Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Fling!

Spring is here, and I thought I'd do a little post about some clothing that I'm currently coveting for the season. I keep a list in my planner that has two columns: needs and wants. I just updated my list a couple of weeks ago. I keep it to stay organized and so I don't spend money on things that I don't really need. So it's there to remind me of the important things... and so once I've gotten all of the stuff on the need list (or most of it anyway) I can start looking for some of the things on the want list.

So here are few inspirations I've gathered for both lists for this upcoming warm weather season.
I really need a new bathing suit. For the past few summers, I've been relying on one suit that I really loved, but is now broken, and another one that I ordered online and really doesn't fit me (it stretches out when I get in the water... bad news!) So the criteria I'm looking for in a swimsuit are these:

1) No strings! (except for maybe a tie around the neck if it's a halter, but the bottom must be a hook.)
2) Bottoms with coverage
3) A color that flatters my highlighter bright skin (hey, neon is a trend this season... so I've got that going for me:)
J.Crew suits
So I found thisthis, and this from J.Crew, but they are not the perfect one yet. (Also, I'd like to buy them from somewhere I can try it on first.) But here's what I like about them: the lilac tulle suit (tulle doesn't sound very practical... but it's so pretty!) has good coverage on the bottom and I like the shape of the top (it's got a little retro flair), and it comes in a green color that I think would look nice; the striped one is very classic, and again, I like the coverage on the bottom; and the blue one on the end is a very nice color, and I really like the detail on the top. (I would definitely choose different bottoms though!)
I like the design, but not the color
Then, I found this interesting suit on ASOS, which I think would be good for me. I like the criss cross at the bottom because I have what I call "the freak torso"... my mid-section is really long and probably belongs on someone who is closer to 5'9" than little ole 5'6" me. I like that those straps would kind of break things up a bit, but I don't know about wearing black with my pale skin (yikes!).

Also, I could always just go with something like this...

Haha... totally kidding!

Ok, well that was a lot to write about bathing suits, so I'll try to keep things short and sweet for the rest of the list.

Colored Jeans:
Forever 21 Twill Pants for $15.80!
I would really like to try this trend, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on it. I would like to hunt around at Forever 21 a little bit and find some other colors that I like... maybe red, maybe blue, or maybe green?

I am also really looking for some slim-leg dress pants. Both of these pairs of pants seem to fit the bill.

Fun Flats and Sandals
Left: ASOS; Right: Target

Here are a few things I've pinned lately that are inspiring me for spring too:
Pointy-toed flats

Maxi skirts

Simple white blouse

Fun bright blouse

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travel Tuesday: Charleston, SC

Charleston has always been a city close to my heart: my parents went on their honeymoon there, I took my first beach vacation there, and my uncle and his family live there so we've always had a personal tour guide to show us all the best places to visit. But Sean has never visited, and I would love to take him there sometime soon.

What to do:
Charleston is full of history and beautiful colonial architecture, and right now is prime blooming season for camelias, azaleas, and roses. (According to my book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die... but I'm wondering if it might have been a little earlier this year with all this warm weather!)

Charleston Photos
This photo of Charleston is courtesy of TripAdvisor

In fact, the city is in the midst of its annual Festival of Houses and Gardens which offers tours giving visitors access to more than 150 beautiful private homes and gardens that date as far back as the 18th century. Check out the festival's "Morning History Walks" to start the day exploring the Old & Historic District.

Image via
While in the historic district, check out The Charleston Museum which was founded in 1773 and is regarded as our country's oldest museum. The collections they feature including furniture, silver, costumes, needlework/quilts and ceramics focus on the natural and cultural history of the Charleston area and the surrounding region. Two current fashion-centered exhibits caught my eye: the rotating Seasonal Fashion: Spring running through April 15 features lace and embroidered dresses and hats from the 1900s - 1920s, and Charleston Couture which features the finest garments worn by stylish Charleston residents from the 1770s all the way through the 1970s.

If you love shopping, check out the Charleston City Market for handmade and unique items to take home, or check out the upscale shops and boutiques along King Street between Calhoun and Market.

Image via
And if you just feel like spending a day at the beach, I'd recommend heading over to Isle of Palms. We've stayed here on a previous trip, and it was relaxing and not too crowded.

Isle of Palms Photos
This photo of Isle of Palms is courtesy of TripAdvisor

What to eat:
Located downtown on Meeting Street, Jestine's Kitchen offers traditional southern food like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and green tomatoes and comes highly recommended by my Mom!

The last time I visited, we ate lunch at Hominy Grill which serves classic, made-from-scratch southern dishes as well. All of their ingredients are fresh and sourced locally, and just looking at the brunch menu is making me hungry!

For something a little more upscale, check out Husk which was voted Bon Appetit's 2011 Best New Restaurant in America among numerous other awards and praises. Their menu changes daily and they use only the best Southern suppliers for their ingredients.

Where to stay:
And just for fun, I found a place to stay on Jetsetter:

The Harbourview Inn is one of the few hotels in (downtown) Charleston that faces the water. It offers historic charm along with a laid back atmosphere and beautiful views. It's close to the hustle and bustle of the historic district but just far away enough for some relaxation too!

Image via

Saturday, March 24, 2012


...For Sunday night at 9pm. Mad Men is back, and I am so excited to see it! Sean and I got caught up with the series in about January of last year, and I have been not-so-patiently waiting for the premiere of the fifth season. I just love all of the characters on this show... I don't even think I can pick a favorite!
Photo via AMC website
We are laying low this weekend because Sean had his wisdom teeth removed yesterday. So we are staying close to home, watching some old episodes of Mad Men (to get back up to speed), and eating lots of jello and pudding. He's doing surprisingly well so far, so maybe a trip to the theatre for The Hunger Games is in the cards as well. I think we'll also have to get some Canadian Club (Don Draper's drink of choice) and make some cocktails to sip on while we watch the show tomorrow night!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Beard: An Odyssey (Part III)

The Brolin

Josh Brolin (still from No Country for Old Men)

It was St. Patrick's Day!
Well, this concludes our adventure. I hope you were inspired by my journey.
I promise to update again soon!

(N.B. - I am clean shaven, for now...)

My Beard: An Odyssey (Part II)

The Rogers

Major A.B. Rogers

The Lawrence

Diedrich Bader (still from Office Space)

My Beard: An Odyssey (Part I)

*NOTE: I have been trying to post this blog for several days now... I think it has too many pictures! That is why I have broken it up into three parts... enjoy!

This past weekend, months of hard work were met with an impossible challenge: the outside temperature was becoming too warm for my beard. The unseasonably hot temperatures last week and now this week left me no choice but to tame my wild wild facial hair so as to prepare my face for repeated 80 and 90 degree temperatures. I decided that it was only fitting to share the stages of my hair removal with the world. So, here are the many stages of my beard in order that I wore them and a role-model beard to accompany each. (N.B. - I discovered as I wore these hair-incarnations around town that Aileen is the most patient wife on the planet. Bless her.)

The Grizzly Adams

James Capen "Grizzly" Adams

Monday, March 12, 2012

American Red Cross Tornado Relief

First off, I'm sorry for not posting on here for a while now. I am going to try to post once a week... starting now!

On March 2 of this year, there was a widespread and powerful tornado outbreak. Several large tornadoes raked Indiana and Kentucky as part of this storm system, including an EF-4 in southern Indiana and an EF-3 in eastern Kentucky. Both of these tornadoes caused horrible damage, injuries, and even loss of life.

Damage near Borden, IN (image from WDRB weather blog)

As an employee at the Louisville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, I experienced this disaster from a different point of view than most. For the first time since I started working for the Red Cross more than two years ago, Louisville became the center of a major disaster relief effort. Working in the Building and Grounds Department, I had to help the disaster effort by getting our building set up to handle an influx of disaster responders and volunteers from all over the country. It has been difficult to just do my daily work while everyone around me there is rushing around trying to provide disaster relief for our community. I have to remind myself that if I wasn't around to do my job, it would make the disaster responders' jobs a lot harder. Still, I have been feeling a little unhelpful at work knowing that there is so much that needs to be done to help the storm victims. So, Aileen and I decided to volunteer this past Saturday with the American Red Cross to help in whatever way they needed us to.

We arrived very early Saturday morning at an abandoned factory in southern Indiana that the Red Cross had transformed into a temporary disaster relief headquarters. Aileen was assigned to help take inventory of the relief supplies in the warehouse area while I was assigned to a much more exciting task: I rode in a 30 foot truck out to the disaster sites in southern Indiana to hand out relief supplies directly to storm victims.

While it was moving to see the total destruction that was dealt to parts of our region, it was truly amazing to be able to provide assistance to people who had just had their entire lives turned upside-down. The team I was with was able to talk to many of the people, including the New Pekin Fire Chief whose town had suffered a lot of damage and a homeowner who had been lucky enough to have been away from his home when the storm rolled through his rural neighborhood in Borden.

Damage near Henryville, IN

Prisoner work crew in the heart of downtown Henryville, IN
Note the lack of buildings.

Besides the lack of roof, this home is relatively unscathed.
This is amazingly right across the street from the previous image.

Tornado near Daisy Hill, IN (image from WDRB weather blog)

While the destruction I saw in Henryville was terrible and has been dominating the local news here, mostly due to the fact that the downtown took a direct hit, I was most touched by the damage in Daisy Hill. This very rural area north of Borden took a devastating direct hit. What had been a country road dotted with small farms and houses winding through a forest had become a flattened muddy field littered with twisted metal, broken trees, and the private contents of people's homes. I will never forget handing supplies from the back of the truck down to a young girl as I realized that her family most likely no longer had a home. I am honored not only to have been able to give the people in these communities supplies to help them rebuild their lives, but also to have been able to give them hope and to let them know that they are not facing this tragedy alone.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's the Weekend!

I'm having lunch today with my Momma and Aunt Susan and doing a little exploring of the city. We don't have any set plans for this weekend, so hopefully we'll find something fun to get into!

Cheers to the weekend!

Having some fun at Huber Winery a few weeks ago
P.S. Who wants Sean to make a blog post soon? I do! I do! Raise your hand if you do too (read: comment and give him the little push that he needs!) ;)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Travel Tuesday: Nashville, TN

Keeping things fairly close to home this week, I thought we'd head to Nashville, TN. Sean and I have been wanting to plan a trip here, and I thought it would be a nice place for a spring weekend trip. Sean's never been to Nashville and I've only been for a quick day trip, so I'd say a visit south is in order!

Nashville Photos
This photo of Nashville is courtesy of TripAdvisor

To do:
Grand Ole Opry: No trip to Nashville would be complete without *at least seeing* the theater that has broadcast the best voices in country music since 1925. The theater has been through a lot in its lifetime, including several moves throughout the years and a major renovation after floods in 2010. Tours are offered daily, and performances are held on Friday and Saturday nights. (Allison Krauss will be there this weekend.)
Photo via
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Located downtown, this museum features artifacts,  photographs, and archival video of country music artists throughout history. I'm not really a country music fan, but I do love history and think there would be some interesting things to see here. (They are also showing a letterpress exhibit right now featuring historical and contemporary posters that sounds cool too!)

The Big Bang Bar is a dueling piano bar that some friends of ours frequent. ;) It's located on Broadway across from "Honky Tonk Row." Our friends always have a good time there, so we'd be sure to check it out!

The third annual Cherry Blossom Festival is being held on March 24, starting with the Cherry Blossom Walk at 9 a.m. at the Public Square. The goal of this festival is to plant 1,000 cherry trees in Nashville over 10 years (this being the third year) to beautify the landscape. This would be a fun event to attend to get in the mood for spring!

To stay:
The Gaylord Opryland is a hotel my mom has always wanted to visit. They have nine acres of indoor gardens (again with the spring theme) and an indoor river, and offer luxurious rooms, spa services and shopping. It's location along the Cumberland River puts it a short drive away from downtown Nashville.
Photo via
For a room that's closer to the center of town, check out The Hermitage Hotel, an historic mansion that offers some of the largest hotel rooms in the city. Named after Andrew Jackson's Hermitage estate, The Hermitage Hotel is famous for being the first million-dollar hotel when it opened in 1910. The hotel has kept guest rooms updated, while at the same time remaining committed to preservation in its partnership with Land Trust for Tennessee and other similar organizations.

*A note on the hotels (and probably some restaurants): We probably won't be able to afford places like these... but it's fun to dream!

To eat:
I saw the Loveless Cafe featured on Breakfast Paradise on the Travel Channel, and I knew we'd have to go there someday. (They also feature Pancake Pantry on the show, another Nashville establishment.) Breakfast is Sean's and my favorite meal of the day, and this motel/cafe offers tons of southern, made-from-scratch breakfast foods that are making me hungry right now!

Photo via
I found The Catbird Seat recommended on the Bon Appetit travel guide for Nashville and it has a very interesting concept. There are only 32 seats available (reservations are required) surrounding the kitchen and guests watch as the chef's prepare a meal that is determined right then and there! Sounds fun to me!

And I'll be sure to bring home some Olive and Sinclair Chocolate for dessert!

What are some of your favorite things to do and see in Nashville?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tornadoes Friday...Snow on Monday

It's been a crazy weather weekend here in Louisville, which means "weather hound" Sean (that's what my mom calls him) has been checking for updates constantly. But we're all thankful here in town that he knows what's up... he always tells us when we're supposed to be down in the basement!

The storms/tornadoes that passed through parts of Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky on Friday were devastating, and we are keeping everyone affected in our prayers and feeling very lucky to have made it through safe and sound.

Our weekend was pretty relaxed. We had an impromptu pizza and beer night and played some cards with friends on Friday. Saturday was a lazy day: we had breakfast date and then stopped by the farmer's market in the morning; then Sean played some games on his computer while I watched Ocean's Eleven on tv and did some channel surfing; finally we may or may not have ended the night by watching two hours of puppies and kittens on Animal Planet. ;) (Hey, we don't have our own animals so we have to get our cuteness fix somewhere!) And we ended the weekend by catching up with The Walking Dead last night. Anyone else keeping up with this series? That was quite an ending to last night's episode right?

The view from our porch this morning
Have a great week everyone!