Monday, November 30, 2009

signature scent

Coco Chanel once said that "a woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." I'm a firm believer that every girl must have a signature scent. Scent is one of the strongest senses tied to memory. What better way to be remembered than by your perfume. I still think of my sweet Claire whenever I smell Ralph Lauren, Blue or my Aunt Jenny when I get a whiff of Oscar by Oscar de la Renta. Personally I've been wearing Chanel Coco Mademoiselle for close to six years. Funny thing is at the time I was looking for a Vera Wang scent but couldn't find it, the salesgirl suggested Coco Mademoiselle and I was sold...been wearing it ever since. So for those of you who haven't found your signature scent I encourage you to venture out the nearest department store and go scent shopping.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

weekend wind down

What a weekend. Even after four days off work I wasn't able to get half the stuff I wanted to do done, but I was still super productive and as a result I'm now exhausted and could easily fall asleep for the rest of the night. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

This weekend found me venturing into uncharted territory. I baked, tackled my dresser, and took part in Black Friday with all the other crazy women in Mobile. My mom recruited me to make reese's bars for Thanksgiving. Not gonna lie, I wasn't too happy about it, but made them with a smile on my face so mom wouldn't get mad. If anything I was able to wear my cute Anthropologie apron I bought a few weeks ago. Here I am making my best Martha Stewart impression. And not to toot my own horn, but the reese's bars were pretty good. They didn't even make it 'til the end of the weekend.

The day after Thanksgiving I woke up bright and early with my mom to head to Target. Other than when I worked retail I've only been out shopping on Black Friday once before and I vowed to never do it again. Well mama told me about a $250 TV at Target and I couldn't resist. We woke up at 4:30 and braved the cold. I had no idea the dedication these people had to get a sweet deal, and I'm now a believer. I got my TV and a $25 vacuum...I think I saved close to $300 that day.

The main project of the weekend was tackling my dresser. The drawers need one more coat of paint and I'm still looking for hardware, so stay tuned for the finished project. Here I am painting away, I think this dresser needed close to six coats...ugh. But it looks great, can't wait 'til it's complete.

In between baking and painting I tackled some more of my book. Sadly I will not complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. I only got up to 9,425 words this weekend. Perhaps I can tackle the National December Writing Month Challenge, the NaDecWriMo Challenge, if you will...doesn't have quite the same ring. Regardless, I'm determined to make it to 50,000 words.

We're starting to decorate for Christmas around my house and I couldn't help but to wrap my first gift for mama bear. We'll be decorating our tree tonight so I'll be posting pictures later this week. Hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend and that it's not too painful to pull yourself out of bed tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 27, 2009

a plug for the best

So my amazingly talented blogging bestie, Mary Grace, has decided to open her own etsy shop, be sure to check her out here. All of her prints will make great Christmas gifts!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thursday thanksgivings

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this day finds you surrounded by friends and family. Today, me and my blogging besties are doing a special edition of our Top 5 Fridays. Today we'll be doing "Thankful Thursday" where we list the top 5 things we're thankful for. Before I dive into the my blessings I want to talk about one of my most memorable Thanksgivings.

Whenever this holiday rolls around I can't help but to think of my dear friend Megan. In junior high we would send out Turkey Grams. It was little program held by the Student Council where you would buy a Turkey Gram and send them to your friends. It was always a treat to hear your name called out during your first period class (think back to that Mean Girls clip). Anyways, the week leading up to Thanksgiving was spent advertising Turkey Grams over the intercom. My dear Megan was tapped to make these announcements and after every plug should would say "Gobble, gobble." I can still hear it my head, and every time someone says gobble, gobble I can't help but to think of Megan.

Ok, so on to the thanksgivings...

1. My parents. I'd like to give a quick shout out to my step-dad, Bob. My parents got married ten years ago and we definitely had a rocky start, I hated Bob and didn't understand why I was not enough for my mom. Well fast forward ten years and I couldn't feel more blessed to have this man in my life. Bob, you have taken me in as your own and never treated me differently than your children, you have been more of father to me than my own and I will be forever grateful. And mama, thank you for a being a terrific, fantastic and fabulous mother. We have gone through some rough times but you were always there for me and I never missed out any of my childhood experiences. Thank you for everything you've given me and your constant support. I love you both very much!

2. My friends. God has blessed with amazing friendships. I am surrounded by people with whom I have deep and meaningful relationships. I feel like nothing is off limits when it comes to my friendships and its comforting to know that whatever I'm going through each of them will be there for me in their own way. Thank you all for your constant love and support, it means the world to me.

3. Max, Maddie and Ellie. For those of you who don't know me, these are my dogs. The unconditional love that a dog gives you has always amazed me. They're always so happy to see me when I get home and they're content with just sitting by my side. A few weeks ago I was sitting on the couch crying and my sweet Max could tell I was in pain and came and sat by me to comfort me. If everyone could have the loyalty and love that dogs have we would be a much better people.

4. My extended family. I come from a huge Italian family so my extended family is big to say the least. I was blessed enough to live within a 50 mile radius to my aunts, uncles, cousins, and the list goes on. I grew up going to the same school with my cousins, Ali and Danny. Weekday afternoons found me at the Tomcheck house where I was treated more like a sister than some distant cousin. I've always been thankful that I was never treated differently, Danny would pound me like I was a little sister and Ali would ignore me like a little was great! My family's moving to Mobile has put some distance between us but we are still all very close and keep in touch.

5. My job. Look around you, the economy is still in a terrible state of disarray. I know how it feels to be without a job so I feel so blessed to have a job with a company that I hope to grow with. I'm thankful for my short weeks and long three day weekends and my upcoming two week Christmas break :)

Remember to tell your friends and loved ones that you are thankful for them. Now on to the Turkey!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

stay tuned

So I've decided to take a cue out of the White Waxflower handbook and update this dresser.

This was my mom's dresser growing up and it used to have a terrible green finish. My grandpa stained it for her and gave it to her as a house warming gift. I love the wood finish but I'm more of a shabby chic kinda girl so I'm looking to paint it white and distress it. I'm hoping to tackle this project over the long holiday weekend. I've been looking at hardware at Anthropologie and I've narrowed it down to three knobs. Let me know which one you like best. Here's hoping I have an entirely updated piece to present to you next week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

a makeup must

Every girl must have this in her makeup bag. I was introduced to this product about a year ago and was actually a little skeptical but it was one of those trips when you pretty much buy all the makeup the salesgirl pitches. The eye potion acts as an eyeshadow primer that helps eyeshadow go on darker and prevents it from creasing. It's pretty much amazing. Be sure to grab this little guy at Sephora.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the mac is back

I've always had problems with computers. I seem to kill every one that comes into my possession. Most computers have close to a two year shelf life once I get a hold of them. And it always ends the same way...the hard drive crashes. I always figured it was because I owned a PC and they're prone to viruses, blah, blah, blah. Well I can no longer use that excuse because I was able to kill a Mac. I received my Mac Book two years ago and just last month I received this error message.

I was heartbroken to say the least. I knew exactly what had happened and the kind Apple folks were able to confirm that the hard drive had crashed. Pictures, music, word documents, all gone. And to make matters worse my warranty had expired a year before and the closest Apple store was four hours away. A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and took the computer in to be repaired and to my delight no charges were incurred! I still don't know how that happened but I refrained from asking any questions. I traveled up to Birmingham this weekend to get my computer and I was happy to say the least.

Now starts the tedious task of uploading all my pictures and music on to my computer. By now I'm an old pro so it shouldn't be too long of a task.

Aside from getting the Mac back I was able to visit with my sweet friend, Jill. We had a fun weekend filled with movies, good food and little 90210. Hoping everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

the lighter side of things

So I've needed a bit of change in my life for a while now. What better for a girl to do than change her hair a bit. In instances like this I would either chop it all off or go to brunette. Seeing as how I've been trying to grow my hair out for the last year and I really like being blonde, I couldn't go down either of those paths. So I asked my stylist to give me a "sexy" 'do. I don't know that I really pull off sexy all that well but my hair has definitely improved. My stylists gave me fun layers, short bangs, and super blonde locks. Behold...

a bucket list of sorts

Good morning and happy Friday! I want to take a minute to welcome my sweet friend Jill, she's new in town and just got her blog up and running last night. Jill will be joining me Grace on Must Have Monday's and Top 5 Fridays, so be sure to check out her blog. Jill actually came up with today's topic, 5 things we want to do before we die, kind of like a bucket list. I really don't think my list is gonna be all that exciting but its definitely stuff that will make me happy if I accomplish it...

1. Publish my memoir. Btw, I still only have 4,729 words written for my NaMoWriMo challenge, I imagine the bulk of my writing will come during the long holiday weekend next week. If anything I would love to finish writing it and at least take it to a publisher to see what they would say. I feel like I have something good on my hands and I'd love to share it with the world. Not gonna lie, I have dreams of me visiting Oprah and dancing with Ellen while we discuss my fabulous book.

2. Travel. The furthest I've travelled is Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cabo's great but I want to travel all over Europe. I'm terrified of flying and I don't know how I would ever get myself on a plane to travel for hours on end, but I would never let my fear of flying get in the way of my travelling. For the purposes of this post, I will narrow down my two countries to Italy and Ireland. Of course I would love to go to Paris, London, Sydney and the list goes on, but I'm part Italian and part Irish so I would love to visit the countries of my ancestors.

3. Live in a big city. I'm definitely a city girl. I would love to live in a city like NYC or Chicago for a brief period of time. Honestly, I don't know how I could live there for too long, but I'd love to experience city life for a short period of time. I would love to live out my Carrie Bradshaw fantasies and then get back to the suburbs.

4. Get my MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. My obsession with Austin began about two years ago. I had never been but from what I heard I knew I would just love that town. I was fortunate enough to go this past September and it lived up to all my expectations, I even became a bit of a Longhorns fan. I've been thinking about going to grad school for the last few months, may even take the GMAT soon. If I could go to UT to get my degree I'd be a happy girl.

5. Become a photographer. My freshman year of high school we had to write our obituaries for English, I know super morbid. Anyways, in mine I had been a renowned photographer who had travelled all over the world and made quite a career for herself. I've always loved photography, I even took a class in high school. Sadly, I wasn't all that great. I think one time I didn't load the film into the camera properly. Imagine how I felt when I went to go develop my film and nothing appeared...sad day. Until I become a photographer, I will leave vicariously through my amazing and talented friend, Claire.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

meeting Jillian

Hello! I'm Mary Grace, and I'm a guest blogger visiting from over at my place, White Waxflower. Today Jilly and I thought it would be fun to do a guest-blog for each other. We agonized over what to write about, and finally decided it might be fun to write about our first impressions and earliest memories of each other.

Baby Jilly and Mary Grace, relaxing after being busy hostesses of a Christmas party at our apartment.

I met Jillian in the first semester of our freshman year of college. I kept hearing through mutual friends about this DG named Jillian from California. Being that I had never been to California and was only 18 years old, I immediately pictured her looking like Gidget - a little tan blonde that spent entire summers at the beach, surfing and going to luaus. I remember walking up to her dorm, where a bunch of our mutual friends were hanging out, and meeting her for the first time. She was little and blonde, but definitely didn't fit into my stereotype of the Gidgetesque surfer girl. Some of my earliest impressions were:

She didn't seem impressed by the silliness and boy craziness of half the girls in the room.

I thought she looked very preppy and put-together.

She knew a lot of songs.

Often, when people would make some sort of statement, Jillian would sing it back to them as if it were a song lyric. For example if someone said "I need to do my laundry" she might sing "Oooo that laundry sure needs to get doooOOOooOOone". It was for comedic purposes of course, but for some reason I thought all of these little ditties were actual songs. I thought she must REALLY be into music to know so many songs about so many different situations.

Another very early memory is the time I went up to her dorm room to visit her roommate. I walked in and asked if her roommate was there, and she said that she wasn't. I felt bad just leaving, and for some reason thought it might be less awkward if I acted like I would be just as happy to hang out with her (even though we barely knew each other). She was playing on her desktop computer, so I asked what she was doing. I remember her saying she was downloading music, and I asked her what she used. She told me she used Limewire, and I was excited because I had been looking for a free way to get new music. I asked her if it gave her computer viruses, and she told me it hadn't. I downloaded it that night, and about 2 months later, both our computers crashed.

I think it took about a year for us to finally warm up to each other. We moved into an apartment with 2 other girls our sophomore year (one of them was our dear friend Claire Smith and you can visit her by clicking here), but we still didn't really know each other very well. One night neither of us could sleep, and somehow ended up hanging out. We started talking about TV shows we watched as kids, and the super awesome show Under the Umbrella Tree came up. I LOVED that show as a child, but I'd never met anyone other than my cousin Madison that had ever seen it! But of course, Jillian had. I confessed that I had brought with me to college my Under the Umbrella Tree VHS tape that I had recorded with the help of my dad when I was about 8 years old. Needless to say, we popped it in and watched hours of ridiculous adventures with Jay, Iggy, Gloria and their human friend Holly. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Just think ... if it weren't for these absurd and slightly scary puppets, we may have never become the besties that we are today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

oxford is for lovers

I always forget what a charming and unique town Oxford is. I was fortunate enough to make it there this past weekend after a year long hiatus. It was a jam packed weekend filled with football, friends, and a little shopping. Saturday we headed down to Oxford and watched the Rebels beat the Vols, 42 to 17, and yes you read that right. I was happy to have Linnae give me a play by play of what was happening. Together we braved the hot weather (yes, I’m sunburned) and watched the Rebels lead us to victory. After the game we were able to do a little shopping, and as always, the Square is filled with new boutiques and restaurants…nothing ever seems to stay the same there. I got some fabulous jewelry and new shoes. That night we ate at Ajax…mmm, so good. It’s weekend’s like this that make me realize how incredibly blessed I am. I’m looking forward to visiting Oxford in the near future.

Me and Linnae in our stunna shades...check out Margie's blog for more pics from the game, I look like a goof but everyone else is super cute.

the pearce sectional

The Pearce sectional in Oat everyday suede, 'nough said. In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die." I have coveted this piece for the last three years. I've worked at Pottery Barn on and off since 2006 and immediately fell in love with this sofa. I love the sleek upholstered look of this sofa, but it's also warm and welcoming with its curved armrests and cushy pillows. Whenever I get my own place or start making more moolah this will be my first major investment. I imagine cozy nights watching movies by the fireplace, lazy Sunday's napping with Ellie...I can picture it now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

a little bit about me

Happy Friday! For today's Top Five, Grace and I have decided to do to the Top Five Things you may not know about me. I've tried to dig deep on this one but sadly I think all of my readers may already know everything I'm about to share with them. Oh well, maybe I'll surprise you with one fun fact...

1. I went to a year round school K-8 grade, meaning I never had a normal three month summer until high school. The school year would start in July and we would get three week vacations in October, December, April, and June...weird, huh? But for nine years its all I ever knew. My first three month vacation was the summer going into high school, to say I was excited was an understatement!

2. I was voted best dressed in 7th grade. I remember they didn't warn us ahead of time when the pictures would be taken so I was wearing my GAP bootcut jeans, a pink and gray 3/4 length baseball tee and braided fashion forward. I could have rocked that picture had I known ahead of time!

3. Ok y'all are gonna think I'm crazy when I tell you this one, but I was a strange kid so whatever. My friend Megan knew how to talk in a chipmunk voice and everyone was always so amazed because it sounded so cute and no one else was able to master it. Well after what I'm sure were months of practicing I was able to nail the voice. Together we were Hue and weird. Anyways, we would do little shows for people in these crazy chipmunk voices and people loved it. I'm happy to say I can still do the voice today.

4. The only time I've ever been stung by a bee was at my 2nd birthday party...sad. I was wearing a cute little navy dress with white polka dots. We had had my party at a local park and then everyone came back to my house. Do y'all remember those bushes that have wax leaves and pink little flowers that bees would just hover around? Well I got too close to one of those bushes and got stung. I'm sure it was all very dramatic and there were lots of tears, but fortunately I don't remember all that.

5. My dad wanted to name me Molly and luckily mama bear interfered and chose Jillian. In fact I was named after a soap opera character. I don't know what soap it was, but thankfully y'all don't know me today as Molly Donahue...oh, that looks weird!

Hope y'all were able to learn a few new things about me. Feel free to leave some fun facts about yourself!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the NaNoWriMo challenge

So today my blogging partner in crime, Mary Grace, told me that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short). For the past year or so I've thought about writing a book, a memoir in fact. I felt so inspired to do so that I actually started writing and was rather impressed with what I had. Unfortunately my wave of inspiration quickly dissipated and my five page word document that I kept referring to as "the book" went by the wayside. Well my little buddy Grace and few other people have encouraged me to start writing again and see what I come up with. I am now faced with the challenge of writing 50,000 words (175 pages) in a one month period. I just signed up for NaNoWriMo this afternoon so I'm already two weeks behind, but I feel like I can make up for some lost time, especially since I already have a few pages written. I'm currently at 4,729 words, only 45,271 more to go...yikes. So here's to sleepless nights, strained eyes and perhaps a little carpal tunnel all in pursuit of writing my very own memoir.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the undomestic goddess

So I'm not the most domestic person, I can't cook or decorate (gosh my future husband is so lucky...haha). But I do enjoy baking, every now and then, especially during the holidays. For the past year or so I've been eyeing the beautiful aprons at Anthropologie like the one to the right. When I was living with my cousin she had a handful of aprons to choose from and whenever she cooked she would always wear one, how cute. I soon realized that wearing an apron instantly made undomestic me feel like Martha Stewart (ok, that may be a stretch). I've visited Anthropologie on a few occasions, but I can never seem to find an apron that I absolutely love, or maybe it's just the fact that I know it won't get used. Anyways, I'm thinking this Christmas I may just indulge a little and buy an apron, I like this one best, but suggestions are welcome. Whenever I bake my first batch of cupcakes I'll be wearing my apron with bells and whistles, and of course I'll be blogging about it.

Here's a picture of me and my cousin, Ali at our family's annual Christmas cookie bake. Aren't we too cute in our aprons?

Friday, November 6, 2009

so obsessed

It's that time of the week again...Top Five Friday! For today's Top Five, MG and I have chosen to list the top five songs we've been obsessed with in the past and basically played to the ground. I play most songs into the ground, but when I'm obsessed with a song it's all I will listen to. I will download a song and burn that one song on a CD and will literally be content listening to it for the entire day. Just the other day I listened to my new obsession "Heart Skipped a Beat" by XX roughly 20 times. Unfortunately when you play a song back to back 20 times in a row you can never really appreciate it like you did the first time you heard it. Fortunately for me the list of songs below have stood the test of time, and I will still listen to them every once in a while.

1. C'mon C'mon by The Von Bondies
2. Fascination by Alphabeat
3. My Moon My Man by Fiest
4. French Navy by My Maudlin Career
5. Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

just got paid

Today was a good day. At approximately 8 AM, central time my manager called me into her office and presented me with a TAP award. It's basically a bonus/performance award. I was excited to say the least, it definitely gave me the extra pep in my step and kept me motivated to continue with my hard work. I've had my eye on this fabulous pair of Jessica Simpson leopard print pumps. I may just have to make a visit to Dillards this weekend and indulge a little. Hoping everyone's having a happy hump day!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

monogram me

So today is the first official Must Have Monday or MHM for short. My first MHM has a little story behind it, I'll do my best to keep it brief. For Christmas last year I asked for this pretty monogrammed necklace from Danielle Stevens Jewelry (the picture doesn't do it justice). I had seen the necklace in Lucky Magazine the summer before and immediately fell in love. The only thing is I kept going back and forth on whether or not I actually wanted the necklace (since I usually don't wear neckalces). My mom took this as sign that I didn't want the piece and that Christmas I ended up with a Juicy Couture gumball machine instead...I was heartbroken. Well mama came through just two months later for Valentine's day. The necklace is gold plated and allows you to personalize it with a beautiful script monogram. If I could I would give this necklace to each of my friends; however, I'm not that rich so I'll just suggest to y'all. Or y'all can wait til I become rich and famous and then I'll get the necklace for you. Check out the Danielle Stevens website to see some of her other gorgeous jewelry.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

dress you up in my love

I'm fairly certain I was born in the wrong time period. Ideally I would have been born in 1970 and would have been in my mid-teens during the mid 1980s (right around the time I was born). I would have been the best 80s teen: big hair, lace gloves, bright fluorescent colors. However, I was born just as Madonna was coming onto the scene. Luckily for me, costume parties and Halloween have allowed to channel my inner Madonna every once in awhile. This Halloween was no different. I was "Lucky Star" Madonna circa 1984. I wore the short lace skirt with tights, star earrings and bright pink head bow. I even had hot pink detail went unnoticed.

Initially I wasn't going to go all out (I need to save money and Halloween costumes are entirely too expensive). But as the actual day came upon me I couldn't help myself. I went to Birmingham to visit my sweet friend Jill, who I must note is not quite the Halloween enthusiast that I am. We spent Saturday afternoon visiting Target, Claire's, and the costume shop. By the end of the day I had accumulated an entirely new outfit and accessories to match. And Jill who hadn't dressed up for Halloween in six years was too cute as flapper. She was such a trooper. We kept going back and forth on various outfits and like a proud mama I kept insisting we would find just the right costume and in the words of Tim Gunn "Make it work." That night we got all dolled up and went out in downtown Birmingham. We had a great time and Jill was even talking about her costume for next year (I'm so proud). Hoping everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!