Chuckle inducing.

My dad. Always the jokester. This is his grand honorable mention. Very funny DAD! :p 

I thought maybe some of you would find this as humorous as I did.

You mock me.

H   A   H   A  !

Surprise! Surprise!

I can still remember when, in third grade, my parent's pulled me from class early to hop in an RV... down to Disney World. It was the best surprise any 8 year old could dream up. Years later, I can recall camping trips filled with bottled treasure maps and buried boxes of antique jewelry to find. Fast forward to today, all of their "little" girls in their twenties (some of us, late twenties - gasp!) and what do my parents do? Well they plan an entire vacation without telling us where we'll be staying ... only naturally.  This has been ridiculously exciting. We know it's the Caribbean, because after all, we needed to know whether to pack swimsuits or hiking boots. They revealed during Easter weekend that the destination was hot and then (reluctantly) told us that the island we'd be enjoying our stay at is St. Thomas. I think there's still some lingering doubt about whether that was just a ploy to throw us off or not. Regardless, we have NO idea if it'll be at a hotel, resort, or private villa. I am beyond excited. It'll all remain a surprise until the plane lands and we're driving up to.... wherever it is that we're staying. 

I'm eagerly awaiting hot, sunny days on the sand, blue waters, corona in hand and some Bob Marley floating through the air. All only 3 days away!!! It's not your traditional 4th of July festivities but I'll gladly trade in my sparklers for sunscreen any day! Friday could not come sooner!

Past vacation family portrait


One of my favorite so-called "snacks" is freshly baked bread with olive oil and a variety of dipping spices. Mmm. Add in some cheese and wine and you've got yourself quite the delectable spread. A few years ago, I had purchased a 4 compartment canister of seasoning spices which were a perfect addition for this go-to hostessing meal. The only problem? Well you see, hubby and I ate it. ALL. Every last tidbit of a spice. I'm telling you, these flavors are irresistible. So a few months ago, while I had the canister upside down and was attempting to knock the last little remnants of spice out, I realized it was finally time that I purchase a replacement. To my horror, I haven't been able to procure my beloved spices. I've been searching both far and wide. Poor, innocent grocery store workers have been subject to my hunt through aisles and, believe me, I've hit up just about every chain in my area. So today, in a moment of desperation, I decided to take my search online. Oh the magic of modern day technology. Right away I spotted my little darlings. Oh, how I've missed thee!

I'm sad for you because you don't even yet realize what you're missing! I know this all seems quite silly but hubs and I have really grown fond of this last minute treat and I'm so happy to recommence our little afternoons savoring these flavors. Victory is mine!
Available for purchase here.

So it's no great secret that I'm a huge fan of anything vintage. And remember HERE when I told you I was {sad face} longing for a new camera? WELL, I recently stumbled upon a too-cute blog bursting with amazing photographs. And to my great surprise, I discovered it's actually all because of a little app named Instagram. Ah, love at first sight. My hearts-a-flutter. I may have to trade in my Blackberry just so that I can utilize this amazing app on an iPhone. So, so jealous! When you have a minute, do take a little looksie.

Dress to impress.

Remember a little bit ago when I was telling you all about how I'm such a fussy eater? Well, I also happen to be a picky dresser. This inherently means that I only dabble in online shopping infrequently. With that being said, I did take a leap of faith by purchasing a dress from HauteLook a few weeks ago. With wedding season upon us, sometimes a girl just can't pass up a good deal. Where else can you find a dress for 20 something dollars?! Seriously. And so, I patiently waited for my purchase to arrive in the mail and when it finally did, I was... well, I was disappointed. The fit of the dress didn't have me over the moon in love. Sure I loved the navy color, the hemline and the lace detail around the bust. What I couldn't have anticipated was that the "empire" waist would be about 2 inches below where an empire waist should fall on me. And so I was temporarily discouraged.  That is until I had the brilliant idea to add a ribbon to the dress, which effectively covered up the less than thrilled about area. A trip to Michael's and about $3 later and I had secured myself a very satisfactory soon-to-be ensemble! Did I mention that I love ribbon, bows and anything feminine? It just goes to show that a little magic can happen with even the tiniest bit of tweaking!

I've since discovered (mostly from word of mouth) some additional great places to shop online:

Please do share if you know of any other interesting digital aisles to peruse. I'm always open to a good recommendation :)

Pictured below is my method of madness for packing, as well as some less than perfect pictures of me in the dress, which is what happens when you're home alone with no one to take pictures of you.

Happy shopping!

A little late...

Although past due, I couldn't post this craft prior to Daddy's Day in fear that I'd spoil my own gift to him. But hey, it's never too late to share in some creativity, right? My inspiration this year was brought on by, none other than the queen of all crafts, Martha Stewart. Her Folded-Shirt Card was intended for kids but I gladly mimicked the idea. The directions weren't followed exactly but the basic idea was the same: turn your Father's Day card into a shirt & tie combo. How cute!? I can still remember when we were little girlies with only pennies in our pocket. Making cards was the only option back then and there's still something so sentimental about it. In addition to my crafty card, I spoiled him with some yummy Williams-Sonoma Maple Mesquite BBQ sauce, found here, and a wood handled basting brush. Add in some simple gift wrap and his favorite bulls eye candies and voila! My two sisters got him a bbq cookbook and a grill light so all of our gifts were themed. It was an affordable way to say thanks dad for being so amazing!
Some simple ingredients.

It came together quite nicely, if I do say so myself

Fathers are especially difficult to shop for, if you ask me. What did you gift your Dad with this year? Anything fun?

Chef to be.

Good morning my little birdies! Hopefully you're well rested from yet another relaxing summer weekend. I can't wait to share photos from the beautiful wedding we attended Saturday and the Father's Day gift I pulled together, but alas both will have to wait. It appears that while hubs and I were away, our internet decided to take a nose dive and so I post today (quickly) from "another" computer. Eh-hem.

Last week while trying to locate my good ole dad a grilling/BBQ book from B&N, I happened upon this little lovely...

I enjoyed the photographs and instantly was drawn to the recipes which remind me of meals my mom would serve. Not too gourmet. Simple, "normal" ingredients. A cook-in-the-making type of cookbook. And so it was that these pages found their way into my basket. I've been gifted many cookbooks in the past but have never actually purchased or chosen one on my own. I do have grand visions of some day, when hubby and I decide it's time to grow our family, experiencing dinner around the table every evening...just like when I grew up in my family and he in his. The problem? I'm not really much of a cook. Let me re-phrase that. I don't really enjoy cooking (truth be told). I'm certainly not one of those women who prides themselves in whipping together a meal every night (although I'm supremely jealous of those of you who do). Sure, some Frank Sinatra, a glass of wine in hand and a new gourmet recipe? I'm up for that every few weeks but time constraints won't allow for such indulgences daily. Another hindering fact? My taste buds have evolved only to that of about a 5 year old's. In other words, I'm a horribly picky eater. My great cooking potential is seriously limited to a short list of ingredients and meats that I already know I enjoy. Nevertheless, I now have obtained a new-found goal to try and cook 1 recipe per week from said cookbook. One recipe. One single recipe. I think it's an attainable goal and a good start. Because after all, you have to start somewhere right?

I'll let you know how it goes soon!

Purchase possible here.

Getting paper.

Free money is always a blessing. It doesn't even really have to be free, per say. Unexpected money, even if it's rightfully owed to you, is just as exciting. Sign me up to be on the receiving end ANY day! And so, with that, I spread the word about something I like to call State Treasuries. Sure, we've all heard of them. Well let me tell you friends, pay close attention! Most, if not all, State Treasuries have an unclaimed property section, usually found on their website. For Pennsylvania, search here. Type in your name and voila! You may just have an unexpected little gift waiting patiently for you. That's what happened to me anyway. I just received my check in the mail and although it's not paying the big bills, it's still something. Give it a whirl if you haven't already! Who knows? You may just have a little treasure waiting for you too.

And by all means, feel free to reward me with tokens of appreciation if you happen to hit the jackpot! ;)

Image found here.

Blogging from bed.

     My oh my! We have a LOT to catch up on. It's been quite the week (and it's not even over yet!). 
     Hubs and I have a family vaca planned over the 4th of July. I can't wait to share more about this soon as details unfold! Let's just say that the prospect of this week-long event has inspired us both to be as healthy as can be. Going along with that same theme, I decided on a whim the other night to use some of the fresh herbs hubby's grandmother gave to us in a hanging basket earlier this Spring. Mmm.. fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, and lemon zest.
Chicken with herbs recipe found here. How can it not be healthy with all of those yummy, fresh ingredients. 
    So here's the thing: I'm positive I'd be a terrific chef but the problem, you see, is that I'm a finicky eater. In conjunction with that, I'm also a die-hard creature of habit. When it comes to dining out at a restaurant, I find one meal I love and then I'm the type of person who proceeds to order that same exact meal every.single.time. I'm sure no one notices at restaurants but I'm pretty sure my husband has taken notice when it comes to dinner time at our house. As of late, I've come to the conclusion that there is only one answer to this dilemma. I need to invest in a colorful, pretty, picture-filled cook book and force myself to recipe my way through it. Has anyone else seen the movie Julie & Julia? Yes. I'm sure that's exactly what needs to be done. Who knows, maybe I'll even discover that I actually like other foods. At the very least, I'm sure my husband will enjoy it... supremely. 
     Speaking of that handsome husband of mine, I have to highlight our most recent accomplishment. We were a little late. It definitely feels more like Summer than Spring.. but it's never too late to get your Spring cleaning in, at least in my home. We tackled the big bad monster who has been hiding in our basement since the day we moved into our new dwelling. And wow. What a difference it makes! 


If our 100 year old basement could ever be beautiful, this is as pretty as she's going to be. Believe you me, these photographs don't even do her justice. 
     Anywho, moving onto more exciting topics. In case you haven't noticed, it's been hot. Very hot indeed. I visited the park only once this week and came to the very abrupt conclusion that jogging in 90+ degree weather isn't really all that comfortable or enjoyable. So, in an effort to find an indoor (aka cooler) locale to burn some calories, I invested in a yoga mat. Mind you, I've never actually tried yoga but why not jump right in? And so, I took a little trip to Barnes & Nobles... I know, right!? Who would have thought a bookstore would sell yoga mats, not to mention cute yoga mats! 
I tested my inner yogi out last night and I must say.. it was quite enjoyable! I'm excited to test out some different videos and instructors. Thank you Exercise TV. If you are like I was and never stepped foot (literally) on a yoga mat before, I highly recommend you give it a whirl. While at the B&N, I also snuck a new read into my purchase. If it's any good, I promise to share soon! And with that, I think it's time to unwind in bed, book in hand, while this first summer storm rolls through. Enjoy your evening!

Yoga mat available for purchase here.

The beast.

A few weeks ago, in my office parking lot, I had the unfortunate experience of a car backing into the side of mine. For this reason, I was forced to take my vehicle to a repair shop. My, oh my. If only I had known. THIS, my friends, was the beauty the rental office provided me as a temporary replacement:

I had the pleasure of driving around this beast all week. What a looker she was! It makes me chuckle just thinking about it. Seriously, how embarrassing?! People probably thought I actually owned this gem.

I'm hoping that perhaps the vision of me getting in and out of this monster will bring about a smile upon your face this morning :)

Image found here.

Quote of the day.

This weekend, I heard this quote for the very first time...

"Life is 20 percent what happens to you, and 80 percent how you respond."

And it's so true! Life really is what you make of it. So with that being said, enjoy your Monday morning to the very best of your ability. Wishing you a happy day!

Going green.

On Mother's Day, my dear Mom had requested one thing of our family - that we visit a Mexican restaurant for some margaritas and apps. Tough, right? The margaritas were, but of course, delicious (and strong) but when it came to ordering the appetizers, I was in a bit of a pickle. She mentioned that a service was available whereupon a chef would come and prepare fresh guacamole in front of the table. I was not thrilled. Guacamole held a very special place in my heart as being one of the ugliest, most undesirable, unappetizing foods ever. Seriously. It's green and it's chunky. Not my cup of tea. But nevertheless, it was her special day, and so I was obliged to go along with the scheme. And, the chef did make it look rather appetizing with all of those fresh, healthy ingredients. And, I really was craving some food after all of that tequila. And so, I tip toed into trying the gross green mush I had so adamantly avoided for many, many years. And what to my wondering eyes should appear?! Fresh, delicious guacamole. Blame it on the tequila but I actually liked it. In fact, I'll go a step further and say that I was mentally trying to memorize the ingredients so I could make a fresh batch at home. And so, to the great pleasure of hubs, I whipped up my own dish of guacamole for the first time ever.
Margaritas anyone?
Valuable lesson learned? Unripe avocados are especially difficult to slice and dice compared to their softer, more easily-managed, counterparts. It's a shame I had to start with the unripe avocado first. Oh, did I have fun with that one!

Delectably delicious.

Following yesterday's post, I've decided to jump start my day with a little something special. An extra perk, if you will. What better way than to indulge in some delicious Starbucks before heading off for another full day in the office? On this morning's menu: Tazo iced chai tea latte & multigrain bagel with cream cheese to-go. I was finally able to use my greatly anticipated shiny new gold card. How prestigious of me! Ok, probably not all that prestigious. Just this past winter, I was sipping a hot chai tea latte and begrudgingly passing it along to my sister to enjoy. In a few short months, this drink has won my heart over. I'm officially a chai tea fan. And so, I dedicate this post to my sister, Jamie, who's an even bigger fan than I.
(Image found here.)

A written apology.

Admittedly, I've run a little off course. My train went off the tracks, one could say. As much as my little heart yearns to be creative, life - the everyday, routine, and most times boring life - just plain gets in the way. I've had a serious bout of the doldrums lately. I can attribute at least part of this to camera envy. There's only so much one can do with a limited lens and I've been longing for a more robust camera lately. I promised many moons ago that I would steer clear of any whining, complaining or negativity. So, on a more positive note, please share any recommendations you may have for superb cameras!!! Did the exclamations work? Very positive... if you ask me :)

Sleeping beauty.

I couldn't have asked for more. This weekend was toppling over with parties, parties and more parties! There's nothing quite like a refreshing few days away from the office surrounded by friends and family. 

I was tempted to highlight the birth of my niece with last week's babblings but decided she deserves an entire post of her own. And so, without further delay, meet Natalie:
Adorable adorable adorable.
A few disclaimers: I don't do diapers. Who are we kidding? I don't even really do babysitting. I'm pretty sure I only just started liking children a few years ago. Apparently it was only then that my maternal instinct decided to show up. With all of this being said, I found a few conversations to be quite comforting this weekend. From an experienced mom of one, figuring out how to easily hand off a newborn is still problematic for her. From another very experienced mommy, telling if a baby has burped is still a complete guessing game. Apparently I'm not the only one who's still trying to figure out these hurdles! I did manage to gaine an eensy bit of experience this weekend. And let me tell you, this little lady makes motherhood appear waaaay too easy! So well behaved. Only cute cooing and the appropriate cry if she needs a bottle or her diaper changed.
The puppies were a fan too.
Until it's time for real babies, my furry baby will just have to do <3
My snuggly wuggly Teacup.