Monday, August 30, 2010

holidays...together and apart

Since September will be here in two days (wait, WHAT?!), I began thinking a bit about the upcoming holidays. I want to try to get things arranged a little sooner this year, as I always seem to wait until the last minute and end up super stressed. Of course, I know I am far from the only one who does this, but I'd like to avoid it, if possible!

We have a trip to Iowa in October for a wedding, and then there is Thanksgiving and Christmas. We also have a wedding in London, Ontario the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Since our very first Thanksgiving as a couple, Steve and I have spent the holiday together. We began dating in September and two months later, he came home to NH with me for the weekend. Since then, we have alternated Thanksgivings; one year in NH and the next in Iowa. It has worked out well. I think we've actually driven to both places most of those years. Yes, both are long drives, but worth it to not have to deal with airlines! Also, I like the adventure of a roadtrip.

As for Christmas, we've always, up until last year, been apart. We would do our Christmas together here in DC, and then go to our respective homes. It was never an issue and has always been just fine. Last year, Steve was graduating from Iowa State with his Master's and walked in December. The ceremony was the week before Christmas, so we flew to Iowa for that, spent a few days there and then I flew to NH. Steve actually flew to NH late Christmas Eve and was with my family on Christmas Day.

Now, Steve is telling me that we are going to Iowa for Christmas, since we were in NH last year. I suppose that makes sense, right? It is only fair, right? Still, I can't help be sad about it. It would be my first Christmas without my family. Even when I lived in Poland, I came home at Christmas and was with my family. That was also the worst Christmas in my memory, as my beloved grandfather passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly just a few days before. We were like zombies that year, I have very little memory of that day, which maybe is a good thing.

Growing up, I was so fortunate, I will admit. When I say that, I mean fortunate in the sense that my family was all close by. I grew up in the same town that my father grew up in, so his parents still lived there. My aunt lived about an hour away and my uncle was just a town over from mine. My mother grew up about an hour south of my hometown, but my grandparents moved to the town next to mine when I was six or seven. I have vague memories of their old house, but I really don't remember too much of them not being right there. My aunt, my mother's sister, lives about an hour away, not too far from my other aunt, my father's sister. Everyone has always been within an hour of my house. Christmas Eve is always spent with my father's family and Christmas Day is spent with my mum's.

I know how lucky I am to have had my family so close and was able to spend holidays and everydays with them. It really makes me sad that my children won't have this. With my family in NH and Steve's in Iowa, we will always have to choose.

How did you choose? How do you and your significant other decide where to spend holidays? Was it an easy decision? How do you make it easier on you, when you are away from your own family?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

birthday spending

Steve's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and he's going to be 35! Eeeek! I've been thinking of ideas for festivities, and I want to do something fun, of course. I have one idea that I am doing, though I won't write it here now, just in case he reads this (he does very occasionally!), but it is super great and I know he'll love it.
His birthday is the 13th of September, a Monday this year. I was thinking of having people over Sunday and making a cake/cupcakes, and maybe going to a pub for a while, but I feel like we always do that and that gets old, like him! ;)
Nearby here, there is a ropes course that sounds really fun. Has anyone ever done something like this? It has ziplines, a ropes course and all sorts of obstacles. When you go, you have a 30 minute training session and then two to three hours of fun on the course. It is $55 a person and that includes the rental for equipment and such.
Do you think this is too much to ask people to spend? It isn't as though I'd invite a huge random group of people, it would all be close friends. Would you be annoyed if someone asked you to spend this much for someone elses birthday?
Thoughts? Ideas?

Monday, August 23, 2010

weekend baking

Remember last year when I made strawberry shortcake cookies?
Well, I made them again over the weekend and they were delightful, as always!
Please note my adorable Scarlet Threads Penelope apron :)

Look, it's reversable!!!!!

Note, in my hand, a cute pot holder, made by me!

They look messy...and are...but are SO good! They taste just like strawberry shortcake and are very easy to make!

The finished product :)

PS. Did you enter my giveaway to win your very own Penelope apron??? Only a few days left!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

love letters!

How gorgeous is this bedding from anthropologie?
I want it!
Fond remembrances and glimpses of emotion layer romantically on Mise en Scene by Ruffian's soft sateen set. Actual missives collected from a vintage shop in Brooklyn create this swoon-worthy print, as silk trim ties them all together like a stack of notes from a loved one.

I wonder what Steve would think if he came home one day and found it on the bed???
Would he kill me?

Monday, August 16, 2010

on correspondence, in the written form

Here's a fun fact about me- I love getting mail. Who doesn't really, love coming home and finding a handwritten letter in the mailbox, nestled in between the cable bill and the supermarket ads? I know I love it. I love seeing my name and address written lovingly by someone else, who wanted me to know that they were thinking of me.

When I was younger, I had a number of penpals. I don't recall how I acquired them all, as this was well before the days of the internet. I know that I went to summer camp, so throughout the winter, camp friends and I would exchange letters. I remember writing my name in things called "friendship books," when I was interested in more penpals. I'm sure I drove my father nuts, constantly asking for stamps, so sometimes I would take a dollar bill and put it in an envelope with a note for the mailman, asking him to take the dollar and buy four stamps (don't you remember when stamps were only 25 cents each?!) and mail the letters for me, and he would! It was great.

Now, I don't really have penpals, though there are a few friends that I exchange letters with from time to time. I also am a big believer in random notes, so I send cards to friends, just for the heck of it sometimes. I recently discovered that Taylor Swift has a line of greeting cards, so I sent one to one of my favorite girls. I also keep track of birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, new babies, etc, and send cards for those occasions. I think it is important.

I will admit though, that I have slacked a bit in the last couple of months. I don't know why, but my heart just hasn't been in it. I haven't sent birthday/anniversary cards the way I used to. I've missed several, and feel awful about about not noting their day, but honestly? I also feel that they didn't even notice. Is that sad? Horrible of me to feel that way? Not many people send cards these days for such occasions. Birthdays, maybe, but wedding anniversaries? Far less likely. Granted I don't have a wedding anniversary or a baby to celebrate, but I do have a birthday and I know that many of the people whom I send cards to, don't send them back to me. Now, I know that I don't do things because I expect something in return, but when I send a birthday card to you, your children, your husband and an anniversary card and a happy new house card, it might be nice to receive a Christmas card in the mail.

I hope I am not sounding bitter, because I am not, at all, really! I think we all know how I feel about not sending thank you notes, and yes, their second anniversary came and went last month without so much as a card from me! Yes, I am still feeling guilty about not sending them a card, even though I know I shouldn't.

Do you send cards to mark special occasions? Should I feel guilty/bad about missing the last several occasions that I normally would send a card for? Should I send them now, and have them be late? Do you want a love note in the mail from me, if I ever get my act together? :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

would you try this???

I know it sounds strange, but it is good! I found it at one of my favorite DC bars last night, the Brickskeller, which has hundreds of beers on their menu! Lots of imported beers, including this one, from England, I believe.

What do you think? Would you try it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

grand essentials of happiness

I'm really loving this-
(I don't recall where I found this, so if you know its source, please let me know so that I can give it proper credit!)

CSN again!

I need some new lights for my apartment, how about you? I have a small lamp next to my bed, but I'd like a new one. CSN asked me to do a product review, so look out for it in the coming weeks! I don't know yet what I will be reviewing, as there are soooo many products to choose from!

Have you been to look at the CSN stores? Go have a look!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

shoes and blues

If you had this dress from Old Navy, what shoes would you wear with it?

Something fun, I think, but I want to wear it to work, so they can't be too fun ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

yet another giveaway!

Remember a few months ago when I hosted a giveaway to benefit Scarlett Threads?
Scarlett Threads, a compassionate boutique, specializing in unique products designed and produced by talented seamstresses in rural Asia. Scarlet Threads products are fairly traded and created in compliance with our core vision and values. When you purchase one of our beautiful hand-crafted products, you become part of our story by providing a woman with safe and rewarding work. (from their site)
Well, I am doing another one, and here is why!
Scarlett Threads often has new products come out, and when they do, they have naming contests where they ask their readers to suggest names.
I won!
Thanks to yours truely, this lovely lady is called Penelope!

With summer's end right around the corner, our new reversible apron is also perfect for fall! One side is a bold floral print in shades of pink, brown, and orange. The other side features a leaf motif with shades of teal and gold. The neck and waist straps are both made of green polka-dot and are fully adjustable.

Isn't she cute?! Wouldn't you love to have her in your kitchen?

If you would, here's how you could-
(same rules as last time)

You'll receive one entry for each of the following-

1- leave a comment, first of all, and tell me which of their aprons is your favorite design

2- become a follower of my blog (if you already do, just let me know)

3- become a follower of the Scarlett Threads blog

4- tweet about this giveaway (if you do, add the @lexilooo and @ScarletThreadFT so I see it) (feel free to retweet a few times a week, too!)

5- while you are tweeting, follow both @lexilooo and @ScarletThreadFT

6- blog about this giveaway on your own blog (leave the link here for me)

7- if you are really loving this idea, buy an apron from their shop for either yourself or a giveaway of your own, and you'll receive an extra ten entries!

Also, Scarlett Threads is working to introduce something new- they will be working with readers to host apron parties! It is a very new concept and still in the early stages, but I think I may be hosting one sometime this fall. It would be along the lines of a Tupperware party or the like, but way more fun! Interested in attending mine, either in person or virtually? Let me know! Interested in hosting one of your own? Let me know, and I will put you in contact with the Scarlett Threads girls and they will help make it happen!

I will keep this giveaway open through the remainder of August, so you have some time to enter and tell all of your friends :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

teach this

If you are a long-time reader, you'll know that I've struggled with the idea of teaching for quite some time now (there are several posts about it, but I won't link each one!) That post was more than a year ago, and it still feels like completely fresh thoughts that I could have had yesterday.

Today I came across a posting for a teacher's aide position at a nearby Catholic school and was intrigued. For the most part, you don't need to be certified at private schools, though they like experience. Clearly I don't have that, but perhaps, if I were an aide for a year, I'd find out if I like teaching enough to pursue it and could then get certified and go from there.

I'm now wondering though, because I am not sure if aide positions are hourly/no benefits or if they are salaried. It likely depends on the school. I'm sure many realize that Catholic schools aren't exactly the most high-paying places out there, which isn't a major issue, but still a concern. I'm far from wealthy and have a Bachelor and two Master's worth of loans to pay off!

Anyone who is a teacher and/or works in a school, please share your experiences...maybe someday I will make up my mind about this....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

my sewing partner

I was working on a baby quilt for a friend last night and Sheepette wanted to help!

What a darling she is!

{come back tomorrow for a giveaway post!}

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a green thumb?

If you had this big leafy plant on your front porch, what would you call it?

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

from your secret crush

Isn't this just the sweetest????
Love it!
But, as you know, I love anything to do with libraries...

PS. Keep an eye out for a giveaway later this week!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday, funday

Bottomless mimosas at brunch...

Nothing better than that!

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