Tag Archives: va

Fit for a Friday

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Happy Friday! I hope everyone has some fun and/or relaxing weekend plans ahead. Here are a few links I’ve been loving from around the web this week.

Kate Spade Saturday for West Elm
West Elm and Kate Spade Saturday launched their collaboration this week and basically created the home collection of my dreams. I’m already trying to figure out a way to fit the Retro WingChair into my decor budget. (J, ignore that last sentence.)

12 Kitchen Looks Expected To Be Big In 2015
Open shelving, gorgeous wood textures, and modern traditional style would create my ideal kitchen space.

Dawww… Also, this is pretty much how I get through the snow too…

Single Lady 5-Minute Gooey Molten Chocolate Mug Cake
This looks delicious, even for us not-so-single ladies.

Have a great weekend, friends! xx

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Two Thousand Fifteen

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Happy New Year! We officially went back to the daily grind Monday after a wonderful two week vacation over the holidays. Our time off was a pretty great mix of downtime, travel to see family, and fun plans around town and with friends.

Despite really missing having my morning coffee on the couch with a cat cuddled beside me, I’m excited to be back in a routine and am feeling refreshed as we start a new year. 2014 held so much excitement and adventure for us – travels both within the US and across an ocean, beautiful weddings of loved ones, new additions to the homes of our friends and even our own extended family – our nephew, Collin, was welcomed into the world at the start of December! – and meeting lots of new people along the way.

In completely un-me fashion, I awoke on January 1st with no real urge to do anything but spend the day relaxing with J and being perfectly content in the moment. And we did just that, watching the Rose Parade before going through movie after movie snuggled up with mimosas, bacon, and a snoring cat. I’d like to think that was a good start to a 2015 resolution of mine – being just a little easier on my type-A self and accepting less-than-perfect as perfectly ok.

I recently saw a quote that read, “Love the home you’re in.” This resonated with me on many levels. I’m a tried and true perfectionist, and while that tough-on-myself attitude can be great at times, it can also be pretty darn exhausting always worrying about self-set standards and expectations. This year, I want to love the home I’m in by applying this philosophy to my relationships with others, career, stage of life, and even my actual “home.”

So, here’s to you, two thousand fifteen. I can’t wait to see what you have in store.

xx

Weekend in Photos: A Berkeley Springs Friendsgiving

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On Being a Sorority Woman

IMG_4818I often reference my sorority here. This is because, despite the fact that I’ve now been out of college longer than I was a collegiate member, it’s still a huge part of my life. I can give you the usual spiel about the sisters I met later becoming my bridesmaids (true) or how my best memories from college were made at a sorority function (also true), but I can also tell you how my sorority experience better prepared me for life as a whole. How the opportunities I had to plan a fundraising dinner for 200+ people at age 19 prepared me far more for my career than that integrated marketing class I took, and how convincing a roomful of critical young women to vote for me to be on the Executive Board and “lead” their chapter is the best interview prep I could have ever received.

After college I took my experience a step further. I got a job with my sorority’s national headquarters traveling to other chapters around the country and acting as a liaison between the national organization and individual chapters. This position challenged me in unique ways and was probably the best decision I made fresh out of college. Rather than going straight to an office where I likely would have felt a little naive and in over my head, I went to an organization that embraced my youth as well as my femininity. I was raised up and empowered as a young professional woman –something that doesn’t happen often in Corporate America – and I took that feeling of resilience with me as I transitioned to new opportunities.

A misconception I often hear about sorority women is that they are all the same. I’m always very defensive when I hear this, as nothing ever made me feel more like I could be myself than the support of my sisters. And frankly, if we were all the same, nothing would have ever gotten accomplished. We needed the stubbornness and loyalty of some sisters to keep us grounded, the fashion sense of others to make sure we didn’t go out looking too ridiculous, accounting and business majors to keep us on budget, and those with athletic ability to help ensure that I would never, ever, have to play a round of Greek Games dodgeball. Being in a sorority didn’t just bring out each of our individual differences, it highlighted them.

I’ll also tell you that if you think young women only join sororities for parties and boys, you’ve obviously never been to an 11:00pm Friday night Greek Sing rehearsal the day before the big show. If you had, you’d know those are about the last things on one’s mind. If that is or was someone’s main priority, a sorority is probably not for that individual. If learning the values of working as a team, making sacrifices for others, and giving something your all is important to you, then by all means, bring the Milano’s pizza and come with some choreography ideas.

When I made the decision in 2008 to accept my bid, I didn’t know the lifelong experience I was committing to. Today, I honor the pledge I took to uphold the values and traditions of my organization, and I do so every day through my social and professional interactions with others. As an active member in an area alumnae chapter and organization volunteer, my sorority gave me a whole lot more than my bridesmaids and some memories, it gave me a future of things to look forward to, and when I moved to a new place and was overwhelmed as a recent college grad and newlywed, it also gave me a new place to call home.

Happy Founders Day to my fellow sisters. Here’s to 115 more.

On Life this Month

DSCN0792Whew, it’s been quite the month, guys.

We’ve been working away, doing some local-ish traveling, enjoying lots of fall-y things, watching too many TV shows, and making small updates to the apartment along the way. Get ready for lots of words.

I kicked off the month with a trip to Pittsburgh for Duquesne’s homecoming. Despite being a frigid first weekend of October, it was great to spend time with some besties, meet the beautiful new daughter of a wonderful friend, and trek around campus a bit. So many good memories from my four years there. The only downside to the weekend was that it was only two days. If only the real world didn’t exist and I could just spend a week trolling around Pittsburgh doing absolutely nothing at all.

I’m also smack in the middle of “campaign” (not political) season for my job, so the work weeks have been a bit of a blur with lots of moving around the city to different government buildings. On the plus side, nothing makes me feel more like an independent lady than lugging my display board and suitcase filled with premiums up a busy non-working Metro escalator, taking my heels along for the ride. And thank you sir, but I don’t need assistance. Strong women unite.

J’s job is keeping him busy as well. I went to a late-night homecoming pep rally with him one Friday evening and it was awesome to see him in his element interacting with some of the students and his coworkers. However, I was called “Mrs. K” on more than one occasion by his kids, and I’m pretty sure my brow earned a new wrinkle every time.

In addition to some work and a little travel here and there, we’ve been doing our best to check things off our Fall Bucket List. Earlier this month we got to enjoy an Oktoberfest party with my sorority alumnae chapter, and this past weekend we carved our pumpkins and had a little beer tasting of our own, with a side of pumpkin cheesecake from Wegman’s. Carrie supervised from the screen door, which has become her favorite spot in the apartment thanks to the cool fall breeze and lots of leaves flying by for her to “hunt.” We also spent the weekend catching up on “How to Get Away with Murder.” I’m not quite sure how I did it, but somehow I’ve gotten J to watch a Shonda Rhimes show with me.
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Things have been coming along on getting our apartment together. In the past I’ve been in a rush to just purchase things to make a space feel more complete, but I’m trying to really take my time this go-around. Luckily, our apartment is small so it isn’t like we have rooms and rooms to fill (only three, actually), but our tastes are constantly evolving and what we picked even two years ago doesn’t fully fit our style any more. Knowing this, we are trying to focus on quality pieces and purchasing things we think will have a longer shelf life in this and future homes. We got the base of our gallery wall hung, and I finally decided on curtains for the bedroom. True story, we have been hanging beach towels in our bedroom windows at night because we didn’t have curtains and the cat would try to climb the blinds if we left them down while we slept. Needless to say, I’m excited for our curtain rod to come in this week so we can hang the drapes and sheers and act like some-what civilized adults. It’s ok to judge us, I do too.

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That’s about life for us this month. What’s new with you? Done anything fun and seasonal or tackled a home project? Enjoy the rest of the week! xx

On Two Years

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Two years ago, I cried my way down the aisle to J. (Don’t worry, they were happy tears.)

A whirlwind of a day, one of my most vivid memories was before we left for the ceremony, standing outside the bridal suite on the top floor of the hotel and looking down into the open lobby. As I took a few nervous, deep breaths, I remember being in awe that the day I had always wondered about was finally here. Feeling beyond grateful, I thought about the friends and family who had traveled to join us, the perfect sunny fall day, and most of all – the guy that was waiting for me at the church.

I never thought I would get married at 24. To be honest, there was a time in high school when I would have told you I was never getting married at all. I never wanted to be the girl that needed a guy to be happy, and to say I was a cynic would be an understatement. Then, when I met J, I realized that it wasn’t that I needed him – I wanted him alongside me.

I think J and I would both agree that the last two years have been both the easiest and most difficult years of our lives. Since our wedding day we have lived in three different apartments, had a handful of job titles, welcomed a fur-baby into our lives, traveled to four different countries, and felt both rich with opportunity and poor with actual bank statements. Through it all, he’s always the one I want to share it with. Our lives aren’t perfect, but we sure have a good time living.

So to J – thank you. Thank you for pretending to care about curtains, for knowing which character in Pretty Little Liars is Spencer, for always offering me the last bite of dessert despite knowing that I’ll tell you to have it, and for holding my hand under the covers at night even though you get warm. Here’s to many, many years to come. xx

My Fall Bucket List

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Right before Memorial Day I shared my Summer Bucket List. As I recapped last week, not everything on the list got accomplished, but it was one heck of a good summer. Having the list in the back of my mind helped me to fully appreciate the season and the opportunities, so I decided to create one for fall as well.

1. Send a Surprise Gift to a Friend
I love to send mail, and try to make it a point to get some sort of written card out to a handful of friends every month. I want to bump that up a notch though and make it a goal to send one small surprise gift to a friend or two this season.

2. Carve Pumpkins
Each fall growing up we headed to the farmer’s market, chose our pumpkins, and sat outside on the porch carving our designs. Inevitably, my brother would pick the most difficult pattern, and I usually chose whatever cat design happened to be in that year’s kit. (You’re shocked, I know.) These days, the fall season gets so busy I usually forget it’s pumpkin carving time until Halloween (which also happens to be J’s birthday) is right around the corner. This year I’m making it a goal to take advantage of a cool autumn day and carve pumpkins with J outside on the patio.

3. Read Books
This is vague, I know, but over the summer I set a lofty goal of 8 books for myself and only got to 5. Despite the fact that I really do love to read, I’m the worst at making time to actually sit down and do it. Knowing that the season ahead is already looking to be a busy one, I’m going to scale back my expectations and just make reading a higher priority on my list.

4. Bake an Autumn Inspired Treat to Share
I love to cook and bake, but in our previous little nest our kitchen was pretty much non-existent, which took a bit of the fun out of it. Now that I’m in a kitchen I can turn around in and actually have enough cabinet space to store all my supplies, I’m looking forward to baking up some fun treats to enjoy and share.

5. Visit a Local Brewery
Like many other states around the country, Maryland’s craft beer scene has really been flourishing. We have a couple of breweries close-by, and I’d love to go check one out. Jailbreak Brewery is at the top of my list.

6. Go to a Football Game
As a former marching band member, nothing makes me more nostalgic for the fall season than the sound of a drum cadence at a football game. I couldn’t care less about watching the actual game, but the lights, sounds, and smells bring back some wonderful memories.

7. Host a Dinner Party
As I mentioned above, cooking in my old kitchen was more of a chore than I would have preferred, so now that we have a bit of a better layout I’m looking forward to having some friends over for a meal, some libations, and maybe even some board games sometime this fall. Who wants to come for dinner!? 🙂

8. Put Summer Vacation Photos into an Album
We live in a world where digital photos disappear into a computer never to be seen again. I used to love scrapbooking, and while that hobby has probably seen better days from me, I’d like to at least get my photos from the summer into an album. Whether I do it myself or order it from Shutterfly may be determined at a later date, but I’m making it a goal to get them captured in print.

9. Go on a Hike
With the temperatures cooling down and the leaves starting to change colors, there’s no better time to head outside for a hike at a local park or forest.

10. Make Our New Little Nest Feel like Home
As many of you know by now, we moved in August. After our move, we promptly left for ten days in Europe, returning just in time to get thrown back into work and end of summer craziness. We’ve unpacked and are starting to get into a groove around our new place, but we are still getting things organized and decorated. By Thanksgiving (when it is time to put out Christmas decorations!) I’d like to have the apartment cozy and situated. For those who may have not just gone through a move, fall is also a great time to take on an improvement project around your home or freshen up some tired decor.

What’s on your bucket list this season? Anything I should add to mine? What are you baking/crafting/reading/loving this fall?