Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf

When you still believe in Santa, the traditions supporting this belief are what make it so special and fun. I was introduced to a new tradition this past weekend while visiting my sister's family in Colorado.

Anyone heard of Elf on the Shelf? I hadn't until Saturday, when a box mysteriously appeared on the doorstep for Will. In this box is a book and an elf doll. Patricia read the book out loud to Will, and then Will got to name the elf (first he named her Mrs. Claus, but changed it to Dora).

Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.  

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!  Source

Each morning, the elf then appears in a different location to watch the kid's behavior throughout the day. Will was so excited every morning when he found Dora in a new spot.  A couple of times he started to get cranky and on the verge of whining, and he would stop, look at Dora, and immediately pipe down.And when he did something good, like nicely kiss Baby Ryan on the forehead, he would make sure Dora knew about it so she could report back to Santa.

Will's elf, Dora
From a publishing standpoint, this idea is a gem.  Their marketing team has done a fantastic job promoting the brand through various outlets. For example, there is an Elf blog, Christmas movie, interactive website, and Santa Store with elf apparel. And even better, the idea has staying power. It's promoted as a family tradition, and with its popularity, I think it will remain as a favorite tradition. It'll be so fun for the Tanners when Ryan is bigger and Will can explain all about the Elf to him.

Question: What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions, from when you were Santa-believing kid or right now? 

My sister, mom and I always decorated the Christmas tree while listening to Anne Murray's Christmas Album, and Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' "Once Upon a Christmas." Both on cassette tape, naturally.

One not-so-fun but extremely effective "tradition" was a clever idea my mom had.  Whenever my sister or I were bad, my mom would pretend to call the operator and get Santa's number.  She would write the number on a piece of paper and stick it on the fridge, telling us she would call him if we were bad again.  As I said, very effective, and very terrifying. haha

Reasons to smile today

1. It's my last day at Swartz Campbell.

2. I am being lazy tomorrow and sleeping in, and getting a facial at the Aveda school on Friday.

3. This article made me laugh the first, second and third time I read it.  And then I read the whole site and laughed harder.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be doing the Leo Strut all the way to Happy Hour.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

In love

I can't wait to post all about my long weekend spent with my family in Denver, but for now I'll leave you with some pics that my sister took of the boys.  I have loved every second spent playing with Will, and cuddling with Ryan.

Look for a post on Monday or Tuesday, chock full of pics and a summary of the weekend. It's been a fantastic one!

Will and Ryan- my boys!

This guy loves to sleep. He takes after his aunt.

Words can't describe the cuteness of his personality.

Shopped till we dropped

As I've told you, I'm not much of a shopper. My mom has taught me all the secrets to smart shopping, which I use enthusiastically, but I still lack the overall dedication and endurance.  My sister inherited that gene from Mom.

This year, I decided to join my sister and mom and brave the stores on Black Friday. We didn't go too crazy- no waiting in line at midnight for us. But we were out the door by 7:15 a.m. on Friday and hit several stores over the next few hours. 

(Keep in mind I have a hard time dragging my butt out of bed at 8:00 a.m. during the work week. I woke up at 6:15 a.m. on a day off. That's dedication.)

I'm happy to report we got LOTS of amazing deals throughout the morning, and really didn't have to deal with too much craziness or long lines.

We went to:

- Bath & Body Works- When we pulled up, the parking lot was empty, and we could see about five B&BW employees waiting for us to walk in.  My sister and I were cracking up- I really expected them to burst into song.  Instead they all just squealed "Welcome!!! Are you here for the VIP bags????"  Got lots of candles, lotions and bubble bath...enough to last me another year, at least.

- Kohl's- My sister saved $503 with her coupons and the sales.  If that is not impressive, I don't know what is.

- The mall: The Body Shop, Gap, Dillards, Macys, Hallmark, Disney Store. Whew!!!  I think we spent about an hour in The Body Shop alone. We left the mall with tons of great stuff, all bought on sale or with coupons.

Today my parents and I went to an outlet mall between Denver and Colorado Springs.  We spent about three hours there, and I got some new work clothes from The Loft.  Can't wait to wear them for my new job. :)

Question: Did you go shopping on Black Friday? Did you score any good deals? What time did you hit the stores?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving! 

Just a quick post to list all the things I'm so thankful for in my life right now.

- My nephews, Will and Ryan.

- My parents, sister, and brother-in-law

- Rhett- my love and favorite guy for going-on 7 years

- My life in Philadelphia- including all the friends I've met and the memories we've created.

- My health, and my family and friends' health.

If I wasn't healthy, I couldn't run
I feel like I'm forgetting some important things...

Oh yeah.

Questions: What are you thankful for today? What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

I love you, Green Bean Casserole. Be still, my heart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Burnin' love

Last night, Rhett and I ate my favorite make-at-home meal: turkey tacos.  Made with lean ground turkey meat, a little bit of taco spice, peppers and onions, this is a quick, easy, yummy way to eat my favorite genre of food....and about 100x healthier than going to a restaurant for the same meal.

Usually I dig into my tacos with reckless abandon. I try to eat slowly and savor each bite, I really do, but they are simply too delicious. 

But lately, eating turkey tacos- or any other spicy food, for that matter- has been fun only for a short bit.  I've started experiencing a strange, foreign, and extremely disappointing sensation in my chest afterwards. It is called heartburn, and there's a reason for that. It burns my heart.

I say disappointing because I've noticed that all my favorite foods have been doing this to me.  Pizza (because I love those chili flakes sprinkled on top); spaghetti and turkey meatballs (again with the chili flakes, and also the acidic tomatoes in the sauce); three-bean turkey chili (my heart breaks and burns when I eat this). 

Common sense tells me to just stay away from spicy foods. As does my doctor.  But I am stubborn. These are MY FAVORITE FOODS. These foods make me happy. I love preparing them, savoring them, and then eating them again the next day as leftovers. 

There's also the small issue of my relatively recent discovery of spicy foods. And really any foods other than pizza or peanut butter. I was the girl who once ordered a hamburger at a Mexican restaurant in high school. 

(Judge all you want.  It is shameful.)

I think moving to a new city and then a new country really made me explore outside my comfort zone and try new things. None of these things are particularly brave or astounding, and I know most people were eating these foods years before I did.  The two best examples: sushi and Thai food. Once scary-to-me foods, now two of my truest, dearest loves.

So I think that's why I'm being so stubborn. I just found these foods. I love these foods. I don't care if they make my chest burn, they are delicious and I'll eat what I wanna eat!

On that note, I'm off to Rite Aid to secure some heartburn I just had leftover turkey tacos for lunch.  Will I ever learn?

Answer: No.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Short week blues

Yeah. You read that title right.

I've got the short week blues. 

That doesn't mean I'm sad that it's a short week.  The exact opposite, in fact.  I am thrilled, ecstatic, blissful, and thankful it's a short week. Because it means that at the end of this short week, I'll be flying to Denver to see my family and meet Baby Ryan, and eat a huge delicious meal and take a turkey nap, and shop and visit and cuddle with nephews. WHEW!

There is a problem with short weeks, though.






How am I supposed to smile and relax when so much excitement awaits me???

Welcome to one of my biggest challenges. I struggle with not looking back or forward, and just focusing on and experiencing the moment right now.  Weeks like this really test my ability. Blame it on my laziness mixed with severe impatience. If I had my choice, I'd curl up in my bed and nap and read and lounge until Thursday arrives, taking a break only to pack my bags.

So, what to do, then? How do I make this time pass more pleasantly?

Easy. I fill my time up with lists of chores and things to pack, intense workouts, favorite TV shows throughout the week, and lots of quality time with Rhett, friends, and cats.

For anyone who experience the same ants-in-your-pants as I do, just take a deep breath, and try to enjoy yourself. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts for Monday

"I never get enough sleep. I stay up late at night, cause I'm Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late.

'What about getting up after five hours sleep?' Oh, that's Morning Guy's problem. That's not my problem, I'm Night Guy. I stay up as late as I want.

So you get up in the morning, you're alarm, you're exhausted, groggy, oooh you hate that Night Guy!

See, Night Guy always screws Morning Guy. There's nothing Morning Guy can do. The only thing Morning Guy can do is try and oversleep often enough so that Day Guy loses his job and Night Guy has no money to go out anymore."

-Seinfeld, Episode 67, "The Glasses"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Please ignore the goofy grin on my face

This week I'm overwhelmed with happiness, so why not make a list of all the things that are making me smile these days? You know my love for lists, and I know your love of reading them.

- I'm excited to meet this guy:
Ryan Patrick Tanner, born 11/16/11, 8 lbs, 13 oz.
That's right! Baby Ryan finally decided to make his grand entrance into the world- only 2 days after his due date.  Patricia texted me Tuesday night at around 11:30 p.m. (9:30 her time) that she was off to the hospital. That made me so excited I couldn't sleep for another hour.  Ryan was born around 2 a.m. Denver time (4 a.m. here), and weirdly enough, I woke up around that time and couldn't fall back asleep for awhile. I think that must mean I'm Ryan's favorite aunt.  That's the only reasonable conclusion.

- Thanksgiving is next week.
Sorry, I'm going to have to repeat that once more, because if you're anything like me, you keep forgetting this and are startled when you look at the calendar.  So, here you go:


This is the first Thanksgiving I'll spend with my family in more than 4 years.  Don't get me wrong- I love my family. It has been agony not going home to spend this holiday with them. But it usually comes down to money, or lack there of, and time off work, and the fact that I always go to Oklahoma for Christmas time.  Oh, and that whole "I lived in England for a year" thing.

However, I have still enjoyed Thanksgiving over the past 4 years. The first Nov. we lived in Philly, we drove up to Burlington, Ontario in Canada to visit my aunt.  We ate Swiss Chalet on Thanksgiving, and had a big turkey dinner on Sat. It was lovely, and it was the first time Rhett visited Canada and met some of my relatives.

After that, Rhett and I always made a small turkey dinner for two with all the sides, and watched Christmas movies and drank lots of wine. And took a long post-turkey nap with the cats. Everyone was happy, and it was awesome.

This year, there will be a wild 2-year-old to play with, and a newborn to hold, and lots of time to kick back and relax in Denver. I think this Thanksgiving might win.

- I got a new job. :) :) :)
But more on that later....

- I'm getting my hair highlighted on Saturday.
This doesn't need an explanation.  It is obviously the most exciting of all my news.

 - I get to play trains and cars and chase and just have an all-around blast with this guy soon: 
Whew. Lots of good news this week and lots to look forward to.  It goes without saying that I'm thankful for all of it...but I'll say it anyways :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winner winner chicken dinner

(Rhett introduced me to that expression after beating me at a game of Crazy 8's last week. Apparently it's real. Who else is saying that? And why?)

If you are in fact looking for a winner of a chicken dinner, look no further.  I've got a recipe up my sleeve that will knock your socks off.

It's actually my "oldest" recipe, and by that I mean I've been making it since I was in college. And by THAT I mean this was really the only meal I made if it was a special occasion or called for something other than sandwiches or ramen.

When I got my first apartment in college, my mom got me the standard checkered Better Homes & Gardens cookbook I'm sure you're all familiar with.

(Confession: she might have bought it for me even before college, but the first time I cracked it open was my sophomore year of college).

My sister and I, and our respective roommates, would trade off every Sunday and host dinner at our homes. This was probably the first or second time we did it, and it was my first time to host.  Time to bring out the big guns!

I remember being slightly panicked when I was buying the ingredients for this recipe. I remember being even more panicked when it came to cooking it.  I also recall I served crinkle-cut french fries with it, the kind that you buy frozen in a bag, and bake them in the oven.  Not a vegetable in sight. The epitome of health.

But most of all, I remember how GOOD the chicken tasted, and how tasty the french fries were dipped in the sauce, and how my sister and our friends really enjoyed it. I was probably 19 or 20 at the time, and this was my first real recipe. 

Tonight when I make it, the process will go a lot smoother than the first time.  I'll put the chicken in the oven, and while it cooks, I'll confidently chop and measure and stir, all while trying not to lick the spoon. I'll also make sweet potato fries from scratch, and pair the whole meal with some green beans or asparagus. It will be delicious and nutritious, and I believe I'll enjoy it just as much as the first time.

Oven-Barbequed Chicken (Better Homes and Garden)

  • 2 1/2 - 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks) *I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Easier to cook with and I prefer the taste.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Skin chicken. Arrange chicken, bone side up, in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat until tender but not brown. Stir in chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, mustard, horseradish, and crushed red pepper; heat through.

3. Turn chicken bone side down. Brush half of the sauce over the chicken. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks). Reheat remaining sauce; pass with the chicken. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Crossing to the dark side

As I am sure most of you know or are close to figuring out by now, I love to read. I honestly cannot think of a more relaxing way to spend my time, especially when its paired with a cup of tea or a glass of red wine.

My sister is also a big reader, and on a weekly basis, we email or text each other new titles to check out.  She's like me and gets her books from the library.  I love supporting the book publishing industry when I can, but its also nice to support local libraries...and get books for free!

Now that I have a nephew, soon to be two nephews (Baby Ryan is being a slow poke- hurry up, buddy!) its so much fun to think of books that I loved to read as a kid and I can now pass on to him.  Of course, I'm not sure if Will or Ryan will gravitate towards "Sweet Valley High" or "The Babysitters Club" like their mom and aunt did, but I think they will have a great love for reading just like us.

I never thought I'd say this....but....I am considering getting an E-reader. 


I know. It's crazy. I have been so against them since they started coming out, and now I'm caving. Why would I want to purchase something that you need to charge, and that could ultimately break? You're telling me I can't read an E-reader in the bathtub because I could drop it and therefore ruin it? Huh? What's the point?

However, that all changed last week when Rhett returned from a business trip in NYC, where he was able to discuss the new Kindle Fire with Amazon reps. It hasn't come out yet (not until tomorrow), so I haven't been able to use it or find out too many details, but from the articles I've read about it, and from what Rhett told me, it sounds pretty sweet. 

Kindle Fire
My mom has a Nook, and she seems to really like it- I'm going to test hers out over Thanksgiving and see what its like to read a book on it.  Hopefully Amazon has some good deals for Cyber Monday. 

Question: What are your thoughts on E-readers? Do you own one? Have you used one before? And as always, do you have any book recommendations? :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pet peeves

Is it really only Wednesday? Could this week go any slower?

I'm grumpy today, so what better excuse to list some of my pet peeves?

- Comic Sans font
Few things make my blood boil than Comic Sans. If I see a website entirely written in Comic Sans, I will not read it.  If your business has promotional materials with Comic Sans, I will protest it.  And if your menu lists food in Comic Sans, well....I'll still probably eat the food, but I will certainly not be happy about it.

And guess what? I'm not alone. There's an actual website whose main mission is to ban the typeface. I fully support this movement. And if you're looking for a more reputable source than that, how about this BBC article on it?

- Unnecessary abbreviations, spoken or written

If someone were to say the sentence "OMG, my hubs is totes excited I'm preggo," in my presence, I honestly think I would collapse out of pure exasperation and hatred for those words.  I know, its all the rage these days to abbreviate normal, easy-to-say words into cute little tiny ones, and I am probably in the minority in this. But still, if you are an adult, why not speak like an adult?

Exception to this rule: Australians, and that's only because they have fun accents. Some British people might also be able to, but only the really charming ones.

-Slow walkers on the sidewalk

Get out of my way, please. I have neither the time nor the patience to walk behind shufflers.

- Bike riders who think they rule the road

Now, let's make this clear: I think bike riders have the same right to be on the road as drivers do. But with that right comes rules.  If you expect to have the same rights as drivers, why do you not expect not to have to follow the same rules as them?  I can't tell you how many times I have had to dodge bike riders when its my turn as a pedestrian to cross the street. If your light is red, please stop and wait until it turns green. Then you may go. Thank you.

Alright. That's enough grumpiness for one post.  Now for what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful to live and work in Philadelphia. There is never a shortage of things to do, and I have made so many wonderful friends here. I think I love Philly even more in the peak of its seasons, and the fall foliage right now is still so pretty, with big crunchy leaves falling everywhere. :)

This isn't Philly, this is Boston. But Philly is just as pretty right now. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I'm feeling quite culinary this week.

Last night I made one of our favorite recipes, Turkey and Vegetable burgers. Rhett found this recipe last year in England, and we finally got around to making it this spring. So. So. SO. S-O GOOD. They do take a bit of time for prepping, but I find putting on a good Pandora station and dancing whilst chopping veggies is a good way to spend that time (My personal preference: Lady Gaga.  Amazing guilty pleasure).

Rhett and I don't have a grill, so when making these at home, we prepare them on the stovetop.  I've also made them in advance and taken them to BBQs, and I must say, they are just as fantastic, if not more so, on the grill.  Yum.

I paired the turkey burgers with sweet potato fries that Erica taught me how to make. Fresh, simple, and delicious.  I don't have a "formal" recipe for those, so here are the details from what I did last night:

-Peel and cut up 2-3 sweet potatoes into "french fry" shape.
-Toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil
-Sprinkle chili powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper on the potatoes, until covered to your desire.
-Bake for 20 minutes at 375

* I often broil the fries for about 5 minutes to get some of them a bit crispier .

I got up extra early (for me, this is 7:40 a.m.) to prepare the sauce for tonight's meal, Slow Cooker Chipotle Brown Sugar Chicken   This is another one of our favorite recipes that I found on a lovely blog I read regularly, Can You Stay for Dinner?  I've made it twice before, so I can vouch for its smoky deliciousness. We have eaten it with corn tortillas before, but I find hamburger buns make it a little easier to eat- they soak up all the sauce, which is obviously the star of the recipe.

The smell that fills your house is reason enough to make this recipe. Nevermind the insanely good taste.

Hope you guys enjoy these recipes as much as we do- cheers!

Turkey and Vegetable Burgers (from the New York Times)


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, green shoot removed, minced
  • 2/3 cup finely grated carrot (1 large carrot)
  • 1 ¼ pounds lean ground turkey breast, preferably organic, from humanely raised turkeys
  • 1 tablespoon prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for the skillet
  • Whole grain hamburger buns and condiments of your choice

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the diced red pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the grated carrot and cook, stirring, for anther minute or two, until the carrots have softened slightly and the mixture is fragrant. Remove from the heat.

2. In a large bowl, mash the ground turkey with a fork. Add about ¾ teaspoon kosher salt if desired, and mix in the barbecue sauce, ketchup, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add the sautéed vegetables and mix together well. Shape into 6 patties, about ¾-inch thick. Chill for 1 hour if possible to facilitate handling.

3. Heat a nonstick griddle or a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and brush with a small amount of canola oil, or prepare a medium-hot grill. When you can feel the heat when you hold your hand above it, cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side. Serve on whole grain buns, with the condiments of your choice.

Yield: 6 burgers.

Advance preparation: You can make this turkey burger mix, shape into patties and freeze for 2 or 3 months. Thaw as needed. The mix will keep for a day in the refrigerator, but check the use-by date on the package.

Slow Cooker Chipotle Brown Sugar Chicken 


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (1 pepper pulled from a packed can)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
      1. Place chicken in the base of your slow cooker.
      2. Puree all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined and smooth.
      3. Pour over chicken breasts and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred using two forks.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bargain shopping

My mom taught me and my sister many valuable lessons over the year, but I think the one we practice best on a daily weekly basis is smart shopping.  I rarely, if ever, purchase full-priced items.  I stalk clothes/shoes/accessories down until they are at least 40% off. I dance a merry jig when I receive coupons in the mail.  And if I get home and think about my purchase and realize it's something that I don't necessary need at that point, I happily return it the next day with a smile on face.  More money for me, plus no buyer's remorse. Cha-ching!

However, while one can be taught smart shopping, one cannot necessarily learn patience.  And that is one major virtue I lack. Because of my impatience, I miss out on one area of smart shopping: the thrill of the hunt...for a bargain. 

The following scenario happens to me quite often:

Me: "Oh my gosh! I love your <sweater, coat, purse,etc,> where did you get it?"

Good friend/Random stranger: "Oh, thanks! I bought this for $21 at <TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross>!

Me: "Really? But I never find anything at those stores!"

Friend/stranger: "You really have to hunt through racks and racks of clothes. You've gotta have the patience for it."

And there lies the problem. 

So imagine my surprise when I wandered into Daffy's today, sorted through accessories and tried on countless outerwear, and I left with not only a super cute wallet (a red leather Kenneth Cole wallet for $19.99), but a perfect Nine West coat (houndstooth, fits perfectly, $49.99). What a deal!

I wonder if this success will keep me motivated until Black Friday, when my mom wants to hit the stores at 4:30 a.m. Yikes!! Maybe I can convince her to bring along my 2-year-old nephew Will, and he and I can compete in the ultimate whining contest. :)

Other exciting things for Monday:

- We had a fantastic weekend. I got to sleep in and be very lazy, and I got to spend quality time with several good friends throughout the weekend. My dear friend Isabelle called from Paris and we had a lovely catch-up chat. Our kickball team beat the pants of the other team, and I got to play with Baby Domenick.  And last but not least, we got two home-cooked meals made for us. Turkey chili on Sat. night, and spaghetti squash last night. Perfect!

- One more week until my sister's due date! C'mon, Baby Ryan! You have lots of excited grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/friends waiting for you, and not to mention awesome parents and big brother!

- On our walk home yesterday from kickball, someone had boxes of free records outside. There wasn't the best selection overall, but they had a few random ones I liked.  I went a little overboard and took home about eight Christmas records (I told you they were random). Rhett was not as impressed, but he will be come December when I play these non-stop! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random thoughts for Friday

Happy Friday! It's been a long, busy week, and I'm looking forward to relaxing, sleeping in, and spending quality time with good friends this weekend.

I don't have a particular topic to discuss today, but I have a lot of random thoughts.  What better way to present these thoughts than in my favorite format: a LIST!

- 23 years ago today, my family moved from Canada to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since I was only four, going on five, my memories of this time period are limited and very random, but some stick out in my mind. We stayed temporarily in a Residents Inn condo for six weeks before we moved into our house. We saw the Disney movie "Oliver and Company" in the theater. Our real estate agent's name was Rita. See? Extremely random. It's funny that these are the memories I have of such a big change in my life.

- I did an intense spin class last night, and woke up several times to a muscle spasm in my leg. Is that normal? 

- I got my money put back into my bank account after my wallet was stolen- rejoice! Since my actual bank card still hasn't arrived, Rhett gave me some cash, so I can get some much needed items today: a new coat (very necessary), a wallet, and a money order to get my new drivers license. Word to the wise: watch your purses and wallets carefully. It's a b*tch when someone steals them.

- I'm having so much fun finding things to buy my nephew as a Big Brother gift (Baby Ryan is due in 10 days!), and also for Christmas and his birthday. I'm excited to read him a Berenstein Bears book that I'm getting him- it was my favorite as a kid.

- Less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, and I get to see my family again and meet Baby Ryan. I haven't seen my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, or Will since May.

Can't wait to see the Tanner family again!
- I've been having crazy notions of wanting to run a marathon. I blame this insanity mostly on the fact that the NYC marathon is this weekend and several bloggers I read are running it. It sounds so exciting, and I really enjoy the process of training for a big race. I've always said half marathons are enough for me, but maybe not? More to come on that thought.  Let's hope for my knees' sake it's just temporary. :)

- And finally, continuing CNC's Be Thankful Challenge, today I am thankful for my friends. I have friends near and far, and they all mean the world to me. I can't wait to spend time with Erica tonight, and to chat on the phone with Isabelle this weekend, and have a reunion with Rachel over the holidays...and hopefully lots of other friends, too!

Question: Any fun plans for the weekend? What were your favorite books as children?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall bliss and Christmas carols

The weather has been mind-bogglingly gorgeous this week.  I love it! Sun is shining, not a cloud to be seen, and only a light jacket and scarf are necessary.  Perfect fall weather.

Today I walked through Rittenhouse Square on my lunch break, and there was a guitar player playing alongside a banjo player . All I wanted to do was lie down on the grass, use my jacket as a pillow, and listen to that sweet bluegrass the rest of the afternoon. 
This is actually Rittenhouse in the summer. Just picture less green, more yellow.
Today I am thankful for the beautiful fall weather, especially after the random winter weather we had last weekend. Tonight I plan on sitting on my porch with Rhett and just enjoying the last few cool nights we have before fall turns to winter.

On another note, I'm also thankful for Pandora radio.  Right now I am listening to Christmas carols- a bit early, I admit, but these are pretty orchestra ones that make me happy.

And that's all that matters in the end, innit?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Carrie!

Today is a special day, in my book.

It's my best friend Carrie's birthday! In honor of her special day, and of our friendship, I'm dedicating my blog post to her.

Carrie and I have known each other for more than 10 years, and have been close friends for about 8 of those years.

Yup, she used to have blonde hair, folks.
We have traveled so many places together.

Italy, 2005

Nottingham, 2005

Visiting Carrie in San Francisco, 2008

Istanbul, 2009

Paris 2009

NYC, 2008
College Station, TX, 2007
And then both moved to London for our postgraduate degrees.

Before attending The Blitz, London, 2009

Greenwich, London, 2009

Reunited in London, 2009

Before singing our hearts out to Meatloaf and Poison, London, 2009
Between each of these photos, there are thousands of laughs, inside jokes, phone calls, emails, and "Uncle Buck" references...

...and who can forget our infamous Turkish bath experience with Rosa?  "Mama!"

"A best friend is someone you can take clothes from without asking, borrow money from and not pay them back, and tell to shut up when they're being dumb." - Carrie Thornbrugh

Happy Birthday, Cazza!!  Can't wait to see you again soon. xoxo Mezza

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November!

Yay! It's November 1st!

One of my favorite bloggers, Tina from Carrots 'n' Cake, posted about her November "Be Thankful Challenge."  Every day in November, she is going to mention something on her blog that she is thankful for.

I love this idea, so I decided to follow suit.

Today, I am thankful for the people I get to see everyday in Philly. Well...the person I get to see everyday, and the cats I see everyday. :)

I like this guy, and I'm thankful for him.
I like her too
And last but not favorite girl.
Question: What are you thankful for these days?