Wednesday, December 28, 2011

brave...

I hope everyone had a splendid Holiday. 

 I'm not sure of you who braved the crowds and ventured out into the malls and shops the day after Christmas.... But, we did.  

What we should have done - is gotten up at the crack of dawn and hit the stores at 6am.  Maybe then, we wouldn't have gotten stuck.  Stuck in the parking lot.  

We arrived at East View Mall at approximately 12:00 pm EST.   The first store we hit was Forever 21, and we each found a few things to purchase there.  Not necessarily on sale, but their prices aren't bad at all. We hit another store, and a few more, by the time we reached JC Penny's we were about an hour and a half in....  It was like someone all of a sudden flipped a switch and all these people appeared.  It was to the point where if I wanted to stop and look at something, I felt I would be run over by the crowds behind me.   Finally we decided, as we were all getting a bit on edge, to exit and head over to the plaza which had more stores (Old Navy, Target, Best Buy, etc).   It was apparent then, that the majority of the greater Rochester area was at East View Mall - we nearly got stuck in the parking lot.  

We managed to make it out alive and pulled back into the lot where the other plaza was.  Spent about 30 minutes in Old Navy; by the time we got back into the car (3:27 pm EST) the traffic was horrific!  We managed to pull out in front of the stores and we were stopped.  15 minutes, 20, 25, 30, 60, 90 minutes passed and we probably moved 2 yards.  :( 

As you can see from the photo I acquired some nice things - nothing was worth sitting for 2 hours in the car.   When I left my parents house Monday night my mom just hugged me and said 
"Thanks for the memories" in the upmost sarcastic tone.  We just burst out laughing.   

Did you brave the mall?  Get anything good? 

xx


Friday, December 23, 2011

while the merry bells keep ringing...

Happy Holidays to you!

This is truly my favorite time of year, and although there is no snow to speak of on the ground - it's starting to feel very much like Christmas time.   All of my errands are done and I'm relaxing waiting for my two best friends to arrive for some cheese and Holiday Cheer.  I'm very grateful for being motivated this year - I just tried to head into the mall to pick up something for my mom... I couldn't even merge into the turning lane to turn into the mall entrance!  I nearly killed myself trying to squish my little Blue Bullet in there...

This week at dance we did Secret Santa Gift Exchanges and enjoyed Holiday music and cookies.  The kids seemed to really love it.  I received the cutest cards from my students!  One of them is as big as the bottom half of my fridge (which is where it resides since I brought it home).   It's very rewarding to see how much you really mean to the kids, when they mean so much to me too.  

Tomorrow morning I'm hoping to get a pre-holiday food run in,  then I'll hike out to my parents house for the weekend.  It doesn't make much sense to travel back and forth repeatedly - besides, I'll have had too much adult beverage for that non-sense anyways :)   I can't wait to stay up late (or try to) with my sisters, exchange gifts, play Wii Bowling, and drink and eat like the Royal's.

Are you done with your holiday shopping?   Will you be traveling this weekend, where and when?




Sunday, December 18, 2011

In Review...

The Help 
By Katheryn Stockett







































Have you read it, or seen the movie?   Well, if not...I suggest you do so.   It's a remarkable story that takes you back to Mississippi in the 1960's.   It explains the relationship between white women, and white families and their help.  

Reading this book, it really makes you take a back seat and think about how you treat people...how people treat you, too.  I can't imagine being transplanted into that time, when white people were afraid of black people - thinking they carried diseases, etc.  To think now, we have our first black President...  How far we've come...

Having just finished the book, I will be watching the movie today.  I cannot wait to see the images the book illustrates for you in your mind come to life.

What books have you read lately?


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis The Season...


Now that we've officially embarked on the Holiday season, I can't help getting more and more anxious and excited as each day passes.  Just as a little kid would secretly stay up too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve.

I'm proud to say that I'm nearing the finish line of my holiday shopping - which, is really exciting and relieving.   It is so enjoyable to brainstorm for the perfect gifts, sift through the stores after they've been beaten down by the masses.  Wake up in the middle of the night to get those online sales...

Every year my sisters and I do a gift exchange.  It is truly my favorite tradition.  We typically call it "secret santa", however it never really ends up staying secret.  There are 4 of us, so inevitably somebody always figures out who somebody else has, and then you know who you have and BOOM the secret's out!    This year we tried to throw some ideas out there - because, you know, we like doing the gift exchange because it offers an opportunity to purchase a nicer gift since we're only buying 1 verses 3.   So after countless tries pulling names, pulling your own name, pulling the name of the sister you bought for last year... My genius father decided that he was just going to declare who we bought for this year.
"Ryan you buy for Sara, Sara buys for Nina, Nina buys for Morgan, Morgan buys for Ryan - DONE!"

Looking at each other, confused, slightly disappointed, and a little angry we burst out with cries of "No! - we can't do that, that's not fair..."
"Wait! No! That won't work.."
"Wait..." We all looked at each other again...  "Yeah, I mean I guess that works out"

So, Morgan's gift is got.  It sits under my tree patiently waiting for wrapping paper and loving decoration.

What's your favorite holiday family tradition?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

shower the people you love with love...



This weekend I had two special events.  Yesterday was a Baptism for my friend's daughter, Audrey; today was Melanie's baby shower. 

It was so lovely, for two days in row to hang out with some of my favorite people and shower my friends with gifts and love.  Audrey is absolutely adorable, she's running around like she's training for a marathon!   I love it when they start moving, it's so exciting!   After all of the extended family left we we had drinks, chatted about how amazing JIG is/was, laid around Mary and Kurt's new home and laughed a lot.  I adore nights like that! 

Today Wendy and I ventured out to Avon, NY (AKA the middle of nowhere) in search of the Veteran's Hall for Melanie's shower.   Melanie looks beautifully pregnant and so excited for their impending new arrival!!    Although I wish bridal or baby showers weren't really what they are (the whole opening gifts with an audience, thing) it's a great time to enjoy the company of friends.  

Was your weekend eventful? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

it's choreography...

This time of year makes me very excited for my favorite movie of all time.  White Christmas.   I'm reminded of the scene with Danny Kaye, it's called Choreography, and he sings and dances about how "chaps, doing taps aren't tapping anymore they're doing choreography".  

Us dancers know that Choreography isn't a type of dance, but a bunch of dance moves thrown together in a particular order.   Last night in my dance class I started a "choreography" for St Patrick's Day and recital performances.   Those of you who are familiar with Irish dancing know that these can be REALLY cool, and are often done in competition :)   I was inspired by John Kerry, who shows off some of his choreography making skills in the movie JIG (the Irish Dance documentary).  

After my dancers stopped looking at me like I had two heads, they really started getting into it.  I was, of course, acting like a crazy person shouting "1, 2, ready go ARMS UP, AND DOWN.  NO don't bend over! Ok now back to our beginning spots.. hurry up - let's GO! Now, when you get to this spot I want SHARP ARMS like Cheerleaders. BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM! ... "

 Turned out being their favorite part of class... Now if only I could continue to think of COOL things to do...

Must...get...on...youtube...immediately!!!



Sunday, November 6, 2011

To fall...




Year after year I fall in love with the Fall.   I love the warm sun, and crisp air.  I love the foliage and the crunch of the fallen leaves.  I love wearing the cozy sweaters, vests, coats, scarves, and snoods.  

This weekend Chris visited and yesterday we went for a hike at Black Creek Park.  The trails were ideal for a trail run or cross country skiing, and beautifully secluded.     Malu loved the trails as well, he loved them so much he decided to run off leaving us calling and calling for him.  Don't worry, we did find him after a few minutes; I was a little scared we had really lost him!  

Last night we went to dinner with my family at the Garland House (a little Italian family style restaurant by my parents house).   All in all a nice weekend!  

Now, I sit in my sweats on the couch about to pick up my book.   :) 

What did your weekend deliver?

xx

Thursday, October 27, 2011

peace. love. ice cream.







Weekend before last, when I was in Vermont, Chris and I went to the Ben & Jerry's factory.    It was an iffy day weather wise.  You can see in my pictures, the ominous clouds followed by gorgeous warm fall sun.  For a small fee of $3/person, you get a tour and a sample of ice cream.  I never realized what Grass roots types Ben and Jerry were.  They are very much into supporting and promoting fair trade.   Very cool stuff.   We also took a saunter through the "Flavor Graveyard" which houses tombstones for all of the "deceased" or retired flavors, kind of fun! 




Monday, October 24, 2011

Gwen Stefani



                    





Everyone has their style icons.   I have a few;  Audrey Hepburn for timeless style, Rachel Bilson literally always looks good and can rock so many different styles, but woman overall that can rock literally anything and always looks good?  I mean, she can wear sweatpants and combat boots and appear as though she's just walked off a Milan runway...  Gwen Stefani.  

From a young age I've admired her.  From her killer vocals in No Doubt, her edgy grunge style that forced it's way through the late 90's, to her now more refined L.A.M.B. line and all it's glory.    A true icon in all definitions of the word.   Her recent feature in InStyle magazine inspired my post tonight... I wish I had a pinky full of her innovation in music or fashion..

Who is your style icon?


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Feeling slightly liberated...


                

Ever just get so fed up with the disorganization that you just snap? 
Every now and again, due to the constant flow of purchases, I need to clean out my closet.   A very funny shaped closet, and since it's the only one in the entire apartment it houses literally everything that a closet should hold.    This obviously makes it quite difficult to keep any kind of organization.  Imagine your linen closet, with your front hall closet, and your bedroom closet....anyways I cleaned it all up.  Got my shoes all organized and have removed all the trash and clothing I no longer want/need.  

I removed, 1 garbage bag of trash...  3 sweaters, 2 pairs of shoes, countless colored and striped oxford shirts, 4 pairs of pants, 2 skirts, 2 handbags, 1 blazer and a few sweatshirts I no longer wear.

Now I have room for my new purchases :) 
2 Pair of Express jeans bought on eBay
1 pair of Chinese Laundry flats bought on clearance at DSW
1 pair of booties from Old Navy bought on clearance
2 new sweaters bought on clearance




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just like Austria...










Yesterday Chris took me to the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.   Thanks to Rogers and Hammerstein we are all familiar with Captain von Trapp and the story of his seven children and late wife.   
The Sound of Music was well received in my household, and is a family favorite.  However, as familiar with the story and the songs as I was, I found I was quite unfamiliar with the rest of the story of Georg and Maria von Trapp and their family of singing children.   Turns out (maybe you already knew) that after they toured the United States, they settled in Stowe Vermont as it reminded them of the scenery in Austria and Switzerland.   
The Trapp Family Lodge is now a high class, yet very cozy hotel overlooking the most beautiful Vermont mountain side.   We enjoyed some lovely Austrian and Vermont inspired dishes at the Bakery/Deli/Brewery, and also a flight of their Trapp Lager. 

The view, amazing; the foot, scrumptious; the company, perfect.  



Monday, October 10, 2011

eBay treasures..




Every now and again I come across a gem on eBay and I instantly get that giddy feeling.  You know that feeling you get when you find something you want really bad but can't afford?  It feels like butterflies.   The difference is, if the bidding is right I can afford it! 

This is a Coach Swingback that I purchased last week on eBay for (drum roll please...) $29.99!
Gently used and the only wear spots are on the corners of the bottom.  The leather is as beautiful as I imagine it's first day out of the shop.  It's the perfect size too!  I love a fully functional, yet quite adorable handbag! 

What is the best thing you've found on eBay?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

the push...

Oireachtas season is upon us.  For all of you unfamiliar with Irish dance jargon the Oireachtas is the regional championship.   Our region, the Mid-Atlantic Region, is one of the toughest in the US because it consists of all of New York state, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.   There are a lot of dance schools in this region.  

Last year was our first year participating as our own school in our regions Oireachtas.  We had 4 dancers compete last year.  This year we have 8 dancers.  Each year it will keep growing, adding more solo competitors and hopefully some teams.   Each of the 8 dancers are on a strict practice and drill regiment both in and out of class.   We work with them each week to be sure they know what to go home and work on and without their efforts at home what we teach them in class is useless to a point.  

So, what do you do when a dancer you are spending specific time with doesn't practice?   How many times can you ask them the question of how bad they want to go, or tell them that without their extra effort they are wasting time.  

I have this dancer.  She is close to me because I give her extra lessons on a regular basis and feel that I have a good relationship with her parents.  She also reminds me of me as a kid...but only to a point.   I'm not able to understand why she won't make time to do the practice regiment I gave her.  I'm not able to understand how she just doesn't want to work hard for this, how she is strictly dependant on my instruction in class and her own talent to get her through.  How she doesn't want to push herself to see how far she can really go.    Maybe this makes me a poor teacher.  Maybe I'm looked at like I'm trying to live vicariously through my students by pushing her when she won't push herself.    She is SO talented, and made it this far on purely her own talent; it breaks my heart to see her plattue simply because she won't push herself.

Then again, isn't that why we teach our skills?  To push dancers to be better than us?  To teach our legacy?


Have you ever had to push someone farther than they think they can go?  Where you successful?


Saturday, October 8, 2011

something new again...





This weekend I've been inspired to do a few DIY projects.   I wish I had more time to them on a regular basis!  Today, my aunt brought me this awesome trunk that belonged to my Great Grandma Peggy.  You can see the remains of a stamp of her initials on the top "M.T." for Margaret Trimmer.  
The DIY project was cleaning & conditioning it.  I realize that this takes minimal effort, however, if it's not done properly you could ruin the leather.  This piece has a few water stains and marks on it and this just did the trick to make the leather look new again. 

Take a Leather Conditioner/Cleaner, you want to drop a few spots of it on a smooth and dry cloth.  Now massage that into the leather.  Once it's dry, take another dry cloth (I used an old towel) and rub the excess off.  This technique also polishes the leather.  You should clean and condition on a regular basis.  

Since my Grandmother's trunk has not seen the light of day in quite some time, I will be applying the conditioner a few times a week for the next couple weeks and post a snap of the "finished" project. 

Are you into antiques?  
Do you like to refurbish them yourself? 

I'm off to enjoy this gorgeous fall day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

repetitive motion...

In dancing, it's the repetition that makes your brain remember what to do.   


and step and step, together
and step and step, together
and step and step, together


Over and over, until your brain functions like reading a book.   Do you know what I mean?  Your eyes are focused on one word, but your mouth is three words ahead...


In dancing, the repetition is what I love.   In life, it's what is boring.  Go figure.  


As an adult, you go from day to day probably doing the same job functions over and over.  Just as my students or I would dance and practice movements repeatedly to perfect them, I go to work day after day and go through the same job functions.  I follow checklist after checklist, procedure after procedure, all in hopes of having stellar results and provide excellent customer service.    


It seems it's the variable in my day job which brings me joy.  The different people and personalities I get to work with, whether in the office or my customers.    


It's an ironic thought that repetition can make you so happy, yet bore you to tears.  


Do you have much repetitive motion in your life?

Monday, October 3, 2011

like an animal...


Animal print is everywhere.  I suppose I thought this was a fad that would swiftly come and go.  Fortunately for all us spot, dot, and stripe loving gals, it's not.  It's here to stay and making more of a statement then ever this season.   While shopping in NYC last weekend the gals and I wondered into a Topshop.   All I did for approximately 10 minutes is stare expressionless at price tags and drool over beautiful clothing.   I was mostly drooling at the animal print coat, handbags, shoes; these beauties above in particular.  I love the chunky heel paired with the delicate tie in the front, and Dalmatian print?  So, Cruella DeVille! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!   Can't you just imagine yourself in these things with cropped raspberry colored pants and a smooth black satin blouse? Oh yes, bring it on! 

What is your favorite statement piece this season?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Last weekend...






Apparently I need to get better at this blogging thing.  I, once again, disappeared for days.   
Anyway - above are some pictures from NYC last weekend.  I was probably the worst blogger/tourist on the planet and took about 10 snaps.  At least the shots I did get are decent ones, the important thing is that I... We had a great time!
 Friday we arrived at Kelly and Keith's around 6, they live in Harrison and took us out to this Irish pub for some grub and drinks.  Saturday morning we took the 20 minute drive into Upper Manhattan to meet up with our friend Kerry.   The last shot above is the view down 82nd street from the steps of her apartment building; a brownstone, and one of the only two left in the city with real gas lanterns outside. Neither Kelly or I had ever been to Kerry's apartment and when we walked inside I felt as though it was like walking into a movie scene.  It was so perfectly dressed with beautiful furnishings, the most adorable little kitchenette with blue tile counters which contrasted with the light tan natural wood cabinetry.   As you took the few short steps down into the living room the first thing I noticed was the lovely gas fireplace making a statement on one of the long walls, with a luxurious leather ottoman (the kind you can either sit, or serve appetizers on) and the most modern baroque style couch and two little pillows which had her initials on them K & B.   

While the boys went to enjoy a Mets game at City Field, the gals and I headed off for lunch.  Kerry took us to this quaint and adorable place called Isabella's.    All I know is the the grilled chicken on a stick is amazing!  I say that because we all got the same meal for lunch :)   I hear they have a great anything.   As we exited Isabella's and were headed to Canal Street to "shop till we drop", we meandered through a very tempting set of white tents on the sidewalk.  A street sale!   It was more of what I'd categorize a "craft sale" of sorts.  This street sale was of people who made things...jewelry, artwork, handbags, etc.    As we were perusing through the crafty made things, all of a sudden I looked up and thought.. is that? No, it can't be.  Well, I suppose it could...?
It was Debra Messing.  
Immediately the thought that came to my head was that Will & Grace episode when she wears the water bra on the date to the museum?  Remember that one?  The bra inevitably springs a leak and she is left deflating, while Will tries to cover her, I mean for her... har har har.  
We eventually did make it to Canal Street, where Kerry helped me haggle my way to a imitation Longchamp tote and a few pashmina scarves.  

For dinner, Kerry took us to this place called Fred's.   Their specialty is the mac and cheese.  Incredible food, lovely atmosphere.  So friendly - there are photographs of dogs plastered over every table.   Great food, great friends and conversation.    

When we arrived back to Rochester we headed out to my parents house to see everybody.  
My nephew, Romeo, is the most adorable thing on Earth.  Of course, I'm bias. :) 
He has just learned to roll over - so he was performing this trick for us all night.




  
Enjoy the snaps. 
xx

Thursday, September 22, 2011

concrete jungle...



I am all packed and ready to go.  Chris will be driving me to work in the AM so that we can get right on the road.  NYC bound to visit my friend Kelly and her fiance Keith.    Not sure if you remember, but Kelly and I took the TCRG together this previous January and basically online dated for months prior to that.   Not only am I really excited to vacate my life for a few days, vacate Rochester NY for a few days and see the tall buildings, smog filled air, and bright lights - I'm stoked to see a dear friend I never knew I would have had before the exam.   

Look for outrageous photos of shopping, NY night life, outfits (?) possibly, and over all good times. 

What are you plans this weekend? 

xx  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

M.I.A. ...

I have been Missing In Action, and for that I apologize.   I really don't want to turn into a complainer - but, it's truly because I'm SO BUSY!  Between 50 hours mandatory work, MGOS classes in full force, and my personal life it's been a whirlwind!   Chris is moving at the end of the month, and that makes me really sad because I'll now have to drive 6 hours to see him.  :(  However, the spare time I use now to spend with him I will have free to organize my life!  I suppose that's the one and only positive to him leaving me here. 
  
On a lighter note - we had a Feis (dance competition) yesterday and the kids did a great job!!!! 


What stinks is I only got a few pictures of the kids.  Find more photos on our MGOS Facebook Page  Don't forget to "like" us while you're there :) 

Today is Day 2 at the Feis.  Besides the kids doing really well, this was probably the poorest ran Feianna we've ever been to!  Which is too bad, because our students seem to really compete well in Syracuse.   We have our first Preliminary Championship competitor dancing today!  I can't wait to see her on stage in her new wig and dress!! :) 






Sunday, September 4, 2011

sleepy, yet goal oriented sunday

Ever have those days where you'd just like to stay in bed all day?   This is precisely how I felt this morning as I awoke at 6:15 am.   How is it, that on a Sunday on a long weekend, I'm able to just miraculously wake up around 6am?  Yet, Monday through Friday it's a serious struggle.  This is a mystery to me.

So, here I am - up and at 'em!   I've read cnn.com and downloaded some new apps for my phone... researched a new laptop (thinking of just sucking it up and saving my bones for a MacBook).  I desperately need to retire my iBook G4.   Sure, she still runs but not at a speed enjoyable for anyone.   Anyways, looks like it will be a little bit before I can afford what I want, and at this point I'm not really willing to settle for something I know won't last as long.  

I'm scatter brained this morning;  thinking of how I can adjust my schedule to accommodate working out again.  I need to lose some of, if not all, the 10 lbs I have gained since my last Dr. visit in February.    It's disheartening to say the least, to step on the scale and literally have a heart attack.  I guess the summer food, and lack of exercise got the best of me.    It's so hard!  I'm such a physical activity junky!  In the summer, though, we are doing so many other outdoor things that trick you into thinking you're being active... but, really you're eating a hot dog while you're doing it so, is that really doing you good?    I do have to take into consideration that in February I had just taken the TCRG and for the months upcoming I had been, going to the gym and doing at least 45 minutes of bicycle cardio 3x's a week, plus dancing my sets and solo steps once a night.   Still, I should be dancing more often to be in Tip top shape for my classes.  How can I expect them to get better if I'm dancing like a handicapped Michael Flately...?

I'm setting new goals for Fall- Winter:
1. Get to the gym more, or workout more at home!
2. Save money (this is a constant goal of mine since I seem to continuously be terrible at it)
3. Be a good teacher/example and role model for my students
4. Be patient!
5. Upgrade my computer.


It doesn't have to be January 1st to set new goals..  What are yours?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

feathers...


Feathers.  Who knew they'd be such a fad?  Despite the 'fad'y ness of them, Mary and I went to get some today.  I'm not sure that if I hadn't purchased a coupon online that I would have gotten one.  
They are quite adorable, and add a bit of flair to your "do".  Besides, everyone knows how much I love chicken and eggs - why not wear one? 

The application process is quite simple.  You go and pick out however many feathers you'd like, and which colors.  I tried the red with a orangey yellow... and it didn't look so good.  It brought out some unlikable hues in my hair.  Instead I chose the white to add some *pop*.   Mary choose red and black (she has a little bit lighter hair).  Then the hairdresser parts your hair, and clasps it in and Voila! 

How do you feel about feathers?  Would you put a chicken in your hair?  

Just curious.  

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! xx