About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas - Happy New Year - See You in 2016!

Well - this will be my last post of 2015 - we are off to London tonight and there will be some silence on the blog for the ten days we are gone. So, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year!

If you'd like...you can imagine me taking in the sights and sounds of London - which I'll fully recap in the early weeks of 2016! Until then...

I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for me; I can't wait to experience more of my unfolding life story and share it with all of you!

Watson Wednesday

The sweetest little creature under the tree.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Headspace

Or - what basically amounts to me rambling about a million different things because that's where my head is at present and I feel like yesterday was such an epic fail when it came to an actual post about things.

Like I said - yesterday was absolutely crazy. I have mad crazy anxiety about flying, work was one stress after another, there was the great shoe fiasco of December 2015 and I really wanted to talk about how awesome our showing of Star Wars was on Friday night and how delightful our jaunt into DC was on Saturday - but the day was just too much and I almost cried about five times yesterday and so it just couldn't happen. 

Do you see what I mean? I'm absolutely 100% wound up and a large percentage of that is related to flying - because y'all, I'm not a fan. It's essentially what amounts to be crammed into a large aluminum can and tossed across the sky - so; not really my thing. Remember before how I've mentioned I'm not like the rest of my family? Yeah - they love the airplanes - so much. And I'm over here like "where are my meds...I need those meds...oh my goodness, all the meds..." Moving on...


Y'all - we saw Star Wars on Friday night and I just loved it! I will not hesitate to tell you that I am a big ol geek...dork...nerd...whatever you want to call it. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...my Dad would pull out the original Star Wars trilogy on rainy Sunday afternoons and we'd watch them. I was also trained in the ways of the Force by using wrapping paper tubes as light sabers; my Dad can make a pretty epic imitation of a light saber and so - we were all set. I trained up my little sister to be strong in the ways of the Force and we've been geeking out in tandem for the past few weeks leading up to the release of Episode VII.

I want a Halloween costume this cool. Granted, if it was this cool I'd want to wear it more than Halloween.
I bought our tickets way back in late October and was spared the pain of waiting in line by my friend Jennie, who got in line at 3 PM for the 6 PM showing...and was the 30th person in line at 3 PM. I got off work at 5, cruised up the road to the theater and stood in line with her for all of five minutes before we were let into the theater. The experience was so great because the people at the theater really went all out - the manager (I'm assuming) would pop in every few minutes and loudly announce "twenty-nine minutes until episode VII" and everyone would cheer. About thirty minutes out, in came a Storm Trooper, Kylo Ren and Rey...and everyone was invited to come down and take pictures...which my friend Jennie and I did immediately. I may or may not have told (in full nerd admiration) them "you look amazing". 

And oh my - when the first few notes of that familiar theme song swelled - I was hooked, as always. My theater was filled with fans and so when the Millennium Falcon appeared, everyone cheered. There were gasps and claps at all the right moments...when Han and Chewie came on screen, everyone was (rightfully so) elated. I thoroughly enjoyed all 2 hours and 15 minutes of my experience and I cannot wait to go see it again. Because yeah - I plan to do that.


We spent Saturday in DC - there is so much to see in DC on any given day and during the Christmas season that is certainly no exception. Our first stop - well wait, let me back up - we ate lunch at the Green Turtle and I proceeded to do one of the most ridiculous things ever. I got a cup of chili as my started and it arrived with jalapenos on it...or as our server called them: ja-lop-i-noes. I picked them out, one by one...because I dare not let them touch my mouth...and then, I licked my fingers! Oh, what a moment of failure that was...there was not enough liquid in the world to take care of the burn and my parents were absolutely cracking up. You're welcome family - glad to provide entertainment.

The DC Holiday Market
Perhaps you'll notice these pictures look better - and that would be because I took my brand new and shiny, real deal Panasonic Lumix camera into DC to take pictures. And yep, I do love that new camera. It will work just fine in London. Just fine. What won't just fine are the Tommy Hilfiger all weather boots that I got thinking they'd be perfect for the London temperatures and weather - only to take them on a test "drive" on Saturday and end the day with blisters all up the back of my heels. Enter the great shoe fiasco of December 2015 that had me running all over town yesterday to try and find something that would work instead of the boots. *sigh* I did find shoes though - so rejoice.

US Botanical Garden - all done up for Christmas!
US Botanical Garden - all done up for Christmas!
We wandered all through the US Botanical Garden - which is a warm spot indeed. It might be 30 degrees outside and the wind is whipping around your face and you want to seek warmth as soon as possible - but hang out in the Botanical Gardens for about ten minutes and you'll be wanting to head back outside. Seriously though - the Botanical Gardens are absolutely beautiful and if you're ever in DC; especially if you're in DC around Christmas, you should check them out.

US Botanical Garden - all done up for Christmas!
US Botanical Garden - all done up for Christmas!
The rest of the day was spent taking in the National Tree and checking out the decorations at the Willard Hotel, having dinner with some long time family friends and checking out the National Zoo's Zoo Lights - which were a real delight. Granted; they'd probably have been more delightful if I didn't have blisters on my heels...but hey, you have to keep on trucking, you know? I will say that as much as I loved my day in DC, I also loved getting in my bed at 11 that night...but that probably has a whole lot more to do with me absolutely loving my bed, ha-ha!

The Willard Hotel - absolutely gorgeous tree, right?
The National Tree - 2015
The White House - All decked out.
Zoo Lights 2015


And now, here we are...a little over forty-eight hours until my family boards a plane bound for London. I'll be honest; the excitement for me will have to be forthcoming, and I don't say that to sound ungrateful or downright strange. I don't like flying so much and this will be the longest flight I've been on in...well, forever I suppose. 

I try not to get too stressed out about it but I guess that's just how I'm wired. I was born into a family that love airplanes and think flying is all a delightful part of the vacation experience...and I'm over here like "I'll just be glad when we get there...talk to me then.." Eek! 

I don't know what you'd call this, but way back in late November I started to worry (I know - it's a problem) and while out walking the dog, I was talking to Jesus and I just said "listen - from here on out, when I'm walking the dog at night...just show me three airplanes. Each time, three airplanes." Now, that's not really a huge request to ask of the Lord when I live an hour from DC, two hours from Baltimore and so close to three huge airports...but it was my request. And of course, without fail I've seen three (or more...usually more...) airplanes winging their way safely across the sky each night; except when it was cloudy, then I'd hear them but not see them and not think too much of it.

Yesterday was kind of nightmarish - I think I've mentioned that more than once. I went out to walk Watson last night and the sky was overcast; the moon was an almost completely blurred haze, a pinprick of indiscriminate light in the sky and I resigned myself to not seeing anything in the sky. But then...out of the clouds came one airplane...cruising along. I was pretty tickled with that and went on about the business of walking the dog. I'd seen a plane; that was enough for the overcast evening, right? Nope. A moment later, from another direction...here came a second airplane...through the clouds and on it's way to it's destination. And if you've guessed where this is going, good job. Because sure enough - just moments later a third plane came along...I could hear it first and then, it broke through the cloud cover; it's light merrily flashing as if sped on it's way... 

This has nothing to do with the story - except that he seems awfully calm...& at peace...& he's so cute.
Was that the Lord's way of telling me to chill out? To trust that everything is going to be alright? I'd like to think so, but I'm big on doubt and so I immediately hear those voices nagging me in the back of my mind. I'm trying to banish those voices as the days pass and our flight(s) draw closer...and if you think about me and those voices, feel free to say a little prayer for me...for our family and safe travels. I'll appreciate it - even if I never know you're praying. 


So - there you have it. The wild ramblings of my mind for the past few days. I'm trying to calm down, take in all the joy these days leading to Christmas will provide. To take in each moment of our trip to London - even the parts that aren't necessarily my favorite. Please don't take my musings on my fear of flying as me being ungrateful - I am SO excited to go to London. It's quite literally a dream come true and I can't wait. I just wish my Hogwarts letter had arrived and I'd learned how to apparate by now! Ha! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

This is Essentially A Photo Dump....

....because if I'm being honest, this day has been some kind of hectic, stressful and nerve-wracking. I don't have the brain function to string thoughts together today, so what I'm giving you is a whole bunch of pictures I took the past week...perhaps just posting this will serve as a brief point of decompressing for the day?

My childhood teddy bear, discovered somewhere in some box on Monday evening....

Cruising along...the mountains a blur out of the corner of my "eye"

The before & after of my rather dramatic hair transformation. Yes - it's RED. I know. 

I loved it immediately & took about ten pictures...as did my hair stylist. Love.

The most delightful package arrived on Wednesday - and with it, a note letting me know something even more delightful would be arriving in March - baseball tickets!

It's red y'all.

This sweet face - always doing something that makes me want to squeeze him.

I know - up close of my toes - what a weirdo. Isn't that snowflake amazing though?

Star Wars business casual on Friday - because...DUH.

Why yes - I did race down to the front of the theater to have my picture taken with the Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren & Rey - because not that deep down (it's not deep at all) inside, I'm a nerd.

A special Star Wars menu...my delicious Imperial Red & me being a little TOO excited  about the first Star Wars movies in ten years...

The sweetest little puppy sitting under the Christmas tree.

When my Mom says "your hair looks purple" - um...no, it doesn't.

Just a wee sampling of the decorations at the US Botanical Garden for Christmas.

Seriously - aren't these amazing?

A wee ice skating rink in the midst of the National Gallery Sculpture Garden!

I honestly have no clue - it was in the middle of the road & I liked it, ha-ha!

Zoo Lights - how cool? The zoo is all lit up, some of the animals are still awake & to me, that's a pretty good situation right there.

The cutest Fennec Fox ever, asleep. He was sending subliminal signals - get out of the Small Mammal House...

Two of my favorite small people...singing solos at church...and my phone camera turned them orange & blurry. Blegh.

Amelia says "this is MY human now...go find another for yourself..."

What's that Watson? You think my macaroons from the DC Holiday Market should be yours? Um - no.

These faces - always mean muggin; and she still looks cute!

Three spoiled rotten little sweethearts.

The best choice for a Christmas seat? The Star Wars bucket; obviously.
So - there you have it. A whole bunch of pictures, not a whole lot of stories. Sorry about that, but today has just not been it. Whoosh.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Five on Friday

Friday is here - I don't know about you, but this week absolutely sped by - I can't believe it's already Friday! I also can't believe this time next week; not only will it be Christmas, but I'll be celebrating in London! Wow. 

Anywho - here are five things on my mind today...on this lovely December Friday!

One. Star Wars! Star Wars opens today (I guess it technically opened at 7 last night...) and I'll be parking my butt in a seat at the theater tonight at 6 to watch "The Force Awakens". I'm SO excited and I even wore my very festive Darth Vader in a scarf shirt to work today! I can't believe it's been ten years since the last Star Wars movie came out...and to think, I certainly thought that would be the last Star Wars movie I'd be seeing! Only 8 hours and some minutes until my movie starts...and yes - I have a countdown on my phone. Are you seeing Star Wars this weekend? Have you already seen it?

If so - May the Force be with You!

So. Excited.

Two. Pedicures in Winter...not something I've ever thought too long and hard about; they don't seem to last very long when you wear closed toe shoes. However, when my boss offered to send us all to get pedicures this week as a Christmas gift...who was I to say no? My toes are now a brilliant, sparkly red and one looks like a wee Christmas gift, while another has a delicate bejeweled snowflake. They're pretty impressive - I just wonder, how long will they last since the temperature has dropped back into the 40's and open toe shoes would look insane? Ha!

The blurriest picture in the history of pictures. Oops.

Three. London/Packing...of course, London is on my mind. What to take? What not to take? Will it all fit in my suitcase? Who knows? I found the most adorable shearling vest at Target last week and I had to pop back in to get it this week....because it will look so cute in London! My Mom's response to this? You know you can only pack so much, right? *sigh* I do know...and I've got to weedle things down. Wish me luck as I cram...ahem, pack my suitcase in the coming days. I'll need it.

Four. Christmas Cards, on my mind last week in a bad way...on my mind this week in a good way. I addressed and sent mine on their way at the start of this week and I've heard from a couple people who've already received theirs. I will admit; while I like this card, I don't love it as much as I would have loved the one I originally designed...but Wal-Mart failed me and considering Staples stepped up in only three hours...I suppose this one is just as good. Excuse the (yet again) blurry picture...and please note how I also cut off my Mom in the bottom left when taking this picture...of a picture...

Another insanely blurry picture - I'm batting 100 today.

Five. Fitness has failed this week y'all. I'm being 100% honest. We had dinner and a birthday celebration on Monday night that didn't end till almost 9...I was getting my hair done on Tuesday and didn't get home until 7:30...and after that, well I don't really have an excuse. I think I've resigned myself to taking a "break" until Christmas. I know we'll walk from here to forever when we're in London and once we're home again, I'll kick it back into gear. Tis the season, right? *sigh*


So - there you have it! My Five on Friday. You can join up too - just post about five things that are on your mind and share with everyone. You can link up with the ladies from A. Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm...and with me as well!

Happy Friday to everyone - and May the Force be with You! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Remember Happiness

The world seems like such a daunting place these days - it seems there are upsetting, unsettling and just downright horrible things everywhere you look. I will readily admit I'm not a fan of watching the news - ever - it just always (almost) seems to focus on the negative and no one needs that much negative all the time!

All the negativity got me thinking about the positive things in life that outweigh the negative and I think; when things get scary or sad or life just seems a little bit overwhelming, maybe thinking about all the things...or even just some of the things...that make you happy; that's good.

When I feel like the world is a horrible place..I think about these things...they make me happy...

  • When my sweet puppy decides to snuggle with me
  • Getting random text message from my sister that say "yo"...because I'm supposed to respond with "ho" (get your brain out of the gutter) and then we both complete the song...yo ho, a pirate's life for me!
  • The smell of a book
  • Decorating all my calendars (yes, I have more than one...) with colorful pens...just like I did in high school
  • The sight of the sun peeking over the edge of the mountains each morning
  • The feeling of accomplishment that comes with pushing myself to go just a wee bit further on my walk/jog
  • The twinkle of Christmas lights
  • Holding a sleeping baby...especially a little chunky one...
  • Coffee! More than one cup of coffee makes me VERY happy
  • Going to run errands with my Mom and realizing how wonderful it is to be friends with my Momma; how wonderful it is to just enjoy doing "mundane" things with her
  • Knowing I'm kind of the oddball in my family...
  • My job
  • Friends; an area I'm abundantly blessed
  • Discussing the merits of the Dark Side with Jimmy; he's convinced bad guys are more fun...
  • Riding the Metro into DC...which mostly makes me happy just because I can do it whenever I please...
  • Shoes
  • And purses...oh my, purses
  • Waking up before my alarm and just taking "it" all in
  • Unpacking from a trip, savoring the memories made...but also savoring the joy of being home
  • Opening a brand new lip gloss
  • Any & all aspects of Nationals baseball
  • Knowing "useless" nerd information about things like Star Wars, Marvel/DC comics & Harry Potter...
  • Getting my hair done; especially when I step out of my comfort zone...
  • Cooking
  • My Dad and his goofy sense of humor...

Okay...I'll stop at 25. I'm blessed; I could list things that make me happy all day long. I hope you can too.

And perhaps when you're feeling the pressure of this oh so stressful world, you'll make a list of your own and it will make you happy. My list makes me happy. And...I guess that's 26!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Is It Still Brunch at 12:15?

This past week - is it really over already? I don't think I can wrap my head around how quickly these last few weeks (days really...just 17 days...) of this year are flying by! Granted, as I type this late on a Monday afternoon, a part of me can believe it.

This day has whipped by so quickly that I look down at the clock and cannot believe it's already after 4 PM! What in the world?

And now it's Tuesday morning - so obviously Monday went ahead and got away from me and I didn't have time to do this. The past week was filled with so much good though and I guess I didn't want to skimp on the week's delightfulness...which, you're welcome. Also, apparently delightfulness isn't a word. Well - it is for me today.

Certainly not the worst way to start a Monday morning...the view is NOT bad at all.

Tuesday work excitement....of a sort....
Monday was business as usual but Tuesday was where things got interesting...especially after lunch. I returned from lunch and only minutes later, a cop came into our office and asked if anyone would be going in and out the back door because it was currently marked off as part of a crime scene!!! What. I didn't think to ask what kind of crime scene because I was too busy processing that part of the office had been marked off as a crime scene... So. That happened. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to peer out the window(s) of the office and see what unfolded...in a way that was inconspicous. I'm sure we were completely obvious and we became more so when we realized there was a hearse parked outside the office. The crime scene excitement came to a halt when we watched a body bag being loaded onto the hearse and things got a lot less exciting and a lot more stressful/upsetting when we realized someone had lost their life.

Trying to be a member of CSI - although I'm 99.9% certain this is chocolate...or something...
Up until Wednesday morning, we were under the impression that someone had been murdered because we didn't see any other way the area would have been marked off as a crime scene. We all imagined up a million different scenarios but sadly, the reality was that someone in the house next door to our office took his own life. We all felt pretty poorly for watching everything unfold the day before....so...there's that tale.

The biggest (little) bum I've ever seen in my life.
Because what do you need less than a week after a cookie swap? More cookies!
Thursday was my Mom's birthday (happy birthday Mom!) and I scooted out of work early so we could head into DC and witness the gloriousness (also not a word) that is Trans Siberian Orchestra. Let me tell you, with all the lights and sounds and things...I wasn't sure where to look and sensory overload is probably a pretty accurate description of what to expect if you attend a Trans Siberian Orchestra concert. Having said that - it was pretty much one of the most epic things I've witnessed in my life. I'm so glad we went...even though, eehh...DC traffic y'all...especially at Christmas, that stuff is no joke. However, we survived the traffic, ate some delicious pulled pork in the Verizon Center (hehehehe) and then rocked out to Trans Siberian Orchestra...and then navigated the traffic back out of DC and home. Victory! I took about eleven thousand photos...but I spared you and only put about five below.

Being dazzled by all the lights...oooh....
So much to take in - where do you look? When do you look at what?
And when the ceiling looks like this...is it better just to stare up?
Wave your camera lights in the air...
Absolutely dizzying effect....sometimes literally, ha-ha!
Friday was a loooonnnggg day - mostly in part to not getting home from DC until almost midnight. Whoosh! Happily, the day passed pretty quickly...or maybe I should say the work day...the day itself seemed long. I don't mean that in a bad way, but you know - it was a day. My wonderful boss let us head out from work at 3:45 and so we were able to get going to dinner earlier than planned and found the most delightful hole in the wall called Sweet Nola's that has some of the best Cajun/Creole food I've eaten in a very long time. Oh my, it was tasty and the decor was all very...New Orleans-ish and the bearded waiter was also a delight. Ha. We finished the night out with a Christmas concert where I was tempted to throttle a toddler that decided to whack me in the head over and over with his program while his Mother whispered "don't hit the nice lady..." over and over. My Christmas spirit held me refrain - but y'all, it was a challenge to be sure. We got some Starbucks at 9 PM; I proceeded to pound mine like nobody's business and then we bought luggage at Belk and clothes at Old Navy...

See - long day.
And let's be honest - if it's not a bad view to start the work week, it's certainly not a bad view to end the work week.

Seriously - you'd think this bed belonged to him. It doesn't.
Some of the most delicious food I've eaten in a while. Yum.
My very own London Fog....to roll through the London fog...
Saturday was another one of those days just filled to the brim with things to do - but isn't that always the case with the Christmas season? I think it is...and while a part of me would like to just declare one year that all I'm going to do on the weekends is watch Christmas movies and not go to every party, event and outing...another part of me knows I'd miss it. I did get to start my Saturday sipping coffee and snuggling with Watson in the recliner, so that's always a good thing. Puppy cuddles are the best. I joined my Mom for the ornament exchange that her church's ladies ministry puts on each year and the food, games and company were all delightful - and I came out ahead on the whole ornament thing because I got two ornaments, not just one.

We do enjoy our Saturday morning snuggle sessions....
Outfit of the Day - because I love(d) my outfit, ha!
Ornament Exchange goodness. I got the two for one deal!
We spent Saturday afternoon doing the Strasburg Heritage Tour of Homes and while we were initially a little concerned; seeing as the first home was basically a little old ladies' house with one wee tree and lots of old pictures, the tour picked up from there and we were glad we'd decided to tool around town for the afternoon. A couple of the houses were absolutely amazing and I tried to convince my parents they needed to find a way to steal one from the couple that owned it and make it their own...I don't think they bought my suggestions though. I even made a friend at one of the houses - in the form of a cat, which is not the creature I usually gravitate toward but this particular cat reminded me of my very first and much beloved cat, Misty...and plus, it made it's way right over to me when I said hello - so there's that. The evening ended watching Holiday Inn and Two Weeks Notice...such random choices, I know.
Scenes from around the Strasburg Heritage Homes Tour
I made a new friend. His name was....no clue....
I personally think I need this house - minus the creepy little children pictures...
Taking it way back to the late 1700's for some decoration inspiration. 
I went to the early service on Sunday morning (why do I keep doing this???) and in tandem consumed about 24 ounces of coffee before 10 AM. I also went to Target twice on Sunday and if that doesn't mark a day with greatness, then I don't know what does. I met my parents at Wayside Inn for brunch (although we met at 12:15 and is it really brunch by that time?) and it was delicious and perhaps we'll go again in the New Year to see what other delightful things they have to offer. The chocolate cake was to die for - as were the potatoes and macaroni and cheese. They also had pretty impressive gingerbread houses...so, a good time was had by all. I took a Sunday afternoon nap, which I haven't done in a coon's age (hehehe) and then rounded out the evening by having dinner with my friend Katie at Hunter's Head Tavern. I'm like an old woman, so I was asleep by 9:30 because well, that's how I roll. So - yep!

Sunday brunch at Wayside Inn, complete with gingerbread houses!
A delicious peppermint martini to end the weekend....
Watson says "till later....pfffftttt!"
See - such a week! So many things happening and activities and what not. Can you believe there are only 10 days till Christmas (and London...if you're me...)??? I cannot. I feel like I have lots to do before Christmas Eve and just thinking about it makes my head spin... But alas, it will all get done, there will be goodness thrown into the mix and the days will keep passing at warp speed, I'm sure! So, until next time!