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Five on Friday

So I am switching it up a little for my Friday link-up this week.  My friend Ashley hosts  Sweet Carolina Belle blog and I have seen her participating in this link-up for several months so thought I’d give it a try.  Hope y’all don’t mind the change!

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Tuesday, 3/4/14, was our 9 year “date-versary” (in other words, we started dating 9 years ago).  Where does the time go?! This is one of the first pictures of us together.  We look so young…

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It’s Spring Break at the university I work at.  Though I don’t get full week off like the students, it has been a lot less busy, so I have been able to catch up on lot of little projects.  I have also been able to take both Monday and today off, so two 3-day weekends in a row is pretty awesome!

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Speaking of spring break, I am ready for it to actually feel like Spring! I am definitely suffering from the “winter blues.” It was beautiful last weekend (like in the low 70s), but then it dropped down in the 20s on Monday and hasn’t gotten warmer than the mid-40s all week.  I usually love winter, but I am ready to put my winter coat away!

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I am really drawn to studs lately.  I have always leaned more towards dangle earrings so it’s been a little strange to find myself picking up stud earrings at stores.  This pair from Kate Spade are definitely on my wish list:

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Simply Sophisticated is under construction! My hubby has been working on some major updates/changes (including my own URL!) over the past couple of weeks.  I don’t really understand all of that stuff, all I care about is it being pretty haha (which will also be happening soon— no more boring black and white)! Hopefully, everything will be up and running soon!

Hope your week has been fabulous! 

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Favorite Foundations

I am always on the hunt for the perfect foundation. I have several requirements that a foundation must fulfill, so this task can prove difficult, but not impossible. I have found 3 recently that I am in love with and when I find something I love, I have to share!

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Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup. This is a liquid foundation that provides a light to medium coverage and stays in place really well. I can put this on in the morning and don’t have to worry about it being gone by lunchtime. It also feels really good. A lot of long-wear foundations can feel heavy and thick on my skin. But this one doesn’t even feel like I have anything on, yet evens out my skin tone (which is red and blotchy) and lasts more than a few hours. Win-win!

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Philosophy Hope in a Jar Hydrating Foundation. I picked this up at Ulta a few weeks ago and I am in love! It feels AMAZING on my skin but does a great job evening out my skintone. It doesn’t last as long as the Double Wear, so that is my only qualm with it. It does have a slightly odd smell, which I can’t decide if I like or don’t like.  It’s somewhere between coconuts and tanning lotion, but it’s barely noticeable when you are putting it on, and it goes away almost immediately once it is applied.  I really do love this foundation though and hope as they grow their foundation line, they will come out with a long-wear version.

WPY1_410x410Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Powder Makeup.  If you aren’t much for liquid foundation, this is a great alternative.  I was really impressed with how much this conceals the redness in my skin considering it is a powder.  I’ve used various powders from BareMinerals to Clinique to drugstore brands but none of them were sufficient enough to replace my liquid foundation.  This one actually could!  I keep it in my purse for a quick touch-up at the end of a long day or after going to the gym.  I usually manage to sweat most of my makeup off while exercising.  However, if I need to run errands or meet someone for dinner,  I throw this and a little mascara on and I am good to go!

What are your favorite foundations? I am always looking for new products to try!

A modest proposal

I love sarcasm, so this automatically spoke to me. But beyond that sarcasm is truth. I highly encourage you take a minute and read this!

Fit and Feminist

The Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue is set to be released next week, marking fifty years of the nation’s premier sports magazine giving attention only to women when they are clad in little more than a thong and a prayer.  And because evidently they felt like they hadn’t pissed off feminists quite enough for their liking, they went full steam ahead and teamed up with Mattel to make Barbie the centerpiece of the celebration.

I imagine the team behind this peed themselves a little in excitement over all of the controversy sure to be generated by pairing up two of the most prehistoric relics of American femininity and branding it #unapologetic. How defiant of them!  Defending retrograde beauty standards in the face of a culture that has…continued to embrace said beauty standards.  What courage!

The only way this could have become an even bigger pile of rage catnip for…

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Ice, Ice Baby

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We are in the middle of our 2nd winter storm of the season, which is a rarity around these parts.

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We didn’t get much snow where I live this time around, but we are getting a lot of ice so I decided to break out my camera and snap a few pictures.

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Of course, ice on the roads is extremely dangerous.  But from this perspective, it doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

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These shots reminded me that even in situations that are not ideal, you can still find something beautiful if you just take the time to look.

Have you ever let yourself find the good in a not-so-great situation? If so, please share!

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America the Beautiful

If you watched the Super Bowl or are regularly on social media, you probably have seen this commercial by now:

I saw it when it originally aired during the Super Bowl and my first thought was “Wow! What a great representation of why America is an amazing country.”  It showed how people can come together from all different countries, ethnicities, races, upbringings, languages, etc. and find a mutual interest (even if it’s something as trivial as a Coke).

What never went through my mind nor would I have ever expected was how negative people would react to the commercial.  When this popped up on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, I was shocked: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/coca-colas-multi-lingual-super-bowl-ad-inspired-a-racist-mel.

Maybe I am naive, but I cannot believe that in this day in age, people (especially my generation) still think this way.

The comments about how we should be speaking American were just plain dumb.  In case you were wondering, “American” is not a language.  English is.  American English is a dialect of English.  And English developed from Latin, as did Italian, Spanish, French and a few others.  In comparison to how long some other languages have been around, English is relatively new (originating around the 8th or 9th century A.D.).  And English is definitely not the original language that was spoken in America.  But I digress…

What bothered me even more, however, was the underlying notion in these comments that in order to be an American, you must shed all of your heritage and culture.  Then, you must conform to this standard of being “American.”  But what exactly does it mean to be American, anyway?

In the Declaration of Independence, these words were penned: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

To me, being an American means that we believe these words. Being an American means believing in freedom of religion and speech.  Being an American means that there is diversity and that there is a lot to learn from that diversity.

To me, it doesn’t mean losing who you are, your heritage, or your beliefs.

I am half-Greek.  My dad’s great (thank you, Mom, for catching that!) grandparents were the first of his family to immigrate to America.  I take pride in my Greek heritage and enjoy learning about that culture.  I LOVE Greek food and hope to one day visit there.  The other 50% of my heritage is a combination of English, Welsh, German, and maybe a few others (my mom’s side of the family is much more of a blend as they immigrated much earlier than my dad’s side).

I am also 100% American. I love America, I love what this country stands for, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I think we have forgotten what it means to be American, and now more than ever, we need a reminder.  A reminder that America is a beautiful variety of cultures, languages, and beliefs.

O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for glory-tale 
Of liberating strife 
When once and twice, 
for man’s avail 
Men lavished precious life! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
Till selfish gain no longer stain 
The banner of the free! 

(America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates, as found on scoutsongs.com)

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High Five for Friday

It’s Friday, Friday… Gonna get down on Friday!

Now that you hate me for getting that song stuck in your head…

Anyway, I’m linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday.

Normally, I am so excited about Friday as it is the end of the work week.  However, since I’ve been stuck at home due to snice (check out this post if you don’t know what I am talking about), Friday means I have to go back to work.  At least it’s one day then the weekend, right?!

 

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1. I got my first Julep box! I’ll write a review about it soon, but so far, I love it!

 

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2. My mother-in-law owns a florist, and always makes me the most beautiful wreaths! This time, she did my favorite colors: gray and yellow!

 

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3. As I mentioned in last week’s H54F, I got an iPhone. I figure since I now I have Siri, I should make good use of it. Monty Python, anyone?

 

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4. We ventured out into the snowmageddon.  And of course I had to take the obligitory couple selfie.

 

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5. Since we rarely get snow, the kids had to figure out ways to sled on the snice.  They were pretty creative.

 

What have you been up to this week? Did you get caught in snowpocalypse?

 

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Snow Day!

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So a rare occurance for Wilmington has happened: we got snow! Well, actually, it’s just ice… snice… 

Either way, the roads are really bad out here.  We have TWO snowplows in the entire county, that’s how rare snow/ice/snice is for us.  So we got a snow day!

We ventured out earlier this morning to check out the snice.  Linux was a little freaked out but then he bumped into his friend Norman and they had fun playing together.

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Because we rarely have snow, kids around here don’t have sleds, so they were having to get creative.  It was very entertaining to watch them use boxes, surfboards, etc. to try to sled down the hill.

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This is a picture from the last snow we had about 3 years ago.  We had just adopted Linux just a month or two before this.

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And this is him today.  He’s definitely grown a lot since then.

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We came back in and I did some cleaning around the house.  Now I am cuddled up on the couch watching When Harry Met Sally and trying to figure out what I am going to do for dinner.  Suggestions welcome. 🙂

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High Five for Friday!

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Since it was a short week for me thanks to MLK Day, it made the workdays fly by! I wish every weekend was a 3-day weekend. It’s amazing what I can get done, especially around the house, with that one extra day! However, the rest of the week has been pretty busy, so I’m linking up with Lauren to share the highlights of my week:

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1. I got an iPhone 5s. For those of you that know me, this is a huge deal. I am a big Android fan but they seemed to get very buggy after a while. I’m still not a huge Apple fan, but I really like my iPhone so far (especially the fingerprint scanner— my work email requires a password on my phone, so this feature is so nice.  I love not having to enter the password every time to unlock my phone.  Plus, it’s GOLD! I love, love, love anything gold!).  If you have any recommendatons on good apps, please let me know!

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2. We got snow! It was just a few flurries, but for Wilmington, this is a big deal. This is the town that had 2-hour school delays just last week for COLDNESS. 

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This is me doing Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (bow pose)

3. I made my goal of making to yoga 3 times this week!  I haven’t been very regular about going due to the holidays and some craziness at work.   However, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to make it a priority and get there at least 3x/week.  In case you are wondering, I practice Bikram yoga. You can find more info about it here

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Not only did I get rid of a bunch of clothes, but I also organized my closet by type and color. #slightlyocd

4.  I cleaned out my closet.  I am going to take it all to Clothes Mentor and see how much of it they will buy from me.  Then the rest will either be given away to friends or donated to Goodwill.

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5. I am very excited to have an entire Saturday to myself.  I don’t know what has happened to me over the last few years because I used to be such a social butterfly and would’ve never enjoyed “alone time.”  But now I look forward to it! I have a couple of errands to run but I’m thinking most of my day will consist of catching up on Downton Abbey and maybe re-watching Gilmore Girls for the hundreth time.

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A Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The month of December got away from me completely… seriously, I don’t know where it went.  Actually, I don’t know where this entire year went. I am having a hard time grasping that it is 2014.

Anyway, I apologize for being so MIA this month.  We left Christmas Day to go to Disney World and Universal Studios and just returned yesterday.  Between that, Christmas, my birthday which was earlier this month, my nieces’ birthdays, and all the other holiday festivities, I couldn’t seem to find the time to sit down and write a post.

One of my goals for the New Year is to be more consistent on that though!  But for now, I thought I would share a few of the highlights from this month:

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Got an updated pic with my two favorite toddlers.  I just can’t get enough of them!

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We went to Enchanted Airlie here in town for my birthday which was on the 13th.  We try to go every year— I love seeing all the lights.  It’s very romantic. ❤

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After we visited Enchanted Airlie, we went to Carrabba’s for my birthday dinner.  My friend is a waitress there and she snapped this picture of us for me!
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Another friend took this picture of us in front of the Christmas tree at church.  I was going to use this for our Christmas card, but I was a slacker and never got around to ordering the cards. Oh well!

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Our life group Christmas party (sans kids!)

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My nieces’ birthday party (they are 2 years and 1 day apart)

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Family birthday dinner.  My brother is thrilled as always.

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We got to ring in the New Year at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance!  I loved every minute of it, but I will never do that again.  It was crazy crowded the entire week were there.  But I can mark that one off the bucket list!

Hope you have had a wonderful holiday! I would love to hear about it!

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