New York City Part 1

Christmas in New York! It’s been on my bucket list since…well since I started a bucket list. It’s iconic. It’s the picturesque American Christmas – from Macy’s flagship store to the Radio City Rockettes. Everything about New York at Christmas is magical.

To be completely honest, I was a bit of a Scrooge this season. I decorated my Christmas tree in my apartment, I put up lights around my balcony, I hosted my company’s Christmas luncheon, but something just felt off. I wasn’t feeling the magic. I wasn’t counting down the days or humming Christmas carols non-stop. But New York swooped down and saved my Christmas cheer at the last second. From the moment we came out of the train station, I knew a blast of cold air and larger than life Christmas decor was exactly what I needed. My best friend from high school and I had been planning this trip to New York since the summer. We took the train up from Charlottesville and arrived in New York City around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon the week before Christmas. Within an hour and a half, we were situated in our cozy little hotel room listening to Christmas music and planning our first night out. First things first, we had to the see the Tree! Keeping within five blocks of our hotel, we saw some of the most incredible and fun decorations that had me asking, “Where do they store all this stuff after Christmas?!”  There were giant red ornaments hanging out in a fountain on one block and a giant string of colored lights laying out on the next one. Giant nutcrackers were just waiting to have their picture taken and thousands of lights were twinkling at you from every tree. While making our way to Rockefeller Center, I experienced the closest thing to the Grinch’s heart growing at the end of Dr. Seuss’s awesome little tale.

Balls

After making it to the Rock, we witnessed a proposal on the ice and shuffled our way to the end of the plaza to grab the elusive picture of the angels and Christmas tree. At this point, I said “y’all” to a nice couple who took our picture. I am from the South and not ashamed! We then decided that we would rather visit the Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State Building. I’ve done this once before, and I’m so glad we went through it again. It was so full of history and all I could do was marvel at the pictures of the building being built. It blew me away that they could build something that amazing without the technology we have today.

The rock

After scoping out the city from a bird’s eye view, we decided to eat as locally as possible. We found this little restaurant/bar and ordered typical American bar food and it was delicious. Warm, soft pretzel bites and cheeseburgers speak to my soul and my soul was singing happily that night.

That’s all for now. I’ll write more about day 2 and 3 soon!

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How I Know I Will Fail at One or More Resolutions in 2013

I don’t make new year resolutions. I don’t because I know without a doubt I will break them. However, I decided 2013 is going to be the Year of the Resolution! My resolutions are:

Eat healthier
Exercise frequently and purposefully (no wimpy little mile-long walks anymore)
Say yes to new things
Give up people pleasing
Read 75 books

I can already tell you I will fail at number 1. How do I know this? Am I a fortune teller? Can I predict the future? Well I am wearing a fierce, sparkly cardigan today that could cause people to think I was those things. But the real reason I know I’m going to fail is because I’m fantasizing about Papa John’s pizza. My sister and I used to live together (no, not when we were forced to by our parents – our last year of college), and we had a Sunday night tradition. We would order a large Papa John’s pepperoni pizza and an order of Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks and watch Grey’s Anatomy or Army Wives. Which usually resulted in Abby sobbing uncontrollably. I even had a bad habit of ordering breadsticks when I had a bad day when I lived with Kara. It was so bad that she would come in the door and ask what was wrong as soon as she saw the greasy, buttery box.

Anyway since we both are away from our significant others, Abby and I are spending New Year’s Eve together and in her words, “We can order Papa John’s and start our new healthy diets tomorrow.” So that’s what we’re doing…and I’m currently fantasizing about what toppings I can put on my pizza. I might even have the Papa John’s menu open in a tab on my browser. Don’t judge me.

sparkles

 

Told you I look like a fortune teller today.

Happy last day of 2012! I don’t think I could be any happier to see this dreadful year go. I thought I would actually discuss Christmas 2012 during 2012 and then I’ll try to get to writing about my recent travels soon. I’m lazy – I can’t help it.

Christmas was good for my family this year! It was a little different without my Papa there, but we carried on. There was only one minor catastrophe — I forgot to hang up our stockings and leave a Diet Dr. Pepper out for Santa! I think that’s a surefire sign that I lead a boring, dull adult life now. I mean who forgets to hang their stockings?! I didn’t even get them out of the basement. Santa had to leave our stocking stuffers in a Marshall’s bag. Ol’ Santa Claus is an adapter.

I hope your Christmas was just as wonderful. Mine was full of love, laughter, and a few tears. Oh, and this ballin’ Kitchenaid mixer.

Who wants cookies?!

Mixer!

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Y’all…I’m about to go on a rant about my new favorite thing. My lunchbox! I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that my life must be pretty boring if I’m thrilled about a lunchbox, but it is amazing. First things first – it was a Christmas gift from my wonderful grandmother. Meme has tried her best to instill in Abby and I how important it is to pack our lunches. She worked for over 50 years and packed her lunch almost every day. When she retired, she calculated at $5.00 a lunch, she saved about $40,000. Now that’s over the course of 50 years and not adjusted for inflation. However, I have a bad habit of walking over to the student center on campus and buying sushi that runs around $6.99 and with a soda, my total is usually in the $8-10 range. So say I eat sushi for lunch twice a week – that’s around $850 a year. It’s ridiculous when you add it all up.

Back to the lunchbox – it came disguised in a brown zippered insulated bag that looks like a purse. At first glance, I was like “Oh, no thank you. I just bought a stylish bag that will double as a lunch box.” Then I opened it up. Inside was the most perfect lunch container. My little OCD heart was just a fluttering away. It’s a Fit & Fresh container that’s really three containers in one. It’s rectangular and the main container can hold up to 8 cups, then it has two 1 cup containers for sides and snacks, and finally a slim-line ice pack that will snap into the lid or sit in the middle of the container. You can find more information here (but sadly they’re sold out at the moment!).

So for lunch today, I filled the bottom of the big container with lettuce, Parmesan cheese and croutons, locked the ice pack in the middle, and added the two mini containers (holding hard boiled eggs and grapes, respectively) on top of it all. It was perfection in a box if I do say so myself. Happy lunchtimes everyone!

Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas! It’s back to work for me tomorrow and I’ll start updating regularly. I have some lofty goals for 2013 and my dad suggested blogging my way through them. I’ll save that for another post though! I hope your Christmas was filled with love, laughter, and the happiest of hearts. Christmas

Favorite Christmas memories…

Christmas time’s a comin’
Christmas time’s a comin’
Christmas time’s a comin’
And I know I’m goin’ home

If you didn’t sing that to yourself, then you, my friend, did not have the privilege of growing up in the South. I don’t think I can remember a Christmas when that song wasn’t sung by somebody. When I was younger, they always sang it at my dad’s business’s Christmas party. Then I remember my wonderful Papa always singing it on Christmas Eve. More recently, Abby decided to tackle the project. I have a video of it, but I won’t torture the Internet world with it.

I just thought I would share some of my favorite Christmas memories to get in the spirit of Christmas. This year will be a little different without my Papa around to say “Y’all do too much” after ripping into his presents like a 5 year-old, and it will be a little sad since it’s the last Christmas with my sister in the same house on Christmas Eve (happy engagement, Abs!).

My favorite Christmas gift:

If you asked what my most favorite Christmas present has been…I would have to narrow it down to three. The first one being my very first iPod. Oh man, I thought I was so cool. It remember the ultra hip, completely square box it was packaged in. Looking back, that thing was a brick but it was amazing. I don’t even think I knew what an iPod was before I opened it, but I haven’t been without my earbuds since (and that was like 2002). The second best present ever is a polka-dotted pair of soccer cleats. I know, I know…who gets excited about soccer cleats?! Apparently, I do. They were black with multi-colored dots all over them. I was so surprised. My mom had my coach lie to me about not being able to wear them, and when I opened them my first words were “But coach said I couldn’t wear them!” At the time, no one but my family appreciated the Leah-flair that I have/had going for me, but by senior year everyone commented on my sparkly head band and my cleats. Referees are still asking my dad how his daughter who had polka dotted soccer cleats is doing. Last but not least, my third favorite gift was from my grandma and it was a beautiful purple cocktail dress from this swanky boutique in my hometown. When Meme asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told her something magical. And magical it was.

Most traumatic gift ever:

A singing bear. Not just any singing bear…a singing bear who’s lips moved! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still slightly terrified by this gift. My Meme gave it to me (though she swears she doesn’t remember it) because it sang “I Hope You Dance”…yeah, I’m pretty sure it secretly sang “I’m going to murder you in your sleep!” It’s still hanging out in my closet at home…just waiting for the perfect moment.

Favorite tradition:

Growing up has been stupid…especially at Christmas. I mean all my life, I’ve had two weeks to a month off from school. Now I get to work right up until Christmas Eve. However, my favorite tradition always happens on Christmas Eve so “the man” can’t take that away from me! For Christmas Eve, my family and I always go to the candle light service at our church and then we grill steaks at my parents’ house. After dinner, we usually play cards and talk about where Santa might be. Yes, we’re 22 and 25 and we still talk about Santa. If you don’t believe in Santa, you get underwear.

I hope you have an incredibly cheerful and memorable Christmas!

Top Ten Christmas Songs

Just a quick list of my favorite holiday songs!

1. White Christmas – Bing Crosby

2. Same Old Lang Syne – Dan Fogelburg

3. O Holy Night – Glee Cast (don’t judge)

4. When Love Came Down – Point of Grace

5. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayla Peevey

6. Merry Christmas Baby – Colbie Caillat & Brad Paisley

7. Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen

8. Not That Far From Bethlehem – Point of Grace

9. The Gift – Jim Brickman

10. Melekalikimaka – Bing Crosby

You can find my Spotify playlist here: http://www.facebook.com/music/playlist/Christmas/451738498207151

Happy listening, friends!

Ode to a pizza

Y’all…I love food. I’m not joking or being ironic – I seriously love food. I spent years four through twenty-one being a little punk who was picky about everything. My food couldn’t touch. My crust had to be cut off. And you didn’t even think twice about ruining a peanut butter sandwich with jelly when it came to me. Yes – I was the kid who kicked jelly out of the PB&J club. Actually I still am that kid. Jelly is the worst thing ever.

Back to the topic at hand: Aunt Millie’s Cheeseburger Pizza.  Now I don’t have an Aunt Millie, nor did I mistype when I said “Cheeseburger Pizza”. It is literally a cheeseburger in pizza form. If you’re ever in Milton, North Carolina – go to Aunt Millie’s and order one. I guarantee you’ll seriously consider marrying a pizza by the end of the meal.

pizza 1

(Yes those are pickles on the top of it – don’t question it.)photo 3

My mouth is watering. Off to find some more amazing food to promise to love and cherish until I finish eating it!

I’m terrible at blogging…

My poor, poor lonely little blog. I’m sorry I’ve neglected you. Although I’ve come to the realization that only my family members read this and they must be entirely out of things to read because everyone mentioned something about my blog today.

I’m sorry I left you in November. It’s not that I’m not thankful — I just got crazy busy and well…my internet was out. So here’s a quick update:

  • I cooked Thanksgiving dinner.
  • I met a new fella (I won’t elaborate…I don’t want you to get attached to him and then it not work out.)
  • I went to Las Vegas for work! (Not a fan…)
  • I got a promotion.
  • I discovered Grumpy Cat! (Seriously…Grumpy Cat is my spirit animal.)
  • I earned an A in my second MBA class.

And that’s about it. Wednesday I’m off to New York for a few days with one of my favorite people in the entire world. Then I get to spend the holiday with my family. I’m so incredibly blessed. I can’t even wrap my brain around it. Thanks for hanging in there. I promise to write more soon!