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Farewell, 2010 (or hello, 2011)

31 Dec

After the wonderful and helpful comments on yesterday’s post, I thought I’d share my other (biggest) resolution with you all. It’s a scary one to admit out loud, especially in blogdom, where the Google cache never dies.

So, my pour-my-heart-into-it resolution for 2011 is to challenge myself as a photographer. Eventually, I’d like to become good enough to think about doing actual shoots. I don’t want it to be a hobby forever. My absolute favorite thing about photography is people. I love telling stories through the art of the photograph, and capturing the moments that are often missed otherwise.

Of course, it’s still fun using animals as models, too. 🙂



Happy New Year’s to all my wonderful readers!


Setting Goals

29 Dec

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. In my experience, I only follow the really vague ones that can be comprehended in a zillion different ways. You know the ones – try new things, look at life more positively, make healthier choices.

But damn it, in the year that I really overhauled my eating habits for the better, took control of my fitness, and made sleeping well a priority, the holidays still got the better of me.

How does it happen? I have no idea! I didn’t give up entirely – while I certainly indulged sometimes, I didn’t do anything terribly wrong. I didn’t eat a whole cookie sheet of Christmas cookies, or suddenly tear into the processed foods.

I think it was more gradual. Starting with Thanksgiving, I was cooking for family events, which means lots of taste-testing. Then there’s the whole working full-time on my break from school, which meant that I couldn’t go to yoga and had to drive places instead of walking my normal 2+ miles per day. And since we do try to eat mostly in-season foods, there have been potatoes and other root vegetables a-plenty. Summing it up, I didn’t screw up on a grand scale, but on more of a sliding scale.

So how do you fix those mistakes that aren’t so terrible, but are more akin to the little extra snack when you’re not really hungry?

(Seriously, I don’t have an answer. Normally I’d tell you my oh-so-wise solution here, but I don’t have one.) It’s so easy to say – well, just go back to what you were doing before! And I’ll certainly make an effort to. But how do I feel better in the short term and beat this awful feeling? What do you to to stop the doom and gloom post holidays?

Dear Florida,

14 Dec

Please warm up.

We flew into sunny Florida yesterday afternoon, only to find that it was thirtysomething degrees and windy. Lovely! I guess beggars can’t be choosers since we drove to the airport in a five degree freeze.

Weather aside, we had a wonderful dinner at our favorite restaurant in Disney, the California Grill. It’s located in the Contemporary resort, and the prices are quite steep but more than worth it.

First of all, this is the view you dine with:

and then there’s the food. We’ve previously been to Disney as vegetarians, which was difficult but doable. The California Grill, for instance, has great goat cheese ravioli. Yesterday, though, we asked our server if she could make any recommendations. She suggested leaving it up to the chefs, since they cook with seasonal foods and could whip something up.

And whip something up they did. Proof:

It may be hard to tell, because I was shooting wide open with the ambient light (it was dark out by this point) but they made up eight little dishes of pure delight. My absolute favorite was the garlic roasted button mushrooms, green beans, and potatoes. If I could just grab that chef and have him cater our whole wedding I would, just for that dish. They also made a delicious flatbread with seared mushrooms and onions, a dish with sticky rice, arugula, sprouts, and asparagus, and a salad with beets, and candied walnuts. I don’t even know what was on R’s plate because it was gone within a matter of minutes!

Tomorrow promises to be warmer, and I’m hoping that we’ll be brave enough to actually venture outside more and spend a whole day at Epcot.

We’ll be at Disney until Friday night, and while I love it here, I’m really missing our animals. I’m especially worried about Sunday, our dog, who is really anxious around other people. It’s her first time without her for more than a day since we adopted her in May. And of course, Holly, who is my little model kitty! Anyone else have a hard time leaving their pets when they go on vacation?



By Monday night…

10 Dec

I’ll be here, AKA the happiest place on earth.

Don’t worry, I’ll have the new camera in tow! If Amazon cooperates, that is.

Killing time with the best of them.

6 Dec

Growing up I swore (out of spite, probably) that I would find one home or apartment and stay put. My mom moved us around a lot when I was growing up (house count total when I graduated was 7, they moved again later that year!) and I was determined to find a place, make it a home, and be done with it.

Of course, real life got in the way. Crappy apartments need to be upgraded, there were two bedrooms with roommates and downsizing to a one bed, one bath when R and I got our first place alone together. We’re still here, and plan to be for quite some time.

In the meantime, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I have a habit of mentally decorating places we don’t even own. West Loop loft/studio? Yes, please!

A statement couch, to liven things up, some wall art, and housing for my rather extensive magazine/book collection:



Do you have any go-to ways to kill time?

It’s Almost Thanksgiving

19 Nov

– and Thanksgiving means Christmas has exploded!

It’s official, according to my walk down the street. The blue, snowflake “Lakeview East” banners have gone up… there’s an abundance of Christmas wreathes on campus, and I spotted these to-die-for holiday cards on Hello Lucky.

If they had a Chicago one, I’d snatch that baby up!

I’m on fire.

16 Nov

First, you must listen to this song while reading this entry. Why? Because I said so!

Lately I have been contemplating a big life change.

Growing up, I always assumed that I’d have a very academic job. I considered myself very intellectual, although that mainly consisted of reading entire stacks of classic literature for the fun of it and being a Time subscriber at the age of 11.

I’m not nearly so naive now as to consider myself an intellectual, but I do thrive when reading all sorts of things about philosophy, literature, neuroscience, biology, and the like. I can’t claim to be very smart, but I like to read what I can on these things. So I always felt safer sticking to them.

As many of you know, I’m finishing up a B.S. in Psychology right now. I’ve absolutely loved my college experience, and I’d love for psychology to have a place in my life, although some of my grades have been far from perfect. But as the end of my college time nears, I’m contemplating a very different career path with much less stability.

That scares me half to death! But it’s so exciting at the same time.


For your Monday

15 Nov

Love this guy, love this girl – M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel.

Going to one of my absolute favorite places in our city today:

12 Nov

The Best of Sale Shopping

9 Nov

If there was a talent competition in shopping, I’d win.

Does that sound vain? I swear I’m not. But nothing gives me a feeling of satisfaction like knowing I got a great deal on something I adore. Sure, it has its awkward moments – while I was browsing in Barney’s CoOp the other day, the salesgirl asked me where I got my Alexander Wang bag, and when I said Ebay she didn’t quite know how to react. But I got that bag new with tags for over 50% off of retail price (who really cares what season a bag comes out?) and that, to me, is worth it!

So, I thought I’d start a weekly feature on here where I scour online sale sections and post some of the best finds. I decided to start with Anthropologie, because it’s an old classic. They’ve given me some great deals, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. For instance, the time I decided to splurge on a really cute lamp, and I got it for $10 because it wasn’t ringing up. Or the time we got our couch for 50% off because the leg had been damaged when it was being moved into the store.

And of course, my engagement photo top was less than $30 at Anthro’s online sale!

So, today’s picks:

red dresses work almost all year round, and I think this dress would be a great transition from fall to winter. It’s $60 here.

For anyone planning a winter getaway, this super cute vintage bikini top is $20. I have this same one in navy with dots, and use it with a couple different bottoms. It’s really flattering for a C cup or anyone who needs a little more support than your typical unlined/no underwire bikinis. You can check it out on Anthro’s website. The matching bottom is for sale for $10 here.

And because statement pillows are worth a little splurge, this beauty is $50 here.

Happy Tuesday!

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