Friday, December 31, 2010


Dearest twenty-ten, 

I don't quite know how to say this but I'm sooo HAPPY to see you go! You challenged me in so many ways I don't like to be challenged. You stomped on my rose-colored glasses and simultaneously, stole my sanity. You took me out of my element, shivering and sad. You shattered my dreams and left me hopeless. You brought about a lot of heartache and frankly, I am counting down the hours until I can raise my plastic cup of champagne, scream HAPPY NEW YEAR! and bid you adieu. You were one difficult year...  

Thanks for making me stronger.  


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

road list for a play trip.

I'm embarking on another road trip today to ring in the new years with my besties... Before I leave, I uploaded this playlist on to my IPod so I can rock out the whole way to sunshine and coastlines where I intend to play a lot!

Title: Road List for a Play Trip.

1. Orianthi feat Lacey of Flyleaf - Courage
2. Mumford & Sons - Awake My Soul
3. Frou Frou - Let Go
4. The Band Perry - If I Die Young
5. Train - Marry Me
6. Katy Perry - Firework
7. Ray LaMontagne - You Are the Best Thing
8. Akon - Angel
9. Ingrid Michaelson- Maybe
10. Miranda Lambert - House That Built Me
11. Kesha - We R Who We R
12. The Weepies- World Spins Madly On
13. Lady Antebellum - If I Knew Then
14. Taylor Swift - Last Kiss
15. Michael Buble - Crazy Love
16. Joshua Radin - Brand New Day
17. Sugarland - Little Miss
18. Nelly- Just A Dream
19. Mat Kearney - Closer to Love
20. Cee Lo Green- F You

I hope I have lost my voice by the time I reach the Florida/Georgia border.

Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas tradition?

 I think Grams + I are on to something... maybe sembling a new tradition... After going to see a sold-out Little Fockers on Christmas Day (Grams could not get over how packed the theatre was... "These people should be at church!"), we stopped at one of the only places open for dinner... a Mountain Brewery!
 From our keg to yours, hope your holidays are filled with lots of Christmas Beer Cheer! 
{Notice the beer-making equipment in the background of our Christmas Card 2010}
Yesterday, we hit up the Boxing Day/After Christmas sales! I have one more wonderful day with this fabulous lady... not quite sure what I will do with myself when she's gone. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I decided if I ever truly want to write a best-selling novel about the “real things”, I should actually start practicing writing about the “real things”… sans the Splenda-coating I tend to add to every detail in the fabric of my life. The pathological optimist in me has always wanted to reserve my (cyber) space at Suburbs of Utopia (SoU) for all the wondrous things I love; my own little happy place to relish in fancy and rejoice in fabulous. But I tend to ONLY write about the amazing and when I find myself in a less-than-incredible rut, I catch myself bottling up the negatives and sadly, losing sight of the happy(s) having no outlet to psychoanalyze/process the hard things (which I’ve learned is imperative for me to do in order) to properly let them go… and get back to celebrating the serendipity!! For that is who I really am + I mustn’t ever lose sight of my happy-go-lucky self.

I’m calling these rare entries of tribulations + turmoil SoU(l)Casts- little time-outs in LIFE to remind me that it’s okay to be brutally honest. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be human…

Saturday, December 25, 2010

M.F.T. #25: The Promise of A New Day.

There's twenty-four minutes left of Christmas... I got distracted... now there's eighteen... and I did it! I actually blogged 25 favourite things in 25 days!! This is the first personal goal that I set that I have actually reached in a really long time! {Feel like you're looking at your reflection? Here is a look of complete shock on my face, too!} Things are really starting to look up in my life and it's 100% true what they say... what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I have given myself six more days to wallow in weeping and then I'm cutting my emotions off. It's time to get over it. It's time to move forward with my life. It's time to stop trying to understand something I may never. It's time to stop trying to control something I truly cannot. + what more wonderful of a time to do it than now-- a time defined by making resolutions, setting new goals, making big changes. Isn't the promise of a new day a beautiful thing? It's my final favourite thing. I cannot wait to get on with the fanciful!!! ... Tomorrow. For right now, I have had too many sugar plums (Wait... are they even edible?) and I am beyond ready to crawl in to bed with Katniss Everdeen.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a fabulous night!

M.F.T. #24: Neonatal Nursing + having a passion.

Not everyone is lucky enough to know exactly what they want to do with their lives ... and even those that have figured out this small feat, don't actually get to do it... but I am one of the lucky ones that gets to have her cake and eat it, too so to speak... and that is why Neonatal Nursing is M.F.T. #24. A card reader (yes, you read that right) recently told me that the fact that I have a career that I am passionate about means that I have half of my life figured out, the hardest part... and the idealization that my "job" will never feel, not even for one day, like work will make for a very happy life. =) And I believe it! Being a nurse is an incredibly rewarding profession. How many people get to wake up every day, even if it is before the sun rises, and know that the work that they have in store for them that day will genuinely make a difference in someone's life? How lucky am I to possess the skills and knowledge that enable me to care for the most vulnerable of populations?! How rewarding is it that I am in the business of saving lives... and do just that... every single day! One of the greatest things about being a {neonatal} nurse is that no two days are the same. There is nothing mundane about any shift and to say that I am never bored at work is an understatement. I used to find the amount of infinite learning to be done overwhelming but with 2+ years of experience in my specialty, I finally feel like I have a good grasp on the basics and now I spend the few spare moments in a day refining my skills. The job in itself is fabulous but the passion that drives me to reach my highest potential every day is really my favorite thing about neonatal nursing.  I'm soo excited at the prospect of advancing my career this upcoming year! Often people acquire certain jobs because it pays the bills or makes ends meet but to know that money is just an added bonus to doing what I love makes my career wonderful!

Merry Christmas!

M.F.T. #23: Grams.

Kudos to Coca-Cola for creating such an awesome marketing ploy...Santa Claus came a few days early here (he must of known about the severe weather sweeping Tennessee this morning). While I'm skeptic of the red suit and black boots, I definitely believe in the Naughty or Nice List and here is the expression of someone who personifies the Nice List...
Grams is already the hippest grandma I know ... She's the only sixty-something whose favorite catch phrase is "That is just like so cool." She's known to have done a few jagerbombs in her time and she is often heard overusing the word "smartass". She is up-to-date on all her celebrity gossip and always identifies upcoming fashion trends. She texts me often and has even been dabbling in the stalker tendencies of Facebook recently. If its even possible, she got a whole lot {technologically} cooler this Christmas when Santa brought her a Kindle (ken-dall as she pronounces it!) and a MacBook as a small thank you for all her good deeds this year! Thank you Grams for being so fabulous today and every day!  

M.F.T. #22: The Magic of Christmas

I have to admit I haven't been in much of the Christmas spirit this year. I didn't hang a single ornament. I didn't pick out coordinating wrapping paper and wrap a bunch of thoughtful presents. I didn't send a single card. I didn't bake any gingerbread cookies (I don't think I ever did this but it sounds like something I should be doing...). I didn't start a countdown and call me Ebenezer!! but until yesterday, I wasn't even sure what day Christmas actually fell on. 
I feel somewhat hypocritical this December. While I have forced myself to take time out of every day this month to remind myself of things that make me happy (and how spoiled am I that I have so many favorite people/things in my life!), I have secretly spent the other remaining minutes of each day dwelling on the fact that this Christmas, my heart is breaking... and no amount of carolling or egg nog has allowed me to escape that pain. So I have done the only thing I can do about it and that is to endure it...and it hasn't been pretty. I've channeled some of my sorrow through writing, released some of my anger at the gym but mostly I've spent a vast majority of my days grieving my loss the only way I know how: analyzing/crying/repeat. Sometimes your dreams just isn't what life has planned and as I fall asleep tonight wishing for the one thing I waited all year for... to be waking up in a winter wonderland to the pitter patter of a four-year-old running above me who can hardly contain the excitement of Santa's arrival... I'm reminded of the four-year-old that usually comes out in me on Christmas Eve... when the magic of Christmas comes to life! For Santa Claus comes tonight!
My mom was exceptionally good at keeping the mystery of Santa Claus alive. I'm quite certain Kara + I were the last of our friends to believe in St Nic (*Sidenote: as I write this sentence, I actually googled "Santa Claus isn't real" to make sure I am not the first person to post it on the internet!*) and long after my mom knew we were in on her little secret, she still would use her reverse psychology (did anyone else have to deal with a mom who had a degree in neuropsychology growing up?) on us, trying to trick us in to thinking Santa and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were real. She had good collateral as they all spoiled us rotten, knowing EXACTLY what we wanted... in the right size and colour... so the thought of them not coming simply because we didn't believe in them was taunting to a 12-year-old. 
But as I grow older both physically and cognitively, I've never been so sure of my belief in Santa Claus! Not so much in the North Pole, the elves or the reindeer... but the concept of him! A warmth that brings families together. A spirit that inspires you to give to those around you. A season filled with so much cheer. The magic of Christmas is most certainly real and it fills the hearts of everyone who believes in it, even the broken ones.      

Friday, December 24, 2010

M.F.T. #21: {unconventional} Christmas.

It is Christmas Eve and I am so lucky to get to spend it with this lovely lady, just her and I... eating Pringles, watching The Proposal and doing each other's make-up in our pajamas. It's not the most conventional way to spend Christmas but one thing certain about our family... there's nothing conventional about it. I often catch myself wishing for the perfect family, one where everyone got along. Everyone loved unconditionally. Divorce was a foreign term. I long for a "childhood home" to retreat to where I would find the Strawberry Shortcake wallpaper still on the walls and one of those hammocks of all the stuffed animals I had growing up. Sometimes I try to imagine what it would be like to have a seemingly "normal" family... one that went on family vacations together and sent out annual Christmas cards.... one that talked on a semi-regular basis and knew the day-to-day details of one another's lives. I wish for this and then I decide it would be boring. To know exactly how we were going to spend your holidays. Who would be in attendance. What food would be served. While these are all things I will definitely strive for in my own family I create one day, I'm okay with the dysfunction of my family. It is our "norm" and while it's entirely unconventional which is challenging at times, I wouldn't have it any other way... for that be normal, which would be weird.    

Thursday, December 23, 2010

M.F.T. #20: My Simple Bare Necessities

I am not really loyal to any products. I don't belong to any frequent flyer clubs and am not a priority reward member of anything. I change my mind as often as I change my country of residency (I kid. I kid). I have no daily routine that allows me to be able to "locate" the same products every morning for I am the most disorganized person in the world... especially at 6am... so  really my discombobulation/scatterbrain/indecisiveness (obvi, I am not a TypeA) wouldn't even allow me to be a loyal consumer if I wanted to be... but there a few things, my bare necessities, that I will spend the extra few minutes looking for each morning under that pile of clothes or digging to the bottom of my purse to find. It's these nine items that make up my personal Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
1. I confess. I might be a bit of a bottled water snob, my favorite brand being Smart Water. I'd say it's the "latte factor" in my life but if you review item #6, you will see I already have a latte factor so I think it's just the bottled water factor on top of my latte factor and probably the reason I don't have a very big nest egg..  
2. My Daily Planner - HUGE fan of Peter Pauper Press. The Compact Engagement Calendar is the planner I've used for the past two years - this year in Folk Art Birds! 
3. Murad Acne Complex - my favorite face wash, toner, moisturizer! Worth every penny! =)

4. Avocados - I would put them on everything if I could afford it or still lived in California where they seem to be in season year round. 

5. Lorac Breakthrough Performance Foundation - the best makeup I have ever owned! 

6. Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte - In order to steal this picture off the Starbucks website, it took me to the calorie calculator for all their drinks and while I have been consuming this holiday drink every day the past month, in order to see any results from M.F.T. #19 I think I will be cutting back on how many of these I consume in a week...
7. My MacBook - 8 Words: Once you go Apple, you never go back. 

8: Evolution of Smooth Chapstick - I have chronic chapped lips. I've never been able to find a chapstick with the strength to heal my severity of chapped lips until I found this pretty, little organic/all natural number! It has finally healed the cracks in my lips and they are now kissably smooth.
9. Kenra Silkening Gloss - It smells like cake and makes your hair shine extra silky!! 

M.F.T. #19: A good workout.

One of the places I am considering moving to for grad school is Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. On my way to Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I stopped in Nashville for ~24 hours to visit a NNP I worked with at CHLA (It's a small world!) and have a sleepover with Jess, Seth & Diesel! It was delightful, both the NICU and the slumber party! =) The Cain Family moved to Nashville over the summer and showed me such a lovely preview of what life would be like if I lived there. We went for flamingly gay burritos and Jess + I drank yummy margaritas at 1:00 in the afternoon. We shopped at all the cute shops, watched The Sing Off and played Scrabble 'til our heads hurt. The next morning we woke up and went to the YMCA... and to say I am out of shape is an understatement... but with the discipline of a gym partner like Jess I had a fabulous workout... and have FINALLY gotten back in to the routine of going to the gym since returning to Knoxville! When Jess + I first moved to college together during the summer of '04, we quickly realized that being a college student meant you had A LOT of extra time on your hands and no other obligations to take up all your free time! We could only sleep til noon and waste away so many days watching "I Love the 90's" marathons before you really begin to feel worthless so we started going to the gym with some friends of ours. It was here that I was introduced to the wonderful world of "group exercise" and the following semester I became a group fitness instructor!! My love for fitness expanded when Jess + I decided to run a marathon our junior year in which I almost died... and will never do that again... but once I regained use of my feet, I continued teaching classes and working out and running in all my spare time. It's the best hobby ever! =) This past year, I was ice cold and frankly, needed the extra layer of fat I acquired in my time in Winnipeg not to freeze to death. Under the many layers I had to wear every day just to not be cold, never did I "keep warm", I had hardly noticed how out of shape I had become. But now that I am back in a climate that only requires I wear one layer of clothing, I've noticed. I had lost the craving of going to the gym and have even been known to be too tired/hungry/freezing/lazy that I leave the gym parking lot and cross the street in to the McDonald's drive thru this past year. Amy Aerobics would have been so ashamed... but that craving... not for the fast food but for a good workout!... is back and I can honestly say I have consistently gone to the gym this past week and I feel awesome!! Thank you, Jess for your fabulous hospitality and resparking the Amy Aerobics inside me! =)

M.F.T. #18: The Holiday.

Everyone has their favorite Christmas Classic: A Christmas Carol. The Grinch. It's a Wonderful Life. ELF. Miracle on 34th Street. The Santa Clause. White Christmas. Home Alone 1, 2, or 3. Charlie Brown Christmas Carol. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The Nightmare Before Christmas.
These are all awesome movies but hands down, my favorite holiday movie is The Holiday! I used to fall asleep to it in college so I have seen the first 35 minutes of it probably about 100 times and the movie in its entirety, a good 20. And as I try to trick my mind in to shutting off so I can fall asleep before sunrise, I will watch it again tonight for the 400th time. I am hoping I will have dreams of meeting Jude Law during a house swap in a quaint, little British town. Good night, Jude moon.

 My Favorite Quote from The Holiday: I've found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind". Now that is something I know to be true.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

baby Reese turns 3 {months}

Who would have thought this beautiful bump 
 ...would grow in to this beautiful baby??
Happy 3 Months, Reesey Byrd!!

M.F.T. #17: My Sister, Kara.

Saturday, my sister had her graduation ceremony from her Physician Assistant Program at South College here in Knoxville, TN. My entire family was here for the celebration and it was a lovely weekend commemorating Kara's HUGE accomplishment. Master Kara, as I now refer to her since she holds a masters degree that gives her a bunch of fancy letters behind her name, has worked incredibly hard the last 2+ years and all the stress and sleep-deprivation has finally paid off now that she has walked across this stage!

Kara {and all her accomplishments!} are my favorite thing #17. Kara is only a year and a half older than me and while we spent a good portion of our childhood with a line of duct tape down the middle of the room we shared, teenage years with a lock on her closet so I "wouldn't steal her clothes!" and college years not on speaking terms (sad but true.) she has been my rock and the one thing consistent in my life from the time I was born. If I had to compile a list of all the things I needed to thank her for, I would start by thanking her for teaching me how to read. Thank you for holding my hand on the first day of school when Mom sent me to kindergarten at the age of 4. Thank you for cooking Mac 'n Cheese for me after school + thank you for paving a shiny, yellow brick road for me to follow down.

It was because of Kara I joined leadership and Interact, a committee for community service, in high school. It was because of Kara I joined the medical academy that led me to my wonderful career. It was because of Kara I applied for every scholarship my senior year... and won them all. Just like she did the year before!

Kara kept herself incredibly busy in university juggling a full-time job, a full course load and an insanely busy social life but she managed to allot the hours she would normally reserve for studying/sleeping to get involved! She spent her weekends at Camp Boggy Creek, helping kids with special needs! She spearheaded a campaign to get more students to become organ donors and she helped out with the March of Dimes, too!

Getting in to a PA program is incredibly competitive and I was sooo proud of her when she got accepted 2 summers ago! Obtaining a degree at a graduate level is soo hard. It's very demanding and very stressful how quickly they move through the material. Once she survived the didactic portion of her program with flying colors, she excelled in her clinical portion this last year wowing the faculty with her superb skills!

Combining school with pregnancy and then with a newborn is something only Kara would be organized enough to handle + I'm soo proud of all of her accomplishments!!! I never thought after high school that we would ever get the chance to be roommates again but I'm so excited to stay with her (and Creed and Reese!) these next couple of months.  I couldn't be prouder of who she has become and I'm lucky to have her as my first friend. my best friend. my sister!          

M.F.T. #16: Skype.

I'm not sure who invented Skype (I wish it was me who did!) but it is seriously the greatest innovation since Virgin America Airline. My ultra-cool Auntie from Vangroovy (is there anything not cool about Vancouver?) introduced me to it a few years back and I never had much use for it (as I do not have friends all over the world like she does!) until I started moving away from all my loved ones once a year. Kara + I skyped a lot when I was in LA + she was in Tennessee. Living in Canada this past year, I depended on Skype to see my besties and had tons of "Skype Dates" with Megan + Carly (Get with the 21st century program, Jess!)!! Starting next Tuesday, Grams' house won't be a 3 hour drive away anymore (cue flood of tears) but now that she is a proud owner of a MacBook!!!!, I intend to do a lot of out-of-province Scrabble Skyping with her! I spent ~ 4 hours tonight on Skype talking to my magnificent Mrs. Lucas + before I could disconnect, I finally got to catch up with my awesome friend Deidre who moved to Australia in October!! Skype has allowed me to see my cousin's apartment in France and my favorite Skype moment was being able to be in the delivery room when Sweet Baby Reese was born in September!!  
**This beautiful memory is why the beauty of skype is my sweet sixteenth favorite thing! =)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

{vintage} Christmas.

 Bringing home our first tree together- Christmas '05.
Our stockings were hung by the chimney with care... for our annual Secret Santa!  
 Donning our Christmas scarfs to go ice skating downtown. 
Our ostentatious holiday jubilee...oh! How I miss three girls during the holidays!  

Monday, December 20, 2010

fix you.

I've listened to this song on repeat the last few weeks and Street Corner Symphony brought it to a new level of awesome on The Sing Off finale tonight...
Fix You by Coldplay
When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I
Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Sunday, December 19, 2010

M.F.T. #15: Hair Accessories

My latest obsession is hair accessories! What started as a cute way to hide my growing out of the crazy bangs pictured here has turned in to an all-out fetish for headbands/barrettes/clips. The feathery, the flowery, the flashier the better! I've started planning all my outfits around what hair accessory I will be donning that day! My favorite place to shop for headbands and pins are tasha (for the fun, funky, bedazzled) and Anthropologie (for the vintage, crocheted, amazing)! By combining M.F.T. #1 with #15, I've passed my little personal style on to baby Reese and voila! the cutest thing you've ever seen was made... =)  

Friday, December 17, 2010

M.F.T. #14: Suburbs of Utopia, 600 times over.

I'm really excited to announce that this is my six hundredth blog post + that to me is monumental!!! I'm not even really sure what sparked me to start a blog 3.5 years ago but I'm sooo happy that I did! It's been such a huge source of happiness having one place I can go at any time with a simple click of a mouse to see all my favorite people, places and things! Being able to scribe about the "little things" has helped remind me of many little memories and milestones I've made and reached along the way... and my exact feelings at the time, too. I think I started Suburbs of Utopia at the utmost perfect time in my life. A time when I was really coming in to my own, surviving nursing school and graduating college. I think a good percent of my posts are written under the pretense of having no idea where my life is headed (like this one, for instance!) but its fun having an e-documentary of the journey of getting to where I'm going ... where is that, again?... deep breaths... I. know. I. will. find. my. way.  

Not only has 'Burbs been an awesome outlet for me to relish/vent/relieve/celebrate but recently, I have received a lot of positive feedback from friends/friends of friends/frienemies/total strangers telling me how much my blog inspires them and that means the world to me! Seriously, the world. Mostly, I write my blog for myself, and my Grandma, and the majority of the time I'm quite certain no one else is even reading what I post but once in a while, someone out-of-the-blue surprises me with a heartfelt thanks for letting them in to my insight of my life... and its pretty super special! It always brings tears to my eyes and a warm, fuzzy tingling in my fingertips and ironically, words can't express how much it means to me to know that my writing could make someone feel better/happy/not alone. Hopefully one day HarperCollins will also recognize my love for writing and they will grant me that advance on a book deal I've been wishing on shooting stars for!

When I scroll back through my life thus far, I know I am so incredibly blessed that this was the hand I created with the cards I was dealt! The people in my life, the career I have chosen, the places I have been, the culture I've consumed equates to a royal flush. Just thinking about what's to come in the next five years sets a fiery to my imagination. While I can't actually visualize any of it, something in my heart tells me it's going to be unbelievable!!

My fourteenth favorite thing isn't just my blog, 600 times over, but blogs in general. There are so many that I read on a daily basis and I'd like to share just a couple with you that are consistently awesome:

1. Tosh.O - Carly and her job are pretty phenomenal + I cannot be any more proud/happy for her! She is an amazing writer and has definitely developed a voice in her writing that has captured the frontal lobes of many fans/viewers! I think I rival her Dad for her #1 fan but if you're not following her on the Tosh.O blog, you need to be.

2. Rockstar Diaries - I don't know Taza and her husband, personally, but the way I talk about them you would think that I did. I found their blog when I came across their short film on another blog I always read ... CurlyGirlDesign... but I seriously love them + she always has giveaways from her awesome sponsors (Suburbs needs sponsors... how do I get sponsors?) so start following her and you could win yourself something awesome... or just revamp your wardrobe because they are the most stylish couple!

3. Lovelife - This is the blog of the incredibly talented artist's online course I took back in September. Kal is awesome and inspiring. Check it out. Order yourself new artwork for that blank wall you've been dying to jazz up. Life will be good.

4. Nienie Dialogues- Oh, mommy blogs. How do I decide which one of you to choose as my favorite as I have been reading so many of you recently and absolutely hate having to pick favorites or make anything that remotely resembles a decision?! I'm not sure where my obsession with mommy blogs came from ... I think probably from reading my good friend (and only close friend who is a mommy, and a fabulous one at that) Katie's blog about her tiny miracle, Kylie for the past two years! Katie follows a lot of really awesome mommy blogs and while I can't relate to any of their woes of potty training, teething, sleepless nights and sick kiddos, I still manage to waste a great majority of every day reading about their entertaining attempts at perfecting parenting! Nienie has such a fascinating story about strength and surviving a plane crash. + like all mommy blogs, has a lot of awesome giveaways and creative ideas for any craft you can think of!

There's six of the ways I spend my endless, unemployment days and I love the inspiration I get from all of them. If you know of any blogs I should be following, leave a comment!

From everyone here at the 'Burb, thanks for following! =)      

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

M.F.T. #13: Musicals, especially from the front row.

Good evening!! I thought by now, halfway through my 25 Days of Christmas, I would be searching for things to write about but really I am struggling with just the opposite - what I am going to leave out! I've been watching The Sing-Off for the past hour and I can't get over how incredible this show is!! It rivals Glee in amazing renditions of good music that make me feel all warm & silky inside!! And can we talk about how adorable Ben Folds is?! Watching any musical performance, I usually get all giddy and grin from ear-to-ear through the entire song/show... especially when I get to see them live! In the front row!!! Because I won the lottery!! Sunday, Megan got snowed in to Chicago so we had an entire extra day to see the city and we headed down to the Cadillac Palace Theatre 2 hours before the matinee show of Wicked... my new favorite musical!!... to enter in to the lottery drawing they hold before every show in which anyone can put their name in to a witch's hat (how apropos!). They give away 20 tickets for $25/each valued at $165 in the very front row! Like you could count the hairs on the conductor's head from where we were sitting... and I WON!! 2 tickets to most amazing musical ever!! Loved Wicked. Loved Chicago. Love the idea of living there in the spring... =)
 We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the theatre so that's why they're so dark...
 but this is us! In the front row!! At Wicked!! For $25!!!

M.F.T. #12: Being a twenty-something.

I seriously love being twenty-something! I always thought being a college student was the perfect limbo between teen and adulthood but I have found a new happy medium between carefree and responsibility post-university/pre-thirties and it's being twenty-four years old. Thirty is the new twenty which just bought me ten more years to figure out the rest of my life! Well, I've already used up four of them so technically I have six exciting years to get a masters degree, backpack Europe, settle in a city (where in the world will that be?), get married, buy a house and have a baby...  no, seriously. The schematic of my life (I drew it myself!) assures me that all those wonderful things will happen before my 30th birthday but for now, I'm embracing being a typical twenty-something with no ties to anything... ready to take on the world! =) The quintessence of twenty-something, my life is full of maybes at the moment. Maybe, I'll go to the gym. Maybe, I'll sleep til 2:00. Maybe, I'll travel the world. Maybe, I'll join the peace corps. Maybe, I'll go back to school. Maybe, I'll stay at home drinking hot cocoa or maybe I'll stay out all night drinking cosmos. Maybe, just maybe, I'll figure out myself + this crazy little thing called love... I mean life... I mean... are those two words interchangeable? One thing is for sure I will have a lot of fun in doing so because the 21st century twenty-something is allowed to be a professional by day and sing karaoke by night. It's completely acceptable to wear lacy bras under my your scrubs. It's okay to take spur-of-the-moment trips in the middle of the week to meet up with your best friends who don't live under the same roof anymore... but if they still did, that would be okay too. It's great that you get to host your own birthday parties and dress up for Halloween in the same size of costume you wore when you were 10... and look good doing so. It's okay to plan your day/week/month/year entirely around yourself. It's the perfect mixture of sophistication and spontaneity, complimented by a little anticipation and a lot of determination. It's my favorite thing #12.

 Speaking of things it may only be acceptable for you to do in your twenties... while in Chicago, Megan & I attended TBOX: 12 Bars of Christmas pub crawl through Wrigleyville with all of Chicago's finest twenty-somethings!  

To twenty-somethings!!! Cheers!!
Special Delivery ----
 Chocolate Syrup + Peppermint Schnapps! 
What's in the box, Garrett??

Our first bands of the day acquired at 9:30 ... the Shedd Aquarium!! =)
 9:30 p.m. and going strong ... 

Lost in a sea of Santa hats ... Happy Holidays!!

M.F.T. #11: Breakfast (in bed)

 Good morning! My absolute favorite meal of the day is breakfast and while in Chicago, Megan & I indulged in a yummy breakfast everyday (at 50% off!). I'm not a big meal eater and would prefer to graze throughout the day (I wonder if this preference would change if I could cook?). Bfast is the only food group I ever crave ... my favorite item being eggs florentine benedict but California style adding my fave avocado! The only time I can ever abandon my "eat like a bird" tendencies and join the clean plate club is between the hours of 9 and noon, or on the rare occasion when I get really crazy and eat eggs & toast for dinner! Getting up at 5:55am for shift, the thought of consuming any kind of food makes me nauseous so most days my most important meal of the day consists of a piping hot cup of coffee but on the days when I get to laze around in my peejays or order room service because its just too cold out to get out of bed (pictured above!) nothing makes me happier than a fluffly Belgian Waffle or syrupy-sweet french toast! How delicious does this oatmeal brulee look?

M.F.T. #10: me & my cousins.

My Favorite Favorite Thing # 10 is not a thing at all but 2 awesome members of my family who I have been missing a lot recently now that I no longer live in the same city/in their spare bedroom anymore and although I've only been gone for 2 weeks, I feel its been an eternity since I've hugged my cousin's prego belly. Jenn + Lori are my (second) cousins and they are ~10 years older than me... which is the perfect distance a part to consistently look up to someone my entire life. We were always their "little cousins" growing up and I couldn't wait to come home for Christmas/the lake in the summer to see them! When they were teenagers, I thought they were the coolest girls ever with their stylish clothes + ALL their boyfriends! I couldn't wait to turn 16 + listen to Roxette and go on dates in my own little red sports car. Then, they hit their twenties and they hit a new level of cool. I can remember getting to stay the night with Jenn while she was in college and I thought it was soooo cool that she lived with her 4 best friends ... her room made out of sheets in the basement that she drew the short straw for! It was the same night as a going away dinner with all her friends and I got to come along!! Their fashion and conversation made me feel like I had just entered a real life episode of Sex & the City! They drank cosmos; they went to toga parties; they highlighted their hair! Now that they are in their thirties, they are cooler than ever with great careers and beautiful children! I am finally at an age where I still aspire to be where they are in 10 years but also can call them close friends, too. Lori is a very gifted French immersion teacher and Jenn is an incredible mompreneur who has many "jobs" including a fabulous eco-friendly website; purchase her awesome products here! I had saved part of this as a draft from awhile back and I think I was waiting for the perfect picture to accompany this post before I published it but I never got one of the 3 of us together so I stole these pictures off Jenn's photography blog: jennaphotoland (Did I mention she is an incredible photographer, too?). Living in Winnipeg, they helped me through so much and really taught me the value of living close to family, something I had never known before this past year. I got to spend lots of quality time with L & J and am really glad I got the time to get to know their adorable daughters... I hope I get to make the same kind of memories with Sadie & Lily, "my little cousins!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

in case you were wondering where I have bean ...

This blogger has bean been on a fabulous vacation in the Windy City (have you bean been following the news?? Windy it was!) but I'm back (in Tennessee +) on my blog!!! =) It's 1:35 in the am and I've bean been singing Christmas carols for the last eight hours through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, snow, hail, icy roads, etc. I'm excited for all the fun pictures I took the last 7 days and the 5 (and counting!) favorite things I have to post but for now, I am going to sneak downstairs and get a snack (I thought I saw Christmas Crack on the counter!!) and then try (operative word: try!) to get some sleep... but here's a little preview of where I've bean been! (That will never get old to me!)  =)

***B.T.W. - Don't be deceived by the apparent blue skies and sunshine in these photogs ... it's about 10 degrees + I couldn't feel any of my phalanges at this point!... but they do make a pretty awesome backdrop!***