Friday, November 30, 2012

Ballet Beautiful

Since we've officially entered the Christmas season, I thought now would be a great time to write about...exercise! This time of year is filled with extra sweets and treats and can be quite stressful making it the perfect time to make sure you are exercising regularly.

I've been a huge yoga fan for years (seriously, I've been practicing yoga for over a decade). Earlier this year I injured my left shoulder and decided to stop taking yoga until it healed. While I was healing I realized that I wanted to change up my routine a bit by trying something new. I read about Ballet Beautiful on a blog and decided to give it a try so I ordered the book and slowly started learning the exercises. The program was developed by Mary Helen Bowers, who was a ballerina with New York City Ballet (she trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan!), to help regular women attain the famed muscle tone and flexibility of ballerinas.

While I don't think I'll be gracing the stage anytime ever, I'm really happy with my results. I feel so much stronger and I look forward to the stretches and exercises after a long day of sitting in my cubicle. Mary Helen breaks her full-body 1 hour workout down into sections, so it's easy to pick out a 10-15 minute section if you don't have time to do the full workout. If you're looking for a new exercise routine, I recommend Ballet Beautiful. Your library might even have the book or the DVD available for checkout.

Monday, November 19, 2012

National Dog Show

Do you watch the dog show after the parade on Thanksgiving Day?  We almost always have it on while we either cook Thanksgiving dinner or get ready to go visiting.  When Dave asked me if I wanted to go in person this year I said "yes," of course!

The dog show took place this past weekend and we spent most of the day on Saturday checking out the dogs and watching the group judging.  The show was quirky and fun to see in person (although a bit less glamorous than it appears on TV).  Here are a few pictures that I took on Saturday afternoon:

A Corgi getting checked out by the judge...

The Dalmatian sneaking a treat while he waits for his turn to circle the ring...

The Irish Terrier (he had a cute little beard!)...

The cute little Schipperke - Dave loved this guy!

Congratulating the winner of the herding group...

This particular dog show is benched which means that the handlers and owners each have a booth where they hang out in between judging.  Visitors can check out the different breeds and pet the dogs while the handlers groom them.  It's perfect if you're looking to get a dog, but aren't sure which breed is right for you and your family.

We left before the end of the show, so we'll still be watching on Thanksgiving Day to see who wins Best in Show. :)

I hope your (short!) week is off to a good start.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekend Getaway: New York, NY

Last weekend, Dave and I drove up to Brooklyn to visit Meghan and Derek. We were hoping to spend a relaxing weekend exploring the city with our friends. Luckily for us, that's exactly how things went down.

We drove into the city on Saturday morning...

Crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on our way into Brooklyn.
...and grabbed some delicious hot sandwiches at a local cafe before heading over to Roosevelt Island. We walked the length of the Island and checked out the lighthouse and the brand new memorial park at the southern tip.

Looking into Manhattan...
...and then looking over to Queens.
Check out the Oz-like FDR memorial just beyond Dave's shoulder!

As the afternoon grew cooler we started to make our way back to Meghan and Derek's apartment where Derek mixed up some Manhattans and we snacked on cheese and crackers.

Our college friend Julia joined us at Talde for dinner with her boyfriend. We ordered enough yummy Asian food to fill our entire table! My favorites were the Korean fried chicken and the Brussels sprouts.

We finished off the evening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music where we enjoyed after-dinner drinks and a jazz band.

Meghan made us buttermilk waffles on Sunday morning and then we headed home. Dave and I were so glad that we took this little weekend trip since we were stuck inside for a couple of days when Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday. I hope everybody stayed safe during the hurricane!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Makeup Tips!

Earlier this week, I blogged about a makeup class that I was attending on Wednesday night.  Well, the class totally exceeded my expectations and I loved it!  My instructor trains regularly with Bobbi Brown and she had great taste and an awesome makeup kit.  She talked with us (there were only three students in my class so we got a lot of personal attention!) about the importance of skin care and presented all of the different types of makeup available.  Then, she gave each of us a makeup makeover focusing on an area of our choice - I chose eyes, of course.

Dave snapped this picture of me when I got home from the class.  I felt so glamorous!

I'd love to share a few tips that I learned in my class!  Here goes...

1. Great-looking makeup starts with healthy skin.  The two most important things you can do to keep your skin looking healthy and clear are removing your makeup each night before you go to sleep and wearing sunscreen every day (even in the winter).

2. Apply blush and lipstick before eye makeup.  Sometimes, a little color on your cheeks and lips is really all you need to feel pretty - you may find that you use less eye makeup when you apply this tip.

3. Synthetic and natural bristle brushes give you different results.  Use a synthetic bristle brush to apply cream or liquid makeup and a natural bristle brush to apply powder-based makeup.

4. Wash you makeup brushes with baby shampoo once a month (I usually wash my brushes once a year - yep, I'm feeling pretty gross about that right now).

5. Chose an eye liner color that is darker than your eye color.

I hope you find these tips helpful!  If you feel that you could use a little makeup refresher, I definitely recommend checking out a makeup class.  I felt more confident about applying my makeup the very next morning.

I'm planning a little trip to Sephora this weekend to purchase some of the products that I learned about in my class.  I'll let you know what I find.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One-day Weekend Wrap-up

I had to work this past Sunday and I was seriously bummed about my 6:00 AM wake-up call, so Dave and I tried to make the most of Saturday and planned a dinner out for Sunday night.

I love to linger over a hot cup of coffee on weekend mornings. Sometimes I chat with Dave or I catch up on reading magazines and catalogs  Since we were making the most of this Saturday, I flipped through the new Anthro catalog while I enjoyed my coffee and then headed out for some new clothes.

I purchased a few new tops and indulged in the Fall polka dot trend...

After lunch at home, Dave and I took a long walk through our neighborhood.  I was on the hunt for some Autumn color...

On Sunday, I came home from work super sleepy and chilly so I snuggled up on the couch with a cup of tea before we headed out to a cozy pub for bangers and mash (Dave) and a burger and steak fries (me).

How was your weekend?  I hope you have been staying cozy these last few days - it has been so brisk.  Brrrrrr!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Makeup Class

Fall seems like the perfect time to sign up for a class to learn something new, doesn't it?  I just finished my photography class, and this week I'm going to a makeup class.

Here's my confession: I'm 30 and I still haven't mastered makeup yet!  It's a skill that I imagine most women developed in high school.  Um, I think I was absent the day that every other girl learned how to apply eyeliner.  I'm super excited for my class and, hopefully, I'll come away with some new tips and tricks.

The instructor asked us each to bring in three of our favorite makeup products.  I only have one: Laura Mercier Cheek Colour.  Have you ever tried it?

Laura Mercier - Second Skin Cheek Colour

What are your favorite makeup products?  Or, are you like me and can only think of one product? :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? I took off on Friday and enjoyed an extra long weekend - yes! Last week was super busy for me, so I slept in on Friday morning and took it easy all day. My mom and I went to a big flea market on Saturday. It was great to spend the day outside chatting with my mom. We each came home with some new goodies and bags of gourds for Fall decorating.

Dave and I headed over to Valley Forge Park this morning for some fresh air and early leaf peeping. We hiked along the paved path for about two hours with occasional breaks for snapping pictures. I'm taking a photography class, so I've got to practice (my instructor showed me some of the different aspect settings on my camera, so I shot most of my pictures in this square format. Kind of cool, right?).

Darker clouds started to roll in as we neared the end of our hike and we made it back to our car just as the rain began to fall!

I hope you enjoyed the weekend and here's to a great week ahead!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Autumn!

Today is the first day of Autumn! Here's to cool nights, apple picking, hikes, cider donuts, pumpkin patches, and jumping in giant piles of leaves. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

D.C. Weekend Getaway Recap

Now that September has arrived, I find myself clinging to all things summer. I'm enjoying dinner and wine on the balcony, long walks around the neighborhood in shorts and flip-flops, and hot, sticky days more than I have all summer because I know they will be gone before I know it.

So, I thought this would be a great time to recap a little trip Dave and I took to D.C. in early August. I blogged about our fabulous hotel already - it was as lovely as ever. After we checked in on Friday evening, we strolled over to our friends Bekah and Nate's house for drinks. Bekah and Nate live in a sweet, cozy garden apartment that was the perfect place for catching up. Later, they took us up to their roof to show us the D.C. skyline at night.

On Saturday, Dave and I ate a leisurely breakfast near our hotel and then headed over to the Newseum. We spent the afternoon wandering around the museum before heading up to the roof (are you sensing a theme?) for some fresh air. The view was great up there and it felt like a little bonus to the exhibits.

Dave is such a trooper - he very patiently let me take
several pictures of him throughout the weekend.

We worked up an appetite in the Newseum, so we headed over to Oyamel for tacos and limeade. 

Later that day, we met up with Bekah and Nate in Alexandria for a bit of window shopping and dinner. Alexandria is lovely and you will have to visit for yourself to get a feel for the town because I forgot to take pictures - bummer.

On Sunday, we drove over to Arlington for brunch with our friends Andy and Danielle. Danielle made us delicious omelets and mimosas which fortified us for our drive home.

I feel so fortunate to make this trip every summer and we always have a great time. I hope you enjoyed reliving a bit of summer fun with me. :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Color of Tea

I just finished reading The Color of Tea on the train ride home from work today. The author writes of heroine Grace's struggles with past and current relationships. Grace opens a lovely cafe specializing in French macarons to escape the worry and pain of her life. As the chapters progress (each named after a creative and tasty-sounding macaron), Grace slowly creates a more fulfilling and happy life.

The Color of Tea

I loved the author's depiction of friendships and marriage in the novel. And I definitely have a serious craving for macarons! If you are looking for one last summer read, this book will do the trick.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Weekend Getaway: D.C.

Tonight, I'll be packing up my weekend bag for a trip to D.C. Dave and I go down to the capital every summer to visit friends and explore the city. Normally, we try out different hotels, but this year we are returning to The Normandy. Check out the gorgeous rooms:

Superior Bedroom at The Normandy Hotel 

Our plans are still a bit up in the air, but we are going to try to check out the Newseum. Have you ever been? I've had my eye on this museum for a while, but we never managed to fit in a visit.

I'll be back next week (I have off all week!) to share photos. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


So, I turned 30 last week. That's a big deal, right? It felt really good to enter my thirties - I was starting to get bored of my twenties. :)

Dave planned an awesome birthday week for me. In our family, we welcome birthdays with a week-long celebration that includes small gifts, dinners out, and fun activities all in addition to cake and gifts on your actual birthday. For my thirtieth birthday week, I received some really sweet gifts like a bottle of my favorite perfume and gift certificate for a manicure. Dave also surprised me with flowers, dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, a night at the movies, and he made me homemade pizza.

Our families joined us for dinner at Heirloom, a fabulous restaurant in Chestnut Hill. We dined at a long family-style table in the middle of the restaurant. I tried foie gras and had short ribs with grilled peaches. So good! We all went back to our house for cake, coffee, and gifts. It was a super fun night and I felt like one fortunate girl.

P.S. My parents gave me a new camera and I'm so excited to share some much-improved photos with you soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Back!

After an unplanned 3-month hiatus, I'm back to blogging! I guess I just needed a bit of a break. :) Just for fun, let's take a look at what I was up to during the spring and early summer...

After years and years (and years!) of hard work, my mom earned her bachelor's degree in English. She graduated on a sunny morning in May. I'm so proud of her!

Uncle Gary came up for graduation day!

Michelle's sister held a polo bachelorette party for her. We chatted, ate yummy finger sandwiches, and drank Champagne while watching the ponies race back and forth.

The bride-to-be looked gorgeous, of course!
Later in May, Dave and I spent a long weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia with our wine and food club. We stayed in a charming house surrounded by rolling fields and horses. During the day we visited wineries and historic sights and then spent our evenings enjoying delicious meals and relaxing in the house's hot tub.

Our lovely farmhouse.
Mama horse and her colt.
We toured the University of Virginia campus.
Vines and roses!
James Madison's house - our last stop before heading home.
June was super busy for me - I traveled to Miami and Las Vegas for work. I also attended Michelle's Alice in Wonderland-themed wedding shower and Dave and I hosted a Rose tasting.

After much pre-wedding celebrating, Michelle and Chris were married on a hot and sunny July evening. Their wedding was so much fun and full of Michelle's creative, artistic touches. We had a blast catching up with our friends and dancing into the evening.

And now we are all caught up on the big stuff! I'll share some more stories soon including my 30th birthday celebration and our plans for the rest of the summer.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Resolution: Visiting the Farmers' Market

It's time to roll out another monthly resolution! This month I'm going to be focusing on visiting my local farmers' market on Saturday mornings. The market just opened three weekends ago and I did a bit of shopping last weekend and this morning. There are gorgeous veggies to buy (asparagus, lettuce, and radishes) and lovely potted herbs that really get me in a springtime mood. I can't wait for the fruit to start appearing!

Speaking of are some photos of the azalea that grows near my front door. I love seeing those gorgeous hot pink blooms when I come home from work.

Dave and I are meeting up with friends for sushi tonight. I can't wait! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A New Coffee Routine

After 3+ years of starting my work day with a cup of free office coffee I finally reached a point where I just couldn't take it any longer. Our office coffee isn't brewed in a traditional coffee pot, but dispensed through a large machine that takes the contents of small packets of "coffee" and combines them with hot water for a truly awful coffee beverage.

I treated myself to a small French press this past weekend and it makes delicious, hot coffee in just a few minutes. Now, I find myself wondering why I waited so long to make the switch.

Bodum Brazil 3-Cup Coffee Press - Black.Opens in a new window

I love small rituals that make the day a bit brighter. Now, I count my 10:00 cup of coffee as a small pleasure that I look forward to each morning.

Happy May Day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday at the Lake

Dave and I like to go for hikes in the parks and lakes that are near our home. We squeezed in a hike around Lake Galena on Easter Sunday.

I love to watch the woods slowly becoming greener...

I hope you enjoyed today's beautiful weather. Happy spring!