Friday, July 31, 2009

yet another wedding etiquette question

As I have mentioned before, JMK's shower is next Sunday. I am unable to go to the wedding because it's on a day when I will be in England. I am hosting the shower and paying for everything entirely by myself. As you can imagine, this is not exactly cheap. My question is, am I obligated to get her a gift, or does the shower count as my gift for her?

Favorite Things Friday- the KMH edition

I have just been informed by my sister, my best friend, the love of my life, and the reason why I'm so good at rapid texting, KMH that she is very much having a one of those days. I don't like hearing that from my friends, and since I can't give her my free Iced Caramel Macchiato (partly because I already drank it, and partly because she's all the way in Chicago), this week's favorite things post is dedicated entirely to her.

A little-blogged about fact about my dear KMH is that she is obsessed with Monet's Water Lillies. She collects coffee table books about them and has amassed quite a collection. I would love to buy her some, but being that she has like 40, I'm scared of buying her repeats. So, my dear, here are some non-coffee table book items for your virtual collection.

A set of magnets for your fridge from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store ($14.95).
A set of notecards for all of your inifite correspondence with moi, also from the Met Store, also $14.95.
A pretty mousepad for your desk at work, from Bonanzle ($9.99).
A mini folding umbrella from Ebags ($24.00).
KMH also loves scarves and pins, so here is a beautiful wrap from the Art Institute of Chicago ($158).Combining your love of the Water Lillies with my love of small boxes, a pricey but cute Limoges box from Limoges Boutique ($412).And lastly, not Monet-related, but since we are both obsessed with 1) paper products, and 2) ASA (and I'm also obsessed with polka dots), new notepads and such from the Preppy Princess ($6.00-10.00)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

well this is just not my week

Remember when I mentioned that I had lost my housekeys? I called my landlord and my super to borrow their copies and it turned out that neither of them had a copy to my key. How my landlord does not have a copy, I still don't get. Yesterday, I ended up having to take the day off work so that my super could change the lock on my door. Surprisingly enough, it only took an hour. When I first signed my lease, before I had even moved, I gave my keys to my mother so that she could make a spare set and she forgot to do it. She felt bad about that so she said that she would pay for half of what it cost to get new keys which was nice of her. I was able to get the key to my building and have new keys for my apartment, so I am now only missing the key to my mailbox, which the super said would take a while to get. I am going to be slow in receiving my mail for the next week or so, so if you send me something and I don't respond or acknowledge it, please don't take it personally. Out of the whole situation, I am most upset about losing the keychains/fobs that the keys were on. One was a red and black patent leather Coach ladybug that I got from a sorority sister last year as a birthday/happy first convention gift, and one was a Tiffany blue with white polka dots with MRM on it in red that I ordered from ~miller ribbons~. At least yesterday, I was home for when the UPS guy came so I was able to get my Barnes & Noble order. I got seasons 1 and 2 of Army Wives, the book Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, and a book on pedometer walking.

My little sister (sorority) and I decided to do dinner. On my way to the train station, I decided to stop by Starbucks, where I met the unfortunate realization that I left my credit card at home. I had to walk back to my house to get my card. On my way home, a torrential downpour started. Of course, I was wearing flip flops and had no baseball cap or umbrella on me. In addition to this, my phone got soaked in the downpour and stopped working. When I finally made it back to the train for dinner, I was running 5 minutes late and managed to step into a puddle and get more soaked. Dinner was absolutely amazing. We went to Q2, a thai place. I've been there once before with my mom and I love it. The prices are good, the food and drinks are amazing, and it's far enough north of the Theater District, that you can avoid tourists and the hell on earth that is Times Square, but still make it to your show some time. If you are in NYC and need a restaurant in the Theater District, I highly recommend it. After dinner, we decided to stop by Ricky's. Ricky's is a weird chain in NYC which is half pharmacy, half not. They do not sell any meds there, but they do have a great selection of hair and bath/beauty products, along with a sometimes extensive array of condoms and sex toys. They also sell fun gift items there. Kelly and I decided to go in and see if they had Schlong Boy there. They didn't. But we had fun playing with their nail polish and bouncy ball displays and I bought a card for KMH, so not all was lost. After dinner, we went for drinks and then got baked goods and parted ways. (She got a cheesecake, I got a cannoli.)

My phone had started working by this point so I figured I would be fine. I use my cell phone as my alarm and basically my life line (facebook, twitter, internet, personal, sorority, and blog emails, and my 20,000 nightly texts to KMH) and the thought of having to go without it is just scary to me. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed with the sun in my face and thought, "wow, I woke up before my alarm." I then looked over at my cell phone and realized that it had turned itself off in the middle of the night. When I turned it on, I saw that it was 8:01, I leave my house at 7:35 at the latest to get to work. I had to take a very expensive cab ride to get to work.
After sending emails, facebook messages, and calling all of the guests that I do have phone numbers for to get rsvps for JMK's shower, I am still missing rsvps from a few people. Seriously, what is wrong with people? However, at this point, I need to order favors and have enough rsvps yes that I know roughly how many to order for. A while ago, JMK picked these to be her favors:
Now they are backordered on every single favor site I have looked at, and will ship on August 11th at the earliest. The shower is August 9th, so that doesn't exactly help me. I am now trying to find new favors. Ones that preferably don't cost a lot per person since I am paying for the entire shower by myself, and that can get to me by August 8th.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

oh happy day and a giveaway!

TLS and I are starting to plan things to do while I am visiting him in September. A little over a month left to go. I love all things involving complex carbohydrates (I believe I lasted a whopping 27 minutes on the Atkins) and have been craving waffles with warm chocolate sauce for a few months now. TLS and I decided to do a date night in Bruges while I'm there. We will take a morning train from London to Belgium, check into a hotel, walk around Bruges, do a boat ride on the canals, get waffles, waffles, and more waffles (also some beer), do dinner (I'm thinking waffles or frites, possibly both), get some sleep, and spend another day walking around and enjoying the city before heading back to England.

Many of my readers know that I am absolutely head over heels obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera. TLS got us tickets for a date night in London to go see Phantom on the West End (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and go to the Ice Bar, which I've wanted to go to for a while, no matter how big of a tourist trap it is. (Y'all have to appreciate the irony of a girl who gets cold in anything below 73 degrees wanting to go to a bar that's made entirely out of ice.)

While I am there, we also have plans to go wine tasting at Vinopolis, go to Wagamama, go to the London Eye, shopping (obviously), the British Museum, and Tower, and Westminster Abbey. TLS's birthday is a few days after I leave, so we will be celebrating his birthday early (I already ordered his gift and will give it to him and take him out for something fun to do.)

And now here comes the giveaway:
I am looking for ideas of things to do for TLS's birthday, and we are both looking for places to go in England and Bruges. If you have been to either of those places, and have ideas of things that we absolutely must do, please leave a comment or email me at whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com. I will take all of the comments and will pick a winner when I get back from England (September 13th). If you win, you will receive two of my favorite things from England: a box of Fortnum and Mason Earl Grey tea (your choice of bags or loose tea), and a 5 pack of my beloved Curly Wurly bars.

and I'm back

I apologize for my lack of a post yesterday (yes, KMH, I know you're still bitter about it, deal). I had an absolutely amazing weekend and wish that I could go again. I still have ASA cheers stuck in my head. Despite the fact that I went as a facilitator, I learned so much from the program. Most of the chapters that sent delegates to this conference are not from the district that I volunteer for, so I got to meet a lot of new women.

In the grand tradition of doing things the MRM way, of course I had an epic travel adventure getting back to New York. Due to storm warnings in New York, the FAA delayed flights arriving into JFK, so we were stuck on the runway for an hour waiting for the go ahead. When we finally took off, once we got close to New York, the storm had already started. We were told we couldn't land and had to fly around in circles for a bit, basically. We were starting to run low on fuel, the pilot ended up having to land the plane in Scranton, PA. The original plan was to land in Scranton, refuel, and fly back out to JFK, but the FAA had other plans. When it became clear that we couldn't take off, Delta tried to find a bus to take us from Scranton to JFK. (3 hours 15 minutes on a bus vs. 20 minutes on a plane.) We finally arrived in JFK at 2am, when we were originally supposed to land at 7pm. I was also starving because I only ate breakfast and then some fries in St. Louis. I did not have a chance to get food in STL and I figured I could eat when I landed in JFK. The Scranton airport is small and the restaurant and all of the food shops there close at 6:30 and the bus did not make any stops for food. My only consolation was that the Delta flight attendant felt bad and gave me like 20 packets of cookies and peanuts. I spent the past two nights in my mother's house and was going to go home tonight for the first time. I just realized that somewhere in between St. Louis, Scranton, and New York, I lost my house key. Of course my mother doesn't have a spare. How is my life not a sitcom?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm an Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sig until I die

This is a shortened work week for me. Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a flight to magnificent St. Louis for a sorority leadership conference. This is going to be my first time flying Delta after the Chicago debacle, and to be honest, I am a little apprehensive. They still have not responded to my email from two weeks ago, and I have since sent another one. I have to say their customer service does not seem to be oriented towards actually serving the customer.

I have been to several sorority conferences, but never this one. This is a leadership institute geared at training collegians towards assuming leadership positions. Unlike our other conferences, alumnae have to apply in order to go to this one to act as facilitators. I feel so lucky to have been selected and cannot wait for the conference. My schedule will be 8am-10pm most nights (eek!) so it does not look like I will have any time to explore the city, but that's ok. My favorite polka dotted ASA mug is chipped and needs replacing, so I am hoping to get a replacement for it at the Emporium. Lis, if you think of something that you want me to pick up for you, let me know.

I am going to attempt to do a scheduled post with my weekly favorite things for Friday. I tend to be a bit technologically incompetent, so I apologize in advance if it does not go as planned. I am not allowed to have my phone on me during the day, but I will tweet updates at night time. I will catch up on all of your blogs when I return.

Monday, July 20, 2009

an NYC Prep's take on NYC Prep

I am, what I like to call, a survivor of the New York City private school system. I attended two NYC private schools for grades 1-8 and then attended a specialized public high school once my mother realized that she could afford to send me to either high school or college, but not both. (As a means of comparison, my 8th grade tuition in 1998 cost more than my freshman year at my private college.)

I haven't been watching NYC Prep this season, but have managed to see a few episodes randomly. There has been a lot of discussion regarding this show on blogs and twitter pages, so I had to check it out for myself. I was curious to see how Bravo would inflate and stretch the truth. I have previously told people that I was glad when Gossip Girl came out because there was finally a show on tv that understood my middle school experience. I have to say the same of NYC Prep. Sure, some things are exaggerated and cut out and you can see where they are staged/scripted, but unlike other shows, I do see a lot of reality in it.

When I watched the show, I was easily able to identify people in my previous schools who were like some of the characters. While the characters certainly are not representative of high school students anywhere else in the country, I think that for the NYC prep school sect, especially the Upper East Side, some of them are pretty accurate. When parents can afford to spend $28,000.00+ on tuition alone for just one child, that lots of times means the family has enough money to buy their kids whatever their heart desires. Where I went to school, it was not considered unusual for 15 year olds to shop at Barney's, Henri Bendel, and Bergdorf Goodman. Owning a vacation house (preferably in the Hamptons) was considered a necessity, not a luxury.

The casual sex and underage drinking that goes on does not surprise me either. It is really common and really does happen all the time. When I was in 7th grade, I remember two girls on my soccer team telling me how to give guys blowjobs on the schoolbus on our way to a soccer game. This is an aspect of private school life that is often swept under the rug and hushed up by administration. New York Magazine has written articles about various negative aspects of prep school life every so often, but this is the first time that it's really getting national media attention, which is what is worrying the entire NYC private school system, not just the few schools attended by characters on the show. (Several of the schools have sent letters home to parents and donors explaining that they were not notified beforehand of their students' involvement with the show, and had they been approached, would have counselled them against it.)

The only thing that I find to be blatantly fake about the show is the fact that no true, self-respecting NYC prep would actually appear on a Bravo Tv "reality" show. These kids all probably come from new money families without a large enough stake in the small world of the Upper East Side, desperate to do whatever it takes to get a higher social status, not realizing, that in the end, doing this show will actually alienate them out of the world that they try to portray and belong to.

wedding rant, need to vent

I mailed out invitations to JMK's bridal shower a month ago, to 30 women. Since then, I have gotten RSVP's from only 5. The shower is on August 9th and I need to order food and favors. I can't do this until I know how many people I'm ordering for. The last shower I hosted, I ended up spending over $100 extra that I didn't need to spend on favors that couldn't be returned because a lot of people didn't RSVP. I really cannot do that again. I have asked the bride to reach out to her guests, and she posted a status on facebook telling her friends to RSVP to me. So far, no one else has. I am really upset right now because I'm doing this as a nice thing for her and her friends can't even be bothered to RSVP. I thought this was common courtesy? What is wrong with people?

Happy Birthday to

One of my favorite bloggers and someone whom I am very lucky and proud to call my sister, Lis!!!
Be sure to stop by her blog to wish her a happy birthday. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Favorite Things Friday

I apologize for the lack of a Favorite Things post again last week. Professionally, this is a very crazy time for me and work has just been so hectic. This week's Favorite Things post is a bit different. Instead of showing you things that I like online, I am going to show you my favorite items from the Vineyard Vines Fall 2009 line that I got to preview on Wednesday. Some of these items will start to appear on the website as early as in a week and a half!

As soon as I walked in and saw this tunic, it just screamed me and I knew I had to have it. It will be perfect in the early fall by itself or with just a cami underneath. When it gets colder, you can layer it by wearing a thin long sleeve t underneath it.
It is also available in blue (you can see a bit of the blue one behind it).

This jacket is a bit more outdoorsy than my usual wardrobe, but I still really like it. I keep on debating between getting it in navy and pink.

I am someone who gets cold in anything below 73 degrees (the second anything comes out of the sky, I start getting depressed), so I have grown to love cardigans. I love the whale button detail on this one. Will be great with just a plain white cami and some dark jeans and a pair of flats. Looking at the picture, I now realize that it wasn't the greatest one I've ever taken. If you can't see, that's two whale cutouts on the metal buttons.

A great sweater

This will be perfect for rainy England.

A shirt that's somewhat of a cross between a polo and a traditional Oxford (also available in navy).

a guide to shipping things to military addresses

Inspired by a conversation that I had over at Vineyard Vines, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about how to ship things to APO addresses, since I have become quite knowledgeable in this field within the past few years.

APO stands for Army or Air Post Office and FPO stands for Fleet Post Office. The point of APO/FPO addresses is to make it easier and more affordable for our troops that are stationed overseas to receive mail. The cost of sending a letter or a package to an APO address is the same as the cost of sending one within the Continental United States. This is a service that is provided by the USPS only and FedEx and UPS are not allowed to deliver to military addresses.

When you send a letter or a package to an APO address, the USPS forwards it along to one of several mail centers, depending on where they are going. For mail that is being central to Central and South America (designation AA), the sorting and processing center is in Miami FL, for mail that is being sent to Europe (designation AE), the center is located in New York City, and for mail that is being sent to the Pacific (designation AP), the center is located in San Francisco, CA.

While APO/FPO addresses are technically United States addresses, because the package is going overseas, it still requires a customs form. You cannot send a package to a military address using the Automated Postal Center at the Post Office and have to fill out the form at a counter. No special instructions are required for letters, you can just put a US Mail stamp on them and deposit them in your nearest mail box.

After the centers process your mail and figure out where it is going to, the delivery process begins. Depending on the method of delivery that is used, it can take anywhere from 4 days to 4 months to receive a package. I cannot stress this enough, do not ever send packages to an APO/FPO address via regular mail. Always opt for Priority. The price difference, if any, is usually negligible, but the delivery times are not. For mail that is sent via Priority Mail, it is put on an airplane and can get delivered within four days (the delivery time for Priority Mail is much longer for locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.). Packages that are sent via regular mail are sent via boat and this can take several months for them to be delivered. It is not possible to overnight packages to APO/FPO addresses. Express Mail is an option, but the cost vs. the time saved (sometimes only a day because of the processing facility) does not make it a very worthwhile option. Since UPS and FedEx cannot deliver to APO/FPO addresses, they pass those packages along to the USPS, which then passes it along to the APO, which then opts for the slowest possible option. If you are stationed overseas and order something off the internet from a company that does not know to use Priority Mail, you will not receive it for several months. To make it even more affordable to send packages to our troops, the USPS has created a special Priority Mail APO Flat Rate box. This box can only be sent to APO/FPO addresses and costs $11.95 to ship, $2 less than a regular Priority Mail Flat Rate box. During the holiday season, send packages and cards early to ensure that they arrive on time.

Delivery Confirmation is available for APO/FPO packages, but it is not the greatest option. It can only be tracked what goes on when the package is in the hands of the USPS, so when the APO has it, there will be no updates. Insurance is available, but like Delivery Confirmation, is not a full option. If the package gets lost or damaged while it is in the hands of the APO, insurance will not cover it.

If you are sending food overseas, be sure to declare it and pack it in an airtight container or vaccuum seal bag. If you are sending food items to someone who is serving in Iraq, do not send food during the summer months. The temperatures there get to be up to 140 degrees and the food will spoil and get moldy before it even reaches its final destination. Soldiers (this also goes for sailors, marines, and airmen) are not allowed to accept homemade food from people whom they don't know. It is one thing if you send cookies to your boyfriend or brother and he shares them with his unit. However, if you adopt a soldier from a website like and choose to send him homemade food, he will have to throw it out. Instead, send things that are store-bought and sealed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In pursuit of the Great Pink Whale

I have been a huge fan of Vineyard Vines since I first bought a pair of whale flip flops (shocking, I know) a couple of years ago and those pretty much became all I wore. The blog URL actually comes from that because with my friends those became known as my signature of sorts.

When Vineyard Vines invited me to their Blogger Day, I was ecstatic and felt so lucky that a company that I love so much was interested in my opinion. The fact that it was on my birthday just made it seem like fate. The day was absolutely perfect in my opinion and now I am an even bigger lover of all things pink whale-related than I was before yesterday, if that was possible.

We were picked up at the Stamford train station in an adorable navy van with pink whales and Vineyard Vines logos all over it and driven to the VV showroom. We had a lovely breakfast and were given some of the most amazing and generous goodie bags I have ever seen. Sadly, I am still not able to upload pictures, but here is what was inside: 2 polo shirts, a pair of flips (more whales!), a tote bag, a wristlet/camera case, a sash, a floppy sun hat, a keyfob, a leather belt from their new fall line, some adorable note pads, and some bumper stickers.

We were shown the Fall 2009 collection and got to preview Spring 2010. Because Spring 2010 is still in production and changes are being made, we were not allowed to photograph it. What I will say is that I am very much looking forward to this one. There are a lot of cute casual dresses and a lot of things in the acqua/turquoise/Tiffany blue color pallette which I adore. The fall 2009 collection does not disappoint and might be one of their best to date. There are so many items that are now on my NEED, not WANT list for my England trip that I may just order them when they go on sale, take out the box, dump it out into my suitcase, throw in some shoes and makeup, and call it a day. Here are my notes on the upcoming Fall 2009 collection:
1) The theme of the Fall 2009 collection is "wooden boats." All of the clothes are inspired by either the lifestyles of the people who sail on the different types of boats, the boat hardware, and the rope/knot details.
2) The men's collection seems to be a lot more technical oriented while the women's collection is more fashion oriented. A lot of the men's clothes that we were shown are made out of ripstop (the same material that sails are made out of), and are meant to be used while fishing, skiing, or sailing. What I really loved in the men's collection was that the blazers were lined in a beautiful navy blue silk with old charts of the area on it. I really wish that Vineyard Vines would consider doing a skirt or dress for women in this print. I would snap it right up.
3) This year, you can really see that the company is branching out with its accessories line. They have always had a few accessories, but the supply was limited. In the fall, they are introducing several different styles of totes in addition to their classic tote with the silk border, they have some fun skinny bangles, and a sterling silver whale charm bracelet. There are also great leather belts with silver whale cutout buckles. We received these in our goodie bags and I am in love. In their Resort/Holiday collection, they have a gorgeous silk cosmetic case with a shell print that is available in both a baby pink and a pale Tiffany blue. It will be interesting to see how this sells, while I love the case, it does not appear to be very practical, it looks like the kind of item that would get ruined after the first time you used it.
4) One of my favorite ties from the men's collection was a "pool shark" tie. It quite literally is a shark playing pool. I love things that are quirky and a little tongue in cheek, so this brought a smile to my face. I hope that there is a tote or other item available for women in this print.
5) "Buy it now, wear it now" is an important aspect of this fall collection. Instead of introducing the heavy sweaters and bulky items up front that you can't wear for a few months, Vineyard Vines is rolling out lighter items now in the first production, and is rolling out the heavier and more seasonal items a bit later. Some of the tunics and shirts in the very first rollout would be perfect for an evening to wear even now.
6) One item which I did not like very much was from the Spring 2010 collection. It is a pink, white, and green tunic dress with white embroidered trim. Sound familiar? I felt that if you switched the label on it, you would not recognize it as a VV dress and it could easily pass for a Lilly. Since the line is still being worked on and tweaked, we were told that changes would be made to it, and I really hope that it is changed enough to make it stand out more in a sea of Lilly.
7) Since I can't upload pictures, here are my descriptions of the items which I just have to have:
a) A v-neck cardigan with large metal buttons with 2 whale cutouts on the buttons.
b) A navy blue sweater peacoat. Instead of having regular peacoat buttons, it has buttons like nautical knots.
c) A beautiful cotton tunic. It is a little Tory-esque and going back to the boat theme, has a pattern that is meant to look like a sale with VV on it. As soon as I saw it, I could not stop raving about it for the rest of the day.
d) A jacket, I believe it is the Nor'easter jacket, that was usually only available for men is now being made available in the women's line. I absolutely love it in both the pink and the navy colors (navy would be more practical, but pink is so much fun!) and it would be great for my trip since it's waterproof.
e) A black, white, and gold shift dress with a diamond rope and not pattern. Would be a perfect piece for work with a turtleneck and some flats.
f) A belt that is actually from the men's line. It is a brown leather belt with a brass buckle in the shape of a fishing hook. As soon as I saw that, it just cried out "MRM buy me pretty please and love me," and as soon as it comes out, I will be more than happy to oblige.

After our previews, we got lunch at the Crab Shell, I don't eat shellfish so I had an absolutely delicious tuna. We then got to ride on their speedboats. This was so much fun and the weather was absolutely perfect for it. We got to meet the founders, Shep and Ian at lunch and rode on the boats with them and it was great to just talk to them and see how interested they were in our input. All in all, it was an absolutely perfect day and I am now on a complete Vineyard Vines high and am singing their praises.

birthday recap, part dos

Tuesday, TLS and I finally booked my tickets for my trip to England, which instantly put me in a good mood. 50 days to go! I was already smiling when I got home, and my smile only got bigger when I got home and saw a big FedEx box from ProFlowers waiting for me. KMH decided to surprise me with birthday flowers. Sadly, I am still not able to upload pictures, but I have to say that these were some of the most beautiful flowers that I have ever seen. It was a mixture of greenish-yellow antique looking roses and blue hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are some of my most favorite flowers, and she didn't even know that! Here is the picture from the website, which I must say, does not do them justice at all. She also put in an absolutely hysterical card with the flowers which will hang on my refrigerator for all eternity.

Wednesday morning, I woke up bright and early to head over to Connecticut for Vineyard Vines's Blogger Day. I will post a recap of that in a separate entry, but I have to say that Vineyard Vines has been one of my favorite companies for years, and it was an absolutely perfect day and I am still on a high from that.

After I arrived back in the city, I went to what I consider to be the Happiest Place on Earth, Crumbs Bake Shop, for my birthday cupcake. The cupcake of the birthday girl's choice was one of my all-time favorites, the Artie Lange. It is a vanilla cake filled with chocolate buttercream, frosted with vanilla buttercream, covered in chocolate fondant, and sprinkled with black and white sprinkles around the edges. You could go into diabetic shock just bylooking at one. After my cupcake pitstop, I took the train to my mother's house to drop off my stuff and relax for a bit before heading out to meet my best friend GNB for drinks. I had received a lovely birthday card from my sorority's National Council which put a big smile on my face. My mother surprised me by leaving a pink rose in a bud vase near my bed with my present right next to it. She gave me some money for all of my upcoming trips, and surprised me with the Kate Spade ladybug bangle that I have been lusting over. She does not read my blog and did not even know how much I wanted it which made it an even better surprise. She even said so herself that this was probably the one year that she got me a present that I really liked. Sadly, I have really tiny wrists and the bangle is just too big for me to wear, so we may have to return it.
My mother agreed to go see the Harry Potter movie with GNB and I and this is where I begin typing an ode to her to say how great she is and will bookmark this entry to remind myself of this when shopping for a Mothers' Day gift for her next year. Both GNB and I are huge Harry Potter fans and my birthday plans with the two of us always seem to involve a Harry Potter book or movie. My mother used to be a fan as well, but when people started getting killed left and right in the books, she could not take it and lost interest. Nevertheless, she dutifully agreed to go to see the movie with us. She went to the theater two days beforehand (on her own birthday!) to buy us tickets, agreed to a 10:20pm showing because everything else was too early for GNB to make it to, and got to the theater an hour early last night so that she could stand on line for us so that we could go get drinks. The movie ended a little after 1am and she had to be up at 6:30am for work. She not once complained throughout all this, which, in my mind, nominates her for some kind of Mother of the Year award/mug, if I was into those kinds of mugs. Like I said, I will keep this entry in mind when shopping for her Mothers' Day Gift.
While she was waiting on that line, GNB and I went to La Cocina for margaritas. La Cocina has some of the worst Mexican food I have ever had, Mexican food is not supposed to be so bland, but it is always packed. On Monday-Thursday they always have 2 for 1 frozen margaritas, and while their food is some of the worst that I have tasted, their margaritas are some of the best. We had a few drinks and caught up before rejoining my mother for the Harry Potter movie. I have to say that this movie was one of their best. The cinematography was excellent and I really loved Professor Slughorn. Snape has been one of my favorites since day one (maybe that's why I got sorted in Slytherin?), and it was great seeing Draco take on a much bigger role. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Even my mother who has lost interest in the series, said that the movie was amazing and regained her interest. I am not one for rewatching movies in the theater, but I am seriously considering going to see this one again.
As a final note, on facebook, I made a "Birthday Wish" through the Causes application to raise money for the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation. While I did not raise as much as I had wanted it to (one rule of fundraising, set expectations/minimum donations high, to encourage people to give, because you only receive a small percentage of that), it was wonderful being able to raise money for our great Foundation and I am very grateful to the sisters who donated in my name. If you have a birthday coming up, I highly recommend that you make a similar wish on facebook, it is a great way to promote an organization that means a lot to you.

Birthday month giveaway #4 winner

Thank you to everyone who left me comments, tweets, or sent me cards wishing me a happy birthday. I had an absolutely perfect day yesterday (recap to come, of course) and feel so lucky and blessed that I have found such a wonderful community of women to share my day with. I had planned to reveal the winner of my Pauline Morgan earrings giveaway winner yesterday, but I just did not have the chance to get to a computer at all. I apologize about that, and would like to congratulation The Tale of a Southern Belle for winning this one! Email me your info to whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com and I will pass it along to Pauline. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

birthday celebration part uno and some thank yous

Hello bloggers. I apologize for once again being a bit MIA. I have gotten to that point in my life where my job pretty much controls me. My birthday is tomorrow (26, eek) and since I have never been one to celebrate my birthday only once, this pas weekend marked part one of the celebration.

Some girl friends and I headed to Trailer Park Lounge, which is one of my favorite NYC bars. It has been voted by Food Network to be one of the Top 5 Kitschiest Restaurants in America and is a lot of fun. The bar is a venerable shrine to all that is white trash, and has pictures, props, etc. hanging on the walls, and part of a trailer and a bowling alley in the bar! They have amazing frozen margaritas and food. One of the reasons I love it so much is that it is a place where I can order Macaroni and Cheese with a side of tater tots for dinner. What's not to love? If you are in NYC, I recommend that you go there at least once for the experience. Thanks to KMH, I even got to wear a pink and green Lilly Pulitzer party crown!

My mother's birthday was yesterday, and my Nana's is today, so we usually do one big birthday dinner or brunch for the three of us. We went to an Italian place that's across the street from my Nana's house. It's nice but nothing exceptional, we always go there every year because my Nana can't walk well and it's very accessible for her. TLS and I have a joke that every time I order sangria, I end up wearing more of it than drinking it, and I have to say that yesterday, I did not wear a single drop! Take that. I ended up having to come to dinner late due to work, so that sangria was very much needed when I got finally got there.

Sadly, after I moved offices, my camera cord no longer seems to work. When I plug my camera into the computer, it shows as being connected, but won't actually read it to upload the pictures. This was supposed to be a post chock full of pictures to thank my wonderful blog readers, but alas, until I get a new cord, I can't upload any. Instead, I do want to thank blog readers who have been so kind as to share in my birthday with me and send me cards/gifts. Angela sent me these adorable ladybug notecards from Papyrus. Lis sent me an adorable pink and green Lilly Pulitzer mug and set of shift dress notecards courtesy of the Preppy Princess. The Princess and her consort were kind enough to throw in a Pocket Lilly Pad. Being that I'm someone who loves paper products and likes to have a notepad on hand at all times, this is currently residing in my tan Longchamp purse. Thank you ladies. :) Thank you cards are in the mail. :) I was also fortunate enough to win a monogrammed beach towel thanks to Whitney Caroline Designs. I have to say that the picture did not do the towel justice at all and I absolutely love it! It was perfect timing too, because the birthday celebration continues tomorrow with a trip to Connecticut followed by the Harry Potter movie with my mom and GNB, and then a birthday trip to the Hamptons with GNB this weekend where it will be put to good use. :)

Thank you to everyone for sharing in my fun with me, and don't forget, you still have until midnight tonight EST to enter my last birthday month giveaway.

Friday, July 10, 2009

what I'm obsessed with mocking today

Back in the day, I used to be a big fan of Vera Bradley. The bags were cute, fun, preppy, well-made, and not totally ubiquitous. Slowly, the patterns started getting uglier, the quality declined, and suddenly, everyone from girl scouts to old ladies was carrying these bags. I have not purchased a Vera bag in quite some time, and have not liked any of their new stuff. I still receive their emails and their catalog, and when I received this in my inbox, it was too good not to share.

Introducing Frill, by Vera Bradley. It is, and I quote: "a new take on Vera Bradley! Sleek and shiny texture, patent details, and pretty bows..." The collection looks much worse than described, and to top it off, all of the bags are named after text message lingo a la the IDK my BFF Jill commercial.

My personal favorite from all of this? Well, it really is hard to find just one item, but I will have to go with the $94, shiny, Daisy print, LYLAS backpack. For anyone who is not up on their teenspeak and needs to Urban Dictionary this, let me tell you that LYLAS stands for Love Ya Like A Sis. Thank you Vera Bradley for enriching my vocabulary.

Does anyone want to take bets on how long it will be before Vera Bradley is sold exclusively at Claire's Accessories?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Birthday month giveaway #4

As promised, here is the last of my birthday month giveaways. Thank you to all of you for sharing in my birthday month with me. I have enjoyed it and cannot wait for my actual birthday celebration!

This week's giveaway comes courtesy of Pauline Morgan. The winner will receive this gorgeous pair of Sterling Silver Labradorite Earrings (martini glass not included!). These are so delicate and perfect for summer!
To enter this giveaway, go to Pauline's website. Leave a comment on here with your favorite item from her site other than these earrings. Please also say what you would wear that item with or to. Any comments that don't have this info will be deleted and your entry will not count. For a second entry, follow my blog or let me know if you are an existing follower. For a third entry, blog about this entry or put it on your sidebar. You will also receive an extra entry for every person who enters and says that she was referred by you. The entries will be open until Tuesday, July 14th, at midnight, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 15th (my real birthday!). Good luck!

trip recap and why I hate Delta so much, the sequel

My trip to Chicago was a lot of fun! It was so great being able to see the boy and not having to wait until September. His brother and sister-in-law were nice to me, although his SIL is a little psychotic, so I would not shed any tears over not having to see her again. (When we were in the car just the three of us, she asked TLS and I if either of us had ever had sex and then if we had sex with each other! Umm seriously. MYOB much?) Both TLS and I flew in on Sunday night. We met at the airport (my flight got in around an hour before his did), his brother picked us up, we went to get Starbucks with brother and SIL (twice), checked in to the hotel, and then went for dinner for Thai food. I tweeted about this on Sunday, but there was not a single Starbucks in Laguardia or Midway airports. When I have to get up at 7:45am on a Sunday, I NEED a latte.

On Monday, TLS and I took the train into Chicago and went to the Harry Potter exhibition. You were not allowed to take pictures inside the exhibition, so being the rebel that I am, I took a picture of the "no pictures please" sign. (Picture to come once I can locate that cord thing.) The exhibition was a lot of fun and really well set up. If any of you live close to Chicago and can get to the Museum of Science and Industry before the exhibit closes on September 27th, I highly recommend that you do. If you have any kids or nieces and nephews, you will earn instant cool points for taking them. The exhibition features props from all of the movies. The very first prop is the Sorting Hat. The tour guide asked who wanted to be sorted, so of course I jumped up and down at the chance (picture me jumping up and down raising my hand going me, me, me, me, me!). I got sorted into Slytherin, which TLS had a good laugh about. I told him that it's ok because 1) Draco Malfoy is hot, and 2) I like their colors. Obviously. After the museum, we went to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. We have a list of chain restaurants that we absolutely have to go eat at at least once when we are both together in the States, so we were able to cross one off our list. Chicago is TLS's favorite city in America and he was like a kid in a candy store just seeing everything. The weather was beautiful and so we just walked around after lunch until it was time to head to the game.

Now folks, I am not athletically inclined at all, nor do I know anything about sports. It's a wonder that I know what a baseball even looks like. I have been to two Yankees games in my life (if you're a Sox fan, I don't want to hear it) and love going to games simply for the atmosphere of them. TLS is a diehard Cubs fan and to him, Wrigley Field is the happiest place on earth (to me, it's the inside of a Crumbs bakery), so he was super-excited that we were able to do this together. What made it even better, was that one of the players had been injured and Monday was his first game coming back. The game was FUN. I did have to explain to TLS and his brother that where I come from, we put ketchup on our hot dogs. After the game ended, we all went to Taco Bell. We were going to meet up with KMB for a post-game drink, but we had to take a train back into the suburbs and wouldn't have made the last train in time. (So sorry dear!)

Tuesday, we all went out for breakfast and then I was supposed to fly home. And now begins the story of why MRM hates Delta and why they are so not getting a holiday card from me. My flight was scheduled for 2:15pm out of O'Hare. I got an email from Delta saying that the flight was delayed until 3:46pm. Around 3:21pm, they made an announcement saying that the flight was cancelled due to weather and that everyone should come up to be rebooked. When I got up there, I was put on the same exact flight, 2:15pm out of O'Hare, for Wednesday. This meant I had to 1) take and extra day off work, and 2) spend another night in Chicago. Fortunately my boss was understanding, and TLS and SIL were able to come get me. It was annoying to be delayed for so long, but we were both happy about having an extra night to spend together. When I was rebooked, I asked for a hotel or meal voucher, and was told that Delta does not give out vouchers for weather cancellations. There was a light sprinkling in Chicago, and no weather problems in New York, so I don't buy the excuse that it was cancelled due to weather conditions. On Wednesday morning, I woke up to yet another email from Delta saying that my 2:15pm flight had gotten delayed and would now be leaving at 3:21. A while later, that became 3:46. In TLS's brother's car on the way to the airport, the Delta website already said 4:15pm. After I checked in, the notification board at the gate said 4:30pm. Finally, they made an announcement saying that they would begin boarding at 4:30pm and would take off at 5:00pm. I boarded around 5:00pm and did not take off until roughly 5:15pm, which is exactly 27 hours later from when I was scheduled to depart. Moral of this story: never fly Delta. 27 hour delay and they didn't even feel the need to feed me. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be composing a lengthy email to their customer service center.

I am now once again trying to catch up on all the blogs, emails, and tweets that I missed. I hope to reply to every one of you soon.

ETA: In all of my anger and rage towards Delta, I forgot to mention another bright spot of my trip. Since my birthday is coming up in just a few days, TLS decided to bring my birthday present with him so that he could give it to me in person. A day or two before I left, I was walking past the Swarovski store (one of my favorite stores) and saw that they had created a line of ladybug jewelry. I emailed him excitedly and he got nervous and told me to just keep walking. I did not have time to make it into the store to buy the necklace before close, which ended up being a good thing, because this is what he gave me:

Isn't it so cute? It combines Swarovski and ladybugs, two of my favorite things. I have worn it every day since then. He saw it in Ireland and thought of me. I'm holding on to him.

I'm finally back and birthday month giveaway #3 winner

I am finally back, one day later, thanks to the evil empire that is Delta airlines. After I get caught up on the black hole that is my inbox, expect a weekend recap post, along with the last of my birthday month giveaways. For now, I just want to announce the winner of my Not Soap Radio giveaway, so congratulations to:

Amber @ Life as We Know It!

Email me your info to whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com and I will get it along to Not Soap Radio.

If you did not win this one, have no fear, you still have one more chance to win an MRM giveaway.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Birthday month giveaway #3

Thank you to everyone who has entered my giveaways and sent me birthday wishes thus far. I love being able to share in my birthday celebration with all of my bloggy friends.

Week #3's giveaway is being hosted by one of my favorite bath and beauty companies, Not Soap Radio. I am absolutely addicted to their body souffles and am excited that I am able to share them with you.

One lucky winner will receive three products from the I'm Not Here, I'm Really at the Spa line including the oh-so-amazing body souffle, a body glow, and a face pallette which contains 4 lip glosses and 4 eye shadows.
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment for one entry. Become a follower or be an existing follower for two entries, and blog about this giveaway for a third entry. You will also receive an entry for anyone who comments and says that they were referred by you. This giveaway will run until Tuesday, July 7th at midnight EST, with the winner being announced on Wednesday, July 8th (one week to my birthday!).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A. Tierney bangle giveaway winner

Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway. This was a popular one and I can't say I blame y'all. I love this bangle and wish I was eligible to win. Alas, I am not. I actually wore my ladybug bangle last night with dark jeans, a black top, and my sand colored Reva flats. I used the random number generator for the giveaway and congratulations to:

#69 (tee hee)

Kappa Prep!!!
(why yes, I did get bored and put that in KKG colors for you...)

Email me at whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com with your mailing info and bracelet of choice if it's changed, and I will be sure to get the info along to Alyssa.

It is exactly two weeks to my birthday today, so if you didn't win this one, have no fear, there are two more birthday month giveaways left, and they are awesome if I do say so myself.