mind can only handle so much in a day.

Macy's and DSW are widely varied in their salesperson tactics-- while DSW is just a big open room with tons of shoes and no salespeople to be found, Macy's employees (and I mean nothing negative to any of you who may be employed by Macy's) have tended to be hawks when it comes to shoe-selling. A co-worker told me that they work off of commission, which would explain why they hover while you browse. No offense, but when I'd like to try on a shoe, I'll let you know. Also, when I tell you what I'd like to try on, please do not bring me different shoes in different colors because you're sure I'll like them as well. Lastly, once I have a shoe and the connection looks promising, leave me be for a few moments. If I'm making this purchase, I've gotta bond with the footwear.

After ordering a pair of boots online and returning them... after buying a pair of boots from Macy's and returning them... after perusing the internet for hours upon hours for the perfect fall/winter boots that I could wear to work/dinner/to walk around comfortably, with jeans/work pants/tights/leggings, under bottoms or with legs tucked into them... I came away with these:

(Excuse the "zoom in" part. I had to do a print screen and crop this because I couldn't just copy/paste... all in the name of love and fashion, my dears).This has been an arduous journey, my friends. My poor boyfriend, who I'm sure I will owe for the forseeable future, has been dragged/tagged along to so many different shoe stores, all of which had previously ended in leaving with zero purchases. As I paced and made laps around the displays, he curled into a corner playing Angry Birds, insisting that he felt weird camping out in Women's Shoes... and he probably did. Good sport that he is, though, he survived and fully supports my purchases. After the intensity of this search, I fully intend on wearing the ever-loving soles out of these boots, and just as soon as I get an outfit rounded up to wear them, I'll share the look with y'all!

Funny that a pair of really nice shoes
makes us feel good in our heads-
at the extreme opposite end of our bodies.
-Levende Waters

Oh, how I love the Christmas cards...

Christmas is probably my favorite time of year. Scratch that-- it is ABSOLUTELY my favorite time of year! All of the decorations, Christmas music, the festiveness (red and green are both SO my colors), the cheery spirit that just seems to take (most) people over, the true meaning and reason of Christmas... and the Christmas cards. Holy goodness am I a fan of the Christmas card. Growing up, I was a compulsive mailbox-checker, so excessively much that I would race to see what mail might have come. Catalogs, shopping coupons... all good, exciting things. But a Christmas card could just seal the deal on a good day, or turn a bad day right-side up.

When I was younger, the photo Christmas cards were just starting to become the "in" thing. Nowadays, I swear that's the only thing that I ever see! I love getting to see how much families have changed and grown from year to year, and this year I am fully jumping on the Shutterfly photo Christmas card bandwagon! Now that I've moved away from home and see my friends and family so rarely, I absolutely cannot wait to pick out my Christmas cards for this season and get them in the mail! Since it's a little unofficial to send a card with a picture of me and Brian (i.e. there's no way that would go over with The Boy quite yet), I fully intend to stick a picture of our beloved Boxer (at home, in Texas, because no, we still do not have a dog), Lucy, accessorized with some sort of Christmas goodness, on the front of my card and deck some people's halls!

Shutterfly offers so many perfectly Christmas-y options for your cards. Even better, they're offering an A-MA-ZING holiday card deal for bloggers! I'm not going to share my pick quite yet, but these are just a few of my favorites!

I mean seriously-- how stinking adorable are these?! In addition to the countless options for Christmas cards, Shutterfly also has tons of other products-- I'm a personal fan of the following:

Everyone's favorite part-- the Christmas cards!

I'm a big fan of the personalized wall calendar. Hello! to using all of the pictures that I take!! http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars

What better to decorate your card than personalized address labels?! http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/address-labels

Get moving, my friends! Considering the stores all skipped Thanksgiving and moved right from Halloween to Christmas, there's not much time to dawdle!!

Celtics, Bruins, sweet potato fries... Oh yes, and free Christmas-ness!!

There are a ton more Celtics pictures on my camera, so as soon as I find my camera cord, I'll post them. Until then, here is my best phone picture:

I mean, was I right or was I right about our amazing seats? Totally could have run out onto the floor.

In other news, how on earth is it already Sunday night?

When I still lived at home, Sunday was my absolute favorite day of the week. My mom would have a pot roast or something else deliciously yummy cooking away in the oven all day, football would be playing non-stop on the TV, we would all be winding down from the weekend yet gearing up for the week ahead... it always just felt like our family day.

Now that Brian and I live together, I'm working really hard to continue that Sunday tradition. While Brian sleeps in, I usually hit the gym pretty early, pick-up our coffees on the way home, fix us breakfast, then settle down for a bit to plan my day. It's when I do my laundry, run my errands, do the grocery shopping, do a bit of cleaning, and always always have a good dinner on the table that night. We get all cozy and watch a few of our DVR shows, then head to bed. Yummy candles are burning all day, the bathroom gets cleaned, the sheets get changed, the floors are vacuumed, the laundry is done... and the house smells like whatever has been cooking all day. My Mama (and MawMaw) would be SO proud.

However, as much as I love Sundays, I do NOT look forward to Monday mornings. Today I actually skipped the gym and slept in until 9:30, which felt SO good. Remember that little cold that I mentioned I felt coming on? Yea, it turned into a full-fledged sinus infection and wiped me out this weekend. Once we got home on Friday night, I curled up into bed and did not move. Brian made me tea and soup, and I knocked out super early. Saturday morning, I thought that I was feeling a lot better, so I headed to the gym. Bad decision on several accounts. After getting home and showering, I felt absolutely miserable. Negative to this? There was no sleeping the day away-- Brian and I had tickets to head into Boston and see the Bruins play (happy birthday to him!), so I had to heavily medicate myself and tough it out.

On the bright side of going in, we had dinner at Boston Beer Works, and it was SO good. My beer of choice was a Bluebeery Ale, complete with two heaping spoonfuls of Maine blueberries added to the glass-- so so so good. We also ordered a basket of sweet potato fries with an a-ma-zing raspberry aioli dipping sauce:

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks sweet potato fries are heavenly. Best part? They were for sure homemade and thin and crispy-- love! My dinner was a salad with chopped chicken, black beans... it was quite yummy. Then we were off to the game!

While our seats were not quite as impressive as Wednesday night's Celtics game, we still had so much fun (for non-Bostonites, the Celtics and the Bruins both play at TD Banknorth Garden, making this our second visit this week). We decided that Bruins games can be a lot of fun because, and I mean this 100% nicely, a lot of working class people (i.e. fun and wild and crazy!) can afford tickets. Patriots and Red Sox tickets can get astronomical, and Celtics tickets aren't cheap either. Bruins tickets just run a bit cheaper though, and boy do the pure Bostonians come out. It's such a fun experience-- I can't wait to take my Daddy and brother along with us someday.

And now, for the Christmas-ness. One of my favorite bloggers, Kelsey from The Seattle Smiths, posted today that Shutterfly is giving away 50 Christmas cards FOR FREE to bloggers! Heck yes for that! They have a ton of new designs, so if you review the designs on your blog, they're all about feeling the Christmas spirit and sharing the new designs with bloggy world. You have zero to lose and really-- who doesn't love Christmas cards?!

Happy Sunday, my friends. Enjoy what's left of your weekend!!

Ants in my pants? Nah... let's try a spider.


As I've touched on this past week, I don't sleep much. Most mornings I'm lucky to stumble to the bathroom and not encounter any obstacles along the way, such as a lone sneaker or pillow. When I think about it, I try to lay my clothes out the night before, especially for casual Friday-- I'll always wear jeans and a cute top. So I set out my jeans last night, draping them over a bag full of things to be returned, at the foot of the bed on the floor, and climbed into my bed, knowing that my jeans would be nice and ready for me in the morning.

Fast forward to this morning. After my shower/makeup/hair process is finished, I wake Brian up and hurry him along, feed Otis (my beta, the other half of Milo & Otis... RIP Milo), pull on my jeans and start to make the bed (once awake, I'm very good at multi-tasking at the glorious hour of 5:40am). As I'm smoothing out the sheets, I notice that something on my thigh is itchy and I can kind of feel something through my jeans, a small bump perhaps, when I run my hand over the spot. The more I touch it, the more it itches, until it occurs to me that something. is. In. My. PANTS! TMI or not, I yank off my jeans, slap my hand to the spot and there, my friends, in the palm of my hand, is a spider.

I was horrified. Legitimately horrified. Had my throat note been so sore, I most assuredly would have screamed (it's like The Spot has a sense that I'm writing about it because it JUST started to itch again). Grabbing my jeans, I charge into the bathroom to inform Brian that a spider was in my pants. He started to laugh at first, thinking I was joking, but as he really saw my hysterical-ness (and the spider in my hand), he quieted down. And maybe gagged.

In all honesty, it was a tiny spider but still-- spider in my jeans. And we live on the 4th floor of a 10 floor condo complex-- it's not like we're in the sticks where insects run free. Spider in my jeans. That was NOT the best way to get my morning goin' today.

Moving right along...

For the past few years, I've stubbornly avoided getting a flu shot because I believed that I wouldn't get sick and that if I did, a simple one-time shot wasn't going to stop the sick germs from invading. Of course, I always got sick anyways, but there was a certain amount of pride that I held on to for not jumping on the flu shot bandwagon.

This year, since I'm working at a childrens hospital and all, I bit the bullet, swallowed my pride, and got the shot.

Guess who's sick, my friends.


In all fairness, I knew it was inevitable. Brian, the worst sick patient ever, has been battling the beginnings of a cold since Wednesday-ish. He informed me yesterday that it was just so bad at work, he had to close his eyes for a moment at his desk. (sidenote: I chose to leave out the part that I take daily breaks to the ladies room to take a deep cleansing breath and rest my eyes for a moment. These few minutes restore my sanity and hey, it's better than dozing in front of my computer!) This is where bad sick Brian comes in. He has never missed a day of work due to sickness, which I think is... sick. I don't milk sick days by any means, but if I'm miserable and the thought of commuting in, sitting at my desk for 8 hours and commuting an hour home on public transportation is enough to slay me... then I'll consider it. There are some days you just need to lay in bed and mope around and be sick in order to get over it... that's how I am anyways. Plus there's the whole infecting your coworkers issue, which I suppose is a bit rude. So instead of resting and recuperating, Brian tries to power through, while I get to be Nurse Katie and provide the soup, Diet Coke, blankets, tv remote, warm towels from the dryer, craved Kraft mac and cheese... you catch my drift. And I'm good with that-- totally signed up for it when we did the whole moving in together, pre-For Better or For Worse decision.

The fact that I'm sick on top of Brian being sick is a whole new ball game though. I am a very openly honest terrible sick person. I have certain soups that I want to drink out of certain mugs, certain drinks out of certain cups (Big Blue from Walmart which moved with me from Texas to Boston and which NOBODY else can ever drink out of), certain blankets that I want while wearing certain pajamas... I mean, if you're ever going to be catered on, it should be when you're sick right? You just don't feel good and want someone to take care of you, which is precisely how I feel today. Sore throat, achey, headache, feverish... I basically should not be at work, but since I'm saving time for Christmas, I'm breaking my "no infecting coworkers rule" and sticking it out. However, you had better believe that by 4:30 this afternoon I will be in my pajama pants and a sweatshirt, tucked into bed watching Oprah.

On brighter, non-sick related notes, I bought a coat last night (I'm trying to spare you from only reading about my/our sickness because... ew. Just ew). Ann Taylor Loft, my store of love, had three super coats, regularly between $160-200, on sale for $75!! I couldn't believe it. With all of the Weight Watchers success, none of my older coats fit, so I was more than happy to plunk down $75 for a good, heavy (and cute!) wool coat.

I cannot think of much else to say and am honestly just ready for the weekend. Despite my after work pajama plans, I have to head to Target tonight to get a few random things for my dad's birthday, which is Monday, so I can get his little box in the mail tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I have my meeting early, then my plan is to hit up Pier 1 and Michaels to return a few things and check out *fingers crossed* deals on Halloween stuff. Then it's back to the condo to relax for a bit, then we're heading into Boston for an afternoon around the city, dinner, and the Bruins game. My main reason for Bruins excitement is that I recently bought a new Bruins top to wear to the games, so I'll be stylin'.

Here's to hoping that our colds go away by tomorrow night. If I have to be in a freezing hockey rink for two hours feeling the way that I feel right this moment, Brian will be in a world of pain.

Happy Friday!!

Courtside Celtics seats? Yes, please!!

So I'm sitting at my desk today, twiddling my thumbs and counting down the minutes 'til I can run to my shuttle, when a message pops up in my inbox from one of my friend/co-workers/assistants to one of our big doctors: "Celtics Tickets". We email all day long, so as I opened it, I figured it was nothing special.


"B has three tickets to tonight's Celtics game. First come, first serve!"

Hands shaking, I rapid-fire replied, asking how much they were asking for. "They're a gift and free! Do you want them-- you were the first to reply!"

Do I want them? Are we for real here? Of course! So I asked her to hold them while I called Brian to make sure going wasn't going to interfere with his study time tonight. He gave the go-ahead, and they were mine! Now, I am not a lucky person. I never win contests or scratch off tickets, and I definitely am not the first to "win" things like this... which is why I could not stop smiling as I walked downstairs to pick the tickets up! Melissa was super excited that I'd been the one to get the tickets, and I thanked the doctor profusely as he happily handed them over.

Once I was back at my desk, I took a look at the tickets to see where we'd be sitting (i.e. Brian wanted to know-- I likely would never have thought/cared to look). Hm... Section 2, Row 3-- those sound like decent seats. Just to be sure, I found the Garden seating chart for Celtics games... and holy moly goodness. Courtside, my friends! I might have gone to the (private, single) bathroom and did a little happy dance in the mirror. Brian was shocked-- they're A-MA-ZING seats. My first thought was to email the doctor again, just to say thank you one more time, and he responded with "You're very welcome, Katherine. Make sure to take a camera-- these are prime picture-taking seats!" Will do, B... will do.

Now that we're back at the condo, Brian and I just looked at the seats again. I might have said "So basically, if I wanted to run onto the court from our seats, it would be totally possible." And it is. I could totally do it. The game is ALSO the ESPN game tonight, so Brian's convinced that we'll be on national television-- I'll be wearing a green Celtics t-shirt (that we're buying on the way to the train because Why on earth would I own a Celtics t-shirt?) with a white long sleeve shirt underneath. Look for me!

We're meeting his cousin for the game (although I'd love to have brought along my dad or my brother more than just about anything), and I'm pretty sure it's made both of their weeks. Brian just informed me that he's more excited than a little boy waiting for his Big Wheels on Christmas morning. Uh huh. I'll take lots of pictures and post them asap!

Happy Hump Day, indeed!

Whatever happened to hot chocolate with marshmallows?

As I've mentioned here before, I sleep very little.

Even when I do go to bed at a decent hour, there is something about an alarm sounding at 4:40am that's just jarring to my system. Previous to these crazy hours, I was NOT a coffee drinker. I LOVED the smell of coffee beans, coffee brewing, the coffee aisle at the grocery store... but never the taste. I'd often get some type of tastebud-friendly hot beverage to look like I was a grown-up drinking coffee, while I was really reveling in my coconut hot chocolate or caramel apple cider. However, since I now awake before the sun, I pump the coffee in all of it's caffeine-fueled glory into my body as quickly (and early) as possible.

Brian and I always stop at a Dunkin Donuts on our way to the train, but I just wasn't feeling it today. Since I'd only ever had coffee with enough cream and sugar to turn the drink a lovely light caramel color, I always order a flavored syrup to mask the coffee taste (still love the smell, can't love the taste). The coffee craving just wasn't there this morning, so I skipped it while Brian ordered his.

It's cold again today, and as I waited on the platform for my train with the brisk wind whipping around me, I felt alive... fresh... rejuvenated! "Coffee is for fools with no true energy! Forget caffeine-- high on life is exactly what I am, yessir!" The train pulls in, I grab a seat, scroll through my blogs (good morning, Big Mama!), so alert and annoyingly wide awake, smiling at all of my fellow (oh so grumpy) commuters. With a bounce in my step, I flounce from the train to my shuttle, perkily greeting my favorite bus driver and finding a seat. And then we idled. And wait... and we wait some more. We probably sat there for a good 15 minutes, waiting for more passengers to load on. By the time we finally pulled out of the parking lot, I was passed out cold.

After continuing to nod off three more times in my 20 minute commute to work, I deemed a morning stop at Starbucks absolutely necessary. Now, while I am a fan of Starbucks over DD, no questions asked, I just can't bring myself to rationalize spending $5 a day on a cup of coffee. For that reason, Starbucks is more of a treat than a necessity. Knowing that my Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte is about to pumping through me, I might have quickly scurried/jaywalked across the street to the Starbucks next to my building. After I placed my order and moved to the side to wait for my drink, I noticed who was waiting next to me.

Now, at this point in my story, it would be really fun if I could say "Giselle and baby Benjamin!" or "Mark Wahlberg!" or (my personal favorite) "Jenn, Ben and their girls!" (Boston-related celebs, my friends). Fun, yes. What actually happened... no. Not quite. Would have made for a fun Tuesday morning though. And Jenn is always running into Starbucks while Ben is off filming movies-- girlfriend needs the caffeine to keep up with those babies!

So yea. I notice the group of customers who are also waiting for their drinks... and they're no older than 9-10 years old. Um... what? When did KIDS start drinking Starbucks? Am I that out of the loop with the trends? I mean, Starbucks does have a handful of kid-friendly drinks: variations of hot chocolate, apple juice, caramel apple spice, all of which I would be happy to drink. But these kids were hard. core.

"Grande Awake tea Latte for Vivi!"
"Tall espresso Macchiato for James!"
"Tall non-fat peppermint mocha, no whip, for Bryn!"

Y'all, I had to pick my jaw up off of the ground. Act like little kids, for goodness sakes! Is it just the trendiness of walking into school holding a Starbucks cup? Because I NEVER see little ones waiting in line at DD for a drink. Munchkins, yes. Espresso, no. And for the love of pete's sake-- the non-fat, no-whip girl was skin.and.bones. There's no telling who's coaching her to take all of the goodness out of her Starbucks indulgence, but I can for sure say that it was NOT necessary. Needless to say, I was a little bit thrown off by my fellow customers this morning. If they're drinking this much caffeine now, how much will they need to get going when they're old and almost 25, like me?

Ah, well. God bless the teachers who have to deal with their little caffeine-flooded, espresso-driven bodies today. By the end of today, they might be needing something stronger than a stop at Starbucks can fix.

My (frozen) Texan blood.

It is COLD in Boston today.

Since we went to bed at 10 last night, I actually woke up/got up without fighting the alarm this morning and had enough time to turn on the local news, which turned out to be a very good thing because HELLO, 30 DEGREES when we left this morning. I kid you not, my Southern blood was frozen. Bundled up or not, it's still a shock to step outside on the first really chilly day and wait for the dreaded realization that you can officially not expect to be warm, outside of your car or house, again for the next four months, at the very least.

By the time I'd done all of my commuting from the car to the train to the shuttle to my building, I truly could not feel my toes. On top of the frozen, I got a pedicure Saturday afternoon and chose this as my color:

So my pale, pale footsies were looking mighty scary, in contrast with this purpley color (which actually looks almost black on the aforementioned pale, pale feet). It took me a good hour to shake the chill and warm up a bit.

Now, I can't really complain. If you gave me the option of living in a desert or a tundra forever, I'd choose the tundra, hands down, for the following reasons:

My hair manages the cold much better than the heat and humidity.
My body looks much better in jeans and sweaters and long sleeve tops than shorts and tank tops (hello again to the paleness).
Holiday socks are one of my top five favorite things ever, and 4th of July socks don't look nearly as cute as turkeys and Christmas trees.
It is so much more cozy and comfy to come home at the end of the day and change into warm relaxing clothes, versus the shorts and tshirts that I resort to in the summer months.
I am pale and my skin does not like the sun. I am not a fan of sweating/"glowing" simply by walking out of my front door. I spent the first 21 years of my life in Texas proving these points.

On the bright side of cold, the (someday) homemaker in me comes out. My downtime at work is spent scouring food websites for stick-to-our-bones soups and casseroles and pasta dishes... which means my gym time increases as well. The crafty person inside of me that likes to hide away in the warmer months suddenly appears, proposing such lofty ambitions like baking cinnamon rolls for my mom's entire department, handmaking Christmas ornaments for friends, finding decoration ideas and turning myself into Miss DIY. My Christmas card list has been turned into an Excel spreadsheet, and my own wish list, as well as my list of gifts for the people that I will buy for, is in full force.

Come springtime, I'll be exhausted-- I have no doubt in my mind about that. Until then, I'll bundle up in my sweaters and jeans and boots and scarves and love the cold while it's here.

Going along with my need to cook as if we're never going to eat again, supper tonight is Paula Deen's Goulash (majorly modified for both healthyness and servings) and Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits (major love already, and it's only 1:30). If I can remember, I'll try to post pictures-- my goal is to someday keep a food blog, just as soon as I have a better camera... and a camera cord... and a computer whose USB ports actually like to recognize what's plugged in.

I also have tons of pictures from the past couple of weeks but am currently on the hunt for my camera cord. As soon as I find it, the pictures will be up! I also have tales from our birthday/Halloween weekend, so I'll hopefully get that posted tonight.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with two pictures off of my phone:

The "BOO" idea that I found at The Garner Family blog! The letters have been finished for a couple of weeks but I finally hung them up Friday afternoon. Ah, well-- better late than never!

And Brian's Heath Bar Birthday Trifle. This thing almost did me in yesterday afternoon, but it turned out to be ridiculously good (if I do say so myself) and SO stinkin' rich. Birthday Boy approved!

Happy Monday, y'all!

Tight pants make for a moody Monday.

So that whole "Woohoo! I indulged in all of my cravings and ate my way through my weekend and have ZERO guilt or regret!" thing has come back to bite me in the bum.

As enjoyable as this weekend was, I am totally, completely, 100% feeling the after effects of eating so unhealthy. First of all, I slept terribly last night-- I couldn't get comfortable, tossed and turned, basically never fell into a good deep sleep. Once I woke up (at 4:40, in case it has been forgotten how early my mornings start everyday) and headed to the shower, I just felt sluggish/nauseous/icky. After swapping my comfy pajama pants for my (slightly uncomfortable/tight) work pants, it dawned on me that the most likely reason that I feel so gross this morning is the amount of junk that I ate this weekend. Since I've joined WW, I haven't let myself just throw all caution (and points) to the wind eat whatever I wanted like I did this weekend, so I never eat a ton of unhealthy stuff all at once-- more like here and there, and in reasonable portions so that it's not unhealthy, just a splurge (the wise way to do this-- eat healthy the majority of the time so that you can indulge when you'd like to-- duh, Katie).

***This is the point where the lightbulbs start flashing on above me***

Now that I DID have a couple of days where I just ate whatever I wanted... I don't miss it. It is really hard (and weird) for me to believe that my body was used to eating that way. Greasy cheeseburger? Sure! Doritos? Love it! Salty tortilla chips and queso from Chili's? Don't even THINK about taking that away before I scrape the life out of that skillet. My body never used to freak out when I ate unhealthy, because I ate that way all. of. the. time. Since I've completely changed my diet and my lifestyle, I've really come to see how different I feel. I have more energy, I feel healthier, I obviously look healthier... I guess it really does help to eat your veggies.

Now don't get me wrong. I love food. LOVE food. I love to cook and bake and try new recipes and make old faithful recipes and could spend all day reading cooking magazines, cookbooks, and watching the Food Network. Food makes me so happy, but I don't NEED food to BE happy-- big change, my friends. New healthy lifestyle or not, I will eat Velveeta, Mexican food, and pasta until the day I die. It's just all in moderation (biggest lesson of my life).

There was no intention when I started writing this little blurb of it being 100% food-focused, so if you were bored to tears (or if you actually made it this far), props to you! This was more of a journal post than a bloggy post.

I am also happy to report that I have chugged 3 liters of water (I might swim home) and unhappy to report that my tight pants are still making me moody. This, on top of an already manic Monday, make me way too happy that I brought my gym clothes to work with me.

Comfy running pants, here I come!

Our weekend = food. That is all.

This weekend has been just what I personally ordered/requested/demanded of us as a couple. There has been lots and lots of good food, plenty of relaxation (both together and in separate rooms-- let's face it, couples just need that every now and again), and just time to catch up and take a deep breath... finally.

Yesterday morning I was at the gym when they opened at 7 and had a great workout-- I ended up using the Arc Trainer for about 30 minutes, then managed to book it on the treadmill and turn out a 27 minute 5k, which definitely beats my "official" 5k time of 29 minutes! After showering and getting all prettied up for the day, I headed to Old Navy to return two tops that I bought a couple of weeks ago and just ended up not being all that crazy about. After browsing for a bit, I stocked up on a few basics: a white ruffle henley top (cute under cardigans), basic henley-style shirts in purple and black, a hot pink fleece vest (for $5!!), and a super cute pair of orange pajama pants with black cats (and with tiny green eyes-- love!).

From there, Brian and I headed to Macys in search of khakis (for him) and boots (for me). Sadly, my search was unsuccessful, as I am pretty lost in general as to how to decide on a pair of boots and the Macy's shoe department was an absolute mob scene. The rest of our evening entailed seeing Paranormal Activity 2 (still creepy but not as scary as the first, probably because it was filmed in the same format and you kind of knew what to expect), and stopping for dinner at a semi-local restaurant called Not Your Average Joe's. We split guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips for an appetizer and our dinners were Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak (me) and Steak Tips (Brian). It was phe-nom-en-al (as always-- it's for sure one of our favorite spots). We came home, watched TV and had a bit of wine, then headed to bed.

Today has continued the whole theme of perfection, beginning with me sleeping in until 9:30. Y'all, for me on a weekend, that's like I've slept the whole day away. I headed to the gym around 10:30 for a quick workout, then we were off to Chili's to satisfy a craving that I've had for the last week:

That's right, my friends. Not only did we have chips, salsa and queso, but I had this coupon for it! Free food just makes it so much more enjoyable :) And that whole thing about this weekend being all about food... after plowing through the cheesy wonderfulness, we split a Mushroom Swiss Burger and fries, which I have been craving for the last 10 months... no kidding. Chili's isn't all that Weight Watchers friendly in general, so not only do we rarely stop there, but when we do I'm pretty strict about what I order, so to say this indulgence was badly needed is the understatement of the year!

The rest of my day has been spent in bed, in my comfy pajamas, watching Lifetime movies. Love it! I'm off now to throw together our supper-- chicken enchiladas with a black bean and brown rice dish (I figured we'd go out with a bang, after the way we've eaten all weekend).

Since this was indeed the most boring blog post ever, a play by play of my weekend, I promise I'll work on having something a little more interesting soon.

Nothing a good bar of chocolate can't fix...

I just realized that somewhere between last week's PMS shopping spree/semi-binge and right now, a half of a Dove Chocolate Bar with Almonds went missing.

Also chocolate-related, a co-worker has been home in Europe for two and a half weeks and (because she hearts me dearly and I over-explain things to her out of the goodness/kindness of my heart, no matter how long it takes), she brought me this:

I have no idea what type of chocolate it is, other than the fact that it's very high in cocoa because it has fewer calories, according to her (girlfriend knows my never-ending journey to drop the pounds-- she even remembered across the world!). She's just the sweetest person-- she's a bit older than my mom and is always very concerned when I have even the slightest cough, if I look too tired, if I'm looking a bit pale... Anna is all over it.

Also, the best props to Anna: When she hugged me and said she'd missed me so much while she was gone, she stepped back, looked me up and down, and proclaimed "My goodness-- you've lost even more of the weight! You look like a statue!" with the biggest smile on her face (judging from her excitement, I think looking statuesque is a good thing, though I picture like, Giselle Bundchen when I think of "statuesque," though if the comparison is there, I will run with it like the wind).

Today has been one of those days that makes me want to lay on the floor and cry.

The floor of the research building that I work on is really high tech/top notch, and our conference room is dedicated to the previous program director (who was also quite a big deal). Because everyone wants to use the prestigious conference room, it's always booked.

Well, today our little computer just decided to have its own temper tantrum and up and quit working. I've spent the afternoon taking accusations that it's my fault, being questioned as to why I can't fix it (hello, do I LOOK like the Help Desk?), and sending out emails to the meeting coordinators who have the room for the rest of the week to inform them that the essential computer is not working.

Yea, it's been one of those days.

Earlier this morning, my evening was going to consist of going shopping for new work clothes, hitting the gym, and baking/cooking my night away while finishing up a Halloween craft on the side.

As of this very moment, I cannot wait to walk in my door, take a hot shower, and collapse into bed for a nap before I have to face the kitchen and put dinner together. Brian and I have plans to catch up on a lot of DVRd tv and eat our supper (apple bourbon pork tenderloin and parmesan orzo, anyone?) and relax in PJs in bed.

Sounds like a perfect night to me, particularly after the day I've had. And I'm not in a bad mood, although I've fought back tears approximately twelve times today. I just need some good comforting and relaxing tonight.

On a completely selfish note, keep my dad in your thoughts. He's in Houston today and tomorrow with my mom to find out if the frame on his leg can finally FINALLY, after two years, come off.

Thank y'all!

P.S. I'm totally hitting up that chocolate bar this evening.

I am my MaMaw

It has been a r-o-u-g-h week. I try really hard not to wish for time to hurry by, but sometimes you just really need the weekend to be here, and that time for me is now.

The good news is that this weekend is one of our "let's definitely do nothing" weekends, and I'm way pumped for that. Saturday (as of now) will consist of lots of college football, healthy-ish snacks (although I'd LOVE some Velveeta...), and date night. We're going shopping for work clothes, to dinner, and to see Paranormal Activity 2 (which I'm already expecting to ruin my already restless sleep for the next infinite amount of time).

Speaking of lack of sleep, I was moving really, really slowly this morning when I got off of my train to catch my shuttle to work. It was a struggle to climb the stairs, and my bag and lunch bag and coffee were just weighing my down. Mid-climb I realized a high school-age boy was walking really, really slowly too-- because of me. I smiled and said "Oh darlin', go ahead around me. I'm not moving too fast this morning."

And then I stopped and looked around, expecting to see my MaMaw because, Hello? When did I become her?

In addition to walking around oh-so-slow, guess what The Boy and I did last night for our fun and entertainment.

Give up?

We rolled a sandwich bag of coins that have been sitting on Brian's dresser for a really, really long time.

And on that note, I'll wrap things up. This is the reason the blog posts haven't been free-flowing lately. We've just been laying low and getting through the daily grind. Plus Brian has been studying for his CFA exam, so we're kind of buckling down and staying in in the evenings so he can get his readings and such done.

Hopefully I have something more exciting to report after this weekend!

Oh, how my mind can wander...

Today is my day of exhaustion.

The family that I nannied for when I first moved to Boston asked me to babysit last night so they could go to the theater. After checking to make sure they were NOT seeing Wicked (I would have been insanely jealous and therefore potentially NOT agreed to sit), I remembered how much I heart the kiddos and how long it had been since I'd seen them... and said yes. Despite what the rest of this post might suggest, I had a great time with the kids. We played dress up and I was a pirate who had to capture BatGirl and some Star Wars man with my special ruby necklace (ah, love them!), followed by dinner, stories, and bedtime.

Now, when I worked for the family, I could walk from my apartment to their house in 15 minutes on a sunny day (who knows how long on a snowy/icy/windy/rainy day); now that I've moved out of the city, the commute is about an hour and fifteen minutes by train. When confirming times and such, I stressed to the mom that I couldn't stay too late since I wake up before the sun in the mornings to get to work. She assured me that they have a rule to be home by 10 when a babysitter's there.

At 10:45 last night, I was still staring at the clock in their kitchen.

To make matters so, so much better, I started reading American Psycho a couple of days ago. (Sidenote: In my defense, it was in Brian's parents basement last summer and I thought "Ooh, sounds intense and thought-provoking. I'll give it a whirl." It was the most horrific, disturbing book I've ever opened. If I would have known what was truly going to happen once the pages started turning, I'd have left it in the basement.) So I'm sitting in the huge, dark, silent, decked-out-for-Halloween house, trying to convince myself that the noises I'm hearing are just the wind/animals outside/creaky pipes, thinking about every scary story I've heard since I moved to Boston, panicking about walking to the train IN THE DARK when I leave. They finally got home around10:50, paid me, and I BOLTED down their street to the train.

Having lived in Boston for three years now, I can assure you that taking the train past 10pm is one of the least safe/rewarding/enticing things that you can do. My dad has repeatedly said "Keep your guard up" forever, and that is literally all I could think of last night:

Stay in the well-lit spots
Be on the phone with someone if you're alone
Stand with crowds of people while waiting for the train, never off to the side
Sit near the conductor's window on the train

I was fine and safe and everything, but there are just certain types of people that ride the train after a certain time of night, and it's not the most safe-feeling place for a girl. At all. Brian knew my status and ETA, but as far as my parents were concerned, I was in bed watching TV and had been home for hours (for their own peace of mind). By the time Brian picked me up and we got back to the condo, it was 12:20.

I washed my face, crawled into bed, and burst into tears for the following reasons:

I had eaten a dinner of organic tortilla chips, an organic "Oreo", and a pink lemonade Jolly Rancher sucker. Brian made me dinner which I was too tired/it was too late to eat. I felt guilty and hungry and guilty again.

I was painfully aware that my alarm would be going off in 4 hours. Four hours, my friends.

I found a sticker on the seat of my jeans which one of the kiddos had so kindly attached while I cleaned up dinner dishes, which means the creepy train people saw it (as if they cared).

The creepy people on the train scared me.

My feet/back/eye hurt.

The psycho book made me sad for the fictional people IN the book.

My blubbering subsided, I reminded Brian that sometimes "these cries just need to happen", and sniffled myself to sleep. Needless to say, it was a rude awakening when that alarm went off this morning. Despite the last twelve hours, I put myself together this morning and actually don't feel quite as exhausted as I was expecting (I'm thinking that energy drop will occur riiiight about 1:30, my slow time of the day).

Starbucks is currently calling my name, and because I need a little pick-me-up today, I'm going to post a "Things I'm Loving Thursday" list... right after the caffeine kicks in.

Be back soon!

Staying Southern

Today is Flu Shot Day at work for me, and I jumped on the bandwagon to get one.

(Sidenote: It may sound terrible, but a decent portion of my rationale to do this was getting away from my desk for a bit. On the necessity side, I've already been sick three times between the end of summer and about two weeks ago, so I figured the darn shot couldn't do me any worse.)

I've always avoided the flu shot in the past because I typically get sick once when the weather gets cooler, and then that's it. Well, between my mom's persistence each year and the fact that I work at a childrens hospital this flu season, I thought I'd take the plunge and get the shot. And I'm not afraid of needles, so that wasn't the issue. That's not to say that I jump at the shot of being stuck, but y'all catch my drift.

Around lunchtime, my coworker and I headed over to face the flu. We filled out our little employee survey and walked straight up to the nurse station.

Now, let me preface the remainder of my story by saying that I love when my Southern-ness comes out in my speech and I am 150% confident that I have the grace and presence that I have today because I was raised in the South. No matter how long I may live away from Texas, I will say "y'all" until the day that I die. My mama and daddy raised me to be respectful to others, always saying "Yes ma'am/sir" and "No ma'am/sir," whether it's to a teacher, a friend's parent, or a worker at the Taco Bell drive-thru-- every single person deserves respect. When we would visit my dad's side of the family when my brother and I were growing up, we would always be full of good manners and pleases and thank yous. While the adults admired it, our cousins constantly poked fun, saying that we were "sucking up" and such. No matter to us-- we were from Texas and proud of it, y'alls and all.

And seriously, cousins-- graciousness and good manners are going to get you a heck of a lot farther in life than your Yankee-born bluntness and rudeness have thus far proven to help you.

As my junior high school English teacher always said, "I digress."

One of the first big culture shocks for me when I moved to Boston was the extreme lack of hospitality and manners. Seriously. You would have thought that a good portion of these people had been raised by heathens, as my Aunt Linda would say. No politeness, no manners, no kindness without wanting reciprocation, no holding doors open for women or giving a lady your seat on the train... as I said, I'm from Texas, where ladies and gentlemen are born and bred, so this was quite the surprise. There have been times when I've had people here straight-out tell me to NOT call them ma'am because it makes them feel old. Hmph.

So I sit down in my chair for the shot and the nurse is going over my little employee questionnaire:

"I see you work in ____ building and this is your ID number?"
"Yes ma'am."
"Okay, and this is your first time getting the flu shot, correct?"
"Yes ma'am, it is."
*explains procedure*
"Now do you understand the process?"
"Yes ma'am, I do- thank you!"
"Hm, you must be from the South, huh?"
"Yes ma'am, I'm from Texas."
"Yeah I figured with all of the "yes ma'ams". We need to teach you to talk like us-- 'Pahk the cah in the Hahvahd yahd." *laughs*

Um, no ma'am, I would rather die than have those words naturally come out of my mouth. The Boston accent may be attractive in some ways and interesting to hear, but to speak it will be the day I die. I'll hold on to my y'alls and ma'ams, thank you very much. Before my mama panics, I was very polite and told her that I would never stop with my "Southern speak" and she laughed again.

You can take a girl out of the South, but you cannot ever take the South out of the girl.

Now Y'ALL have a lovely day, my friends!

An ode to rainy Monday mornings... and my warm bed.

Rainy, dreary Monday morning,
Oh, I wish I still were snoring.
Cozy and warm, nicely tucked into bed,
I love how my pillow just cradles my head.
Drowsily watching my good a.m. shows,
hearing so slightly that brisk fall wind blow.

But awake from this daydream, alert I must be,
to make all the copies and brew the coffee.
Fill all of the staplers, run errands through puddles,
order cookies and test tubes, "Oh no, it's no trouble!"
Sit pretty and smile and wait for the time,
when the clock hits that minute; the evening is mine!

As quick as a whistle, the 12th floor I leave,
Oh please, elevator, do not mess with me.
My chariot is waiting, the shuttle is there,
that trusty shuttle driver, thank goodness, always cares.
Climbing on, I grimace, he laughs at my face,
"Long day?" he questions. "Please get me out of this place."

We speed off through Boston, I wait for the train,
stop after stop, this commute is so lame.
Finally, yes finally! "Last stop" is announced,
watch out, slow pokes, down the stairs I do bound.
The Jeep is there waiting, like a desert mirage,
"Hi, love you, please GO! Escape this garage!"

In traffic we sit, we creep the few miles,
then finally we're parked; a deep breath and a smile.
My bags are hung up, my work clothes are shed,
on go my pajamas as I climb into bed.
Dinner, the laundry, the gym-- they can wait,
my eyes, they must rest, before it's too late.

I return to the daydream that's teased me all day,
for just these few moments, so still I do lay.
Avoiding the thought that it's almost tomorrow,
let's not ruin this moment with thoughts of such sorrow.
Day in and day out, to work I must go,
but keeping me sane is this daydream-- yes, y'all know.

Have as happy a Monday as possible, my friends! A weekend review is still to come.

thank goodness it's friday, for REAL.

This glorious day that is Friday could not have come soon enough.

It's been one of those weeks that just feels like it's never. going. to. end. Sleep has not been my best friend, so between not sleeping and having to get up and be coherent and focused at 4:40 every morning, I've been a bit of a zombie the last few days.

Yes, zombie-like and emotional, because when the sleep escapes me, the emotions and tears just flood all over everywhere.

There might have been a mini-breakdown last night when I slept 30 minutes past my scheduled nap wake-up time and was convinced my entire night was ruined. (Note to self: Perhaps things are too crazy and busy and out of control when you have to schedule a nap. Remember this.) Once I was up, I headed to the gym but it was just one of those nights where my heart wasn't in it, I was on edge, and I had zero desire to be running... so I left. This very rarely, if ever, happens, but I just had to listen to my body and mind last night and get the heck out of there. I did, however, come back to a clean kitchen, with all of the chicken and veggies that I was making for dinner prepped and waiting for me (love him). Dinner (Good Seasons Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken, Creamy Parmesan Orzo, roasted asparagus) turned out quick and easy, then I packed for our little weekend trip, which we're leaving for right after work today.

Earlier in the week, we had initially made plans to have zero plans this weekend. We've been going and going and just wanted to relax and eat good food and watch football. Wednesday night, we get a call from Brian's brother-in-law, asking if we have plans for the weekend. Well, since we planned to have no plans, we technically were busy... but we gave in.

His best friend has a family beach house on the North Shore of MA near Gloucester, the town that The Perfect Storm was filmed in/based on, and he, Meghan, and several other couples are getting together there this weekend. It's a fun (wild) group of kids, so we decided that since it'll probably be one of the last beachy weekends of the summer and we were otherwise going to sit on the couch, we'd make the trip, only in good faith that we'll be able to watch plenty of college football tomorrow.

Apparently this is the main street in Rockport. Looks like a happenin' place.
I'll report back with my own pictures after the weekend.

Other than that, things have been pretty low-key around here. Because I'm twiddling my thumbs and watching the time tick by until I leave for the day, I'll share a few of my favorite things of the moment. Enjoy!

Adelaide at Sweet, Sassy, Southern and Classy recently blogged about trying L'Oreal's new EverStrong shampoo and conditioner... and loving it. I was browsing at Target earlier this week and came across this Deep Replenishing Masque... and I am in love. My daily hair routine includes the blow dryer and the Chi, so I'm always on the lookout for a good deep conditioner that does the job well, but doesn't weigh down my hair, and at a little under $8, this is perfect. I've used it twice this week, letting it sit for the entire time I'm in the shower, then letting my hair air dry afterwards (obviously at night), and my hair has never been softer, and I've gotten several compliments today on the shine and how healthy it looks (and I'm so not bragging ladies but really-- everyone loves a good hair day). Love love love. This has definitely peaked my interest into trying out the shampoo and conditioner.

Being the book nerd that I am, childrens books remain to be some of my favorite/the best books I've ever read. Everyone remembers Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear?, The Very Busy Spider... I love them all to pieces. Well, the geniuses over at Stride Rite decided to work with Mr. Carle himself and develop a line of shoes featuring characters from his most popular titles. Please look at the adorable green caterpillar on the velcro strap. I love the idea of giving the shoes along with the book for a baby shower / birthday gift!

While perusing the wonderfully overwhelming crafts area of Martha Stewart's website, I came across this idea for my glass hurricane vase-- love it! I'm going to fill the inside with pumpkins and straw and other spooky items and use a black Halloween-ish ribbon for the top, and then change out the ribbon and remove the spooky stuff to last me through fall!

H&M completely overwhelms me with all of its cheap prices and grabby shoppers, but I had an hour to kill on Wednesday afternoon waiting for Brian, so I dropped in... and I'm so glad that I did. I found this shirt for $9.99 and it has made my day/weekend. It has really light red lines mixed in with the stripes, and it hits a little higher than mid-thigh. It's SO comfy (but wrinkles to heck). Today is casual Friday, and I'm sporting it as we speak, with jeans and a white cami. Love!

All I have to say is that on the way to the beach this afternoon, we're passing the only Sonic within 150 miles of where we live. My menu has been planned since yesterday, my excitement is a little sick. I cannot wait for the gloriousness of a Diet Vanilla Dr. Pepper.

Lastly, I want a kitten. Like, as in yesterday. My morning was spent browsing breeder websites, and have decided that I specifically would love to spoil and love a precious little Himalayan baby, just like one of these. The sweet boy on top steals my heart, and the one below is named Whiskers O'Toole, who went to live with an Irish family. Oh, I die. The name just kills me. Who can think of a name like that?! I envy the creativity. Brian despises cats and I've never lived without one, so my need for a kitten is a constant battle between us. A man cave in our future place has been promised, on the condition that I get a cat.

He has no idea who he's dealing with, my friends :) Sooner rather than later, I will have a sweet kitten to spoil.

Have a wonderfully happy weekend, y'all, and hook 'em!!

I die for BabyGap and the loveliness that is Fall.

It cannot possibly only be Tuesday.

I need the weekend, stat. Or just tonight, which equals a midweek date night at Panera, followed by a 6:40 showing of The Town, after which I'll likely be knocked out in my bed by 9:30.

Yes, we are boring and we are little old people and we embrace it.

Things have been pretty boring around here lately. We spent the weekend at Brian's parents house so we could visit with his oldest sister (in town from Baltimore and expecting a baby boy in February!), he could play golf, and I could help his mom decorate for a baby shower that she hosted on Sunday. It was nice-- we went, we stayed, we left. Just stopping by for a visit is one thing, but when you're in the house too long when there's a mission/task involved, things can get a teensy bit intense, so we headed back to our place early Sunday morning.

Brian parked on the couch to watch football, and I headed out, in desperate need of 'me' time. Y'all, I have to admit, although this baby is obviously not my own, nor will we even be officially related (yet), I CANNOT STOP SHOPPING. It is as if the condition of baby fever has taken over my body and just propels my feet into Gymboree/BabyGap/The Children's Place. They have a mind of their own, and there is no helping the sickness.

My debit card apparently has a mind of ITS own too, considering I purchased the following without a second thought in my mind:

I cannot even stand the cuteness of the crabby shorts ( The little red onesie has a crab on the sleeve, and there are tiny crabs embroidered into the shorts. I also found a navy tshirt with a big crab outlined near the waist, and the inside of the crab is the light red white and blue plaid material. I can't find it online but it's precious-- trust me. Meghan loved the corduroy pants because "He'll look like a little old man!," and I found a white and royal blue baseball tee-type onesie to go with that. The little baby blue set is also soo soft and warm and just... snuggly, and apparently a potential frontrunner for baby boy's coming home from the hospital outfit (points for me!).

I'm now just stockpiling for the baby shower in November, which gives me a good amount of time to space out my damage. Brian doesn't get nearly/at all as excited as I do about my purchases though, so you can bet I'll be posting the goodies here.

And for myself, I purchased this:
How stinkin' cute! Considering I just stocked up on 3-wick candles from Bath and Body Works, I thought that this little haunted house would be the perfect accompaniment. I'll take a pic once the decorating is complete-- I'm having to hold back, considering it's only September 21st.

Building from that, I LOVE Halloween/fall. Big time. I especially love decorating and baking and cooking that comes with this time of year. I'm feeling all kinds of crafty this season, so I'm on the lookout for good decorating ideas for small space. Hint: if you have any, any at all, I'd LOVE to hear suggestions! I'm looking for a simple wreath that I could make for the front door (I've seen lots of wood/berry combos that I like). I also just bought a tall, circular class container and have no clue what to do with it. Last Christmas, I filled a similar piece with different ornaments, but what do I do for fall? A website said I should fill it with nature-- pinecones and colorful leaves.

Bugs live on/in/around these things, my loves, and though I may be all about the nature, I like to leave it outside.

I'm currently perusing Better Homes & Gardens online-- I'll post ideas as I see them. Almost my lunch time, then 3:30 will be here before I know it... it's my mantra. I try to convince myself of this daily.

And with that, I leave you with these:
I die.

Brian said unnecessary, I said he's wrong. They're in my Gymboree shopping cart. To match the crabby shorts, y'all! Someone justify my taking the plunge here and purchasing these little babies :)

I left my heart in Texas...

Well, I've been to Texas and back with The Boy.

I can't help but admit that I'm feeling a bit heartsick at the moment for home. No matter where else you may ever go, there are some things that just can't beat the comforts of where you come from. The minute that our plane touched down and I stepped into the Austin airport, this little wave of calm came over me. And then we stepped outside into the steamy air (at 11:30pm, mind you) and I REALLY knew that I was home.

Our time in Texas was wonderful.

I ate all kinds of yummy, non-Weight Watchers friendly foods, including but not limited to the following:

corn cakes
pigs in a blanket
my mama's guacamole
real, honest to goodness amazing mexican food (enchiladas, rice and beans... the works)
jalapeno poppers
spinach dip
my daddy's ribs
jalapeno sausage wraps
homemade breakfast burritos
takeout breakfast burritos
sunday dinner (roast, mashed potatoes, blackeyed peas, cornbread and sweet tea)
more Sonic drinks than I could keep track of. we'll just say that there is A LOT of diet vanilla dr. pepper pumping through my veins right now

Our trip didn't revolve around food, but all of the eating sure didn't put a dent in our enjoyment. For the first time ever, we didn't have a jam-packed itinerary, so it was nice to just sit back and relax and enjoy ourselves.

We did make the trip to Dallas on Friday afternoon to meet up with one of Brian's roommates from college, who now works in Houston. A co-worker of his had a box at Cowboys stadium that night, so the three of us met up with a group of people and celebrated the Superbowl Countdown at Cowboys Stadium in style! (I have a bunch of pictures, so as soon as I can get them uploaded, I'll post them!). It was so so fun. Lots of old Cowboys spoke, Jerry was of course there, Emmitt gave a little speech, and then Tim McGraw performed for an hour. We met up in downtown Ft.Worth afterwards and had a really great time that led to an awful time waking up the next morning... so worth it though :)

Now that we're back in Boston, it's so hard to get back into your previous routine while thinking of how nice it was to be away from it for awhile. I'm working on it, but it's sure not easy.

Like I said, I have a ton of pictures and will be posting them asap. Until then, my bed is calling my name.

Goodnight, y'all!

And you thought that Boston only had Irish folk...

This past weekend, Brian and I headed into Boston for the St. Anthony's feast in the North End, which is the VERY Italian area of the city. Like, people still sit on their front steps and chit chat in Italian while people tote fresh bread and pastries from the bakeries and Tony Soprano-esque men crowd outside of restaurants near their Caddies and discuss who only knows what in big, boisterous accents.

Basically, I love it. It's a really old part of the city, and is pretty unchanged/unrenovated, compared to the updates that other parts of the city have experienced. It's neat to stand on a median between downtown Boston and the North End, and see the skyscrapers on one side, and the old red brick buildings and awnings on the other. It's a fun place to visit, even after having lived here for three years, and the food is 100% authentic, unbeatable, a-ma-zing Italian. LOVES!

As for the actual feast, here's a little tidbit that I borrowed from the website:

In Boston, Saint Anthony is honored by the Italian-American community of the North End with the largest Italian street festival in New England. Since 1919, Saint Anthony’s Feast has been celebrated on the weekend of the last Sunday of August. Called the “Feast of all Feasts” by National Geographic, this authentic festival offers parades, religious & cultural services, entertainment, Italian foods and novelties all on the beautifully decorated streets of the North End.

And now, prepare for picture overload. If you've been to Boston before, I apologize in advance, but I'm just going to play tour guide for all those who haven't :)

Several bars leading towards Faneuil Hall in the downtown area.
I've lived here 3 years and still take pictures like a tourist :)

"Do you think if I throw money at him, he'll move?" BGK
This guy kind of creeped me out.
You can't really tell, but he was staring directly at me *shivers*

Quincy Market! Love it.

So I don't know what's up with Kraft Mac & Cheese, but they're all over Boston. We were out for dinner a couple of weeks ago and were given two bags full of Kraft products and pot holders, and then we come across this!
You know you love it :)

The huge, crazy farmer's market between downtown Boston and the North End. I wanted to stop but thought it might be pretty picked over already. Oh well.

The North End! You can't really tell, but the sign in the middle between the buildings says "Welcome to the North End! Home of St. Anthony's Feast!" Yay!

I had to get Brian. He was irritated because we both thought there were actually no festivities until later that night, because there was no music, there were no street vendors... no food... I was beginning to regret my planning.

And then we turned the corner, and all was right with the world. Since the parades and everything were at nighttime, the main point of being there during the day was to eat.
I warned Brian that there might be an unladylike amount of eating going on. Attractive, right?

Arancini are rice balls, which I'm so determined to make. Pasta, deep dish pizza...

... cannolis, oh sweet heaven the stack of cannolis...

Love the pretty street decorations!

St. Anthony. Ignore Brian-- his presence was accidental. So you can kind of see, but people go up to the alter and pin money to ribbons streaming off of St. Anthony.

So of course I had to do it. I got so flustered because the man on the right wasn't very nice,
and there were tons of people watching and waiting in line...

... so I posed. My dad told me to say three Our Fathers and four Hail Marys after he saw this picture. I did not intend to look this sassy in this picture. I was stressed with all of the people watching me but I wanted a picture, and the hand just flew to the hip. The thing is, I NEVER pose like that. With St. Anthony and the babe in the background, and all of the religious symbols, there I am on the ALTAR, sassing it up. Brian was dying laughing.
Mwah, love you too!

Italian band/singer. They were good. And loud. I was irritable. And hungry. And hot. Not a good combination, so I probably didn't appreciate them as much as I could have.

Kettle corn-- in action!

Sweet mercy, there were SO many people, and it was so so hot.

I liked how everything at this place had meat sauce. It made me happy.

We found a Bertolli cooking demonstration. Seeing Brian head for the EVOO-soaked sweet onion topped bread was the fastest he'd moved all day. But it was SO good.

My own little heaven.

Covered apples that were completely melting in the heat.

When we finally ate, what did we pick? Old faithful sausage and peppers on a roll. Yes, it's enormous. Yes, I ate the entire thing. Yes, had Brian not been with me, I would have tasted my way through that entire festival.

Please excuse me. My face had melted off, and the lady that offered to take our picture wanted the classy "100% Italian" tshirts that were hanging behind us in the picture. I was flustered.

Adios, North End! What you can't see is the ginormous pina colada gelato that I had in my hand to make the drive out of Boston worth it. Super yum!

Well, that's that. I have every intention of going back next year and actually eating from several vendors. It's a personal goal that I feel very feminine and delicate in declaring. "I eat way through feast. Rice balls. Meat Sauce. Fried Ravioli. I taste all!"

Happy Friday, y'all.