Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

This year has just flown by so quickly. I feel like I say that so often but it's so true every time I say it. My theory is that as you get older, each year seems to pass much more quickly because the proportion of time that a year takes in relation to your lifespan gets smaller and smaller. So, when you're ten years old, one year is a whole 10% of your life whereas when you're twenty-eight years old, one year is 3.5% of your life. Does that makes sense? No? Well, it does to me.
Anyway, I think this year was a particularly good one. I did a lot of traveling this year. I revisited old favorites and discovered new favorites. I was sent to North Dakota for work, which I dreaded but it was a great opportunity and I got to see one of America's coolest sites. I did a ton of crafting and even more cooking. I'm so grateful that I've managed to sustain my two blogs. My food blog has helped me to grow my skills as a home cook and it's starting to gain some traction. This blog right here has been a great travel and life diary, of sorts, and I'm excited to look back at my posts one day when I'm old and grey. I loved 2014 and I have some high hopes for 2015.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Revitalash Update

It's two days until Christmas. You'd think I would have some festive post to share. Nah, I'm just showing you closeups of my eyeballs today.

I've still been using Revitalash daily and it's still working. My lashes just keep getting longer and longer and thicker. It's awesome. I thought I would share another update. It's been about four months and I'm still loving it. I'm also still on my first tube, which is great. And, it's worked so well that my sister is going to give it a go. See? It really works! To be fair, it might not work for everyone, so don't go into it expecting miracles to happen. If you lower your expectations, then you'll be okay. If you want, you can read my initial review and see the results from within one month of use for some more details.
I'm not sleeping. I'm just trying to show you my lashes. And sorry that I look so greased up. I had just done my evening routine and my face is slathered in coconut oil there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DIY Puppy PJ's

I am an animal lover, and I'm not shy about it. Every year, when I pick out the calendars to hang in my office and at home, they're always animal themed (e.g. 'Baby Animals' for the office and 'Puppies' for my kitchen). I don't think I would necessarily relish cuddling with every single animal out there, but I think all animals are cute and hope that they're all leading happy, fulfilling lives.

In my childhood, I think I was a cat person. When I was brought to Toys 'R Us for my 7th birthday, I picked out a Kitty Surprise instead of  Puppy Surprise. Do you guys remember those? Well, people really do change because I am a full-fledged dog person now. I appreciate cats and think that they're cute but my personality is much more suited for owning dogs. Especially because dogs like to wear onesies and I like to make onesies for them. We're just a match made in heaven.
You'll need:
fleece (amount depends on the size of your dog, I used about 1/4 yard)
faux sherpa fabric (just enough for a little trim on the hood)
needle & thread (or sewing machine)
paper for making patterns

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Italy 2015 Brainstorming

I had a brief three or four days in Rome back in 2009 and that has been the extent of my interaction with Italy. To be v. honest, even though Italy is a major hotspot for travelers, it's never been high on my list. Despite my love of pasta, I've always been a bit nervous about traveling in a country where I don't speak the language.

But, as I have mentioned here and again on my blog, I like trying new things and as much as I'd love to revisit the places I've fallen in love with again and again, I want to see what else is out there in the world and step out of my comfort zone once in a while. So, my favorite travel partner (baby sister) and I are headed to Italy in April.

I had no idea that Milano Malpensa (MXP) was such a happenin' airport. I say that because the flights there were extremely reasonable. Out of JFK, I managed to find direct flights for $650. Can you even believe that? So deliciously affordable, I can barely stand it. Ultimately though, I ended up forking over an extra $75 to fly out of Newark (EWR). I live so much closer to Newark Airport; it's just a 25 minute drive from my house. JFK, on the other hand, takes an hour and a half to get to even when there's no traffic and it's just hassle to be picked up there as well. That's $75 well spent, I'd say. And in other good news, the euro and the dollar are a little more equally matched these days, so any of the flights we book through Easyjet and/or Ryanair right now will have a friendlier exchange rate.

I haven't figured out exactly what we're going to do while we're in Italy for nine, almost ten days. When we went to France earlier this year, we really enjoyed city hopping via train and plane and I think I want to do something similar with this trip. Again, I'm quite nervous because of the language barrier and also because I really don't know that much about Italy, but I'm excited nonetheless and of course, I'm incredibly willing to learn more. I even bought a little phrasebook to get myself acquainted with the language. I have to brush off my French and Spanish hats and don my Italian one. A fedora, perhaps? If you're wondering, I picked up this little book from Anthropologie during the Black Friday weekend. It's really cute and compact and I know it's going to come in quite handy.
Here's where I'd really love to go (which I have to narrow down to a list of just three, maybe four):
  • Positano (or anywhere on the Amalfi Coast)
  • Vernazza (or any of the five cities in Cinque Terre)
  • Alberobello (Puglia)
  • Corinaldo
  • Isola Bella
  • Anywhere in Sardinia
  • Bergamo
  • Bosa
  • Atrani
  • Monte Isola
The thing is, I need to pick great locations that form an easy, doable loop via plane and/or train. This is going to take some coordination. I think that we're going to go from Milano to Vernazza (via train), maybe spend a day in Genova (Genoa), then fly to Bari and spend a day in Alberobello and a second day in Polignano a Mare and then fly back to Milano and finish off our trip with a few days there. That's the tentative plan for now. I was whining to my sister about how I really wanted to go to too many places and she said, "You know, we can always go back to Italy." So true, and yet, it depresses me because there are just so many places I'd love to travel to, it seems like my bucket list will never be completely crossed off. Perhaps one day, I will be brave and quit my job and devote a few years to a nomadic existence. Until then, I will just look forward to the handful of holidays that I get to plan each year.

Anyway, once I set things in stone (which might not happen until the new year), I'll share the plans and prices here!


Thursday, December 04, 2014

36 Hours in Philly: Eats

I shared all of the sites from Philly last week. Today I'm here to share the best part: the food.
My sister and I had eaten a bagel prior to getting on the road. However, we'd purposely split one bagel so that we'd have room to stuff our faces once we'd gotten to Philly.

Monday, December 01, 2014

DIY Dog Coat

One of the most fun parts of owning a small-ish dog is the clothes! I have a mini schnauzer/shih tzu mix whose hair grows to outrageous lengths. When he gets his hair cut in the autumn and winter, he gets really chilly so he likes to sport a sweater. I say "he likes" because he seriously likes it. He'll shiver otherwise so when we grab a sweater from his toybox, he'll come over, eager to put it on.

Turns out, dog clothes can be kind of pricey. I mean, I hesitate to spend $20 on a sweater for myself so I have a hard time justifying spending that much on a sweater for George Michael. Simple solution: make some clothes myself!
Just an FYI: this is a relatively simple DIY and it involves just a little hand sewing. If you have a sewing machine, this should take you one hour, tops. If you don't have a sewing machine, it should take you three hours, tops. Caveat: you must have some basic sewing skills and an understanding of the way garments are sewn in general. But yes, it's that easy. The secret is in the fleece!
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