Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

As crazy as this sounds, one of my favorite things about Christmas is deciding what theme/style I want for our wrapping paper!! I am not into traditional wrapping papers with Santa or snowmen...I like more of a simple, modern style with Christmas color accents.

Here are some of my favorite gift wrapping ideas:

{Martha Stewart website}

The tricky part about Christmas shopping this year was that I am ordering all of the Christmas presents online and having them shipped to my mom's house. The hubbs and I are flying to NOLA {our true home} from NYC very late on Christmas Eve so, we knew that we were not going to have enough room in our suitcases for Christmas presents for everyone so, I decided that shopping online was what was best. I am also ordering all of my wrapping supplies online and having it shipped to my mom's. The hubbs and I are going to have a wrapping party at 1am on Christmas Eve when we get to NOLA....I am being optimistic by saying that we are both going to be wrapping the presents, hehe! I knew that I needed to decide my wrapping style in enough time to order it and have it delivered by Christmas. I am way ahead of schedule in that I ordered everything {wrapping wise} today!

After looking into many styles I started to realize that most of my favorites involved brown craft paper so, I decided to start there. The great thing about craft paper is that it is very cheap. I ordered 2 rolls off of Amazon for $2.99 each with free shipping. Next I needed to decide on what type of accents I wanted to make the paper more Christmasy. I came across Etsy seller Paperjacks and fell in love with her red striped paper ribbon. I love how thick it looks and her picture even showed it with craft paper!


This picture also gave me an idea about doing cute name tags with the ribbon. I decided that turquoise would be a great color to add to the red so I turned to Google for ideas. I came across this amazing blog called On The Limb. Melinda, the creative genius behind this blog created some amazing printable gift tags which means that they are FREE!! These beauties will look perfect with the brown craft paper and red striped ribbon!

I think that this will look GREAT when it is all said and done, but we will have to wait until Christmas to see!! The best part about my wrapping paper choice this year is that it all only cost me $16!

What is your Christmas decorating/wrapping style??

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend! I promise that I am going to get better at balancing blogging and working!

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Product Review: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure

I normally don't talk about any products that I use, but after using this product I just had to post about it!

Being that we are in the Fall season {even though it feels like winter in NYC on some days}, I love having dark colored nail polish! I kind of have an addiction to buying nail polish too. Most of the time I buy OPI because I have found that it stays on for so long. Sometimes I grab a random brand of nail polish at the checkout, but I normally wind up regretting it later because it takes like a billion coats to look good or it chips that same day. That was not the case with my most recent impulse buy!

While waiting to get my flu shot at Duane Reade the other day, I was browsing through the beauty section which always results in a purchase. I decided on my purchase skeptical of the outcome, but I had fallen in love with the color. The winner was a Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polish in color # 650 "Navy Baby".

What makes this product unique from all other nail polishes is the shape of the brush. Instead of the brush having squared edges, they are rounded which makes the polish go on perfectly without getting on your cuticles or finger. Here is an example of what the brush looks like:

Normally after I paint my nails I have to let them dry and then go back with a Q-tip and remover to clean up all of the polish on my fingers. This polish eliminated that step.

If you are a nail polish fanatic like me, then I highly suggest you trying this product! Some of the other Fall colors that I am going to buy are "Commander in Chic Creme"-grayish/taupe and "Plum Luck"-deep purple.

*I was not compensated in any way for this review nor was the product supplied to me for free. I am posting this review because I purchased this product on my own and I love it.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

I love Kitchens!

I want to start by thanking you all for your kind comments on my last post. It was very hard for me to share such a personal thing with the world. Even though it happened a year ago, it still very much impacts my life and emotions. Anyone who has experienced a miscarriage knows that it is something that you never get over or forget. Your thoughts and prayers mean a lot to me.

On to today's topic...Kitchens! I started my new job on Thursday {after almost 7 months of not working} so, I made sure to have one last trip to Ikea during the day when you don't have to fight the crowds...oh how I will miss that!

I was hungry when I got there so I decided to try the cafeteria. I had heard good things about the food and much to my surprise those things were true...the Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes were delish! The best part about the cafeteria though was the view....

{This is by far the best view I have seen of the Statue of Liberty from afar!! Amazing!}

After eating by my lonesome and admiring the view, I decided to start my adventure through the store. A typical trip to Ikea takes me about 2-3 hours...and that is if I am just browsing, hehe! For this very reason my husband does not like joining me on this adventure.

I have a serious addiction.....kitchens!! I think that part of this addiction is because there is nothing I can do about our kitchen since we are renters...I have to just deal with the ugly tile on the floor and the hideous light pink backsplash. I love admiring other people's kitchens and Ikea is the perfect place to do that. The best part about the kitchens in Ikea is that you can open every drawer, cabinet, and appliance to see how it is organized....I think it would be strange if I started doing that at people's houses, hehe!

All of the kitchens you see in this post are from Ikea...some are from my trip and some are from the magazine. I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I do!

{I love the use of the table in this kitchen...I also think I am in love with that frig!}

{There is something about a white kitchen that I just love...they are so crisp and clean! The dark wood countertops are the perfect contrast to the white!}

{I love the gray backsplash!}

{Here is another white kitchen...this one has an amazing, black backsplash and countertops. I am also loving that it has 2 ovens...a wall one and a main one!}

{Where to start?? I love that the massive stainless steel island is the focus of this kitchen. I love the pendant lighting! I love the small tiled backsplash!}

{The color combination is what makes this kitchen so amazing! Just look at it...need I say more!}

I have never known anyone that has actually done an Ikea kitchen in there house. Have any of you had any experience with them?

I hope everyone has a great week!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I am finally ready to talk about it...

I don't even know where to begin with this post. I have started it many times this month {well, really since I started the blog} but I always wind up deleting it because I feel so vulnerable putting all of my emotions out there for the world to read.

:: deep breath ::

One year ago this month, I had a miscarriage.

:: deep breath ::

I don't know why it is so hard to admit this sometimes. Even after a year it is still so hard to talk about. I finally decided that I wanted to do a post about my miscarriage because this blog is supposed to be about me {my life, my thoughts, my emotions} and my miscarriage is a VERY big part of me! It has made me a stronger person, and I truly feel that one day when I am holding my newborn baby I will think to myself "I am a miscarriage survivor!"

Here is my story.

About a month after my husband and I moved to Austin last August, I realized that my period was late. At the time we had both just accepted new jobs and were still in the process of settling in so, we were very busy and I guess it just slipped my mind that it was overdue. We talked about how strange it was for it to be late since I have such a normal cycle, but we didn't think that I was pregnant at all because I was on the pill. {As a side note, I have been on the pill since about a year after my husband and I started dating so, I have been on it consecutively for about 8 years.} We had never really experienced this before since I was so regular so, we decided to give it until Thursday and if it didn't come then I would take a pregnancy test. Within those few days, the symptoms kept piling on.....I had sore breasts, I was nauseous, and I was extremely tired! By Thursday I still had no signs of my period so, I went and bought a pregnancy test. I waited until my husband got home from work and went into the bathroom. Again, we both thought that it was going to be negative and that I was just stressed or something which was causing it to be late. As soon as I finished {peeing on the stick}, the lines appeared instantly. I just remember sitting in the bathroom shaking not knowing what to think as those 2 pink lines stared back at me. I mean, I have always wanted to be a mother, but we weren't trying....we hadn't started our new insurance yet.....this wasn't what we had planned.

I picked up my pregnancy test and proceeded to exit the bathroom. As soon as my husband looked at me, I just started crying. I was so excited on the inside but scared of what he thought and how we were going to handle this wonderful surprise. I think that through my tears I said "it's positive" and we just stood in the living room hugging. The rest of that night was a blur to was nothing like I ever imagined it to be. I always pictured the day that I found out I was pregnant to be filled with excitement and phone calls to family, but I couldn't lose this feeling of being so nervous and scared.

We decided not to tell our parents until it was confirmed. Being that we had just moved to Austin, I had no doctor so, I immediately began researching doctors and made an appointment. Of course she could not see me for almost a month so, I went to a clinic just to confirm the pregnancy. The results came back positive and, as the doctor put it, "you are definitely pregnant." We were so excited to hear the doctor say that and went out to buy baby books to read about what I should be eating and so on. Our little surprise was starting to feel more real, and we could wait to tell our families. We knew that we would be able to figure out the insurance and new job, as long as we were together....and we couldn't be more excited about our little family.

I didn't want to tell our parents on the phone so, we waited for 2 weeks until we went home. Our parents were beyond excited to hear the news and of course they went out and bought us little goodies! We decided that we only wanted to tell them and our siblings because we wanted to wait until we went to our official doctor's appointment and had an ultrasound. For some reason that scared, nervous feeling that I had when I found out was still lingering in my gut so, I really wanted to see the baby before we told everyone {as it turns out, I am happy we didn't make a big announcement}.

The week of my appointment I started spotting, and of course turned to the internet to research {this is not always a good thing}. I was never spotting bright was more of just a light brown {sorry if this is TMI}. All of the things that I read on the internet said that this was ok....we felt a little relieved but I still had that feeling in my gut. The morning of my appointment my husband and I showed up at the doctor's office eager to see the baby and meet the doctor. They took us right in for an ultrasound, and I immediately knew that something was wrong. The ultrasound tech was so talkative and friendly while she was setting everything up and then as soon as she started I could see the expression change on her face. She told us that she wanted to discuss some things with the doctor so, I could go ahead and get dressed and meet them in the exam room. As I was getting dressed my husband and I did not say a word...I think we both knew that the news was not good. The doctor came in and explained that things weren't looking like you would expect at 9 weeks. She was very honest in that she thought that this was not going to turn out to be a successful the time it seemed harsh, but I am very grateful that she did not sugarcoat it and get our hopes up. I did some bloodwork that day and then came back again 2 days later for more. She kept saying that she hoped that the bloodwork would come back great and prove us wrong, but that we really needed to expect the worst. That Thursday seemed like it was lasting forever while waiting to hear the results. I was trying to put on a happy face at my new job, but it was so hard to focus. I got a call that night from my doctor saying that my HCG levels had decreased since Tuesday's bloodwork. She explained what that meant and that she would give me the weekend to think about my options {a D & C or natural miscarriage}. I think that my husband and I just sat on the couch holding hands in silence for the rest of the night.

We both called our parents to briefly tell them the bad news as we were still in shock that what we thought had been confirmed. The next morning I woke up and began naturally miscarrying on my own. Out of this horrible situation, I am so grateful to have been able to miscarry naturally so quickly. I went in for a follow-up the next week and had passed everything on my own.

I will always remember the joy I felt on September 10, 2009 and the pain that followed on October 9th. I lost a piece of myself that day.

What I have learned from my experience is that there is nothing that I could have done differently and that God has a plan for us. It took me a while to realize this and it is not always easy to accept. I am not saying that I don't I still struggle with it...I struggle everyday. My husband and I were brought even closer together through our loss but have handled it very differently. He prefers not to talk about it, and I like to talk about it because I don't want to forget it. We experienced the loss in different ways so, of course we mourn it differently. I experience something physically and emotionally, whereas he was only emotionally vested in it.

I am scared that my experience has taken the joy out of pregnancy. I am not going to want to get excited when I see those pink lines again, but I try to keep telling myself that I cannot do that to my body or my mind. You have to think positive and enjoy the moment even if you have fears in the back of your mind....if I don't do that I know I would regret it.

Though we are not trying to have a baby right now, I know that God will give us one when he thinks that we are ready. We will make great parents one day...I just know it!

I hope that none of you have to go through this, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I any of you can relate to me, I would love to hear how you have overcome your loss.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday-Favorite Old Pictures

I am really LOVING this week's Top 2 over at Taylor's blog! I have really been slacking on doing Top 2 recently, but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things with my blogging, in general. I am trying to find a good work/blog balance, hehe!

I recently went through a lot of my old pictures, and I was reminded of how many I love. So sorry for the overload...I have WAY more than 2!

1. My brother and I are only 2 years apart so we were very close growing up {and still are} Here are some of my favorite pictures of my brother & I:

{A Christmas Picture from 1987}

{just hanging out in the kitchen playing kitchen dressed like Batgirl and Robin}

{excited about Easter morning}

2. Some of my favorite pictures with my dad {sorry mom...I didn't have any of us on my computer}:

{Looking VERY 80's at the beach...check out that cutout swimsuit}

{coloring with my dad @ the table he made for me}

3. Lastly I want to include some of my favorite pictures of the hubbs and I growing up:

{it is SO funny to see the clothes my mom dressed me in}

{the hubbs looking so adorable dressed as a Crayon with his little Converse high-tops}

{this picture reminds me of how often I wore "jellies"...I loved them}

I hope you enjoyed my picture overload....sorry so many! I just couldn't decide. I can't wait to see everyone else's old pictures!

I hope your week is going great so far!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Boot Weather

So I have been loving the weather here in is the perfect BOOT weather! That makes me so excited, but I am also lost as to which boots to get. As you know, I have always lived in Louisiana...I always buy boots as a fashion thing, but I have never really needed the boots to be functional for cold weather. Now that we are living in NYC, I am at a loss as to which types of boots are stylish as well as functional.

I have been loving {and drooling} over the following:




So I know that a flat heel boot is the most logical choice for walking around the city, but what material is best for snow/cold weather??

All of you "cold weather location" ladies, I NEED your help!

I hope you had a great week and Happy Friday {tomorrow}!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I have been a horrible blogger!

I can't believe that it has been so long since my last post!

What have I been up to since my last post...well, let's see! I got a job, and I have been in class in the Financial District to get my insurance licenses. The class schedule is crazy...I go from 9 to 5 for 3 weeks and before that I was in a different class for 2 weeks. It definitely feels weird to be back in class again. I should be done with my classes by the end of October and officially starting work in the beginning of November. I am super excited to have a job, but I miss my downtime {and my blog time}. On top of all of that we have had tons of visitors lately...don't get me wrong, I LOVE visitors but it is very exhausting! It is fun to play tour guide though.

Do you have any good suggestion as to how you manage working and blogging?? I really enjoy blogging and I think that it will be fun to look back at everything that I have written in a year or I definitely do not want to quit.

That is pretty much it for my quick post today because I have to go study for my midterm, hehe! Hopefully I will get a real post in this week with lots of pictures from my brother and sister-in-law's trip to the big NYC!!

I hope everyone is having a great week so far!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick DIY Project

So I did a post a while back about redesigning the guest bedroom/office at our apartment, but since I had not been able to get a job since moving here that redesign never happened. Now that I got a job, I am hoping to make that redesign happen sometime this year...but until then I have a quick DIY project that I did for organizational purposes.

My hubbs is a landscape architect so he always has tons of drawing and sketches on his desk so, I decided that I wanted to put some type of cork board on the wall by his desk to give him some where to pin papers up. As you can see that wall is pretty blank right now:

I had an extra frame like the ones hanging over the bed so, instead of just putting cork tiles right on the wall I decided to take advantage of this extra frame. All I had to do to get the frame ready was to move the glass from in front of the matting to behind the matting {since I obviously could not use the glass if I wanted it to be a cork board}. My reasoning for not just taking the glass completely out of the frame was that in case I wanted to use this as a frame again one day, the glass would be right there with it instead of stored somewhere random in the apartment {that I would probably forget about}. After doing this I took out all of my supplies:

Next I just hot glued the cork tile directly onto the matting and.....Voila, you're done! Now all you have to do is hang it on the wall!!

This was such an easy project and I love how all of the frames are consistent since they are on the same wall! Hopefully I will be doing a completely redesign soon since I will be bringing in the $$$!! I pretty much got a job to fund my crafting/decorating hobby!

On a side note, people in our neighborhood leave their "junk" on the sidewalk for others to take {amazing, I know}, and I found this old, glass beer half gallon that really wanted to come home with me. After a quick cleaning and some fresh flowers it was transformed into something beautiful:

I guess it is true that your trash is someone else's treasure. I think I may go sidewalk shopping again this weekend!

Hope you are having a great week!!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday-Favorite Songs

This week's Top 2 is is hard to just pick 2 favorite songs. So, I decided to pick an all-time favorite and a current favorite!

1. My all-time favorite song is "Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin. When I hear this song, it automatically puts me in a GREAT mood and I belt out every lyric to the top of my lungs!

2. My current favorite song is "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars. It doesn't hurt that it was also on last week's Glee episode!! I was beyond excited when I started to hear the music.

{WARNING-The original version of the song contains some expletives}

I can't wait to see everyone else's choices!! I hope you enjoy mine!

Happy Top 2 Day!

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Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one} This is my first time participating in Miscellany Monday!! I found it through some of the blogs that I read and decided to join in on the fun! Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy!

{two} I had a pretty boring weekend consisting on me being sick and watching the hubby watch football all weekend :( Speaking of that, I feel like we haven't gone to Manhattan in at least 3 is weird to be only a 20 minute subway ride away from one of the most amazing, fun cities in the country and not go there every weekend.

{three} My brother and sister-in-law are coming to visit us {not this weekend but next} and I am beyond excited...I love them more than words can say {and I love having visitors too}

{four} I got a JOB!! After moving to Brooklyn almost 6 months ago, I finally got a job!! I am pretty excited to be able to interact with people during the day again, but I am not too excited about my hour subway ride to the Upper West Side everyday....the extra money will definitely be nice though! NYC is WAY too expensive of a city to live in on only one income!

{five} I am desperately wanting a crafting space. I love doing random DIY/craft projects {and my Etsy stuff too} and I really need an area in our apartment where I can do this!! I am in LOVE with the following:

Have a great Monday!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Date Night Recipe

So Thursday nights during the Fall are very much looked forward to by my husband and I....why you may ask?? We LOVE the TV line up so much that we look forward to it like it is the weekend! Since this week was premiere week I decided to start a new tradition for our Thursday nights! I will make a NEW recipe for dinner and the hubbs will pick up a bottle of wine on his way home to go with it. I love trying new recipes so, I took this as an excuse to make a date night out of it. This week I decided to make a homemade, I am going to make the dough and all!

Thick Crust Sausage & Cheese Pizza {with prosciutto}
{adapted from a recipe here)

1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups lukewarm water
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. mild ground Italian sausage
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
crushed tomatoes
shredded mozzarella cheese {I used fresh mozzarella too}
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. The dough takes a while to make because you have to let it sit and rise on 2 occasions so, make sure you leave plenty enough time for this process. Put the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a mixing bowl and give it a quick stir.

2. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. It should look like this at the end of the 10 minutes.

3. Add the flour to your yeast mixture.

4. Stir the ingredients until combined {try not to over work the dough, as this will cause it to be tough}

5. Cover the bowl with a few warm, moist paper towels and set it aside to rise {untouched} for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

6. While the dough is rising, fry the sausage over a medium-high heat until it is nicely browned. Set the sausage aside to cool.

7. Now that the dough has set for an hour and doubled in size, it is ready to be put in the pan. Cover your pan with parchment paper so the dough does not stick. Pour the dough into the pan and spread it {with you hands} until it touches all four corners.

8. Set the dough aside for another hour to let it rise again. At the end of the hour, the dough should look like this.

9. Bake the pizza crust at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and makes a hollow noise when you tap on it with a finger.

10. Now the fun part....TOPPINGS! First, I spooned on the tomato sauce. This step is all about preference...put as much tomato sauce as you would like.
11. Add the sausage on top of the tomato sauce.

12. Add the remainder of the ingredients in the following order: basil, prosciutto, and then mozzarella. I decided to put fresh mozzarella chunks on half of the pizza and shredded mozzarella on the other half.

13. Sprinkle the entire pizza with a little salt and pepper and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

This pizza is perfect for a {stay-in} date night. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

What T.V. shows do you look forward to watching during the week?

Happy Friday!

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