On The Go

Have you ever had those, days...scratch that...weeks....scratch that...months where you feel like there is just never enough time in they day to even sit down?  Welcome to my October.  It has been one of the busiest months I can remember and my to-do lists (yes, plural) keep getting longer and longer.  Have you felt like this lately?  Join the club. 

My recommendation would be to find something, just one thing, to keep you a little bit more sane and have it be your time.  My outlet: teaching Irish dance.  I have been fortunate enough to be a part of Trinity Academy of Irish Dance for 16 years.  Wow typing that out just made me realize that I have been dancing since the students I teach were born. Reality check.

From my first Oireachtas...
...to my last Oireachtas
Besides the fact that I have had some of the most amazing opportunities to see and travel the world through Trinity, the people I grew up with and work with are just absolutely incredible.  There's really no other way to explain it, and I am truly very lucky to be a part of such a supportive organization.  You can find more info on their Facebook page.  By the way, if you are not a part of the Irish dance community and want to know what the heck Oireachtas means, feel free to ask at any time.

In addition to my Irish dance outlet, I have had to get crafty with making meals.  I now try to make one home-cooked, sit-down meal a week because that's all I have time for, but for the other days I need to get strategic, and the prep time needs to be short.  To prep for my week a couple weeks ago, I made pasta.  A lot of pasta.  This is great to keep in the fridge and there are so many different toppings that it changes enough to use throughout the week.  Here was my easy on-the-go meal (and I had plenty pasta left for some new creations throughout the week):

 Voila! Pasta with EVOO, parmesan, spinach and basil.  If I had bread crumbs and pine nuts I would have definitely added them into the mix, but I didn't.

What are some of your on-the-go meals and tips to stay somewhat sane through the madness?

Happy almost Halloween and cheers to November!


Necklaces That Make a Statement

Necklaces can make or break an outfit.  My favorite part about them is that you can re-wear them with all different types of outfits.  Here are some of my favorites (after finding these pictures it appears that I typically wear statement necklaces only when I'm with Boyfriend B...who knew?)

 One of my more recent purchases from Fred.  Such a fun pop of color.

 One of my all-time faves (the necklace and friend) from BCBG...sorry you can't buy my friend B there though.

 Another necklace from Fred.  Debated between this one and another one at the store for far too long, but I am very happy that I walked away with this one (not literally, I totally  paid for it).
 Same necklace...different dress.  See what I mean...different outfit but just as fun?

Definitely one of my larger statement necklaces from Express.  Perfect with a little black dress.

 Same necklace, different outfit, different climate (hello winter in Wisconsin).

Do you have a go-to necklace that you love?  Are you looking to add to your collection? Have anything you think I would love?

Happy shopping :)


Essie to the Rescue

A wonderful lady that I had the privilege to live under the same roof with for a year and a half (why did you have to go abroad?!) will always hold a place near and dear to my heart.  She constantly reiterated the importance of keeping well-manicured nails, and you could always count on M to have some envy-worthy nails.  No, this is not the only reason I like her.  C'mon folks you know me better than that.  She can make you laugh for hours on end...no exaggeration.  If you are lucky enough to know her or one day meet her you know/will know exactly what I mean.  And be sure to check out her nails.

In honor of said friend, I have been keeping my nails in top notch shape lately.  I would go as far as to say that I've become a slight complete nail-snob.  At least I can admit it right?  It just makes you look more polished (literally).  I used to be terrified to put any color on my nails besides a pale pink or nude so I went WAY out of my comfort zone on my latest purchases, and by way out of my comfort zone I mean as close as possible to a neutral palette without getting too crazy.  Meet the newest additions to my Essie collection:

 from left to right: mink muffs, power clutch, case study, and sew psyched

sew psyched in action.  I think I found the perfect shade of green.  This was no easy task my friends.

If anyone from Essie ever reads this, I could totally name some colors for you.  Here's my nail polish color portfolio...on the fly may I add:

Green: lady leprechaun
Grey: stone age
Pink: miami vice

Good right?!  Feel free to hire me whenever you please.  In the mean time, I think I'll work on mastering this but will another color besides black:

What's your favorite color for Fall??

(Images via one)


Pumpkin Love is in the Air

The night before our most recent Halloween adventure, the roomie J and I decided to watch a classic Sarah Jessica Parker movie.  You guessed it, Hocus Pocus.  After watching said movie, I have constructed this letter to my parents. 

Dear Mom and Dad,
How did you let me watch Hocus Pocus as a child?? There are some extremely creepy scenes that we may or may not have had to fast forward (I will never admit to this in person).  Not to mention the red-head's teeth are frightening all on their own let alone throughout an entire movie.
Concerned 22 year-old

 Moving on, the roomie and I finally made it to a pumpkin patch the next day regardless of nightmares from the Halloween classic.  We stuck with Eplegaarden because we had such a wonderful time apple picking there.  How could you not enjoy this??


 Meet Pumpkin Pam and Pumpkin Pat (from left to right).  You may refer to them as simply Pam and Pat if you would like.  Pumpkin makes it a little more formal.

We even got caramel apples, but there will be no photo evidence of this as we quickly found our inner six year-old eating abilities and instantly became covered in caramel.  But really, how can you not?  If you have a strategy for remaining stick-free, I am ALL EARS. 

To top off the night, we made AMAZING Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells.  No modesty here about these guys.  We had them for dinner Saturday, lunch Sunday, and lunch today.  We were very civil in splitting the last three for lunch tomorrow.  Sad to see them go already.  We'll keep you posted on our cooking endeavors.  I can only hope our next recipe turns out half as well as these.  Thanks Joelen for the wonderful recipe!

Have you gotten your pumpkin(s) for Halloween yet?  What's cookin' in your oven?


Happy Wedding Planning!

I may or may not have been overly excited about my boyfriend's sister's engagement yesterday...it's no secret that I am a teeny, tinny bit obsessed with weddings.  Congrats again D and S!  Could not be happier for the two of you, and I am already anxiously awaiting the big day.

What better excuse than a recent engagement of a wonderful couple to post some of my wedding finds on...you guessed it...Pinterest.  I can find almost every amazing picture from wedding blogs all in one spot.  It's just too easy. Delayed shout out to my old roomie BB who got me hooked on Pinterest in the first place while she was gallivanting around Europe this summer.

 Maybe wouldn't play bags the day of, but for an engagement party this is just amazing and too good not to include in this post.

 Bridesmaid dress.  I love. Can use any color in the bouquet you want.

 Simple and elegant. And hopefully delicious.  Is it bad that I hope my cake tastes even better than it looks?  Chocolate and frosting are two important parts of my life. 

 Love the sweetheart top and silhouette.  Us short petite girls need to be careful that it doesn't look like we're wearing a nightgown or that we're even shorter than we really are on the big day.

 Polaroid guestbook.  Ensures you get a picture of everyone and something fun to look at.  I personally think all writing is a tad bit daunting to go back through.

Serious question: How do you ever decide what to do for your table numbers?  Here's just one option, but there are just an infinite amount it seems like.  I think I could do a whole post on this, but I won't because it would just stress me out, and I'm not even engaged.

Happy planning to all you lovebirds out there! Boyfriend B if you're reading this, don't stress.  Just because I love them doesn't mean I'm expecting a ring rock anytime soon :)

Do you have any wedding ideas you love?  Are you planning a wedding right now? Tell me, tell me! 

(Images via one, two, three, four, five, six)


DIY Kitchen Canvas Art

I'm just going to throw it out there...I have a girl crush on ...love Maegan. I wish I could remember how I first stumbled upon her wonderful posts, but I can't so I can just tell you they are great and that you should read them.  She has a variety of DIY projects and amazing hair tutorials, not to mention some pretty outstanding daily outfits.  Sadly, not all of our hair is as perfect as hers nor our closets as big.  Go check out her site, you'll see what I mean.

One day this summer I stumbled upon this Home DIY.  She included templates and everything--what more could you ask for?!  Thanks Maegan! She put them up in her dining room.

Cool right??

I loved what I saw and decided to put a little spin of my own on the project.  Don't get me wrong, I still used her fabulous template, but I added the word Drink into the mix and got smaller square canvases (I used 12"x 12").

I'm the type of person who loses patience after awhile so I did parts of the project over a span of several days.  If you're the type of person who can sit down for several hours and be fine, by all means go for it, and then teach me your ways.  For some reason, my double sided tape was not working very well so I had to get resourceful and make regular tape work.  I also was not expecting my letters to be as crisp as Maegan's, and I was okay with that so I was not too concerned about the fact my letters were not taped down too tightly.

I chose a more neutral spray paint color since I had no clue what else we would be decorating our apartment with at the time.  Although I do not have pictures of my a step by step process (who would've thought I would be blogging about one day?? Not this girl), here is my final product.  And yes I realize I should have staggered them in my picture so don't get all sarcastic on me and say, "Carly, why did you write Eat and be Drink Merry." Because I didn't.  If you really feel like you need to say it and get it off your chest, fine, go ahead.  After all, I'm only here to make you happy.

 I love the texture the thumb tacks add to the canvases.  And I like that the letters aren't perfectly bright white.

Here they are hanging in our cozy apartment.  I personally love how they turned out, and it's honestly pretty cool to look at something you made and are pleasantly surprised with how well they turned out.

Do you have any DIY projects you're working on?  My roommate J just accomplished a pretty great one if I do say so myself, but I'll have to wait awhile to post about it as it's a present for some pretty cool people.

(Image via one)


Two words for you...Erin. Condren.

First and foremost, welcome to the dark side to all of my friends who joined Pinterest this week already.  I have fully enjoyed Repining your Pins...actually far too much.

Real talk: let's face it, there comes a time when you realize you have your life figured out in a relatively organized manner (so maybe this feeling lasts for less than a minute, but it still happens)  And then, you discover Erin Condren.  This moment would be right now in my life.  Huge shout out to KM in my Elementary Ed cohort for introducing me to her.  Figuratively...I wish literally.  Hey Erin if you ever read this!

I received my very own Life Planner yesterday.  Have I written anything in it yet? No.  Why might you ask? I am using it as motivation to get my huge Science Unit done, and then I will literally plan my life.  Why am I not working on my Science Unit right now may be your follow up question.  Your answer: because I am so kind that I wanted to take the time to introduce you to this amazing product.  Thank me later....with chocolate preferably or another Erin Condren product.  Can you ever have enough?!?!  This is the style I chose:

Key features: STICKERS!, Keep it together folder, circle clips--cute and functional to help you find your current page, and an amazing zipper pouch.  I would go on and on, but I fear I would not do it justice.  Look inside here.

To my dearest teacher friends, may I introduce to you the Teacher's Lesson Planner.  I would order this now if I didn't think I would be pushing my luck getting a job next year--superstitious much?  What would I plan without any kids to teach?!  Maybe it can be my congratulations gift after finding out I get a job (knock on wood--I did it, now you do it too).  The owl cover is particularly wonderful.  Here's a glimpse of the inside.  Go look.  And seriously, knock on wood.

These are just a quick glance into two of her many, many products.  Go explore at erincondren.com.  They're coming out with a personalized iPhone case in 1 or 2 days!  Like her on Facebook and let her know {a simple affair} sent you :) Let me know what you think and happy, happy planning!!!


The Early Bird Gets the Worm

It's no secret that I love a good sale (fall for them every time--I'm a sucker).  I also have this thing where I like to get my Christmas shopping done extremely early.  Got the BF's and sister's done like 6 months ago.  Already set with almost everything for my mom...and then there are the dad and brother.  K I'm working on you, and well, my dad's just harder to shop for.

We already had the good 'ole Bloomingdale's Friends and Family 20% off and low and behold, I woke up to an email from my dear friends at Saks this morning.  It's time for their Friends and Family 20% off as well!

Use code: FRIEND9 at checkout, and I did some extra searching for my own friends and family to get you free shipping as well, you're welcome.  Use code: SHIPSFA and watch the $$$ drop (I think it's only if you spend $200+ though).  I'm crushing on these wonderful flats (I live in my black ones, and these are perfect for teaching):


And to my wonderful teacher friends, Ann Taylor is having 40% off EVERYTHING, may I repeat EVERYTHING.  They had this the other week, and I may or may not have picked up a few things for my new practicum placement.  Let's get serious...this year is a year-long interview so I need to bring my A-game right?!  Here are some of my  finds:

So cozy.  I like to layer a long black or white top underneath the sweater.

For that pop of color.

Great with skinny jeans and just so cozy.

The swoop as I like to call it can be removed making this a 2-in-1 purchase.  My favorite kind.

This girl is currently on a spending freeze, but leave me a comment/shoot me a message, and I would be more than happy to shop vicariously through you!

(All images via one, two-five)


Pinterest is the new Facebook

Let's get serious...I'm falling hard for Pinterest (and Twitter...Zuckerberg who?!).  Where else can I find pictures of every single thing I could ever ask for in my life?  From home decor to classroom ideas to my dream wedding to SO MUCH FOOD, Pinterest has everything.  It's frightening how long you can get sucked into "pinning" and have no concept of where you are or what time it is anymore.  Sorry mom and dad.  I swear I'm still doing my school work, but I have also planned out the next 10 years of my life....so much for living in the moment.  I even have a board just for organization--hello!!! Type-A personality's dream come true.  In my old-age I'm trying to get my craft on more often, and I swear you can find hundreds of DIY projects.  It's amazing.

At first, the website may seem daunting, but have no fear, I would be more than happy to explain how it works so I have more people to follow and Repin on a daily hourly basis. 

Just a few of my favorite things (you have no idea how hard it was to narrow down):

 Don't really know if this needs a caption.  It's just perfection in a ring.

 Gift giving: wine bottle wrapped in a kitchen towel (heads up you may be getting this one day friends and family)

 Who wouldn't want to learn the phases of the moon with Oreos?? I just don't know how long they would last.  Fun idea for my future classroom.

 I want a puppy.  Deal with it.

 Self-explanatory. Phoebe on Friends much??

 Because why not have a shoe closet?

 Tic Tac Toe at a restaurant to keep the little nuggets entertained.

Loving an overpass in this house.

Just from this post you can see the vast range of pictures on the site.  So go my friends, get your pinning on.....now.  Then follow me so I can follow you and keep the unending circle of lack of productivity going.  It really is a vicious cycle, but I swear I truly NEED all of these pictures in my life.

(All images via Pinterest)


Picture Perfect (Black and White Edition)

When it came time to start decorating our "big girl" apartment this year, J and I needed to cover A LOT of wall space (am I right J??) I ended up buying some framed canvases at a local store but then we still had a ton of space to deal with. 

I found two 11x14 frames I had put collages in my sophomore year.  Cute at the time, but sorry friends and family, you're just not making the cut on my living room wall this year.  I had stupidly brilliantly thrown out the mats in the frame so that my beautiful collage could take up all of the space.  So I took a little trek to Michael's and found some double layered mats like this:

I have recently rediscovered my love for black and white photos.  I went back through my pictures and found some amazing (if I do say so myself) shots in Japan and Australia and narrowed it down to two that would work well together.  I printed 8x10 copies and put those and the double layered mats in the frames and voila, white space filled.  For the record, the collages are still behind the pictures so that I can relive high school and my freshman year of college at a moment's notice.



I did this for my mom's birthday with pictures myself and my twin sister took in Florida where we always go on Spring Break together.  She just loved them, and they're already hanging in our newly renovated laundry room.

I love the personal touch the black and white photos add to different rooms especially when you or someone you know took the pictures.  Often times, I think people forget that their own photographs can look great in their homes so go find your masterpieces and then tell me about them the next time I'm over!!

(Image via one)


Sweater Weather

My apologies for being MIA the past week.  My wonderful boyfriend came to visit, and we were busy watching the Brewers, Badgers, and Packers just dominating...and eating delicious food.  I tried a new recipe this weekend, and I would highly recommend it.  I would post pictures of my results, but the quality of the pictures were not very good.  Guess I need a nice camera like my sister's (cough, cough, wink, wink, nod, nod....catch my drift?)  Anyways, here's the link to the recipe, and thanks to my dear friend K for referring me to this site (her and her fabulous fiance love the Buffalo Chicken Wraps from the same site):  Chicken Parmesan Wraps

Moving on, in case you didn't know already, I am obsessed with Fall.  I'll be taking bets on how many Pumpkin Spice candles my roommate and I go through this season and get back to you when we move on to Cinnamon Spice :)

Throughout the next two seasons, sweaters become a crucial part of my wardrobe, and I am constantly searching to add more to my collection.  I recently purchased this sweater vest at Hot Mama...no I am not a mom, but let me tell you this store has an amazing sweater selection.  Go check it out if you're around Hilldale and then call me, and I'll come meet you there.  I've worn this as seen in the picture or with a thin black belt.

Here are some lust worthy sweaters I hope to find in the very near future:

I especially hope to add some color to my sweater collection soon as I wear mostly black, grey, and camel.  Yes please to the green and purple, but let's not trigger our inner Barney here.  I prefer the deep colors in the last two pictures and would seriously love you if you found them and dropped them off at my doorstep for me.

Please and thank you.

(Images via one, two-five)