Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to a Rockin' New Year's Eve

2012 ended just like it began {sort of}, with champaign and family that are more than friends. 

You may remember that last New Year's was spent with Hubby's siblings. {We are a group of five!} I have loved each of these people since the moment I met them. We have hung out together and vacationed together and found snippets of time to talk on the phone or video chat since, like, forever! Shared memories and jokes just get richer and richer. 

Brother's wife and I like to sneak off and laugh until tears roll down our faces. We laugh until we can't catch our breath. And we often get in trouble with our husbands. They think we are too rowdy? Or think we may be making fun of them somehow? SIL and I have talked on the phone and our stories make each other laugh/cry on the phone too. 

Hub's Sis is also important to our group of fun. She and SIL totally get how wonderful white Russians are and allow me to indulge in Kaluha and cream. And sangria in summer? Why, yes, thank you! Many an afternoon has seen one or three of us on the porch with a sangria. We know how to appreciate the small pleasures.

We three "girls" enjoy our time together often on the porch or in the kitchen watching SIL (Bro's Wife) cook. She loves to cook and she is incredibly good at it. 

The boys are often in another room taking techie talk, or re-wiring computers or trying to establish the fastest connection to something and typically talk in geek. 

Bro and SIL are incredible hosts. They have created a home that is so inviting and comfortable and are so generous with having family come and stay for our visits.   

SIL loves to decorate for Christmas. She usually has several trees with different themes. When we visit around Christmas time there are so many cookies and goodies we can never finish them all. It is a Christmas wonderland at their house. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be with them this time of year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

NYC Walkabout~Day 1

One week ago today I was on a train coming home from NYC. It was wonderful to walk around the neighborhoods of Manhattan.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Two Neighborhoods of NYC

I'm still recovering from my vacay in NYC. --You know the old joke: "I need a vacation to rest up from my vacation." TRUE DAT.

But I have to say the weekend was exhilarating! I came back physically exhausted but emotionally re-charged! Clearly, I am not from NYC. But, oh, how I love that place.

Let me tell you how I explore new places. I love to experience a new place in bite-size pieces. My first trip to Europe was two cities: London and Paris. I spent three days in both of these wonderful and vastly different cities. {And it was wonderful.} The key for ME is to take time to explore and taste and feel the place. And this means acknowledging that I won't be able to see every sight. In fact, I may not see some of the major sights. And, I have to be okay with that.

For this NYC trip, Jordan had a workshop (which was the purpose of the trip). This meant I was on my own. I was in the perfect frame of mind to explore on my own.

I mapped out a two-mile radius from our hotel to use as a baseline for my explorations. I used an old-fashioned paper map to sketch out the sights/places I hoped to find. And after many cups of tea, I headed out to see the local neighborhoods.

Here are a few photos of my first day's explorations. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Guess where I was this weekend. I went to the BIG APPLE!

This is the reason I've been MIA for a few days. I have so much to tell you! It was a super good weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Looked GOOD Today

You know I'm not someone that enjoys shopping. I don't enjoy the entire experience. You know: the clothes racks are too close together. I don't enjoy having to navigate around other people in my effort to find something. You know what else? Trying on clothes is such a hot activity. Hot, as in sweltering! I guess it's the lights...but by the time I leave from a shopping trip, I feel like I need another shower. I'm usually exhausted and disheartened.

I've talked about my issues with shopping before. I do have a sort of love affair with Ann Taylor. I love their classic clothes but rarely love their prices. I really feel defeated when I try to find my size. The clothes are so beautiful, but the fact that they rarely have my size makes me feel like I don't deserve to wear cute clothes. It feels like Ann Taylor only sells clothes from sizes 0 to 6. Talk about a self-esteem blow. 

On the other hand, when I do find clothes in my size, the sales staff presents wonderful, boutique-like customer service. They help me pair the skirt with a top that really works. They help me accessorize so that I feel well put together. I have tremendous confidence when I work with their sales associates to pull together a complete look. 

Every once in a while, Ann Taylor has some amazing "Final Sales". I once found a skirt in my size that was $10. I skipped walked (ever so calmly) to the check out counter. I was cautioned that "Final Sale" means "no returns and no exchanges". {For the record, I get "Final Sale".} 

Needless to say, Black Friday (and after) does not make me want to go shopping. 

But THIS year I shopped from home. CYBER MONDAY! Oh my gosh. It's wonderful, this Cyber Monday thing!! I got 40% off my entire total from Coldwater Creek. (And that was on top of the sales prices.) I also bought from JCP and I bought two things from AT (aka Ann Taylor). 

The packages from JCP and AT arrived this week. And today, I wore the new skirt and sweater from JCP with the new jacket from AT. The AT jacket was less than full price but was not a crazy amazing deal.

BUT, the skirt and sweater separates I bought from JCP, less than $35 for both! Ah-mah-zing!

I got really lucky and everything fit like a dream! And the AT jacket fit amazingly well! I got a beautiful jacket that I would never find in the store (in my size). And, I did not have to leave my couch.

I'm totally happy right now. I feel like I got great value and looked good too.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Yesterday was Sissy's Birthday

So, Sissy's birthday was yesterday. I totally meant to write a little more about her as a Birthday tribute.
A birthday card of sorts.

Sissy and I have a similar sense of humor so when we send old-fashioned birthday cards to each other... they usually make me snort-laugh which is super funny.

We also have similar taste in novels. She likes the books I give her. I've read two of her recommendations...she tends to buy mysteries for herself. One of them was super good and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sissy's Having a Birthday!!

Aren't we three of the cutest girls you've seen? The three of us are SISTERs! And I'm so lucky to have them.

Today is Sissy's birthday. She is the youngest!. When I was 3 years old, Sis was 2 and Sissy was 1. Whew! My parents must have had a lot of fun raising three young girls so close in age.

I won't tell you how old Sissy is today...because you have enough information to then guess my age...and today...I don't feel my age. 

Since I moved back to NC I've gotten to hang out with both of my sisters so much more! Which is a very happy thing for me.

While I was living on the west coast I only got to see my Sis and Sissy when I flew home....which was not nearly often enough. To celebrate Sissy's birthday, I'm sharing some photos of Sister time!

Clearly, we are still having a ton of fun!!

Happy Birthday, Sissy.