Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!!!

Even though Sami and Wylie are content playing with paper balls and empty boxes, I couldn’t resist getting them a Christmas present.

And once I bought it, I couldn’t resist giving it to them early!

It is an adorable knit octopus-on-a-rope from Target and not only do I love the look of it, but the cats love playing with it!

And I think we’ll be playing with it quite a lot during the holiday break since I’ll be at home with them for almost two weeks – yay!!

So until I sign back in next year, I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and a wonderful New Year!!



Friday, December 23, 2011

Three Hundred is a BIG Number!

Holy cow, this is my 300th blog post!

I was definitely surprised when I found out because I haven’t been doing that much writing these days.

And while I don’t feel guilty about that, because I’ve wanted to focus more time on myself, I do feel guilty about the fact that I haven’t been in better touch with all of my blogging friends. I miss checking in and reading about what you’re up to and I feel badly that somehow I’ve let you down by my lack of comments.

My hope is to do better in the New Year and to come up with a more balanced approach to this thing we call life (blogging included). I’m not sure if one really exists but I intend to do my best!

In the meantime, please know that I think of you all often and am grateful for your place in my life.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Local Tourist: Arlington National Cemetery

Have you ever noticed that you never really explore your city until you have family or friends come to visit?

That used to happen to me all the time, but no longer! One of my resolutions for the New Year is to do more tourist adventures in and around DC, but I decided to start early with a spontaneous trip to the Arlington National Cemetery!

While it was a chilly day and the trees were bare, I still found the cemetery absolutely beautiful. It is a gorgeous, meticulously cared for and peaceful shrine to those buried there and I was really touched by my visit.

These pictures won’t do it justice, so if you ever find yourself in DC please take the time to go and visit in person!

Sign or no sign, you definitely feel that you are on hallowed grounds when you enter the cemetery

90,000 holiday wreaths had been spread throughout the cemetery by volunteers only two days prior to our visit…it was absolutely gorgeous!

I was surprised by how grand and beautiful some of the monuments were!

JFK’s famous quote overlooks the cemetery next to his gravesite

President J.F. Kennedy’s gravesite

JFK’s grave and eternal flame

The Memorial Amphitheater

The interior actually made me feel as if I was in Rome

Miguel with his trusty camera!

The famous Tomb of the Unknowns is guarded 24/7 each and every day

The changing of the guards is an honor to witness

Monday, December 19, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

Guess what?

Christmas is less than a week away!!

I love this time of the holiday season…the countdown to Christmas Day, the anticipation of Christmas Eve, the last minute rush of shopping and all of the beautiful lights and decorations!

And in honor of my favorite time of year, I decided a few festive animal photos were in order!

Wylie – who was such a good sport!

Sami – who loves the Christmas lights almost as much as her mama!

Watson – a most forgiving and (fortunately) sleepy pup!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Rave Review for Bill Bryson - Author Extraordinaire

The next selection for our book club is Bill Bryson’s “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” and I can’t wait to read it!

I’ve heard adoring reviews of his writing for years but have never picked up any of his books, not even his bestselling “A Walk in the Woods” which my sister raved about.

But because I hate to read things out of order, I’ve decided to start with his book “Notes from a Small Island” which is a sort of love letter to the UK where he lived for +20 years and started a family.

He writes it because he’s preparing to move back to the U.S. where he subsequently writes, “I’m a Stranger Here Myself”, which discusses the many American traditions which suddenly appear so quirky after being away for 2 decades.

While it may seem a bit premature to write a book review when I’ve only read 45 pages…I can’t help it because it is that fabulous and hilarious! He’s definitely got a great sense of humor and I’ve caught myself laughing aloud at times because of how great his writing is.

Below is a brief excerpt from “Notes from a Small Island” which neatly summarizes the book and his (hilarious) reasoning for returning to the States:

“I had come to Calais because I was about to embark on a grand tour of Britain and wanted to reenter the country as I had first seen it, from the sea. After nearly twenty years in England, my wife and I had taken the decision to move back to America for a while, to give the children the chance of experiencing life in another country and my wife the chance to shop until 10 P.M. seven nights a week. I had recently read that 3.7 million Americans, according to a Gallup poll, believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, so it was clear that my people needed me. But I had insisted on having one last look at Britain – a kind of valedictory tour around the green and kindly island that had for two decades been my home.”

So if you’re looking for a holiday gift for one of your favorite readers, or you’re looking for books to read during your holiday break – I highly recommend checking out Bill Bryson!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

This past weekend was hectic – with two holiday parties a hundred miles apart, a trek to get our Christmas tree, a trip to the Arlington National Cemetery in 40-degree weather…oh and taking a lot of medicine to get over a nasty head cold.

So thank goodness I had the foresight to take today off from work! Even after sleeping for 12 hours last night, I still required a nap this evening. Fortunately, the fuzzies are always ready for a quick catnap so they joined me on the couch!

And how was your weekend?



Sunday, December 11, 2011

25 Holiday Songs…With a Twist!

As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I handed my iPod over to Miguel so he could load it up with my favorite holiday songs!

And while he was at it, I asked him to put together a list of HIS favorite holiday music to share with all of you!

1) “All I want for Christmas is you” by Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas album

2) “All my bells are ringing” by Lenka - The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs album

3) “Auld Lang Syne” by Salsa Celtica - El Agua de la Vida album

4) “Baby, It's Cold Outside (Mulato Beat Remix)” by Louis Armstrong - Christmas Remixed album

5) “Candy Cane Christmas” by Darius Rucker - Candy Cane Christmas album

6) “Carol of the Bells” by Celtic Woman - A Christmas Celebration album

7) “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C. - Run-D.M.C. Greatest Hits album

8) “Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” by Nat "King" Cole - The Christmas Song album

9) “The Christmas Waltz” by She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas album

10) “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Red Baron Remix)” by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra - Holiday Lounge - The Christmas Remixes album

11) “Deck the Halls” by Cuba L.A. - Latino Christmas album

12) “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Diana Krall - Christmas Songs album

13) “I'll Be Home for Christmas” by Katharine McPhee - unbroken album

14) “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé - Christmas album

15) “Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad” by Michael Bublé duet with Thalia - Christmas album

16) “Mistletoe” by Colbie Caillat – Mistletoe album

17) “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Brian McKnight - The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year album

18) “My Favorite Things” by Tony Bennett - Snowfall - The Tony Bennett Christmas Album album

19) “My Only Wish” by Jessica Simpson - Happy Christmas album

20) “Santa Baby” by Madonna - A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1 album

21) “Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town” by Bruce Springsteen - Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town album

22) “We Three Kings” by Pink Martini - Joy to the World album

23) “What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? (Mangini vs. Pallin Remix)” by Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Devol Orchestra - Verve Remixed Christmas album

24) “White Wonderland” by Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics album

25) “'Zat You, Santa Claus? (The Heavy Remix feat. The Commanders)” by Louis Armstrong - Verve Remixed Christmas album

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Time-Lapse Voyage Into Outer Space

Miguel showed me this video recently and I can’t get it out of my head!

It’s a time-lapse video of photographs taken by the crew aboard the International Space Station and it’s absolutely mesmerizing!

The clouds, the lights shining through from Earth…the whole thing is awe-inspiring and it really makes you realize how united we all are, no matter what continent we’re on.

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

I’ve seen a couple of articles touting the health benefits of owning pets and I completely buy in!

Not only do they bring peace of mind and happiness when you otherwise feel stressed, but they also seem to know when you’re not feeling well and become extra attentive.

This past weekend, Miguel stayed home sick while I went to visit college friends with my sister.

I couldn’t break my previous plans, but knew that Wylie and Sami would take good care of him while I was away. And they did! He spent most of Saturday in bed and they spent the entire time sleeping by his side…in their respective spots of course.

I know their sweet energy gave him the extra boost he needed to start feeling better…what good fuzzy nurses they are!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Music Video Inspired by Jellybeans!

Kina Grannis is a singer/songwriter with a gorgeous voice. Greg Jardin is a film director who had an idea for a completely handmade and innovative music video for her song “In Your Arms”.

Inspired by jellybean art, the music video is comprised of 2,300 individual frames that were created out of 288,000 jellybeans, which were then compiled to create a stop-motion video.


It took over a year to shoot the entire piece and the work involved is awe-inspiring! I cannot believe the time, energy, commitment and passion involved in spending almost 2 years to create 3 minutes and 25 seconds of video.

Check out the final music video below to see the amazing end result and check out the behind-the-scenes video to learn more about the entire process – it is fascinating!

I LOVE it when people think outside the box!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

It’s been a few weeks since my sister adopted her kitten, but the little dude finally has a name – Andy!

It came to me on Thanksgiving Day, which was lucky because everybody was teasing my sister about her kitten not having a name, ha!

Aside from having the pleasure of naming the fuzzy, I’m also excited because it honors our grandfather, whose name was Andrew.

I think it fits him perfectly…what do you think?!!

I think he looks like a lil bear in this one!

Awww this one just tugs at my heartstrings!

Another one that reminds me of Sami!

What a silly boy!

I could wake up to that face every morning…

and nap with this one every afternoon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Purina Loves Pet Adoption!

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is watching The National Dog Show after the Macy’s Day Parade!

I love watching all of the different breeds and imagining all of my favorites running amok in my future house!

Since the dog show was presented by Purina, there were a ton of adorable pet food commercials during each break…but there was one in particular that caught my eye.

The commercial was promoting the Petcentric by Purina page on Facebook and encouraging viewers to “like” the page in return for a $1 donation to!

Well, enough said! Within a few minutes I had signed in, liked their page and then got Miguel to do the same!

I hope you will also take a few minutes to do the same and increase Purina’s donations to because every little bit helps!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I’m Thankful for Arts & Crafts

I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner because I love having people over to my apartment. I also love to clean and have a special occasion to decorate and do some arts and crafts!

I don’t normally go crazy with making centerpieces and specialized holiday decorations, but this year I wanted to do something a little special for the dining table.

After some web surfing for inspiration and a trip to Whole Foods for flowers, Michaels for votive candles and Paper Source for fabric tape, I was ready to make a custom holiday centerpiece…and I love how it came out!

Below are the super easy instructions for how I made my custom votive candles! After a first attempt with some textured ribbon that didn’t want to stick to the glass votives, I discovered such a thing as fabric tape and am in love!

And the best part? You don’t need a separate adhesive – genius!

What You Need:
X-Acto knife
Votive candles
Fabric tape (or any kind of decorative tape)

My choice of festive red stripe fabric tape came from the Paper Source

The entire crafting process consists of three steps: 1) peel the backing from the tape and lay in vertical rows along the candle

2) start the tape under the bottom of the candle for a cleaner look and 3) trim the tape with the X-Acto knife when you reach the top of the votive

And voila – you’ll be done in no time!

Candle close-up

Finished candles surrounding a beautiful bouquet from Whole Foods

In addition to crafting, I am also thankful today for my healthy and happy family, friends and sweet fuzzies.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends across blog-land! I hope your day is filled with lots of love and lots and lots of turkey!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

The leaves are off the trees, it’s getting colder every day and our neighbors across the courtyard have their Christmas lights up on their balcony.

So it is definitely starting to feel like the holiday season now…which is good, because Thanksgiving is only a few days away!

It also puts me in the cleaning mood, which is good because Miguel and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner again this year!

Fortunately, I am off from work this week so I have plenty of time to get the apartment in order...and perhaps sneak in a few naps with my favorite cats!



Friday, November 18, 2011

A Wedding Gift Made With Love

I’m a great gift giver with my family, but when it comes to wedding gifts I usually just get something off the registry...and I always wish I had done better!

So I decided to finally take some extra time and handcraft something for my good friend who is getting married tomorrow. He survived a bout of cancer at age 30 and his outlook on life has always been inspiring to me.

So I decided to gift him one of my Live Love Life Now paper art pieces. But to make it more unique and special to the couple, I used maps of their hometowns. I love how it came out and I hope that they love it too!

What’s the most unique wedding gift you’ve ever given?

The groom

The bride

The final product!