How I Wore It- Part 3 & $100 Pink Blush Giveaway

today is the third and final post of…

How I Wore It

a style series collaboration with Pink Blush and 4 fashionable blogger friends- Samantha, Deidre, Medge, and Lauryn

(if you missed part 1 and 2, click here and here.)

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if i had it my way, this is how i would dress every. single. day. of my life. forever and ever amen. remember my requirements for ‘play‘ clothes? comfortable + fun + edgy. this colorblock dress is flowy and oh-so-comfortable. i love the muted tones and modern look of it. and the faux leather jacket? come on! adds sooooo much edge. throw in a stack of bracelets, killer heels, bright red lips, and boom! ready for a fun night out. as a a matter of fact, when B takes me to the Bush concert in March (SHHHH…he doesn’t know this yet!) i am going to slip back into this exact same outfit. rock on!

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pink blush dress

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colorblock dress: Pink Blush
faux leather jacket: Pink Blush
tights: Express
shoes: Gianni Bini
bracelets: Alex & Ani, Lily & Laura
lipstick: MAC, Russian Red

this week has been FUN! thanks for all the love, dear readers! also- how gorgeous is Houston? gosh i love this city. these photos were taken in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Fine Arts. all photo cred goes to my dear hubby B, who in the midst of a crazy week (4 exams! #medschoolproblems) was willing to walk around with his bride and snap silly pics. he must love me or something. ;)

i can’t wait to see how my blogger girls styled this one up! click below to take a look…

Samantha Elizabeth
Deidre Emme
Medge
Lauryn

annnnnnd this is your LAST CHANCE to register for the $100 Pink Blush giveaway! don’t miss out! winner will be announced on Friday.

ENTER ⇓

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Natalie

How I Wore It- Part 2 & $100 Pink Blush Giveaway!

welcome to the second installment of…

How I Wore It

a style series collaboration with Pink Blush and 4 fashionable blogger friends- Samantha, Deidre, Medge, and Lauryn

(if you missed part 1, click here.)

♦♦♦

for this one, i recruited the help of my baby sister. welllll, less recruited and more bossed. and then bribed. but hey- i am the big sister, she is the baby sister. those of you with siblings (especially sisters!) know exactly how this goes. the middle sister and i got pretty good over the years at getting the baby to do whatever we wanted. our favorite line is, “Abbie will do it!” hehe. however it came to be, i am so happy that she came to visit and was willing to play dress-up for my blog. it was like having a life size Barbie doll. soooo fun! you wanna know what really makes me mad though? when we lived under the same roof, we never wore the same size! (there’s 10 years between us.) but now that we live several hundred miles apart? same. darn. size. sometimes life just ain’t fair, y’all. but i showed her a really good time in an effort to entice her to move to Houston. we could instantly double our wardrobes and i just so happen to have big matchmaking plans for her and JJ Watt. ;)

my Sis’s style is a mixture of vintage, bohemian, and just all around Texas gal. (you outta see her boot collection! drool worthy!) we had fun styling up Pink Blush’s dusty pink knit sweater a couple of different ways. it’s perfection with her skin tone and blonde hair! of course, it doesn’t hurt that the girl is a total knockout.

thanks again for your help, Barbie! er uhhhh, i mean Abbie. ;)

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pink blush abbie sweater

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sweater: Pink Blush
leopard dress: H&M
tights: Express
shoes: Toms
earrings: Kendra Scott
necklace: White Plum

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pink blush abbie scarf

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sweater: Pink Blush
scarf: Pink Blush
jeans: American Eagle
boots: Gianni Bini
bracelets: Alex & Ani

and just for fun, here are a few photos from our joint photo sessions over the weekend. sisters are the best, y’all!

before…

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after…

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i love Pink Blush, my sister now loves Pink Blush, and i know you will love Pink Blush too!

make sure to check out how my blogger gal pals styled up the dusty pink sweater too. seriously, these gals are fantastic and have such class and style.

Samantha Elizabeth
Deidre Emme
Medge
Lauryn

and DO NOT FORGET to register to win the $100 giveaway! cha-ching!

ENTER ⇓

a Rafflecopter giveaway

happiness is…playing dress-up.
Natalie

How I Wore It Style Series & $100 Pink Blush Giveaway!

i am absolutely thrilled to kick off a super fun collaboration with Pink Blush and 4 other lovely bloggers today! welcome to the first post of a three-part series entitled…

How I Wore It 

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at this point in my life, defining my sense of style shouldn’t be all that complicated. i’ve had a few years to get to know myself after all. but honestly, if asked to sum up my personal style in just a few words, my response would be…it depends. vague, i know. my closet is literally split down the middle. on the right- work clothes. on the left- play clothes. i have a suit-wearing kind of job which typically requires structured, polished, and classic pieces. which i love. but on the weekends i loosen up a little (or a lot) and i want to wear clothes that are comfortable, fun, and even a little bit edgy. which i also love. safe to say, i just love clothes. period.

but every now and then, on one of those rare, glorious shopping days, i find clothes perfect for either side of the closet. take a look below to see how i styled a couple of adorable items from Pink Blush to create looks for both work and play.

for work:


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blue blouse: Pink Blush
black/gold cardigan: Pink Blush
pencil skirt: Express
tights: Express
belt: Target
booties: Gianni Bini
earrings: Kendra Scott
bracelets: Lily & Laura, Alex & Ani

PS. i recently wore this cardigan to a work meeting layered over an olive green silk blouse with a gold zipper detail and skinny leg dress slacks. it looked so pretty! it would look fab with skinny jeans and black pumps too!

 for play:


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pink blush play 3

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blue blouse: Pink Blush
vest: Express
skinny jeans: Express
boots: MIA
earrings: Kendra Scott
bracelets:Lily & Laura, Alex & Ani

the real issue now is…i think i need to add a third rack to my closet! hmmm, i wonder if B is up for a little project? ;)

make sure to check out how these 4 beautiful, fashionable blogger friends styled the same pieces!

Samantha Elizabeth
Deidre Emme
Medge
Lauryn

and whatever you do, DO NOT leave this happy little blog without entering to win a $100 gift card to Pink Blush. then you too can buy multi-functional tops and jackets which in turn cause you to obsess over the sudden lack of organization in your closet. a problem we should all be so lucky to encounter. besides the fact that new clothes, you know, make you look hot. right? come back Wednesday and Thursday to see outfits #2 and #3. winner will be announced on Friday! okay, bye now.

ENTER ⇓

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happiness is…new clothes.
Natalie

song of the day

i have an assignment for you.

but first, a little background story…

i am a nightmare to wake up in the morning. like seriously, you could spend an 8 hour sleep cycle trapped in a post-apocalyptic world being chased by a herd of zombies with only one bullet left in the chamber and still…having to deal with me upon waking is worse. a couple of people can confirm this for you. the first being my Dad, the second is B. but today, i want to tell you about my Dad’s method and the origination of a little thing i came to know of as ‘Song of the Day.’ growing up, Dad generally gave me at least one courtesy wake-up call in the morning. you know, he’d kindly stick his head into my room and say, “Nat, time to get up.” but i never got up. 10 or so minutes later, he’d flick on the lights and say again, “seriously Nat, time to get up.” by the third wake-up call, it was time to pull out the big guns. he would stomp in all happy (no one wakes up happier than my Dad) and exclaim in a sing-songy voice, “it’s time for Song of the Day.” he would select a CD from his own personal collection (always classic rock), load it in to the stereo alllll the way across the room, crank up the volume, and then leave. just walk out. mean, right? i could only lay there and moan with my pillow over my head for so long before finally deciding to stumble out of bed to silence the stereo. or at least turn it down. seriously, it would shake the room. but you know what? once i was over the shock of jolting awake to electric guitars and drum solos, i found that waking up to rock and roll is actually kind of awesome. it became a game around our house. what song would he choose next? to this day, i can’t hear Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” (it’s in the Song of the Day hall of fame) without smiling, singing along, and dancing like a crazy person. that song makes me ridiculously happy.

so since it’s Monday and Mondays always call for a Song of the Day, i have one just for you. i realize this would have been way more appropriate to share with you first thing this morning, but since i am writing this with wet hair, no makeup on, and while sipping on coffee, i figured early afternoon would suffice. ;)

i give to you my new favorite jam- “Fear” by Blue October. fear can be an overriding emotion. it’s paralyzing and can sometimes keep me from doing things that i want to do. this song is an anthem of sorts. it reminds me to be brave. Mondays require bravery. amiright?

and in honor of my Dad, who loves me in spite of the fact that i was a butthead teenager who made him late to work all the time, who taught me to believe in myself, who still listens to rock and roll every day, and who has given me what i think is impeccable taste in music ;), i give you- “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. i dare you not to smile. it’s impossible.

happiness is…music in the morning.
Natalie

resolute…or not

first selfie session of 2015:

attempt #1: look! smile! eh? whaaaaat?

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attempt #2: much better! though i must confess, #1 is probably more ‘us’ anyway. caught unaware and kind of silly.

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either way, Happy New Year! i know, i know, we are already 9 days in. hey, i never claimed to be prompt.

everything is certainly NEW around here this week. i started my new job (woohoo!), B started a new semester of medical school (yay!), and of course it was the first full week of the new year (yippee!). i loooooove new beginnings! it all feels so fresh and exciting and the anticipation of what *could* happen gives me butterflies.

as promised in last week’s Friday Fun post (read it here…it includes excerpts from my personal journal *gasp*), i have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about my New Year’s resolutions for 2015. but the more i thought about resolutions, the less resolute i became. about everything. i could not think of one thing that felt inspiring, motivating, or even relevant to my life. well, other than the usual suspects which are so incredibly boring that i can say them in 4 or less words…eat less bad food. eat more good food. go to gym. write more. read more. do more. be more. ugh! snoozefest, right? i just couldn’t get excited. and really, am i ever going to stick to anything that i can’t get excited about in the first place? big fat nope. in my quest for motivation, i even went back and reviewed last years resolutions…

eat organically- sounds all healthy and well-intentioned until you’re unemployed. yep, out the window.

get fit- this one waxes and wanes for me. always has, always will. did i gain weight? no. am i ‘fit’? no.

play more- hurrah! we actually did this! we played so much that fun actually become a part of our lifestyle. as it should have been all along, i suppose.

write more- i didn’t crank out near as many blogs as i would have liked to, but i feel proud of the content that i did write.

overall, my resolutions weren’t an utter failure. but still, did i even remember them a year later? big fat nope. i guess i am at an impasse. it almost feels defeatist not to claim resolutions or goals over this new year, but i am not a defeatist. nuh-uh, not this girl. but it also feels insincere to make a bunch of resolutions that i don’t feel all that invested in. what to do?

well, i went to church. (i promise i won’t get all preachy on you, okay? nobody likes a Bible beater.) but it was there, during the first prayer and worship gathering of the year that i realized how little control i had over 2014. i made goals and plans and resolutions. i put it on my blog for all the world to see. then i missed the mark. but my prayers? my deepest, longing prayers were answered in 2014. every. single. one. i don’t say that to boast about my perfect life because it is anything but. in fact, the couple of years leading up to 2014 were haaaaaard. like, give you a stomach ulcer kind of hard. but 2014, it was chock full of all the good things. still hard at times and crazy for sure, but full of goodness.

i can’t anticipate what 2015 will bring. after days and days of thought (well, 9 of them to be exact) ;), i ultimately decided not to make any resolutions this year. i can only hope that this year is full of all the same goodness as last year…but in a less insane, change-everything-about-your-life kind of way. know what i mean? i would like to settle for a while. to plant roots in this city i have already come to love. to deepen relationships. to be a better wife, daughter, sister, friend. to continue to support my B in the best way i know how. to find my place at work. to display kindness. to be a bright spot in the days of others. and to love on those around me. i guess if i had to sum up one thing that i definitely want to do in 2015, it would be that simple phrase…love more.

i also plan to say lots and lots of prayers. and that my friends, is going to be more than enough.

P.S. sorry to go so deep on you this early in the year. ha! what can i say? new beginnings make me introspective.

happiness is…everything new.
Natalie

dear diary, 2014

i guess a blog is somewhat akin to a diary but with the very BIG distinction of privacy. once a post is sent out into the blogosphere, anyone and everyone has access to it. when i actually stop and think about that, i get a tad nauseous. the idea that i am probably being judged for my thoughts, opinions, or general nonsense that flows from my mind to your screen is a little intimidating. but hey, i chose to do this. i enjoy it. it has been nothing but a positive experience for me (hopefully for you too!). and honestly, most of the time i just feel like i’m chatting with friends when i write. i envision us sitting at a coffeeshop, steaming cups of coffee between us and laughing gaily over my latest cat photo. that’s how this works right? riiiiiight? *just nod*

anyways, yesterday B and i traveled home from our last family gathering, tired and at least 5 pounds heavier (thanks fam). to pass time in the car, i suggested we come up with some kind of vision statement for 2015. cheesy, i know. but i feel strongly about putting things on paper in the hope that it will help us be more intentional with our time and energy this year. instead, i ended up going over the last 12 months of journal entries and reminiscing. as you well know, it was a wild and crazy year for us. literally not one thing is the same in December of 2014 as it was in January of 2014. most of the entries made me laugh. some of them made me anxious just by reliving them even for a quick moment. some were embarrassing. but overall, i mostly felt grateful for the gift 2014.

this is the part in which i share a few of these moments with you as a 2014 recap of sorts. be prepared for scribbles and randomness. oh, and some of it is blacked out…can’t give away all my secrets!

in 2014 i…

had some great conversations.

OMG. soooo many ‘B-isms.’ i have decided that i need to start writing a novel and fill in the dialogue with things he actually says. being married to this man is a writer’s dream.

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FYI- the boy has been warned. since we have been married, he has earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. MD will be the last one. ya hear that B?

in 2014 i…

took a risk on my blog.

i wrote this post: 3 Things Not to Say to a Childless Woman. i feared backlash…that people’s perception of me might change or that i might end up isolated or even be seen as defensive or unkind. instead, i found an army of women who feel or have felt the exact same way i do. it was therapeutic and refreshing. i learned that sometimes it pays to stick your neck out. it was also my most read and most shared post of 2014. thanks for the love, y’all!

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in 2014 i…

looked for an apartment and a job.

seventeen (yes, SEVENTEEN!) pages were dedicated to our Kansas City apartment search. you remember how all that played out…spent daaaaays searching, found a dreamy loft, and then found out we were going to Houston instead. the Houston apartment search? a measly five pages. picked out something online and moved sight unseen. in retrospect that seems a little nuts and i feel so blessed that we love our place.

whew. and then there was the Great Job Hunt. after months of uncertainty, i get to go back to the same fabulous company. again, feeling very blessed.

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in 2014 i…

had an existential crisis. 

or maybe even what i like to call a ‘quarter life’ crisis. whatever it was, it was weird. i think the aforementioned Great Job Hunt might have had something to do with it. i found myself unemployed in a huge city and my husband was like really, really busy. #medschoolproblems

where did this leave me, you ask? i’ll tell you where. writing a script for a Survivor audition tape. and *maybe* even insinuating that i would wear a bikini. (come on, you know that’s how they pick the contestants.) i never filmed it, just in case you’re wondering. lost my nerve. and my thighs are squishy.

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oh, and i also considered starting my own You Tube channel and becoming a spoken word poet. what a weirdo.

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in 2014 i…

evaluated my faith.

i pray that my response to those around me this year will be to love more. it’s that simple. two words. love more.

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in 2014 i…

found encouragement.

tucked between the pages of my own thoughts, i found this…

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i have to say, that last one was my favorite.

so here we are, it’s January 2nd and i really haven’t even gotten around to planning for 2015. maybe i will work on that for the next Friday Fun post. i just wouldn’t be me if i started out the new year on time. ;)

wishing blessings and happiness to you in 2015!

happiness is…a good year in the books journal.
Natalie

desperate housewife

i am approximately 140 days into my role of housewife and i want out. i am officially giving my two weeks notice. then B and i can spend a lovely Christmas together and come January, i am back to work. though housewife-ing is serious work too, i can assure you. it has certainly been eye opening. i have learned a lot about myself, starting with the fact that i *might* not be a very good housewife after all. allow me to elaborate…

i have become an even crazIER cat lady.

i now spend my mornings making pillow forts…for my cat. the proof is in the picture…

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and the tweet…

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this doesn’t make me a bad housewife per say, but it does make me a desperate housewife. desperate to get back to the workforce, that is. but i get the feeling that i might take the time every now and then to make a pillow fort even when i go back to work. i mean, come on! look at that face…she’s so happy!

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now i feel totally embarrassed about confessing this and also fairly certain that i will lose all my readers because you can’t be the person who reads the blog of a girl who is known to build pillow forts for her cat. amiright?

 i take 2 day projects and turn them into 10 day projects.

exhibit 1: i decided to re-color and re-seal the grout in the bathroom. it wasn’t a quick process by any means, but it should have taken 2 days tops. but it was hard. and tedious. and i felt like a contortionist wriggling around every corner and angle of our tiny bathroom. and i soon became very, very bored with it. so each day, i worked on it for a couple of hours or until either a) my knees hurt or b) i got bored. then i came back to it the next day. or not. maybe the day after. just whenever i felt like it. aaaaaaand in the meantime, i managed to render our bathroom unusable for 10+ days. the + because i actually kinda lost count. but doesn’t it look pretty?! here’s a mid-project pic so you can fully appreciate the transformation…

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exhibit 2: the master bath looked so great that i decided to do the guest bath too. why not?! i already had the materials and i definitely had the time. besides, that bathroom is soooo much smaller that it couldn’t possibly take more than a couple of days! so yeah, started it sometime last week, just finished it this morning. oooops.

exhibit 3: at this point, 3 examples seems excessive so i will make this one quick. it started with me re-caulking the bathtubs. it ended with me running out of the house squealing and panting for fresh air because the caulk smelled so horrid that i swore i was going to pass out. B stepped in and saved the day…and my project.

and now for the icing on the cake…

i am too ADD to finish the laundry.

a few days ago, i stripped the sheets off the bed first thing in the morning. i tossed them onto the bedroom floor along with some other sorted piles of clothes that needed to be washed. throughout the day, i lackadaisically worked on said laundry, moving clothes from the washer to the dryer between other tasks…basically just whenever i happened to remember. (never fails- i get preoccupied and eventually think “ah, yes! i was doing the laundry. i better check on it! hope it didn’t mildew in the wash. *sniff test* eh, smells good. into the dryer.”) you go through that whole laundry routine too, right? riiiight? anyways, day turned into night…a late night. (remember all that “we’re on a schedule! our life has structure!” stuff i told you about? yeah, that pretty much goes out the window during finals.) midnight rolls around and we finally decide to go to bed. B walks into the bedroom and says, “what happened to the sheets?” you know what happened to the sheets, don’t you? yep, still on the floor. the dirty floor, mind you! ugh. housewife fail. by then it would have taken another hour and a half to wash and dry so we did what any other exhausted med student and exasperated med student wife would do…we put them back on the bed. (please don’t judge me. my own personal sense of shame is judgment enough.)

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as we laid in bed that night in the already dirty sheets that were now even dirtier from laying on the floor all day, i dejectedly told B that i didn’t think i was housewife material. i moaned and groaned about everything that i either couldn’t get done at all, or things that i just couldn’t do to my standards. it was a midnight pity party and he was invited. B, of course, refused to participate and argued that i was a great housewife! he told me that he’s been so grateful to have me around…he went on and on about my cooking (i will admit, we have eaten pretty well)…i do so many things that make his life easier, etc. nice stuff, y’all. but when he finally realized he wan’t getting anywhere, he pulled out the big guns…

“look at it this way, Nat, your inner feminist should revel in the fact that you aren’t a good housewife.”

hmmmm, my ‘inner feminist should revel?’… i loved that statement so much that i just kept mulling it over. i repeated it in my head at least 20 times so that i would remember his exact phrasing in the morning. and i was too lazy at the time to crawl outta bed in search of my journal. but as i continued to think about B’s words, it led me to consider a couple of things. first off, maybe B should pursue psychiatry. ha! with one simple phrase he was able to not only connect in a way that made sense to me, but also help me feel empowered by something that i had already deemed a shortcoming. kudos, B! second, why am i so hard on myself? i don’t know. we all are, i suppose. and chasing perfection is like chasing after the wind. (aside: our church has been doing an awesome sermon series on Ecclesiastes and that has been my favorite line…i am paraphrasing like 12 chapters here, but basically chasing after the things of this world is like ‘chasing after the wind…’) and i don’t want to chase something i will never catch. sounds exhausting.

so for now, my inner feminist and i are going to revel in the fact that although my home will never be perfect, it is always happy. the people (and kitty) in it are so loved. and in January i will be back at work, kicking butt and taking names. then my housework will really suffer. ;) but i also feel to the need to add…you do NOT have to work to be a feminist. maybe your inner feminist revels in the fact that you are an incredible housewife, stay at home mom, working mom, friend, student, confidant. i think that as women, the most important thing is not what we do, but how we do it. we must learn to revel.

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happiness is…revelling.
Natalie

schtuff TO DO…

i have been spending an inordinate amount of time making lists as of late. i guess part of it could be attributed to this time of year…Christmas lists/shopping lists/naughty and nice lists, etc. speaking of, my shopping list is rather long this year because everyone seems to have made the nice list…so far. boom! but that cute B of mine is walking on thin ice. kidding! (kind of.) i guess the other part of my incessant list-making behavior could be due to the lovely Erin Condren planner that my mom bought me several months ago.

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ain’t she a beaut? i used to be an iPhone calendar girl, but i still kept handwritten lists for other things…groceries, To Do’s, etc. now it is all in one place. i no longer receive annoying dinging alerts (my phone became waaaaay too bossy for my liking) and besides, i have determined it to be much more psychologically gratifying to put pen to paper and mark something out when it’s done. amiright? that just does it for me.

anyways- back to my lists. as of right now, i’m working on 2 of them…

TO DO: before i start my new job.

**(if you missed that news, read this.) i don’t start until January. at first i was like, “NOOOOOOOOO, i’m so flipping bored i will pay YOU to let me start earlier than that!” but really, it’s great timing. it will be nice to spend the entire Christmas break with B after a crazy first semester of medical school and we will have ample time to travel to see family without having to worry about a pesky work schedule. ;) what i found really funny is that the things i want to do and the things B suggested i do with my remaining days of unemployment (or pending employment…that sounds better) are wildly different. i’ll throw a few of his suggestions in at the end just for kicks.

#1. go to IKEA. because once i go back to work, i will never venture there on a weekend. weekend traffic on 610 + weekend shoppers = cruisin’ for a bruisin.’

#2. make spaghetti sauce. i can hear you now…”but Nat, how hard can it be?” real hard, i say. we use B’s grandmother’s recipe and it takes all. d*mn. day. actually it might take even longer this time because B won’t be here to help me. he usually runs all the vegetables through the food processor while  i hand roll approximately one thousand meatballs. BUT it makes a ton, i freeze a majority of it, and i will be super glad to have it for quick, delicious meals when life is busy again.

#3. learn how to make the perfect iced sugar cookie. because what’s Christmas without sugar cookies?! do you have a recipe you would like to share?

#4. get to the gym more regularly. because of #3. ↑

B suggestion #1: learn how to singlestick. (it’s like sword fighting, but with a stick instead of a sword.) one television scene featuring Lucy Liu demonstrating some impressive singlestick skills was all it took…”you should learn how to singlestick, Nat.” i can’t make this stuff up, y’all. nice try B, but that one is out.

B suggestion #2: finish at least a couple of books starting with The Lions of Lucerne, by Brad Thor. i’m actually going to take this suggestion! the boy has gotten me full-on obsessed with everything espionage. it all started innocently enough…a James Bond movie here and there, but now we watch every single espionage show on television. then when the most recent season of Homeland ended, i started having severe withdrawals (i’m still worried about Saul! WTH?) and so B recommended his favorite book series. and here i am. romance novels? pffffft! whatever. i need Navy SEALS, undercover agents, Black Hawk helicopters, and assassination plots. who am i? such a boy…

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TO DO: when B finishes evil finals (in 12 days…not that i’m counting.)

#1. go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. purchased tickets this week. yippee! now- where should we eat? Downtown restaurant recommendations anyone?

#2. eat dinner at The Hobbit Cafe (yes, such a thing exists! amazing, right?) and then go see The Hobbit movie and then work on perfecting my Hobbit accent…i still lean a little too English. i think there’s more Irish in there. the eating schedule, on the other hand, i got that down. breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper…

#3. watch a whole bunch of Christmas movies, including but not limited to: White Christmas, The Christmas Story, Love Actually, Four Christmases, The Holiday…

#4. rest! i have a feeling that B will especially need some quality rest. #medschoolproblems

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whew, this list is getting longer and more ridiculous by the minute so i’ll stop there. this is by far my favorite time of year and i hope to take advantage of this rare gift of time i have been given. oh, and since this is our first Christmas in Houston, is there anything you locals think we should add to our list? and humor me dear friends, what is on your TO DO list this December? i hope it’s full of fun activities with the ones you love.

happiness is…fun on the agenda.
Natalie

nat’s wishlist, 2014

pleeeeeease tell me you went shopping on this glorious day we like to call Black Friday! i desperately need to live vicariously through you! i can see you now…Starbucks in hand, sneakers on your feet, and a look of mighty determination on your face. i, on the other hand, i am at home. after rolling out of bed around 8:30 and eating pumpkin pie (with extra whipped cream) for breakfast, here i sit…coffee in hand, yoga pants on, and shopping online. Houston traffic scares me on a normal day so i thought it best to stay home where i can remain safe and sound…and sane. but answer me this- are the online deals better on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? one would assume Cyber Monday, BUT i’ve seen lots of great sales today. will i be totally ticked if i order something today for 30% off and it’s 40% off on Monday? hmmmmm, what to do, what to do? as i ponder this impossible situation that the evil retailers have cornered me into, i thought i might entertain you with my second annual Christmas wishlist!

nat’s wishlist, 2014


 

1. & 2.

Fossil Sydney Top Zip Crossbody & Bi-Fold Wallet

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the perfect bag for a day of shopping or an evening out! and yes, even though my husband is a med student and buried under a pile of books 90% of the time, we do get the chance to go out occasionally. i have been needing smaller bag, one just big enough for my id, debit card, iPhone, and a tube of lipstick. this one fits the bill. and i love the crossbody style because i need both hands for shopping! my sister and i decided (we both have this on our list. do you ever do that? ask for the same thing as your sister?) that the color (called mushroom) is the perfect neutral. looks great with black, brown, gray, etc.

3.

Kendra Scott Cathy Earrings in Platinum Drusy

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these earrings say ‘classy rockstar’ to me, dontcha think? and somehow Kendra Scott makes my Christmas list every. single. year. i think i have a problem.

4.

Alex and Ani Quill Feather Wrap Bracelet

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i already have 3 Alex and Ani bangles. but if 3 is good, 4 is better. once again, i have problems. and they have to be worn all at once. it’s a rule or something. i just love em. they have so many different styles and charms and each one holds a special meaning. the quill symbolizes truth, light, and virtue.

5.

Ina Garten, Make it Ahead Cookbook

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oh, Ina. can we be friends? B and i want to have dinner with you and Jeffrey at your fabulous home in the Hamptons. and i must get a close up of that kitchen. i neeeeeed that kitchen someday. Ina Garten is by far my favorite chef on the food network and if i can learn to cook like her, B would be the happiest man on the planet.

6.

OPI Gwen Stefani Nail Polish
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you must know by now that if Gwen wears it, i want to wear it too. call me a follower if you must, but i’m happy being a Gwenabe. get it? wannabe? Gwenabe? hahaha. *ahem* but anyways, these colors are rad.

7.

Nike Legend 2.0 Tights

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because if i had it my way, i would live in NIKE. guess what i’m wearing right now? NIKE yoga pants and a NIKE running top. gym rats always need more NIKE. just do it, mmmmkay?

8.

NIKE Lunaracer +3

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see above. ↑ need. more. NIKE.

that’s it folks. basically my list revolves around looking good and eating good. ha! priorities people, priorities. what’s on your wishlist this year? spill it! i have some really awesome people to buy for and i need your H-E-L-P!

P.S. annnnnnd, i have suddenly realized that my timing is totally flawed…i went to all this trouble to make my list and it’s too late. you probably finished your shopping today. oh well, i only have myself to blame. i’ll just have to hope that B is paying attention. i *think* he reads my blog…

happiness is…Christmas shopping.
Natalie

love for breakfast

ahhhhh, i am fresh off a 5 day (very much-needed) visit with my family. it was wonderful! can you feel my peaceful demeanor emanating from behind your tiny glowing screen? i hadn’t seen them since summer! that should be illegal in all 50 states and at least 10 countries. mind you, i am the kid who used to cry at week-long basketball camps growing up. i mean bawl. because after 3 or so days, i just knew that i was starting to forget what my Dad looked like. melodramatic much, Nat? who, me?! admittedly, this time around i did cry once. but one time in several months? not bad. not bad at all, i say. anyways, now i’m back home in Houston with my B, planning our Thanksgiving menu, and feeling all sorts of loved.

have any of you marrieds ever taken the ‘love language’ assessment? i know some do it as a part of their pre-marital classes. B and i did it several years ago. it analyzes…well, your love language, i suppose. ha! this is going great so far. it basically analyzes how we prefer to be loved and how we show love to others. truthfully, it is a pretty important thing to know about your spouse or significant other. i just wish i could remember what our results were. sheesh. but since we’ve been happily married for 9 years, i guess that means we speak each other’s love languages proficiently.

i have decided that breakfast is my love language (i’m pretty sure breakfast is NOT one of the official love languages). i don’t even think it has that much to do with the food (though i loooooove breakfast food), but rather the act of service (i’m pretty sure service IS one of the official love languages). so maybe my language is: breakfast service. the idea that someone would get out of bed in the morning and make something especially for little ole ME?! so nice! and since i am not at all a morning person, i appreciate the sacrifice even more. growing up with 2 sisters, my Mom always had 3 heads of hair (well, 4 including hers) to brush/curl/style in the morning (i should take this opportunity to apologize for not learning to do my own hair until i was like 13…sorry Mom!) so breakfast was always Dad’s thing. the three of us would to shuffle into the kitchen immediately upon waking- pajamas on, eyelids heavy, bedhead to the max- and sit at the bar to eat breakfast with Dad. he set out the plates, filled cups with juice, and cooked hot food to devour. eggs, pancakes, muffins, and donuts on Friday. all we had to do was sit down and eat. to this day, i wake up starving. like a preconditioned robot, i stumble into the kitchen and immediately rummage about for food. so one morning while i was visiting, Dad made me blueberry muffins. it made me smile all day. Mom also made protein smoothies and then over the weekend when i stayed at my sister’s house, my BIL made pancakes. i’m generally the breakfast maker around here, so when i told B that everyone had cooked breakfast for me, he asked what they made. when i told him, he kind of winced. it was totally cute as i think he was hoping to hear dry toast and a banana. now there’s all this pressure to step up his breakfast game. aside: food is definitely B’s love language. he swears his packed lunch tastes better when i make it. it’s all that extra love i put in his PB&J.

you know what else is my love language? morning snuggles. in B’s absence, this little squeaker filled in and did pretty good. i might even suggest that she is a snuggling expert.

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once again, i am not a morning person. but it turns out that waking up isn’t so bad when she is the one doing the waking. i’m sure it’s not always as fun for my Sis at 3am (hehe) but she slept until 7 that day so it was a total win. and yes, i totally put a black and white filter on that pic so you might notice my lack of makeup just a teensy bit less. did it work? this is the first and last time you will see this happy redhead without a stitch of makeup on. eeeeek.

and i can’t let this post end without telling you about the 2 days i spent as a pseudo-librarian. Mom and i staged our own ‘take your daughter to work day’ and i helped her with the book fair going on in her adorable elementary library. (you know books are a part of my love language too.)

evidence…

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can i just say that educators rock? i have known this all my life as both of my parents are educators and my extended family is full of them too…but i have a whole new appreciation after living it for 2 days. whew! i was tired, y’all! in 2 days i watched my Mom: show up an hour and a half before school even started (i don’t know about you, but i usually don’t get to work 1.5 hours early), pay for activities out of her own pocket, and love on kids with more enthusiasm than you can even imagine. and the kids…oh the kids…they were funny. i’m not around kids very often as i work in corporate America and i giggled to myself all day. kids are delightfully weird, aren’t they? and they were so excited about books! i loved it.

i am THANKFUL for so many things this year. i’m thankful for the unique opportunity B and i have been given…our lives have changed so drastically and so wonderfully. i’m thankful for forced rest. i needed it more than i knew. i’m thankful for the people who have had my back this year. there are too many to name. i’m thankful to feel loved by so many and to love them fiercely in return. those special people who speak my love language and demonstrate it in both the big and little things. at the end of the day, this life is all about people. fantastic people grace my life daily, including you. thank you for that.

be blessed this week, my friends!

happiness is…speaking in love.
Natalie
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