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.