Saturday, November 30, 2013

early starts

I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas.  I love the magic of the holidays.  Snow falling gently onto empty sidewalks, illuminated by the warm glow of old-fashioned street lamps - coming home to a house dark except for a lit Christmas tree, lighting the way to the closest light switch, one that you don't bother turning on - driving in the dark, listening to Chrsitmas music and thinking of the ones you love - holiday parties filled with laughter and good food and good friends - sipping steaming hot cocoa while cuddled under blankets in a matching set of PJs and watching a Christmas movie - perfectly wrapped presents under the tree.  All of it.  I love it all.

The actual day can be stressful, and then it's as if the pre-Christmas never quite matched up with the sugarplum images that danced through your head.  As I've been getting older and taking ever more control over my own happiness, I've struggled with how to keep myself happy throughout the holidays, instead of loving the day after Thanksgiving as the first day I can celebrate and then slowly slipping into a holiday doldrum that never meets the insanely high expectations I set.  Well this year, this year I'm doing something different.

I had a night to myself for the first time in awhile; no roommate or Loverman to keep my company, no pressing assignments or places to be in the morning.  Instead of simply binge-watching Netflix and lying on the couch lamenting I don't have food, just ingredients, I binge watched my DVDs of House and made an early start.  I sat down with my wrapping paper, scissors, gifts, and boxes, and I started wrapping.
holiday 2013 - 2

Holiday 2013

holiday 2013 3

It's no secret from my last things I love Thursday (it was on Friday) that I love gift wrapping.  With the whole night ahead of me, I took the time and I wrapped my presents slowly and perfectly and tied them with bows and made gift tags and had an absolutely low-key, creative and inspired night; taking the first step towards getting myself excited for the holidays.  It was the first step towards being at peace with the pre-Christmas struggle of expectations-set-too-high, and have a pre-Christmas that met expectations that can lead to a joyful holiday for myself and those around me.

Is my holiday going to be perfect?  Probably not, nothing really is.  But I'm going to have an amazing time.  One thing that I keep reminding myself, that has been helping quite a lot, is that when I look back to past years, I can always pick out one of the sugarplum moments - the ones that dance through my head the following year and fill me with a craving holiday nostalgia.  This year, I'm vowing to take control and keep myself in a present mindset to enjoy next year's sugarplum moments this year, as they happen.

Happy start of the Holidays! xx

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

One of Loverman's favorite activities is Black Friday shopping.  It's more important to him than his birthday, a Friday off of work, his morning cup of coffee, and probably our anniversary (justkindakidding).  As part of his birthday present, I agreed that even though I would be in my hometown for the actual holiday that we actually celebrate, I would make it back up in time to shop with him late Thursday night/early Friday morning.

Well, lo and behold, the Black Friday gods have changed the laws of Black Friday and starts at 6pm, 8pm, 10pm, and midnight.  In the words of Loverman, "I mean, I had an issue with midnight, and 10pm, but now 8pm and 6pm?  It's sacreligious".  As a compromise with his Black Friday morals, we went out around 10:30.  AND DID I SCORE OR WHAT?

Loverman hardly got anything.  A blu-ray that he later discovered he could already stream, and "Home Alone," which was actually pretty good $3 deal.  But I got the best gift for Little Brother.  He is going to love his remote controlled mud-covered Ford F-150.  Does this not make me the best sister to a 5 year-old?!  I grabbed some last things for my mom, a couple of friends and got myself one of my favorite movies, "Silver Linings Playbook".  I scored.  I got spritzed with some awful perfume by a woman with poor aim in an overcrowded Macy's cosmetics department, but it was worth it.  Online shopping was delightful as well; however, online shopping was limited to must-haves, so I didn't find much.  Loverman lucked out there, picking up some gifts for his mom and himself.

Did you find any good deals?  Tell me!  I love shopping stories!

OH! Did you have a good Thanksgiving?  It was a joy to be back home with my family this year.  It's been three years since I've made it back for the holiday, due to being out of state and staying at school with Loverman's family because of a scheduling conflict, so it was wonderful.  With divorced parents, it came with a fair amount of stress, but a fair amount of stress that was worth it.  I was woken up by Little Brother in the wee hours to watch "Planes" before the parade and the Thanksgiving breakfast Dad made everyone.  It's always good to spend time there, to hang out with him and Little Brother.  At 5, Little Brother is at the age where it is an absolute hoot to be around him.  Some really good ones:
"I'm not going to college.  Where do you go after college?"
"Well, you get a job.  Kaitie is going to college soon."
"But she already has a job, so she shouldn't go to college and leave like you did."  (Hence having to get the best present ever.)

"Did you bring home Hiccup Spike?"  (Referring to my hedgehog.)
"No, I left Hiccup in my apartment at college."
"Taylor, her name is Hiccup Spike."

Then he called my Dad a knucklehead and tried to get out of playing a game by telling a family friend he was 3, then deadpanning he was actually 4.  What a turkey.

Off to Great-Grandma's it was after that, and then straight into the car to drive to Loverman.  Long day, but worth it, even if the Black Friday gods smited (smote? had the gall to smite?) Loverman.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

giving thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving my loves!

Because of the holiday, I will not be posting a things I love Thursday this week. Instead, I want you all to think not of the material things you love this week, but the things you are thankful and grateful for every day of your life.

I'm thankful for the time I get to spend with my family today, for my parents to be able to help me financially so I can drive home to see them for the holiday. I'm thankful for the fact that even though I don't love college, I have the ability to go. I'm thankful for the country I live in and the chances I've had. I'm thankful that I have my best friend and love in my life. I've been blessed time and time again and I try to be thankful everyday.

Give thanks today.

And eat a TON.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

last day of sale.

It is the last day of J.Crew's 25% off winter wear sale!  The BRRR Event!


I try and jump on every sale I can (thank goodness for emails) since I don't work at a store anymore.  I so miss being one of the first to see the inventory, and calculating the items to splurge on.  Now, I just fill up my wishlist (my favorite new site feature) and check for sales as often as possible!

There are TONS of great things for gifts for others, and yourself, that are on this 25% sale - the chevron checker hat, chevron stripe socks, a silk metallic tunic, and a real splurge - the double cloth tipped coat.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, November 22, 2013

things I love Thursday (on Friday)

happy Friday everyone!
I apologize for not getting things I love Thursday done yesterday.  Long story short, it was Loverman's birthday, I tried to cook, and had class, and never once sat down at my computer.

So, if you will please forgive me, I now present things I love Thursday (on Friday) and I hope you all have an absolutely amaze-balls weekend.

- Twinnings Breakfast Medley
I started a new job a couple weeks ago, where they have an absolutely unlimited supply of hot water.  It's just there.  This may be common for many of you, but not I, it is the eighth wonder of the world for me (but not really).  But anyways.  I've been rotating through the different breakfast teas every day, and it has been wonderful.  Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Irish Breakfast and Prince of Wales Teas...yum.  I've always been a fan of tea, especially breakfast ones, but never knew which one I loved enough to buy a whole box of.  WELL PROBLEM SOLVED.  I know consume tea by the gallon and get made fun of for having to go to the bathroom all the time. (Ok, so they haven't started teasing me yet, but I'm sure they will anyday now.)

- Design Darling
I've been a fan of the College Prepster for a couple years now, but only recently have I sat down to read and follow Design Darling.  An absolutely beauitful blog, wonderful online boutique, and a very inspiring and fashionable small business owner, it is definitely a must read.  Mackenzie knows what she's talking about, and she has a certain flair for making you want to stay up late and do inventory with her, or wear an insane amount of navy and pink.  Definitely one of my inspirators/motivators.

Creative Gift Wrapping
A little known fact about me is that my favorite part of the holidays is actually wrapping gifts.  I love to make labels, find gorgeous prints, wrap perfectly, finish with a bow or ribbon, and make picture-worthy piles of matching presents.  I printed my own paper when I was in middle school - ever since, I've continued to try something new each year to surprise others and  myself.  This has been my most searched and drooled over pins lately.  Check it out, it's never too early to get the gifts under the tree!

Pantone Coaster Set
I've been bringing these up subtlely and not-so-subtlely in conversations with Loverman over the last week.  I'm a huge fan of Pantone, and love looking through their color swatches.  I love the cool tones of this set, and they bring a lot of classic style to whatever surface you're protecting from coffee rings.  If you like brighter colors, the original ones an assortment of bright reds, blues, yellows, etc.  They would make a fantastic gift for any design fan in your life, or a fantastic gift for yourself.

- Loverman
Loverman gets to be on my list for Things I Love Thursday (on Friday), but only because Thursday was his birthday.  Only reason.

There are my Thursday loves (on Friday) - what are you loving today?

Friday, November 15, 2013



All packed and ready to go home for an overnight trip with Loverman to see the sisters in their high school musical High School Musical. As an alum of the phenomenal program, I am ecstatic to see what they have in store for the audience tonight.

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

things I love Thursday.

As a pretty enthusiastic person, I can easily bounce from one thing to the next with an abundance of joy and excitement (No lie - it drives my parents and Loveman nuts!). Because I am the way I am, I constantly want to tell people all of the fun things that I've discovered or am in love with.

So, on every Thursday, I'll be sharing (about) five (maybe six) things with you that have been suffering through my excitement.

-- moleskine planner
I live by my planner - I am lost without it, I color code it, and I need a sturdy one.  There have been years when I went through 2-4 planners just to find the right one.  I think that I hit the jackpot this year.  I love the way Moleskine looks and feels, and the layout of the week is large enough that I can write all of my lists and to-dos, along with birthdays and meetings.

The pocket in the back with the address book is also super handy - great for address or notes (which I'll probably use it for), or anything that gets picked up along the way.

-- bean boots
The weather is getting colder, which means I pull out my boots and wear them every. single. day.  I love the classic look of the Bean Boots, and the Thinsulate ones are especially useful in chilly Minnesota.  I actually tend to wear them year round - they're great to slip on quick if it's been rainy, or even if I'm going to the garden (one day).

-- Let Them Talk
Yes.  Hugh Laurie of everyone's favorite medical drama has not only one, but two albums for our listening pleasure.  I have been absolutely in LOVE with his first album and I listen to it to and from campus, while I'm driving, homework, every day, every time I can... I'm OBSESSED.  Particularly with his rendition of "Jericho" and "Let Them Talk".

-- upside down Christmas trees
The newest design fad is also in my apartment living room.  Almost.  My roommates cat has a thing for Christmas trees, so we decided to hang it from the ceiling.  I've been spending so much time looking at the images of the trees, I cannot wait to get mine decorated.  It's a little complicated to get it set up, but it is definitely going to be worth it come the Christmas holidays.

-- zig zag asian collection: wool scarf
Along with bringing out my Bean Boots for winter, I've also brought out my wool scarves.  I have two from Zig Zag that I purchased at the Weisman Art Museum's gift shop and I love them.  They're the right size to wrap around your neck or simply wear it as a shawl when working at the computer (which I'm doing now!).  The color of the threads is phenomenal, and I won't be surprised if I pick up another this year.  Sorry Loverman.

Monday, November 4, 2013

life & choice kinda rhyme but not really but they're kinda the same.

Mostly because they're both hard.  And they suck.  Not really, I'm really thankful for both of them, but they're tough cookies, you know?

I attended a panel recently on the topic of choice, and why it matters.  There were presenters from three different topics of choice; Dr. Susan Schneider, presenting on the Science of Choice, Dr. Rothman, presenting on How We Choose, and Dr. Vladas Griskevicius, presenting on Decisions: Rational or Irrational.  I was technically working sound for this event, but it was one I was more than happy to be working - choices had been bothering me lately, and I was treated to a new appreciation for choice and what it is.  I was reminded that as much as I hate it, choice is unavoidable, but that humans prefer having choice (albeit limited) over no choice, and that many of us are overconfident in our decision making abilities.  We all have cognitive biases surrounding our decision making, and lately there has been talk of that being our flaw - however, Dr. Griskevicius (who asked us to call him Vlad) argues in his book that having those biases is what sets us apart from animals.  Dr. Rothman talked about experiments on how people make choices, involving mirrors in our shopping carts and kids taking too much Halloween candy unless they see themselves watching them (seriously).  These are just the snaps of what I learned in each presentation.

The discussion portion was where things got really interesting - Dr. John Halberg, who is a consultant on MPR, was our moderator - and I heard how choice and what the audience had learned about choice impacted their daily lives.  Being aware of all of these things has impacted the way I've been making  and thinking about decisions since attending the panel.  I'm more aware of the biases I have when I make decisions, I'm more aware of biases others may have.  I'm careful not to delude myself or dilute the information I'm getting.  I'm looking at how my habits and environment affect my choices and if I'm at a point in my life where I can alter these habits.  I received an onslaught of information and I loved learning all of it.

Which brings me to the big lesson I learned from it all.  Having too many choices often makes me feel out of control, overwhelmed, and anxious.  I tend to shut down and decide that no choice is the best choice.  So when I was offered a part-time position that would turn into a full-time position when I graduate, which would then become an executive management position with a great event marketing company, I freaked out.  It was the first big-girl job I'd applied for, and then it was offered to me, and then I panicked.  What if I took this job, but then my dream job came up?  What if I didn't take this job, but then didn't get a job?  I was suffering from major What-If-itis and to say I was freaking out was an understatement.  I talked it over with Loverman, who didn't say much, and he asked if we could talk about it on the commercial (I probably shouldn't have brought it up during football), so I waited.

By the time the game took a break and the commercial had begun, I'd made a decision.  I wasn't going to take the job.

Yeah, I need a part-time job.  Yeah, I'm going to need a full-time job in 7 months.  But it wasn't for me.

Sure, a great opportunity fell into my lap, and many people would have jumped at the chance, but I had a choice, and I had to trust myself on that choice.  I'm at a point in my life where the chances are theoretically endless, which means I have endless options - of course I feel trapped.  Instead of over-thinking each and every choice I make, I'm attempting to trust my gut.

When I left that voicemail, thanking them for the chance to interview, the amazing offer and opportunity, followed by my apologies for being unable to take the job, I found that I suddenly felt free.  I was free to choose something I love, and I cannot wait for that choice to present itself.

What has been a choice you've been confronted with lately?