My first year out of University, I took up a sales job. It afforded me the luxury of living close to my then boyfriend - now husband -  while simultaneously allowing for the avoidance of moving in with my parents. The job, however, I abhorred. It required cold calls. A great many of them. In one word: Painful. My escape became my lunch break, where I would sneak away in peace to Barnes & Nobles. There's something chic about sipping on a Starbucks latte while enjoying soup of the day in a cafe hidden amongst the books. It became my solitude. This afternoon, I revisited my old rabbit hole, after years of forgotten memories, and it was so unexpectedly blissful. To add even more flourish to the moment, a petite famille speaking French sat nearby. All of those cherished moments came flooding back to me in a wave of calm I couldn't have anticipated.  Nostalgia is funny like that. It will sneak up on you when you least expect it. As we move forward to the next year, it's nice to know that fond memories of the past will never fully fade. 

Barnes & Nobles chili with a warm asiago cheese pretzel.

How to live life.

A very interesting NY Times article. Thoughts?

Life lines.

At times, I still have difficulty grasping this whole concept of blogging. I certainly don’t believe in forced blog posts, although I’m sure on occasion I’ve been guilty of it. It’s interesting how I will go days with little thought to the whole kitten caboodle and then other weeks, I’m writing entire blog posts in my mind while driving and wishing I were home to jot them down. I guess it’s a little like me getting dressed in the morning. Some (most, if I’m honest), I want to stay buried in bed for as long as possible, so I sprint to pick the warmest, comfiest, easiest outfit I can. Then there are those special days where I wake early, take my time, and wholly enjoy the selection process. There’s no telling when those days will strike and I’m betting creativity is a little bit like the same thing. I wish I knew what magical recipe would make me feel inspired from one day to the next but it always seems so elusive. Sometimes, just reading other blogs will do the trick. Other days, it will have the reverse reaction and I’ll tailspin into a feeling of annoyance, hopelessness and/or utter uncreative-ness. I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but guess what? I just created it. So be what it will, here’s to hoping the new year brings about many days of inspiration and very few of despair. The way I see it, 2012 is an open book just waiting for me to draw my life onto the lines.
High school sketches, rediscovered.

{Today is a creative day, if you can't tell}

The devil within me.

Two posts in one day is a bit much, I know. Even for me. And normally I would be proud of myself because normally this post would accompany some type of pretty picture too. Today is not one of those days. Today is a different kind of animal.

First, let me start by saying that if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it well. It will be done right the first time around. This, one may say, is the result of a self-proclaimed perfectionist. Read: My issue. To put it simply, I hate working and I'm a great worker. I'm not just saying that to give myself a pat on the back either. Truth be told, many of the jobs I've held have resulted in promotions, which is really just a nice way of saying that you now own more responsibility. I've learned that working well looks a lot like being ambitious. People assume that I'm career driven because of the work I do. But in reality, my visions and dreams of the future involve one day raising children nicely nestled at home. And according to my mom, even when I was a teenager (long before the idea of babies was bouncing around my head), I expressed my disinterest in holding a career. So why work? Well, to pay the bills of course. But at what expense? I remember in high school we would take mental health days - a full day of relaxation to do whatever one pleased. When you start working, you don't get mental health days anymore. You get time off or vacation days. And sometimes, sadly, those days are used for doctor's appointments and/or the bazillion other projects in your life that haven't yet managed to squeeze into a meager 2 day weekend. Why can I not live my life doing the things I love - reading, writing, drawing...making yarn necklaces (coming soon!). So much of my life is consumed by work. A career I don't care about. At all. And.never.will. It's pathetically sad. And maybe this is all stemming from the fact that I'm stuck at work while 90% of the population has off in celebration of the holidays. Boo me, I know. I've also realized, as of late, that I'm horrendous multi-tasker. So maybe I'm just doing a really piss poor job of balancing life and work. What do you think???

Made with love.

Hubster has been longing to make a homemade pizza for sometime now so when we visited my parents house for the holiday, he was ecstatic to find all of the key ingredients ready to go. The dough, sauce, mushrooms, olives, cheese, green pepper &  pepperoni....oh my! It turned out a little bit on the crispy side (which is pretty much par for the course when cooking in my mom's kitchen :) but all in all, a delicious treat. It's really spectacular how pizza manages to transform from an indulgence to a healthy meal when made fresh. We will definitely be doing this again soon!

Ps. For those of you who don't already know this magical secret, cooking scissors are the BEST way to create slices. So much better than knives or even those pizza slicers! 


After... mmm.   


I had never visited a psychic before, not because of the possible (and very plausible) element of scam but because it's intimidating, much in the same way I imagine a church is to someone who's never entered one. This was two weeks ago. Since then, I've visited not one, but two psychics! It started as a fun, quirky idea which then sparked my interest. So let it be said. Let it be written. Here are my accounts of the other worldly:

Psychic # 1:  $10 special. Enter and pose one question. My question, naturally (and stereotypically), was about children. She went on to first tell me that I'm very blessed and will live a fulfilled life (yay!). I will have twins and a total of three children. I expressed my surprise, to which she responded by asking me whether there were twins on my side of the family, on my husbands, or whether we were undergoing any fertility treatments. I answered no on all fronts. She explained it's possible that the first two children will be born very close in age, less than a year apart, which is why she may be sensing twins. In total, she saw two boys and a girl. She warned me of tension arising in the next 8-9 weeks. Because she wasn't quite clear about where or with whom this tension would be occurring, I asked if she meant my husband. She agreed and told me to let him win a few arguments. To relax. To let things happen naturally. She then proceeded to ask me whether I'd like to pay extra for additional services, to which I responded no. To my surprise, she told me that it was probably a good idea to start slow. Her response struck me as odd but I thought perhaps she could sense my nervousness.

Now to provide you with a little insight: I've always wanted two children - a boy and a girl. I was planning on avoiding that whole middle child syndrome that comes along with three. Also, I've secretly been hoping and praying that I have a girl first, so I can avoid the anxiety of being stuck with all boys. This is what happens when you grown up in a family consisting of three daughters. I've also been quietly pondering whether it would actually be wisest to have child #1 and child #2 something like 4 years apart. So, you can see how the predictions threw me for a loop. I've been envisioning exactly the opposite. 

Moving onto psychic #2. Out of sheer curiosity, I thought perhaps it would be fun to visit a second psychic. Someone entirely new that I could compare readings. Enter....

Psychic #2: Two palm readings for $15. She didn't touch or look at my palms, which I found interesting. Since this reading didn't involve a specific question, she covered a lot more ground. Prepare yourself. It's long. I should also mention that I was entirely more relaxed this time around, having gone through this before and all. She first noted that I have a lot of good energy. She saw a lot of health, in myself and my family. It will be a good year. She stated that there were three times in my past that health issues could have been an issue, but I've been blessed to have two guardian angels looking over me. One has been with me for a very long time and the other just came to me around ten years ago. Since I don't know many people who have passed (luckily), I mentioned my confusion about who the second could be. She explained that it could be someone from longer ago, but who came to me recently because I needed help. She also saw an incident in my past which could have resulted in great hurt, but that my angels protected me. I'll stop here and insert that, even as I write this, I can't stop myself from thinking about how stupid this all sounds but I will say that it's extremely fascinating to have someone tell you these things. So, to resume, she also said that I will experience a career change soon. I will have two opportunities, one of which will involve me doing something on my own. She sees me taking opportunity #1 first. Money will come in as quickly as it goes out in 2012 but by 2013, financially we will be saving and settled. She mentioned that my family is overprotective of me. She sees tension in the first quarter of 2012 between my husband and I, but the tension is arising from his family. According to her, there has been a lot of jealousy in my life. People being jealous of me because I don't complain a lot (insert chuckle). I think my husband might disagree with that sentiment! She also said that the 4 friends in my life now will be my friends for life. That I should trust my intuition. That I'm spiritual. That I observe the world in a way which will ignite people to ask for my advice. Okay, this is where it gets good. Ready? She said she sees three healthy children. At first, she said she saw twins but then, on further inspection, she backtracked and said she sees two boys being born very close in age. She stated the second will be born before the first probably even turns one. Four or five years later, she sees a girl. 

HOW CRAZY IS THAT! A lot of the above may not string a cord with anyone unless you know my past very well or have been privy to some of my more recent discussions. However, I think we can ALL agree that the aspect of upcoming tension and predictions about children match almost exactly from psychic #1 and #2. It's eerily similar and hard to explain. The only thing left to do is wait and see if the predictions come true! What do you think???

'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

When all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse....

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree, spruced up.
Family tradition, an annual reading of The Night Before Christmas narrated in a humorous voice by my dad. This year in Jersey, a recorded version from my parents. Such a sweet gift. 

A fresh look.

Well hey there miss lady! Do you like? Because I am LOVING Penny Lane Designs right now for providing this fabulous makeover. And just in time for the holidays! I feel so very official. Hopefully you're enjoying the change as much as I am. Merry Christmas to all!

Perfectly parfait.

Somewhat of a delicacy this time of year, given the price of berries, I've been loving all things parfait. Sometimes with granola and vanilla yogurt and others spiced with a splurge of whipped topping. Perfectly simple. AND it goes deliciously well with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. 'Tis the season (have I used that phrase enough for you yet?) of indulgence for anyone blessed with a sweet tooth like mine. Between cookie exchanges and office parties, there's always a surplus of sugary sweets. I'm still in wonderment as to the reason why, but my office claim to fame appears to be my cupcakes. I would share my oh-so-secret recipe with you except that it's right there on the back of the Betty Crocker box. Maybe all of the hubbub has a little something to do with cream cheese frosting and elaborate sprinkle displays. Regardless, last night I somehow managed to seriously botch my first dozen. How one ruins boxed cupcakes, I will never know. Last holiday season, I somewhat failed in making these Linzer cookies as well. Apparently I was missing a key ingredient: parchment paper. I'm thinking a re-do might be in order this Friday while my family bakes an outrageous number of cookies . Trial and error, ladies! Trial and error. Side note: Don't those cookies look like they'd pair perfectly with a cup of tea?!


So many things to share this week! First, a little catchup. My amazing husband surprised me with such an exciting gift last week. Like many before, we weren't sold on exactly how to ring in the New Year. Maybe it's because Christmas steals the spotlight, but New Years always feels a little forced. And lucky for me, this year there's not a worry in sight. My sweet hubby went ahead and booked us a suite at the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast Inn. AND, even better is the fact that this adorable B&B in Vermont is pet-friendly so our little puppster can come along for the ride! Looking at the beautiful photographs on their website has me beyond excited. If you've never ventured to a bed & breakfast before, I highly recommend them. It's a more personalized experience and always seems to exude an air of adventure. This will only be our second experience with one but I'm already counting it as a great way to start the New Year!

The classics.

There's something especially nostalgic about cutting down a pine tree, saw and all. A new tradition was born today as we introduced our niece and nephew to the classics of Christmas. 'Tis the season! 

Well wishes to all!

Making memories.

Traditions are like making memories on repeat and there's no better time to start them than now. From my parents' Christmas creation of a themed winter wonderland to gorgeous champagne brunches, I have been blessed with an overabundance of traditions.  It's all so very bittersweet this year because it will be the first that I'm not "home" Christmas morning with my parents and sisters, but instead will be waking up next to my husband at his childhood house. These are just the things you do when you get married. And so, there's this pivotal moment in your life when you realize that maybe it's time to start making your own traditions.

Traditions we've started:
1) Selecting one new ornament together annually which we date for future amusement.
2) Popcorn and cranberries strung on the tree. Ok, okay. I definitely stole this one from my parents but it is an essential part of our tree, always and forever. And you better believe that when we have our own sweet children there will be cookies, car ride Christmas light searches, a new pair of pj's and a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. There will also be a winter wonderland extravaganza waiting for them in the wee hours of the morning, and much, much more :)

So apparently we've only really managed to start one new tradition, but it's just that... a start. Many more to come, of which I am sure! We do, after all, have quite the list to build on.

Pictured here, our homemade garland and a wedding day ornament.

Backyard love.

You know, it's a little incredible how often my husband and I don't go into the city. There are so many restaurants we've never frequented. Actually, there are a great many restaurants right down the street from us that we haven't even visited. Maybe we're just not foodies. At some point though, it dawned on me that there's a lot to offer in our backyard that we take for granted. It becomes a daily blur of sorts. Tell me, is it wrong to already be conjuring up thoughts of New Years resolutions? Right next to Resolution # 1: Do one small improvement to our home monthly, I'm thinking of adding -  Try at least 4 new restaurants. I'm a horrible creature of habit but it's always nice to break the routine of things. I am proud to say that we did manage to take our house guests this weekend into the great looming city that is Philadelphia and onto a lunch cruise. We feasted on fabulously horrible-for-you buffet food and indulged in champagne. It was a nice change of pace and even us residents got to experience something new the city had to offer.

Entertainment on the water.

Holiday favorites.

Yes, we can all appreciate the holiday music and the gathering around of the Christmas tree. But it's something else too. It's those extra hints of the holidays hiding around every corner. Unassumingly, I stumbled upon a few this weekend. 

Festive craft beers which come but once a year.

The downtown of any area across the US, lit with an extra special glow this time of year.

We entertained friends from DC this weekend (more coming soon!) and I realized on our walk down to dinner on Main Street just how beautiful the area was decorated. After filling our bellies with delightful brewery beer and food, we stopped in at the Tavern where a very glorious cherry honey beverage was discovered. Pure 11% alc. deliciousness. I wasn't quite as courageous as my house guests, so I stuck to my Pinot Grigio BUT it was certainly tempting. And festive. We ended the night with a viewing of the most classic Christmas movie ever - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which I can only assume was my idea.  Even when you're not trying to be overly festive, the holidays will catch up to you... everywhere. 

Missing: a big red bow.

This morning I came downstairs to find a special surprise waiting for me under our Christmas tree.  Apparently hubby and I aren't the only ones in our household loving the holidays this season. Take note from our mini lion - don't forget to claim a moment for relaxation and enjoyment during the festivities! It's not all about the hustle and bustle, after all. Snuggling required.


Late 20's is the adolescence of adulthood. It's an entirely awkward period of growing pains, where people aren't quite certain yet who they want to be. At least that's how I view it anyway. Everyone around me appears to be in various stages - single, dating, married, children. You name it. Sometimes I ever so slightly look forward to my 30's for the mere fact that everyone will (hopefully) be on the same page again. On a somewhat related note, yesterday evening hubby and I had the pleasure of receiving a dinner invitation, which was so incredibly sweet of our friends.  They hosted us at their apartment where we enjoyed a fabulously cooked meal. It was such a refreshing change of pace that I'm already busy brainstorming ways we can return the favor!
My first experience with stemless glassware.
Our hostess had such beautifully displayed candles everywhere that its inspired me to add a few to my shopping list this week. So festive! And who doesn't love a sweetly scented home?
And last, but not the very bit least, the meal!

Pine needles and pizza.

This weekend hubs and I did a little tree shopping. We made our decision in record time. I kid you not when I say that our selection was made in less than a minute, with the very helpful assistance of our local employee. Our tree. She was such a beauty. Was being the operative word. But before I get into that debacle, let me tell you about how we stumbled upon the most amazing pizza my taste buds have ever met. After ordering my Starbuck's white chocolate peppermint mocha latte (a must when Christmas tree shopping, if I do say so myself), hubs spotted a pizzeria next door and stopped in for a slice. I instantly envisioned stale, soggy slices and passed up on the offer. My mistake. Husband, on the other hand, ordered the White Margherita described as "garlic sauce, fresh mozzarella, regular mozzarella, chopped fresh basil and a splash of plum tomato sauce." Sprinkle some garlic salt and red pepper flakes and my mouth was in heaven. I love me some pizza and this was on a whole new level. So good in fact, that we ordered an entire pie the next night. Did I mention how good it was??

I'm getting carried away about food again aren't I? Okay, okay. Onto other topics, mainly my once perfect tree. We laid eyes on her and knew she had to be ours. She was tied tightly and packaged neatly into our car. Off we went. We got her home and placed her oh so cozily in her stand. And as we cut off the plastic netting nestled so close to her branches, we noticed she was badly cut. By badly, I mean that when they sliced off a fresh layer of trunk, they also chopped huge branches at the bottom of our tree. What was left? Very awkward areas. Limbless areas. Big gaps and holes where pine needles should have been. Hubby and I were embarrassed. And then we were laughing at our most pathetic tree to date. There's something endearing about a charlie brown tree. Photographs coming soon.

Please do.

Can someone please invent chips that taste like croutons so I can avoid feeling so guilty eating straight from the bag? Ok, thanks!

Image courtesy of here.