Sunday, February 27, 2011

Inn Like Flynn

I'm finally getting around to recapping my President's Day weekend.  After 2 weeks of researching, we decided to rent a spacious beach house nestled in the heart of Duck, North Carolina.  Inn Like Flynn was the perfect fit, complete with a billiards table, a pool, a hot tub, a newly renovated kitchen and spectacular views of the ocean and the sound. 

For February, the weather could not have been better, and we made sure to make the most of our mini-vacation.  I was thrilled to finally meet Jessica's new beau Jon, and lucky for him, he definitely earned the best friend "stamp of approval"! 

Saturday afternoon, we all piled into the car and headed down the road to nearby Nags Head.  My family used to own a home in the Outer Banks and due to the close proximity of OBX to Hampton, a large portion of my childhood was spent at our beach house. Once George and I headed off to college, my parents made the difficult decision of selling our home-away-from-home, so I insisted we stop by the old digs.  Seeing as Jessica and I have been best friends since elementary school, we had a great time reminiscing about our countless trips to the shore.  
Hello from Eighteen South
We continued the trip down memory lane by visiting one of my favorite local dives, Tortuga's Lie for a much anticipated lunch.  After appeasing our hunger, we headed to the local bowling alley to satisfy our competitive appetites.  Under our creative pseudo names, we played three rounds.  There were several highlights of the game.  Will (Lucky Lefty), still recovering from right shoulder surgery, had to bowl left-handed and was such a good sport! Jessica (CaCa), managed to send her 10lb. bowling ball sailing backwards in a display of talent we had only seen on America's Funniest Home Videos.  In a streak of unfathomable luck, I (Sweatta, not Sweat) managed to get 5 strikes in a row! Knowing my brush with bowling glory would soon be over, I had to take a picture of the once-in-a-lifetime King Pin moment. 
Next on our OBX bucket list was a visit to Jockey's Ridge State Park to hike the dunes. The games continued as we had a competition to see who could jump the furthest off the sand dunes.  Our attempts to fly were futile at best as they consisted of 2 second air-time followed by 3 pounds of sand in our shoes.

Flying Failure
After attempting to shake off the sand we had all gathered, we made our way back to Duck just in time to watch the sunset from our balcony.  

Sunset on the sound
We got dressed for the evening and met up with Jessica's godparents at The Blue Point for drinks.  Much to our delight, the Lawson's offered to treat the four of us to dinner.  The food was incredible, and it was great enjoying a delicious meal by the water with friends.

Blue Point 
After dinner, we headed back to the house for the highly anticipated girls vs. boys "Minute To Win It" challenge.  The competition was fierce but, unfortunately, the boys ended up reigning supreme despite our practice rounds.  I guess we will have to plan another meetup because I am looking forward to a rematch!   

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Relax & Unwind

My trusty travel companion (my camera) was left in Raleigh this past weekend. However, my other trusty travel companion Jessica was smart enough to bring her camera to chronicle our wonderful trip to the Outer Banks. Hopefully, she will be sending me the photos soon so I can properly document our fun weekend by the water.  

A three-day weekend means a four-day workweek, and a four-day workweek means the office has been busier than normal these past two days. The To-Do list on my desk seems to be ever-increasing, a relentless reminder that while I was enjoying a Monday off-the-clock, the majority of the working world was not so lucky.  In an attempt to withdraw from my busy day, I decided to treat myself to a stress-free evening.  I burnt cooked dinner, had a glass of wine, and am planning on finally flipping through the various magazines I received in the mail last week.  In honor of my evening's repose, I thought I would share a playlist I compiled on iTunes aptly named, "Relax & Unwind".  If I set the fire alarm off while attempting to make a grilled cheese sandwich, at least the firemen will have a peaceful soundtrack to listen to as they extinguish the flames.  Enjoy!

  Copper Line - James Taylor
Details In the Fabric - Jason Mraz
Edge of Desire - John Mayer
Human - Jon McLaughlin
Nothing Fancy - Dave Barnes
Pitter-Pat - Erin McCarley

Rise - Eddie Vedder
Sweetness In Starlight - Matt Wertz
Wild Horses - The Sundays

Dream - Priscilla Ahn

.....Must Have.....

It has become apparent that Lindsay Lohan has a habit of making bad decisions.  As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that her only wise decision thus far was her role in Parent Trap.  Her party-girl lifestyle has rendered us all speechless and proven that money can't buy you class or even a $2500 necklace.  Although I must commend her attempt to revive the ankle bracelet fad, LiLo's fashion in the past few years has been seriously lacking.  But just before I threw Lohan in the Worst Dressed category, she did what she does best: she surprised me.  Lohan recently sported this to-die-for Kimberly Ovitz "Glavis" minidress on her way to, wait for it...court.

This "a bit short for court" dress may not have been a hit with the judge, but it sure was popular with the public.  The dress sold out almost immediately and is now impossible to find on or offline! So thank you Kimberly Ovitz, I think wearing your dress may be the second best decision Lindsay has ever made.

.....Must Hear.....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In it to Win it

I made the trip back to Virginia this past weekend to celebrate Mom's birthday and what a celebration it was! On Saturday night, the Lockwood's treated Mom and me to a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, Schlesinger's. It was so great spending time with my second family, and of course, the birthday girl!

After dinner, Jessica and I went to the grocery store and bought $42 dollars worth of a random assortment of goods all in preparation for the night's big festivities.  A few weeks ago I was introduced to the amazing game, Minute To Win It.  If you haven't discovered this jackpot of a game show, you must tune in!  Contestants are given a series of tasks that they must complete in 60 seconds or less. All of the games are played with items you can find in your home: Kleenex, straws, rubber bands, etc.  Jessica and I chose a few of our favorite games and competed against our mothers.  Mom and Cheryl played Hanky Panky which requires the players to pull all the tissues out of a Kleenex box using only one hand.  That's 160 tissues in 60 seconds, not as easy as it may seem!

Jessica and I then taped the empty Kleenex boxes to our backs and filled them with ping pong balls.  I can only imagine how ridiculous we looked when the timer started and we had to shake the balls out of the box.  What a workout!

The most hilarious game was called Elephant March.  In this game, you put a baseball into a pair of pantyhose and have to knock over 8 water bottles.  The tough part is the pantyhose goes over your face so it looks like you have a trunk growing from your head.  This was by far the most difficult challenge, especially since we were laughing so hard we were having trouble standing.

This weekend, Jessica and her boyfriend are joining Will and me in Duck, NC.  We are undoubtedly forcing our significant others to partake in our new favorite game/comedy routine.  Yes, we may be LOSERS for loving this game but I'm in it to WIN it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I admit, I am a bit of a hopeless romantic so, I could not help but to have an extra pep in my step today.  Some of my fellow office friends and I showed our support by wearing red and pink, handing out roses, and sporting heart-shaped beads and glasses. That's the spirit!

Flowers, X's and O's, romantic gestures... Some people find February 14th nauseating, but I think it is sweet.  I love the innocence Valentine's Day: the heart-shaped coffee filter crafts, the cheeky cherubs flittering across the television, the awful but so delightful Hallmark commercials, and of course the sudden alertness of all girls in the room when a flower truck pulls into the parking lot.  Yep, that was me today! Will knows I love surprises but despise waiting for them, so he ordered my flowers a week ago to ensure they were first on the delivery route (and it's a good thing he did, the florist told me I was delivery 2 of 240).  At 9:01 this morning my mousepad and letter opener made way for my beautiful bouquet! My Valentine waited until after work to tell me I had cupcakes waiting for me at Gigi's.  I'm hesitant to eat them because they are so adorable!

.....Must Have.....

Thanks to Ronald Reagan and dating a boy in law school, I know that the obligatory "power tie" is most always red.  A red tie is synonymous with wealth, motivation, and luck.  A lady who wears a red dress attracts a different type of attention.  A woman in red is usually associated with passion, love, and commitment.  What better color to wear on February 14th than a red dress? After all, the red dress did inspire one of history's most popular love songs. So for today, let's push the LBD to the back of the closet and celebrate the color that universally symbolizes love.  Here are some of my favorites:

Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent

M by Marc Jacobs

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Black Swan

Last week I decided to do something I rarely do: go see a movie in the theater.  I prefer to enjoy movies in the comfort of my home in my pajamas where I am free to pause, rewind, adjust the lights, the volume, etc.  Upon seeing previews for Black Swan a month ago, I insisted that Will and I see it on "the big screen".  I was so excited to see the flick I almost forgot why I avoided theaters in the first place.  The theater was so dark upon entering, I had to double check to make sure I had removed my sunglasses.  I don't need to see, I know what Natalie Portman looks like! My feet provided their own sound effects with the help of the sticky concoction of spilled sodas, Airheads, and popcorn kernels that lingered on the linoleum floor.  Who cares if my feet get glued to the ground, I'll probably want an excuse to stay and watch the film again! 

Well, all in all, Black Swan was a let down. Granted Portman portrayed a girl battling psychological and emotional issues, I struggled to relate with her character.  The movie was so gory at times, I had to close my eyes.  Portman's role went from innocent to explicit in a matter of minutes.  The excessive sexual scenes would leave even the most open-minded viewer uncomfortable.  The plot line was hard to follow, and Portman's random and bizarre hallucinations did not help.  I was hoping for a thriller that focussed on the pressures professional dancers endure.  Instead, I suffered through 110 minutes of inappropriate vulgarity, excessive screaming, and stomach-churning snapshots. 

So, unless Steve Martin is planning on reprising his role as George Banks in Father of the Bride Part 3, I do not think I will be racing back to the theater anytime soon.

.....Must Have.....

Despite my negative critique of Black Swan, there was one aspect of the film that I could appreciate: the fashion.  Performing Swan Lake, the actresses oozed elegance in costumes designed by Rodarte.  The stars were stunning from head to toe, donning ornate feathery headpieces, generously layered organza tutus and neutral leotards dripping in Swarovski crystals.  The ballerina-on-the-go look was just as eye-catching: cashmere leg warmers, comfy cotton shrugs, and of course, ballet flats.

That is why I was so captivated by Aruna Seth's one-of-a-kind butterfly flats.  Seth's Liana patent leather ballerina flat skillfully combined both the eccentricity of the on-stage ballerina as well as the effortless simplicity of the off-duty-dancer.  Her signature crystal butterfly adds a whimsical touch to the otherwise basic flat.  My dreams of becoming a prima ballerina may have faded years ago, but I sense that the Liana flat may just inspire me to do a few pirouettes.

.....Must Hear.....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birthday Shoutout!

 Happy Birthday to 2 of my favorite ladies!

My terrific Momma Christie Craft!

 And the Bride-To-Be, Mary Loyal

Love you both!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Still My Heart

I will preface this blog by stating that I am a supporter of dating websites.  I know couples who have met online and honestly, in today's day and age, a girl is lucky to have the energy to go to the grocery store after 9 hours in the office, let alone reapply her make-up, change clothes, go out for drinks and flirt. 

This past Friday I had a long phone conversation with a childhood friend. For the sake of anonymity we will call her *Trixie*.  She has been living in the city for a year, but is moving back to the Tidewater area where rent is more affordable and the job market is less cutthroat.  She is 26 and sick of the after-work, happy-hour, is-he-staring-at-me-or-the -bartender, forced dating scene. SO she joined a relationship website. I fully supported her in this decision.  After all, EHarmony claims to be responsible for 2% of marriages in the US, not bad! 

We expressed our hesitations about online dating: what if he puts up a picture from 5 years ago? What if he looks 6'1 in his photo but he's really 5'4? What if he photoshops in abs or worse... hair?  We went through every scenario, but concluded that if any of the previous circumstances were to arise, she would at least have a great story to share with friends at the end of the night. Famous. Last. Words.

At around 9 PM last night, I got a call from *Trixie* requesting that I check my e-mail immediately.  *Trixie* had sent me a message she received from a potential suitor.  The below is an actual message and profile. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves:

"Names is Kris. Born Richmond an Raised here in Williamsburg. Ima 26 about to be 27 in April. I'm white with an athletic build. got 2 tats one on each arm. I like to say that ima good dude with a Heart of Gold. I" hate with a Passion Lairs Cheaters Back Stabbers an peeps that think their plain out the junk. All in all I want the small stuff in Life. really the only thing. A FAMILY one that I can be Proud of a child somewhere down the Road that I can mold to be everything that I aint. A Woman that can still my heart an Run wit it an not give it back. ~Really~ I just want to be Happy=) Give back to what was givin to me. I was Born with Country an will die with it. anywho would really like to talk to you. thats is if ya feel the same. For once in my life just really hope that God will Bless me with someone special. One day I know He will. I have Faith=) Hope that your having a Great day an hope to talk soon!"

Once my friend picked herself up off the floor, she emailed her two dating cheerleaders, Me and Sarah.  Trying to remain positive, Sarah provided the following feedback:

Best qualities about Kris:

1. Two tats.
2. Says "peeps".
3. Says things that don't make sense like, "that think their plain out the junk".
4. No grammatical structure in his letter.
5.  Ain't.
6. "Still" instead of "steal"
7.  Shortens words, because sometimes they really can be so long, and that's tiring. Ex. "wit" and "ya"
8. Will die "with Country". Emphasis on the capital "C". 
9. And perhaps the best opening ever, "NameS is Kris."

When I received this email I insisted on investigating this character further.  I requested *Trixie* send me the full profile of said suitor, hoping that his nonsensical banter would provide more comic relief to my mundane Monday night.  Let me assure you, my expectations were most definitely met, if not exceeded.  Kris’ (excuse me, Lil Kris’) page included several more words of wisdom:

"I'm not the Greatest of all people but in the end know im NOT the worst."

"I know where i want to be in life in which right at the moment i'm not but there agian will be one Day."

"My Like's Learning from my Past, Cars, Women not little girls!! Playing the Guitar when i have one to play."

"I do me to take care of me an refuse any longer to let anyone or anything step in the way of that!."

I was under the assumption that our prince was an English professor or an Editor.  However, next to the Employment category, I read the words "Pro Temps".  After much deliberation, I deduced that "Pro Temps" means he is either A. an optimistic meteorologist or B. a seasonal streetwalker.

In the event that Kris really is an actual human on his quest for love, I will refrain from posting the pictures he provided, some of which contained rather outdated 2008 timestamps.  I am still unsure that this profile is in fact a serious display of a hopeful dater's greatest attributes.  I find it hard to believe that someone would want his significant other to "still" his heart and then run away with it.  Most of all, I refuse to accept that Virginia's school system would hand out a diploma to someone who could not differentiate between a lion's den (lair) and a dishonest person (liar).  Then again, according to his profile, he might not have graduated because he describes "Education" as: N/A.  No education? Well, that may be the first thing I read that DOES make sense.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I just finished the book The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The story is told from the eyes of Enzo, a beloved and intelligent dog who shares a special bond with his master Denny.   Denny faces a slew of misfortunes beginning with the loss of his wife, then his job, then custody of his daughter.  I came across the following quote in which Enzo speaks fondly of Denny's dedication, drive, and conviction and how this makes him a champion:

"The sun rises every day. What is to love? Lock the sun in a box. Force the sun to overcome adversity in order to rise. Then we will cheer! I will often admire a beautiful sunrise, but I will never consider the sun a champion for having risen."

I love the message that this quote conveys, and I could not help but think of my father.  Dad was born with polio and doctors concluded that he would most likely never be able to walk on his own.  He spent most of his childhood in leg braces until one day, he took it upon himself to dismantle the metal contraptions, without my grandmother's consent, of course.  Determined to prove his nay-sayers wrong, Dad never wore his braces again, and by his teenage years, was the MVP of his track team. 

In high school, Dad faced another obstacle when he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable eye disease that leads to night, peripheral, and in advanced cases, central blindness.  Once again, Dad made the best of his situation. He taught himself how to play guitar, relying solely on sense of touch rather than visual recognition to learn the chords. 

Dad approached every obstacle with confidence and determination, never once complaining about the hand he was dealt. In the face of adversity, Dad more than succeeded, he excelled.  That, to me, made him a champion in every sense of the word. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sick Day

I am sitting in bed surrounded by cold medicine, Kleenex and cough drops.  I just woke up from a Sudafed-induced slumber and am taking my first sick day.  I never missed a day of school growing up.  In fact, I have quite a few "Perfect Attendance" awards collecting dust on a bookshelf at home.  However, my superhuman immune system seems to have lost its first battle to the common cold.  

It's hard to believe that just two days ago I was at home without as little as a sniffle to slow me down.  On Saturday, Mom, my aunt and I shopped and ate lunch at one of my favorite places, Red Star.

I got a call from my friend Emmy saying she was returning from a business trip that night. I was so happy that I was going to be able to see her.  We all got dressed up and headed to Norfolk for dinner at the Town Point Club.  We had a great time catching up over cocktails and an enormous three course meal.

Sex and the City- I call Carrie! 
After a long dinner, we were all in a good mood.  For some reason we saw the below sign outside of a gas station and thought it was hilarious. Who knew removing a letter from a common word could be so comical? We had to pull over and take a picture.  

We were all in stitches, laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes.  I'm sure it's not funny at all to those reading but I have not laughed that hard in a very long time.  It was refreshing to be able to find humor in something as mundane as the word "Breafast".  I may be paying for my night of fun now, but that laugh attack in an abandoned gas station at 11PM could have single-handedly made my trip home worthwhile.

.....Must Have.....

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I am not a big fan of the military fad that is sweeping the runways.  Just when I thought the last pair of cargo pants had made their way to Goodwill, I see magazines displaying  fitted fatigues and double breasted jackets.  I think women's fashion should embrace femininity rather than downplay it with excess buttons, murky colors, and ill-fitting frocks.  I had yet to find a military-inspired article of clothing that appealed to me until I came across this piece by Mike Gonzalez.

The Olivia Cinched Waist Military Coat Dress is exactly what it claims to be: a coat and a dress.  Gonzalez seems to be the first designer to draw inspiration from today's army-inspired trend while effortlessly adding a feminine flair.  The cinched waist helps to promote a subtle hour-glass shape and the bubble hem adds a flirty touch.  So, though I may not be dressing like G.I. Jane anytime soon, this jacket sure makes me stand at attention!
.....Must Hear.....