Brides Against Breast Cancer! Shop for a Cause

Photo taken from Blue-17

Let me start off by saying that I was a horrible picture taker this weekend.  Blogging fail.  Oh well.  I did try on my first bridal gowns this weekend though and I loved it!  My mom, my future mother-in-law, and I attended Brides Against Breast Cancer in Baltimore, MD.  It’s a gown sale for those shopping on a budget and supports a great cause on top of it.  All of the proceeds from gowns sold at the event go to cancer support programs from education to nutrition to therapy for both patients and their families.  So, it definitely seemed like a win-win situation.  

When you first walk in, there are a bunch of vendors with tables in true bridal show style.  I entered the drawings, took my free Shakeology sample (so much more delicious than I had imagined it to be), and was taken over by the veil ladies.  

Now onto the dresses....
Photo taken from Green Bride Guide

Here is a photo I stole online that shows exactly what it looked like.  Tons of gowns.  You hunt through them yourself.  There weren’t a whole lot in size 0 or 2, but I did find a good handful I wanted to try on.  In fact, there were two I tried on that were absolutely gorgeous and I almost left with one, but I just couldn’t bite the bullet in the end since it was the first ones I’d actually tried on.  I did take a lot of pictures of those, but I can’t show you. ;)  One of the girls working, Julie, helped me with the dresses and was so sweet and knowledgeable about the gowns.  I was really impressed with how personal they made a makeshift dressing room with shower curtains feel.  

In all honesty though, I was truly going just to try a few on and kind of get a feel for what sort of style I wanted.  I definitely accomplished that goal and have a much more narrowed direction the next time I go hunting.  Which I cannot wait for by the way.  

Where did you buy your bridal gown?  How many did you try on before making a decision?

Afterward my mother and I did some more shopping, at the mall this time, and met the fiance for a fantastic dinner and some drinks.  Good times, good day. 

If you have a previously worn gown that you do not know what to do with and would like to donate it to a good cause, or if you are looking to buy one yourself, check out Brides Against Breast Cancer.  It was a great experience for me and I would definitely recommend it.  I saw quite a few girls find "the dress" while I was there! 

Sami's Shenanigans
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Simple and Amazing is the Best Kind of Weekend

This weekend was pure bliss.  No big trips, no huge life events.  I vacuumed the house, cleaned the bathrooms, and washed all of the sheets and towels in the house.  I even took my dreaded weekly trip to the grocery store without a speck of inner tantrum.  But what was the best part of the weekend?  Getting to spend it with my absolute, #1, favorite person in the entire universe!  

For the past 8 weeks or so, our lives have been filled with so many activities that we have barely found time to see one another.  I am genuinely ok with all of his man activities most of the time, and I do not need to be attached at the hip.  But after several weeks of this pattern, I was beginning to feel disconnected and downright depressed.  I’d hit my limit.  

Thankfully I have the sweetest most intuitive fiance who knew that a complete mental breakdown was looming and devoted a weekend to me without any hesitations.  This weekend was exactly what I needed to get back in tune with life and make me smile in remembrance, even on a Monday. 

Friday night--Kicking off Baltimore Beer Week at Judge’s Bench in historic Ellicott City.  DuClaw brewery had taken over the taps and we both tried out their new Hellrazer IPA.  It was fantastic.  For my next I opted for 31, their pumpkin ale, just to get in the spirit of the season, and was equally impressed. 

Saturday--Lounging, sipping wine, and eating cheese at the Linganore Wine Festival.  I must say, the crowd has certainly changed from the high school gathering spot I once knew, but we had a great time despite the crowds.  Luckily I am a wine festival pro and knew just what to pack for the occasion.  We also got in some great quality time with a friend I don’t see nearly often enough!  

Sunday--We watched our first Ravens vs. Steelers game together.  This is a  BIG DEAL.  We are typically very emotional fans and have thought it in our best interest to separate every time they play for the past 3 years now.  Our rule is that the loser is the one to call when he or she feels ready and no gloating allowed.  Not only did we watch it together, but I also wore a Roethlisberger jersey into a Ravens party.  At the end of the day, I made it out alive and was actually not tormented nearly as much as I had predicted beforehand.  Sunday = success.  

Due to the score above, my photo op was denied.  Ha.

Now when the 5 am alarm went off today, I was certainly moaning and cursing as I typically would on this day at this hour.  But ya know what?  Life is not so bad, and I cannot wait to have another "best weekend ever"!

Sami's Shenanigans

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Fall Fashion Fever and my Love of Leggings

It’s official.  I have fall fashion fever and I can’t stop it. 

I want so many cute new things to update my wardrobe and the tops on the list have got to be LEGGINGS!  When the plain black leggings came back into style a few years back, I thought I was in heaven, for I can’t think of a more comfortable thing aside from sweatpants.  This year leggings seem to have been taken to a whole new level and I am embracing it 100%!  

Bright colors, fall colors, geometric patterns, florals, stripes, tribal prints, animal prints, polka dots.... ok I’m starting to sound like the shrimp guy on Forest Gump, but I love them all!  

When I first decided I needed a pair, these floral leggings from Modest Closet were my first fall wardrobe additions.  The material is almost shiny and they are super duper stretchy.  I’m pretty sure they are meant for someone quite bigger than I, but that’s the beauty of spandex.  I can still wear them even if I’m pint sized.  

Next, I found this fun geometric print at Forever 21.  They have a ton of leggings there by the way, you just have to hunt for them.  I decided to pair it with a bright colored top.  (This one is from Charlotte Russe.)

My favorite of all might this pair of faux leather leggings, also from Forever 21.  They’re perfect for a night out when you want to dress up a bit or for an added edge of sexiness.

I swore up and down that I would stop after 3 pairs of leggings, but I have a suspicious feeling this is not the end.  

While I’m at it, what is your opinion of THESE???!!!  

I have been seeing this style everywhere lately and am just not sure what to think about it.  On these ones, the spotted parts are actual material, but the in between part that would normally be lighter in color, is just like a panty hose material.  It appears that they are supposed to be worn as you would wear leggings, but when you look closely, you can definitely see your actual skin through the entire thing.  Trust me.  I tried them on.  I could see my own butt.  Are people really wearing this?  

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Jewelry Basics for the Bargain Shopper

Who has a shopping addiction? [Me!] Who loves girly accessories and feels incomplete without coordinating jewelry? [Def me!]  Well then, I just have to take a moment to clue you in on my recent jewelry store discovery for the budget savvy.  Actually it’s probably already your favorite clothing store as well.  Forever 21!  For real!!!!

Here are my most recent favorites:
Gold Love Hearts necklace an silver triangle necklace, both $2.80.
Hearts midi ring, $3.80. 

All of the jewelry I have gotten here has cost no more than $4.00 a piece.  Not kidding!  And I mainly keep going back for stud earrings, and silver, gold, or rose gold basics. Not so much statement necklaces or baubles, just to be clear. ;)  

These gold flower studs, $1.70 (above), were a great match for this colorful bauble from Francesca's (below).  

Is this high quality stuff?  No.  Will it fade and tarnish in the sun?  I’m sure.  Is it going to last for years and years?  Doubtful.  Will I want new up to date jewelry once next years trends come out anyway?  Probably!  So, I’m quite certain I have at least gotten my $1.80 or $2.80 out of it already.  After all, a latte costs at least that much and you’ll piss it out within an hour.  This seems like a way more lasting deal.  

I've also found that their inventory changes on the regular.  In fact, I only got these pieces a few weeks ago and already I can't find half of them online anymore.  So if you don't see anything you like one week, check back the next.  

What is your favorite spot for bargain hunting?

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If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere

With a super busy fiance, I recently made up my mind to stop planning my life around softball schedules and make some plans of my own.  So when a high school friend invited me to NYC for the weekend, I decided to hop on board without feeling guilty about leaving my main man behind.  

We were only staying for one night so we got up super early Saturday morning and headed up so we could get the full day in the city.  Five of us girls in the car, super psyched, trucking it up the New Jersey Turnpike, until.... 

the car breaks down.  Whomp whomp.   

It started with an acceleration issue and ended with me calling AAA for a tow because it wouldn’t start back up altogether.  Turns out AAA wouldn’t even come because it’s a restricted road, so the patrol had to call one of their own people.  Now I have tales of New Jersey Devil horror stories dancing around in my head and how my dad had me convinced that this part of New Jersey was like the freaking Bermuda Triangle where strange things happened and people disappeared without a trace for no reason.  Nobody else had any idea what I was referring to, but I swear it’s an actual legend and my heart was racing in anticipation of a sighting.  Anyway, the tow truck actually showed and the driver’s name was Bill.  He saved us.  
Exiting the vehicle.  

Boooooo :(

The girls sitting in the back of the tow truck!

Bill is pushing it onto the ramp.

Here we are with Bill.

After arriving at the shop and waiting for numerous 10 minute intervals (i.e. 6 hours), we got back on the road and made it to NY in time to get ready for a late dinner and the night on the town.

I have to say, I was completely amazed at how positive our group remained through the entire process.  The conversation included comments such as, 

“Thank goodness we had the windows rolled down when the car stopped.”
“At least it’s not raining. It’s so nice outside.”
“It could have been so much worse.  We could have gotten in an accident.”
“It’s so lucky this happened when there were other people with you.”
“Nothing happens until late in the city anyway!”
“We should really send them a thank you note.” 

Upon arrival, we ate brick oven pizza with a bottle of wine and then made our way over to Pod 39, an adorable rooftop bar with an amazing view.  I could have stayed there all night if I wasn’t in a city with 5,391,297 other places to discover.  
Our hotel.

New friends at dinner!

Pod 39.

Our view.

Next stop was Hudson Station, a sports bar that was totally un-crowded at this hour, but playing loud pump-you-up music and included several rounds of free shots.  We had a blast!  If you’re ever in New York for a game day, I would totally recommend this spot!  Around 2:30, the owner tried to convince us to go to a club.  Apparently this is what they do at this time.  We totally could not hang with this schedule though and were more than excited to get into bed after our long adventure of a day.
Fireball.  It's everywhere.

On Sunday, we got up for an express city shopping trip. I was so relieved to make it in and out of Canal Street with everything I had come for in less than hour.  We saw Central Park.  We walked down 5th Avenue and were surprised to find the Pulaski Day Parade going on at the same time.  I was shocked by how huge it was.  Such an amazing sight to see! 
Picking up some Italian cookies.  Yum!
Central Park

Pulaski Day Parade
We had to drive through Times Square to get to the tunnel, and honestly there’s nothing else to do there besides look from the outside unless you’re into buying a lifetime supply of M&Ms or a 50 lb. Hershey bar, so it worked out just fine with me.
Car window photo!
After an exhausting 36 hours, I don’t think I’ve ever been more happy to see my bed and sleep for 9 straight hours.  Take that as a sign of a successful trip.  

Oh yea.... and there was this cat in a convenience store :)

Now, time to get back to the grind!  Four days ‘til the next weekend!

Sami's Shenanigans
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10 reasons why I'll call it ROCKtober!

First of all, it was 81 degrees today, October 1st.  Heck yea!  I’ll take that and more of it please!  I am 100% ok with postponing winter coat weather for as long as possible!  Especially since I already have so many exciting plans in the books for October!  Here are some of the things I am looking forward too this month:

ONE: My birthday!  I will be turning 31 this month.  Holy cow.  I can’t wait to celebrate with my main man doing whatever we feel like doing... haven’t exactly thought that one through just yet.
Three unbelievable 31 year old faces.  Can't wait to join the club!

TWO: The END of softball season!  Ok, after a month plus of being widowed (by softball of course), I’m finally in the home stretch!  Just a few more games and I should have my fiance back.  Keeping my fingers crossed that quality time together is in fact coming soon!

THREE: NYC trip with the girls!  We’re only going for a night, but I haven’t been in several years and am hoping to get in as many sights and Canal Street steals as I possibly can! 
Last trip in Times Square.  It was March, and quite a bit colder!

FOUR: Happy Hours!  The girls and I already have a couple of fall happy hours lined up complete with pumpkin treats and autumn drinks.  It’s the perfect excuse to try all of the pumpkin and apple recipes we’ve been pinning!  We may even decorate a pumpkin... so many options! 

FIVE: Switching my kitchen.  It’s that time of year when I switch from my yellow kitchen to my deep red kitchen.  I think I’ll even pull out the Apple Pumpkin candle that’s been hiding in the closet since last year.  Perfect setting for fall baking! 

SIX: Autumn Reggae Festival at Linganore Winecellars. Yet another place I have not been in several years., but I practically grew up here and could not be more excited to get back to it.  In fact, I probably never tried a wine outside of the Linganore selection for at least the first 5 years of alcohol consuming.  I may know every flavor by heart, but I’ll still taste every one.... just incase I forgot something! Hehe.  

SEVEN: Here we go Bucs!  Although I’m sad the O’s couldn’t get in, seeing the Pirates in a playoff game is seriously exciting.  I think I need some updated Pirate gear just to get in the spirit.  (BTW... what the heck Steelers?  0-4?  Clearly an apocalypse is coming.  Strange things are happening.)

EIGHT: Locking down some more essential wedding stuff... like a church and a photographer.  Waiting and phone tag are so agonizing when you’re excited!  

NINE: Boardwalk Empire.  Love this show!  After watching several seasons on demand, we are finally caught up and able to enjoy our program in real time.  And by real time, I mean at some point during the week it was aired.  Doesn’t exactly jive with my 8 pm bedtime. 

TEN: Getting in shape!  Slowly but surely I have been getting myself back into an exercise routine.  My workouts are nowhere near as complete as they were during the summer, but I’m confident that this will be the month where I turn it all around.  I mean you never know when you’re going to be forced to fit into a scandalous Halloween costume at the last minute right?  

What great things are you looking forward to this month?  

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