I can feel it...it's coming...and I can't wait. I'm over the 95 degree days. I'm ready to wear warm comfy sweaters and knee-high boots and tights. I want to pull out scarves and go to corn mazes and turn on my fireplace. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the lower 70s here in the Triangle and I am soooo looking forward to it. Everyone plants mums and pansies and has pumpkins on the porch...fall is by far my favorite season.
I put out my "Happy Fall, Y'all" garden flag yesterday (pictured above), and am waiting with baited breath for the mercury to dip. Bring it on!!
I've read blogs and reviews, watched trailers and Oprah's two-part series, and I can honestly say, I can't wait until Waiting for Superman opens here in the Triangle. An Inconvenient Truth is one of my all-time favorite documentaries (and oddly enough, I've watched tons of documentaries....big dork, remember), and I think Davis Guggenheim finds the heart of a story and relates it in ways that even I can understand...so yeah, can't wait.
Kids today are faced with situations and moral dilemmas I never had at their age. I grew up in what I always thought was your normal, average, run of the mill all American family. What I discovered as I got older was that we were none of that. We weren't average, we weren't normal by society's standards...we weren't even that all-American. The all-American family was just propaganda on tv. Ozzie and Harriett and the Cleavers and Huxtables never existed.The things I thought were everyday occurrences in homes all across the country...just weren't happening for other kids my age.
For starters, I had a two parent home. I grew up with four loving grandparents. Round that out with an annoying little brother and a dog in the backyard and we were the cookie cutter what tv makes you think suburban life is all about family. We had a schedule...dinner around the table 4 nights out of the week, out to dinner on Friday night, dad grilled out on Saturday night and we got to order pizza and sit in front of the tv to watch Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman on Sunday night. Didn't everyone do that? Did everyone's parents drag them all across the county for softball and piano and dance lessons and youth group and cheerleading and Girl Scouts? Didn't the parents of all the kids at my school make sure they had three meals a day and that their homework was done and they studied for the spelling test on Thursday?
The older I've gotten, the more I can see just how lucky I was. I went to private school for kindergarten, and then spent the next 12 years in public school. My parents were involved. There were repercussions for not bringing home the grades they knew I could achieve. There were tutors brought in when I thought Algebra II just might be the end of me. There was never a question of whether or not I would go to college. These were foregone conclusions.
I had my own Superman teachers...those who went above and beyond that you could really tell cared about the students and the people they were becoming...not just what our end of year test scores said. Those were the teachers who made it fun to learn. Whose classes I took because they engaged me and taught me things not just about the material they were covering that day, but about myself. Ms. Bass, Ms. Hartley, Ms. Jelovich, Miss Moore, Mr. Gage, Ms. Stewart and my mentor and friend, Dr. Moskowitz all came into my life and changed who I was...and who I would become. They taught me to read, to write in cursive, my periodic table, what the heck an x-axis was, that cupcakes make everyday better, how to diagram a sentence, and how if you just thought about it, you really CAN separate North Carolina into Congressional districts that make a modicum of sense.
The proverb that it takes a whole village to raise a child is correct on so many levels. Without everyone coming together...parents, teachers, legislators, voters, volunteers...our children will fail. Not one of those will succeed without the help of the others. We are all needed. My parents didn't raise my brother and I by themselves. They had help...we need to stop the blame game. It doesn't matter whose fault it is that we find ourselves here...it's not a red issue...it's not a blue issue...it's an American dilemma. John Legend said that the failure of our education system is the civil rights issue of our generation...so what can we do? It's time for action...
This weekend has been the best I've had in a long while...and it's because I have done pretty much nothing but exactly what I wanted to. Don't want to take off the pj's, no problem. Feel like reading for 4 hours...heck yeah, bring it on. It was great...and I feel surprisingly accomplished. I was able to get all my laundry done..and SHOCKER...folded and put away...I tried out two new recipes which were definite keepers...mmmm homemade meatballs....I played with Winston....read a book...drank coffee....switched out my pocketbook for something a little more apropos for fall and even planned a couple of outfits for the week.
Ahhh...relaxation. It was great! Oh, I also discovered these naughty little things at Trader Joes...mint chocolate joe sandwiches. They take mint chocolate chip ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches out of them with the chocolate oreo-like cookies they have...they are sinful, but only have 120 calories...so not toooo bad, you know, if you stop at one...which I had a hard time doing. If I space them a couple of minutes hours apart, that counts as being good, right?
Now I shall sit here with another cup of coffee and enjoy The Jersey Shore and VMAs...and laugh.
If anyone out there is say, looking to buy me a gift or something, I would never say no to this...NEED...WANT....MUST HAVE....but alas, can not afford. Poo. This is a weekend of no work and all play....I'm excited! No plans, just trying to declutter my life and have some fun!
I swear I don't shop as much as it sounds like I do! It's just that when life consists of work, work and oh yeah, some more work, the highlights tend to be when I take time to hang with the girls and indulge in some retail therapy.
Times have been pretty trying lately, so PB and I decided to take the morning off and visit the grand opening of the new Nordstrom Rack. With Starbucks in hand, we headed to Durham with dreams of sale items in our heads...and really, they were giving away free tote bags, so we HAD to go, right?? Uhm, yes. When we arrived, expecting there to be at most 100 of our nearest and dearest bargain hunting fiends in tow, we were SHOCKED to see the line wrapping around the building and down the block. There seriously had to be 600 or so people there...they were in line waaay down to David's Bridal. Can we say uhm, no? Even if we did get in fairly quickly it would be like girls gone wild Nordstrom style. I found this photo online and you can just barely see the line starting behind the SUVs.
So, sad and dejected, we decided to head back across the street to Target, Barnes & Noble and Anthropologie (where I scored an awesome pink and gray sweater for fall for $19.99). Hoping our luck was on the upswing after my fabulous Anthro find, we thought we would troll by Rack again, you know, just to check out the scene....and there was no line!!! Bargain mecca here we come!!!!
Over an hour and two happy customers later, Beth hit the jackpot with some great new clothes...I bought a Christmas present (yes, I'm almost 3/4 through with Christmas shopping) and this...this beauty is now MINE!! I've been on the look-out for a new watch, and because Coach is like cookies falling from the sky good, this one had to find its home on my wrist. There may have even been a squeal and PB elbowing her way to the counter to see if she could see the price for me. Bodily harm at Rack...she loves me :)
After lunch at Pei Wei...it was time to head back to work. Fun, right? Work where I was taken by surprise by a homeless man in our copy room yesterday? Yeah, really. That's another story for another day. Suffice it to say, I was startled, told to call the police and the man was picked up down the street. Although he wasn't where he was supposed to be, I really felt bad for calling the cops on him.
College football starts tonight, and tomorrow night my high school football team tries to make it 3-0...we're gonna get that state championship this year... I can feel it!! CALS Tailgate at the NC State game on Saturday...hope to see lots of faces I rarely see...and praying something positive happens for Carolina football, or I may just boycott everything until basketball!!
So, I've been feeling inspired to change things up in my kitchen...trying new recipes, breaking out of the same old thing everyday. Now, I'm ready to take it a step further. Don't get me wrong, I love my fiesta ware, but I think I'm ready for a change. I've looked at place setting after place setting, and I think I have settled on the Noritake Tempo Collection....it just really seems to be "me." I'm super excited to get started collecting pieces, and while I am at that in between stage, it will still go great with the fiesta I already own!
The next thing I have found which I MUST own is from...big shocker...Anthropologie! This has to be the cutest deviled egg server I've seen in a long time...and you know, no good southern girl can have to many egg servers!! This one is $24, and I definitely see it coming home with me.
The last two things I've really been on the search for are kitchen linens and some sort of wire fruit/veggie bowl to put on the counter. I haven't found anything I'm just in love with yet. Do I want a regular bowl, or one of the two tiered kind....I can't decide. I've seen tons everywhere from TJ Maxx to Pottery Barn, but nothing has spoken to me yet....and I've decided that unless something really speaks to me, then there is no reason to bring it into my home. If I don't really fall in love with it, I'm just going to regret the purchase and in the end, spend more money to replace it in 4 months. So, I'm still on the hunt.
Oh yeah, while I'm there, you KNOW I will be bringing home these pot holders/oven mitts from Anthro. Sheesh, I could just move into the store and be happy for the rest of my days! Happy Cooking!!
One of my favorite things about summers in the south has to be the abundance of high quality fruits and vegetables available. Trips to the State Farmers Market are a MUST...especially since I live so close. I haven't bought a tomato during the season that I didn't grow or buy at a market in YEARS...I'm not sure what those red things in the HT are, but they are nothing like the juicy goodness I can find elsewhere.
This week on my misadventure to the FM, my friend PreppyBumpkin and I headed out to see what we could scrounge up to take home with us. Vegetables were bought, fun was had...still sad my sunflower seed bread is only available on weekends...Friday afternoon is the weekend to me, people!!
We also visited Anders Natural Soap Company for the second week in a row. I swear that place is like crack.....it all just smells so good. Last week I purchased 2 hydrogen (which I shared with two friends) and kept a lemon verbena shea for myself. (lemon verbena shea ingredients: tri-filtered water, saponified oils (olive, coconut and palm), shea butter, lemon verbena essential oil, and rosemary oil extract). I also picked up one of their tote bags...too cute...and part of the proceeds go to the NC Food Bank!
This week, PB and I moved on to lotion, though I think she got some soap as well. I purchased the honey almond lotion...and it smells good enough to taste. I have a serious addiction to anything that smells like an almond...even though I'm not the biggest fan of how they taste...weird, right? Unfortunately, my much coveted lotion went home with PB...you know us, when something says 3 for $25, we pool our resources to get the discount!!
Anders Natural Soap Co., NC State Farmers Market
If you are at the NC State Farmers Market....it would be well worth your while to go buy and visit Patricia at Anders Soap...they are at the very end of the big year-round Market Shoppes building. She'll tell you all about their products...they build everything from the most basic ingredient up...they don't buy bases and add fragrance...and she told us a bunch of process stuff that I will never understand and would probably mess up in the retelling, so I'll just go with...go see the expert...sniff some soap...support our local artisans and take some home!!
So last weekend was tax free shopping on certain items in North Carolina...thankfully clothes were counted in that group. I am tired just thinking about how much shopping was done. Friday, after a trip to the State Farmer's Market (yum), after a flurry of email that left my Droid smoking, an impromptu trip for 7, yes, you read that correctly, SEVEN, was planned for the Streets at Southpoint.
I may have a maniacal slight obsession with Anthropologie. That was my one condition for the trip. MUST go to Anthro. The two things I really wanted as if my life depended on it were not available in my size in the store.*insert sad, pouty face* So, as soon as I got home, and I mean LITERALLY as soon as I got home...I ordered them online.
Today will be like Christmas in August at my house! Like the stalker I am, I have been tracking these beauties for the past few days, and they are slated for delivery TODAY. Super-fast shipping...have I mentioned how much I love Anthropologie??
After a crazy 11:00pm trip with B & K-Dawg to the harbinger of evil known as Wal-Mart (I still have nightmares), we decide to head home for part 2 of the adventure on Saturday....the Outlets in Smithfield.
Bright and early at 9:00 the next am, R arrives bearing coffee and doughnuts, and off we go for another shopping extravaganza...I ended up purchasing a garden flag proclaiming "Happy Fall, Y'all", 2 shirts for less than $35 at Banana Republic, and a cute work-appropriate dress at, of all places, Dress Barn.
After an after-birthday dinner trip to Kohl's with the grandmother, and the use of my $10 Kohl's Cash on ANOTHER Oxo container, I made it home, crawled into bed and dreamt of sale tags and owning an Anthro hand-sewn bedspread.
Sunday came to pass and it was all I could do to pull myself off the couch to make meals...I needed a day of rest....all that shopping can wear you out, y'all!
Another year older, people!! I can honestly say it doesn't bother me. Some of my friends get all stressed out and don't want to talk about it, but not me. I figure if I survived another year on this planet alive, healthy and happy, then kudos to me, and let's celebrate!!
So, every family birthday, the birthday girl/boy gets to choose somewhere special we don't normally go to eat dinner. My brother for AGES would choose Outback...every year, without fail...in fact, come this November, I'm sure we'll be there...again. Me? I'm a little more adventurous and try to choose a different place every year.
This year, I chose Bonefish Grill. If you haven't been...GO! Go quickly, I tell you. That place will change your life. The Wahoo special they had was out of this world. It was a grilled wahoo with a spicy lemon caper sauce topped with fresh crab...beautiful. Their caesar salad was the best restaurant salad I've had in awhile...it tasted just like if I'd made it at home.
While we were waiting to get inside to eat, I decided to provide entertainment for the patrons outside by opening my birthday presents first...it's all about priorities, y'all. So, there on the sidewalk I did just that.
Now, before I show you what I got, I have a little story to tell. While some girlfriends and I were on vacation, I fell in love with a designer named Holly Yashi. Her jewelry is fantabulous. Yes, her stuff can be a little pricey, but it is sooo worth it. So I skimped. I saved until finally I could order one of my very own...the laurel bracelet would be MINE!
It came to me all nice and shiny and I was in love with it. I never took it off, which is really the downfall of this little love story. I was taking my trash out to the dumpster and when I threw the bag over the side, the catch caught and the bracelet of my dreams floated into the grimy abyss of the dumpster. Oh hell no. No. No. No. I go back to the car and get my mag lite, and let me tell you, if I had caught even a sparkle, I would have found a way in that dumpster. As it was, it was 11:00 at night, and there was no sign of it.
So, fast forward to my birthday...now let's remember, my Laurel's dumpster demise occurred in January. So all this time, my mom remembered...and it probably didn't hurt that I whined like a two year old about it for weeks. There, on the sidewalk outside of Bonefish Grill, my mom made her little girl so happy I did a little chair dance for all the world to see...inside the box was a brand new, shiny LAUREL from Holly Yashi. My life is complete. Best birthday...and my mom and dad ROCK!
This is Laurel....she owns me. She goes with EVERYTHING. Perfect accessory. Love.
Can I tell you just how ready I am for cool weather? These days of 100 degree weather are KILLING me! Summers in the south, complete with frizz inducing humidity may well be the death of me. You would think since I have lived here my entire life, I would get used to it...but no....not yet...probably not ever.
So, in preparation for fall, I've been scouting around for some new duds to don. I lost some weight this summer, so I'm going to need some new things to fill out my wardrobe. Exciting!
In my opinion, every little girl needs a puppy to snuggle with. Sasha and Malia Obama are no exception. With the campaign trail a daunting task to most adults, I can only imagine what it is like for two little girls who are used to having both mommy and daddy tuck them in every night. When I heard the Obamas promised their girls a puppy when they moved into the White House, I was thrilled for them. What would they pick?? I have to say Bo was an awesome choice. He is adorable. I may harbor the idea that he and Winston could be BFFs....frolicking around on the south lawn together. Chasing squirrels and sniffing at the kitchen garden. Ahhh...if only....
So, when I heard they were publishing a book just about Bo, how could I not think this was full of awesomeness?? I have placed my order and my own copy of The First Pup should be arriving soon.
I may have a soft spot for children's literature. I was only a couple of classes short for a minor in CL when I graduated, but to stay on the 4 year plan, there just wasn't time. I love the classics...I could read Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird over and over never tiring of where they take me. I've read all the Harry Potter books at least twice, and Where the Wild Things Are is a favorite as well as all the Shel Silverstein books. Don't even get me started on Nancy Drew or Beverly Cleary's ability to get me through my middle school years or Dr. Seuss and the vivid images he invokes or Alice in Wonderland or Bridge to Terabithia or or or....ok so yeah, you get my point. I have a problem with books...bookstores are one of the places I can never leave without spending $100. I even bought a Barnes and Noble Nook trying to make my "habit" a little easier on the wallet...it has helped, but there is just something about holding a book in your hand that can't be replaced.
It's almost time for school to begin, so the next time you are in Borders, make sure you pick up one of the books they are selling for school children who can't afford them otherwise. It's a quick and simple way to share the love of reading with our next generation and to support those who, unlike me, can find the words that take us into a land of imagination....transporting us to another place or time...
So, in my quest to recognize the awesomeness that is my life, because let's face it, I'm one lucky chica; I am going to shout from the rooftops and draw attention to the good I find.
Today's reason to be grateful literally fell from the sky. Rain. Unheard of in North Carolina at the end of July, right? Absolutely. It fell, it poured, hours later it was still coming down. I am thrilled...THRILLED, I tell 'ya.
Now, what I'm not too happy about was the rate of speed it decided was needed. Several areas of our state were flooded because of too much, too fast. But, well, I guess beggars can't be choosers, right? Here's to hoping it soaks in quickly and doesn't cause too many problem. So, thank you for the rain...we needed it.
Thanks for following me on this journey, y'all...it's going to be interesting!!