Friday, March 30, 2012

Announcement: Freelance Writer Here!

Note - this picture was actually taken at my old job when I signed my first sales deal.
(Photo taken by Chris Pulaski.)*
Happy Friday friends! I feel like this week flew by, which means next week may drag, but that's probably because it'll be my BIRTHDAY WEEK! Anyways, yesterday I mentioned having some exciting news, and I do. A couple weeks ago, I started looking around for some freelance writing work to start building my portfolio and force myself to write more often. And, what do you know? I get some freelance writing work! Not only is it good writing practice, it's also for a site that is based around being positive and making people smile.
I mean, hello? Could this be anymore amazing?

What is this site, you ask? HooplaHa was created for all of us who just wish we could open the newspaper and read about all the good in the world, instead of the bad. (Fact: I stopped reading the news a long time ago. Yes, I realize I'm not as well informed about the world, but I'm also in a much happier state of mind.)

Their motto is all about living "life with a smile." So go check it out! If not to read my article, just because. HooplaHa is also on Facebook and Twitter, so if you like what you find, be sure to connect. You can find my article here! Ever wonder what some of my tricks are for turning my frown upside down? Learn how to play "The Grateful Game."
*Photo credit added after original post. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's OK to be busy!

Its Ok Thursdays

I haven't done this link-up in a while. I actually haven't done many link-ups in a while. Ooops? Life has been busy, I tell ya! So without further ado, I am linking up with Neely and Amber.

It's OK...
...that last weekend was one of those amazing weekends with M, and I'm still flying high from it. It still makes me so happy knowing that we continue to grow together and how I fall in love with him more and more every day.

...that I'm excited for this weekend even though I have a doctor's appointment on a Saturday.

...that my birthday is next weekend, and I'm not excited about it. Yes, my birthday falls on Easter Sunday this year, which I wouldn't mind, but it means M won't be spending the day with me.

...that I'm super excited though that I have a long weekend next weekend, and my bff Anne will be home for it!

...that I still can't decide if/how to celebrate my birthday. Any ideas?

...that I have exciting news to share with you all tomorrow!

What are you saying it's ok to today?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birthday Wishlist

Well, it's hit me. My birthday is in t-minus a week and a half, and if I could pick anything in the world what would I want? My unrealistic birthday wishlist includes a new Canon DSLR or MacBook, but putting life into perspective, that's not going to happen. So, I'm linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for "Oh How Pinteresting!" Wednesday to share some more realistic items on my material wishlist.

This pretty party dress:
Source: Lilly Pulitzer via Pinterest
Some lovely flowers
Source: 1800Flowers via Pinterest
A brightly colored purse
Source: Kate Spade via Pinterest
And these awesome cocktail glasses...
Source: via Pinterest
I'm not really in love with anything in particular though. Mostly because with us puppy hunting, I'd rather have a new camera to take lots of puppy pictures! Any ideas for simple birthday gifts? Happy hump day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

St. Patty's, Only a Week Late

M and I 
So for some odd reason, my hometown had their parade a week after actual St. Patrick's Day this year. But if it means continuing to celebrate (and day drink), I'm not complaining. Yesterday, I referenced being too busy to write a blog post, well that's mostly because I spent Sunday enjoying beer, jello shots, pizza, and Chinese food. Ready for some photographic evidence?
T and I (with J photo-bombing)
Z, me, and T (the hat fell right over my face the second the picture was taken)
And how could we forget the many trays of jello shots?
Do you celebrate St. Patty's Day? Some photos aren't exactly blog worthy, so those will remain hidden on my computer. I hope you're having a great Tuesday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Please Pardon My Absence...

I forgot to plan ahead and prep a blog post for today, so instead of boring you with my lame excuses (going up to Boston on Friday, meeting a breeder in New Hampshire all day Saturday, driving back to Connecticut late Saturday night, then day drinking and partying, followed by date night on Sunday), I apologize and will be back to normal blogging tomorrow! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Long Distance Taught Me

1 year, 4 months, and a day since we first met.

Those years, months, and days don't seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things considering I've been alive for almost 24 years now. But knowing that we have not only loved one another, but worked hard to grow together as a couple from a distance makes me feel incredibly grateful.
My parents dated long distance when they first started out, and it wasn't until 3 years later when they were married that they lived together in the same city. I admire them. They've been happily married for more than 25 years, and I know that M and I were meant to start out this way. Because we love each other and want to be together, it forced us to grow up and helped me change.
I never thought that one person could have a big enough place in my heart to make me want to be better, not just for him, but for myself. So here are some of the many things that I learned about me, continue to work on, and try to improve.

1. I dropped my passive aggressive habits. For a long time, I was (and still can be) extremely passive aggressive. But acting that way does not solve problems, and it's even harder to deal with someone acting this way from a distance. So instead of pretending like something's fine, even when it's not, I forced myself to communicate.
2. Communication is probably the biggest thing I learned about what a healthy relationship needs to thrive. If something bothered me, I would tell him. If something I liked happened, I would tell him. If something upset me or hurt my feelings, I would tell him. If I needed something different or more, I would tell him. This was not easy, and I still struggle with it, but I continue to communicate.
3. Along with communication came the promise of never lying to him. No matter how big or small, I promised I would not lie. And so, I haven't lied. I haven't said "I'm fine," if I'm not. And I haven't told him that I wanted to do something, if I didn't. Honesty is a major key.
4. I get disappointed far too easily, especially when it came to seeing (or not seeing) M. And it would always send me into lots of tears. This isn't something I'm proud of, but it's something that makes me who I am. The amount that I feel heightened And being in a long distance relationship helped me embrace those feelings instead of trying to stuff them away.

There are many other things that I've learned along the way, and I will continue to learn, but these were the front runners. Compromise, honesty, communication, trust, and love are those major things in life that can make many miles not seem so far away. Fortunately, I get to see my M every day now, but I'm grateful that we had this learning process too.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life with M: The Series

So we're hitting our one month mark of living together, and you know what? It's great! It's been a smooth and easy transition, and I'm still so grateful to have him around. After a rough day, I came home to this...

It's these little things that I treasure in life with M. Oh how I love you M!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#11 Take a Bikram Yoga

I can't believe that I'm in the home stretch of turning 24. Weird, right? Not that I'm complaining because I love my birthday and the warm weather it brings. So on Sunday afternoon, I crossed #11 off my 24 Before 24 list. I had purchased a GroupOn for YogaSouls. They offer several hot yoga variation classes, and after a double workout (boot camp and 13 miles) on Saturday, I was feeling pretty sore.

Off to yoga I went...

Even though the instructor asked if anyone was new, I kept my mouth shut and didn't miss a beat throughout the class. She gave little speeches to reassure us that if we fell out of a position, then it didn't mean we were failures. It takes great strength to keep our focus and go right back for the position. So with that in mind, I didn't feel discouraged when I lost my balance. I just kept going!

I didn't sweat as profusely as I thought I would, but I did sweat a lot. And I stretched and moved and balanced in ways that I didn't think were possible. The afterglow was immediate. Already, I felt my muscles relaxed and my mind at ease, ready to start a new week. If you're a runner, I highly recommend this form of yoga because you sweat like when you run, but you stretch (and do a little strength training and balance coordination) for over an hour and a half.

Have you ever taken a hot yoga class? I had taken a vinyasa hot yoga class, but I definitely think I like the bikram version better. Good thing I can still take 4 more classes!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Meal in Paris

I can't believe it's been months since we landed in Paris and didn't even feel like I had been on a plane long enough to experience it yet. (I popped 2 Advil PM at take off and was out like a light for the entire flight.) Once we checked into our hotel, it was time for food, fast! So our concierge recommended L'Estrapade.
          We walked in, not able to speak any French, and found a tiny room with 6 or 7 small tables. A dog was curled up under one of the tables, and the owner, whose name was Mark, came out of the kitchen to greet and seat us. Here are the photos from our lunch!
The very sweet pup!

My salad

A divine steak
 The food was served on slate that came from another region of France. The smells and ambiance set the scene for a wonderful trip, which you all know we had. Take me back to Paris please!


Monday, March 19, 2012

That Time I went sub-2...

I'm in the process of training for not one, but two half marathons. This one and this one. And on Saturday, I set out on a goal for 15 miles. Well, I did 14, but walked the last one. Do I care that I walked that last mile? Nope! Because I ran 13.12 miles in 1:59:38!!!
My view at 5 miles
And at 6 miles
Post-run glow!

Still so happy about my run!
The fastest I ever ran 13.1 miles was in 2:13, so this was a major PR for me, even if it was on a training run. Needless to say, I had a very happy St. Patrick's Day! Even if instead of drinking, I was running my little legs off, I'd rather have ran than drank. How did you spend your St. Patrick's Day?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Great Camera Hunt

It's official. I'm a blogger. No kidding, right? Well, after browsing and envying and remembering how much I love photography, (fact: I used to take photography classes in high school and develop my own film.) I've decided that it's time to start the saving... for one of those fancy-schmancy, I'm a real blogger cameras.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone snap shots, and my Canon point and shoot produces incredible photos without having to edit them (see here), but I'm ready to take the plunge. I found this article, but ended up completely overwhelmed. I do love Canon cameras, they have yet to steer me wrong, but I'm asking all of you, what kinds of camera do you use? Canon or not, fill me in please!

Thanks for all your help in advance!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's OK, It's Alright, I got something...

Its Ok Thursdays

...that you gonna like! Remember that song? Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado. So catchy and fabulous! Well maybe fabulous is an over-exaggeration, but still a fun song. As Neely said, it's not too late to link-up with her and Amber, so here I am posting late in the day.

It's OK...

... that M and I made some bomb dot com mac and cheese last night, and I can't wait for the leftovers. We make a version of Barefoot Contessa's recipe.
Yea, I know you're drooling over it. Yea, there's bacon in there!
...that I'm still on a runner's high from my run on Sunday.
10 miles with no pain in 1:27! Pow! Thank you, PT!

...that I'm actually excited to run 15 miles this coming Sunday. Who says that? Fact: the most miles I've ever run consecutively were 13.1.

...that I've been rocking my new Uggs as my slippers around the house...even though it's been like 70 degrees outside.
Oh and those Under Armour running shorts? Yea, they were $7 on sale at the outlets.
...that I still fake pinch myself because I can't believe M is really around all the time.

...that this week has flown by, which means it's almost the freaking weekend!

What are you saying it's OK to?

I have an addiction... these lovely fruit snacks. You see, I've loved freeze-dried fruit for as long as I can remember. But on a lunch trip to Mrs. Green's, I discovered this bag.  And all bets were off. Because before I knew it, the bag would be empty! Only powdery crumbs left...
It's just freeze-dried fruit; this really isn't all that bad for you. And it's not... But, you see the price is $6.29. Yes, I wrote that correctly, which is so not okay. Because in less than 20 minutes, I'll eat those $6.29 like it's my job.  Yup, I have an addiction to something semi-healthy, and it only confirms that I have expensive taste, literally.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Word

via Etsy
Krista posted this fun questionnaire that she found on Jodie's blog.  I thought I'd do my own one word answers. I think it's fun answering these questions as I read them. It's surprising to me the first words that popped into my head when I went to answer.

One word to describe your life... happy
One word to describe your love... genuine
One word to describe your body... petite
One word to describe your cooking... tasty
One word to describe your career... growing
One word to describe your hobby... endorphin-pumping
One word to describe your style... classic
One word to describe your blog... optimistic
One word to describe your home... welcoming

What are your one word answers? I'd be curious to hear your responses to these. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's your number?

I was tagged by Amy of Crazy Random Happenstances. Fact: I've won two giveaways from Amy. She rocks! Anyways, here are my answers to the 10 questions! 

You're supposed to answer 10 questions about yourself, so here goes:
1) Favorite Color: Pink & Orange (in that order)
2) Favorite Animal: Dog

3) Favorite Number: 8
4) Favorite (non-adult) drink: Water? Diet Coke? Green smoothie?
5) Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
6) Passion: Writing, Running
7) Giving or receiving presents? Giving
8)  Favorite Pattern: Plaid or solids (I'm not really a pattern person.)
9) Favorite Day: My birthday
10)  Favorite Flower: Hyacinths and sunflowers

Because I know you were dying to know the answers to these questions.... Here are the lovely ladies that I'm tagging in this fun and quick q&a! 

Valerie, Sherri Lynn, Leah, Jess, Stephanie,  Ashley, and Carrie!

Cake or cupcakes?

I was tagged by Hayley from Classy in KC, and even though I've been tagged a few times already, I loved her questions, so I decided to answer 'em. Ready?

1. Who is your celebrity crush?
Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman. Try and tell me he isn't a sexy beast.
 2. What is your favorite book character?
Killing me with this one. I guess I would say Winnie the Pooh. (I'm a little kid at heart.)

3. What do you spend the most time doing online?
Blogging, duh. (It actually trumps Facebook and Twitter.)

4. If you could pick your name what would it be?
 I'd keep my name. I used to want to be named Amy or Farrell, but now I'm proud of my name because it means loving and lovable, which are great ways to describe me. Plus my parents and grandma chose it. 

5. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes. (Love you, M!)

6. Cake or cupcakes?

7. How many siblings do you have?
One, a younger sister. 

8. If you could have Buddy from Carlos Bakery make you a cake what would it be?
Red velvet with cream cheese frosting. I'm honestly not a big Buddy fan though.

9. What's your reality TV guilty pleasure, if any?
The Bachelor and Bethenny Ever After

10. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
An actress, architect, or Katie Couric. (I guess the Katie Couric thing stuck, since my degree is in journalism.)

11. What is your least favorite song or one that annoys you?
Grenade by Bruno Mars. It drives M and I nuts because it was so overplayed, but it ultimately makes me laugh because it's turned into a joke between us now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March Detox #Fail

So remember how I was doing a "no sweets" detox for March? Yea, I failed on Saturday afternoon. See that whopping spoonful of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough? Yea, I ate that. I lasted almost a full 10 days of no candy, cookies, cake, sugary deliciousness, then I threw it out the window for these:
It was the effort that mattered, right?
And I'm still being better about not eating too, too many sweets.

Spring Time Updates to Your Interiors

Good morning lovelies! Today, I have a guest post from Christina Johnson, who works for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in the Hamptons Real Estate Listings department. She's giving some simple tips and sharing stunning photography provided by Elliman. Take it away!

When spring is in the air, it is time to think about updating the decor of our homes for the summer months. Just as we want our living spaces cozy and warm for the winter, we want them light and airy for the summer. When temperatures warm up we want to be able to enjoy both the indoor and outdoor spaces of our homes. On cool days we enjoy feeling breezes wafting through open windows and when it gets hot, we like our air conditioning for comfort. A few inexpensive changes can make your home look great for the summer season.
Spring-cleaning is a tradition for a good reason. All winter the house is closed up to keep the heat in and cold out. We spend more time inside, letting the house get stuffy and soiled. The first step in summer decorating should be to open up the windows and air out the rooms, then do a thorough cleaning. Remove all the clutter that is not needed. This is a great time to get rid of the stacks of old magazines and papers and deal with accumulated mail. Have the carpets, area rugs and upholstered furniture cleaned as needed. If the walls are looking dark and tired, consider painting them in light sand color, cool blue, gentle green, light sunflower yellow or summer pink. If you don't feel comfortable with a lot of color, paint most of the walls neutral and just one accent wall in a color.
Once the house is clean and bright with new paint, look at your windows. Do they have heavy, dark window treatments hiding the outside views? Consider taking the dark window treatments down to be cleaned, then store them for next fall. Replace the dark window treatments with light airy fabrics, honeycomb shades or off white wood blinds. Summer is the time to let the outside in with exposed views and open windows to catch summer breezes. In the heat of summer you can keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on while enjoying the outside view. Window treatments that blend with the wall make rooms look bigger.
Consider making or buying ready made slipcovers for dark colored sofas and chairs. They will look new again with little investment. Add a few accent pillows in bright summer patterns for more summery decor. Slipcovers in light colors made of washable fabrics are ideal for the summer. When they get soiled, take them off, wash them and put them right back on. You can make pillow covers for existing pillows, saving more money. The covers can be slipped over the pillows and fastened with velcro, buttons or ties.
If you have tables, shelves or other accent furniture that are a bit worse for wear in dark finishes or paint colors, consider painting them glossy white or other summer accent colors to give them and your rooms new life. Add a few interesting tables and accents found at flea markets and refurbished. You can top tables with floral arrangements in fresh or silk flowers and greenery. Summer decorating should have an element of fun and vacation about it.

Christina Johnson works remotely for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in the Hamptons Real Estate Listings department.  She is using her journalism major to combine what she loves most, writing and her career. Her specialties include home decor design and DIY home improvement projects.