Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Family Vacation Memories

I just saw a brilliant commercial by Disney. First off, the background music is "Good Life", which is a great travel inspiration song anyway. The theme of the commercial was that some people recognize that there's only a short window of time to make family memories, for kids to "meet their heroes". Presumably, those people go to Disney in a timely fashion.
My parents never took me to Disney as a kid. I'm not gonna lie; it's still kind of a sore spot. In fact, to date, I have only been to Disney for one day. At least it was the Magic Kingdom, right?
Furthermore, I have still never been on a plane with my parents. None of our family trips were extravagent or exotic or far away. Maybe that's one of the things that makes me appreciate New England so much....there were so many places to see and go within driving distance. Most of my family vacation memories are from Cape Cod, New Hampshire, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island. And despite the lack of mouse ears or princesses, I wouldn't trade those trips for anything.
What was truly great about the Disney commercial is that it got me thinking about my childhood memories and how so many of them come from those family vacations. So their pitch is spot on. To this day, when we get together for family events we still talk about those memories. Like the time we saw a water snake on while walking through some sea grass and my mother pretty much pushed me out of the way to run. Or the time we went to the White Mountains for my brother's high school leaf project and his friends tried to steal my cousins kittens by tucking them in their football jackets. Or the April school vacation that I got chicken pox while we were down the Cape and my mom put concealer makeup on me and took me to the movies anyway.
As a person who values travel and worries about doing all I can now before I have kids, a take away from this for me was that the trips don't have to be to really different places to be awesome. And that it's usually the unplanned, small moments that stay with you years later. That's really comforting to me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Random Updates

1. For Valentines Day Hubby made me chocolate covered strawberries. I am kind of the devil in the morning, as I have previously noted, so I was grumpy when he woke up at 6:15 am and grumpier as he tried to find clothes. I'm almost certain I expressed said grumpiness. A couple hours later as I was beginning to stir, I yelled at him for still being home. In my world, I sleep until the absolute last moment I can, having factored in the exact time it will take to shower, make food, etc and get to work so I don't understand how he gets out of bed only to be awake at the house! Turns out on this morning he was downstairs hand dipping fruit for me to wake up to. So cute!
2. I pulled off my Valentines Day gift, too. I don't have any pictures right now and my finished product is nowhere near as picture worthy as the one on the original blog I found the idea on but I was still proud. The original idea included sanding the cards to make them look vintage, which I skipped. It also included printing the reasons you love the person (and I figured out the 52 reasons were not for the weeks of the year but for the cards in the deck) out on cardstock via an excel spreasheet or something. I also skipped that because it's not my skillset or style. So I bough name tag badges and stuck them on the cards and hand wrote my reasons. Problem is the name tags came in sets of 25 so I could only write up 50 reasons (it wasn't just that I didn't want to buy the third pack of nametags; they were out! I swear!). I ended up having to go to 2 different stores to get my single hole puncher and my book rings, both of which were like 4 times the cost at Office Max, where I ended up, than they were at Target, which was sold out. My hand really started to hurt from all that punching but I was so excited to share my 50 reasons that I busted through it.
3. I randomly found a West Elm store in my area...the place that sells the antlers. I feel really lucky to have seen them in person because it answered any lingering questions. The larger ones look really cool but the smaller ones, aka anything less than like $75, looked weak. And they felt weak. Like if I dropped them they might disintegrate.
4. Having not given a book update in a while, I can say that's because I haven't been wowed lately. I just finished Matched and Crossed. They were really hyped up and I'm just not sure why. They feel a lot more focused on the romance than the dystopian society. I liked them but they weren't the kinds of books that make you want to cancel plans to keep reading.
That's it for updates today!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wacky or Wonderful?

You be the this wacky or wonderful?
Pros: Antlers are huge right now. Funky. Interesting. I have had a window with these paper mache sets from West Elm up on my computer for days so I must really need them.
Cons: They are expensive. While I would like to splurge and get a clear animal shape, the only real options I would allow myself are the small set for about $20 or the medium indistinct one (in the middle of the pic) for about $30. Also, I'm not I have any space cool enough to house them. But isn't that why I need them? To change the coolness factor?
Here are some more shots to inform your decision...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Further evidence of Circadian Rhythms

rhythm. when is the last time you wrote that word? what a weird word to write. it doesn't feel right at all.

anyway, i know next to nothing about circadian rhythms but i think i believe in them. the basic idea is that our bodies are all different in their wake/sleep/high/low pattern. basically, you are naturally a morning person or a night owl because your body prefers one or the other. not being a morning person in a world that clearly values them and their circadian rhythms over mine, i feel comforted by some research that justifies that i am not more lazy or less motivated than my hubby and/or mother who can wake up at 630am after only 5 hours of sleep and smile at the world. how's that for a run on sentence?

my job start time changes from day to day as does where that day begins. one day recently i had to be in a court 33 miles from home before 9am. scheduling like that hurts my brain and my soul for days in advance and i genuinely feel the residual impact for days in its wake. but what can't be cured must be endured so i woke up extra early, pulled myself together and got in the car for my monster commute. i averaged 28 mph for the first hour and it took another half hour to get the remaining 5 miles. given that at least half of this trip was on the highway, this is just coo-coo pants. along the way, i almost got in a head on collision with an aggressive suv pushing the boundaries of his traffic line in 4 lanes of traffic on a road that really fits 3, saw a man run across the street barefoot while carrying his boots in his hand, and made up at least one new curse word. did i mention i don't drink coffee? so there's nothing that is really a logical fix for these kinds of mornings.

the following day, still tired from the day before, i at least got to sleep in a bit because i was scheduled to work a meeting that would run until like 9pm. i had every intention of making it to an am yoga class but am workouts are kind of like gnomes to me: i have no evidence that they actually exist because i never see them. instead of yoga, i caught a little of the view as i got ready. that is one show i could never be on! their "debates" get really anger filled. at first i thought "why are they so angry so early in the morning?" and then i realized it's probably about their circadian rhythms. maybe elizabeth hasselback or whatever her name is should argue with larry king instead.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

What would February 14th be without a Valentine's Day post? Last year I focused on the commercialismness of it all and how little I believe in embracing that here. Similarly, this year I vetoed flowers/gifts early in the month and recommended that we make each other's gifts.

Why? We have more exciting and noteworthy things to spend our money on than empty expressions of love that every store pushes on you. That's not to say that those things are not wonderful and welcomed for a lot of people. Personally, though, I would rather get flowers for no reason than because they were front and center at Shaw's. AND in my mind I justify that any holiday or special occasion that we don't go big on siphons money to my main priorities: travel and decorating.

Also, I have been spending more time on Pinterest lately. You can find me here if you are so inclined. One of my friends posted a "pin" to an idea I was really taken with. It's a book of 52 (for the weeks in the year) reasons I love you. THIS seems to be the original blog link. If I am able to pull off its creation between tonight and tomorrow, I will let you know:)

In the meantime, I am super excited to see what Hubby will come up with. It's kind of fun to anticipate what he is even thinking of when I say "make something". My first thought was cupcakes or some other literal translation such as making food. But yesterday he was asking what percentage of the gift he had to make and gave the example of "what if I give you a basket filled with lip gloss but I made the basket?". 1. He def does not know how to make baskets. 2. As much as I love lip gloss, the percentage of unmade items is too high, I decided.  Can't wait to see what he pulls off.....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Skinny Jeans

I finally bought skinny jeans. It's a trend I have been avoiding, hoping it would go away. While leggings are totally acceptable, skinny jeans are too close to "pegging" your jeans circa 1987. But I was really left with no choice; the store I like to get my jeans from which, admittedly, is really marketed at teens, ONLY sells skinny jeans. Oh, wait, or superskinny jeans. I even asked for some flares or bootcuts they might have in the back. Oh no, they don't even produce such antiques anymore!
This is when it dawned on me.....I have finally reached the age I have dreaded since I was a kid. I'm officially that girl lady. The one who clings to the fashions that were "cool" when she was young. I always felt bad for the women still wearing scrunchies but now I realize I could be classified among them for yearning for my flare cut jeans. I'm sorry but flare jeans were so much more slimming for the masses than so called skinny jeans. If there were a way to petition to bring them back, I would carry it around on a clipboard and harass strangers to sign it.
But since that's not an option, not only did I buy a pair of skinny jeans, I also bought a pair of "jeggings". Yup. Jean Leggings. And I have to sing their praises...they are exactly how I thought pajama jeans would feel! I kind of want to live in them.
It's totally sad that not only do I shop at the same store preferred by my 11 year old niece but I think I bought the same jeggings as she did. Is this what a female mid life thirtygirly crisis looks like?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Washington DC

Lincoln Memorial
With all of the political conversation happening with the upcoming Republican nomination, it seemed like a fitting time to show some pictures from a trip to Washington DC that hubby and I went on.
DC is a great city to visit. It was hubby's first time there so we hit up all the beautiful, awe inspiring monuments. It was a sweltering day and wearing flip flops for the miles of walking it entailed was troublesome but it was still magical because of all the history and pride that you can't help soaking in.
Spot where MLK Jr gave his famous speech. You have to pour water on it to make it stand out for a a picture (just to explain what that is in the image)

To me, Arlington National Cemetery is on of the most beautiful places. The rows of matching headstones for the soldiers is both overwhelming and powerful and shows the solidarity of those who fought for our country, even in death.

This is the Challenger monument, dedicated to the flight crew who died in its explosion. I was particularly touched by this event because Christa McAuliffe, the teacher and first civilian chosen to go into space, was from my hometown.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

When we were there, soldiers were adding flags to the headstones. It was extremely moving.

Washington Monument                 

Friday, February 3, 2012

And the Old shall become New again

I'm in home decorating mode. I generally vacillate between living in this mode and travel mode. Since I have a trip booked for next month and the newest issue of HGTV magazine arrived in my mailbox over the weekend, it only makes sense that I am thinking of new ways to make the house look nicer.

Subscription infor here!

While I am trying to slow down and savor the magazine, one of the pieces I have gotten to featured an old rotary dail phone on the wall. It looked really cool and I was thinking I was in need of one of these. As an aside, did you know that if you have a landline phone and dial 911, even if you don't say anything/aren't able to, it goes to your local police and they will come out to check on you. That's a really helpful safety tip and we pay for a land line but don't have a phone connected because we live off our cell phones. So that is part of the thinking behind my need for a cute phone in addition to its simple cuteness. One of the things I love about this magazine is that they don't just show you pretty pictures, they give you the specifics on where to find the items, what the paint color names are, etc.

So this phone was located at I went to check things out and found this. A rotary phone, like the one I grew up with on my parents kitchen wall, will now cost you about $100!! Whaaaaaaaaat! It makes me think those Storage Wars guys are right and that my dad is a smarter guy than I give him credit for by saving absolutely everything under the sun. Come to think of it, they probably have their old rotary phone in a pile in the basement somewhere!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Superbowl: Football or Commercials?

Ok, I'm inspired today. No more ranting about the future generation or telling you what I'm going to write about. Today we get serious. We talk about commercials.

I am among the many who get excited for the Superbowl for the commercials, I confess. If you think about it, that's some really amazing marketing that I'm watching hours of programming just to see what comes on when the "main event" is taking a break! This year is a bit different because I am a New Englander and we have loyalty pulsing through our veins. So even though I am not a big sports watcher, I become a Patriots fan in such a competitive rivalry soley based on honor. As the New England Patriots are in the Superbowl this year, I will have to pay attention for more than a few minutes at a time to watch commercials.

Even though I need to eat a few more chips on Sunday to keep up my energy for longer television viewing endurance, I am admittedly still really pumped for the commercials. In building toward the #1 commercial that I am thrilled to see air, let me tell you about some other commercials that bring joy to my life.

In Superbowls past, the Snickers adds that featured Betty White and then Roseanne Barr truly spoke to me. It is a wise marketing exec who knows that people my age have buying power and also that our hearts are closely tied to our histories. Those histories involve The Golden Girls (who everyone on the planet knows I adore) and Roseanne. Making Betty White talk trash during a football game or showing Roseanne whining as she is most famous for doing, is the stuff of commercial gold.

More recently, my favorite new commercial is from Doritos. Have you seen the one where the guy is eating Doritos as work and the other guy says something like, "you forgot the best part" and sucks the cheese residue off his coworkers finger? So gross and so awesome. Later in the same commercial, another coworker wipes Dorito cheese on his pants and the guy sniffs them. Genius. Because who among us has not licked Dorito cheese off our clothing? Oh, I mean our fingers. Woops.

For the main event, please enjoy a link to this commercial spoof of Ferris Bueller. If this doesn't make you pumped for Sunday's big game, you have no soul. Good day to you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ch Ch Changing

That title is from a song. Do you know it?

Do you know any songs with the word ennui in them? I do. If you do, too, please share!

But to the point, I'm thinking this blog is changing again.

It has been my experience that for a blog to have a reader base there has to be a theme. You know what you are getting. You read that blog when you are in the mood for it's stated theme. Fine.

I have tried that and found myself feeling claustrophobic, in a sense. What word would Lucy from Charlie Brown's gang use to describe feeling trapped by theoretical confines I, myself, created? I have enjoyed writing about travel and will continue to do so but what about everything in between trips? For a while, I thought the in between would be filled with my pursuit of home loveliness and personal domestication. And sometimes it is. But more often the in between, the real stuff of life, has no theme. Life, at least mine, is an ongoing balance of work vs play, should vs want, mind vs body, etc. "Aspiring to the Middle" was always about finding a balance between the different parts of my life, which sometimes clash up against each other. And my goal has long been to be successful in all sorts of varied arenas, not to be the star in just one. So really, it makes sense that trying to box myself in to just talking/writing about a couple of topics felt yucky.

As a result, I hereby reclaim this blog. It will be not just about travel and home but everything and anything in between. As Cartman from South Park would gloriously say, "I'll do what I want". Some days I might write about television because it's all I can think about. Like last night I stayed up until 3:30 am, unwise the night before staring my new work week, so that I could watch multiple episodes of Downton Abbey and be up to date. And sometimes I might write about the books I like, a funny experience I had, or something more serious like a cause I am passionate about. You won't really know what you are getting if you choose to read.

But I'd encourage you to think of it like reaching into a goody bag of candy you filled at the bulk candy aisle of Wegman's; you will like whatever you pull out. Most of the time. Unless you get a stomach ache. Because I would argue that I am one of the quirkiest people I know and I think that makes me endlessly interesting. How's that for modesty? Even people who have known me for decades don't always get it right when they try to guess what I will think about something or what my reasoning behind something is. My brain works differently. My view of the world is different. And I hope that variety will entertain you, even if you don't see it coming.

So there you have it. Recreated.