2010 March | Somewhere in Middle America

Although I may have been guilty of committing these offenses in the past, I’m reformed and now find myself completely annoyed by bloggers who use expressions like “my darlings,” “my lovelies” and “dear readers” when addressing their followers. It’s a bit pretentious, no?

Also, I don’t  understand the use of  “bebe” or “bebes” instead of “baby” or “babies” by bloggers, but perhaps that’s because I’m not a mom.

Anything you want to get off your chest? I hereby propose March 31st to be a day of ranting.

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In the spirit of the holidays, my husband and I celebrated the first night of Passover with an impromptu 10 minute seder at the kitchen counter, complete with four servings apiece of Manischewitz in aperitif glasses. Happy Pesach!

The only way I could be more impressed by this birthday gift would be if her husband paid for all 8 of her friends to spend the weekend at the Hotel San Jose, too. Talk about a generous 30th birthday present!

PS – I’ll take a weekend getaway here, please. Who’s in?

(via I *Heart* You)

Currently Exciting/Inspiring Me: Spring

Spring, I’d like to give you a hug. You make me so happy. You encourage me to leave the coziness of my house for sunshine, fresh air and cool breezes. It’s so easy to hibernate during the Winter. The snow, ice and below freezing temperatures make venturing outdoors completely unappealing – not to mention treacherous, at times. I become lazy, anti-social and, well, fat, in the Winter! But my shell is beginning to crack, and I’m starting to crave being outdoors. It’s the perfect time to be visiting New York City, where the temperature is unseasonably warm, and I can take advantage of it. In NYC you walk everywhere, burning calories while shopping and sightseeing, something not really possible back in Omaha, a city that’s not really pedestrian friendly.

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Currently Exciting/Inspiring Me: Femininity

The new Chanel campaign for Coco Rouge features a perfectly polished Vanessa Paradis, who was chosen, in part, because she embodies “modern elegance.” I’m obsessed with her overall look in the ad, especially those pinks lip! She oozes femininity in the photo, something I’m currently craving. I’m so sick of wearing jeans and solid colored sweaters everyday! Bring on florals, ruffles, dresses, heels and, of course, ladylike makeup.

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Currently Exciting/Inspiring Me: A Signature Cocktail

If only I liked beer. My life would be so much simpler if I only liked beer. I could walk into any restaurant, club or bar and know exactly what to order. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy lagers or ales, and you can only drink so many Cosmopolitans before you begin to feel a bit frou-frou and high maintenance. Typically I veer towards sweet or fruity concoctions, but as I approach 30, I think it’s time I found a more sophisticated drink of choice that isn’t a margaritas, mojito or something pink in a martini glass.

I totally buy into the idea that you are what you drink:

…what we choose to drink can reveal more about us than, say, our astrological sign or whether we prefer Elvis or the Beatles. What a tense moment, to be the first to order a drink with a group of people you haven’t hung out with before. Do you order a beer to let them know you’re easygoing? Do you order champagne to convey that you’re the fun, sassy type who likes to celebrate ordinary moments? Do you order scotch to let them know that you might start to get kind of intense in a couple hours? Do you order a Merlot, as if “Sideways” taught you nothing? The pressure.

I could become a wine snob to prove that I’m “artsy and cultured,” but I don’t particularly care for red wine, and I hate Chardonnay, which leaves me with few varieties from which to choose. What I want is a signature cocktail. Like a vodka tonic, although not a vodka tonic because I don’t like them. Maybe a rum and tonic or a whiskey and ginger. Perhaps a Tom Collins, Betty Draper’s drink of choice. How about a Moscow Mule, a Sidecar or a Mudslide (no, definitely NOT a Mudslide)?

My husband discovered signature drink at The Boiler Room – a negroni – and now he attempts to order one wherever we go. Me, I tend to assume the role of designated driver simply because I can’t decide on a what to drink and, therefore, drink nothing. Perhaps, with your help, that can change.

I’d love to know what you drink and, more importantly, what you think I should drink. Please comment below!

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Currently Exciting/Inspiring Me: Fashion Blogs

My Google Reader is full of decor, paper and personal blogs, but a friend recently introduced me to Corks and Caftans, a wine/fashion blog by a husband and wife duo, and now I’m inspired to find more fashion blogs to follow. When I was in middle school, I kept a diary of my outfits to make sure I didn’t repeat a look, but over the years I’ve gotten significantly more lazy in my wardrobe choices. Reading Carey’s posts about her daily outfits makes me want to dress more creatively.

If you’ve got a great fashion blog to recommend, please leave a comment below!

(image of Carey via Corks and Caftans)

Goal: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway*

I realize that my final post in this week’s series is more of a mantra than a goal, but I think it’s relevant. There are so many goals, big and small, that I’m unable to achieve because fear holds me back. Somehow I think I suffer from both a fear of failure and a fear of success. I worry what other people think and that I’m being judged. And now you know all of my weakness.

Sometimes I sit back and wonder how my life would be different if I wasn’t so afraid. It would be easier and more fulfilling, no doubt. I would take more risks and be open to more experiences (I still wouldn’t bungee jump. I’d be brave, not reckless.)

I should give myself credit for the gutsy things I’ve done. I moved to Omaha to start a new life and quit a well-paying job to pursue a dream (a work-in-progress move, I’ll admit). Still, the list of things I’ve been afraid to do outnumber the amount of things I’ve actually accomplished. In the coming years I’d like to shift the balance of that list. Recalling an expression I think I’ve heard my mother-in-law use, I need to “put on my big girl panties**,” so to speak, do the things that scare me.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

* Full disclosure: I own this book. Never one to shy away from self-help books – hey, who doesn’t want to improve themselves somehow? – I bought this book at someone’s recommendation. Perhaps if I actually read the whole thing I wouldn’t have had the need to write this post.

** I do not own this book.

Next week’s “15 to 30″ posts will feature the things that currently inspire me.

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Goal: Perfect a Three Course Meal

Rumor has it that “PJ can’t cook” because I frequently let my husband, who truly enjoys cooking, wear the apron in our family, so to speak. For the record, I can cook. In fact, I prepared a lovely lemon pepper chicken dish for me and J just the other night. I can also bake – and not just Funfetti cakes. I made delicious cheesecake Oreo “cookie-hybrids” over the weekend and was runner-up in our Oscar party cookie bake-off.

The truer statement would be “PJ doesn’t like to cook.” Unlike the contestants on “Top Chef,” I don’t get pleasure from combining unique flavors. Measuring a multitude of ingredients is a chore, and cleaning my inevitable mess is the pits. So, if I can avoid cooking, I do. But I can cook. So there.

One thing I do enjoy, however, is entertaining. I love throwing dinner parties, although I’ll admit that J is usually the “man behind the meal” when we have company. I don’t necessarily think that the woman’s place is in the kitchen, but we were at a cocktail party over the weekend hosted by friends, and the hostess was slicing and dicing ingredients for mini homemade pizzas while wearing heels and a BCBG dress. She made wielding a knife somehow glamorous. It was impressive.

I would love to be able to throw together a simple dinner for friends all on my own. Even better would be having the ability to host a meal at a moment’s notice. I would need just four fail-proof recipes up my sleeve – an appetizer, main course, side dish and dessert. Ideally, these would be simple yet delicious dishes that have the appearance of being more complex than they really are, and with minimal effort I would be able to perfect them. Eventually, I want to become the hostess with the mostess.

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Goal: Travel the World

While my sorority sisters were participating in wet t-shirt contests during Spring Break, I was sightseeing in Spain. The previous year I looked around London. Ever since I got my passport during my sophomore year of college (was I late bloomer?), I’ve made international travel a priority. In addition to Madrid, Seville, Granada and London, I’ve been to various cities in Israel, Australia and Italy, as well as our lovely neighbors, Canada and Mexico.

I doubt my thirst for travel will ever be satiated. There’s a time and place for relaxing on a beach, but I’d rather explore  narrow, cobblestone streets in historical cities and towns. I follow Rick Steves on Facebook (his tour guides are my bible), and I’m totally jealous that Anthony Bourdain gets to eat his way around the world on “No Reservations.” My dream job? Theirs!

In an ideal world, J and I would be able to spend a couple of months or a year living abroad (somewhere glamorous, not on a military base). If we had children at the time, even better. They – and I – would be able to learn a foreign language through immersion. (Really, all I’ve ever wanted is to have children who call me “Mum.” British is a foreign language, right?)

On my travel wish list: Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Tokyo and Barcelona. Ireland. India. China. All over South America. Basically, the whole wide world. Who can blame me? There is so much culture to experience out there.

Where would you go, if you could?

(image by me of Florence in 2008, one of my most fav cities)