Holidays are for Everyone, Together or Alone

Christmas is over, 2014 is on the horizon, and Valentines Day is in full effect at Wal-Marts nationwide.  I thought when I put up the decorations over a month ago that I’d be more than sick of Christmas movies and songs by now.  But no, I could do another month of it for sure.  Some say it starts too early or goes on too long, but I’m fully convinced that it’s society’s way of distracting us from this dry, cold, perpetual night we call winter and keeps us all from suffering severe depression before spring comes.  But as wonderful as this holiday season has been, I have to remember that it’s not all holly and jolly for everyone.  

I am lucky to have a wonderful man in my life who makes every moment magical.  I’ve acquired more friends and family in the past few years than I probably have in my entire life.  All of them are fun and supportive and make me feel good to be alive.  But it wasn’t that long ago that I was not so psyched about the holidays.  I spent a loooong time, like most of my life, living with my mom (who is hands down the very best one) without any siblings or other family around.  It was fine, even enjoyable most of the year, but around Christmas I really hated it.  Especially as I got older and Facebook and MySpace came around (yea... myspace.  Remember?).  It was around this time that I started to realize, people had families at Christmas.  I noticed that people were dressing in their best holiday dress, while I was laying on the couch in sweatpants watching Girls Next Door.  I noticed that people were having big Christmas dinners with turkeys and stuffing and I was stirring up my best Kraft mac & cheese.  I saw people in love trimming trees together while I put a single strand of twinkles on the living room shrub.  It was a time I’m not proud of where I was definitely comparing my life to everyone around me and feeling pangs of resentment toward every Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/I love everybody message received.  

Meeting my fiance opened a brand new world to me.  Unlike me, he has a HUGE family that all lives practically in the same town.  He actually has LIVING grandparents, siblings, and a DOG!  (No cat though.  He could have used a cat.  We’re working on that ;))  Anyway, my holidays became special and different in the snap of my fingers.  It wasn’t just another day anymore.  I had places to be and people who were counting on me to be somewhere and I loved it.  I still love it.  I sometimes feel like a trader, that I’m not being true to the loner that I actually am, but then I realize that it’s just another chapter in life and it’s my time to find my own home for holidays.  

As I sit here and gush over what a wonderful holiday it has been, I do so knowing that some people will find it annoying and even vomit worthy.  I know that many are just going on with the daily grind, that the magic of the season will pass them by without anything special at all.  I get it, I’ve been there, and if you’re living the loner lifestyle, may your mac & cheese be the best you’ve ever tasted and your favorite program be on marathon play all day long!  Christmas is for everyone and you are not forgotten!  May 2014 be the best year yet for us all!

Christmas Eve in our Sunday best (or Tuesday, whatev).

Our vomit worthy perfect tree pose.  Go ahead.  I won't be offended.

As mentioned, the very best one.

With friends post Christmas.  They're pretty awesome.

still being [molly]   Dateless in Dallas

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A Couple of FIRSTS on the LAST Week of the Year

Has it really been a week already?  Holy smokes.  You’d think that with having the entire week off work, I could have found some time to sit down and write something, right?  I thought so too, but somehow feel like I’ve been running around like a crazy person for a week straight.  So many things to do and people to see!  So tonight, an entire week later, I am FINALLY sitting down with my laptop and cup of hot cocoa, enjoying some total me time!  

So let’s back it up to earlier in the week when I had the opportunity to visit the best neighborhood lights display I’ve ever seen.  Despite living in Maryland for a long time now, I had never actually visited the renowned 34th Street lights until this year.  Another couple we often hang out with are pros and visit the neighborhood every year, so I insisted they take us with them and show us the ropes.  Their experience showed as they gave us the guided tour pointing out the best restaurants, the giant flamingo, and the double decker Royal Farms.  (That’s right folks... 2 stories!)  Most importantly they came equipped with plastic cups and mini Bota boxes to pour in as we walked the neighborhood.  

Ready for the tour!

On the way to the lights, one house was projecting the movie Elf onto a big screen on their roof for all to enjoy.  It was pretty amazing and I thought I’d seen it all at this point, except that we hadn’t even gotten to 34th Street yet.  I was excited.  I could see it glowing up ahead.  

When we finally turned the corner, I couldn’t help but smile like a 5 year old and take a zillion pictures as proof that I was actually there in real life.  Enjoy!  I believe they’re up through New Years so there is still time to see it for yourself!  

Their digital sign read "Merry Christmas from the family that's been doing this since 1947"!

Peace house.

All decorations made of hubcaps and bike wheels.

My favorite face enjoying the sights!

A touch of Maryland.

Natty Boh house!

As we were leaving, we passed a street vendor selling oysters that looked pretty legit and claimed to be extra salty.  Mouths watering, the boys made their way over the stand and started chowing down.  No idea what came over me.  I’ve been turning down raw oysters my entire life envisioning some slimy snot like substance sliding down my throat.  Maybe it was the company, maybe it was the wine, but I felt like it was the perfect time to try something new and I did it.  My friend helped me out with some lemon and cocktail sauce and I have to admit it wasn’t half bad.  I didn’t die, choke, or want to vomit in any way!

After the lights, we went to a trendy little restaurant, Birroteca, for dinner and drinks.  I got Sly Fox Christmas Ale because I enjoy being festive like that, and the food was particularly amazing.  

I have a feeling Hamden will have to become a more regular destination for us.  I hear Honfest is in the spring and I’ve never been there either! ;)

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A Party, A Dress, and My House Not a Mess

That pretty much sums up my weekend.

Aint Mondays grand when you have the week off work?  I’d say.  And after what turned out to be a pretty relaxing weekend, I am ready for a week filled with fun and festivities!  

Winter break started Friday when we left school and I wasn’t staying a minute late.  See, I had to move every piece of furniture out of my classroom because they are re-tiling our floors so there was very little that I could do workwise anyway.  It seemed much more logical to do cartwheels across the classroom and leap in jubilee.  So much room for activities!! 

That night we got straight to celebrating at the BRC Holiday Party.  It was like a high school reunion even more so than any of my actual high school reunions because you actually want to look nice and try to impress everyone you haven’t seen in years.  Thanks to social media, I could not claim invention of the post-it, but I decided my life turned out cool enough as it is.  So we caught up with old friends, danced, drank, and enjoyed the atmosphere in the stadium.  The weather was even beautiful outside so we were able to take some field shots without freezing our booties off.

My love and I

Best friends!

Uniforms of the past were all on display.

DJ Kopec doin' his thing!

Fuzzy bathroom selfie.  I really need a new phone!

Apparently I'm a little overbearing in the photobooth.  Ha!

On Saturday something very exciting happened.  I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I got my wedding dress.  It is so beautiful and I can’t stop looking at pictures of it.  I’d love to show you, but I don’t want my fiance to see it.  The only thing I can tell you is that it does not look like any of these.  

And that’s really all I’ve got.  We were supposed to tailgate for the Raven’s game yesterday but didn’t end up going because they were calling for thunderstorms all afternoon.  Didn’t end up happening of course, but how were we to know?  At least I had time to get my disaster of a house somewhat organized!  Well, off to run some last minute errands and hopefully start wrapping some gifts before more holiday plans tonight! Happy Christmas Eve Eve everyone! 

Dateless in Dallas

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Let the Countdown Begin

Today starts the last full week of 2013 and the last week of eating whatever I effing want.  I have to say, I am really looking forward to starting a healthy diet again and I’m pretty sure my little fitness hiatus did the trick in getting me reenergized and focused.  The past week has left me feeling pretty crappy, and I’m quite certain my diet is to blame.  Between running around and forgetting not having time to eat an actual meal, yet still consuming 10 cookies a day because they always seem to be on hand, my blood sugar has been totally out of wack and I find myself shaking or dizzy for no apparent reason.  Ok, I guess the cookies are the reason.  Whatev.

Starting next week, I’m jumping into a protein rich, veggie packed diet that will hopefully leave me feeling reenergized and reveal the abs the I’m assuming are still hiding somewhere in there.  I am also fortunate to have the whole next week off of work so I’ll have plenty of time to figure out a grocery list and actual meal plan that I can stick to.  

What are your favorite clean meals that are also easy to make? 

Who else is joining me in the quest for fitness in 2014?  

Let’s get excited with some of my favorite fitspo!

And there you have it.  Get Lean in 2014 to launch in T-minus 7 days!

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Twas the Week Before Christmas

Well, I had originally planned to theme this post around the 5 best gifts I’m giving this Christmas, but turns out I couldn’t really think of 5 stellar out of this world gifts (we’re pretty practical around here) and there were a few other totally amazing things I wanted to share... so here’s to some Friday randomness as we head into the holiday weekend!

ONE! May as well start with the loads of holiday parties I’ve been to in less than a week... family party, friend dress up party, girls’ cookie swap.  I love having plans and visiting with friends!  (and apparently babies... lol)

TWO! Coasters by Michelle!  A gift that I am giving this year, and one of my favorites, I made myself!  I don’t really consider myself a crafty person so I’m really excited about how they turned out.  One of my teammates gave me a set of these last year and I loved them so much she taught me how to make them.  I made 5 unique sets of four, wrapped ‘em up with ribbon, and there ya go!

THREE! THIS granola by Real-Meals.  I’m so addicted I even gave it as gifts.  I feel like everyone is giving cookies and feeling all Fatty McCracken by the end of the day, so why not give a somewhat healthy snack instead?  This company sells healthy homemade foods made from real ingredients that include a little bit of everything from cereal to jams to lasagna and even dog treats!  It was also started by the mother of one of my students, so I’ve seen an 8 year old shovel this stuff in like candy.  If you live in Maryland or Northern VA, check it out.  It’s all delicious and definitely worth taking note of.  

FOUR! Gold glitter polish.  I couldn’t stop myself from buying it and love how festive it looks!  Seriously ladies, if you are broke like moi, stop going to the nail salon and do the gel yourself.  It is so easy and looks just as amazing if you take your time!  

FIVE! I saved the best for last.  It’s the absolute best animal video I’ve seen since Tank got into the trash.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it.  If you have, enjoy again.  As a cat enthusiast, I was dying.  

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Holiday Sweaters: Ugly or Not?

It’s that time of year... Ugly Sweater time!  Seems the stores are all packed with them purely due to the popularity of this now widespread theme party.  Well, last night we celebrated ours at an “Ugly Sweater” bar crawl through Old Ellicott City.  The outfits were truly hideous and certainly nothing that we would ever be wearing in real life. 

However, the whole thing got me thinking.  There were actually pieces within these outfits that were cute, even trendy.  I even wore my Scottie dog turtleneck to work.  Being an elementary school teacher, I figured I’m expected to wear festive ridiculousness and nobody would think twice about it.  This decision also comes after seeing a photo on Instagram by another popular blogger who shall go unnamed, posting a photo of herself and her husband in their best holiday chic.  Thing is, I honestly thought she was posting a picture of themselves at their own “ugly sweater” event until I read all of the comments about how lovely they looked and how people wished they could get their own husbands to dress like that!  Really?!  

So, I’ve come to decide that the definition of ugly is changing when it comes to holiday attire.  The decision started with this “ugly” sweater posted by Bella over at Dateless in Dallas in her own ugly sweater post.  I thought, gee, I actually think that’s cute.  I mean, I’d seriously wear that with a cute pair of jeans and ballet flats, some red lipstick and hair loosely curled.  Yes, I can definitely see that as part of my actual wardrobe.  
So I started to search.  Could I find more ugliness that I actually want to wear in real life?  Why yes, yes I could.  In fact, none of these sweaters are meant to be ugly as far as I know, but could absolutely have been worthy of the bar crawl.  

  1. Reindeer sweater from Windsor.  Perfectly paired with a black leather mini and sparkling jewels, this crazy holiday pattern goes from ugly to classy in a jif. 
  2. Lauren Conrad foil dot sweater from Kohls.  Look at us liking huge Minnie Mouse style polka dot.  I’d wear this with dark jeans and metallic gold stilettos, and you’ve got yourself some casual sexiness.
  3. Snowflake sweater from H&M.  Ok, maybe it’s not that crazy, but there was a time not too long ago when a fashionable gal would not be caught dead with a huge graphic plastered on the front of her shirt.
  4. Let’s not forget the men.  I like this look (Kohl’s).  I think it’s cute.  It’s quite similar to the one that unnamed blogger’s husband wore, but much simpler.  Trust me.  I can safely say that there is no way in heck that my fiance would wear this right now, but when the style becomes more widespread and he actually wants one, I won’t hate it. ;) 
  5. and 6.  Nordic prints are back.  Nordic prints are also what I would typically think of when picturing the traditional Christmas sweater.  These are from Forever 21 and Old Navy and could be considered a bit ugly on their own.  But with the right pair of skinnies and fashionable boots, I can wear these styles the whole winter through.  

I hope everyone is enjoying the season and their own ugly sweater events!  But don’t throw those uglies away.  You never know when they’ll be stylish again after all! 

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