Monday, January 31, 2011

A Weekend Viewed Through Instagram

If you aren't already familiar with Instagram, it's my latest favorite iPhone photo app, thanks to Adam, my HLP's boyfriend. Basically you take a picture, or upload an existing one from your library, then you choose from one of the 14 or so vintage style filters and voila! Fancy photo! That fancy photo is then uploaded to your Instagram profile, but it doesn't end there! You can take it a step further and share your photo on your favorite networking site: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and/or Foursquare. So, not only does it have its own networking feature built in, but it also helps you share through other sites. Okay, there's my Instagram spiel, I apologize...I'm just kind of nuts about it at the moment!

Anyway, I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Mine was perfect. It was fun, lazy, and enjoyable...just as a weekend should be. But thanks to the "lazy" part, I didn't manage to get any of my SLR pictures uploaded. So, here's a concise view of my weekend through the wonderful lens of Instagram...

Saturday morning I woke up to the purrs and pawing of Guillermo.

Then I proceeded to beg Antoine to shave the mustache he had started growing. I just can't stand mustaches, I think it's because my dad sported a hideous, Tom Selleck-esque stache for most of the young life.

Antoine and I went to Half Day Cafe for breakfast. It was fantastic! Behold my banana pecan pancakes and turkey sausage links...YUM!

We went for a walk around Mainstrasse, taking pictures and checking out the shops. At one of the shops Antoine bought me these lovely tiger earrings, along with a pair of little black heart earrings!

As a little afternoon snack we stopped by Abby Girl Sweets for some cupcake goodness! The lemon blueberry cheesecake was pretty great, but the carrot spice is still my favorite!

Sunday was a very lazy day. After I got home from Sbux, I look a long nap on the couch and then proceeded to eat pizza and watch movies for the rest of the night. Even Cheese was feeling a little lazy. Here he is waiting for his dad to come back home with the pizza!

I love weekends like that, where you don't get anything done that you're supposed to do...but you have a great time exploring and/or being lazy! Sometimes (most of the time) having fun is more important than doing dishes/laundry/cleaning!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cincinnati Inspiration

Unlike a lot of people out there I'm actually a pretty big fan of winter! I love's fluffy, glittery, and every once in a great while allows me to have a little paid vacation from work (reminder: I work at a university). But this year I've found myself longing for a little Springtime goodness, more so than usual! This was made evident very recently while I was perusing Bridgett's fantastic blog, 365 Cincinnati. As I was scrolling through her suggestions of fun things to do around Cincinnati I noticed that most of them that interested me were outdoor activities; activities that wouldn't exactly be ideal in the middle of January! And then the longing for Spring kicked in and before I knew it I had a massive list of fun Springtime things to do in Cincinnati. So, I figured I'd go ahead and share the list with you folks.

These are all places around Cincinnati that I've never been to, some of which I had never even heard of before! For good measure, and so I don't drive you all completely nuts, I've added in a couple of non-seasonal activities/places. Enjoy!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Staying in Touch...

The first time I left Sbux, about two years ago, I thought it was for good. I basically did it out of necessity, I was exhausted and thoroughly miserable. But after four or five months I was back. And, like my departure, my arrival back into the world of corporate lattes was also out of necessity. I was running out of money! See, while love my day job the pay isn't exactly ideal. I mean, it's okay, but not when you factor in rent, bills, and three student loans that basically take over one of my paychecks a month. Sbux was always about money for me, or at least it was in the past. When I returned to Sbux, not much had changed...I was still kind of miserable. Working 60 hours a week has a way of wearing a person down, but when you don't really care about the place you spend those extra 20+ hours you're bound to be miserable. Sure, there were people I genuinely liked, but I either didn't work with them often or didn't feel as connected to them as I needed to, you know, in order to make it all feel worth it.

But then, sometime in the middle of last year there was a change. Namely, one person left...a person who I constantly worked with and HATED working with and then one of my closest friends at Sbux basically took their place. Sometimes it's just a matter of genuinely liking the people you work with! Sure, I was still tired, but somehow Sbux started feeling less like just work and more like a social environment. Since the shift manager that I spent about 2/3 of my week working with was also my friend, Vanessa, if I was having a bad day she actually cared. If I was tired she understood because she had a full-time and part-time job too! And it wasn't all scrubbing dishes and making drinks...we laughed and gossiped and pretty much had a blast. Basically, the difference this time was that I had made some really good friends! Friends I saw outside of Sbux, friends I bitched with and laughed with.

And I think that's another reason this consulting thing is feeling a little bittersweet! While I've dreamed about the day I would only have one job, when I could finally leave Sbux, now I finally feel some sort of connection to the place and good number of the people there. Plus, I think I've hit my peak when it comes to making drinks! I'll admit it, I rock on bar! After three years there I've totally found my groove/swagger. I kill on bar. It doesn't stress me out at all anymore, I'm fast and precise. It feels good! Sure, a year ago I was making good drinks and I was kind of quick, but lately it's been effortless and somewhat enjoyable. But then again, maybe it's a good thing I leave now, before I get too cocky!

Sorry about that little tangent! Okay, where was I? Oh yeah...see, the first time I left Sbux I promised (to the few friends I had) that I would keep in touch and visit often...but I didn't. Once I stepped outside those doors I think I returned only once during my five month absence. And while I know this time is different, I have more friends, better friends, and I'll have more nights free to visit (since Antoine will be out of town Monday-Thursday)...I'm still a little worried. I'm not the best communicator, I never have been. I live in my head and I'm not the best person when it comes to staying in touch. I get easily distracted by what is in front of's a big character flaw, what can I say.

But, I have to hope that this time things will be different. They have to be! And, over the past week as the news has spread around Sbux that's what people have said to me...this time we MUST keep in touch! One of our regulars, who's so much more than just a regular, Kate called me out on my flakiness the last time I left! She chastised me to not staying in touch and she made it clear that that just wouldn't fly this time! Then, one of the morning ladies, Amy, who I very rarely work with but totally adore told me that she thought of me as her daughter and not staying in touch just wasn't an option. And then there's Vanessa, we're so alike, yet so's really the perfect balance. I know that with her, my last week there is going to be so rough. She's the one I've bonded with most, my closest friend there and I know that I don't want to lose that friendship that we have. I'm not going to let that happen! So, here's to staying in touch, to keeping those friendships and continuing to keep those people in my life who make me smile/laugh!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The "C" Word


To most it's not a dirty word, but for the past year I've viewed it as one. With the sad state of his job, the lack of promotion when it has been long overdue, and his own unrest, I've known that consulting was becoming, day by day, Antoine's solution to all these problems. And the right solution too! See, with consulting (in his line of work and in most others) you have an opportunity to learn more and move up the chain of command much more quickly. It's basically a fast track to a management position. Plus, the pay is better. I've known that Antoine was interested in consulting since our first few dates, but I'd hid it in the back of mind, far away from all those happy, sunny, easy days, weeks, and months we spent together. While it seemed like the epitome of possibility to him, to me it seemed like torture, something to keep us apart for days at a time. But over the last year, as consulting became more and more a real possibility I (partly out of necessity) began finding it less and less distasteful.

Last Friday, Antoine was offered and accepted a consulting job through his company. He'll start off as an Analyst and within 18 months of consulting become a Consultant. It is a fantastic opportunity for him, and for me. It will mean a pay increase, which will supplement both of our part times jobs exactly. Instead of working part time at Sbux I will have all my evenings and weekends FREE! While Antoine is away Monday through Thursday, I will have TIME to make my lunch in the evening (for the next day), clean the bathroom and have quality bonding time with the animals. And when Antoine comes home on the weekend, we will have two solid days (without any interruption...aka part time job) together. During the week we will call each other and email each other and we will miss each other. But the week's time spent apart will make the weekends more meaningful! I know it will not be easy, but I do not doubt our ability to adapt and make this work. We are strong people and our love for one another is even stronger!

But now, as I stand on the brink of what might be a big change in our day-to-day life I can't help but be both happy and terrified. I am endlessly excited for Antoine! When he called to tell me of the news I could hear the restrained excitement in his voice. There is so much hope and joy in his smile and it is brought about by the possibilities this change holds. But, as I sit next to Antoine taking in all this excitement I can't help but be a little afraid. Ever since Antoine and I started dating almost 3 years ago we've been attached at the hip. We travel together, see movies together, go grocery shopping together, cook together...we're basically one of those couples you want punch in the face. The couple that is apart for a day and a half (example: my recent trip to Indy) and cannot stop texting each other and telling one another how much they miss them and how they can't wait to see them and they love them! Please, try not to punch either one of us in the face right now...thanks! And I rely on him so much in our day-to-day life, he packs my lunch in the morning and let's the dog out when I'm in the shower or getting ready for work. He's there for me when I need him the most...when I've had a bad day or I'm not feeling well he cheers me up or brings me some ice cream. And, even though I know he'll be there for me no matter how far away he is, the idea of an empty house...without him in it...makes me sad.

I am sure these feelings will get worse before they get better, but I do know that they will get better! Sure, it's going to be tough but we'll figure it out. And in the long run, this will be good for our future, it will mean more security. It will give us the opportunity to travel to all those places we want to go someday. It will allow us both to just have ONE job! Not two [each]!!! This will be good, I know it will! But, please think good thoughts and send all your good vibes our way as we transition into something so wildly new and slightly scary!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flirty, Fun Valentine's Day Look

Indy Weekend: The Best Part

Now, while the public library and the conservatory were great and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to explore a little more of favorite part of the entire weekend was getting to see Amanda! Once I got there we ordered pizza, drank wine, watched Gilmore Girls, and scarfed down cookies...just like the good ole' days. Even though it's not the "good ole' days" anymore and I live in Cincinnati and she lives in Indy there's something comforting about being with such a close friend. And even though I was ridiculously drunk off a ginormous bottle of wine and I was incapable of speech, it felt good to be there sitting in her house on the brink of falling fast asleep!

Side note: we opened some Christmas presents together while I was there and she got me this insanely adorable owl necklace that doubles as a watch that I just have to share with you folks:

Oh, the [Etsy] cuteness!

Anyway, on Saturday Amanda, Adam (her bf) and I went to brunch at this super fantastic spot called Cafe Patachou! "Amazing" doesn't even describe just how tasty it was! I got a goat cheese, bacon and caramelized balsamic red onion omelet that rocked my world! We also hit up an adorable little cupcake place called the Flying Cupcake Bakery. I, of course, had to get a couple to take back home to Antoine and I'm so glad I did...very delicious!

All in all, I had a fantastic time in Indy and as soon as I left I started missing that HLP of mine! I can't wait to go back and visit her and Adam again sometime in the not-too-distant future. Indy seems like a pretty cool city and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it in the spring/summer!

And these guys are pretty cool too! Slightly weird, but that's probably why I'm so nuts about them!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Indy Weekend: Part Two

After our visit to the public library Amanda and I decided to check out the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens. Unfortunately, since it was winter and snowy there wasn't much to see as far as the gardens were concerned. But entrance fee/donation for the conservatory was only a dollar so we were game to see if it stacked up to Cincy's Krohn Conservatory. Neither of us thought it did. Krohn is pretty massive and free, but Indy's conservatory did have a very nice orchid collection and I'm a sucker for orchids. Plus, I'm sure it's much more impressive in the spring/summer when you can enjoy the gardens. And I noticed a number of interesting little bridges and walkways as were driving up to the conservatory...I can imagine it would be an excellent place to stroll along on a mild summer day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Indy Weekend: Part One

Remember that little weekend trip I took to Indy about a week or so ago, you know the one where I visited my lovely HLP? Well, I finally got my lazy ass in gear and uploaded the pictures from said fun weekend in Indy, and here they are!

Amanda (aka my HLP) knowing me oh-so-well insisted on taking me to the Indy public library! I had heard her raving about how super fantastic it was, but I was skeptical! If you're from Cincinnati you know that appearance-wise the Cincy public library leaves something to be desired. Sure, it's fairly massive, has a quality collection, and serves more branches than I can count...but walking into the downtown branch gives one a ho-hum feeling. But Amanda insisted that the Indy public library was like no other public library she had ever seen! And boy was she right!

The library is split into two sections, the older portion (aka the original library) that houses the fiction and two fabulous reading rooms and the newer, sparkly portion that is 6 stories high and uber awesome! The two sections are joined by a massive glass lobby (seen above)!

The main floor of the newer section is occupied by the children's section, known as The Learning Curve. It is by far the most impressive children's section I've seen of any library or bookstore EVER!

The Learning Curve facilitates learning through imagination, resources, and a tactile experience. With a theater, a variety of fun study areas and multimedia areas it's a really neat place to check out!

If you go to the top of the newer portion of the library you can enjoy a panoramic view of downtown Indy.

And, unlike the Cincy public library, the decor and shelving doesn't make you feel like you are stuck in the 1970s.

Although, I was thoroughly ecstatic that they retained some of their original pieces from the good ole' days, like this lovely card catalog.

There's no doubt that the newer section of the library is modern, with it's bright contemporary colors and latest technology, but the original library is something very different. Something arguably even more beautiful!

The older portion retains the original library's high ceilings, ornate design motifs and art deco lighting.

The reading rooms located in the older section are magnificent, paneled in beautiful rich wood.

While the newer section of the library was bustling with people, the older portion was peaceful, more akin to the traditional idea of what a library should be; the perfect place to read.

After we toured the interior of the library and I said "oh my god" about 30 times as we walked throughout, we ventured outside into the cold to take in the exterior of the library.

The newer portion is shiny and massive. The exterior view gives you an idea of what sits inside before you even walk through the doors.

Here's a shot of where the two sections meet! Such dissimilar buildings, but it somehow seems to work!

A view of the main entrance from the original library, complete with strange black donut art instillation.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more on my fun little trip to Indy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just Under a Month...

In just under a month I'll be twenty-six years old. Twenty-six seems like a weird age to me. It's not a milestone by any means. Not even partially, like twenty-five seemed to be. Instead it's just one step closer to another milestone, thirty. I'm not scared, no over-reacting here...I'm just saying twenty-six kind of feels like no-man's-land. Like a half-birthday or something. You know how when you're little and you tell people you're eight and a half...that's kind of what it feels like twenty-six will be. But, nonetheless, I'm looking forward to it.

My twenty-fifth year has been a good one. I have good friends, probably more than I had in my early twenties. I've got a home and my very own little family unit that I'm so in love with. Life is good, and for the most part, easy! I get pleasure from the small things in life, like going to the dog park and seeing Cheese running or snuggling up with Antoine on the couch eating pizza and watching a movie or a fun [aka "tame"] night out with the girls. I think those things are important. They are simple things, but I think all too often those things are overlooked and I like that I'm at a place in my life where I cherish those kinds of things.

Every year, in early February, I usually set aside an entire weekend for birthday activities, because I've always felt why should your birthday just be celebrated on one day. It's a thing I started in college and have been doing ever since! It's a birthday extravaganza, if you will! Usually there's a day reserved just for hanging out with the girls. Another for Antoine and me time. And another mega-day involving food, drinks and some sort of activity (usually bowling). But the thing I have learned over the years is the bigger production you make of your birthday the more opportunity there is to be let down. I'm not saying that last years' birthday festivities were a train wreck, I'm just saying things didn't go as planned. So, this year I've decided to limit it...a girls day of most likely eating, shopping and possibly cupcake and/or ice cream devouring. And then, for my actual birthday, I will spend the day with Antoine (who never fails to disappoint)!

This year we have decided to have a [strangely wonderful] classy birthday of all things classy, in which we stay at home, in our pajamas and be as classy as we possibly can! Are you confused? Well, I'm not surprised! We're strange, as you know, so whynot be strangely classy (for one absurd day) in our own special way! We will begin with some sort of "classy" breakfast (read: "brunch"), possibly something French or something with goat cheese that is caramelized!! Then, we will watch "classy" movies, like Casa Blanca (which I've never seen...oh the *shock* and horror!) or maybe something James Bond (with Sean Connery as Bond...also never seen!) OR something with Tom Selleck, because his mustache is very classy, you have to admit that!! Then, we will drink champagne and eat shrimp cocktail...because nothing is classier than ketchup and horseradish! Then maybe we'll play chess and drink martinis...or watch foreign films and smoke cigarettes using a cigarette know, because we are just that classy! Or maybe we'll order a pizza from Mio's and drink cherry coke and eat birthday cake!? Who knows what the day will bring...all I know is that twenty-six is bound to be a classy year!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Etsy: Stationary

I have a sudden itch to get a set of stationary. Partly because I like the idea of writing letters to my friends/family. But also because I absolutely hate greeting cards. I hate picking them out, I almost always hate the inane, fake pre-printed sayings in them. But I was thinking, if I had my own personal set of stationary maybe I would get more joy from sending greetings to those I love; in particular "thank you" notes! Namely I'd be more motivated with cute stationary to actually send out "thank you" notes when I should! Here's a selection of personalized note cards that I found on Etsy that jumped out at me:

Slightly hipster-ish, but I like it!

Simple but nice.

There's something so simple and pretty about Queen Anne's lace!

Reminds me of summertime!

Too cute!

I thought this would be cute with a little silhouette of a basset hound...would that be too weird?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paper Marbling Closeups

Here's a selection of some of the papers that we created during our "fun day" of marbling paper...

This is one of mine, and happens to be one of my favorites!

It was a messy, exhausting, interesting, enthralling and educational day and I'm so glad I got to put it together! Now our department has a nice stock of fantastic paper for making and repairing books. And all the students took away a collection of amazingly original paper that they created! Sometimes I love my job so much I can't even put it into words!