Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Man Up

My never-ending quest to perfect my apartment is entering a new phase that I have begun to affectionately call "Manning Up". While I love my baby blues and greens and pristine white furniture (kind of), it's time to move on. With the addition of a male to the abode in mere weeks, my apartment seriously needs to man up.

If you're thinking of beer pong tables, beer posters and a keg in the corner... well, to be honest, that's what I was thinking too. Panic attack ensued. Not my beautiful apartment! And then I woke up and realized I wasn't moving a fraternity into my one-bedroom. Thankfully.

No, redecorating wouldn't be a disaster - it would be an opportunity to change things up and maybe expand my comfort zone a bit!

And then I got excited. And then I shopped. Thanks for nothing Cyber Monday - love, Sarah's Wallet. I still have some things to do that we're going to do together to make sure that he's adequately represented in the space, but I definitely got a great jump-start.

My Manning-Up To-Dos:

1. Bedroom: The black furniture theme in my room was a good foundation for the revamp, especially given how it contrasts with the new colors I was adding. My old color scheme was baby blue, green and white, but now...

A rich garnet quilt to layer on top of my white duvet cover to create contrast.

Boom! Mustard! Love the combination with the garnet quilt, and will go great with my gray carpet and Euro shams.

Balances out the bright colors, and matches well with the dark furniture. Plus, it's just the best pillow I've ever seen.

2. Closet: Ok, cue the tears. Everyone... I need to clean out my closet. And I mean REALLY clean it out. I'm beside myself. Not like "Hey I'm going to give some stuff away today" cleaning out, like "I need to make room for someone else" cleaning out. What?! But I welcome the challenge. If any co-habitors have any suggestions for me on how to best accomplish this (other than get a place with bigger closets), I'd be eternally grateful!

3. Kitchen: HA, it is what it is. Moving on.

4. Living Room: Now this re-do required no twisting of the arm whatsoever. I've been dying to do it for awhile, and saving up just incase an occasion arose that would really push me over the edge. And here it is! Right now I have a white couch with light brown pillows and throws. Now I'm thinking...

Blue and brown rug to stand out against the beige carpet, and coincide with the accessories I already have.

Deeper, more masculine tone, but a beautiful compliment to the light blue rug.

Matching ottoman that opens up to reveal a secret storage space. Perfect to reduce clutter!

That's all I have for now! Well, not really, but that's all I'm planning on sharing until the renovations are done :) Don't forget - tips, how-to's and well wishes are more than welcome!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Want What?

While I'm a staunch supporter of waiting until after Thanksgiving to kick off all Christmas-related activities, I will admit that I was front and center for the 8 pm madness at Walmart. Once the clock hit 8:00 (actually 7:50 because the crazy shoppers were apparently cheaters as well), that was it, the big moment - my Christmas 2k12 shopping had officially begun.

Holiday shopping always makes me reflect on a better, simpler time, when I spent hours writing down everything I ever wanted into a neat list that I would mail to Santa, and my parents would make me sign some version of "Sarah" on the tags of the gifts they had purchased on my behalf. End scene.

Today - not so simple. Not only do I have to buy my own gifts, but everyone around me is apparently "so over" being honest about what they want, leaving the ball completely in my court. I wish people had to register for Christmas presents, so you could pick something you knew they wanted that fits into your price range and be done with it. Unless you're the person that registers for nothing less than $500, in which case you would not be getting a gift from me regardless. Sorry.

I swear, everyone, I'm NOT a Scrooge. Ask anyone - I love gift-giving! While I love to shop for myself, I get infinitely more enjoyment out of buying for others, and seeing their smiles (fake or real, I don't judge) when they open their gifts. It's the "I don't know what I want but I expect you to know what I want and buy it for me"-ness of the holidays that can be a bit of a bummer. Help me help you.

Thus I've created...

SJ's Five Helpful Hints for Unhelpful Gift Recipients:
Tips for the indecisive on how to get what you want for Christmas

1. Be Honest - Ok, don't run around asking your fresh-out-of-college sibling for a Tiffany's necklace, but be honest about what you want. If you want a scarf, as for a scarf, and let the gift-giver determine whether it's TJ Maxx or Burberry. If you want it to be a certain color, then fess up already! You won't get what you want by being coy.

2. Plan Ahead - Why is it surprising that a million people want to know what you want for Christmas towards the end of November every year?? You know the question is coming, so pull together a few gift ideas at various budget levels ahead of time. That way you won't accidentally say "socks" when someone asks you what you want at Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Gift Cards are OK - My favorite gifts are ones that let me do something I love with the ones I love. Thus, a gift card to my favorite restaurant is always a great option. Now I don't recommend giving gift cards to everyone and calling it a day - maybe pair it with a photo or a DIY gift to add a personal touch.

4. "Surprise Me"? You got it. - If there is one gift-giving adage I would do away with, it would be "suprise me". You want a surprise? Congrats, you are now the recipient of the foam Rudolph I grabbed in my caffeine-fueled Black Friday shopping blackout. Surprise! But seriously. If this is your way of hinting that you want something extra thoughtful or extravagant, there are much better ways than that.

5. DIY - Every year as a child I found myself in the sweatshop they called Art Class cranking out Christmas gifts like an elf on steroids for every member of my family. Shopping over. Back then, it was adorable when I handed over a lopsided clay pot that I had hand-crafted - now, not so much. So for those who would like something "made with love" this holiday... well, just be prepared for whatever you might receive.

You're welcome!

So, to all you gift-receivers out there, all humor aside, give us gift-givers a hand this Holiday season! It doesn't mean that we'll put any less thought into your gift, it will simply ensure that whatever we land on will be that much closer to what you actually want!

Oh, but gentlemen shopping for significant others - you're on your own. These rules do not apply to your girlfriends, fiancees or wives. Best of luck!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Feast Your Eyes

Come on, everyone. It's still near enough to Thanksgiving to utilize a good Turkey Day pun. Per usual, a should-be-easy travel schedule turned into a 2:30 am nightmare, but c'est la vie! I had a wonderful weekend with my family, but am glad to be back in Pittsburgh. So much to do, so little time! Birthday celebrations, and graduations, and Christmas preparation, oh my!

Given that my mind is in a million places right now, accurately capturing my fabulous weekend in words just doesn't seem plausible. I would inevitably leave something (or someone... my little brother) out, and chaos would ensue. Following up on my account of Thanksgiving through the eyes of Twitter, I figured I would, once again, paint a picture of my various activities for the weekend without inanely babbling on - this time via a collection of seriously random photos!

Here we go...

Good morning SJ! Off to PIT for my 5:23 am flight!

I just love airports first thing in the morning... Sigh.

A welcome home gift from my mother. Mmm!

Thanksgiving table for four!

Kudos to Dad for the best turkey in recent memory... or ever

Oh yes, yes I did. #ISurvivedWalmart2012

If you don't know what Farkle is, please look it up. In other news, I finally won a game. My family is vicious!

Lazy Saturday of College Football with my brother and pup!

I'm sorry, but is she not the cutest??

...And the last photo for the weekend... Bloody Marys. The perfect Thanksgiving Weekend treat!

And that's a wrap! Ok Nordstrom, now you can officially decorate for Christmas!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! (via Twitter)

Hello bloggos and bloggees! I apologize for my absence, but I made a promise to myself that I would dedicate myself completely to my family during Thanksgiving (and, of course, Black Friday), so I had to take a slight blogging hiatus.

Words cannot describe the amazing Thanksgiving that I had (and am still having) with my family this year... but Tweets can! Here is a glimpse of my fabulous Thanksgiving via my Twitter account.

(Had to be up at 3am for my 530am flight!)

(Thank you, thank you!)

(Seriously, just because it's early doesn't mean people can't see you!) 




(Pats win!)

Overall, a tremendous holiday with my family, and I am fortunate enough to be able to be home through tomorrow afternoon! That being said, I must be off. Leftovers to eat, Christmas presents to buy, and football to watch. 

I hope you all had amazing Turkey Days, and I will follow up with details galore ASAP!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's All Fun and Games Until...

Thanksgiving is a time of, well, giving thanks (real original on the name, guy, but I like it). While I will get to all of the things I am thankful for tomorrow, I'd like to dedicate today's post to something equally serious and heartfelt - the Annual Family Thanksgiving Touch Football Game. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. Time to line up against your (least) favorite relative and have at it for as long as those Bloody Marys in your stomach will allow. At least that's how I play - CJ, I'm looking at you.

Last year, in preparation for the big game, Dad sent us a Wall Street Journal article that hilariously depicted the 32 golden rules that should all players should adhere to during the annual family game. And, I was delighted to find out that they had decided to go round 2 in preparation for Thanksgiving this year.

I present to you (on behalf of Jason Gay)...

29 More Rules for Thanksgiving Touch Football

1. The family touch football game is going to be your only athletic activity of Thanksgiving Day. Let's be real. No matter how many times you tell everyone you are going for a run—you are not going for a run. You're not fooling anybody.
2. There's always a person in the family who suggests "mixing it up this Thanksgiving" and playing soccer or hide-and-seek or taking a family hike at the nature preserve. No. Fail. You're playing touch football. Nobody wants to go hiking at the nature preserve. Boring.
3. If you wear a blazer and tie during the Thanksgiving game, it is a rule that you're going to be the first person knocked down into the mud and everybody will laugh. Related: Why are you wearing a blazer and tie to Thanksgiving?
4. It's not really a family touch football game unless at least three family members have no idea which team they are playing on.
5. There's always a moment during the Thanksgiving touch football game when someone finds out what a bad, bad boy Peanut Butter, the family golden retriever, has been in the backyard. Bad Peanut Butter!
6. There are no steroids allowed in Thanksgiving touch football. But your Uncle Dave just tested positive for vodka and doughnuts.
7. Mom wants to play quarterback, Mom gets to play quarterback.
8. Must emphasize this again: Use a leather football. Foam footballs are for preschools and dogs.
9. Nobody in the family can throw a "perfect" spiral. Nobody. Your cousin who thinks he can throw a "perfect" spiral? That would be the ugliest pass Tom Brady ever threw.
10. If you are playing your Thanksgiving touch football on the beach in 80-degree weather, congratulations on your fine luck. Also: Everyone hates you.
11. If a nice man shows up at the front door wearing a No. 15 jersey and begging to play, let him. That's Tim Tebow, and he just wants somebody to let him take a few snaps. But running plays only. No passes. He'll understand.
12. There's always someone who uses the touch football game as an excuse to sneak off and eat ice cream and pie in the kitchen at 10:30 a.m.
13. Remember, there is no instant replay in family touch football. Like all family business, on-field arguments are settled by sulking and passive aggression.
14. If you are a Kennedy, yes: Taylor Swift is showing up to the family touch football game in Hyannis Port this year, and she's bringing homemade cupcakes, mix tapes and papier-mâché sculptures of everyone. It's going to be super awkward.
15. During your game somebody will catch a touchdown pass with one hand while holding a beer in the other. Please know that somewhere in New England, an injured Rob Gronkowski is doing the exact same thing.
16. You do not need fancy end-zone markers in touch football. You only need four items to mark end zones: a winter hat, a flower pot, a 12-pack of beer and your Aunt Ginny.
17. If you're new to a family, hold back a little. A first Thanksgiving with potential future in-laws is not the day for a 400-yard, nine-TD, 15-sack performance. You will wind up eating turkey outside on the porch.
18. It's all fun and games until the first relative over 80 hits the deck. But Grandma's fine! Shake it off, Grandma!
19. Losers Walk! "Losers Walk" is when you make the defeated defensive team walk back to the other end of the field after they get scored upon. Where I grew up, it was called "Suckers Walk." You could also call it the "Amble of Humiliation," the "Trudge of Shame," the "Dawdle of Ignominy." Of course, you might get "Socked in the Eye."
20. Everybody loves playing football with cute little kids but let's face it: Nobody passes to cute little kids on third-and-long. Come on. Huge play!
21. If you decide the game is "grown-ups only" and play without kids, just realize that the kids are going to go to the den and watch "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" on cable.
22. Every family has a secret cigarette smoker, who thinks nobody knows they smoke, even though everyone knows they smoke. Make this person run as many deep routes as possible.
23. Your 14-year-old nephew who plays Madden 13 all day? Listen to that kid. He knows a scary amount about football. Completely scary.
24. If you have a relative who went to Notre Dame, just realize the Fighting Irish are ranked No. 1 in college football right now and this relative is going to be unbearable at Thanksgiving this year.
25. No: Rain does not cancel the family touch football game. What is this, tennis?
26. The best player in your family touch football game will always be someone who has never played touch football before. Always.
27. Ten minutes into your touch football game, pause to realize an amazing thing: This is the longest your family has gone in a year without looking at their smartphones.
28. The touch football game is over when four or more family members are crying.
29. Rule 28 also applies to dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!

So everyone - get stretching! It's almost time.
Oh, and as for #11 - you are not welcome at my house in that green and white, Mr. Tebow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Keep It Light

This week (so far) has truly reminded me of how crazy the real world can be. Between the meetings, projects, and running around, I'm lucky if I can find the time to eat some days. But I love my job, and every second of the madness.

Even people who love their jobs, such as myself, however, can become bogged down in the chaos. My how quickly that smile can turn upside down. Take this week, for example. Working for a retail giant means that Black Friday is especially crazy. Things come up, things go wrong, and everyone just wants to leave for some much-deserved R&R.

I'm lucky enough to work with a group of people who insist on keeping the morale up at all times - no matter how crazy the day is.

Below are some of the highlights that have been passed back and forth so far this week. After all, laughter is the best medicine!

Please ignore the cat theme. I work with a cat lover, so they always seem to work their way into our stress-relieving conversations.

Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Now get back to work!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Country Roads, Take Me Home

Happy Monday, all! Rested I am not, but knowing that it's a short week, and that I will be heading home in a few short days helped to propel me out of bed this morning.

Actually, saying I'm not rested would be an understatement. I am still exhausted from a long weekend, and my very first trip to Morgantown, WV. There is seldom an opportunity post-college to devote an entire day to running around doing as you please, and being a complete wild child - but this Saturday was one of those days to a tee.

After a later-than-planned Friday night, we didn't quite meet our get-up-and-go deadline of 7am, but by 9am we were out the door and on our way. Having never been to Morgantowm before, I had no idea that it was a mere hour or so away (this would come in handy Sunday morning...ugh), so before we knew it we were plopped down on a couch watching College Game Day with a cold beverage in hand.

Mind you, the game started at 7pm...

Ready for the day!

A few hours before kickoff, we dragged ourselves into a cab and away we went to the stadium. Now, if you recall my post about my trip to Eugene, I was absolutely floored by the atmosphere around Autzen.. and I had the same experience in Morgantown. Let me just say, these people know how to tailgate. And tailgate we did.

Who doesn't want a picture in front of a Short Bus?

I wish you could see my awesome yellow high socks in this picture.. oh well!

Finally it was time to head into the stadium for the pre-game festivities, which PG absolutely insisted that we couldn't miss. And he was right. Instead of filing in before kickoff, everyone was out in full force to watch the marching band (which was incredible), and the team fly out of the tunnel and onto the field.

Amazing seats!

I'll be honest, we left at half time. It looked like Oklahoma was going to win handedly, and we were frozen to the core despite our literal and not-so-literal coats we were wearing, so we decided it was time to head out. WVU went on to lose a heart-breaker, ruining an upset over the Sooners at the last minute, but since we weren't there to witness it, I think it lessened the blow.

Time to head home? You'd think so, but not a chance. We headed directly into town and to a local drinkery, lasted for about two more hours, made a totally necessary stop at Pita Pit, and called it a night. Oh, and I played with a cat before I finally decided to snooze. I hate cats. What??

Needless to say, Sunday morning came far to early for any of us, and we spent a thoroughly hilarious morning getting ourselves together, eating the worst wings ever, and finding PG's car (that's a story for another day.. no, we weren't driving).

An enormously successful weekend that I will be paying for until Tuesday at the earliest, but, looking back on the fun I had the past few days, I really couldn't care less!

Hope you all had wonderful weekends!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Got It From My Mama

I like to think that many of my parent's good graces have been passed down to me... but I'm not quite sure that cooking is one of them. Unfortunately, it is that time of year. The time of year when I must put my skills in the kitchen to the test, and cook for large numbers of people. Sigh.

Today marks the first of these occasions for the 2012 Holiday Season - Thanksgiving Pot Luck at my place of business. After deciding on something along the lines of store-bought dip and pita chips when I first received the invitation, I was quickly pushed out of the category, with about ten other people signing up to bring dips as well. Oh well, I could find some pre-made cookies or something and be done with it.

And then I opened my big mouth. When coworkers started asking what I'd be bringing instead, I let it slip that I had my mom's recipe for Sausage Rounds and described them in all of their glory. Everyone was hooked, and I was in trouble. Now I'd have to make them. Look out!

How'd it go? Well, my apartment is still intact, and I didn't even set the smoke alarm off, so that's a success in my book.

I also thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to share my mom's delicious recipe with the world (blogging world, that is). Given the name "Sausage Rounds", it should be no shock to anyone that this is NOT a healthy recipe - I cannot tell a lie - but it is easy to make for large groups, and is delicious when enjoyed in moderation!

Sausage Rounds

- 2 containers of Kaukauna Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 2 rolls of regular Jimmy Dean Sausage (spice level based on preference)
- 1 loaf of wheat bread

1. Brown sausage in large pan
2. Once browned, pour onto plate and remove grease with paper towels
3. Pour meat into large mixing bowl, and add two containers of Kaukauna Cheese
4. Stir with large spoon until meat and cheese are completely blended together
5. Pour meat and cheese mix back into large pan, and heat on low for 5-10 minutes

6. Toast bread, cutting out small circles in each slice (recommend two per slice)
7. Scoop mixture with tablespoon onto bread rounds
8. Put completed rounds on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes
9. Serve immediately, or place on paper plates inside of large plastic Ziploc bags and freeze until ready to serve

Mmm, mmm, mmm!


Also hooking up with Rebecca @ Let Them Eat Cake, Chrissy @ A Lil' Dash of Diva, and Julia @ Julia's Math for this week's That Friday Blog Hop!

Let Them Eat Cake


Thursday, November 15, 2012

THAT Just Happened Thursday Link Up v.2

Sorry, everyone, MMD has not resurfaced since our last encounter. Tear. No, this week's "THAT Just Happened" post is brought to your courtesy of the over-zealous girl in my spinning class.

Now, before I dive into this week's story, let me just say that I fully support any and everyone who takes their health seriously, and is dieting and exercising in a HEALTHY way in order to improve his or her quality of life.

There, I said it. Now onward...

I cherish my spin classes, and value them as my main form of cardio butt-kicking every week. While I take it seriously, and usually leave the class inordinately sweaty, this week's leading lady - let's call her Health Nut - really took the cake.

The spin room in my gym is small, so the massive fan in the corner prevents the room from becoming a sauna - oh, and the smell of sweaty spinners from becoming overwhelming, but I digress. Enter Health Nut.

First request: "Let's keep the fan off today." Cue grunts, eye-rolls and glares from everyone else in the class.

Second request: "Let's turn the music up loud today, like really loud. I need to be really motivated." That one got an eye-roll + no. Thankfully.

She then proceeds to add a thermo pullover on top of her long-sleeved shirt and tee-shirt combination. Honestly, at this point I was waiting for her to good old-school on me and pull out the sleeveless garbage bag too, but no luck there.

Needless to say, by the end of the class everyone was more than sweaty, and if looks could kill, well, HN might not be with us today.

Strutting (literally) out of the spin room, HN was full of pride in her spinning abilities... when she should have been working on her door-opening abilities. SMACK right into the door to the stairs. No, no, I didn't laugh, but I definitely did shake my head. And laugh hysterically as soon as I got to my car.

THAT just happened.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

That's Who I Am #2

Good Morning, Blog World! It's been about a month since my first "That's Who I Am" post, and I think it's about time for another one, given all of the new eyes on my blog!

"Who I Am" posts allow me to share a little bit about myself with you (peel back a layer of the onion if you will... Shrek anyone?), and often help me to remember a little piece of myself that gets lost in the midst of the work week.

Here we go...

#1: I'm a fledgling West Virginia fan courtesy of my better half.

#2: I am a dancing fool. No joke. I danced when I was younger, and like to relive the glory days.. every chance I get.

#3: I'm one of those people who does not value their eyesight and obsessively reads via the Kindle iPhone app.

#4: Cape Cod is my favorite place. Hands down. We go every summer, and I can't get enough!

#5: I'm a sucker for theme parties... or theme bar crawls! (Miss you LA)

#6: I was blessed enough to be in my best friend's wedding last summer. She was a beautiful bride!

#7: Mimosas are my absolute favorite.

#8: I have a tattoo on my right ankle of the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer symbol. (Also featured in Think Pink).

So there you have it - eight more things that you now know about me, SJ, aka the brains behind The Pitts! Anything else you'd like to know? Something you're dying to say? Comment away!