Archive for the ‘clothes’ category

A Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

September 5, 2011

On Saturday my fiance and I decided to go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire– a supposedly cool city just an hour’s drive from Boston. We got there around noon, walked around for a few minutes and then stopped at the River House for lunch. Although the restaurant’s on the water, we decided to eat inside because it was so hot out. The highlight of the meal was certainly the seafood chowder, which is shown in this picture.

It contained lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and haddock, and was so so good. I guess that’s no surprise considering it won first place awards at the 2009/2010 Portsmouth Chowder Festival. The above picture also shows my fiance’s tasty lobster roll and hand cut potato chips. I had a lobster Lorraine quiche with a house salad.

Everything was fantastic! And they even gave us a free bowl of chowder (sort of an accident, but we gladly accepted)! After lunch we got some coffee at Breaking New Grounds in Market Square. We vowed to return later in the day (they had tons of delicious-looking pastries and gelato), and we did. Look at these gelato flavor combinations we came up with.

Hazelnut chocolate and strawberry chocolate

It would have been nice to sit outside of the coffee shop and people watch, but alas it was too hot. These photos will give you a feel for Market Square:

We walked around for a while, went shopping and saw some cool things.

A mural

A bridge going up

A fountain

A church

A quaint restaurant nestled in a back alley

Frogs doing yoga

Nice streets like this one

A physic studio

I got a couple of shirts for super-cheap in this consignment shop.

And we discovered a beautiful garden area.

My fiance in the garden area

Me in the garden area

Turns out this area is called Prescott Park. It’s right near an old cemetery, with gravestones dating to the 17th century.

It’s not far from the water either.

On our way back to the car we came across the Oracle House, one of Portsmouth’s oldest homes (circa 1702).

And the Liberty Pole, a flagpole commemorating our freedom from British rule. At this location in 1766 colonists hung a banner reading “Liberty, Property and No Stamp” to protest King George’s Stamp Act (it imposed taxes on newspapers, stationary and documents).

We saw this just before leaving. It pretty much sums up our experience in Portsmouth.

A successful trip to Syracuse

April 25, 2011

Not only did I take care of some wedding planning, but I brought back some awesome stuff.

A Chevrolet shirt in honor of my Chevy Cavalier

A mixer from some friends of the family (they had an extra one lying around)

An orchid from my mom

A haworthia cactus (also known as a zebra plant) from my mom

Easter chocolate

An old painting of mine

Take that thief– I’m getting new things!

April 12, 2011

Almost a month ago my car was burglarized by an unknown meanie. As I mentioned in this blog post, I lost a lot of valuable items. Well, I have a small sense of relief knowing I can replace some of these possessions. My insurance company has given me some money for new purchases. Here’s what I’ve bought so far:

Flower flip flops from the Dress Barn

Somewhat-funky socks from the Dress Barn

Silver and gold earrings from the Dress Barn

Capri pants from Kohl's

A dress from Kohl's

New Balance sneakers from Filene's Basement

My friend Jeannie helped me pick out the first five items, and my fiance helped me pick out the sneakers. I look forward to getting a new GPS, some shorts, and some short-sleeved shirts (all items that were stolen) in the near future.

When tragedy strikes, look for the silver lining

March 23, 2011

Imagine– you’ve just spent an amazing vacation full of fun, carefree living, tantalizing conversation, and exploration. While you’re sad to be headed back home, the joy of a week well spent overpowers any feelings of longing or nostalgia.

You encounter some road bumps on the way home (mostly related to your car’s functioning), but none of them compare to what’s about to happen. You wake up from a heavy night of sleep, walk into the hotel parking lot, and discover your car has been broken into.

Not only was the driver’s side window smashed, but practically half of the valuable possessions to your name were taken. More than $1,500 worth of stuff. The worst part is you could have prevented the crime. If you had been sure to remove all the valuables from view, the perpetrator probably wouldn’t have targeted your carĀ  in the first place.

The combination of sadness your vacation is over, anger your car was burglarized, and regret you didn’t do the right thing can be a lot to handle.

Luckily, right after the incident I met a nice girl from Baltimore who cheered me up. Her philosophy is that the burglary was a sign from above. It’s a higher power trying to help me out in some way. Maybe he or she is telling me to be more careful in my life so that something worse doesn’t happen. Or that possessions aren’t everything.

In the last few days I’ve been mourning the “passing” of my stolen items. The retro Syracuse Chiefs shirt my fiance bought me last summer, the heart-shaped measuring spoons he just purchased because our measuring spoons are so mismatched, all the music from my time in France (where will I find all of these songs? Some are so obscure…), a bathing suit that fit me just right, my trusty GPS, my whimsical earrings from Kittery, Maine, and the list goes on.

Syracuse Chiefs shirt that was stolen

The objects I miss the most are the ones with sentimental value. Even if I am able to recoup some insurance money for the stolen items, there are many that can’t be replaced. So maybe the silver lining I must take away from this experience is that even objects with sentimental value aren’t as important as being healthy, having quality relationships, learning from our mistakes, and other facets of life. I must try to remind myself of this when I start missing that hair clip I’ve had since eighth grade.

Wedding dresses that didn’t make the cut

March 2, 2011

I got my wedding dress a few weeks ago. Here are some of the dresses that didn’t make the cut:

You will have to wait until after the wedding (Sept. 17) to see the actual dress I bought!

What we can learn from the French

February 25, 2011

What we can learn from the French

It’s been seven years since I last lived in France, but I picked up on a lot while I was there. Plus, I’ve visited France a few times since 2004. I know you can’t clump everyone together and say they’re all one particular way. But you can point out things you noticed about many of the people you encountered.

  • The French know how to eat healthily.

This has been written about a lot (e.g. French Women Don’t Get Fat) so I’ll stick to what I observed personally. I noticed that French people (in general):

  • Don’t snack between meals (and when they snack they just have a cookie or a few pieces of chocolate)
  • Eat big lunches and relatively small dinners (That way, they have something to look forward to during the work day AND don’t go to bed on a full stomach.)
  • Have small breakfasts with coffee (Because they have big lunches, they don’t need a huge breakfast. And, coffee helps suppress your hunger).
  • Drink water with their meals (much healthier than soda, of course)
  • Eat lots of vegetables
  • Eat a wide variety of foods (For example, they don’t just eat chicken and beef. They eat chicken, beef, ham, pork, duck, rabbit, horse, fish, bull, boar, guinea fowl, oysters, mussels, shrimp, sea urchins, etc.).
  • Finish most meals with a dairy item (yogurt or cheese) and a piece of fruit
  • Take their time eating

I think all of these habits are good for you.

  • The French exercise less than we do.

But, because they eat healthily they don’t really need to exercise. I mean, their daily activities (walking, doing chores, etc.) are enough for them to get their daily dose of movement. Maybe we should follow their lead given this recent Wall Street Journal article.

  • The French take time to cook.

Obviously, this point relates to the first point I made. But I will expand on it a little here. Most of the French people I encountered just go out to eat for special occasions. The rest of the time they make their own meals. This allows them to control what goes into their bodies, save money, and go out to nicer places when they do go out. They also have a fair amount of dinner parties; those provide a great opportunity to see their friends and share their favorite recipes.

  • The French are polite.

OK, maybe this is a real stretch. And maybe their politeness often masks their true feelings. But frequently I observed French people saying (or doing) the right thing at the right time. Say your brother-in-law just died, for example. The next time they saw you they’d start off the interaction with a “Oh, I’m so sorry about your brother.” Or when they are invited to a dinner party they bring along a gift. While these might seem like obvious things to do, I’ve noticed this type of behavior isn’t always practiced here (and yes, I’m guilty of not being polite as well).

  • The French are experts in their fields.

In France, it’s really hard to get into a particular field when your degree is in something else. So, you’re forced to find a job in your area of expertise. While this certainly limits you choices, it helps ensure you’re good at your profession (or at least better at it than your average bear). Here, you might just get a sales job because you’re deemed friendly. But you don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of how to be an effective salesperson.

  • The French are into equality.

I’ll always remember this one particular experience I had while teaching English in France. I was in a fifth-grade classroom, quizzing the children on their knowledge of animal vocabulary. One of the students– Yoan (pronounced “Yo-on”)– was answering practically every question correctly. Each time I interrogated the pupils, his arm would shoot up in the air. Sometimes no one else would raise their hand, so I had to pick him. He’d get the answer right, and I’d congratulate him.

Well the class’s main teacher (a French woman) was not a fan of Yoan’s behavior. Whereas I viewed his ability and willingness to answer the questions as a positive thing, she viewed it as a horrible thing. She started screaming at him, saying it was not his place to answer so many questions. The others deserved a chance, she said, adding that he couldn’t participate any more. While most Americans would consider her reaction unfair or harsh (I think), it actually worked. Once he stopped raising his hand, the other students began participating in the exercise.

  • The French are fashionable.

They don’t necessarily have many clothes, but they know how to pick out items that fit them right. Sometimes this means spending more money on individual garments, but overall they might even spend less than your average American.

In a future post, I will write about what the French can learn from Americans.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/2036413105

Wedding dress shopping

February 20, 2011

My mom and I showed up to my dress fitting 20 minutes late. I hadn’t anticipated it would take so long to get there (Note to self: Boston-area strip malls are a hot destination on Saturday afternoons). We walked into David’s Bridal only to find ourselves surrounded by dozens of frenzied engaged women, family members and friends.

Half of them had dresses on while the other half scoured the racks, admired the soon-to-be brides, and asked questions of the employees. A check-in table was set up at the door, yet no one was there to greet us. After a few minutes I was very worried our appointment had been canceled as a result of our tardiness.

But fortunately, a minute later, Roseanne came over. I apologized profusely for being late, and she insisted it wasn’t a problem. We moved over to the dressing area; she asked me to look through a book of dresses and pick out the ones I liked. I was a little dismayed she declined to look at my list of product ID numbers. I had compiled it after picking out my favorite dresses on the David’s Bridal website.

Roseanne ended up bringing three strapless dresses over. She helped me put each one on, and led me out to the mirrored area where my sister and mom were waiting. The first dress wasn’t bad, and I especially liked how the back looked, with its laced-up closing. But when I tried on the second dress I realized how much I preferred a dress with a sweetheart bodice (an example of a sweetheart bodice).

I liked how both dresses had a lot of shape on the bottom, but I didn’t like how the second one made my midsection look a lot bigger than it is. After realizing the third dress wasn’t my size, Roseanne had me pick out a few more dresses from the racks. She ended up choosing one for me. It was a new arrival with a more “earthy” or “organic” feel than the other dresses. I tried it on. The top was the perfect shape, and the bottom had ample body. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the ruffles on the bottom, but once the dress was on I fell in love with them.

In addition to having the perfect shape, it had some nice touches (including a slightly off-white color, cottony material as opposed to a satiny material, a flower set toward one side of the waist, and two ribbons that tie in back). The dress perfectly matched the flower in my hair (which I ended up getting). The only issue was the dress was a little wrinkled (the fabric slightly lends itself to wrinkles).

Roseanne and her coworkers assured us that the dress wouldn’t be wrinkled on the big day. They said it would be steamed before wear, and that one day of wear would not result in wrinkles. I believed them. My mom, however, was a bit skeptical, and she didn’t think the dress was formal enough (and wished it was pure white). My sister, Roseanne, and I loved it, however, and I got lots of compliments from others in the store.

Roseanne and I went back to the rack– this time with my sister and mom, and we picked out a few more dresses. None of them pleased me as much as the “organic” dress. I tried to convince myself I liked a dressier sequined satin dress more, but then I realized I was doing that just to satisfy my mom. I tried on my top two dresses again. When I put on the one my mom didn’t like as much, and walked into the mirrored area, my sister started crying. I asked her why, and she said it was because I looked so good in the dress.

She said it was perfect for me. I ended up getting that one (actually– my sister bought it along with a bra, petticoat and veil for my wedding present), and I think my mom is warming up to it. So that was clearly a successful dress shopping outing. Next I need to get shoes, and decide on bridesmaid dresses (I’m thinking a green color).

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/psit/5379626811

Some recent acquisitions

September 1, 2010

A cute key holder from Montreal:

A back massager (works quite well, though it doesn’t go as high as I’d like it too):

A ceramic coin holder (well at least that’s what I made it) from an antiques store in Plymouth:

A lighthouse piece of art (boyfriend loves lighthouses) from Plymouth:

Mums from my sister:

Stop & Shop cookies from my sister (I wouldn’t normally mention grocery store-brand cookies, but these ones are amazing! Almost as good as cookies from Weggies!):

A Frenchy shirt from Montreal (yeah, I know it needs to be ironed):

I’m so lucky with all this cool stuff!

New shirt, new dog

April 13, 2010

This past weekend I went to Syracuse, NY to visit family and friends. One of the highlights of the weekend was buying this retro Syracuse Chiefs t-shirt:

My new Syracuse Chiefs shirt

I love the shirt so much, and am wearing it for the second day in a row!

In other news, this week I am dog sitting Jack, my sister’s dog. He’s a 1-year-old black and white chihuahua.

I took these pictures of him this morning:

Jack the chihuahua

Jack doing the Michael Jordan

As you can see from the second picture, he has a strong resemblance to Michael Jordan. Maybe he’ll be good at basketball one day.

Anyway, Jack is so so so cute. In addition to his good looks, he’s the most sociable and well behaved dog you’ll meet. As I type he is calmly sitting on my lap. One of his favorite things to do is lick your hand. He also likes to sleep at your feet, be scratched behind his ears and on his belly, and lie in the sun.

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