Tag Archives: A

happy discoveries.

9 Jan

I cringe that my latest posts have been all about THINGS, but coming out of the holiday season I think it could be worse.  There’s an influx of “stocking stuffer” and “cheap and chic gift” posts and lots of special offers on Twitter that really get the word out.  These are either fantastic or affordable, or both:

INDIcustom – which I include on my likes&loves page.

Having a pair of jeans that I don’t absolutely DREAD donning is truly priceless.  Customers choose from over a dozen jean washes, all of which come with some stretch in them, plus waist fit and leg opening.  INDI takes note of body shape, measurements, your retail paint size, and how retail normally fits you.  The only way to end up with a pair of jeans that doesn’t fit easily and comfortably is if you lie during the sizing process.  INDI is having a 20% off sale until 1/13 (code: NEWPAIR) so now’s the time to try them out.  At the very least, design a pair just for fun…

Best part of INDI: no size tags.

e.l.f. cosmetics

Or eyes.lips.face. cosmetics.  Because almost EVERYTHING on this cosmetic site is only $1.00, I got about three colors in everything.  I got 25 items for $25 + free shipping!  I even stumbled upon my all-time favorite lipstick “Cassidy” (left above) which is exciting as most lipsticks make my lips look messy.  Some product reviews deduct points for packaging, which I only understand after ordering blush, which basically comes with no container.  All the lip, nail, and skin products I ordered had perfect packaging, though.  Sometimes you do have to settle for what you pay for, especially if you only paid $1 for it.

Julep Nail Polish

I gave up professional manicures when I discovered julep.com.  For $20 a month, you receive two bottles of nail polish plus other beauty products.  So far I’ve gotten pomegranate body scrub and body cream, and Julep fast dry top coat and nail therapy base coat.  I’m saving so much money on manicures not to mention I don’t have to sit for hours at the salon anymore.  Is it safe to say that Julep gave me my life back?  Maybe a little.  The color above is one of my favorites, called January (I’m guessing) after January Jones from Mad Men because it is the perfect retro red.  Another fave is Whitney which is a medium gray-green with lots of sparkle and shine. (And for nail aficionados, Julep is 4-free meaning it doesn’t have all those nasty carcinogens in it.)

Spike the Punch

I’ve also included Elizabeth’s etsy shop, Spike the Punch, under my likes&loves.  I’m sure you can see why just by looking at the above bracelet, but it makes the deal sweeter that her jewelry is super affordable.  This bracelet was only $20.  Her items sell out FAST so I’m constantly stalking her on Twitter: @Spikethepunch_ .  Her painted crystal necklaces are fantastic and the reason she caught my attention, but now she’s also branching out into chunky gold chains which is really my style…A thinks my SpikethePunch gold chain necklace needs some ice on the end…but he doesn’t follow the fashion blogs, so what does he know? :-P (love him!)

finally, Birch Box

This is my first Birch Box and I am already so pleased.  I have been wanting to try out Zoya nail polish, in fact I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea after finding Doria’s blog .  Lo and behold, my Birch Box today contained Zoya Winter Polish in Megan.  The exact shade I had pinpointed as my ideal Zoya polish.  It also contains several beauty samples and a full container of VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything: Eye Serum, which typically costs $80 vs. a new Birch Box, which is only $10 a month.  If you want to buy a full size of any of the samples you also get a discount.

So that’s IT.  And isn’t that enough to last the entire year?  I blame this post IN PART on A because he so generously bought me a new camera for Christmas.

i lied.

2 Dec

Two papers and one final exam between me and winter break.  And so much has happened in the interim!  We begin:

  • I have extended my internship at the science museum until May, and am adding Marketing to my repertoire.
  • I changed my hair.  A LITTLE BIT.
  • A and I travelled to Jamestown for a huge family Thanksgiving and I could hardly tear myself away.
  • WE PICKED A WEDDING VENUE.  And it’s in Pennsylvania.  Say what?!

The last two bullets are both biggies, so I’ll save the third bullet for a different post.  Had to gush about finding this venue.  First, while I was fixated on the Penn Museum’s Egyptian Hall for a while, I remembered that, actually, mansions are quite beautiful, as well.  And unlike large archaeological collections, mansions can pop up anywhere.  Including central PA!


The venue is called Lily Manor, a large property that fell to disrepair less than a decade ago.  The fabulous Olga L. and her husband bought it five years ago and renovated it to its current fabulously luxuriant state.  Olga and her family live there, but eight of the suites are used as a bed and breakfast.  In addition to renting the mansion out for weddings, Olga is a talented, full-service wedding planner and interior decorator.  I loved every square inch of this house!

Each room is a different color with rich upholstery and mirrors.  Oh the mirrors!  If I had an unlimited decorating budget and, well, a HOUSE, I would have decorated it exactly the same way.  Exquisite.  The top floor holds the Paris Room, among others.  Maybe that gives a better idea of how perfect this house is for a wedding.  And the wedding party gets the entire manor the entire day of the wedding. I’m giddy just thinking about how the photos will turn out!

As for the wedding planning, it’s so nice to have acquired Olga with mansion because a planner was definitely not in the budget.  But she is so creative and so helpful and has already given my centerpiece consultation and music and photography references. OH AND DID I TELL YOU – They have their own catering on site, and they refer to themselves as foodies.  We’re having a Tuscan-style sit-down, family style (passed) dinner.  I’m really out of my mind with excitement and A loves it, too.

Being situated in central PA and NOT Philadelphia makes this extraordinary location within reach of our budget, which we’ll have to add to, but at least we feel like we’re getting what we really want for our money.

NOTE: Both photos were taken in the permanent pavilion attached to the house.  The manor is surrounded by fields, great for photo ops, too.



fall right in?

21 Oct

I’ve been meaning to write an explanation for the name of my blog for a while. But there’s really a lot going on. Except now, when I’m writing this at work. Isn’t it funny that when you’re armpit deep in school work, you find yourself hurrying up to…do nothing. I should have brought some homework to my internship, especially since I already used up an hour wrapping my fellow intern as a mummy, and taking photos of myself as a Roman orator. The ush.


So like all good titles, “fall right in” is a song reference to a Modest Mouse song. I don’t really know the name (it’s probably something like the title of my blog) and I probably couldn’t name another Modest Mouse song. My brother was really into them BEFORE THEY GOT FAMOUS. That’s important because he likes to discover new bands and then drop them when they’re too mainstream. But I know this particular song because he put it on a mix CD for me when I was going through a college break-up. [Sidenote: as a result of my brother’s unusual taste in music and the number of CDs he burned for me over the years, I have quite eclectic music taste but I DON’T KNOW THE NAMES OF ANY OF THE BANDS OR SONGS.  Mixed CDs don’t come with song lists! Example: the Radiohead song they play in the movie “Something Borrowed”?  I totes listened to that song about ten years ago, over and over again. I’m at once a maven, and oblivious.]

But the song doesn’t really become significant until I find myself sitting in a Starbucks in Alexandria, VA (Duke Street!), waiting to have an interview. I was hoping to transfer from my college position at Starbucks in State College, PA, to Alexandria in order to a) move out of my mother’s house post-grad, and b) (most importantly) move-in with my then boyfriend (you know him as “A”) and start our “life” together. (“Life” because no one who works for his company has one). I had a lot banking on this interview. It would make the difference between pulling myself out of a serious depression induced by being 8 hours away from A, and rotting, alone at my mother’s house indefinitely.

And then the song came on. And it said, “Everything will/fall right into place…” I took it as a sign, and I clung to it. I guess you could say this song became my mantra, and TRUST ME, I have fallen back on that mantra in many stressful times.

I did get the job. But I also got a full-time, salaried job with benefits. How’s that for falling into place?


9 Oct

My fiancé and I don’t have a huge wedding budget.  Of course we’re grateful for whatever my parents contribute.  We figured we could subsidize the money we’re being given with our own savings, and so we pushed the date back by a year to give us more time.  The idea here was that a cheap wedding isn’t worth it, because even a cheap wedding is expensive for what it is.  Crappy food, lots of uncomfortable people, tired traditions, and…to prove what?  No.  If I was going to have a ‘traditional’ wedding, i.e. in the states with the traditional format of ceremony/reception, it would have to be classy.

Doing my internship at a museum, I see the wedding setups frequently.  I’ve always loved museums, history, and artifacts.  I’ve always wanted to work at a museum.  Some of my greatest memories took place at the Louvre, British Museum, and countless others.  They are the happiest places on earth to me.  So it naturally follows that I’d want a wedding at one.  I saw a photo of a couple that recently got married in the Egyptian hall at the Penn Museum. As soon as I saw that photo, I knew that I would never be satisfied with our initial plans to get married at a hotel by our alma mater.  Although new and beautiful, that venue has no character and certainly didn’t say anything about us as individuals.  No.  Nothing can compare to the drama and history of the Egyptian hall.

The problem with changing our plans is that our budget (even with us adding to it) wouldn’t get us the Penn Museum.  I suspect.  See, I didn’t even check pricing because it would just be masochistic.  We can’t afford it and I know it.  Now there’s another dilemma.  If I can’t have the wedding of my ‘dreams’ with our budget no matter what, do I really want to subject my fiancé and I to an entire YEAR of scrimping and scrapping so we could grow the budget even minimally?  No.  I love my friends and family, but working an entire year for one day just isn’t practical to me anymore.  And this is the moment I realized I was either seriously depressed or just plain growing up.  A and I have been on our own for going on three years, doing it mostly alone.  We don’t have inheritances, parents who pay rent for us, impossibly high-paying jobs, and to top it all off, since I’m in grad school we’re only adding to our debt.  How can we make it worse for ourselves?

Does anyone know where I’m going with this?

Destination wedding.

I’ve used it as a punch line for wedding planning jokes since both of my parents got remarried in Vegas.  It’s been the fall back idea.  And everyone laughs.  But maybe this isn’t a joke.  Maybe this is the only option.  This way we could have a wedding in a beautiful backdrop, have someone else do all the organizing for us, and even stay for a honeymoon (which we couldn’t afford if we did the big-cheap wedding).

As soon as I started to seriously consider getting married on an island at an all-inclusive, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders.  I felt genuinely relieved and excited. And A was all for it.  Both my parents seemed ok with it. too.  The next day, though, my mom started to get worried – was this what I really wanted?

Well, no.  I want to get married at the Penn Museum with ancient history at my back.  But that’s impossible.  If I can’t have that?  I want this.  I want Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua.  It’s right for her to wonder and question.  That’s her job as my mother.  No matter how unexpected, though, I think it’s the only responsible decision A and I could make for ourselves.  The wedding day is fleeting.  The debt is not.

Most importantly, no matter what kind of a wedding day we have, it will always end in a marriage.  That’s what it’s all about.

alma de cuba, dark horse, and fall.

23 Sep

Last week I had the pleasure of spending the evening with my friend, K, who I am getting to know better.  We had plans to eat at Alma de Cuba on Walnut Street with her boyfriend, my fiancé, and a few of our mutual friends.  Our reservation of six soon became a reservation for two because of the crazy work/life schedules of everyone.  Although the atmosphere at Alma de Cuba is very romantic (we saw a plate scrolled with “I love you” in dark sauce on the way to our own candle-lit table), I was glad to have a girls’ night.  Living in DC for the last two years, I didn’t have access to any girlfriends and worked too much to make any.

      I’d been wanting to dine here since I passed it’s facade a few weeks ago on my way to a different group dinner.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  Especially situated beside typical brick buildings.  The inside was not a disappointment!  The lower level is a lounge with low, plush white couches, red candles, and a glowing bar that serves mojitos with real sugarcanes as stirs.  The upper level is the dining room, also with white furniture, candlelight, and those fantastic windows you can see in the photo.

The food was obviously delicious, too, or else I wouldn’t even bother posting about the restaurant!  We had the fixed three-course menu for Restaurant Week.  I started with the goat cheese salad. which consisted of arugula and fried goat cheese balls.  I like goat cheese, but fried goat cheese? LOVE.  I wish I could remember the kind of steak that I had, which was amazing with black beans, rice and tomato sides.  All I can remember is it was thin and came apart easily and when I requested ‘medium rare’ I was told it only came ‘very well-done’.  So I assume that is a trademark of the steak and anyone familiar with Cuban food probably can tell what I ate.  Last was carrot-cake with almond-sunflower-seed-brittle on top.  Loved the brittle.

The evening was also remarkable because with it came the first signs of Fall.  Crisp air, romance, golden sun, mystery, fresh apples and grapes, Halloween and the beginning of the holiday season.  What’s not to love about Fall?!  I embarrassingly found myself in dress shorts as the temperature dropped to the 50’s.  But I’ll take it, I am so relieved for the weather to cool down, especially since I’ve been walking to class every week, and I hate to arrive sweaty!

Several days later K and I were able to pin down our men long enough to go out to dinner and drinks Saturday night.  This time we changed gears and went to the Irish Pub, Dark Horse, on 2nd Street near Society Hill.  After we wound our way through the interior maze of rooms and finally found a dining room (there are several bars both up- and down-stairs) we had a great time, despite the bachelorette party in the general vicinity.  The menu was diverse, but luckily they had the Irish staples: bangers and mash, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie…It was hard for me to narrow it down (I hate making decisions), so with A’s help I decided on shepherd’s pie.

These restaurant outings are so noteworthy for me because I consider it one of the primary reasons to live so close to the city.  Finally we have access to a little culture and variety!  Not to mention a social life again.  What I hope to add to the list of activities is wine or beer school.  I would prefer wine, but let’s be honest, I would do either if I can ensure A and friends will come with me.

First I need some recommendations for wine schools in Philly.  Any ideas?

why I need a project.

13 Sep

It might not seem immediately obvious why I need a project.  After all, I’m interning 24 hours per week in a non-profit PR department and going to school full-time to earn my MBA.  Not to mention taking care of my fiancé (his “dry cleaning” is in the dryel bag as I write) and my German Spitz, Rocky (he’s a little neurotic).

But it starts to make more sense.

The soul-sucking company that A works for steals him away for months at a time for busy season after busy season.  Sure, he comes home to sleep, but that still leaves me with hoooooooouuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrssssss most nights, during which I do highly important things: nap, drown myself on the internet, and watch tv on DVR.

Basically I need to get a life.

I also realized I might need a way to define myself.  Over the course of the last two years, I rushed a move to DC (to be with A), took the first job I could get, and started my enslavement as a sales rep for a national cellphone provider.  I completely and utterly lost every spark of interest I had in the world.  When I wasn’t at work, I slept, and couldn’t bear getting out of bed because I was that disgusted with the trajectory of my life.  If anyone would have asked me (and even now, though it’s improving) “What do you like to do?” I would have lied.  Or said nothing, but that would have been rude.

But I had A, and knew that it was only a matter of time until I figured out what I was going to do with myself.  I had a near-flawless undergraduate record and after MUCH deliberation, decided I would abandon Museum studies, in lieu of an MBA.  A tad more versatile.  So now that I’ve let the shackles in DC and embarked on The Plan, I want the whole package.  I want to get myself back.  Be happy, be interesting, be diverse, well-read, enthusiastic, and inspired.

The first mission: buy a digital camera.

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