Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Question Time


1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1st) answer this question- What is something foolish you've done?
In high school, for our "senior prank" on the last day of classes, we all got to school early and then removed every single chair from every single classroom and spelled out our graduating year on the front lawn...

2. What's your favorite way to fix/eat chicken?
Hmm.. I'm lazy and usually just marinate a piece of chicken and then toss it in my pasta or on a salad but I love my mom's chicken with capers and her teriyaki chicken, and her lemon stuffed chicken, and her chicken cordon blue.

3. What is the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit?
I'm going to name the strangest museum I've ever been to: the Theatre-Museum Dali- in Figueres, Catalonia (near Barcelona). This is the museum the eccentric artist Salvador Dali built in his childhood home. It is crazy in there. It's like stepping into Dali's wild imagination with gigantic murals, huge sculptures, 3d exhibits... just crazy. To give you an idea this is what the outside of the building looks like:
(Yes, those are giant eggs on the roof and the spots you see on the walls are actually hundreds of bread molds!)

4. You know what they say about April showers... what's your preference-a shower or a bath?
I like showers for their convenience but I love baths for to relax!

5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"... fact or fiction? Why?
Definitely fact! Peter and I haven't spent that much time apart since we started dating, just a few weeks here and there, but I can definitely love the reunions that come after a separation! It's just so exciting and fun to finally see each other face to face again and realize just how much you actually missed each other.

6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province?
Needtobreathe. I have made my love for this local band pretty well know on this blog...

7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most?
Well yesterday I read this article and it really saddened me and got me pretty worked up. It's obviously a little slanted but I always wonder why the genocide in Darfur and the Sudan, that has been going on for years and has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, is not front page news!!

8. Random thought:
Today is Peter's 22nd birthday! Last year I dedicated the day's post to him and shared 10 things you may not have known about him. The last thing I shared was:
"He is the best boyfriend I could ask for! I am so thankful that he was born today and that I get to have him in my life!"
That is probably even more true one year later today! He is truly a blessing in my life and I can't wait to celebrate today with him!

Guest Post & Part 2

Make sure to pop over to Tea Time With Tess today to read my first ever guest post!

Anyway... right back to where I left off in D.C.

On the next day I was up there, L dropped me off at the Metro station and I headed into the city by myself while L had to go to work. I had set up a meeting for 11 (more details on that to come) but after that I met up with Peter's mom and sister for lunch. Then we headed over to his sister's new condo to see all the renovations she's been doing. After she headed back to work, Peter's mom and I drove out to her house in Alexandria. (I was seriously all over Maryland, Virginia and D.C those couple of days.) She is also in the process of renovating her home! Boy did I catch the decorating bug!

I then took the Metro back to Maryland and met L at the station for a nice little walk back to her house. We made a wardrobe change and headed out for dinner to this yummy place called Sweet Green, it's like Chipotle for really fresh, customizable salads. We had a lazy night and just lounged around and hung out with her roommates for the rest of the evening.

On Wednesday I slept in while L went work for a little bit (sorry girl). Then we actually did have Chipotle for lunch. Afterwards we decided to wander aimlessly around Target (like you do) for a little while before heading home so I could pack up and get ready to fly back to SC.

L drove me to the airport and we said our goodbyes, with plans to see each other soon... and then of course 4 hours later I was still at the airport, flight cancelled because apparently between the thunderstorm and the man asleep in the air traffic control tower I was not meant to leave that evening. Oh well...

Guess that's it! I'm all caught up on the blogging front. Sorry if my posts weren't as interesting as my actual trip.

Monday, March 28, 2011

D.C. Hiatus Part:1

Well, I did not mean to completely drop off the face of the blogosphere for a week but I have been super busy and super distracted. Last Sunday I took a little trip to Washington D.C to visit a dear friend! My office was closed for the week for maintenance so the timing could not have been more perfect! It was so nice to get away for a few days and not have to fret about getting back in time for work. I'll break this up into 2 parts, because it's kinda wordy... and I didn't take any pictures. oops.

My friend L lives just outside of the city in Bethesda. So on my first full day there she showed me around the cute "downtown" area. We got a yummy lunch a Le Pain Quotidien and browsed through some of the boutiques. After that we hopped onto the Metro and headed into the city! I had planned to meet someone in downtown D.C the next day so I scouted out where I needed to go and how long it took me to get there so I could be on time.

Then we walked. A lot. And in the wrong shoes. It was beautiful and really sunny and warm. We pretty much crossed the entire city! I used to live in Maryland so I've been to D.C many times before but it was still nice to pass the White House and the monuments on our way to Urban Outfitters and other important places like that.

L also took me to see her church which is near Union Station and just happens to be attached to a coffee shop. Our hot, sweaty, achy feet really appreciated sitting down for a rest. Our next stop was Georgetown where we had made plans to have dinner at our friend C's house. We seriously contemplated taking a taxi so we didn't have to walk anymore but our wallets made us see reason and we walked to the bus stop instead, which fortunately wasn't that far and it dropped us off right in front of her house (which is beautiful and old and she shares with 3 other girls and pays riddiculous rent for).

I immediately took off my heeled boots and socks (what was I thinking?) and got the tour of her house before we sat down to enjoy a glass of wine, yummy kabobs on the grill and salad with homemade dressing (courtesy of Ina). It was so fun to chat with her and all her roommates and watch a re-run or two of Real Housewives of O.C.

I absolutely dreaded putting on my boots again but we eventually had to make the trek back to the Metro and then back to L's house. I'm telling you what-I got some great exercise that day! Nothing better for your thighs and glutes that criss-crossing the city in heels! (Hope you enjoy that picture of the fun girls I got to see! It's from our last day of rush ever last year. Hope they don't mind that I shared it with you.)

Part 2 to follow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lucky Hodgepodge

Kiss me I'm Irish and it's time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. What would you do if you found a pot of gold (apparently worth exactly $1500 and you're not allowed to donate it)?
Is it boring to say I would save it? I wouldn't save it all though. I'd probably treat myself to some new clothes, and tickets to Bonaroo...

2. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way shape or form?
Well, I am Irish! I wear green. I pinch people who don't. I love corned beef and cabbage. One year in elementary school, back when I used to bring a thermos of milk for lunch everyday, my mom dyed my milk green!

3. Have you been bitten by the Spring Cleaning Bug?
Um yes! Big time! I got the new Real Simple in the mail the other day and it was all about Spring Cleaning. Picture me with my pants rolled up to my knees, toothbrush in hand, balancing on the edge of the tub, cleaning grout. I feel so cleansed and my apartment smells so nice!
4. Lime | Shamrock | Sage | Forest? What is your favorite shade of green?
Green is my favorite color! I would say the shade I like the most is best described as "natural" or "stem" green.
5. Thomas Jefferson once said, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more of it I have." So... do you believe in luck or do you believe we make our own luck?
I used to be kinda superstitious. But as I've grown up (and my faith as matured) I know that nothing is about chance. I don't necessarily agree that we make our own luck either, but I do think that the harder you work, the better chance you have of succeeding!

6. Monday was "Pi Day". What is your favorite kind of pie (the edible kind)?
Angel Pie! 'nuff said!

7. What do you think it is more important and/or valuable in life: intelligence or common sense?
I think you need a healthy dose of both, but I'd much rather have common sense! This may sound harsh-unintelligent people can get by on common sense and find creative ways around what they don't know. But I don't think intelligent people can get by without common sense, it's like you can't present your intelligence in an appropriate way without it.

8. Random (HAPPY) thought: I'm taking a little trip to D.C. next week! Can't wait! More details to follow!

What are You Trying to Tell Me?

This year I am participating in the Siesta Sisters Scripture Memory Challenge with the lovely Beth Moor and Living Proof Ministries. On the first and the fifteenth of each month I have been posting a single verse that I selected.

If I'm being honest I haven't been that thoughtful about my verses, they were just random choices, verses that jumped out to me during my quiet times. Well I was writing them all down (to help with the memorizing bit) and looking at them collectively and I determined that God is definitely trying to tell me something big...

"Humble yourself, therefore, under God's mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you!" 1 Peter 4:6-7

"But He said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but rather a spirit of power, love, and self discipline." 1 Timothy 1:7

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of God will also acknowledge him before the angels of God." Luke 12:8

Have you picked up on the big overlying message? Let me spell it out for you like I needed it spelled out to me. In my head and heart I am hearing God firmly and patiently say: "Shannon, why are you doubting my power? Why are you still fearful?" So now I am praying that this year of scripture memory will teach me to not be timid, but to stand strongly and fearlessly with my God, to acknowledge his works in my life and praise him for the plan he has for me, rather than worry about what that plan may look like.

And here is the verse I selected for today:
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be given to you as well. Therefore DO NOT worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:33-34
Hello! Duh Shannon!

Don't you just love how Jesus COMMANDS us not to worry about tomorrow, doesn't just suggest it... commands. "Do not worry, shannon. Just don't! Why? Because I am your God who loves you, that's why!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Target-ing Toes

Another summer fashion post...
I am so excited for flip flop and sandal weather and Target is making it easy to get summer-ready! Yesterday was pay-day, maybe I'll cross one of these off my list...
(I love both these cute patterns!)


(Don't those look just like Jack Rogers? And that price can't be beat!
(Sadly these pretties are out of stock... but i'll be on the look out for a candy colored replacement!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Public Transportation

Of all the millions of things I miss about living in England, the National Rail Service and the Tube are probably in my top 5. Aside from the fact that you don't have to gas up your car to go every where, and it's better for the environment, so many fond memories are centered around particular London stations and stops.
(Sister, Mom and I at the train station in our village)
  • I remember the first time we went into London as a family (and I left my sister's purse that I had borrowed on the tube).
  • I can still clearly hear the lovely british woman coming over the speaker saying, "the next station is PIC-adilly CIR-cus, change her for the PIC-adilly line."
  • I miss getting a coffee or a Cornish Pasty in Marylebone station before hoping onto the Bakerloo line or while waiting for the next train back to Gerrards Cross.
  • I miss my parents always wanting to hold on to the rail cards for sister and I.
  • I miss walking out of Covent Garden station and seeing the narrower cobbled streets and some of my favorite shops.
(That's sister outside the station below.)
  • I remember our family of four trying to fanangle our luggage on the tube all the way to Waterloo station and then on to France.
  • I remember feeling so confident as I breezed through stations and changed lines like I'd been there my whole life while showing around visiting friends or my sweet boyfriend.

As I am considering a move in the not too distant future to a big city I am a excited that I may get to rekindle my love for public transportaion. Since I have finalized/decided/committed to nothing yet, I've just been been playing around with the metro website. I enter in where I could potentially be living and the addresses of all the places I've applied to work in order to calculate convenience and travel time. It's making these future plans more real and tangible in my head. Obviously though, planning for the future is making me nostalgic for the past...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haircut Chicken

That title sounds a lil' strange but I am a big chicken when it comes to hair cuts. Hence why I haven't had a hair cut since September! (GASP!)
(In August- the shortest I've had it in forever, and today- it's probably at least 5 inches longer)
I am also a chicken when it comes to doing anything really different with my style. I pretty much just have long layers that are shorter in the front and frame my face. Long, long, long. And that's what I tell the hair dresser every time. But I'm getting a little bored and my hair grows fast so what do you think? Should I try something different? My face is pretty narrow and long so I'm never sure what cuts suit. But here are some styles I like, but am waayy too chicken to try:
**Also make sure to check out the new blog header I made for Mommy's Melodies. I posted about her over on my design blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Early Morning Hodgepodege

I am up way too late and decided I wanted to be the first one to link up with this week's hodgepodge! Sadly I was not quite quick enough. humph.

1. Lent starts today...do you participate, and if so, in what way?
Lent to me is about giving something to help us prepare for the season of Easter. To help us recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us and to spend this time focusing on Him more. This year I will be giving up sweets. Candy, soda, sugary desserts. I consume way too much of this stuff. (My boyfriend will confirm.) I also recently just bought myself a copy of Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest. I hope this season of self discipline helps me stay committed to this amazing devotional. Yesterday's passage was heavy but appropriate for Lent. It talked about the "surrendered life" which I think is exactly what this season is wanting us to focus on. Oswald asked some tough questions: "Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?"

2. Traditionally pancakes are eaten on the Tuesday before Lent, known as Shrove Tuesday. What's your pleasure when it comes to eating pancakes?
I prefer my pancakes with chocolate chips and a little syrup. I also really like bacon with them for the salty sweet combo (bacon dipped in syrup is soo yummy!) If I'm not in the mood for chocolate I like them plain with fresh peaches on them and whipped cream, no syrup needed.

3. What is your favorite spring time flower and do you suffer from springtime allergies?
My favorite spring time flower is the hydrangea! I love the big balls of blooms and all the different colors. I do however suffer from seasonal allergies. The part of South Carolina that I live in has one of the highest pollen counts and I can already feel it coming on. Time to break out the Claritin!
4. Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them and more on what they make us see in ourselves. Do you agree? Why or why not?
I agree. My close friends and the people I love make me see things in myself that I love. Or they make me confront things about myself that I don't like.

5. Since it's March and also the season of Mardi Gras... have you ever been in a parade? What's the best parade you've ever seen?
It's been a while since I've seen a parade. I don't remember participating in one but I have this feeling that I was in one. Mom help out here? The best on I've ever seen is probably Disney's parade every night in the Magic Kingdom with all the lights.

6. You would jump up and down and shout for joy right now if someone told you you're hired!


7. How clean is your car on the outside? Inside? Is there junk in your trunk?
Relatively clean all around. My trunk is empty. However my dad would probably disagree.

Random thought:
If you need a good cry watch Lifetime's new series Coming Home. Seriously turned me into a bawling mess. But they were happy goose bump inducing tears. It's from the creators of Extreme Makeover Home Edition if that gives you any indication....

Romping Around

(First off, I just want to say how annoying it is when you accidentally publish a post before you're ready. I do it more often than I'd like to say. Sorry)

I don't know if I can pull off the romper look. Last summer I said "no way"! I was anti-romper. I worried it would make me look too short, or like a little kid. But after seeing Emily on The Bachelor this season make it look breezy and oh-so-cute I decided not to write it off just yet. I think it's about finding the right fit and cut and a print that's not to garish or loud. Here is how she wore it. I think her accessories add just the right touch!
A pale lilac sleevless sweater/scarf softens the look. A simple gold chain is all the jewelry she needs. In the evening she dressed it up with a blazer with cuffed sleeves. I loved how she paired it with tall espadrille wedges and yet it doesn't look too short to me! I think what I like about this romper is that it almost looks like separates. I don't like when they are too fitted and tight. This looks loose and effortless.

Here is a look I've put together that I think is a pretty close comparison:
Romping Around

Monday, March 7, 2011

Up!

This makes me smile. What a happy sight!

See the whole gallery of these images here from this fun experiment with 300 helium ballons, a cute house, and a curious spirit!

Sister Pictures

Last week Ree, (aka Pioneer Woman), posted the photographs from her "Sisters Assignment". I've really enjoyed looking at all these images. The variety of relationships, expressions and emotions have been so sweet. I've never submitted any photos to her before but I did on Friday, hoping it would make it in to Saturdy's Group 5. Sadly it did not (possible because I sent it in the day before) but it was still fun to play around with this image.

It's a really old photo, taken before digital photography, possibly on a disposable camera, and it's been scanned into the computer. Quality not so great. But I fiddled around with it and photoshopped it up. Here is the original unedited image:
I wanted to make Sister and I pop, stand out (from the bright nineties NJ state fair crowd) soI opened the image in photoshop then using the "Lasso" tool I outlined just the two of us and made us into a "new layer via copy." Then I used the "Blur" tool to soften the background. Then I used the "Burn" tool to cast a shadow on the background. Finally to sharpen and boost the image I used the PW Action "Define and Sharpen." And here is what I submitted to Pioneer Woman:
Another fun action/effect I think would look really good on this is the "Seventies" action. This emphasizes the graininess of the image and makes it look aged, and sort of vintage.
My sister and I were too cute, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

(Not) Spring Break

This week I do not have a spring break.
Peter is going to Ocean City.
Sister is going to Florida.
I am staying put.
So to cheer myself up and to feel festive,
I stopped at Publix and picked up a little treat: