Sunday, July 17, 2011


It was stunning out today. I started the day with a three mile run. Sustained my first blister from the new pair of shoes and successfully bled all over them. Yuck. After that I whipped a fruit smoothie with a few kale leaves thrown in for good measure. After showering and watching some food network I headed out to Buzz Bakery in Alexandria (one of my favorite places to hang out) and put in about 2 hours of GMAT studying. I then headed over to King Street so I could check out the Gap and Nine West outlet stores. I also took the Nikon along to practice with what I learned from the Pioneer Woman yesterday and shot the above two shoots. Again...nothing amazing. But progress. Perhaps.

After old town I headed to Target to pick up some of the apartment essentials and a random shirt I saw. Then I swung into Old Navy, found a clearance pair of summer sandals and then dashed in and out of B&N to pick up a Math practice book so I can keep plugging away with this GMAT studying.

Earlier in the day on Food Network I had seen a show about homemade falafel. For some reason this really stuck with me and on my way home I just had to stop at the store and get the ingredients to try this out. Never mind the fact it was 9:30 by the time I got home. But I did it. I used this recipe and enjoyed one of my first completely vegetarian meals that I have ever cooked. (My whole day seems to be a bit on the vegetarian side). I have to was really tasty. I do need a food processor. I did the whole thing in a blender but I am thinking a new kitchen appliance is going to make it into my 415 sq. feet before I know it.

Tomorrow is a HP date with Sam and Ashley-- "Samley", perhaps dinner or lunch with them as well. And then I just have a pile of Laundry, a dirty apartment and some new GMAT studying materials to attack. This weekend is flying by. I don't like it.

Not. One. Bit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Acquainted

Tonight I had a quick ADPi event and then was home earlier than I have been most of the week. This week seemed brutal for some reason. Lots of stress. To-do lists that never ended (and still never end). Topped off with a Friday of being thrown into something totally out of my comfort zone. Needless to say, my plans to just relax and enjoy my weekend with very few commitments, plans or aspirations was set forth this evening. A lovely co-worker of mine loaned me her Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows part 1 DVD which I watched to brush up on my HP in anticipation for my date with “Samley” on Sunday. (Does anyone remember combining Sean and Alli’s names? Going down memory lane over here). Back on track.

After some HP I was watching Confessions of a Shopaholic on TV and reading up on some blogs I have been behind on for awhile. I started reading the Pioneer Woman’s posts on photography and I got all into working with my Nikon and getting to know her a little bit more.

We have been together for over a month now and our relationship has been slower than I had hoped. I just haven’t had time to really get my hands on her and see how she works. The Pioneer Woman has done a great job writing about the “S” and “A” settings. So tonight just because I had some extra time I tried playing around with some random things that are in my 415 glorious sq. feet. What I came up with is no doubt amateur, but better than with just my little point and shoot. This is what we captured lately:


These were taken home from the store a few weeks back because I love them and also had an occasion to have flowers on my table for dinner.

Oh goodness did I forgot to share what came in that perfect teal box right there?? Well I will show that off later, but it makes my heart flutter just thinking about it.
This use to be the bar that all my pots and pans hung from in my Alexandria apartment. Not that I have the better hanger set-up I use this one just for the lids and other misc. kitchen things that I need at the ready when I am in there.

So there it is. A slow progression but I guarantee it is leaps and bounds from where I was when I first opened that birthday present!

Anyone else have any easy to follow photography tips, how-tos, beginners guides that they would like to share so I can become a pro photographer in no time?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It’s been a case of the 3’s

Does anyone else starting counting when bad things start happening? Things seem to always come in threes (when it rains it pours).

Well the round of “3” all start the morning after the 4th of July. I woke up and needed to go move my car. I walk out to the Nanny Wagon and she has a flat tire on the rear driver’s side. Ironically I had just become aware that I no longer have a jack the day before so naturally I would get a flat. Well I didn’t have time to deal with the issue so I left the car and just walked home. After work I set out in the awful DC heat and called AAA to come put the spare on. I was quoted an hour response time. Well it was about 2 hours later. Which also resulted in over 40 mosquito bites on my legs!!
The guy changes my tire and says “you have a gash in your side wall”. Sigh.
Next step was taking the car out to a Midas (you live you learn right?) in Alexandria. They tell me it was a small little thing, fix the tire and I get an oil change. I sail out of there whistling a happy tune thinking all is fine and dandy.
Oh how optimistic of me! I had only reached problem numero uno!
Backtrack/Sidestory. A1-1-1 had gone down to IKEA with me earlier that weekend to pick up a new dresser since my $70 investment from almost three years ago finally had seen its last days. I got the dresser home, started assembling and then find that the top has a crack about 3-4 inches long and all the way through the wood (yes a REAL wood IKEA piece of furniture). We ended up putting together most of the dresser and then decided to drive down to IKEA at a later date.
Well when we decided to go to IKEA we walk out to my car and low and behold. Tire is flat. Again.
Shoot me.
I flip out. In the way that I do best which is cry, swear that the world is out to get me and try to throw in the towel on life. Luckily I was talked down from my ledge and we start forming a plan of attack to deal with what I thought was issue #2.
We drive out to a Mr. Tire in Arlington and drop the wagon off for them to look at the tire and determine if it can be repaired. At this point I have no idea if the Midas just didn’t do anything or what the deal was. So we run some errands and then venture home in the oppressive heat that we have going on here in DC.
I get a call later from Mr. Tire that the tire can not be repaired. Sigh. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.
Here is where it gets really good. I have no idea if this is issue #2 or #3 at this point. So my car is all wheel drive. Ok. So to replace one tire is has to be an exact match to the other tires. AND if you have drive more than a certain percentage (Oh say 30,000 mile in driving between Texas and then moving to the lEast Coast) then you have to replace all 4 tires. Oh goodness. In addition to the tires I am told that my front right axel joint is completely ripped open and there is zero lube left and they basically made it sound like I was going to die if I drove the car. I’magirlandidon’tknowthesethingswhichiswhyineedamaninmylife.
So I get a quote for everything needed. I decide to have them fix the axel and then I was going to go get the car and try to go to Costco and see if they have the exact matching tire.
Fast forward. Pick the car up after its axel surgery. She did very well and made a full recovery. Which is a damn good thing considering I emptied my checking account to pay for her costly operation!
At Costco some guys take a look at the tire and determine…..

they can fix it!

Amen. A stroke of luck finally.

The repair the tire, get her back on the car and we waltz out not paying a dime. Which only reaffirms my love for Costco and now my allegiance to buying tires there from this point forward. Thanks Arlington Costco tire guys….you were the best!

So far so good- the tire is looking to be holding up. The wagon has some new oil, a new axel joint, and a lot of TLC over the past few days.
Let’s just say I am done with car issues for awhile. Thankyouverymuch.
And I ate a string cheese, applesauce, raisins and a left over taco for dinner tonight. Dear Wagon, You have sucked the marrow from my financial bones. Sincerely, Your Owner.

And now it is WAY past my budgeted bedtime tonight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wyatt Turns Two with a Big Surprise!

This is going to be a long post so bear with me here! I promise it is totally worth it since there are going to be photos of Wyatt—who we all know is the cutest kid to ever grace the planet.

The plot behind this post goes back a few months. When I was starting to think about my 25th birthday I knew I wanted to do something just for me. My nephew is born just a short bit after me and since I have missed some major milestones I figured how great it would be to celebrate his 2nd birthday with him as a gift to myself. I started talking to my parents, located a plane ticket, requested the time off and kept my sister totally in the dark. I had some great conversations with my sister for weeks on end where I would ask her about plans for Wyatt’s birthday and she kept being like “I am not doing the big production this year…yadda yadda yadda.” Luckily I learned to end conversations before I started giggling because I am horrible and lying! So this went on for weeks. My parents and I were super selective about who we told, just in the off chance word got to Nicole and would blow my surprise.

So I left on a very early Wednesday morning from Baltimore. Luckily I was so tired I actually slept most of the way from Baltimore to Denver and then was able to read from Denver to Boise. My lovely mom was there to greet me and we got to run errands together and spend some mommy and me time together. Luckily no one else realized that in the daze of getting dressed for my 4am shuttle to the airport I had put my yoga pants on inside out. HA! Good thing it wasn’t horribly noticeable!

After running a few errands to prep for our drive and stay up in Sun Valley (yes, the greatest place in the world- but please don’t go—we don’t want anyone else to know how amazing it is. It is like a secret and gift for people who live in Idaho). Wow just typing Sun Valley makes my heart tell my stubborn heart that it is time to go home. I love that place more than I can ever express. I digress.

We head home and I get to see my dad and the poodle.



I know. He is so cute you are jealous. Not to mention he is a love bug and probably one of the sweetest dogs. (well besides when he retracts his toenails while he is on a food mission).

After we got the car packed up we headed out of Boise to drive up to SV. We stopped for chicken fajita pitas, which sends me into a childhood memory state with each bite.

After 2.5 hours in the car with some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen in my life, we rolled into Sun Valley. Just to put this in perspective…the sky is so full of stars up in Sun Valley it looks like someone staged it. And it was so chilly I had to wear a fleece. I was in heaven.

We devised a plan for the next morning to surprise Nicole and Wyatt.

In the morning we got up early and headed down to my sister’s house. My parents let me off a few houses away from hers and they went up and parked and went into the house. I did some ninja roles through the grass. Army crawled in front of their house and got to the front door without being seen. I called her and asked her to check the front porch since “FedEx had confirmed that they had delivered” Wyatt’s birthday present to her home. (Never mind the fact that NOTHING gets delivered to residences in Sun Valley Idaho). But luckily she fell for it.She threw open the door while she was on the phone telling me that Mom and Dad has just arrived and then BAM! there I was….standing on her front porch. There were some sorority like squeals, tears and Wyatt clapping and look confused by the commotion.

It was one of the best surprises I think I have ever pulled off! I will never forget Nicole’s face! It was worth the weeks and weeks of not being able to tell her that I was going to see her and Wyatt in just a few short weeks every time I talked to her.

We got some time with Wyatt and Nicole before work and school and then we all parted ways. My Dad treated me and my Mom to a delish breakfast at Java.

Later that afternoon we all got to play with Wyatt and see him ride his bike and go “cruisin”.




Poodle checking out the back yard.

Later that night Jon fired up the BBQ for a delish dinner of pork with his Mom, my parents, Nicole, Jon and Wyatt. Wyatt got to open some birthday presents (since it was his actual birthday) and wow remind me to turn two!


Grandpa picked out a bike for him that popped a wheelie and played some awesome music that I am sure will drive mom crazy in the next few months. This may have in fact been the favorite birthday present this year! DSCN3899

Sheer Joy


Go bike go!


So in love.

After the initial love-at-first sight with the bike we knew the other presents had a tough act to follow. All gifts were opened with one hand on the bike and a subtle interest in whatever mom showed him had been unwrapped next.


Checking out his new book….

Which in Idaho could only be about…..


We found the bubble maker slightly interesting…


Grandma is fostering his musical side…


Nicole (mom) got him a rake, shovel and hoe set so he can help with yard work. Wyatt wanted to eat dinner using his shovel and his new truck fork. We ate a lot of “dirt” (said in a little kid deep voice)


Wyatt’s other grandma got him a great sleeping bag that he immediately grabbed a pillow and snuggled right in to get “cosy”


And what is better than a brand new kid sized sleeping bag??

Oh you guessed it…


A sleeping bag AND a bike!

Just when we didn’t think it could get any better Jon has Wyatt open a BIG truck! When Wyatt saw the size of the wheel on his new John Deere I thought his smile was going to jump off his face! He was so excited.



The truck is so big that Wyatt quickly figured out how to ride it!

After awhile Wyatt retired to bed and the adults stayed up and celebrated Wyatt’s 2nd year and my 25th!

My parents spoiled me with some amazing birthday presents. I got some great new tops and a skirt for work and then….


I opened my very own BIG GIRL CAMERA!! She is so special! I am so excited to learn how to use her and start showing you all some amazing pictures on this blog!

That was day 1 of my fabulous Idaho trip! Writing all that made me realize I have so many fun/wonderful/treasured memories from this trip! I can’t wait to tell you all more and show off some more photos of my darling nephew!

Network Keys

Its been awhile since I have posted any sort of keyspiration these days. But I have hit the jackpot for form and functionality with this find.

by AMT:

"The Key to Love, Success, and All your Photos, Files and Music"

USB Keys.

Something practical combined with something I love.

Not cheap, but buy it here. Oh and get one for me...pretty please?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still in the Box Straight from IKEA

I have a theory that IKEA furniture, *most* furniture, is good for three moves. At that point for some reason those little special screws, wooden pegs and pesky turn-and-lock-devices get tired of doing their job and it becomes only a matter of time until you piece of furniture decides it is the end of its lifespan. Now to clarify—I adore IKEA. Like could work there. Live there (yes just play “house” in one of those “Look!! This is 216 sq feet and we put EVERYTHING you could possibly need in it!” displays. But we have to be realistic here. Anything that you put together with a little tool that comes in the box can’t last forever.

Well as you all saw. My trusty dresser, which has survived the following moves:
1) Shifts around the Alexandria Apartment
2)Alexandria Apartment into T Street Apartment
3) T Street Apartment to Current 415 Abode

It was also the $70 dresser. I shouldn’t be horribly surprised that when I tried to fix the collapsed drawer I showed awhile back, the whole drawer just went caput. (PS have I really  been living with a collapsed drawer in my dresser for over a month!!???!! Can anyone say living the bachelorette lifestyle and loving it?) Luckily I have been hankering for a trip to IKEA. Luckily I was able to swindle A1-1-1 to go with me to go pick out a new dresser and purchase some other unnecessarybutimusthavethisorIwon’tliveacompletelifeandIwillfeeldevoidandempty items.

We settled on this:


I wanted the version that was taller and had a few more drawers but since my spacious closet is quickly growing increasingly crowded and stress-inducing we decided a looming dresser would only make it feel smaller. This one is only a few inches in each direction bigger than what I have now. The major point is that is has new drawer construction which will hopefully prohibit the same drawer problem to happen again.
I also got a bundt pan/spring form round cake pan that I can’t wait to use. I may be baking myself a cake. And then while I stady for the the GMATs end up eating it Miranda style out of the trash can in my kitchen.
This is why I am not sure why they let me have a ticket to being an adult.
Speaking of GMATs. This stuff is getting serious. I need to get my act together and take this thing before my level of stupid gets any worse! I swear! I also have the chance to take my PHR coming up very soon and I don’t think I can manage my  work, ADPi volunteering, running, social/dating life with studying for not one but TWO tests.
Anyone with studying techniques when you feel like you have been out of school forever and have no idea how to retain standardize testing knowledge---let me know.
Did I mention the dresser is still in its box? Off to the side of my TV- just so I can watch TV. Still a little put off that IKEA directions indicate you need a friend to put their stuff together. It would be nice if they included that second person in the box with all the other parts in that nice little plastic bag of do-dads. Maybe this weekend we will drag out the rejected dresser and get the new one all set-up.