ShabbyBlogs - Must be Maddie

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I came home from a relaxing weekend away and was happy to be back in the arms of my SweetiePieHoneyBunches. It was only a couple days away and sometimes a little time apart is a good thing. Husband and I caught up on each other's weekend and he looked at me and said, "I like when you are around, it makes me want to be a better person." I'll always remember that line because I feel the same way towards him. When I need motivation for anything, he is my reason and this is why.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Husband's extended family has been getting together for Thanksgiving for 30 years. I have only been to the past three holidays, but each year gets better. The first one was a little overwhelming. Husband had proposed to me a few weeks earlier and it was time to meet the family. Meeting 30+ people for the first time is a lot to take in. But every one was friendly and warm and very welcoming. People socialize all over the house, the kitchen, living room, porch, play room. Football is on, the drinks are cold, and the food smells delish!

Just two years later I can see the family changing and expanding. This year there were 39 people at Thanksgiving. New spouses have come into the family and this year there were 5 new babies, all under the age of 7 months. The dynamic changed a little compared to past years. Conversations were a little hushed so the sleeping babies weren't disturbed. With four other children under the age of 7 running around, people were a little more careful with their language. Everyone kept an eye on the little ones so the new parents could take a break and relax. The atmosphere was so filled with love, I think it was a side effect of so many babies.

Everyone helps out

The new mommies were just glowing

And the food. My word does this family know how to cook. Every two hours there was something new sitting on the counter. Margaret, Husband and I arrived at the Turkey Day House around lunch time. We were greeted with a spread of salami, cheese, bread rolls, chicken noodle soup, chips and dips. Oh And Husband made meatballs with sweet and sour sauce. It was great.

Husband and I loved these minty non perels.

I forgot to take pictures of the food but this is what I had on my plate: fried turkey, ham, stuffing, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, roasted brussel sprouts with bacon, green beans, home made mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Mmm it was delicious.

I did remember to take pictures of the desserts though. Two cheese cakes from New York, pecan pie, shoo-fly pie, a blueberry ring, PapaH's famous apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

The next evening we had dinner with my parents and a couple my parents met through my brother's high school lacrosse team. It was nice a nice evening with food and football, but I was a little pooped. I was really happy to see my brother and hang out with him. He came over after dinner, along with Margaret, Patty Poo and his lady friend, and Kathy. I looked forward to a relaxing evening, drinking some delicious beer from a PA brewer (pumpkin beer, white horse hefe, lay down stay down), and playing asshole with some of my favorites.

I hope your Thanksgiving was happy and filled with yummy food. too

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Relay of Friendship

One of my new favorite bloggers tagged me in a Relay of Friendship. This is my first time being tagged in the blogger world and it made my day. There's a good possibility that I squealed and/or clapped when I read I had been tagged. Before I divulge some personal details about myself I want to say how much I adore Courtney from Vintch. Vintch is a new blog but it has quickly become one of my must-reads. Courtney has a penchant for vintage things so she shortened the word for the title of her blog. And she sells vintage items on Etsy. I'm a fan of this bright pink shirt dress and this adorable black & brown plaid tunic.

Even though I've never met this girl, I can tell she is beautiful inside and out. I love her outlook on life. She puts a positive spin on everything and seems to be quite optimistic. And she's a wonderful writer. She sucks me in with her detailed descriptions and calming voice. Whenever I'm feeling a little out of sorts or stressed out, I turn to Vintch and cross my fingers she's posted something because I know it will lift my spirits. I strongly advise you take a trip to her blog and get to know her, she's a real sweetheart and I know she's going to explode in the blogosphere. Hugs & love Courtney! And thanks for tagging me!!!

Up next in the Relay of Friendship, I'm tagging some of my favorite bloggers:

1. Amber from Amber's Notebook

2. Dating from Dating is My Hobby

3. City Dreams from City Dreams, Suburban Schemes

4. Janet from Janet and the Pink Crayon

if you've been tagged, just answer the following questions in your own post and pass the Relay of Friendship baton to a few more friends. I'm looking forward to getting to know you ladies better.

On to the goods....

1. What did you first want to be when you grew up?

When I was little I wanted to be a teacher. I would make work sheets and use leftover supplies from my mom's classroom (she was a teacher at the time). I would line up my stuffed animals and dolls and give them tests. I have no doubt it was entertaining to watch as an adult, as this little kid made lesson plans and posters. I really wanted to help people and through my little kid eyes, teachers were the epitome of helpers.

2. Favorite childhood game?

UNO! As soon as I was able to understand the rules of Uno, I was hooked. Maybe it was my parent's way of teaching me numbers and colors, but whatever it was I loved it and I always wanted to play.

3. Most favorite birthday?

Birthdays...Let me back track. My birthdays have been peppered with drama and little disappointments. Don't get me wrong, I loved every one but my b-day is in August, which isn't an easy birthday month as a kid. Early on I realized that most of my friends were on vacation with their families during my summer birthday. Even though I would send out 30 invitations, I would be lucky if 10 people showed up. Then in high school, I found my birthday to be a little tough because I wanted to merge several sets of didn't always end well. There were friends who were jealous of other friends and just plain didn't want to be friendly with each other.

SO! My favorite birthday was when I turned 22 or 23. I was out of college and instead of hitting the bars, I had a small dinner with just my family and Hubby, who I was dating at the time. My brother was in town from college and we went to a small Italian restaurant near by. We leisurely ate and just enjoyed each other's company. It was relaxing and enjoyable and best of all it was drama-free. I loved not having lots of people around to attend to. I found it easier to just sit back and relax with the people who know me best.

I think we had ice cream cake - my favorite.

4. Something you've always wanted to do and haven't done yet?

I've always wanted to write and illustrate a children's book. I don't really know why but I think it would be fun to make up a story with a happy ending and a simple life lesson. And then to illustrate it just how I picture it in my head. Now that I think about it, I could write my own story and then have Shutterfly make the book. Hmm that could be a good gift to my hypothetical future children.

5. What was your first love?

Ahh first love. I have two. In middle school I started to play the oboe, with a little nudging from my mama. I kept with it and because the oboe is kind of a difficult instrument that meant not many people were pursuing it. So as a freshman in high school I placed in the top band, which set in motion the next 4 years of my life. I love music. It expresses the sentiments I can't find words for. Playing with a band teaches a lot of valuable lessons. I loved learning the instrument and becoming a master of it. It took discipline and practice but it was worth it to hear the band sing as one voice. It was a wonderful way to turn off my brain and be a part of a musical family.

My second love was photography. Not this new-fangled digital photography. No, my first photo love was 35mm black & white film, a film camera, and a dark room. I could spend hours in my high school's dark room. It was the only thing I was happy to stay after school for. There are so many components to developing film. Learning how to take film out of a camera in a black bag so you don't expose and lose all your shots. You have to learn about the chemicals for developing the film and making contact sheets. Then comes the fun part of using the projectors and creating photographs. I miss all of it terribly. But it did plant a seed of love for photography that has just continued to grow. Now I have a DSLR, a Canon 7D, which is one of my favorite things. One day I want to make a living with photography, whether it's marketing, event photography, whatever. I love the creativity associated with it. It makes my soul happy.

7. First musical idol?

I think it was Cher. In elementary school I remember Cher and Sony's famous, I Got You Babe song. I remember I wanted Cher's beautiful flowing locks, so I grew my hair and it was so long that I had to hold it up before little me sat on the potty. I never had her album or poster or any of that. But Cher is the earliest musical infatuation I can think of.

8. Favorite gift?
Excluding life milestones like my college diploma and engagement ring, my favorite gift is from earlier this year when Husband and I gifted to ourselves a Canon 7D. We decided we wanted to document our life more adequately. After extensive research we decided a Canon DSLR met all our needs. Plus, if we wanted to kick off a photography business, the 7D was a great camera to have. It has provided endless hours of fun and exploring. I view the world as a series of photographs and see things slightly different than I used to. What I love about this camera is that there is SO much to learn and master. We won't out grow this camera in a few years. On the contrary, I think we will be able to pass this camera on to our kids one day.

9. If a theme song played for you everywhere you went, what would it be?
This is a tough question. My first thought is anything from The Holiday soundtrack. Or anything with "only the good notes."
This is a clip of Arthur's theme song from the movie

10. Favorite city to visit?

This is an easy one, Charlottesville, Virginia! Our good friend moved to Charlottesville earlier this year and when Husband and I went to visit, I fell head over heels in love with the area. It's beautiful. Being able to see the mountains and beautiful blue sky, calmed me. And it isn't overly populated like Northern VA. You can actually read about my love for Charlottesville here, here, and here. I would move there in a heart beat. I feel such peace when I'm visiting there. When I'm in Cville, I feel more connected with nature, the people seem friendlier and I feel like life moves just a little slower there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Catch up

Friends! I have so much I want to catch you up on. I have a list of things to share like a pumpkin patch adventure, a weekend get away to North Carolina, how I acquired a Coach bag for a severely discounted price, holidays, etc etc etc.

I'm catching up on life things too, like putting my apartment back together. Honey did some rearranging over the weekend and now it's time to do some purging.

I hope life has been kind to you all. Posts & pictures are coming well as a little more info about me...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Footwear Revisited

I wanted to come back and share details about the two shoe purchases I've made recently.

I'll start with the boots.

I have worn these Frye boots at every opportunity. Last weekend, Husband and I went to the Torpedo Factory and walked around Old Town Alexandria for the afternoon. I jumped on the chance to sport my boots with some leggings and my LC flowery henley set. I belted the top with a skinny, brown leather belt and it was much cuter than without a belt. (Thank you for the suggestions lovelies.) Anyways, the boots did not disappoint. They were comfortable and easy to walk in, even on unstable brick walk ways. I really feel like I am going to have these boots for years and years to come. I feel like a concrete jungle queen wearing these well-made, good quality boots. They make me smile when I see them.

And this past weekend, Husband and I went to the Metro Cooking & Entertaining convention in DC. Whenever DC is mentioned my first thoughts go to footwear. I've learned from my inappropriately cute shoe mistakes...walking in heels across the bridge into Adams Morgan is not fun when every step is a step towards a blister or two. Ick. So I got smart and decided to wear my boots! It was a good choice. I paired the boots with black leggings and pink & white stripped button up shirt. I was comfortable, mobile and ready for the convention. We had been at the convention for no longer than 15 minutes when I was approached by a girl who loved my boots. Her girlfriend came over and we had a little boot-pow-wow in the beer, spirits, & wine section of the convention (she said I wore them well! woot woot thanks lady!). This just makes me happy that I took the plunge and got these boots.

Minnetonkas! I picked up my shoes on Friday and I was a little worried about the sizing since they were ordered online. But the 7.5 fit beautifully with some room to breathe without being too big and falling off my heels. I ended up ordering the Kilty's in tan and they are perfect for those quick trips out to the gas station or grocery store. These are comfortable moccasins but there isn't a whole lot of cushioning. But it's nothing a little shoe insert couldn't fix. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sole is more substantial than what I was expecting, and as a result I felt very steady when I was walking. The moccasins are made of soft suede so there's no uncomfortable rubbing or chaffing.

OH and while at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining event I saw the
peace sign moccasins and they are very cute in person. I also saw the beaded thunderbird ones and they were cuter in person than online, but they're still not a favorite (for now).

Hopefully this helps if anyone is contemplating getting these shoes. Has anyone else bought shoes lately?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gratitutde Attitude

One of my favorite things is a warm beverage, like tea, chai or coffee, and cuddling up with a good book or a journal. It's late afternoon Sunday and it's a cozy day. Sitting inside under a couple layers contemplating tea or hot chocolate and catching up on some of my favorite blogs.

City Dreams, Suburban Schemes is doing a giveaway that's right up my alley. She's giving away a super cute gratitude journal.

I think keeping a gratitude journal is good for a person. You take a different perspective looking for the positive instead of the negative.

AND she's giving away a $5 gift card to Starbucks! Have you had the toffee mocha lately? It's delish!

On top of that she's giving away a set of beaded coasters too. They're gold and perfect for the holiday season.
City Dreams, Suburban Schemes is one of my faves. Head over to her blog and leave a comment for a chance to win.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shutterfly's gift to bloggers

This is the first year I am actually contemplating sending Christmas cards. I kind of feel like now that I’m married I should send out cards, even though I know no one would miss them if I didn’t. But I do love getting holiday cards. I like paper and stationary so I appreciate having pretty cards around. It helps that cards are really cute these days.

I saw that Desperately Seeking Seersucker and City Dreams Suburban Schemes posted about Shutterfly's holiday gift to bloggers. If a blogger posts about their giveaway, Shutterfly will give them 50 free holiday cards.

Shutterfly is offering 50 - 5x7 folded or flat stationary cards from their 2010 Holiday Card Collection. I will probably get the flat photo stationary cards to make this first year of sending Christmas cards as easy and pain-free as possible. I have always liked photo cards.

My mom used Shutterfly to create a photo book of a work trip to Germany and she said it was really easy to create the book. And I must say the quality is nice with clear pictures. I've been meaning to make a book of wedding photos and I'd really like to do that before the end of the year. Shutterfly is where I'll go.

Anyway back to the holidays, here are some of the cards I like.

I like the wordle-like style on the Templeton's card.

I like the gray, it's a little unexpected and the Christmas lights are cute.

I love this icy blue and red combo.

Such cute cards, it's going to be a tough decision.

Thank You Vets

My parents met each other when they were in the Army stationed in Germany. After they decided to get married, my mom got out of the service so she could take care of Bubba and I. My dad went into the Army Reserves so he could be around while we grew up. I will always remember those weekends when Dad would come home from the Reserves all dressed in his camo. I would run outside to meet him in his off white Nissan hatchback. Sometimes he'd let me sit on his lap and "drive" (steer with his help) into the garage. After being gone for most of the day/weekend, I was so happy he was home and could play with us.

When I was in elementary school, my dad's unit was called into active duty and he had to leave for a YEAR to go to Hungary. It was a hard year without him. I missed him like crazy and thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. Sometime during Christmas time I was watching Hey Arnold and the episode was about someone's dad being gone or going away or something of that nature. It just broke my little heart. I ran downstairs and starting sobbing to my mom and pleading for her to bring back Daddy. That's when she told me we were flying out to Colorado to visit her brother and his family and that Daddy was meeting us out there...just days before Christmas.

This all came back to me this morning since it's Veterans Day. I'm so very thankful for all the men and women who have fought for our country. I think we forget that freedom isn't does come at a price and I'm eternally grateful. Thank you Dad, thank you Mom, thank you friends, thank you veterans, for fighting for our country and for our freedom. I love you and will always support you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Georgia wedding recap

(I'm warning you now, this is a monster of a post...)

At the end of last month, Husband and I traveled to Georgia for his cousin's wedding. We left Saturday morning dressed in wedding clothes with my one carry on bag. For my outfit I wore a LBD from Banana Republic with a light gray sweater/jacket with some fun details. I wore my black/brown giraffe print heels mainly because they are comfortable but they're cute too. Husband looked very good in navy pants, a blue & white stripped dress shirt with a red tie and a camel sports jacket.

On the plane waiting for take off

We had enough time before our flight to grab some bagels and coffee for breakfast. I LOVE bagels, just sayin. Being the anxious person I am, I was fiddling with my luggage handle and some how broke it so that it wouldn't fully go down all the way. Ugh. Husband has the magic touch though and was able to get it down before we boarded. The flight wasn't bad at all and it was only 2 hours long. As soon as we landed we headed off to the ceremony.

Britt (Husband's cousin) and her husband Chris had a lovely Catholic ceremony. And I was able to hold it together and not shed a single tear during the ceremony!! I don't know if it is an age thing or the fact that I'm married with a husband, but I am whoa emotional lately. Example, at my friend Wendy's wedding I was supposed to read a passage and could barely make it through because I was sobbing. Talk about embarrassing...

The beautiful bride and her groom making their getaway to the reception.

Anyways, the bride looked stunning. Her dress was one shouldered, which I'm a big fan of, with some gathering on the bodice. She had a blinged out belt cinching her waist that gave way to a slightly ball gown/a-line shaped bottom. My little explanation here does not do it justice. She was beautiful and very classy.

After the ceremony we headed to the Club for cocktails and the reception. It was a beautiful day in GA; clear blue skies, it was warm but not hot, there was little humidity (phew), and later in the evening the temperatures dropped which was nice. Guests enjoyed drinks while overlooking the golf course and that's when I realized, I could 100% live on a golf course. It was fun catching up and chatting with Husband's extended family. They really are a wonderful bunch of people and I am happy to have joined their family.

Husband is a social butterfly and right off the bat I knew I wouldn't see him for much of the evening. So I grabbed on to Margaret, Husband's sister, and we were reception buddies for the rest of the night. =)

You can tell by the crease in my forehead how happy I am to finally have a sister. hehe

We went inside for the reception and wow, the Club was just beautiful and the decor was beautiful. The lighting was soft. The centerpieces were tall, with flowers and these iron tea light holders.

Isn't that centerpiece candle holder lovely? Such height!

They served heavy hors de hourvers and had yummy food stations all over the reception room. My favorite was the mashed potato bar with three different types of potatoes and all the toppings you could want. Bacon? yes. Cheese? I think so. Sour cream?! You betcha. It was delish and I liked that food was available all night - good for those of us celebrating with wine & beverages.

At some point in the evening Britt's dad gave his speech and I'm pretty sure this is when my no-tears winning streak ended. It's just so sweet to see daddy's get emotional over their little girls. And what made this wedding great was that he was welcoming Chris into his family (and visa versa of course too) with open arms. It's truly a blessing when both the bride and groom's families get along.

They smooshed the cake in each other's face, it was cute. But Husband, thank you for not smooshing.

Enough of the mushy stuff. The DJ played had a great play list and I often found myself drawn to the dance floor. It was heart melting to see the little kids dancing and enjoying themselves.

Dancing with Uncle Larry!! I swear he danced with every female there.

And Husband danced with me! He may be mad that I posted this, but look at that cutie, who wouldn't be tempted to dance with that hot piece of man?

I just had an absolute blast and so did Margaret. hehe. We got to know each other better than we ever had that night. She ended up sleeping in our room/bed with Husband and I. I told you it was a great wedding.

Us on the way home...
He's going to be more mad I posted this one...but look at those sweet baby blue eyes.

The next morning was a little rough for some but we all met at the hotel the next morning for breakfast. After chatting about last nights events, Husband, Margaret and I packed up and headed to the airport for our early afternoon flights back home. We cut it a little close, but we all made it to our flights. Though I was a little sad to be leaving I was happy to get back home. I learned that I like traveling with Husband (a valuable lesson to learn about your mate). He keeps me calm and stress-free. He really is my better half and this weekend made me thankful he's my partner in life.

Congrats Britt & Chris! Thanks for a wonderfully fantastic wedding to celebrate your marriage.

It's all about attitude

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
~Charles R. Swindoll

Sometimes I need an attitude check. I need to get out of my head and snap back to reality. Sometimes I feel like things in my life are set in stone, but they really aren't. Life is fluid and I am still working to accept that. It's all about how I choose to see things.

Today I choose love, positivity and optimism.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Funky Chicken, Flasher and Lumber Jackie

Halloween weekend was a blast! We didn't do anything extravagant, but I was surrounded by some of my favorite people.

Friday night a couple of my favorite boys came into town, BUBBA and DREW! Bubba is my nickname for my little brother...although he isn't all that little anymore. He's finishing up college at Salisbury this Spring and then he may be headed off to grad school. Hooray Bubba! And Drew was staying w/ Husband and I for the weekend and this time I remembered to blow up the mattress before we started drinking.

Later Bubba came over with our friend Patty Poo. And soon after that Kathy and her roommate Anne and their friend Dan came over for card games & drinks. There's nothing like a friendly game of as$hole to get people relaxed and acquainted. Oh and later Bmore, another one of our good friends, came over to play!! It was a fun night playing cards and laughing and drinking.

We were feeling hurt and moving slow the next morning. So we woke up leisurely and Husband made espresso while I made blueberry crumb cake, an Ina recipe. Whilst drinking espresso and chugging water to rehydrate ourselves, we watched the Colbert/Stewart rally on the TV. It was amazing to see how many people showed up for the event. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Roots & John Legend perform. The lead singer from Roots had on a beautiful camel colored coat and John Legend's navy coat was attractive too.

Later in the evening we made dinner and then it was time to get dressed up for Halloween! Drew's costume did not disappoint. It was yellow and a little outrageous. And Husband looked pretty awesome too. If you watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia you're familiar with the dick towel. Husband had a great idea to use that and be a flasher! For my costume I wanted something easy and required $0. I put on my boots, short shorts and a black & red flannel shirt and I became Lumber Jack(ie)! I decided to leave the axe at home, you know with all the drunk people around it could have been a horrible terrible idea.

If you ever wondered what I'd look like as a blonde...

We hung out at Kathy & Anne's place and drank and played beer pong. Kathy was dressed up as Rita from Dexter and Anne was Dexter - it was an awesome costume duo. Sadly I didn't get a picture of the two together but I'll just say both their costumes were dead on.

Sunday was a relaxing, time-to-clean-up, lets-snuggle sort of day. Throughout the day Husband and I took turns cleaning up the kitchen and picking up the apartment. And later that night I made Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes that I found from Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen. It was a super simple recipe that is delicious! This is definitely a recipe to keep around for parties and holidays. I brought the extras into work and after 5 minutes they disappeared. =)

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. I hope everyone else had a fantastic Halloween!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Minnetonka Moccasins

So on Friday, Dating is My Hobby posted some super cute Minnetonka moccasins and all weekend I've been dreaming about them. DiMH has great style, so I hope she doesn't mind my copy cat lust.

Here are a few I've been considering:

These are classic and girlie.

Minnetonka Womens Suede Thunderbird Moccasin
Moccasins with some embellishment...but I'm on the fence about the beading. Is it too much or appropriate for the moccasin?

Minnetonka Womens Studded Moccasins - Brown Suede
Are the studs a juxtaposition that doesn't work with this type of shoe?

Being a sensible girl, I thought about the clothing I already had that would look good with moccasins. Needing a little help I used Google to find outfit inspiration but was disappointed. However I did find a pretty cool website called, Polyvore. Polyvore is an online fashion community where you can search & shop for cute clothes/shoes/accessories. You can ask the community questions about how to wear particular styles, how to wear a particular pair of shoes, etc, AND you can create your own outfit mood boards. Pretty cool.

I asked the question 'how to wear moccasins' and people link clothing items to help illustrate their answer/advice. This was exactly what I was looking for and it helped me decide, YES I definitely want to get a pair of moccasins.

I love love love my Frye boots, but sometimes I want a pair of flats that I can throw on while I head out for quick errands. Now I need to decide which ones to get!