Monday, January 5, 2015

Cheers to New Beginnings

T and I moved last week to a place of our very own. This was insanely exciting and stressful at the same time. It was the first place that we were able to pick out together and we had been looking for an apartment for a while. Everything just seemed to be a little bit off. We were lucky when we found the complex we are living in now because everything just seemed to work out. (Also, one of the residents had a huge inflatable Santa Snoopy on the balcony that seemed to welcome us when we came in. That didn't hurt at all!)
I know it's not much at the moment, but here is our door! The door hanger has little LED lights in it that just don't photograph well at all. It was a combination thank you and goodbye gift from a sweet colleague in Germany that I miss a lot and I am so glad I was finally able to display it!

We got a slight discount on our rent for taking a third floor apartment, which seemed like a really great idea until it was time to move! At least it's a built in workout/fitbit booster. Speaking of which, the complex has a gym which is pretty close to the building we're in, so I have actually started going to the gym during the day. I'm just as shocked as you are by this. Let's see how long this lasts.

Our apartment itself is brand new and really nice but right now, it just feels so empty. We haven't received our items from our house in Germany yet, so we don't really have the things that make a house a home yet. Our household goods come tomorrow (G-d willing they will all be in one piece!) and I may hug my couch out of happiness. When we lived in Germany, most of our furniture either belonged to our landlord or was old hand me downs from Terry's bachelor days that was in such bad shape that it wouldn't even survive the move, so we got rid of most of it before we moved. The only things we have coming are our couch, wine table, hall table, and a couple of bookshelves. Currently, we are using a card table and folding chairs until we can get something permanent. (You know you're jealous!) I am excited to get new furniture and decorate the place, but I know that it will take a while.

I will leave you with pictures of my two favorite parts of the apartment right now- our built in desk that matches the kitchen and the kitchen itself. Seriously, look at all that space! Do y'all remember what my tiny kitchen looked like in Germany? I cannot wait to get my stand mixer and put it out on the counter now that I actually have enough space to keep my mixer in the kitchen itself.
I am just in love with this chair that I got at Target!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town

The Bronx is up
And the Battery's down
Yes I am one of those sappy girls who is still obsessed with her wedding and looking at pictures 3 years later. And yet we still don't actually have a wedding album. I should probably get on that. But we got married in Battery Park City so this picture totally works.
So if you follow me on instagram or twitter, by now you've probably seen that I am heading back home to New York on Friday! I have not been back home since late June-early July and was feeling incredibly homesick. My brother-in-law had a Southwest credit that was expiring so he gifted it to me. To say I am excited is an understatement. I cannot wait. Even if my flights are ridiculously early in the morning and even if it is insanely cold in New York. At least I'll be home and will get to see my family and friends.

I am an only child so my mother has been going slightly crazy herself. She has taken the entire day off on Wednesday and has arranged a full day of mother-daughter bonding for us including hot stone massages and facials, shopping, dinner at an Italian restaurant I've been wanting to go to, and seeing Les Mis on Broadway. If no one hears from me after Wednesday night, just assume that my mother has me locked up somewhere and is not letting me leave. But I'm sure I will be a very well-fed hostage.

Other things I am looking forward to next week:
*Seeing my best friend for her 30th birthday (the timing of the trip could seriously not have been any better!)
*chestnut macarons at Laduree (My absolute favorite flavor and they are only available from late fall to winter. I already called to confirm that both locations in the city have them.)

*Shake Shack burgers (this is really kind of an obvious one here)
*brunch with a sorority sister I have not seen in forever at our usual spot
*enjoying the thrill that is public transportation (seriously I miss the freedom that comes with having an unlimited ride Metrocard in my wallet)
*catching up with friends (I have plans for most every night that I am in New York!)

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Always Starting Over*

I know, I know. My last post said that I was back to blogging, but as usual, life got in the way. Terry spent a month in New York City interviewing for a position. After multiple interviews, he was given the position. Only to find out that two days later that the person who made him the offer was not able to make the offer that she did, and the position got rescinded. To say we were crushed is an understatement. We both love New York and were really looking forward to making a life for ourselves there. Quite frankly, I never imagined myself living anywhere other than New York, so it was a bitter pill to swallow. While Terry was gone, I was experiencing some horrific back pain that is still going on. I did several weeks of physical therapy and had multiple injections done without much success, and am very reliant on pain medication for me to be functional. This is the other reason I have not blogged in months. I was feeling very down and negative for a long time and did not want all that negativity out there publicly.

Thankfully things have been looking up for us. Terry was offered a job at Fort Bragg here in North Carolina about a month ago and he has been really happy there. We are in the process of looking for an apartment and are hoping to move out within the next month or so. Apartment searching in North Carolina is extremely different from apartment searching in New York City. In New York, you have to decide what your maximum budget is and then either triple that, go down in size, take a roommate, or live about an hour from where you'd like. In North Carolina (at least in the areas we've been looking), it seems like you have to decide what is most important to you- a tennis court or a basketball court. Don't even bother worrying about a pool. All the apartment complexes have them. Along with fitness centers. Some of the places we've been looking at are nicer than hotels we've stayed in. One has complimentary yoga classes two times a week. Another one has a sand volleyball court. And they all have valet trash included. Which is something I had never heard of until I started searching for a place here, but it is basically I never knew I always wanted. (Another way in which North Carolina and New York are different in terms of real estate- in New York if you tell a leasing agent you would really rather not pay more than $2,000/month for a one bedroom, (s)he asks if you don't mind living out by the airport. In North Carolina if you say the same thing, the person thinks you're being sarcastic.

So there in a nutshell is our life. Hopefully I will be able to pick up this blog again. It has been with me through so much and I don't want to kill it off just yet.

*The title of this post is a song from the Broadway musical If/Then starring Idina Menzel. Terry and I saw it with my mother on July 4th and her performance of the song quite literally gave me goosebumps. If you are going to be in NY (or live there) and are looking to see a show, I highly recommend this one. Here is a shortened version of the song here at the Tony Awards:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cruciani Meets Baublebar

When I was back home in New York in October, I stumbled upon the Cruciani pop-up shop in Columbus Circle. I was enthralled by all of the fun, colorful, macrame bracelets. I bought one of the bracelets in a gorgeous, dusty pink. It looked so good stacked with my other bracelets that I regretted not getting more in other colors. I wanted to return but did not have time before flying out to Germany.
Cruciani is an Italian company and did not have a huge U.S. presence at the time, so when Terry and I were in Rome, I knew that I wanted to make it over to their shop. Sadly, that once again was not an option since the store was far away from all of the other places that we went to on our short four day trip.

Imagine my delight when I got an email from Baublebar, another company I love, saying that they had partnered with Cruciani for an online shop! I already have quite a few pieces from Baublebar so this was a match made in heaven for me.

The Cruciani C Clover Bracelets are just $16 and come in 5 different colors (Blue, Turquoise, Pink, White, and Yellow).

The Cruciani C Mars Bracelets are probably my favorites because they look like little pearls. They are just $18 and also come in 5 colors, the green and pink ones being my favorite.

The two tone Cruciani C Youstar Bracelet is also gorgeous with a fun color accent ($18, two color options).
These would be so fun to stack together for a multicolored look or with other bracelets. They're great to throw in a camp care package or as part of a gift for a friend.

If you are not a member of Baublebar, join through my link and receive $15 off your first purchase (applies to regular-priced items only, no discounted items). And be sure to subscribe to their newsletter since they randomly mark down certain items as Buried Baubles on Mondays and Fridays.

Do you like Cruciani bracelets? Which ones are your favorites?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No Longer an Expat

Hello there. Yup, you're reading that right. As of May 8th, Terry and I are no longer residents of Germany. We are currently living right here in North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Raleigh.
Our last few weeks in Germany were extremely stressful. From the day we got orders we had roughly 30 days to outprocess, pack up, get our house ready for inspection and about a million and one other things. Since we had no luck with the job search, we moved in with Terry's parents temporarily to regroup and get back on our feet. (And hey- if you're looking to hire a disabled Vet, I just so happen to know a fantastic one with Top Secret clearance and a few IT certifications. Just saying.... ;) )

The past three weeks have been a series of both highs and lows. While we have loved being back in America, it has been hard not having any friends here and going from having a job to not having one. I've been feeling very lonely. I've cried more than I care to admit. At the same time, we have been spending a LOT of time doing all of those American things that we missed out on while living overseas. This mainly means eating, of course. So far we have visited such fine American establishments as Buffalo Wild Wings, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, The Melting Pot, Trader Joe's, the Farmer's Market, Burger Fi, and many, many, more. Strangely enough, I have lost 2.5 pounds since Germany. I'm not complaining. The beer and fried food diet is one that I could get behind.

It was also harder to re-adjust to American life than we had previously thought. After 4 years of living one lifestyle, you realize just how much you get used to doing things a certain way and it can be so hard to change. Like no longer having to separate our garbage into roughly 20 trashcans. And no longer paying for restrooms anywhere. (I will not miss either of those things.) The whole world of having to pay sales tax on literally everything is new to us. As is having to figure out how much to tip for dinner so you don't offend your waiter. (Apparently it's not considered ok to round up to $25 when your meal is $23.50, yet most places in Europe, no one would blink an eye at that.) Also pennies now seem like a foreign currency. (The military banks overseas figured out that it costs more to ship a penny than one is worth, so all of the overseas bases do penny rounding for cash purchases. The last time I even saw one before this month was in December.) Last week I said entschuldigung to a lady in Trader Joe's whose cart was blocking the aisle and got annoyed when she didn't move. We went to a Durham Bulls game and the national anthem seemed so much shorter because they only had to play one. (On overseas military installations, they always play the host nation's anthem before the Star Spangled Banner. This leads to a serious case of irony when you are at a 4th of July celebration on a base in England celebrating our freedom from the British, and you hear G-d Save the Queen.)

I'm also just now starting to realize just how lucky we really were with our four year long European adventure. We went to a beer store today and I was so excited that they had my favorite Belgian beer, until I saw the price tag. $7.39 for a single bottle. I nearly gasped out loud. I bought the same exact bottle in Belgium for 0,99€ (about $1.40). Ouch. No more trips to Belgium for beer or France for fresh baguettes and macarons for us. No more going to random places just because it's a long weekend that coincides with a Ryanair sale. Seeing all of my friends post pictures from weekend trips to places like Greece and Switzerland, I think I finally understand how all of my friends back in the States felt when they saw my pictures from similar trips. 

We are excited to see what life in America has in store for us. If you live in the Raleigh area, we would love to hear your recommendations of things to go see/do/eat in the area.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On Mommyblogging

One of my guy friends and I were jokingly discussing what I should name my hypothetical mommy blog in case Terry and I ever decide to spawn. (I am NOT, I repeat NOT pregnant. No sirree.) Here is the list of what we came up with:
*Drunk and Diapers
*Kegstands and Kindergarten
*Liquor and Lollipops
*Shots and Strollers
*Whiskey and Wipes
*Guinness and Gerber
*Baileys and Babywearing
*Corona and Cooties
*Tequila and Toddlers
*Moonshine and Moby Wipes
*Patron and Play Dates
*Daiquiris and Day Care
*Pinot and Placentas
*Fosters and Fetuses
*Cuba Libres and C Sections
*Singapore Slings and Special Snowflakes
*Pilsner and Preschool
That last one was Terry's suggestion. Clearly aspiring for a Nobel Prize in parenting is a family affair over here.

So there is my list folks. I am saving it so the next time someone in either one of our families or an annoying friend asks when we are going to start making babies because oh, we would make such! great! parents!, I can direct their attention to exhibit A. Feel free to borrow this list if you have annoying relatives of your own that you need to quiet down (but please don't steal the names for an actual blog title! Just in case I do need them in the future...) and feel free to add in any ideas of your own in the comments. (I thought about Absinthe and Attachment Parenting but felt that it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 3, 2014

Badge Day

Today is the NPC International Badge Day. Sorority women all over the world are wearing their badges in a show of pride and unity. I love this tradition but for the past few years that we have been living in Germany, I did not wear my badge and just wore letters instead for Badge Day. Today I had to dress up because of work, so I wore my badge (above my name tag, obviously).

I love my badge and what it means. I love that Alpha Sigma Alpha has provided me with so many opportunities and happy memories. I love that I met some of my closest friends and one of my bridesmaids because of my membership in Alpha Sigma Alpha. (It turns out that one of my friends in Germany who has since moved back to the States is also an ASA!)

When I was a chapter advisor, I would wear my badge to every Monday night chapter meeting. I knew that when I got married, I wanted to wear my badge on the inside of my dress. Unfortunately, in between all of the commuting that I did, my original badge was lost to the great jewelry box in the sky. While we were in the midst of wedding planning, I had posted on facebook asking if any of my sisters had a pearl badge that I could use as my something borrowed for the wedding. A few weeks later I received a package from a dear sister who is now on our National Council with a note that said "Why borrow when you can have something old? Consider this an early wedding gift." I was blown away by her act of kindness and generosity, and three years later, still am.
It is one of my most favorite pieces of jewelry and I felt so happy and proud wearing it today. It is too pretty to sit inside my jewelry box. One of my goals is to get a charm to put my badge on so that I can wear it as a necklace.

To all of the Alpha Sigma Alphas who have touched my heart- your love, friendship, and sisterhood means more to me than I could ever put into words. ALAM.

If you are in a sorority, did you wear your badge today?