My friend whose wedding we attended in Italy is also having a New York City reception next Tuesday.  Whoohoo for more parties! While we already took the couple out to dinner in Oslo as their wedding gift (by some strange coincidence, they were honeymooning in Scandinavia at the same time we were visiting our friends in Norway, so we all got to meet up for dinner, super-duper fun), I am loathe to show up at a party empty-handed.

I wanted to keep it relatively inexpensive (since, ya know, we just flew out to Italy for their wedding and all) but make it  heartfelt, rather than give them a colander or whatever.

Enter the classic ‘Framing of the Invitation’ with my own little twist.  Since my friend used a starfish motif on all her paper goods, this was the perfect opportunity to put to use all the shells I collected while walking along the beach during our time in Italy.

I bought a white frame with a matte from Pottery Barn.   Pottery Barn’s wooden frames are  almost always 20% off at the store near me (I should know because it’s only 7 blocks away.  DANGEROUS!) but of course, today I had no such luck.  Harrumph.

Still, $25 later and I had a beautiful 5 x 7 frame and matte, ready for action.

I used double-sided tape to attach the invitation to the outside of the matte, so the pretty silver edging wouldn’t be lost.

Then I dug around in my jar of shells for some that were relatively flat and in the coral color scheme of the wedding.

It took me a while to get a layout I was pleased with (and by a while, I mean 10 minutes, I’m an underachiever) but I finally worked it out.

I love an excuse to bust out my glue gun, especially now that my own wedding’s long gone and I have no reason to create mediocre crafts anymore, so I whipped that bad boy out and hot-glued all the shells and sea glass to the matte board.

About 10 minutes (and much to my astonishment) zero burned fingers later, everything was dried and I put it all together,  securing the back of the frame.  Here it is, in all it’s seashell glory…

Huzzah, am wedding-crafting goddess!

Haha, no, I am kidding with that above comment but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out (because I’m so not crafty like most of y’all are) and for $25, it certainly didn’t break the bank.

Hopefully my friend and her husband will like it. After a solid 20 minutes spent on this project, this crafting goddess is hungry and will now be crafting a sandwich, stat. Cheers!



Empire State of Mind

I’m about a day late and dollar short to be jumping on this bandwagon but I couldn’t let the momentous occasion of New York legalizing gay marriage go by without some cheering and some tearing (up.)

New York, I am bursting with pride and so happy.  Happy, happy, happy, happy.  I really did not know if I would ever witness this in my lifetime but it happened and it now feels astonishing that just weeks ago, marriage was only recognized between a man and a woman.

I keep seeing photos like this that make my heart stop and I start to cry before I can speak…

Source via AP

Source via AP

Source via AP

Source via AP

We can only hope that many more states will soon follow suit and I am so happy that this absurd violation of human rights has finally been rectified.

To all the newlyweds out there, congratulations and best wishes on your MARRIAGE!

PS- For more glorious photos, check these out

Yup, I’m back! And ready to to do it.  What’s up there, kiddos? Didja miss me?

I know it’s been a long-ass time since I posted anything here but when I started blogging, I made a personal decision never to apologize for an absence so while I’m not saying ‘Sorry’ or anything, just know that there were a few good reasons for my hiatus.  Sometimes life just gives you a kick in the nuts when you’re not looking and I was on the ground, doubled over, gasping for air for a quite a while.

But now I’ve caught my breath and looking forward to posting again.  Plus, I just got home from an obscenely fun-filled three weeks in Italy, Norway and Britain and will definitely be rehashing the trip.  Just to tide you all over, here’s a few of my favorite shots from our travels…

Before the rehearsal dinner for the wedding we attended in the Puglia region of Italy

Vino and snacks in Rodi Garganico

Fishing in the Oslo fjord (this photo was taken at about 11:30 pm!)

City of Bergen, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Indian food on Brick Lane in London

The last month has been a strange juxtaposition of  awesome and awful,  smooshed together in some unexpected ways.  I’m sorry I’m being so vague about things but I’m not ready to talk about anything yet.  Maybe I will sometime in the future (or maybe not, I haven’t decided yet.)

Anyways, I’ve also seriously got to get my running sh*t together because there’s only 10 weeks until the Chicago Marathon and all the wine-drinking and gelato/cheese-eating the past three weeks has not helped my endurance (unless we’re talking about my stomach capacity, in which case I definitely fall under the ‘winner’ category.)

So cheers to my return to the US, to bouncing back from a hard fall and running through it all.  I an back, baby!


Remember when I mentioned that the first several months of marriage were a bit, um, doubt-plagued? Well, it’s now officially one year to the day from my wedding and here’s my follow-up advice: It gets better. Hang in there.  Ride out the wave, if you will.  I’m so happy to report that after writing that post, the cloud of despair I’d been trying to ignore lifted and suddenly. I no longer doubted my decision to get married.  I felt like, maybe it all could *and would* get better.

And then, amazingly,…it did.  Things got good.  So good I sometimes can’t believe I am lucky enough to be living this life and have to cross my fingers and my toes in order to prevent from jinxing it all.

It’s true what they say, the harder you fall, the higher you bounce.  It seems that, for me, the hard moments have made the good ones that much better.  Perhaps I would not appreciate what I have now if I hadn’t experienced the bruises of a bumpy road beforehand.

It’s bizarre that it’s been one year since our wedding.  It feels like forever ago yet it’s probably a rare day where I don’t reminisce, just a little.  The wedding was, and I suspect will remain, one of the best days of my life.

Closed Circle Photography

Yet, I don’t miss being knee-deep in vendor discussions and stressing over table assignments. I don’t miss the stomachache-inducing anxiety of possible mishaps or the frustration over craft projects gone wrong (so many.  SO so many gone horribly wrong.)

I do, however, miss the anticipation of what was to come, of looking forward to this sure-to-be-wonderful event and of all the attention and love that comes with it.

Ah well, guess I’ll just have to get myself knocked up sometime soon so I have something to look forward to, right? (Calm down, I’m not preggo, just making a bad, joking analogy. Also, “analogy” has the word “anal” in it.  That’s funny.) I also miss crafting, which, given my previous statement, is just so damn ironic.

Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we weathered the storm.  We bounced back, higher and stronger and together.

I frequently remind myself of the advice that Jimmy Dugan gives to Dottie Henson in (thebestmoviever!) A League of Their Own.  Even though he’s technically talking about baseball, I think it’s dead-on for marriage as well…

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it.  The hard…is what makes it great.”

Closed Circle Photography

Happy anniversary, love of my life! You have all of my love for all of my life.

I’m interrupting my unplanned, un-announced blogging hiatus (just too damn busy and slightly uninspired) because this is just too mind-boggling and hilarious a story not to share…

Here’s the run-down…

I arrived home from work like any other day to be greeted by the adorable shaking and “so-happy-you’re-home” excitement of my dog, Perri.   In case you’re not sure just how dang cute my puppy is, here’s a gratuitous photo:

See? I toldja! She’s rockin’ out on vacay in Miami in this photo…

Anyways, the first thing I always do when I get home is scope out the apartment to see what mischief the little she-devil has caused while home alone.  It ranges from destroyed pillows to gnawed bureau knobs to exploded pens on our couch (I told you she’s a devil!) although occasionally, it’s only a chewed-up magazine or (rarely,) nothing at all.

I scoped out the living room and all seemed well and good.  ‘Amazing!’ I thought. ‘Most excellent day!’ Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something hidden way in the back on the floor underneath our TV console.

See that white blob next to the storage bins? What is that?

A dishtowel.  Perri likes to chew the basket where our dishtowels reside and apparently, she took one to hide.  OK, no biggie, I could handle that.  No harm, no foul. I reached underneath to pull out the folded up dish towel only to find that inside it was…



I sh*t you not (pun intended), this dish towel was folded over at least twice, concealing the gross content and definitely “hidden.”

For the record, our dog is a “hider”.  We give her a bone and instead of chewing it, she trots off and hides it somewhere stupid, typically under one of our pillows on our bed.

I also unintentionally stuck my finger directly into this lovely little present, which was one of the grosser things I’ve done in my life*.

This is an un-doctored, un-tampered photo of the incriminating evidence

Pete and I are seriously bewildered over this.  We do have a crazy-ass dog walker who comes every day but when I called her, she said she saw the dish towel on the floor after she walked Perri but that it was flat, not folded, and there was definitely no poop in it, so she offered no clues as to how this happened (unless she’s lying.  Which is a possibility, given her level of crazy-pants. But…I don’t think she had anything to do with this.)

So. Our only option is to believe that our dog took a dish towel out of the basket (totally believable), pooped on it (eh, I’ll give her that too) and then folded up the towel and hid it under the TV stand (HOW IN THE HELL?!?!)…

Is our dog a genius of epic proportions or am I missing something here? I can’t stop laughing over this. I know, RI. DONK.

Anyways, I’m hoping to feel inspired to write some more running posts soon but for now, this’ll have to do! Hope this story made you laugh on this dreary Monday!

*Excluding all four years of college 🙂

Word on the street is that it’s spring  but yesterday I spent four hours outside in rain, wind and 47-degree weather (yay track and field) so I’m not entirely convinced…

Anyways, in honor of spring, first, my favorite color combo- blue and yellow!

Aren’t those Ranunculuses (Ranunculi? What?) so, so delicious?

And second, running.  Specifically outside.

My girl Terri at TryAnythingOnce was looking for some advice on transitioning from running on the treadmill to running outside.  I’ll be honest, I rarely use it anymore but I used to be a treadmill beast back in graduate school, so I’m drawing from then…

I think that it’s important to ease back into running outside, rather than hit the pavement running (HA!).  I am a huge fan of run-walking, so throwing a few 3:00-run/1:00-walk sessions outdoors can help get your running legs back.

Don’t forget, the treadmill is a bit easier than running outside, simply because it pushes you along. There’s less fighting against gravity, so it makes sense that going from the treadmill to the streets might be a tough transition.

Another idea for making the transition to running outdoors is to increase your typical speed on the treadmill- basically, making it *that* much harder and, by comparison, running outside *that* much easier…

For me, running outdoors is one of the perks to being a runner and now that it’s finally getting nice out there, I’m enjoying the lack of layers and warm (ish) temperatures during my runs.

Which do you prefer, the treadmill or outdoor running? Have you had any trouble transitioning from the treadmill to outside?

About two weeks ago, I was having one of the horrible, no-good, very bad, think-I’ll-move-to-Australia* kind of days.  The weather was horrendous, wet and rainy, and my normally delicious bowl of oatmeal from Whole Foods was gag-worthy thanks to the fact that some employee thought it would be a good idea to cook the oatmeal in salt water (Seriously, WTF, Whole Foods?)!

So, I sat down at my desk, stomach growling, eye brows furrowed and thinking about what a crap-tastic day this was and it was barely 8:00 am.  Was there any way this day could be turned around?

And then I got an email that changed everything.

Let me backtrack for just a second.  In January, I made the seemingly crazy decision to apply for a doctoral program at a very prestigious university (I’m not going to come right out and say which one but here’s a hint: It’s also the name of a country.) The program leads to an educational doctorate in Biobehavioral Sciences with a concentration in Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education.  ROCK. ON.

I applied and never, ever in a million years expected to get in (for reference, two years ago, they accepted one applicant.  ONE.)

And yet, on that rainy, miserable Thursday morning, I got an email saying that I had, in fact, been accepted. In spite of the fact that I do not have a Phys. Ed. masters, did not do a thesis for my masters and still lack a public school teaching certification, somehow, they took me anyways.

I screamed, I cried and then I panicked.  It’s one thing to talk about going for a doctorate degree, it’s even another to apply but to actually do the damn thing felt like a whole ‘nother ballgame.

But…I’m going to do it.  Even though I have some misgivings and it could potentially take me upwards of 7-10 years to complete, I’m going to do it.  It feels like an educational challenge of  marathon proportions (did you like what I did there with my little running simile?) but dammit, if I can run a marathon then I can get my doctorate.

Today, I made it official by signing my acceptance letter and offering up the first drop in the bucket in what is going to be a serious chunk of change. And I’m so pumped.

It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be a long, rough road ahead but I’m ready for the challenge and looking forward to what’s to come.

In short, never underestimate yourself, my friends, because there’s just no telling what can happen with a little self-determination and a lot of perseverance.  I sure as sh*t never expected to go down this life-path but now that it’s real and official, it feels right.

I’ll be sure to document my trials and tribulations of the program once I start, but for now, I’m simply basking in the success of getting accepted and laughing about how official “Dr Simon” sounds (although, let’s be real, it’s gonna be a few years before anyone can call me that.)

*For some reason, I seem to reference this book a lot.  Perhaps it reflects my kvetching nature or maybe I just have a lot of bad days. You’re call.