Monday, September 23, 2013

happy birthday!!!

happy birthday to my one and only, mike!

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i'm so excited for all this coming year has to bring!  your next birthday, you'll be my husband and i'll be your wife!

i'm looking forward to every day of this wedding planning journey and creating our own little life together as we become our own family.

michael, i love you so much.  happy birthday!!!!!


your crazy, excited, loving fiancee.


Friday, September 20, 2013

friday philosophy

sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.

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there are some days that are definitely worth celebrating:  birthdays, engagements, weddings, births, christmas, etc.  and sometimes, you just need to celebrate to remind yourself of how great life is.

so, this weekend is all about celebrating and i hope you have something to look forward to!

my weekend will start with celebrating at kdr fitness.  it's their member appreciation party (slash open house) and it will be a great time to relax, unwind, get rowdy, and truly enjoy the company of the people i spend a lot of time with.  except, we will be in normal clothes, we will drink champagne, and we will devour 'naughty' food.  and we're all going to enjoy every. single. second.  because we deserve it.  we've worked hard for it! =)

the celebrations will continue with dinner out with friends to celebrate birthdays and a new internship opportunity.  i'm excited to spend time with these people that i don't see enough.  it will be fun.  and there may even be singing.  (to the birthday boys - you're welcome.  hehe.)

and since monday is mike's birthday, we will have to spend some time celebrating just the two of us on sunday.  (after the patriots game, of course.)  

so, what are you going to celebrate this weekend?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

{go to this} giselle & a giveaway!

don't worry, you're not experiencing deja vu.  well, maybe you are.

in may i blogged about my friend's production of the classic ballet giselle hitting the local stage.  well, with the huge celebration of city center ballet's 15th season, they're putting on the production again.  and it's this weekend!

i've mentioned a few times (here, here, here, and here, specifically) that city center ballet's productions should not be missed.  with this celebratory 15th season, you should definitely make it a point to see one of their shows if you're local to the upper valley of nh/vt.

here's some photos from the performance in may.  (more details about the shows below!)  it was a fantastic performance, so they decided to run it again.  there are a few new faces, but the talent is still incredible!

all of these photos were taken from the city center ballet facebook page and are credited to dan grossman.

giselle will have two productions this weekend.  one friday, september 20th, the other saturday, september 21st.  both shows are at 7pm.  

visit the lebanon opera house website to order tickets!  adult tickets are $26.50, seniors $21.50, and children $13.50.

now for the exciting part.  i've got two tickets for friday's show up for grabs!  you only have until midnight tonight to enter, but there are five(!!!!) ways to earn entries!

***the giveaway is closed.  congratulations to babben k. who won the tickets!***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

i will notify (and announce) the winner tomorrow.  the tickets will be available for pick up at the box office prior to the 7:00pm show tomorrow, september 20th at lebanon opera house.

Friday, September 13, 2013

friday philosophy

sometimes i come across a quote that bears some kind of significance and i want to share it with you dear readers.  sometimes it's based on where i am in life or a certain event, sometimes a quote just reminds me of a friend, or sometimes it makes me think.

{image via}

something about september is refreshing for me.  maybe it's the start of the school year (despite being out of school for, oh, 10+ years)...maybe it's the change of seasons...i don't know, but september is a time that i always feel like i'm renewing myself.

last year, in september, i joined kdr fitness.  i was unhappy with my body and i had to make a change.  this year, i'm actually not doing anything different or new, but i do feel a sense of renewal, in many ways.  with my wedding coming up next june (!!!), i gave myself until labor day to get back in the swing of things, also known as getting-my-butt-to-the-gym-four-days-a-week-and-eating-right.  so, now it's september 13th, and i'm back on track.  it feels good to have a sense of renewal and be able to create routines and set goals and actually work to achieve them.

but, today's post is actually not about me.  it's not about my fitness journey.  and it's not about my own sense of renewal.  instead, it's about a friend.

you see, i have this friend.  she's a great girl.  she's single, she's fun, but she's has had some ups and downs in the past few years.  nothing serious or life threatening, but stuff that takes a toll on you nonetheless.  (and i know, because i've had the very same ups and downs.)  i know sour relationships take a toll on your heart.  i know financial challenges take a toll on your emotions.  but i also know that these things can be overcome.  (trust me, i've done it.)

september 1st marked her first day in a new apartment.  it's not just any apartment though.  three of her friends, including myself, have lived in that apartment.  she's the fourth in a string of tenants that have used their time in that space to move forward. 

it's a fact that life throws all of us curveballs.  and this apartment is the perfect place to recover from all the dodging of said curveballs.  heck, if three of us have done it, this gal can too!

the first friend that lived in this apartment moved in at 20.  she was young and wanted some independence.  during her time in that apartment she got a kitten, rose the ranks at her job, traveled, fell in love, and eventually moved on to a larger apartment (next door) with her (then) boyfriend (now husband).  "i loved that apartment," she says. "it was the best time of my life!"

then i moved in.  i was fresh out of college, switching from a different living arrangement, and ready to take on the world.  i had a full time job, i loved going out and meeting new people, i got a kitten, and racked up my credit cards (oops.).  (i also met mike when i lived in that apartment, but i don't remember if he ever went there.)  i lived life to the fullest, but i learned a lot of lessons.  i got a second job, learned about the true responsibility of paying bills, and lived there for a couple years.  (then, when my friend and her hubby moved out next door, i moved in with a roommate.  so yeah, it was kinda like musical chairs, but with apartments.)

when #3 moved in, she was fresh off a break up.  after a couple of long-term, failed relationships, she just literally needed to be alone for a minute.  she needed to learn that she could depend on herself (something #1 and i had already done), and she needed to enjoy life, rather than feel like she was chasing it.  "that apartment probably saved my life," she told me. "i was able to re-focus and just be me."  her renewed sense of self landed her a man that has now become her husband.

now that we have this other friend that has moved into our beloved "first on-your-own" apartment, we are all overjoyed.  we want to support her, while she supports herself.  the three of us spent years in that place learning so much about ourselves, our lives, how we want to live, who we want to be around, trying to figure out this life...trying to figure out happiness.

so, to our friend: our fierce, amazing, stubborn, smart, inspiring, creative, and thoughtful friend:  here's wishing you ultimate happiness.  

we want you to succeed.
we want you to feel confident.
we want you to be independent.
we want you to learn about yourself.
we want you to be able to depend on yourself.

so, now you can forget the old.  you can move on from the past.  because the only thing that matters is the here and now.

live it up, girl!  and most importantly, let yourself be happy.  (good advice for everyone, not just my friend!)

we love you!  congratulations on joining our little club.  =) 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

expedit: our first ikea purchase

after sharing the first voyage mike and i took to ikea (waaay back in april!) yesterday, i'm glad you're back today to see what we bought!

i know i spoiled it yesterday telling you i got an expedit, but since that's an entire line of shelving that ikea offers, i didn't totally give away my secret.  see, expedit is a series that's based on squares...each square is a little over 13" wide and tall, so it's a versatile shape, either for display or storage.  or displayed storage.

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check out the new hot pink glossy finish!

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and the t.v. stand i'm lusting over...

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they also make baskets and bins to fit perfectly into the expedit's squares...different colors and finishes to match your style.  they even have cabinet doors and drawers for your expedit!

{image via ikea}

{image via ikea}

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but the one we went for?  the biggest one they make, of course!

{image via ikea}

at just over 6' tall and wide, this expedit is a beast.  but it's an organizational beast.  and i love it!  and at $199, it's a price we felt was well worth the trip and the assembly.  (because organization is priceless!)

but before it looked all snazzy and put together like that photo (from ikea's website), let me tell you how we got here.

remember when i shared the floorplan of the apartment mike and i live in?  no?  here it is...

so, there's the funny hallway space in the center of our place.  it's not quite a room, but it's not quite a hallway.  it's wide enough that we keep our dining table in there (with the sides kept down) and since this apartment isn't the easiest of spaces to organize (only two small closets!), i'd been keeping my craft stuff all willy nilly in old plastic storage drawers (from college!) and in bins and shopping bags.  (wicked organized, eh?)

so, in honor of 'keeping it real''s what our 'hallway' looked like when we got home from ikea.

i said i was keeping it real!  clothes draped on the chair...the humidifier under the table...crap all over the table...and stuff everywhere.  story of my life.

so, in case it wasn't already clear, we were in dire need of some actual organizational and functional furniture for our 'hallway'.  so after perusing the ikea website and drooling over everything deciding that the largest expedit would really suit our needs, all we had to do was go pick it up!

yesterday, i left you with this picture...

but i also found this one...

just to prove that if you have a vehicle smaller than a honda cr-v, you may need to re-think purchasing such a large piece of furniture without the assistance of a larger vehicle.  (even if it came in four smaller boxes to give you the illusion it would fit.)

so, once we got home around dinner time, we were in no mood to eat.  i was like a kid on christmas and insisted we put it together rightthisveryminute!  so, mike and i got to work, organizing the boxes, items, hardware, and 'directions'.  and then we just went for it!

mike used a rubber mallet to hammer in the small wooden pegs that hold the entire piece together in the middle.  there are small brackets and screws that hold the frame of the expedit together, but the rest is just small wooden pegs and long boards of mdf.  we put it together in the living room because that was the only space that had enough room for it to be laid down on the floor.  but when we turned it upright, someone made themselves right at home.

we also purchased a few things to accessorize our new expedit.  4 bins, 2 cabinets, 6 magazine holders, 1 paper organizer, and 1 set of drawers.  plus we had some baskets and things on hand.

still keeping it real.  the packaging from the expedit still around as well as a laundry basket full of clothes.  classy.

so, once we carefully moved the humungous expedit from our living room into the hallway, it looked like this:

mike had his level out to make sure it wouldn't be too tippy.  we opted against using the wall anchors because this isn't the expedit's permanent home.  and we also had cardboard under it to help us slide it across the wood floors into place.  and then we left the cardboard there because that expedit is a beast and frankly, it was easier to leave it there.  it might not be visually pleasing, but when we move, it will help us (again) slide the expedit across the wood floors and onto its new home.

then came the fun part....filling it up!  (cue my happy dance!  my craft supplies will now all have a home!)

and then i stopped taking pictures and just organized to my heart's content!

check it out all filled up!  there are bins for different purposes, areas for crafts, for keepsakes, and even a spot for baby fran!  (sorry, it's kinda hard to get a great picture of it straight on!)

and now that we've been living with it for months, it's still super fantastic!  here's a little breakdown of how it helps us stay organized:  there's a bin of cat stuff (treats, medical records, etc.), there are a couple of cubbies for yarn, a couple for craft stuff (like paint, paper cutters, etc.), one spot for my scrapbook paper, two cubbies of magazines (nicely organized in their holders!), the drawers have our office/craft supplies (like scissors, pens, and tape), the cabinets have some random items that needed homes, mike and i each have a cubby for a 'landing spot' (for our keys, sunglasses, etc.), the cubby in the center has our beach/jamaica keepsakes, and we even made a spot for the kitties!  baby fran loves to be in her little cubby.  i think she likes to try to hide from leo.  and guess what?!  there are actually a couple of spots that haven't been filled.

so that's the story of our very first trip to ikea and what we bought.  i love the expedit!  i love that it's simple and versatile.  in the future we can continue to use it like this or we could even use it as a room divider.  there are many options, which i love!

so, tell me, if you have been to ikea before, what's your favorite purchase?  and if you haven't been yet, are you ready to go rightthisveryminute?  let me tell you, i can't wait to go again.  but i'll try to refrain until we have a house of our own!  =)

september 11, 2001 was such a poignant day in american history.  today marks the 12th anniversary of tragedy and heroism.  walking to my first class of the day, history with prof. birkner, i heard the news.  i will never forget where i was.  i will never forget the horror.  i will never forget the sacrifices.  i will never forget the heroes.  i will never forget.

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