twenty-four.

Oh, little blog. You’re giving me quite the challenge this year. My last two birthdays, I offered wisdom and challenged myself…however this one kind of snuck up on me. It’s not that I didn’t realize I was about to turn 24, but I just have been swamped with doing this and that. This being finishing up class number 9 of my MBA program and that being preparing for everyone and their brother to visit Raleigh. I apologize, sincerely.

Instead, I’ve decided to make a list (surprise, surprise!) of 24 little things that I love about life.

  1. Being able to say “There’s nothing I really don’t enjoy about my job” 90% percent of my work days
  2. Waking up a few hours before my alarm and realizing I get to sleep a little big longer
  3. Knowing how to get to a destination without looking up directions or using Google Maps
  4. Going to Target with my mom 🙂
  5. Having Jasmine curl up in a ball on me and sleep
  6. Writing notes and letters and cards to people I appreciate and love
  7. Knowing keyboard shortcuts – seriously, how did I go 22 years without utilizing them?!
  8. Becoming an emotional ball with legs around holidays – (my money is on me crying at least twice today)
  9. Going to the gym and soaking up 45 minutes of uninterrupted “me” time
  10. Waking up to a thunderstorm and lightning
  11. The overwhelming feeling of joy and sadness every time I drive across the Virginia state line
  12. Having best friends who can complete my sentences even if we haven’t spent time together in months
  13. Being known as the “sparkly” one
  14. The satisfaction of cooking a really good meal
  15. Opening shipping boxes – even if they only contain textbooks, it’s still like opening a present
  16. Checking off things on a to-do list
  17. Planting flowers and enjoying them when they bloom
  18. Feeling the perfect amount of refreshed after a nap
  19. Eating a warm peanut butter sandwich – yum!
  20. Not wearing make-up and being able to rub my eyes
  21. Bear hugs from Shane ❤
  22. Earning an A on a paper that caused a huge amount of stress
  23. A successful trip to the grocery store – complete with grocery list that lists items in according to the layout of the store and saving over $25
  24. Riding with the car windows down on a Spring day

I do remember saying something about 24 random acts of kindness; however, my planning has been poor (along with my wee-little bank account) so that will have to stay put for now. I did scrub the floors, counters and buy flowers in preparation of the Virginia & West Virginia visitors this weekend. That counts, right?!

I hope your day is happy! 🙂

 

weekends in c’ville.

You may remember my lovely pal, Sarah. We went to New York City together last year at Christmas time. We’ve been friends for as long as I can remember and I absolutely love her to death. We’re like the same person in two different varieties. She is preppy, super outgoing, and bubbly; whereas, I’m more eclectic, introverted and quiet. But we both love to dance and laugh, we share an affinity for Dr. Pepper and buttered noodles from Noodles & Company, and we adore everything Kate Spade. She is definitely the blonde to my brunette. garland making

Anyway, I was long overdue for a visit to Charlottesville so off I went! I made a quick pit stop by my hometown and dropped my moozda off at the car spa while my mom and I decorated the family Christmas tree and basically made a big, giant sparkly mess in the house. Then off I went to Charlotteville on Friday night.

We went to this lovely little Mexican joint called Continental Divide where I had the most amazing veggie fajitas of my life. I don’t have a picture of this delicious meal because I was trying to not be “one of those” people who snaps photos of my food, but I completely regret it now. They were delicious and had snow peas and carrots! I mean I was in heaven.

fire

After a quick trip to Kroger to purchase the essentials – oreos, ice cream, Dr. Pepper, and firewood – we settled in for the night to catch up on girl talk and Netflix (we totally watched Russian’s Toughest Prisons, that’s just the kind of girls we are). Saturday brought with it a day of shopping and eating yummy foods, but the pinnacle of the weekend was Saturday evening. We settled in with our take-out, fire in the fireplace and flannel pajama pants and started making Christmas garland while we watched every Thanksgiving Friends episode, followed by Home Alone and Animal Hoarding. I swear, they just don’t make friendships like ours anymore.

love!(Abby was kind enough to let me see this picture but refuses to give me a copy until after Christmas!)

Sunday, I decided to drop in on the newlyweds since I hadn’t seen them since their wedding day. Of course I got put to work decorating, but I was so glad to see them since they won’t be home again until Christmas. When I finally made it back home to NC, I dropped off some treats for my fellas (boyfriend and puppy) and then settled into my apartment to decorate and watch White Christmas. What a weekend to remind myself how many things I have to be thankful for!

hohoho(Santa has made his first appearance at my apartment complex!)

turkey day.

For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been my favorite holiday followed closely by my birthday. For years, I tried to convince myself that I didn’t love Christmas and my birthday because I got gobs of attention, love, and presents, but I loved it because I got to hang out with my family. Well I can officially say that younger Leah was a total attention hog – I say this with completely irony because let’s face it, at 23 I’m still a big baby. I did (and still do) love those holidays because I got showered with love, attention, delicious food and shiny new toys. I loved the fact that I was the baby of the family and people were excited to be around me. However, it’s becoming more and more apparent that that whole “I love holidays because of family” means more to me now more than ever before. That’s why I must say that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Sure, Christmas will always be the most wonderful time of the year because of the warm, cozy feeling that’s all around, the beautiful trees (at least at my mom’s house), and the feeling that people are a little less mean and little more gentle with each other. But Thanksgiving is where it’s at. We are officially a week out from Thanksgiving 2013 and I could not be more excited to go home and celebrate it! The only pressure that comes with Thanksgiving is to not overcook the turkey and to wake up in time to watch the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There’s no expectation to give the perfect gift or better yet, to make the appropriate and expected reaction to a gift. There’s usually no forecasts of snow and/or ice to ruin travel plans. And most importantly, there’s no lingering since of disappointment at the end of the day that we didn’t get enough accomplished or we rushed the holiday completely. Instead, there’s nothing but full bellies, unbelievable amounts of love and laughter, and with any luck a well-decorated tree to send you off into the madness that is the Christmas season.

With all that said, I cannot express how excited I am that I get to see my favorite 8 people over the next week and that is all due to the wonderful carb-filled Turkey Day. I hope you’re just as excited too!

Zombie Survival Kit!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started seeing a new fella – the one who likes zombies. Well his birthday is today and I wanted to do something special for him. Being that we haven’t known each other too long and I’m known for going overboard, I decided to pick a silly idea and run with it. Thus, the zombie survival kit was born!

zombie 1What exactly is a zombie survival kit, you ask? A zombie survival kit includes all the things one would need in case of a zombie apocalypse. It contains fuel, rations, first aid, guide book, and if all else fails…condiments for your first meal of brrrraaaaiiinns.

This one had:

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
Twinkies
Beef Jerky
5 Hour Energy Shots
Granola bars
Zombie repellent (insect repellent)
Ghost chili hot sauce

zombie 2 He was pretty impressed by the creativity and said his new survival guide was going in the Zombie Jeep when he brings it back from West Virginia. Oh, boy.

He also loves banana pudding, so I made a compromise and told him if he cooked dinner last night, I would provide dessert.

banana pudding

I used:

1 package of Nilla Wafers
.75 package of French Vanilla pudding
.5 package of cream cheese
1 cup milk
.5 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 container of frozen, lite cool whip (thawed)
3 bananas

I covered the bottom of a glass dish with nilla wafers and slices of bananas. Then I mixed the milk and pudding mix in a small bowl until it was well blended (and resembled egg yolks). Using a separate bowl, I mixed the cream cheese and condensed milk together and then added the cool whip to it. Then I combined the two wet mixtures together and poured them over the wafers and bananas. I crushed the leftover wafers into powder and used them as sprinkles on top.

“On a scale of 10, I give it a 10/10 for presentation and a 11/10 for taste.” -birthday boy, after inhaling two servings

Happy Monday!

leah

 

best.day.ever.

Have you ever had one of those picture-perfect afternoons? One that you don’t feel restless or like you’re missing out on something else. Well I did yesterday (happy Labor Day to me!). It was one of those effortless afternoons that didn’t require a lot of planning or perfecting (maybe that’s what made it awesome, I don’t know). We went hiking at Raven Rock State Park and it was awesome – minus the sensation of early on-set asthma after climbing about 75 wooden stairs to get back to the trail.

Raven Rock 1

The trails are pretty easy and the views are incredible! It was refreshing to take in some vitamin D and fresh air. It was also pretty cool to hang out with the boy without technology interfering or worrying if my outfit was okay. Plus, he had to stop and pet every dog we encountered and I heard him say “howdy” to at least ten other hikers.  I think I’ve stumbled upon an outdoorsy type. He was rambling on about canoes and camping at one point – I tried to block it out.

boy

That picture is going to irk my mother and sister, who up until now probably thought he was a figment of my imagination.  Boyyy, the back of your head is ridiculous.

After hiking, we stopped at Sunni Sky’s and then finally found our way to the Aviator Smokehouse where I proclaimed, “I deserve man food!” I ordered pork tacos and was definitely the winner of the Who Ordered the Best Meal competition.

piggies

Happy Tuesday-masquerading as Monday!
leah

Boom!

Happy belated Fourth of July! I hope your holiday was filled with fireworks and cheeseburgers, just like our forefathers would have wanted it! If you’re lucky and have  today off, I hope you’re in the midst of soaking up four glorious days of doing nothing! I’m at work today, but my boss did graciously offer to let me have the day off. Unfortunately, there’s just too much to do around these parts but I do have a few minutes to let you know what I’m loving this week:

1. This livingsocial deal. I totally stole the idea from my aunt, and I snatched it up before I could talk myself out of it. It’s good for four aerial boot camp classes at Cirque de Vol studios in Raleigh. Basically it’s a cross between working out and moonlighting as an acrobat. Hopefully I don’t break anything!

2. This recipe for iced coffee from the Pioneer Woman. Hello, new addiction!

3. Fireworks!

Boom!

4. The awesome textures of the Community Market. I swear I’m going to get married in there one day.

Floor

5. Last but not least, these much-needed words of wisdom found on Pinterest:

Fire

Happy weekend, everyone!

Memorial Day.

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are all enjoying a nice, relaxing day…or if you’re anything like me, you’re rockin’ your white shorts for the first time this season! Unfortunately, I am at work while everyone else is off playing and enjoying the sunshine. Don’t feel sorry for me though! Since I have class tonight and I decided to work today and take my holiday on Friday to better prepare for my move on Saturday.

Speaking of the move, things are almost ready to depart Wisdom Drive and begin a new adventure. I jokingly told my mom that I needed to say farewell to my neighbor who I don’t really know but we exchange hello’s every time we see each other. He’s going to walk his adorable little puppy next week and wonder where the heck I ran off to.

Well I’m off to go for a brief walk outside. Oddly enough, my building is colder today than it usually is. I was totally prepared for the opposite! Happy Monday!

23 Things

Last year for my birthday, I listed 22 things I learned in 22 years. This year I want to spice things up a bit. The following is a list of 23 things I want to accomplish in my 23rd year. Wish me luck!

  1. Run in the Dirty Dan Dash
  2. Become responsible enough to own a pet
  3. Get a tattoo (I’ve been saying this for years)
  4. Learn to sew
  5. Read 100 books
  6. Watch my big sister get married
  7. Bake cakes for friends on their birthdays and accomplishments
  8. Pay off my last student loan!
  9. Learn how to make chicken fried rice
  10. Make my own sushi
  11. Run in a color 5K
  12. Start writing a book
  13. 52 Week Money Challenge
  14. Recycle more!
  15. Go on a spur of the moment vacation
  16. Take a painting class
  17. Embrace the Anti-Diet
  18. Take a dance class
  19. Cook dinner at least once a week
  20. Make a painting like Mia & her mom in Princess Diaries
  21. Re-read all of the Harry Potter books (gotta keep the kid in me alive somehow)
  22. Hike to a waterfall in North Carolina
  23. Become the most positive person I know

There you have it. Some of those are a little corny, some are a little ambitious, and some are practical. I think it’s a good mix for this kid at heart who’s being thrown into the adult world. Happy Friday!

Ain’t nobody got time for that…

It would be so easy to be a grump today.
It would be so easy to make snide comments and have a 24 hour pity party.
It’s so tempting to complain and whine about not having a valentine.

But you know what? I don’t have time for that. I have to spend today wearing hot pink tights and a dress with kittens on it. I have to make sure I get a full 8 hours in wearing this obnoxiously cute bow ring without injuring myself. I have about 25 people I need to tell that I love them and I think they’re extremely awesome.

So I’m sorry, Mr. Pity Party, I see you up there trying to rain on my parade, but I just don’t have time for that.

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!

P.s. If you’re feeling like a Scrooge, this should cheer you up (if it doesn’t, you have no soul):

New York City: Part 3….finally!

This is the third and final part of my trip to NYC at Christmas. You can find part one here and part two here. Thanks for hanging in there and waiting patiently.

Day 3 of our trip started with a short trip down 6th Avenue to the Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes’ Christmas show. Sarah and I both grew up in pink tights and leotards with the dream of one day being a Rockette. With the gorgeous costumes and their long legs, who wouldn’t want to be a New York City Christmas tradition for a living?! Plus our tap teacher, who struck fear in every dancer who came within ten feet of her, was a Rockette in her younger years. The show was phenomenal. It showcased the history of the show and ended with a living nativity scene complete with camels! Any show that puts not one, but two, camels on a stage is a show after my own heart. It was a magical hour and a half. If the traveling show comes anywhere close to you, you must go see it. You won’t regret it.

Sarah park

After the show, we meandered our way through Central Park. It was an overcast day, but it wasn’t too terribly cold and it wasn’t raining! We walked by Strawberry Fields, where two girls were laying in the middle of the Imagine mosiac for a photo op. Sarah and I might have judged them just a little bit…especially since one of the girls was wearing a white coat. Every Southern girl knows you don’t wear white after Labor Day, and you sure as heck don’t lay on the ground while wearing it!

From there we wandered up to a very popular spot for movies and tv shows to film. Sarah kept talking about Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Apparently this spot was where Kevin was trying to lose the bad guys. I think she seriously debated our friendship when I told her I had never seen it. Then we found the Boat House, or as we kept calling it “The Boat House! The one in 27 Dresses! That one!” I wish I was kidding about that, but I’m not. We decided to stop in for lunch and champagne. After all, the world hadn’t ended (it was December 21), we were both on break for the semester, and we had so much to celebrate!

After lunch, we walked to the Met to feed ourselves with some culture. I never quite know how to take art museums. I know I like them, but I’m not sure what to do with them. I visited one in London that I could spend days in, but I couldn’t pinpoint why I wanted to. I felt the same about the Met. It inspired me and overwhelmed all at the same time. There were pieces that didn’t phase me and there were some that shook me to the core.

met colors

Lucky for us, the Met was featuring an exhibit with Andy Warhol’s work. I love Warhol’s portrait of Jackie O. It’s my favorite, and I was so excited to see it in person. That exhibit also featured other artists’ work and it had some strange and unusual pieces. For instance, there was a mold of a male butt with human hair on it and a chainsaw covered in Chanel bags (Sarah’s favorite piece). Unfortunately (or fortunately), we couldn’t take pictures in that exhibit.

We ended our day back in Central Park where we found the Alice in Wonderland statue. There was an adorable family taking a picture of their baby girl on the mushroom, so we offered to take a picture of the whole family. This was another moment where I got to say “y’all” a lot. I’m sure they thought I was the nicest redneck they had ever met.

Alice

That night we made our way back to Macy’s and Bryant Park to purchase a few last minute Christmas gifts and stopped by a street vendor for a snack. The next morning, it was off to the train station to head back to Virginia (also known as the train ride from hell). I’ll spare you the gory details on that.  Our next trip is to Texas or Colorado — somewhere where a good “y’all” and cowboy boots are appreciated.