Archive | April, 2010

This is What My Heart Looks Like:

30 Apr

This begins week 1 of something I like to call Photo Finish Friday. As the name implies, it’s just a photo, posted on Fridays. It’s probably going to end up being something I’m in love with that particular week.

The Ultimate Headboard:

Stuffy

29 Apr

Between working non-stop for over two weeks and going down to South Carolina last weekend for the reunion, I find myself with a stress-and-pollen-induced cold. Of course, the sudden turn in the weather – from warm and sunny to freezing and rainy – hasn’t helped either. This cold isn’t bad enough to make me miserable and stay home from work, but just bad enough that every time I snort nasal spray I feel like I’ve just inhaled chlorine pool water through my nose. Basically, I either can’t breathe through my nose, or it feels like it’s about to flood out all my bodily fluids, or it’s on fire/borderline ticklish enough to make me sneeze every two minutes or so. It’s not really fun.

When I was younger, my immune system used to be so good. I think four years of constant work, stress, and sleep deprivation have finally caught up with me. Mind you, I still don’t get sick that often, but definitely more than I’m used to. The fall of my senior year I had a nasty case of bronchitis for about two weeks, which is just about the sickest I’ve been for a while. Like I said, I’m nowhere near that sick right now. But I just wish my head would clear up and I would quit sounding like a moose going through puberty.

Thank goodness for NyQuil and DayQuil. These have been my saving graces. Those commercials really aren’t lying when they say you can get a good night’s sleep when you take it; I’m pretty sure I was snoring and breathing mostly through my mouth last night, but at least I was breathing! I actually got a great night’s sleep, which is really helpful in the recovery of illness. Hopefully this will not last much longer, and I can actually have a good weekend. Well, at the very least, be alert and non-stuffy for my AmeriCorps training meeting this Saturday.

Hey, Big Spender

28 Apr

I went more than a little bit crazy this weekend while I was shopping. I went three separate times, all to different stores, and spent way more than I was planning to. It was entirely worth it, though, because I love everything I got and I know it will be put to good use. It’s been forever since I’ve been shopping, because as part of my diet motivation plan, I’m not allowed to spend money until I reach my goals. Well, that completely went out the window this weekend, but I’m not sorry about it. It seems like a major setback, but really was just me snatching up things I really needed and will be able to enjoy fully once this is all over.

So trip #1 was to Anthropologie. I went up there on Friday afternoon after Founder’s Day. Everyone was pretty much in class or working during this time, so I just went by myself. I figured this would be a good time to go, because all the alumnae events on campus were things I didn’t really want to see: campus tours, housing plans, mock classes. Basically everything I had just done a year ago. So, off to Charlotte I went!

I was searching Anthropologie for these amazing glasses (more on the condiment bowls in a minute). Not that I have my own apartment or house to furnish, but I’m just so in love with them. They look so “me,” and I just had to have them. The store had nine of them, which isn’t really a full set. Luckily, Anthro has the best customer service in the entire world, and they offered to look at other stores to see if they were in stock anywhere else, and ship them to me FOR FREE! It wasn’t two hours after I left the store that I got a call saying the glasses had been located, and would be shipped whenever I wanted after returning their call. Talk about good luck! These were out of stock on the website and I just got lucky enough that they found the rest of my set for me! So now, I have a full set of 16 of these glasses just waiting for an artsy-looking apartment to fill. Oh, one day…

I also got these cute doorknobs for Melody’s bathroom cabinet as a housewarming/thanks-for-letting-me-crash-at-your-house present. Her bathroom is, of course, ocean-themed, with octopi and mermaids everywhere. I thought it only appropriate to get her these, as well. There are so many octopus-related things in Anthropologie right now. I’m sure she would have died if she’d seen all of it!

The next afternoon we headed up to the Gaffney outlets for some more shopping. We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel beforehand. It was me and some girls I graduated with – people I’m friends with but didn’t really hang out with much during school. It wasn’t really awkward at all – they are so nice and friendly! I really had a lot of fun. I told myself in my head that I wouldn’t buy anything – or at least restrain myself if I found something I liked. That, of course, didn’t last long. They have tons of stores up there – we went in just a few of them – and I found some great stuff. (See picture below for cumination of all clothing purchases.)

On Sunday, I got up and met Morgan for breakfast at The Skillet. How I went four years without ever going to that place, I’ll never know. It was a lot like Waffle House, but just a local thing. The food was really, really good. I kind of regretted eating so much greasy food afterwards, though, because I could really tell it with the way I felt! Anyway, after we ate, we sat in the Ross parking lot until they opened up. Morgan was looking for graduation event dresses – I remember that feeling from last year very well! And I’m pretty sure I ended up buying all of mine – my graduation dress, Hats Off, art show opening, and senior paper presentation dress – all at Ross. But back on topic. Morgan tried on several dresses, as did I. There were a few that were really cute, but I ended up buying a navy dress and a printed skirt. The dress is SO comfortable, and looks good. The skirt reminds me of something I saw in Anthropologie or InStyle once, but of course much cheaper! I also got the cute little condiment bowls seen earlier, which of course I have no immediate need for. But I plan on living on my own someday, and want to give dinner parties all the time. And these will come in handy when I have tapas parties or need small bowls for something. At any rate, I love kitchen gadgets, and Ross is a good place to find them.

1. Purple lace shirt,  Banana Republic
2. Purple embellished dress, Banana Republic
3. Cactus-printed dress, Anthropologie
4. Braided and printed tank, Anthropologie
5. Coral striped cardigan, Banana Republic
6. Navy braided dress, Ross
7. Purple embellished cardigan, Anthropologie
8. Yellow and purpe jersey and lace shirt, Anthropologie
9. Skirt, Ross
10. Watercolor printed silk tank, Anthropologie
11. Yellow embroidered cardigan, Banana Republic
12. White embroidered shirt, Banana Republic

So as you can see, I went a little crazy with my spending this weekend! But I’m really happy with what I got, so it was a really good trip. I’ll just have to practice some self-restraint in the coming months, and in the meantime maybe not spend so much time combing the Anthropologie website quite so often! It’s good for my closet, but bad for my wallet!

Ten Things Tuesday – April 27

27 Apr

Whatever happened to…

1. Sisqo. You sing one song about thongs, and you should be set for life, right? So why on earth did he ever fade into relative obscurity?

2. Mark Hamill. I mean, if I had to cope with the badass-ness of Han Solo overshadowing me in nearly every aspect of my life, I think I’d fall off the face of the earth, too.

3. Fabio. I haven’t checked my local romance novel section latetly, or bought (I Can’t Believe it’s Not) butter, but his legendary mane of silky hair seems to be missing from pop culture today.

4. Right Said Fred. They were too sexy for just about everything you can imagine…even their cats. Clearly, they were also too sexy to stay on the scene too long.

5. Macaulay Culkin. There was a time, believe it or not, when you couldn’t go outside, or turn on the TV, or read a magazine without someone declaring him the Next Big Thing. He was a massive child star, and everyone thought he was going places. Admit it. You secretly wanted to booby-trap your entire house from robbers, too.

6. Hayley Mills. I used to watch her in the original Parent Trap and in Pollyanna all the time when I was little. And now, where is she?

7. Fred and Ben Savage. Two adorable brothers, two great sitcoms. Where, oh where, did they go?

8. Brandy. I remember actually having one of her CDs in the late elementary school/middle school years. I never saw her TV show, but I did see her in Cinderella. And now….?

9. Sinbad. Any career that includes the movie Good Burger should be solid as a rock.

10. The cast of Dawson’s Creek. Except for Katie Holmes, of course. She’s definitely still productive these days…

Hasty Retreat

26 Apr

We had our off-site manager’s retreat today. We went up to Doe River Gorge for some planning and bonding. It was a pretty fun day – something different than being in the office all day. And lots of snacking, of course. I was in charge of the icebreaker (which, admittedly, I did not plan until I was in the shower this morning!). We played Do You Love Your Neighbor, which I was a little apprehensive about with just adults, but ended up being really fun anyway. That game is always fun, no matter where you go. Plus it was a good way to get us all up and moving first thing in the morning!

The day reminded me a lot of our Orientation training – or any other organization I was involved with during school. Of course, this is in a business setting, so it was slightly different. But not so far off from what I’m used to. At least college has prepared me for this kind of occurance.

For the rest of the day, we basically sat and talked about how the past year has gone as far as our earned income, what we thought were our major successes, and then started brainstorming how we can improve in the coming year. I’m really excited about the things we’re looking at implementing in the next year. I think the Museum is really making some good moves to grow and expand our audience. We’re kind of a fixture in this area, and I think it would be such a shame to waste all those years of hard work and excellent service. Our executive directore made the point that we’re the only people in this area with these specific job descriptions, and she’s really right about that. There is no other place around here like the Museum, and it’s exciting to think about our unique services.

We also took a personality/work profile test to see how different our working styles are in our team, and how these can work together effectively. Normally when I take any kind of personality test like that, I get a very accurate score that really describes me well. This test we took today didn’t really do that, for the first time ever. It was still interesting, even though I don’t think my result was really that accurate. Now, I know it’s a personality test, and they’re not always right, but usually when I take those things they aren’t far off. So it was surprising today that my result was really different than how I think I am.

We ended the day playing Apples to Apples, which is by far my favorite board/card game. The concept of it doesn’t sound fun at all, but it really is! All in all, not a bad day. If only the weather was better – it was so cold and rainy today! I don’t think it got up into the 50s today – or if it did, it was barely there. It was freezing, and then the rain that started midafternoon didn’t help the situation! I sincerely hope that all this nasty weather doesn’t decide to stick around for any amount of time. It’s almots May – it’s not supposed to be this cold! I swear winter is just sticking around to have the last laugh on all of us…

First Year Reunion!

25 Apr

It’s been such a busy past few days! My weekend was awesome – it was so good to see old friends and spend some money! More on all that money spending some other time, though.

Staying at Melody’s house was really fun. Her dad used to be really weird about having people over, so I’ve never actually been inside her parents’ house past the front living room. So now that she’s got her own place, I have somewhere to stay in Spartanburg! The house is so cute, and very Melody, of course. It was a retro feel that’s just perfect for her. The bathroom is done up in mermaids and octopi and other ocean themes, which is not at all surprising. It’s a really pretty blue color. Her kitchen is, appropriately, a light shade of pumpkin orange. Of course nothing else would do; she just loves pumpkins! The house was just so adorable, and I loved staying there. It really made me want to have my own house or apartment, and have some space of my own to decorate and make it look like me. I don’t need to do that right now in my life – I’m happy enough living at home, and I don’t really have living expenses to worry about at the moment. But I’ll have a place of my own one day, and it will be fabulous and colorful, just like me!

I drove down on Thursday night after work – I left a little early so it wouldn’t be too late when I got down to Spartanburg. Melody had been planning a little dinner party for a few of her friends, and said I could join them whenever I got there. That didn’t end up happening, because she got a call for a job interview at the last minute. She’s been kind of unhappy at work lately, so of course none of us was going to stop her trying to find a new one. She was gone when I got there, but had taped her extra house key under her mailbox for me, so I let myself in when I got down to the house. I’d forgotten to write down her house number, but luckily I remembered what it looked like from having seen it briefly on a recent trip. Even if I hadn’t remembered what the house looked like, and even if I hadn’t found the key under the mailbox, I would have known it was her house instantly, because I walked up on the porch and it smelled like her through the door. She used to work at Bath and Body Works, and it basically looks like she could run her own store out of the house. She has so many lotions, soaps, candles, and other such things that her house just kind of has this permanent lotion smell. It’s not bad at all – in fact, she usually smells really good. And her house smells just like her.

I wasn’t there more than 15 or 20 minutes when she got back from the job interview. She thought it had gone well, so we’ll see about it in a few days. We sat around for a bit before deciding what to do for dinner, and of course ended up at Mexico Lindo. Elizabeth called me on our way down there and agreed to meet us after a while. We stayed at the restaurant for at least two hours, which was so fun. I love Mexican food, and haven’t had it in forever! Margaritas, Coronas, chips and salsa, guacamole and enchiladas are definitely not in my calorie count for the day! Luckily, I don’t worry about that on vacation. I’m there to enjoy myself, not think about what I’m eating. It was so fun to be there again – I really miss that restaurant! After our late dinner we went back to the house and talked for a long time, and I introduced Melody to Glee. She hasn’t seen it yet because it comes on the same time as Lost. She really liked it, though, as I knew she would. We didn’t stay up that late because we’re both working and are used to going to bed fairly early. She had to get up to work in the morning, and I had to get up in time to get ready for Founder’s Day and make it to Converse to register for the reunion and find a computer to order John Mayer tickets. Yeah, we’re going to see him again! Amanda and one of her roommates are coming with me in July to see him in Charlotte. It’s the same tour as in February, which was awesome. This will be the…5th time I’ve seen him? Yes, the 5th. Definitely the first time I’ve seen him twice in less than a year. Anyway, that’s getting off topic.

I got up the next morning and got ready for Founder’s Day, which is always a big deal at Converse. It wasn’t supposed to start until 11:30, so I had plenty of time to get there. I drove downtown with my computer in my car looking for free WiFi, but never could connect to it anywhere downtown. I felt like a major creeper in a few parking lots, and definitely made some weird turns in front of some cops. I finally gave up on that, and headed to Converse to use a campus computer. This wasn’t my first choice, because I didn’t really want to order concert tickets over a public computer. I didn’t really have a choice at this point, though, because Melody doesn’t have internet at her house yet. So I headed to campus, where I went to the student center and ordered the tickets, then went to the front lawn to register for Alumnae Weekend. I didn’t recognize anyone up there milling around, because it was mostly older women standing around talking with their classmates. The way reunions go at Converse is every five years, except your first year reunion. So it’s classes five years apart there for each reunion, meaning we didn’t know any of them. I stood around for a while until some other girls from my class found me, and we talked for a while about what all we’re doing until it was time to process in. We got to be the first alumnae to walk in, behind the faculty and the seniors. It was so weird to be doing that again, having everyone looking at us. The program was really nice, though, and for once I was paying attention rather than doing homework or playing games on my phone the entire time. The keynote speaker was the woman who founded Asheville Ironworks, and she was really interesting and really funny.

After Founder’s Day, I went out with one of my little sisters, Elizabeth, and some of her friends for lunch. There’s always a big lunch on the front lawn with strawberries and cream (our founder’s favorite dessert), but I haven’t been to that since freshman year. I never ate breakfast at school, so that was always my first meal of the day. Meaning I was always impatient and cranky and didn’t want to wait in line for the food. Some years it wasn’t even that good – I remember sophomore year when we stood around waiting for just a salad – so we would usually leave campus for lunch. We went to Venus Pie, which I cannot remember the last time I went there. It was like going for the first time all over again. I didn’t know many of Elizabeth’s friends, but they were really nice. After lunch I took Elizabeth back to campus, and there I ran into Morgan coming back from student teaching. We sat and talked for quite a while, and then I went down to the art building to find my professors. None of them were there, of course, because it was a Friday afternoon, and most of them skip out early that day. So I headed back to Melody’s house to change clothes and head to Charlotte. I drove up there to go shopping at Anthropologie. I won’t give the details now, but check back later for a complete shopping update!

That night we had a barbeque and cocktail party on back campus. I made it back from Charlotte just in time for that, and I saw several members of my class that I hadn’t seen earlier. We sat around the table until it got too dark to see, so we decided to go change and go out somewhere. I went back to Melody’s house, where she was finishing up her dinner party that had been postponed from the previous night. Her friend Alan was there, and he was really cool. She always has such awesome friends. So the three of us just sat around for a while. I showed them the pictures I’ve been working on for my Polaroid calendar, and they both really liked seeing that. They work together at the photo store, so of course they’re always interested in seeing photos. I was waiting to get a call from my friends to see if they were going out, but the more I sat around, the more sleepy I got. The same thing ended up happening to them, too, as I found out the next day. So we didn’t end up going out anywhere, but that was OK. Melody and I went to bed a little early again.

The next morning we had a class meeting, so I got ready and headed to campus. There were even more people there that I hadn’t seen the day before, which was nice. We mostly sat around and talked about what we are all doing, and what other people are up to that we haven’t seen in a while or who weren’t there that weekend. We took a class picture as a group, which was pretty cute. I don’t have a copy of it right now, but I really need to get my hands on one! After our meeting we headed over to the bookstore to check out what they had. Everyone else seemed to have the same idea, because it was so crowded and really hot in there! We ended up waiting in line to check out for more than 30 minutes – mostly because there were some pushy women who got in front of us! It was well past lunchtime when we finally all got checked out, so we decided to head over to Gaffney to get lunch and go shopping at the outlets. It felt a little awkward at first, because I was hanging out with people who weren’t good friends. But they are super nice, so it ended up not really being a big deal. I felt comfortable with them, and I’m hoping they didn’t think it was weird I was with them. We had a really good day. We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel, where our waiter had to be on drugs. Seriously, he was so perky and intense – really friendly, but in that trying-way-too-hard kind of way where you just looked at him and thought something was up. Anyway, he didn’t get any phone numbers, so we went shopping for a while. I won’t bore you with details here, so look for that in a few days.

After our successful shopping excursion, we went back to Spartanburg and went our separate ways to change for our class dinner. We were all laughing about the class dinner locations, because all the older, elegant ladies were going to the Piedmont Club, or the Country Club, or the President’s house, and we were going to Delaney’s. As is appropriate for our class. It was supposed to start at 6:30, but really ended up being one of those drop-in deals. By the time the last people showed up around 8, there were 20 or 25 of us there. It was really a lot of fun to have everyone there, and it kept getting louder and louder! That was probably one of the best parts of the weekend. After dinner and drinks we started trickling out again. I sat around for a long time, then left with my friends to go to the Marriott, where they wanted to have drinks and dessert. All the older alumnae were there in the hotel bar, so it was kind of crazy in there, too! It was nice to have a change of pace. We had a small table and just sat around talking some more, just like the rest of the weekend. I finally headed back to Melody’s house, where I met Mari and Gia, and the four of us hung out for awhile. This was definitely the latest we stayed up the entire weekend!

The next morning Melody had to go to church to sing in the choir, and I got up to meet Morgan for breakfast. We went to The Skillet, which I’d never been to in four years of school! It reminded me a lot of a Waffle House, except not sketchy. And probably not open in the wee hours of the night. Breakfast was really, really good! I could definitely feel that bacon and grease later, though. After breakfast we sat around in the Ross parking lot waiting for it to open, for my third shopping trip of the weekend. Morgan was looking for graduation-event dresses, and I was trying not to find anything I liked. That was unsuccessful, though. After shopping we went back to Melody’s house for a while. Morgan was going to see a friend perform in a play at Converse, so Melody and I took her back after a bit. Melody hadn’t eaten all day, so we went downtown to Wild Wings and ate up on their top terrace. I’d never been up there, either! They were closed my entire senior year, which was just not fair. But they’re back open now, so I got to have a new experience in a familiar place. I was still full from my big breakfast, but that didn’t stop me from ordering wings. They were so good! Oh, man, I forgot how good that place is! After lunch we drove out to Target to see if Prentiss was working, which she was. We walked around the store for a bit after seeing her, then went back to Melody’s house. I packed up all my stuff and headed out of town. I just got back a bit ago, and have unpacked a little bit. I showed my mom and my grandmother all the stuff I bought this weekend. I don’t think they know how expensive Anthropologie is, because they didn’t say anything about how much money I seemed to have spent!

All in all, it was such a good weekend. It was a break that I really needed. It was so much fun staying at Melody’s house – I was her first official houseguest! And it was nice to see so many friends from my class and people that are still at Converse now. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Desiree! That would have made the weekend complete. I did take her down some clothes that I decided to get rid of in my spring cleaning, so I hope she likes them! I’ll have to go back down there soon and see her.

It’s funny to see old friends and acquaintances again, after almost a year. It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen each other, and yet it still feels like it was just yesterday we were there. Looking back at freshman year, and how different everything was, I just can’t believe it! We were all so young back then, and didn’t know anything about the world. Who would ever have imagined that, almost five years later, we’d be in the places we are now? Some of us are married, lots of us are living in very different places, most of us have jobs, and it’s just so weird. We’ve all graduated and moved on and become such different people. Looking back on it makes me really nostalgic, and makes me want to go back and do it all again. If I could do that, I would do a lot of things differently. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t really have any regrets from my four years at Converse – a few, which is normal I guess. I would take more time out to get to know various groups of people, rather than always feeling like I was with my set group of friends. I’d also take more opportunities, and not worry so much. I would have gotten to know Spartanburg a little better, and made friends outside of Converse. I would have tried to have a lot more fun and not been so concerned with my classes and other responsibilities. Mostly, I would have just taken out more time to appreciate everything around me, to see what was so wonderful about my experience, and not take it for granted. It’s amazing how fast time really does fly, and if you blink you’ll miss it. I’d want to go back and make sure I just got everything out of every minute I possibly could. I’d appreciate it all, and keep all those memories safe for times like now, when it seems so far away.

In a way, this weekend was all about new friends, old friends, new places, old places, taking chances and not missing opportunities, having second chances. It was so nice to get back to things so familiar, but nice to also have new experiences in a place that had begun to feel like home. I saw several of my good friends that I haven’t really kept in touch with since graduation, as well as some acquaintances that I wish I’d known better while I was in school.

I’m glad we have methods of keeping in touch like Facebook. It sometimes seems stalkerish and impersonal – and really, I’d much rather have face-to-face relationships with people. But that’s the next best thing, because when we’re spread out over such distances, it’s hard to keep in touch. With Facebook, it’s a good way to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives, and have a place where you can keep them all together. It does get old afte a while, I admit, but I really do enjoy having that outlet for getting in touch with people from my past. I hope we use it as a tool to keep up with each other.

Getaway

22 Apr

Today is my LAST work day in this marathon! I’m leaving early this afternoon to drive down to Spartanburg for our one-year reunion at Converse! It’s hard to believe it’s already been a whole year – sometimes it feels a lot longer than that, other times it feels like I was just there yesterday!

I’m glad to have a little break after working so hard lately. I’m excited to see Melody’s house, and see friends from school, and go shopping. I’m planning to drive up to Charlotte to go to Anthropologie tomorrow afternoon, while people are working or in class. I’ve taken on the task of combing their website every day – like it’s my job to do so – and in the process have gotten quite a long wish list. I discovered today in my daily browsing session that a few of my favorite items are out of stock, so I’m making it my mission to find them in the stores this weekend. I realize this is completely covetous and greedy, but I don’t care. These are things I just really need in my life, because I love them and they are so appropriately me. Wish me luck in finding them!

Also, I’m not really being very green today, but happy Earth Day to everyone!