Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

It seems like my Grinch-like mood last night allowed me to completely gloss over what an amazing Christmas I had this year.

And for that, I feel ashamed.

Because it was such an incredible few days.

On December 23—Christmas Eve Eve—Adam and I continued our tradition of having our own little Christmas celebration.

Since Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are packed with family events and activities, we like to set aside time to exchange our gifts to each other, cook a cozy supper, concoct festive drinks, and watch our favorite holiday movies.

While I loved all of the special items Adam chose for me, the gift that made cry was a framed print of my favorite Norman Rockwell painting.

We enjoyed duck, potatoes au gratin, and broccoli for dinner and drank Peppermint White Russians (I pretty quickly switched to wine!) while watching Home Alone 2 and holiday episodes of our favorite shows.

I didn't ever want the night to end.

On Christmas Eve, we ran a bunch of last-minute errands before going to evening mass with my family followed by our "Feast," which is a smorgasbord of appetizers and desserts.

We played LCR, opened presents, watched Elf, and ate entirely too much. My parents had their driveway all lined with luminaries and with their life-size nativity out front...well, it was just magical.

My older brother even bought me CHAMPAGNE GUMMY BEARS!

I mean, crazy awesome, right?

I also received a really special gift from my parents—a handmade nativity. The details are just extraordinary. I wanted to sit there looking at it all evening long! I only wish I didn't have to wait an entire year to display it.

Christmas morning was spent with Adam's family. His mom always makes the most wonderful quiche! We sipped on coffee and opened presents in the den, laughing and joking all the while. It was so cozy.

Around 3:30, I jetted off to my grandparents' house (which is a whole hour's drive!) and enjoyed Christmas dinner with my dad's side of the family.

We then all retreated to the basement, where my grandma lays out a whole spread of cookies she's prepared as well as piping hot wassail. My grandma always spoils me with the most perfect presents. This year, she bought me a gorgeous coat from Modcloth. It just needs to stop raining so I can actually wear it!

The only bummer about this Christmas was that I felt quite crummy.

I had a terrible cold and by Christmas night, my throat was throbbing and I had a small fever.

But even terrible colds can't hurt the mood on Christmas!

Because it really is the happiest time of the year.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Post-Christmas Slump

Confession: I've been feeling a bit glum the past few days.
My birthday is over. Christmas is over.

The holiday lights will soon come down. I'll need to file away my lovely birthday cards. Music stations have already replaced Christmas tunes with their "80s, 90s and Today" lineups. That excited, festive spirit begins to vanish. Our beautiful tree will lose its ornaments and be tossed to the curb...I mean, this is sad stuff!

Plus, the rich, delicious foods are gone. Yet the excess weight remains.

And even though I have plenty to look forward to in the next few weeks—New Year's Eve, an Italian cooking class at Sur La Table with Adam, a hair appointment, tickets to Kinky Boots—I can't help but feel a bit down.

Does anyone else go through a post-Christmas slump? How do you cope?

Please let me know if you have any advice for this Holiday Queen.

I'll be off setting the coffee maker timer for tomorrow morning and choosing an outfit for work. And probably be fluctuating between feelings of anxiety, sadness, and plumpness.

I should really add the gym to that above list of upcoming activities.

Monday, December 14, 2015

My credit card number was stolen. How junky is that?


After all of my online shopping, I'm finally a victim of credit card fraud.
Saturday afternoon, I pulled up my email to check on Adam and my hotel reservation for the night. We were at an out-of-town wedding for a very good friend of mine, and I wanted to check on the address of where we'd be staying that evening.

Except do you know what was in my inbox?

An email from my credit card company alerting me about a charge that I had not made.

Panic! Panic! Panic!

"Are you okay?" Adam asked me, as my eyes grew big and the color from my face vanished over the $600+ transaction.

"Not okay," I whispered back. "My card has been compromised."

"Ugh, I'm sorry," he replied sympathetically. "We still have twenty minutes until the start of mass. Why don't you try calling real fast?"

I hurriedly made my way outside and fumbled around with my phone. My hands were shaking, and I couldn't even think straight because I was so frazzled.

After approximately five to seven minutes of bumbling around, I came back into the church and conceded to handle the matter after the marriage ceremony.

I was much too distracted and anxious! Was the crook charging Louboutins to my account? A Burberry trench? A car?

Gah! My friend was about to get married!

My mind swirled and whirled.


Following the absolutely beautiful ceremony (my friend was such a bombshell, and the mass made me ugly cry more than once), I was able to get ahold of the company and talk to a representative.

She was sympathetic and also made me feel better knowing that this sort of thing happens quite a lot. It was the perfect mixture of "Poor you!" and "You're not alone in this!"

I wanted to be simultaneously pitied and assured I hadn't been singled out in some terrible way.

We froze my account, and I ordered a new card.

The worst part though was that I couldn't dispute the charge until it had actually been applied to my account since it was off hanging out in Pending Land.

So, of course, I watched that charge like a hawk for two straight days, waiting for the moment I could call up the company once more and get everything sorted out.

That moment came tonight, and guess who I got to speak to?

The Fraudulent Charge Investigation Team!

Isn't that wonderfully dramatic?

The team member asked me all sorts of questions.

"Do you suspect anyone of using your card?"


"Are you sure?"

God, was I sure? He was making me nervous.

"Yes, I am sure."

Especially since the charge had been made thousands of miles away, and none of my acquaintances had visited the west coast over the weekend.

After a very thorough examination, he concluded I had indeed been a victim of online fraud and vowed to get on my case.


My advice for all credit card users out there?

Sign up for fraudulent alerts from your credit card company. I was able to stop my credit card crook immediately because of the alerts I had signed up for, and I'm glad I didn't discover what was happening weeks after the fraudulent activity.

Now that would have been especially junky.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dealing with Anxiety

I am a worrier.

I spend entirely too much of my time worrying about the following:
  • Did I lock my front door?
  • I used the oven last night. Did I ever turn it off?
  • Oh my God. I can't believe I just said that! Will so-and-so be offended/think I'm weird/etc?
  • I think I'm having chest pains. Am I having a heart attack?
  • I'm not saving enough money. My account should be bigger by now.
  • Etc
Sometimes, my worries get so big and overwhelming, they turn into full-blown anxiety attacks. 

Anxiety attacks are scary, whether they are of the physical variety (heart racing, sweaty palms, nausea) or psychological (mind whirling, unable to sleep).


Wednesday morning, I woke up at 4am with an anxious attack.

I curled up in bed and tried to think of the happiest thoughts I could. I took deep breaths. I told myself  I would be okay.

But anxiety doesn't like to be reasoned with. It's rude that way.

So instead, I got up for the day and got to my desk super early for work.

As the day continued on, I wasn't feeling so well. 

That night, I was supposed to go to a weekly class.

I texted my friend and told her what happened and that I wasn't feeling well. She completely understood.

So instead? I decided to take it easy and have the most calming night I could.

I got home from work and immediately went to lie down in the dark bedroom. The dogs curled up beside me, and I was able to finally turn my mind off and close my eyes.

I warmed up some chili for dinner and then took Gus Bear on a short walk and admired the Christmas lights.

Instead of turning on Netflix when I arrived home, I plugged the lights in on the tree, poured myself a glass of wine, and cozied up with a good book.

It was even a Christmas book!

How merry and bright is that?

The dogs even got in on the relaxation efforts and cuddled up beside me.

Adam called from his business trip, and we talked for a while, too. We said how much we missed each other and talked about our days.

By the time I was crawling into bed, I felt happy, calm, and light.

It's amazing how much good a relaxing night in can do when you have the simple luxury of turning your whirling mind off to outside distractions and stresses.

So take that anxiety. 

You're tough, but I am so much tougher. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

One Spectacular Sunday

As much as I love lazy Sundays, today was just about the exact opposite of that! In a great way!

10:15am: My mum picks me up curbside from my apartment.

10:17am: My mum reveals that she's brought along a St. Nick's stocking for me. Isn't that amazing? Still getting a stocking from your parents at age 25? And look at what was all inside! From a Starbucks gift card to a bottle of champagne, I was beyond merry and bright.

10:30am: We attend mass downtown. The advent wreath always makes me so happy, and we had a nice sermon today.

11:30am: Time for brunch! I order this sassy grits, eggs, and pork loin dish. It was definitely eclectic, but I eat just about every last bit.

12:30pm: We continue to sip on our coffee and black tea respectively.

12:40pm: We took a stroll through a contemporary arts museum. We both pretended to understand and appreciate the works of art, but they were all a bit too edgy and over our heads. We nodded politely/intelligently beside each as if this was not the case.

1:00pm: Time for White Christmas at the Aronoff!
2:30pm: Whoa that was a long first act. And was this really the plot line? We expected more.

3:30pm: The play has ended with a jazzy Christmas number and fake snow falling from the ceiling. The sort-of boring plot line seems suddenly worth it. Plus, the choreography and costumes were just beautiful.

3:45pm: We saunter around the Christmas Market on Cincinnati's Fountain Square. There are only beer, hot cocoa, and sausage booths in addition to dream catchers and incense for sale. We are disappointed.

4:00pm: I arrive home. I eat some cheese. I vacuum. I eat some chocolate.

4:30pm: I stop eating random items and head to Adam's.

5:30pm: We celebrate Adam's grandpa's 94th birthday with a nice dinner of scallops and stuffed mushrooms. The food is delicious, and we spend lots of time laughing about weird things Adam did as a child.

7:30pm: We leave dinner and decide to drive around the nearby neighborhoods, admiring all of the holiday displays and lights.

8:00pm: Adam drives us through a DRIVE-THRU NATIVITY (!!!) in the neighborhood he grew up in. We see donkeys, a camel, sheep, and children dressed up as biblical characters. It's kind of amazing.

8:30pm: We stop at R.E.I. so we can exchange the purple jacket Adam bought me for a bigger size. My new jacket is soft and cozy. I am happy.

9:00pm: We arrive home. I do some editing work and eat Reese's Pieces.

10:43pm: We turn on Bill Murray's Christmas special on Netflix.


Busy Sunday, right?

Here is wishing everyone a happy, productive, and wonderful week!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Cards

For me, one of the most magical parts of the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards.

I can remember eagerly running out to the mailbox each December afternoon when I was little and hunting through the various catalogues, small parcels, and envelopes, so hoping for a Christmas card or two.

My favorites were the cards that featured illustrations of cozy towns or funny reindeer. I loved it when a family friend or relative would include photos or an annual letter of sorts. I would read every word of my dad's boss' family update with immense interest or look at baby photos of my mom's childhood friend's children and awe over how cute they were.

Holiday cards always feel so warm and personal.

This year, I am sending out my very own Christmas cards.

Which makes me feel like quite the adult!

When we were in Harbor Springs, Michigan this past August, I found a set of cards that I just loved and had to purchase. Look at that big yellow moon! And the snow!

My favorite part of these cards though is the Irish blessing: May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

I also went out and bought a second set at TJ Maxx. These ones are not nearly as quaint, but I do love the glitter and pastels!

I'm also including this photo in each from the photoshoot my friend Meg did with Clementine and me this past fall.

I bought a neat Christmas card/ornament chandelier from Crate and Barrel at the end of last season, so I cannot wait until I receive my first card and can put it to use!
Happy writing and reading! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

17 Hours without an iPhone

Last night, I was enjoying my evening bath when my mum called.

The two of us spent about fifteen minutes catching up on our days and talking about:

  • Her quest for another set of the same curtains she had purchased six years ago ("Futile," I told her)
  • How my little brother had somehow received a good grade on his most recent school paper
  • Bejeweled jean jackets 

We said our goodbyes and love yous, and I reached over to set my phone on the edge of the Jacuzzi tub.

Except it slipped out of my hands.

And plunged into the water!

I must admit, my first instinct was not panic.

After all, I had hibiscus tea in my system, and I was sitting in a warm bath full of bubbles.

Instead, I felt very blasé, simply retrieving my drenched iPhone off the tub floor, drying it with a towel, and then burying it in a bag of basmati.

About fifteen minutes later though, panic set it.

I can't afford a new iPhone right now! If this phone doesn't survive, I'm doomed!

Either way, for the next seventeen hours—for better or for worse—I was to be without a phone.

The following are my observations.

My evening was much more productive. Obviously.

I was able to actually focus and enjoy the things I was doing. Instead of posting an Instagram photo of the cute teapot my grandma recently bought me, I savored the warm tea (and did so without constant interruptions of checking how many "likes" I was receiving). 
Photo I would have taken and posted last night, had I had access to a phone.
I actually paid attention during an entire TV show. 

I missed talking to Adam before bedtime.

I liked not staring at a screen while scrolling through Facebook and Instagram right before bed.

I was very scared going to sleep last night knowing I wouldn't be able to call anyone if there was an emergency.

The good news is, when I excavated my iPhone from the basmati this afternoon, it was mostly functional.

My home button is broken, but I can live with that.

Lessons learned?

Turn my phone off occasionally and enjoy the moment.

And do not ever bring an electronic into the Jacuzzi tub again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's December, and I'm back to blogging!

Today is the first day of my favorite month of the year.

So it seems like a nice time to jump back into my blogging routine.

Here's what's been happening in my life lately...

Adam and I went to Corsi Tree Farm last Friday, and I got to chop down my first Christmas tree!* It was an absolutely magical day. The weather was mild for late November, but the overcast sky gave a proper Christmassy feel. We picked out the most perfect tree, a wide one which we've lovingly named "Bertha."

*Adam actually chopped it down. And drug it to the netting station. And then secured it in the truck bed. And then pruned it once we got home.

I received really nice, positive feedback from a literary agent regarding my first novel. Writing to literary agents can be a disheartening experience, so the advice and kind words she passed along were so much appreciated. She also gave the encouragement I needed to get excited again about the second novel I'm working on.
I've been writing to the scent of Fresh Balsam. And the sight of my hot boyfriend.
I'm trying to figure out a better routine. This week, I'm going to try getting to work by 7am, come home for a bit to play with Clem in the early evening, and then go to the gym a bit later. My gym is at work (which is wonderful), but sometimes, I just want a little break from the building. I think coming home for an hour or so between might help. We'll see. Either way, my bottom is growing, and it must be stopped.

I'm dreaming of these rain boots on my Christmas list.

A la the lovely Kate Spade
I bought a CD for the first time in years. Adele, of course.

I've been rocking my glasses and enjoying a headache-free, much less exhausted existence.

I'm reading my first Elin Hilderbrand novel, Winter Street, and can see what all of the hype is about! It's been such a cozy read and perfect for the holiday season. Note: I also just discovered from Googling for a cover image that it's a trilogy? Hurrah!

I hope everyone's December is off to a merry start! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My First Warby Parker Experience: Simply AMAZING!

Remember how I stoked I was to be told by my optometrist last week that I needed a pair of spectacles?

Well tonight, I walked into my building's vestibule and nearly (okay, actually) squealed when I saw the Warby Parker package awaiting me.

I hurried into my apartment and eagerly opened my Home Try-On Kit.

And man oh man, was it ever cool.

I knew it would be cute, but I wasn't expecting it to be this adorable and clever!

I tried on all of the glasses countless time. And then I subjected Adam to watching me try them all on a few more times. Just for good measure.

Naturally, I couldn't decide upon a single pair so went with two.

The Otis...

...and the Welty.

I think the Otis will make me look smarter than I actually am and vaguely Harry Potter-esque.

As for the Welty, my hopes are that I will appear cool and eclectic. You know, the kind of girl who runs a nonprofit on the side and knows how to use Photoshop.

I'm just so impressed with the whole Warby Parker experience. From choosing my five frames for my home trial—I accidentally ordered two of the same pair, and the company's Customer Service was super friendly and helpful—to how exciting it was to receive a cute package in the mail with awesome glasses frames to model, ordering a pair (or two) of Warby Parker glasses was just so...well...happy.

And on top of all of the fun? The ordering experience was super easy and user-friendly. The company even allows you to submit a photo of your prescription rather than you trying to discern all of the details yourself.

Oh, Warby Parker, I'm smitten.

I'm already keeping my fingers crossed for a prescription change in two years! ;)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Just as I am

I'm fairly sure I've been a hopeless romantic since the day I was born.

I can remember lying on my stomach in front of the television as my mom and I laughed and swooned over While You Were Sleeping. I was only seven or eight at the time, and while I didn't understand all of the dialogue or humor (Peter's basketball "accident," just for example...cringe!), I did know one thing: I loved love. 
My teenage years were filled with crushes on boys who hardly knew I existed, and my first serious boyfriend ended up being gay. 

Things weren't off to such a great start. 

But still, I knew that someday, I would find someone great. My own Jack Callaghan, if you will. 
And so I continued on, muddling my way through brief relationships and flings with guys who either lacked that certain zsa zsa zsu or simply weren't the right fit for me.

I figured I'd meet Mr. Right later, maybe in my early thirties when I was living in a posh city and was a published author. You know, when I was thinner and had longer, shinier hair. And perhaps a more stylish wardrobe. 


I never let myself get bent out of shape over the fact that I was chronically single. I enjoy my own company, and I liked the stories and adventures of being a singleton. 

But then on a muggy night in June, with frizzy hair and wearing my favorite red rain boots, I met Adam in a crowded bar. 

He asked me out that following week, and like a typical anxious person, my worries and apprehension grew and grew as the date drew closer.

What if he was a total weirdo? What if he didn't look anything like I remembered? What if we had nothing in common and sat in silence for hours? What if he was a kidnapper? What if this was all some sort of sick Lifetime movie plot about to go down?

Normal singleton fears.

All of my hesitation vanished though the moment I saw Adam that night.

It reminds me of this scene from Big Fish

They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that's true. 

I felt something very special—that magical mix of intense excitement and complete comfort. 

It's an odd and wonderful mingling of feelings.

Those feelings become even more extraordinary when you the object of them is someone who likes—and then loves—you exactly as you are. 

You know, just like the famous line from Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones's Diary!

Anyways, I'm writing all of this because I'm having one of those nights where I just feel all gushy and grateful for Adam.

Last night, Adam made us shepherd's pie. And even though he had a lot of freelance work to do, he still sat beside me on the couch, his laptop perched on his knees, as I watched every Christmas episode of The Office

And this evening, when I was having a nervy-b about medicine I had forgotten at his apartment, he insisted on driving it downtown to me, including a bag of homemade beef jerky (not so classy, I know) with the delivery.

I knew I would meet someone special someday, but I never expected someone this special. I never thought I would find a person who could make me feel so happy, warm, and free, all through such a big and accepting kind of love.

I've learned to love myself more through Adam, and I'm constantly trying to be more like him, as he is much kinder and more giving than me. 

Thank you for being you, Adam, and for supporting, challenging, and loving me despite all of my weird quirks, tears over anything remotely emotional, and constant phases (Remember the water color kit?). 

I love you, and I like you.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Clem's Night at the Spa

This evening, I came home from work and promptly informed Clem that she was going to have a spa night.

Unlike most women, Clem hates spa nights.

Still, I try to win her over with luxurious shampoo, scented candles, and a jacuzzi full of warm, bubbly water.

What's not to love?

While Clem still did not exactly adore her bath, she did behave better than usual. She didn't try to escape, and she only whined once.

Best of all, my little gal is now fresh as a daisy!

City girls need to keep up appearances and all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An Afternoon at the Optometrist

For the past month or so, my right eye has been perpetually watering.

It's annoying, sometimes painful, and super embarrassing.

Because it looks like I'm crying and all.

Walking around town. In meetings at work. Out at the bar.


So many tears and so much silly embarrassment.

What was even worse? My left eye wasn't doing so hot either.

Often, I would wake up in the morning with eye pain and watering from that side, as well.

When I had to go home early on Halloween night due to eye discomfort, Adam finally got real with me.

"This week, you have to make an appointment with the eye doctor," he said seriously.

I knew he meant business. And I knew he was right.

So this afternoon, I made my first visit to the optometrist in five years.

My optometrist is tall and thin. She excitedly whirls between her various instruments and tools. She reminds me of a kind, breezy mad scientist. She does everything with a flourish, full of passion for your eyeballs.

Even when she told me everything that was wrong with my eyes, it came out sounding all, And isn't this interesting and cool?

It turns out that I have dry eyes (for which I was given artificial tears), an astigmatism, blind spots, and I need glasses.

Yes, bloggers.

Finally, finally! I got to log on to Warby Parker tonight and place my order for five pairs of super hip, super cool frames to try on at home before choosing my parfait pair.

The frames below are probably the ones I am most excited about.
Apparently so excited that I stupidly placed two pairs in my cart.

Amateur mistake.

Anyhow! I've been waiting for this day since I tried purposefully failing my eye exam in the second grade.

My day has finally arrived.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Late-Autumn's Walk

Thoughts as I walked home from work this evening...

As I twirl my way out of the revolving doors and onto the city sidewalk, I feel proud.

I've had a great day at work—busy and productive (and full of entirely too much leftover Halloween candy).

I also fit in an energizing workout and even scored a treadmill in front of a TV, meaning I got to watch "Say Yes to the Dress" for an entire hour. This is a real luxury for a girl who doesn't love to work out and also does not have cable at home.

Regardless, I always feel proud when I leave my building. I work for an incredible company, and I have a career where I actually get to use my undergraduate and master's degrees.

Je suis une fille chanceuse.

The evening is warm, especially for the first week of November, and I leave my coat unbuttoned as I stride towards home.

I look inside each and every window I pass.

The restaurants are my favorite. I get to look at fancy dinner plates and cozy couples. I watch wine glasses touch and can practically hear them clink. I can smell savory meats and onions cooking. It makes me hungry.

I see that the holiday lights have already been strung throughout the trees surrounding Fountain Square, and it makes me happy.

Stopped at a crosswalk, I look at my reflection in a shop window.

I'm wearing a formal, white pea coat. I'm not sure why, but I love how it looks paired with my yoga pants and gym shoes. It looks silly yet somehow confident and sure.

I pass beneath the lighted archways that cover the park near my apartment. Most of the leaves have already fallen from the trees.

I stop and take a photo, wanting to remember the moment.

A jogger, a girl around my age, stops and runs in place while I take the photo. She's thoughtfully trying to stay out of the shot.

"Merp. Sorry," I smile, embarrassed.

She laughs and nods before running away.

I wish I could be a runner.

I look inside the barber shop as I get closer to home. The walls are a light green, and the elderly barber is still busy. He has two clients in his chairs and a few on deck waiting. He sells potato chips and candy for customers while they wait. And he has a giant photo of Chicago on one wall. His fluorescent lights glow bright and hearty laughter booms from inside.

Finally, I arrive to my pink brownstone.

After checking my mailbox, I open and then close my apartment door loudly, so that my darling (and deaf) Clementine can feel the vibrations and know I'm home.

I call out to her and stomp my feet around a few times.

Groggily, she walks out of my bedroom, sleep in her big, foggy eyes and her movement slow.

When she makes out my figure, her ears perk up and she gallops down the long, long hallway towards me, her long tail wagging and her butt waddling.

I feel sure that some of the happiest moments of my day happen during my evening walk home.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Weekend Fun

What a fun few days it has been! And Halloween isn't even here yet!

Last night, we had a work "yappy" hour at my manager's brewery.

The yappy hour was the finale to a pet costume contest we've been having. It was $3.00 to enter your pet in the contest and then votes were 25¢ each. All of the money (including a portion of last night's sales at the brewery) went to the Save the Animals Foundation.

Super fun and cool, right?

Since Clem and I are BIG Pope Francis fans, I entered her in the contest as Pope Clement(ine) XV because apparently there have already been 14 popes named Clement.

Who knew?

I was so proud of my little gal for being one of the contest's winners!

Adam joined us at the yappy hour, and we had such a nice evening hanging out with my coworkers and playing with all of the different animals. We had to hold Clem most of the time since she's a bit unpredictable around other dogs, and even though our arms were sore today (she's a whopping 20 pounds, that little Clem!), it was so worth having her along for all of the fun.

Today, I wore a giant spider headband to work that my mom had bought me months ago.

As you can see in the photo below, Clem was unamused. She is not a morning person.

I had a bit of a headache by lunchtime and I kept running into weird things, but it added a festive touch to the day!

We even had a costume contest towards with end of the day, with the winner being a man dressed up (quite elaborately!) like Captain Morgan. There were definitely some very creative costumes around the building!

Since my company gets dismissed at 2 o'clock on the last Friday of each month (wiss woo!), I got an early start on the weekend and headed to Kroger for much-needed groceries.

I stocked up on Witches Brew wine—my friend introduced it to me this year, and if you liked mulled or spiced wine, I highly recommend it!—and bought all of the ingredients I'd need for a hearty beef stew.

Adam made me this cutting board. He is seriously AMAZING.
I spent my afternoon and early evening prepping the stew and giving my apartment a good cleaning. I ran bleach through the Jacuzzi jets and all!

Tonight, I plan on watching spooky movies, enjoying my cozy savory supper, drinking Witches Brew, and cuddling up with Clementine.

Eeeeep! How delightful.

Happy Halloween Weekend! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Clem the Model

This was how Clem and I felt last night:

We were basically models, you see. 

Since Clementine is being featured in a senior pets article at work (she's going to be a national celebrity!), my dear friend (and very talented visual journalist) Meg popped by to do a quick photoshoot for the two of us. 

She brought her photo umbrellas (there is likely a more sophisticated word for these) and everything! It was so fancy!

Do you know those friends, cousins, or classmates from your childhood that are really going places and doing great things? And you think, "Whoa. I grew up with that person"? 

Well, that's how I feel about Meg. 

She's already making such a big impact with her work (see this incredible film she produced this year that was picked up by USA Today!), and I am so proud to be her friend. 

To say I was humbled that she took the time out of her crazy schedule to photograph Clementine and my portraits would be a major understatement. 

We spent almost the entire session cracking up over the fact that Clementine is the saddest-looking dog. Even when she's wagging her tail, her face just looks so serious. I like to call her my little sphinx because of her stoic expressions and perfect sitting posture.

After innumerable attempts to make Clem smile (which is hard to do with a dog that is both blind and deaf), we took the camera outside...into the pouring rain! 

These are where my most favorite shots were taken. 

Meg, being the expert photographer that she is, crouched down beside a parked car and snapped photos of Clementine and I as we walked down the sidewalk, the yellow leaves and green ivy vibrant against the gray, evening sky. 

The photos are just...stunning.

I'll share them as soon as Meg's done with her brilliant editing work.


Thank you, Meg, for making Clem and me feel so special last night. We are so in love with the photos and are so appreciative<3

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jenna in the City

This past April, I left the beautiful house I had called home for the past two years (endearingly nicknamed the Probasco Palace) and moved downtown.

To my bachelorette pad.

Whenever I imagined my life in the city, I naturally thought of this:

You know, grabbing cosmos with the girls after work. Always stumbling around my apartment (perpetually, glamorously late!) in a pair of Louboutins as Adam waited outside in his town car for our fabulous date. My desk (with an early 2000s MacBook perched atop) in front of a window that overlooked a tree-lined street. An unexplainable gigantic walk-in closet ready to burst from all of my designer clothes.

But as it turns out? City life is quite different.

If I drink after work, it's normally wine on my couch while watching Netflix. I get ready for dates at a reasonable hour as I am painfully punctual, and I am generally wearing Tory Burch flats. Adam doesn't wait for me in a town car outside. We usually grab an Uber. I actually did initially situate my desk in front of a window...only to realize that the window faced out into a dark alley. And that gigantic walk-in closet with designer clothes? Nada.

In all seriousness, I do enjoy living downtown, but it really is very different than I expected. I had a rough transition going from three roommates to living by myself (the apartment felt so quiet and lonely!), and for a long while, I would get pretty scared going outside by myself at night.

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of my life in the city.


  • I can walk to work! This is probably my most favorite part about living downtown. I am even able to come home at lunch and walk Clementine. It's an awesome break in the middle of my day.
  • I am within walking distance to dozens of incredible restaurants, shops, theaters, stadiums, parks...the list goes on and on! I love how free I feel living downtown. There is something very liberating about the knowledge that you can walk to everything you need. 
  • I've been able to meet and interact with all kinds of different people, including the man who owns the spa next door (where I got one stellar facial), a very big guy who walks a very tiny Chihuahua in the morning, and various City Hall employees who are out and about during the lunch hour.
  • I can hear the Cathedral bells.
  • I have exposed brick. And it's gorgeous. 
  • My apartment is old and charming (see point above, and see home tour below). 
  • I never really feel alone. 
  • NOISY NEIGHBORS. I had to type that one in all caps because it felt appropriate. I have one neighbor who vacuums at 10pm. And I have another neighbor who is way too loud doing his personal business (if you catch my drift) and appears to be up all hours of the day. Adam tells me to go and speak to these people like a mature adult, but since I hate confrontation, I prefer to sit alone in my apartment and angrily stew about it.
  • I sometimes don't feel as safe as I'd like, especially when taking Clementine outside after dark.
  • Speaking of letting Clementine out, it's definitely not as convenient living downtown and having to put her on a leash each and every time rather than simply opening up a door to a backyard.
  • I can't sleep with the windows open. 
Now that we're through that, allow me to give you a home tour of my humble bachelorette pad!
The living room where I proudly display my Charley Harper piece and fairy lights. Also, Adam built me that TV hutch! Isn't he dreamy?
One of my bookcases. The doors are uneven because my dad assembled it, but I like keeping them that way as it reminds me of him.
My dining room table...I love the bench!

My pride and joy: the Jacuzzi tub. This is why my electricity bill is so high.
My bedroom! With more fairy lights, of course! 
Adam surprised me with this dresser one afternoon after I had been complaining about needing more storage. He claims this Ikea piece took him longer to assemble than the time he spent building my TV hutch from scratch. 
I also have this super long hallway! Clementine loves chasing me as I run up and down it.
While city life may not be all cosmos and Chanel, I do get to live in a neat Brownstone on a tree-lined street. 

I may just be Jenna Bradshaw after all.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I'm back! With a whole new blog!

Bonjour! Hi there!

After a long hiatus from blogging followed by a brief affair with a Weebly blog (which was always leaving me frustrated and looked dreadful on mobile [both user errors, I am sure]), I am back to Blogger with a whole new blog and my very own domain.

Which feels quite adult, I must say.

While I loved blogging on Leggings Love, I felt as though I had outgrown that particular blog. It represented my college years and my first year out of school as I muddled my way through post-grad life. I tried to keep Leggings Love going, I really did, but each time I tried to post, the experience felt weird and awkward.

And trust me, I already feel weird and awkward often enough.

I'm still that same Jenna, but I'd like to think I'm slightly more mature and much happier and more secure since my last dozen or so posts on Leggings Love.

When I started to brainstorm names for my new blog, I wanted something feminine and whimsical.

La Femme, La Fanciful perfectly fit this bill.

I'll still be blogging about the same sort of things as I did with Leggings Love—tidbits from my day, plenty of lists, my incredibly important opinions—but I have new perspectives and experiences now, and a new blog felt necessary.

I am so looking forward to catching up with my Blogger friends, and I am very glad to be back in action.

Chaleureusement (this means "with warm regards" in French),

P.S. I still like to wear fascinators. I haven't changed all that much.