Thursday, June 25, 2009

and another for you

Two giveaways in one day? Wowie! Maybe I should run another of my own soon?

Until then, check out Kate's lastest, for fun summer entertaining!

Real Simple fans?

Are you a fan of Real Simple? Here is a great giveaway, hosted by Iowa Girl Eats. She posts great photos of the things she makes, they all look so delicious, so go check them out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

jumping onto the blog carnival

Since everyone else is doing it, I thought I'd play too...

Here is one of the first posts that I wrote, a bit over a year ago. I haven't been blogging for too long, but I like this post because it still speaks to me. Also, it is appropriate, as July 4 will be my five year anniversary of living here in DC, which is crazy when I think about it. Like I said then, and have said again recently, I still wonder what I am doing here some days and wonder if I made the right decision. Of course I don't regret it- I've met some incredible people here, including my boyfriend who I like a lot (most days!).

At the same time though, it bothers me a bit, that even one year after this post, my thoughts appear to be no more clear today then they were that day. I still find myself questioning myself and second guessing some of the decisions I've made. My mother has no idea about my blog, but she knows about my uncertainty. She recently said to me "Lex, I really hope that one day, you'll find something that makes you happy."

That being said, I am not unhappy. Sure, everyone has their off days, but most days, I am happy and content with my life and th decisions I've made, but like anyone else, I think, I have days where I just wonder what the heck I am doing and how I got here. I wonder what life might be like if I had accepted that job that was offered to me in Portland, ME before I moved to DC and if I'd be there, living by the ocean with a guy who once had a large piece of my heart. He seems so long ago, and he was, but he had his place in my life and I am glad that I once knew him. What if I had moved to Boston, which was really the original plan? My sister is now in Boston. Maybe we'd be even closer then we are now. Despite the physical difference between us, we are as close as can be, though of course, there are a few secrets that I don't share with her, that I don't share with anyone at all, not even Steve, my mother or my best friend. Like Rose said in Titanic, "a woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets," and some of those secrets are not meant to be shared.


I had a meeting with my advisor this afternoon, so I left work a little early. On the way back, I decided to get off at Eastern Market and walk, rather then switch at Metro to go to Union Station like usual. On a whim, I got off at Capitol South instead. It's been a long time since I was at Cap South. As I came up the escalator and Cannon HOB came into view, I began to think about the year I spent working in the Rayburn building. It was my first "real" job, after I finished my Masters. Moving to DC and working on the Hill wasn't really my idea, it wasn't something I wanted, per se. What I mean, is that it wasn't something I really considered initially. When I began looking for jobs, most of my resumes went to NYC and Boston, and a few here and there would come down to DC. I heard about the position with the Congressman through a former supervisor at a past summer internship, and she told me to apply. So I did. I didn't hear anything for a while...then they asked me to interview...then a second interview...and then, several weeks later, after I had accepted a position as the Deputy Campaign Manager for an election in Canada, they offered me the job. I told them about Canada, they said they'd wait for me, that I could come down to DC when the election was over. So that's what I did.

It all seems so surreal now, when I think about it. It feels like it was so long ago, yet it wasn't. July 4 is Independence Day, but it is also the day I moved to DC and began my life here, almost four years ago. While it may not have been the job of my dreams, I enjoyed it (most days!) and learned a lot. When I left the Hill a year later, I thought I knew what I wanted to do. Three years and three jobs later, I'm still not so sure.....

Monday, June 22, 2009

yummy in my tummy

I did some baking over the weekend! A few days ago, the girls at We are not Martha posted a recipe for strawberry shortcale cookies that sounded too amazing not to try. I picked up a few groceries, including two pints of strawberries and decided these couldn't wait.

They did not disapoint! Seriously, these cookies were amazing, maybe the best thing I've ever made! The girls at WANM take step-by-step photos, which I didn't do, I just have a few photos of the final product-----

They really tasted like strawberry shortcake! So, so good. Now I still have half a container of heavy cream, which isn't something I frequently use, but it will be soooooo good in a cuppa English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea!

I think this might be my new go-to recipe, whenever I need to bring something, I'll bring these! They were so easy and didn't take too long at all. Since strawberries are in season right now, you really should go out and buy some to make this deliciousness!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

sew good

This weekend, I may take a trip up to Silver Spring and go to Honfleur Home, where they rent sewing machines by the hour. I found the shop by accident one day when Steve and I were in S.S. and have been thinking about it ever since. It is $7 an hour to use a machine, which isn't bad, I'd say. I still haven't bought one (mainly because I don't have a table in my apartment to put it on, seriously), so this might be good for now.

Anyone in DC-ish that sews want to come with me?


edited, to add the good news of the day!

I spoke with my cousin earlier today (he lives here in DC too) and he's flying home to NH in a few weeks and driving back with some furniture, so he will bring my mother's old sewing machine back with him for me! hooray!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

my purse strings are empty

When did life become so expensive? By that, I don't even mean the "normal" things, like rent, utilities, groceries, etc (though grocery shopping has become a bit ridiculous lately, would you agree?). I am speaking of the extracurricular activities that life has to offer. It looks like this summer won't come cheap.

Today in the mail, I received an invitation to a good friend from college's baby shower. She and her husband are expecting their first baby in September (a boy!) and I am so, so happy for them. They are college sweethearts and couldn't be more in love. She and I studied abroad together and had some really great adventures (remind me to tell the story about how we walked to Germany one day). The shower is next month, in CT. Tonight I received an email about further confirmation for a bachelorette party for the friend who I am a bridesmaid for. The wedding is in October, the bachelorette is the same weekend as the shower, in August, in MA. Two weeks later, Labor Day weekend, I have a wedding in upstate NY for another college friend.

These are just a few of the events I have in the next few months!

I'm really looking forward to these events, but I guess I better start making more potholders and selling them in my etsy shop, in order to fund these activities!

Like they say, I should have been born rich instead of beautiful ;)


Just got tickets for the Red Sox/Nationals game here in DC for next Thursday night!


You can find me sporting a Varitek shirt :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

wedding, schmedding

A good friend of mine is getting married this fall and I am a member of the wedding party. Of course, I am thrilled for her and honored to have been asked to be a part of their day. As it turns out, she and her fiance are not paying for the wedding. The wedding is being paid for by her parents, with some assistance from his parents. They are not assisting in any way. How nice for them.

Her mother seems to want things a certain way, which is not how she and her fiance want things, but they are not telling them this. She's trying to avoid talking about most things, as she doesn't want to lose her cool and throw a fit. It seems that the constant wedding talk is also constant complaints and I just want to tell her how lucky she is that she doesn't have to worry about the bills. Of course though, I'm keeping quiet. Is it wrong of me to get annoyed each time she complains about what her mother wants, and what her mother says and such?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

from Albania with love

A few weeks ago, I came home and found a notice from the post office in my mailbox, indicating that I had to head there to pick up a package. I thought this was interesting, because my mailman is rather cool and usually leaves packages at my door for me, saving the trip down there. I figured maybe my regular guy was out and there was a sub, hence the note. I waited a few days, because I thought maybe when the regular mailman was back, he'd redeliver, but then a week went by and no package came, so off I went to the main post office. 

When I got there, and handed the slip to the lady behind the counter, she said "looks like registered mail from Albania." First of all, I don't think I've ever received registered mail from anywhere, much less Albania! She came back a few minutes later with a big box, though it was quite lightweight. At first I panicked, thinking that it was the birthday gift that I sent to Majlinda in April, as maybe it couldn't get through customs or there were tariffs or something. As soon as I was finished signing for it, I ran to one of the stands they have in there and tore the box open. At the bottom of the box, I found a white business-sized envelope that was a bit bulky. When I opened it up, I nearly cried. Look what was inside---

I know you can't read the letter (mainly because it's in Albanian!) but I wanted you to see how Majlinda decorated the page. Here is part of the translated page---

We hope this letter finds you and your family well. We wish you a very long life and a very wonderful day with your friends and family. I would like to send you for your birthday an embroidery, which I have made myself with much love for my sister's best friend. I hope you like it and I send you the best wishes from my heart. 

I couldn't believe it! In a letter, Majlinda had asked when my birthday was (this was sometime around March), so I told her that I had celebrated my birthday in January. Of course my letter saying this arrived maybe in April or so. I never knew that they could send me "things," but I thought it was just so sweet. It's not embroidery- it's a beaded thing. It is probably about 18" long and 12" wide and just so, so lovely. I was so touched by it, I think it is by far, one of the nicest gifts I've ever received. 

Majlinda had asked for a picture of me, so I had printed out a few to send her. She told me that she loved the pictures and showed them to all of her friends and teachers and family. Her family also hopes that I will continue to send more pictures "from other important moments in my life." I guess I'll need to send wedding pictures one day?  :)

As I've said before, I really love and am so grateful for this friendship that I've formed with both Majlinda and Inaete. It makes me so, so happy to know that I am making a difference for them and their families. Really, what is better than knowing how happy you can make someone, just by something as small as a note in the mail?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

another one!

You know me, I'm all about promoting giveaways! Look at this one!

If you enter, make sure to refer me :)

giveaway winners!!!!!

My stationary giveaway with English Tea Paperie is over and I have two winners!

Congratulations to Magda and Melanie! Hooray!!!

Magda was the first name pulled (via and has won the flats and minis and Melanie has won the set of flats.

Remember also, for those of you who didn't win, Chloe has kindly offered a 10% discount to all of you lovelies, so please go have a look at her shop! When you click the link, the 10% will b e deducted at checkout. So, go fill your cart with pretty things!

Magda and Melanie, please send me an email (my email is on my profile page) with your mailing address. From there, I will put you in touch with Chloe!

Thank you to Chloe for letting me host this giveaway, it has been fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

don't read this book

As I mentioned a few days ago, I recently read a book that I hated more than any other book I've ever read. In this, I am including my hatred for A Wrinkle in Time, which I had to read in fifth grade, and despised it, for some reason that now escapes me. I don't remember why I disliked this book so much, but I think this began my lack of appreciation for sci-fi. I know, Madeleine L'Engle won several literary awards for this book, including a Newbery, but it just didn't do it for me.

Anyway. Back to the boy...

This book was bad. Just really, really bad, so far-fetched and unbelievable in so many ways, if you know a single thing about the Holocaust, and in today's world, I'm sure you do. Here is the synopsis from Barnes and Noble---

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Bruno, I think, was the dumbest kid on the planet. Seriously. When the fuhrer, aka Adolf Hitler, comes to your house for dinner, you don't ask who he is or why he's there. Anyone in Nazi Germany knew who Hitler was, even at nine years old. Secondly, when your sister tells you that the Jews are on the other side of the fence, you don't ask who the Jews are and why you dislike them. Bruno was nine years old, but kids knew, they made fun of Jewish children too. Come on Bruno, get with the program. There is no way that a nine year old in Nazi Germany wouldn't know what a Jew is, or that he's living next door to a concentration camp. He wondered why everyone on the otherside of the fence was wearing the same "striped pajamas," but didn't seem to realize that they were being killed. As the son of a high-ranking Nazi official, Bruno would certainly have been a member of the Hitler Youth and a product of the Nazi education system. He would know these very basic things that he was so naive to. He also seemed to be constantly whining. For example, their house in Berlin apparently had five floors, but when they moved to the house at Auschwitz, there were only three floors, and he was so fixated on that, it was brought up nearly every chapter. I wanted to reach into my book and smack him, I really, really did.
One day Bruno takes a walk along the fence, even though he's told not to. Near the end, he finds a small boy about his age sitting on the ground, on the other side of the fence. First of all, this infuriated me for numerous reasons. First of all, THERE WERE NO NINE YEAR OLD BOYS AT AUSCHWITZ!!! Upon arrival, all children under 12 or 14 were sent immediately to the gas chambers. Perhaps one or two might be spared, to act as messengers, but rarely. Secondly, all along the fence, there were watchtowers, with guards with big, big guns. They'd never, ever, ever allow the son of the commander of the camp to wander along the fence. Then, they'd never allow a small boy to just sit there like he had nothing better to do, because he always had something better to do- they worked them to death! Come on now. There's just no way.
So the two young boys strike up an unlikely friendship. Bruno comes back to see him most days and brings food, as his new friend tells him how hungry he is. Of course, Bruno often complains about the roast beef, saying they just had it three nights before, or that the chocolate cake isn't chocolaty enough for his liking. Oh and he never notices that his friend is scarfing down this food, but only gets skinnier and skinnier, while Bruno doesn't. Another thing that bothered me was Bruno's lack of knowledge of any sort of geography. In a conversation, his friend tells him that he is from Poland. Bruno has no idea what he is talking about, he's never heard of a place called Poland and then seems flabbergasted when his friend says that Auschwitz (called Out-With throughout the book, another annoyance of mine) is, in fact, located in Poland. Now yes, he's nine years old, but as a nine year old, I had heard of Poland and last time I checked, the U.S. doesn't share a border with it. Most nine year olds can at least name a few countries that neighbor their own.
I won't give away the ending, in case you want to read it for yourself, but if you'd like me to spoil it for you, feel free to email me and I will likely rant even more :)
I guess it just angered me that this book has received so much attention, to the point that it was turned into a movie. Yes, at the same time, it has received a good deal of the criticism that it deserves. I feel that the author did a poor job of portraying the way things were and the likelihood of these occurrences. I've been to Auschwitz about a dozen times, I've seen the camp, I know how it looks. I am in no way an expert on the topic, but I've done a good bit of research and read a great deal about the Holocaust in general and I'd like to think I am fairly knowledgeable on the subject. This is a subject that has been written about extensively and I feel that any sort of Holocaust-related fiction needs to be so incredibly well-written and researched to the fullest. This is such a sensitive topic on so many levels that it cannot and should not be taken lightly and I feel as though this book does just that. It is almost offensive how the Holocaust is portrayed by the author, in my opinion, because it is just so misleading.

welcome to blogland, friends

I had an email this morning from my best friend. It seems she's started a blog. Several friends have blogs, this isn't a brand-new thing, though most of them don't know about my blog. I am not exactly anonymous, as I do post pictures from time to time, though I don't think I post too many details that I shouldn't be. Another friend from home has a blog, and whenever I comment on hers, I log out of blogger and comment as anonymous, though I write "love, Lexi," so that she knows that it is me. I've been toying with the idea of telling her of my blog, but asking her not to list me on her blog list, as my mother reads her blog, along with her mother, who is a close friend of my own mother, as our family's have been friends for most of my life. Now that same debate extends to my best friend. Do I tell her about my blog?

It's not as though I write anything bad here, and frankly, most of what I write, they know about anyway, so it is hardly a big secret. Still though, I like the idea of having some sense of privacy. Steve knows about my blog, though he doesn't read it. He's seen it, and has read a few entries here and there, but for the most part, he doesn't read it (which is probably a good thing, hehe!).

Does your family/close friends know of your blog? Why or why not?

Monday, June 8, 2009

home sweet home?

Saturday morning was typical- sleep in a bit, put away clean dishes that had dried overnight, tidy up apartment, etc. Suddenly, it occured to me that June 1 marked four years of my living in my apartment. That somehow was the strangest thought to me (partly because that means that July 4 is FIVE years that I've lived in DC!). 

First of all, when I moved into this apartment, I certainly didn't expect that I'd stay here for four years. It's small- it's an efficiency/studio (what is the difference, seriously?). When you walk in the door, there is one large (ha) room. On the left is a small closet and on the right is a large walk-in closet. On the same wall as the walk-in, is the bathroom, and just after the bathroom is another very small room that I call the nook. It's not large enough to be terribly useful; but that is where my dresser lives. On the left wall is the kitchen, but it's a galley kitchen- you walk through a doorway to get there. The apartment faces the front of the building and I have four large windows, which is very nice, as they let in a lot of light and I face the street, including a bus stop and a small park and jungle gym. The apartment has hardwood floors, crown molding around the doorways and a built-in cabinet in the kitchen. Inside, it's a cute little apartment, but the outside begs to differ. 

It's an older building and needs a lot of work, but of course, management doesn't do anything to keep up with it. To be honest, I am embarrassed to have people here, because I find it so horrendous looking. Plus, there is the issue that I've mentioned before, about the raise in crime in the area. Awesome. 

I'm sure you're thinking "hmmm Lexilooo, why not move into the house that your boyfriend bought last fall and live with him?" I know, I think it too. For a long, long time, I thought that is was best (for me personally, not in general) to wait until marriage to live together. Honestly though? I didn't think that four years later, I'd still be living in my little apartment, sans sparkle on that all important finger. Moving in here, we'd been together for not quite a year, so it wasn't even a thought in my mind to live with him. I figured we'd see where the relationship went. Here it is, seemingly the same (not exactly, but you know what I mean). Four years ago, when I told him that I wanted to wait until marriage, he seemed fine with it. Now, when my mind may have changed a bit and maybe I want to live with him, he seems to think it's better to wait. For what? I don't know. I feel like my life has become one big waiting game and I don't like it. 

So what to do? Do I look for a new apartment, a bigger one, where I could have a puppy and a sewing machine and people over for wine and cheese? Or, do I stay where I am now and continue to wait for something better, with le boy?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday, my good friend

Hooray for Friday!

I'm hoping that this weekend won't be as rainy as the last two days have been. The other night, there was an actual hail storm. The next morning, there were branches everywhere and a huge stump where a tree had been that morning. Last night, Steve came over and we walked to 7-11 to get a slurpee. So good.

I'm not sure if you've seen this gem, but if not, go go go! Those of you in DC may appreciate it more, but it has made my day for the last two days I've known of it. Thanks to Heidi for posting it first :)

I think I am going to a strawberry festival on Sunday, out at Great Country Farms. This is where we got our Christmas tree last year and there is a winery across from it. Pie eating contests and tart strawberries and wine. Sounds like fun to me!

What are your weekend plans?

another giveaway!

Oh hey! How about another giveaway? It's not mine, but it's still fabulous.

Go have a look, there are three different chances to win!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

how to mend a broken friendship

CNN posted an article today about the breakup of a friendship, which came just as one of mine seems to have ended. While this friend wasn't my best friend, that didn't make it hurt it any less. I met her a few years ago, as she was dating a friend of Steve's. They'd had a rocky relationship over the course of the last few years and it ended finally in January. Insert- when I say finally, in this instance, I don't mean that to say it finally happened...I mean that they had broken up a few times and gotten back together, but this time, I'm pretty sure it is final. When it happened, she called, upset and crying, of course. I did my best to be supportive and in the aftermath, I sent emails and such, to see how she was and if she wanted to get together. She rarely replied. A few weeks ago, I was removed as a facebook friend. I sent her a message via fb and also an email, asking if I did something to upset her and never heard a word back. I thought about sending a card or something, or a longer email, but I don't know that I will. I'm sure she won't reply, which will just upset me all over again.

It makes me sad when these things happen, especially with no wrong-doing by anyone. I tried to be a good friend, and I thought I was, but as I've learned in life, you can't force a friendship. Have you read the poem, reason, season and lifetime friends? Here it is---

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
— Unknown

I suppose all I can do is be thankful for the friendship we shared and be grateful for the season that she was a part of my life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

mindless Wednesday

I've just decided that I really like men in searsucker suits. Maybe I was a southern belle in a past life? Maybe I had a bad experience there and that is why I call it the scary south? By the way, my calling it that is all in good fun, really! From what I've seen of the south, I have loved it, and need to plan a trip to Charleston this summer. I've been wanting to go for years, since I went once and it poured the entire weekend!

Speaking of summer, how is it already June? Seriously, how did that happen? This summer is already ridiculous, and it's barely begun! We have an Iowa wedding in a few weeks and then I am going home the last weekend of June for a friends 30th. I think I mentioned it a few posts back and didn't think I'd be able to go, but Southwest (how I love thee!) has great summer fares. I'm so, so glad I'll be able to go home, even just for a few days. Sometimes that is all it takes to recharge my batteries.

Over the weekend, Steve and I took a quick trip down to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, in Virginia. Did you read the Misty of Chincoteague books when you were younger? I adored them and have been wanting to visit there since I was nine years old! Friday night, I was out at Matchbox with a few of my favorites and Steve sent a text saying "adventure tomorrow?" Of course, I said yes. The next morning, he sent one telling me to pack an overnight bag. He picked me up and off we were! It is a bit of a drive from here, more than three hours, but was so lovely. We drove over the Bay Bridge and down route 50 most of the way through Maryland. We finally got there and I was in Heaven. I'll post pictures later, since they are still on my camera at the moment. We went to the Pony Centre where Misty's relatives live :) We drove over to Assateague where the wild ponies live, and we saw a few! One came so close to us, I could have reached out to touch him. We drove around the islands and had dinner at a seafood place. We stayed over, since it was a bit of a drive back. The next morning, we found a Friendly's for breakfast and I had a Fribble. There are few things in life that I like more than Fribbles! We also stopped at a local farm stand and I bought some strawberries.

Yesterday was a big board meeting at work and I spent the day taking photos and hearing stories that make me want to teach even more. One of these days I will figure out what I want.

I read a book over the weekend that infuriated me more than any other book I've ever read. I may need to write a scathing review, I am still fired up about it, ha!

I've decided that iced coffees from McDonalds are really quite good.

Oh! I received a present in the mail the other day from one of my Albanian girls! I'll have to take a photo, it is so beautiful. She and her sister made this beaded thing to put on the table, kind of like a table runner, though I wouldn't want to actually put anything heavy on it, for fear the beads would snap. I nearly cried when I opened it!

How is your week looking?

Monday, June 1, 2009

I win!!!

I won another giveaway! Hooray! Kate recently had a giveaway, which I entered, blogged and tweeted about. My hard work paid off, and I was the winner!

Are you familiar with Andrea's Beau? She has really lovely things, and I've won a headband! As always, I will post pictures when it arrives :) Meanwhile, go have a look at her site.

Since I am feeling so generous, I will extend the deadline of my own giveaway until THIS FRIDAY, June 5. Enter now, enter again, tell your friends!