Monday, July 28, 2014

Up in the Clouds

Better late than never right? Let me slide today, guys — I've been enjoying my first Monday off from work in... actually, I don't think in the entire 2+ years that I've been with my company I've taken a Monday off from work. I didn't have any big plans today, but I knew I'd enjoy and really need the personal day to sleep late, catch up on some tasks, and lounge a little bit after the non-stop movement from this weekend. Speaking of which, a picture's worth a thousand words, so here are a couple from the last few days...
On Saturday, my friend B and I made our annual pilgrimage to the NJ Festival of Hot Air Ballooning. We happened into tickets a couple of years ago, and have gone ever since. Aside from the musicians {Meatloaf, REO Speedwagon, and 3 Doors Down — heh} we return to see, and of course the incredible sight of the balloons, the shop tents set up by vendors from all over are always fun to check out and keep us returning. 
Last year I picked up a dreamcatcher; this year I came home with three new charms {middle} for the Origami Owl necklace my cousin got me for Christmas last year. To join my previous three {"I love you" in sign language which my cousin and I speak, an elephant for good luck, and a purple ribbon for Alzheimer's which we lost our grandmother to last year}, I added the tree of life {an important symbol to me and an upcoming project of another sort}, an anchor {to keep me grounded and signify my love for the ocean & boating}, and an evil eye {B and I have taken turns gifting each other many evil eye bracelets over the years}.
And then, finally, it was time to send up the balloons.
The happiest balloon that we ever did see!

On Sunday, a couple of pals and I headed up to Raymondskill Falls, a gorgeous hiking area in Pennsylvania that I frequented as a {nature-ambivalent} kid but haven't seen in about 15 or so years.
We paused for a peanut butter break at the top of the falls. Hard to tell from this picture but there's a good 30-40 foot drop beneath my feet. Eeep! 
Little baby mini falls near the middle falls.

Post-hike, the girls and I grabbed a delightful late lunch in sweet Milford, PA before heading home. I wrapped up my weekend with the new boo {who is currently working on coming up with a nickname he's comfortable with me using here. He's already — inexplicably — suggested Archibald, but we haven't come to a conclusion yet. Stay tuned!} It was another amazing summer weekend, and I have not one single little complaint.


Oh and in other news that you're really going to love, some fabulous ladies and I are working together to give YOU a pair of Tieks ballet flats! Check out the talented bloggers below for your chances to win. And know in your heart that I wish I was you so that I could also enter to win, because these flats are so on my wish list and SO not in the pre-move budget! Anyway, make sure you're following me on Bloglovin & Twitter for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What was the highlight of your weekend?

{ Linking up with Biana for another issue of Weekending!}

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday: The Sweet Life Edition

Sitting down to write this post, I realized it will be the last edition of Friday Favorites for July. August lurks just around the corner — and before we know it, summer will end, fall will be here, then the holidays, and just behind them, 2015. It does feel sort of strange to think that it's already more than halfway through the year, but for the first year in a long time, I'm realizing that I actually find things to be moving at a steady pace. Months aren't dragging along like they did in college, or whizzing by in the blink of an eye like they have been in the years since. I guess life is finally starting to just be what it is, ya know? Settling into a routine of change, if that makes any sense. No? Okay, we'll talk about it another day.

Thinking back on everything that's happened in 2014, and especially everything that's happened since my birthday, I feel really happy to say that 25 has really been a wonderful year so far for me, and certainly the best one in many, many years. Though that's all a post for another day, let me just say that while I'm narrowing it down to just five below, there are so, so many things that are making me smile these days — despite the job and apartment stress, believe it or not! Life is sweet when you let it be.
image via
1. Sunday night the new boo {I'm working on a formal nickname, gimme some time} and I trotted over to the Rutgers Agricultural Center and took a stroll through the gardens, almost accidentally crashed a wedding happening there, and then hung out with some goats. {I almost made a tacky joke about something something kidding something, but I didn't, you're welcome.} We capped it off with some Italian food and getting-to-know-you-better, don't-have-to-ask-for-them-now kisses. Name one thing better than that combo. Seriously, I'll wait...
{You can throw things at me if you want, I totally understand. If it were anyone other than me behing these obnoxious displays of affection, I'd be nauseous too.}

2. I had a "moment" on Monday. See, I'm moving out of my apartment that I've called home for the last two years at the end of next month. And in spite of/because of the fact that I found my current place's posting, met the landlord, looked at the place, met the roomie, forked over all my cash and signed a lease in the space of about eight days, I would ideally like to know where I'm moving too with a liiiittle more time to spare this time around. Problem is, most landlords are still trying to lease for August and there just isn't a whole lot to be found.

So on Monday, in my panicked state, I went to look at a place a few blocks away — I told you a bit about this the other day. And while I at first had an oh-my-god-never-gonna-find-a-place-gonna-be-homeless freakout, I went for a run, cleared my head, and realized... I have plenty of time. And I have enough on my plate right now to reasonably set this house-hunt aside at least until after August 1, and just generally calm my shit down. It's been a pretty nice week since then.

3. The pile of deadlines and To Do's that I've been trying to crawl out from under all week has, no surprise, roughed up my training schedule a bit this week. I had to skip one run altogether, and rearrange a couple to accommodate my jam-packed weekend and a long run. I almost gave myself permission to skip last night's run as I worked to get edits done on Feather stories {you're gonna love 'em!}, but I decided I needed a break instead. About a mile into what should have been a simple-pimple, know-this-route-like-the-back-of-my-hand four-miler, I had to stop. Like, full-on stop. My left leg was acting like an asshole, to put it simply, and I thought about turning back around and calling it quits, justifying to myself that I just didn't want to risk injury.

Six months ago, that's exactly what I would have done. I would have hobbled on home, sat in an ice or Epsom salt bath and said that was all I could have done. But last night I gave myself a break, sat down, gave my shin and calf a 3-minute massage, and then beasted the next three miles. Yeah, it's like that, leg! Boom. I'm so cheesy, I'm terribly sorry. The point is, it was one of those moments that reminds me why I'm training for a half marathon, and why I laced up last night in the first place.

4. Generally, I cook for a couple of days at a time. I come from a big, food-obsessed Italian family — we don't know anything about cooking for one. Or portions. Or putting down the garlic. Anyway, I tend to cook about 3-4 times a week, making enough for a couple of lunches and dinners, and always have a couple of things to rotate with. Last night one of the dishes I tossed together was a super-duper simple new potato and green bean salad {that I didn't take any pictures of, but you can find a similar recipe for the look of it here}. It's a favorite this week not only because it is a delish, easy dish, but because it always reminds me of my grandmother whenever I or anyone, really, makes it. She had hundreds of specialties that she painstakingly prepared for us — the bow cookies, homemade sauce, meat and sweet pies at Easter, I could go on for ages — yet this little chilled side is still special to me. I really couldn't even tell you why, but as I chopped the potatoes and sliced red onion, I thought of her like I do everyday and felt a bit of comfort. As we approach the one-year anniversary of her passing, which is just weeks away now, any thought of her that brings a smile to my face rather than a tear is one I'll call a big winner for the time being.

{Our recipe — all measurements are eyeballed but feel free to use Paula's quantities if you'd like: 1. Chop potatoes into even chunks; boil til fork tender. 2. Cook green beans to al dente, shock in ice water when done. 3. Slice about half a red onion. 4. Begin to chill beans and potatoes, then combine all in a large mixing bowl. 5. Add enough olive oil to coat the mixture. Shake in salt, pepper, and dill to taste. If you're like me, shake on a little garlic powder too. 6. Serve chilled and bring as a cheap and easy side to every BBQ you're invited to for the rest of the summer.}

5. Sushi dinner date. Yum & yum.

And the smiles don't stop all weekend: Balloon Fest, a hike at a beautiful falls, hangs with the new boo thang AND I don't have to have Sunday Night Dread because who's off on Monday? This gal. {I'll be doing laundry and working on side projects, but whatever. Let me have this.}

Oh and psst — I've got another post up on the Feather Magazine editors' blog, Ruffled Feathers, today! 
I know you want to sneak a peek at what I've been doing elsewhere. :)

What was your favorite thing about this week? And what kind of fun are you up to this weekend??
Linking up with Amanda ++ Whitney ++ Lauren

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jumping the Gun

You need no introduction. It's Wednesday. It's Humpday. It's time for Humpday Confessions with Kathy. I confess...

Vodka and Soda

...I'm feeling stupidly giddy about the new dude in my life. Like, stupidly. It's been such a short time and I'm probably doing the absolute worst thing possible by putting this in writing, out here on the blog, but whatever. I'm smiling like an idiot all day every day. I'm an idiot. Check in with me in a month and smack me in the face if this goes south.
All the happies.
...Yesterday I found myself in traffic directly behind the person who broke my heart treated my heart like a chew toy for too many years. We haven't spoken in nearly a year and I don't anticipate that changing, but part of me was tempted to roll down the window and blast "Problem" as I sped past him with deuces up. Because I'm totally well-adjusted and mature.

...I have had absolutely awful time management skills the past couple weeks. I mean, it certainly doesn't help that the to-dos keep piling on and the time commitments keep growing longer and there's that whole I-want-to-spend-every-minute-with-you phase of new romanticals {gimme a break, I haven't fluttered like this in quite some time — let me just have this} and when you smoosh that all together and add in deadlines and promises and goal lists and apartment hunting and half marathon training, you get a giant mess of crap and a lady {that's me} who can't remember when she's supposed to be where and what she's supposed to be doing. I'm hoping to just kind of ride it out through the end of the summer and look back on the wreckage then. Maybe.

...I am absolutely BEYOND myself with anticipation for the relaunch of Feather Magazine. I was an editor for this fantastic online mag in the past before stepping aside when life got to be a little too crazy and the time was just right for me to pass the torch. {Is anyone sensing a biting-off-more-than-she-can-chew theme here? Whatever.} Then the mag took a brief hiatus, but we're so happy to announce that WE ARE COMING BACK! Our fearless leader, Editor-in-Chief/Founder Brianti has been painstakingly working to put the wheels in motion and we're back on August 11, baby! Okay, this isn't much of a confession — except the part where I'm damn near pee-my-pants happy about it and barely containing my urge to show you guys some of the awesome stories my girls are working on for the first issue. Sign up here to receive updates about the mag's relaunch and follow the editors' blog {I write there!} here for some tasty bits to hold you until the official launch. Eeeeep!

Your turn bbz, spill your weekly confessions and link up with Kathy because anything else would just be irresponsible today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rolling Around in the Noggin

Since I'm really doing quite terribly at this "being a blogger" thing lately, I thought it was time to call in reinforcements. And by reinforcements, I of course mean a link-up prompt. Today's apologetic-but-not-quite-good-enough post is brought to you by Juliette and her pals during a delightful little adventure called Blog Every Day in July.
The Other Juliette

I'm about to drop a big ol' shocker on you guys: I think a lot, even encroaching on what some would call "overthinking" territory. I KNOW ISN'T IT UNBELIEVABLE? Jay kay, that's been made pretty clear since day one here. And since my intelligence does have its limits {ANOTHER HUGE SHOCKER FOR YOU I KNOW I KNOW CONTROL YOURSELVES} I, unfortunately, don't have all the answers I seek. And those orphaned thoughts are...

The things that make me go "hmm..."

++ Why do mosquitos seem to be drawn exclusively to my below-the-hip half? I swear, every time I wear shorts — or hell, even pants and sandals — I come inside after as little as two minutes with a new archipelago of bug bites swelling into the size of golf balls on my legs or feet. It's so very attractive.

++ Am I actually as swift with the Command+Tab as I think I am at the office, or are my bosses actually fully aware of how much time I spend blogging, commenting, and Redditting during the day and are just not saying anything because I do an obscene amount of work regardless?
Painfully accurate these days.
++ Is it really possible that this new little romantical thing I have going on is actually so freaking new and yet I'm more comfortable with this person than I am with many people that I've known for years? And is it any coincidence {or red flag} that similar feelings came at such a pace last year with someone who turned out to be a great big ol' flaming bag of crap?

++ This is pretty much the first mention of my romanticals that's ever been here on my blog. And yet I've talked to you people about my back sweat. Is there any more evidence needed that the romantical life has been pretty unconsequential when not downright non-existent over the past couple months? Also if I have a sir to talk about occasionally here does that mean I'm allowed to be a Real Blogger now? #singlebloggerproblems

++ Whenever I see posts that I'm not promoting anymore or anything still getting a pretty solid number of hits daily {this one and this one, because I'm shameless like that}, I kind of go into panic mode wondering where they're being shared/have been sent/getting clicks from. And this makes me go "hmmm," and then it makes me go hide behind the couch.

++ HOW IN GODS NAME ARE THE OWNERS OF THE APARTMENT I SAW LAST NIGHT ASKING FOR SO MUCH FOR THAT TINY, DINGY, 100% SLOPED-CEILING SPACE?? As if that wasn't bad enough, the realtor showing me the digs mentioned the {owner-occupied — not ideal, but not a deal-breaker} first floor is home to a couple with four kids and then I noped right the hell out of there. BYE.

Seeing as my blog is basically a{n almost} daily collection of things that make me go "hmmm," I'm throwing on the brakes right here because I just got in from a run and I need a shower before the health department comes knocking on my door. How's that for a Tuesday morning thought?

What makes you go "hmmm?" Linking up with Juliette — why don't you do the same?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday: The Fill-in-the-Blank Edition

Big thanks to Erin for taking the leg work out of today's post. I present to you, my inaugural Blogmopolitan Quiz:
Forgive me for the brevity today, but I've got a hot date to freak out over for the next 12 hours get ready for, so I'm linking up with Erin for some more get-to-know-me fun & my lady Whit to get this slow dance out of my system.

{LOVING this song & album <3}

What are you up to this weekend? I hope it's perfect.