Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Style Files: Meredith Grey

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The moment I saw the Tequila Is Not My Friend tote from Kate Spade I immediately thought of the one and only Meredith Grey.

If you're a Grey's Anatomy fan you know tequila is Meredith's kryptonite. After a hard day's night she and Cristina dance their troubles away accompanied by their favorite bottle.

While I don't drink myself, I completely relate to the need to blow off steam and cut loose. In college my roommates and I had epic dance parties courtesy of Pitbull's "The Anthem"--the best dance song ever.

 Meredith, you take your tequila, I'll take my diet coke. Dance party tonight. It's on!

P.S. Combine this tote with classic pieces and maybe you'll find your own McDreamy. A girl can dream.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Break

Monday, Monday. Coming off a long weekend is never fun. I had major anxiety yesterday because this week I'm staring a December intersession class, which means I'll be in class three nights a week for three hours for the next three weeks...ahh! I just have to keep telling myself it'll be ok. I can handle this...I'm a rockstar.

Other than feeling rather down yesterday I had a great Thanksgiving break. I went and saw Anna Karenina with a friend Wednesday afternoon after getting off work early (hooray). It was absolutely PHENOMENAL. I can't even describe how mesmerized I was by the entire production. It's unlike any movie I've ever seen.

This year I had my first experience having a "Friendsgiving". My friend Elise hosted a fabulous dinner in which I contributed homemade mashed potatoes. We played Boggle and some other games while also enjoying The Amazing Spider-Man.

Although I skipped the Black Friday madness, I ventured out into my neighborhood during the afternoon. To my delight, I found an absolutely adorable shop called Two Sided. They had a Christmas pop-up shop with fabulous vintage decor and cards. I purchased a silver wreath (pictures to come). Two Sided also sells Rifle Paper Co. products! The only thing that would have made my outing better was if my mom had been with me.

How was your Thanksgiving holiday?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Finding Joy

photo by Hanne Johansen
I know today's Wednesday Wisdom should probably include the word "thankful" or "gratitude", but I think this quote evokes a message of thanksgiving in a different way. Finding joy in life is a never ending quest. Acceptance and balance are both concepts that are difficult to grasp and fully embrace.

We all have a different story. However, many times I find myself focused on what I think my story should be rather than making peace with my reality. While I'm constantly working to maintain a calm, content state of being, it's definitely something I've improved upon over the years transitioning from teenager to young adult.

It takes a lot to live. People break our hearts. We lose homes, friends, and loved ones. Wrong decisions produce consequences. A lack of consistency can plague us from day-to-day. Tragedy besets even the best of people.

So how do we keep going? How do we find the joy that's been promised to us? As Tolstoy admonishes, it's all about our perspective and acceptance of the here and now.

Thanksgiving is a good reminder to focus on the good in life rather than its deficiencies. I am grateful that despite the challenges life presents I know what is really important--my relationship with my family, friends, and Savior.

Joy is possible, we just have to be willing to find it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

winter dreams in red, white, and blue

snow / moss stitch / fair isle / zigzag / striped

Hats are a major winter necessity here in the Windy City. Even if the temperature seems mild, gusts of wind regularly materialize seemingly out of nowhere. The city has definitely earned it's nickname.

Lately my winter hat musings have taken on a red, white, and blue theme. I particularly love the snow hat from Target. I think it's very Kate Spade (and at a fraction of the cost)! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanks For...Hot Chocolate

I drink hot chocolate like it's going out of style. Summer. Spring. Winter. Fall. It doesn't matter.

My latest obsession is Starbucks' salted caramel hot chocolate. Party in my mouth. There's something about Starbucks that makes everything better. It's happiness bundled up in a cup for $3.55.

If I could afford it, I would buy a cup of hocho everyday. But instead, I have to curb my appetite and ration my spending. My expensive hot chocolate is intermingled with regular servings of nestle instant hot cocoa. Stephen's Gourmet is my favorite but they don't sell it in Chicago. I might just have to pick some up in Utah over Christmas.

I love hot chocolate!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cozy Nights...

plaid pajamas / owl socks / blanket / you've got mail / owl mug

The weather has turned cold here in Chicago. Over the weekend temperatures teased us at 60 degrees but by Monday we'd dropped into the 30s. Time to pull out the hats, gloves, and scarves!

Cool temperatures also make me long for cozy nights at home bundled up in adorable pajamas, a soft blanket, and warm cup of cocoa watching a fabulous chick flick. Who doesn't want a PJ set after watching Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail?

All of these items are very affordable. I'm a grad student so I'm always doing things on a budget. The mugs are $10 dollars or less and the pajama sets are both $25. At those prices you can afford to get the whole ensemble!

What's one of your favorite chick flicks to watch on a cozy night in?

Monday, November 12, 2012

What I've been up to lately...

Illustration by Katie Rogers of Paper Fashion
Over the past few weeks I haven't blogged consistently, if at all. As I've mentioned before, doing grad school and working full-time has taken its toll on my ability to balance everything in my life. However, I'm happy to say as of last Friday at exactly 12:00 noon I kissed another quarter of grad school goodbye! Can I get a woot, woot?!

This quarter I had the opportunity to delve into an new area of writing: politics. My class focused on hard news reporting, social media, and video editing (something in which I had absolutely ZERO experience). I feel like my skills and knowledge have grown so much. I was terrified going into the class but I was also determined to look my fear in the face and kick butt.

I've included links to all the work I've done this quarter in case you're interested in taking a peek. I think I'm most proud of my tweeting on Election Day. The Chicago Huffington Post even re-tweeted one of my tweets!

Happy Monday everyone!

Election Day Coverage:

Other Work This Quarter:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanks For...Good Friends

image source
I wanted to start this yesterday but the first of November got away from me. In honor of Thanksgiving, every day this month I'm going to post one thing I'm thankful for. I think it'll be a fun way to stay focused on the things that matter most and express my gratitude for the many blessings in my life.

What are you thankful for today?

real life struggles...

It's strange to watch my parents struggle and feel intense emotional pain. I'm thousands of miles away and can't do anything to help them. Now I understand a little bit better how they must feel when I struggle.

I never imagined the country's economic downfall would invade my family's life. It was something I read about in the New York Times, not real life.

I want to sob and scream it isn't fair. My dad was the best employee in his department and he was the one who got laid off. My parents have lost their beautiful home.

For the past month my mom and dad, along with the help of church members and my brother and his husband, have been preparing to move to Utah. They'll be living with my aunt until they get back on their feet.

Right now the hardships seem to keep snowballing. In a way I feel like my parents are experiencing a version of what Jobe must have gone through.

I'm biased but my parents are some of the best people I know. They've endured substantial trials throughout their lives all with dignity and grace.

I know Heavenly Father is guiding them as they navigate this next phase of life. They know they've made the right decision. I do have faith that it will all work out--that my dad will find a good job and eventually my parents will own a home again.

I'm not totally devoid of peace but there are so many unknowns. It's a long and tough road ahead.
Peace and faith aide endurance but don't dissolve the pain and heartache.

Today is the day. It's finally arrived. The U-Haul is packed and the Fidler caravan is en route. We've all talked about it for the past two months but it doesn't feel real. Life is hard.