Theme Layout

Boxed or Wide or Framed

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider

Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

No

Display Author Bio

Display Instagram Footer

Blog Archive

Follow on Bloglovin'!

Follow on Bloglovin

Where It All Began


5 years ago today I was sitting in a classroom, impatiently waiting for my capstone class to begin. I was taking an executive international business certificate program with a few coworkers, because it was a great opportunity to get more educational exposure (and to be honest, was paid for by my company and would look killer on my resume). But frankly, I wasn't anxious for the final class to end and to receive my completion certificate- I was anxious for him to arrive.

That handsome boy, who had kept my attention way more over the last 3 months than all of the brilliant professors I had been learning from, hadn't arrived yet. And I was slowly working myself up into full panic mode.

The plans my girlfriends and I had meticulously hatched on the car ride over, to to get his number "so we could have a little class reunion meetup at a bar once the program was over", clearly wouldn't work if he wasn't actually *in* class. The stress of it all!

But true to form, he arrived a few minutes late. And for the first time in a semester, took an empty seat next to me.

My face flushed. I flashed a nervous, shy smile. And my pen started to shake slightly in my hand as I took notes.

Then, somehow, it began.

On the graph paper I was taking notes on (and by notes, I mean making a To Do list- vacuum, pack lunch, book hotel for Collin's wedding, figure out NYE trip), I passed him a quick note:

"Julie has a cannoli in her pocket"
(Julie was one of my girlfriends in class, who had smuggled desserts from our pre-class dinner into the auditorium)

He scribbled something back.

Back and forth, the little yellow piece of graph paper went, filling with teases and torts and snippets of personal information.

"Your job may be interesting, but that doesn't mean the person doing it is interesting... I'd have to learn more about you" he wrote.

"So, now you know how to run the world, eh?" I later jabbed back.

The professor, one of the most influential people at the graduate school, glared at us during her lecture as though we were two insolent schoolchildren. But that little yellow piece of graph paper continued to be passed, twisted and turned this way and that to find blank spaces among the increasingly crowded writing.

The final class ended altogether too quickly, with the distribution of completion certificates, and an impromptu group photo.

Last Day Of Class 2005

Our grand plan for a suave phone number exchange became a little muddled, but the handsome boy and I ended up exchanging e-mail addresses before leaving for the evening.

Little did I know that 5 years later, I'd be waking up next to him.

I still have that little yellow piece of graph paper.

xoxo,
Lulu

(PS- I wrote this, no less than 4 of all-time songs that remind me most of him came on my Pandora station. All a part of the greater plan, no?)
QuickEdit
Lulu
17 Comments
Share :

Housekeeping!


Good morning to you!

A new month, a fresh start, and the *holidays are here*!!!!

I'll be doing a little bit of housekeeping on the blog over here this weekend, including a clean up of the label categories to make navigation easier to handle. So, apologies if your e-mail subscription or Google Reader starts sending a bunch of random archived posts your way. Just think of it as a fun way to dabble in the archives over here, eh? *wink wink*

Here's hoping you have a fantastic weekend!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
1 Comments
Share :

This One Is Hard To Write.


Disclaimer: this isn't a happy post. But it's one I need to get off of my chest. My hope in sharing this with you is that you make the most of every day you have with family- Thanksgiving Day and every day.

This is very, very, very hard for me to admit- I am not a fan of Thanksgiving.

Actually, scratch that. I'll say exactly how I feel- I do NOT like Thanksgiving.

Now don't go judging me right off the bat and think I'm an ungrateful, heartless person. I am thankful for my life and the people in it *every single day*, and grateful for all I have. But Thanksgiving means something very different to me than it does to most people.

Most people anticipate the 4th Thursday in November with excitement and appreciation... Planning menus, making travel plans to reunite with family, knowing that all the orange and yellow fall decor will soon be ushered out and replaced with twinking lights and Christmas trees and packages wrapped with paper.

I? Get a knot in the pit of my stomach. Followed by a tightening in my chest as that 4th week on the calendar arrives. When people ask me what my Thanksgiving plans are? My hands get clammy and my body starts to feel flush. Thoughts of large, bustling, family-filled dining rooms overwhelm me greatly. The day before Thanksgiving? There is a lump in my throat that will not budge. This warm, happy, love-filled holiday has been transformed for me, and as hard as I try I've never been able to look at it the same.

12 years ago this sleepy 16 year old crawled out of bed in her second floor bedroom and headed to the staircase, ready to begin the long-standing Thanksgiving tradition routine. Morning coffee. A warm blanket on the couch. Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on the TV, with the volume turned extra high to drown out the cooking sounds from mom in the kitchen.

But as I sleepily made my way down the staircase, I stopped halfway- there were no chipper cooking sounds coming from the kitchen. Only sobbing.

Something is wrong. Something is very wrong.

"They're gone." My mother said simply. "The Foleys are gone."

What do you mean 'The Foleys are gone'? I thought with confusion. How does a family of 4 just disappear?

"They went to their tract of hunting land in Kansas for Thanksgiving, and were staying in the mobile home they'd put on the property. There was a fire last night, honey... Nobody survived. I'm so sorry."

Nobody survived.

Jim and Donna- My parents' very best friends, close since childhood. My godparents.
James ("Jimbo") and Joseph ("Connor")- My godbrothers, ages 13 and 9.
Their 2 hunting dogs.

All gone.

We found out that the the barbecue smoker on the back deck, containing the Thanksgiving turkey, somehow knocked over in the night... I remember someone saying that the back deck has been recently re-sealed, and so the fresh chemicals took quickly to flame. The fire consumed the trailer. And since they were in the middle of a patch of private land, nobody was around to stop it. The scene wasn't discovered until early the next morning, when a farmer on nearby land saw a faint trail of smoke in the distance and went to investigate.

The rest of Thanksgiving that day went on just as planned, in theory. Food was cooked, family arrived for dinner. But needless to say, there was nothing jovial about the scene. Everyone was numb, robotic. The spirited political debates that were a mainstay of the holiday dinner table had been replaced with discussions of when we were going to pack up and head to Kansas to help prepare for the wake and the funeral.

I just remember thinking over and over again - "How am I'm supposed to be thankful for THIS?!"

There was a long, weary roadtrip from Colorado to my parents' hometown in Kansas. A traditional wake held in the home of my godfather's parents- a stately victorian mansion in the center of town, gorgeously decorated inside but now holding a jarring addition- 2 coffins in the living room. My godparents in one, godbrothers in another.

Funeral. Burial. The long car ride home. An attempt to pick up the pieces.

I know that Thanksgiving is used as a time to verbalize your appreciation for friends, family, and the gifts God has given you. But I can't help but also think of the gifts God has taken away on this day.

I'll still be celebrating this year, mind you, but in the way I feel most comfortable- a day full of mind-distracting cooking (and wine), followed by a casual late-afternoon dinner of turkey, Tofurkey, and all the trimmings. Just my husband and I, in our PJs. Followed by 364 more days of being thankful for everything in my life.
QuickEdit
Lulu
15 Comments
Share :

An Ethical Shopping Dilemma- What Would You Do?!


So I work in the Airline industry.

And I learn a lot of new things each week about the world of travel.

But this discovery?

*Blows My Mind.*

I'd like to introduce you to the Unclaimed Baggage Center.




That's right- a merchant warehouse FULL of all the the goodies lost in suitcases and never reclaimed.

Like a giant Goodwill full of randomness to buy, from iPods to purses to...

{gasp!}

Wedding dresses.


Now on one hand- this place sounds like the absolute trophy shopping trip of a lifetime. I mean think about it: when you're going on a trip, you most likely pack your best, most favorite outfits and accessories. So you're probably shopping the creme de la creme of a person's closet.

{now, whether or not said person has ANY style to begin with is a different story, but you catch my drift...}

But on the other hand- you're buying the clothes and jewelry and electronics lost by some poor devastated traveler, who was never able to recover the cherished things they packed for their special vacation. Items they genuinely lost- not donated like thrift stores or Goodwill like your typical used goodies shopping- and never planned to give up for sale in the first place?

I'm dying to know your opinion- Would you:

A) Shop there, knowing how the items came to be there, but not care about the history?

B) Feel too guilty to buy from there?

C) Be too afraid that purchasing there would mean instant lost luggage karma for you forever?

Let me know your thoughts!

xoxo,

Lulu

QuickEdit
Lulu
14 Comments
Share :

Another World, Another Life


Early wake up, long commute, work/conference calls/meetings/spreadsheets, long commute, dinner, sleep...

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The weekends are full of laundry and groceries and crockpots and Costco and Softscrub. A little bit of of fun here and there, but mostly only chores and tidying and coupon clipping and To Do lists scribbled on scraps of paper.

Did I think, back in my high school days, that this is where I'd be in life? Spunky little Lulu- who listened to hip hop, ran with graffiti artists and professional inline skaters, and attended a non-traditional high school- finding excitement and satisfaction with a job based on sitting in front of a computer in her cube for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?

What would she, with her long blonde hair and quirky fashion sense, think about why the skate tees had been replaced with J. Crew Jackie cardigans? And how the pristine Adidas shell toes were replaced Revas and 4 inch patent leather Weitzmans?

Would she gasp that her prized long hair was now too short to even graze her shoulders? Or would she be too busy marvelling that, for the first time since 6th grade, it was her natural color {a shade which she couldn't even recall}?

Sometimes my past 'self' seems so foreign, so distant and far away, that I have to focus very hard to remember what life was like back then.

And I wonder what happened to the people I used to spend so much time with, in this past life of mine. The ones full of creative energy and humor and rebellion. Where would this 14 year time delay have taken them in life? Would they have become as different as I have?

A quick Google search on any of these old names shows me that things haven't changed a bit- the professional skaters are still professional skaters. The kids that were interested in hip hop and writing poetry are now burgeoning hip hop artists with released albums and positive critiques from MTV and Spin magazine.

Am I the only one who didn't stay the same?

It's funny how the timing works out- As I pondered just how different things were, I received an e-mail that very moment from one of these old friends. A very close friend, maybe even a best friend in these old times, long lost after years of moving and traveling and growing up. This ghost of childhoods past was in Phoenix for the weekend- blowing through town, filming a new video for his successful skate company.

We met for a quick lunch between church craft bazaars and grocery runs (me) and road trips to film more sections of a skate movie (him). Was it strange, me sitting in my riding boots and skinny jeans and Hopsy bag next to tattoos and overgrown hair and hooded sweatshirts? It didn't seem so, but the looks we received from the Denny's staff made me aware of how different we'd become on the surface.

We talked childhood, the whereabouts of old friends, and past travels. He spoke a language of skate videos and partying and the "industry". I spoke of Corporate America and marriage and budgeting.

"It's great to see you," he said. "You look exactly the same."

I was happy to know that, inside, this couldn't have been further from the truth.
QuickEdit
Lulu
4 Comments
Share :

Foul On The Play


I've been watching a lot of football this season, mostly college ball, thanks to my many sweet southern blog and Twitter friends. One of my favorite things in football is when the ref calls a foul, and you hear the loud whistle "TWEEEEEEET" before the announcer proclaims "foul on the play" over the TV set.

This got me to thinking this morning- if life was like a giant game of football, what would I be fouled for? Here are some of my answers:

TWEEEEEEEET!

*Excessive use of jazz hands- both the action and the actual phrase*

TWEEEEEEEET!

*False start of telephone calls, by failure to lock keyboard before inserting phone in purse or pocket*

TWEEEEEEEET!

*Encroachment- hoarding too many cooking magazine tear sheets in a tiny office- clutter penalty*

What would your penalties be?

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
5 Comments
Share :

The Family Just Keeps On Growin'


Meet *Jordan*:



Jordan (he came with that name, not my choosing) is the newest 'member' of our family- our adopted turkey from Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey program!

We have a dual Thanksgiving at our house every year: The Mr. gets himself a full bird with all the trimmings, and I treat myself to the one and only Tofurkey- which you can't knock until you've tried, yo, because they are quiteful delicious:



Do I feel a little more than slightly guilty for having a turkey roast up in my oven each year, even though I don't eat it? You betcha! But I am *NOT* going to be the vegatarian who tells other people how to live their lives, or what to eat for their holiday meals. Besides, do you think my husband would just roll over and agree to a turkey-free Thanksgiving? I'd say the chances of that are about the same as Heidi Pratt's odds of winning a Grammy. You catch my drift.

I've decided to start a new holiday tradition and adopt a sanctuary turkey each Thanksgiving. It's not as animal-friendly as not serving a big, fat turkey in the first place, but it certainly makes my little veggie heart feel a bit better about the whole thing. I look forward to adding to our turkey family each year from here on out!

Would you consider adopting a sanctuary turkey for Thanksgiving?

*gobble gobble*!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
4 Comments
Share :

Opening Up The Floor


Hey there chickadees! Hope you're having a great week thus far. It's been a bit of a bizarro one for me to be sure {are the planets in some sort of weird alignment right now or something?}, but I've been trying to combat the best I know how- reading magazines, trying to rush through the final Harry Potter book before the movie comes out, and lots of great malbec. Malbec is always key. Layer Cake is my current obsession- it is SO delicious- and how cute is their label?!?


Here's a little nugget I've beeen chewing on lately- In the 2 years I've been writing this little ol' blog of mine, I have only done one introductory post about myself. Some things about myself haven't changed- I'm still a Kappa, and still an anglophile to the highest degree, but goodness knows I'm no longer a bride-to-be living in Manhattan!

I'll be reintroducing myself with a brand spankin' new About Me soon, since life has changed so much in the last 2 years, and I know there are so many newer readers out there {hi there!} that I haven't met yet.

Here's your chance for an open floor- Have any questions you'd like to ask me? Anything you've ever wanted to know?

xoxo,

Lulu

QuickEdit
Lulu
4 Comments
Share :

A New Member Of The Household


I added a new addition to the household today.

But she doesn't have a head.

Introducing- my new dress form:




I purchased a Dritz My Double Dressform (the name My Double? A tad creepster) from JoAnn Fabric on my lunch hour, with a 40% off coupon I might add, and am *so* excited!

I've always had a strong passion for sewing; I just haven't done it in the last, oh, 12 years or so. So a passion for the idea of sewing, I should say. My last major project was a pair of extra large dalmatian print fleece pyjama pants in high school. I know, so fashion-forward of me. I haven't spent any time at the sewing machine since then.

When The Mr. and I got married, one of the things I received from my grandmother was her old sewing machine. It's an De Luxe Zig-Zag sewing machine, goodness only knows how old. I'm guessing 1950's-1960's, but haven't asked her the details yet. It comes in its own musty little travel case, and I absolutely adore it. It looks similar to the one below:



A stunner.

It finally dawned on me to stop drooling over all the gorgeous sewing blogs I spent hours reading, and actually get behind the needle myself!

The first pattern I'm attempting is Hot Patterns Boho De-Luxe Woodstock Tunic.

I was inspired by the tunic sweet Nina's grandmother made for her, so Nina kindly sent me the link. I've started by making a muslin of the pattern, in order to get the fit (and scrub the rust off my sewing skills!) The pattern has a great shape to it, but does NOT fit me in the slightest. I'm trying to reverse engineer the pattern to fit me via the muslin, but it's kind of hard to put on a shirt filled with sewing pins and pin even more on yourself.

Ouch. I don't make a good dress form.

Here's hoping that this is the start to a beautiful sewing relationship.

My question for you is- what should I name her?!

xoxo,

Lulu

QuickEdit
Lulu
5 Comments
Share :

Dinner Victory


Last night, I got the most enthusiastic, excited comments from The Mr. about how super-ridiculously-fantastic our dinner was. I heard multiple times that "this is easily one of the best things you've ever cooked. Ever." Which is a) really saying something since I enjoy cooking, and b) freaking AWESOME because it took me almost zero effort whatsoever.

What was on the menu, you ask?

Mexican Slow Cooked Carnitas from Gina's Skinny Recipes website.

We're talkin' crock pot simplicity, people. Easy peasy, and practically fail-proof. Even better for me, since this little vegetarian didn't have to actually taste test the meat while it cooked. I served the juicy, shredded pork in white corn tortillas, with pepper jack cheese sprinkled on top. I made one of my all-time fave recipes, an invented black bean and bell pepper dish we call Fajita Beans, for my veg-friendly taco filling and voila.

It's a great time-saver dish to put on the meal plan as well, since it makes a good amount of pork. It's been a great repurposing ingredient- this morning's breakfast was a corn tortilla layered with Fajita Beans, scrambled eggs infused with chili garlic sauce, and pork on top. Tonight will get yet another twist by baking the corn tortillas and making pork carnitas tostadas with a side of Chipotle's delicious cilantro lime rice and some red chile blue cornbread muffins from a mix my mom found in Santa Fe. De. Licious.

What are some of your favorite new time saver recipes? I'd love to hear!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
5 Comments
Share :

Weekend Projects


I have to tell you, I am so excited for this weekend to arrive! The plans on deck?

Absolutely nothing.

We have been going and traveling and entertaining house guests and studying and cleaning and on and on and on. Egg-sauce-ted.

The biggest project I have on deck right now is to tackle our pantry. I know, I know- don't envy me too much. That may seem like a pretty mundane task, but y'all- this thing is a death trap. It's an accident waiting to happen. Each time I open it, I fear that I'm going to be assailed by a box of KettleCorn, or a neglected He-Man sized bottle of ketchup from Costco.

I promise I'll show some before and after pictures- this should be an in interesting experience!

Happy Friday to you!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
3 Comments
Share :

Shoes by Schumacher


This fun surprise surely brightened my off-kilter week: Phoenix Bride & Groom magazine asked my insanely talented wedding photographer Hollye Schumacher for some of her favorite shoe shots recently, and she chose one from our wedding!

You can find the photo of my well-shod bridal tootsies on Phoenix Bride & Groom magazine's blog, as well as Hollye's own photography blog.

Lulu's Shoes, by Hollye Schumacher

Photo: Hollye Shoemacher
Shoes: Valentino from the Stanley Korshak Shoe Salon

If you're a new reader, you can find the story behind my "somethin' pink" lovelies here!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
4 Comments
Share :

Bad Day?


Has anyone else felt 'off' this week?I don't know why, but everyone I know has had a really sour last couple of days.

For me, it started when I accidentally took my husband's keys to work Monday morning. That doesn't seem so bad, but considering that a) I work over an hour away from home, b) we have no spare keys made, and c) we live in a neighborhood where I wouldn't fathom leaving the door unlocked while taking the trash to the dumpster 500 feet away from our door, that makes for one huge mess of a problem. Luckily I have the coolest boss in the world, and he was ok with me heading the hour+ back home to work from home, the problem was somewhat solved.

Fast forward to today, when I got up extra early, got stuck in nasty rush hour traffic, all to be late for a very important teleconference I'd set up for 8am sharp.... Only to realize that the call was actually set up for tomorrow morning. Nice.

It seems like everyone on Twitter has been complaining of an extra dose of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad days these last few days... Is it the weather? The change of seasons? A misalignment of the planets? Or just dumb bad luck?

Tell me- have you had an 'off' day these last few days? Or has something good happened to you? Inquiring minds would like to know...

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
9 Comments
Share :

Halloween 2010


I've been down and out for the past week with bronchitis, so there weren't many Halloween hijinks planned around our house. The cold I caught was a real doozy, and forced me to look like this for basically the whole week:

Bronchitis 2010... As Glam As It Looks

Under the covers, working from home on my laptop, surrounded by tissues, cough drops, and tea. This is right after I caught my husband sneaking in to take photos of me at work, because apparently I was a full blown 10 on the pitiful scale. This picture is also a 10 on the flattering scale. You're welcome.

I was finally well enough to go back to work by the end of the week, and made a Thursday night run to Target to find a suitable costume. Easier said than done, since all those adult female Halloween costumes don't exactly rank high on the *office appropriate* list.

Lucky me, my body frame is apparently the same size as "Young Man-Husky" in Walmart sizing, so this is what I ended up going with:

It's a-me! Mario!

Which? I found out later was the same costume as my boss's son. Amazing. And I know, again with the flattering photos. But in my defense, there isn't a single flattering thing about this costume. Which I guess was the point in the first place? Though I did wear Chanel Allure, skinny jeans, and a pair of Tory Burch riding boots underneath. A girl needs to keep at least a shred of dignity in times like these.

Halloween at work was a blast, even while suffering through 90 degree temperatures in a polyester jumpsuit. The President of the company I work for dressed up as Lady Gaga, and gave a full musical performance with backup dancers. He was in fishnets, platform heels, strapless dress, and hairbow. Magical.

The only 'social' thing The Mr. and I ended up doing was a way last-minute visit to his MBA program's Halloween party Saturday night. And only because it was across the street, and had free beer. But honestly? It was about 10 times more awesome than I thought it was going to be. I dressed a Merlotte's waitress {from True Blood}, and my husband dressed up as - get this - a currency war. Outside of his little international MBA bubble? A costume that would totally be lost on 99% of the population. But inside that bubble? That costume was a total, unequivocal HIT. My sweet, smart cerebral husband has certainly found his people. I love him.



T-Bird Halloween



The Mr. and I with "Strawberry Shortcake" Sarah, one of our new partners in crime.

What did you end up doing for Halloween?



xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
4 Comments
Share :

I Challange You To A Duel


I used to say that to my best friend Roey when we were kids- "I challange you to a duel!!"

I'd announce my dual-challenging plans to her in a thick French accent, slowy pull off my little stretchy winter cotton gloves, finger by finger... and then playfully slap her in the face like an affronted nobleman. She would laugh and laugh until basically brought to tears... Still to this day, this can incite serious schoolgirl giggles from two grown women.

Today, I am going to challenge another person to a duel- myself.

I've decided to participate in National Blog Posting Month, also known as NaBloPoMo. The basic premise is to write a blog post every day during the month of November. This will be a big challenge for me, since I haven't written a post a day for an entire month since.... well, ever.

I'll start off today by asking you, Dear Reader- is there anything particular you'd like to hear me write about? Given my track record on frequent posting, you all know I could use a few suggestions to work with...

Here goes nothing!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
1 Comments
Share :

Girls' Staycation Weekend Recap, Part 1


This staycation weekend with my girlfriends was just all kinds of lovely, my friends. I jokingly referred to this as our "Trophy Wife Weekend", because I think we hit up all the activities the 'ladies who lunch' are prone to do.

The weekend kicked off by picking up my friend Lo at the airport, who had flown in from San Francisco for the weekend. We headed over to our home for the weekend, the FireSky Resort in Scottsdale, and met up with our other partner in crime for the weekend, Lonnie. The FireSky a personal favorite of mine because it has a wonderful pool, a fun vibe, a fabulous location, but isn't too full of the "Scottsdale Scene" (which right now could most easily be translated as 'Jersey Shore West' in style. Thanks but no thanks.)

We headed out to Old Town Scottsdale, and stuffed ourselves silly at a fabulous new tapas restaurant called Iruna. I wish I would have taken photos of all the glorious dishes we ordered, but was way too busy stuffing my face with deliciousness. If you go, I highly recommend the Check Spellingmojitos (Mojito Maven would have given them 2 thumbs up) and the patatas bravas. I would have licked the bowl clean, if I hadn't been in public. After that were a few after dinner drinks and baseball game watching at R&R, then off to bed for a (relatively) early morning.

Lo and Lonnie at R&R
Lo and Lonnie at R&R

We were up and at 'em bright and early Saturday morning to partake in one of Lo's favorite past times- shopping at Last Chance. For those of you unfamiliar with the glory that is 'the LC', I'll try and break it down for you- the LC is basically the place where a bargain fashionista's dreams come true. It's a discount, final-sale retail outlet that houses all of the returns taken back by Nordstrom's famously lenient return policy. Here's a photo of what the shopping chaos looks like before the raise the gate to open the store each morning (Yes, you read that right. A security gate, to prevent a stampede.)

Last Chance

We scoured the bargains and shopped our hearts out for an hour, and all three came out successful. Lonnie got a pair of brand new Chuck Taylor low-tops, and I snagged a pair of buttery gray leather dolce vita boots for $39. Lo made out with the score of the day, though- a brand new pair of Vera Wang Lavender flats for $70. We saw the exact same shoe in Neiman Marcus the day later, retailing for $295. Brilliant. (Apologies for the poor Polyvore skills below, I just wanted to show you what our score looked like.)
October 2010 Last Chance Score


October 2010 Last Chance Score by dirtymartinidairies featuring ballet shoes



We celebrated our shopping success with brunch at True Food Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants, and then headed back for some pool time. Here's what our pool afternoon looked like:

FireSky Pool

So relaxing and peaceful. The girl in the pink swimsuit looks like she's waiving at the camera, but I actually have no idea who she is. Hilarious.

It was also very fun to be at the resort that day, as there was a wedding going on in the late afternoon. There were some surprising fashion faux pas going on, including a guest who showed up in jeans (!!!), but it was fun to watch everyone so jovial about the wedding.

We cleaned up a little bit, and then headed out to meet friends for dinner, beers, and college football at a local sports bar. It was fun to cheer on our ASU SunDevils to victory (hooray!) as we spent some long-overdue quality time with friends.

Next up will be a review of our big Sunday- high tea at the Phoenician!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
1 Comments
Share :

In a Whirlwind... Whooooosh!


It dawned on me, after looking through some of my photo archives recently, that I don't take nearly enough photos. The epiphany that *hello*!!! You lived in New York City, arguably one of the most photogenic cities in the whole *WORLD*, for 3 years and you still let literal MONTHS pass by without taking a single photo?! was a bit of a slap in the face for me, I must admit. I'm trying to remedy this situation, and have been doing a much better job of snapping the little things on film, er, digital card, to preserve for my memories.

Now, translating them to blogging? Notsomuch. Somehow the last 3 weeks' of photo-worthy events {shopping bandera-covered Mexican markets with my mom and husband, life-altering apartment makeovers, wild finches flying loose in my kitchen} have yet to make it into blog posts, which I'm trying desperately to remedy. Because really, an online journal just isn't the same with actual journal posts, you know.

All these Dirty Martini adventures are going to have to wait one more weekend, because another big event is about to be added to the queue of life stories begging to be splashed across the pages of this blog.

Here's the recipe for this weekend's big event:

Girls' Staycation Weekend 2010

- Take 1 stylish college sorority sister, flying in from San Francisco for an early start to an Arizona business trip

- Add 1 more college sorority sister, looking to wildly celebrate the fact that she finishes her final day of student teaching today

- Add 1 more college sorority sister, desperate for some long-overdue college girlfriend time after being marooned without them on the East Coast for the last 3 years (ahem, that'd be me)

- Combine with a great resort hotel rate, heated pools, dinner reservations at the hot new tapas joint in town, and traditional brunch tea service

- Mix vigorously for 48 hours

Fun is served.

Hope you have a great weekend!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
0 Comments
Share :

Squeee!


One of my sorority sisters, Nicole, had her *spectacular* wedding featured on Style Me Pretty!

Nikki is one of the most sweet and creative people I know, so it's no surprise that she would have a beautiful, sweet, creative wedding to match! Please pop over to see some seriously gorgeous wedding eye candy and send her some love!

N&R
{Photograph by the spectacular Lane Dittoe}

Congratulations, Nikki!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
1 Comments
Share :

I Can't Remember...


Did I tell you about that day that included a 4am wake up call, an attack by clementine-sized hail stones, a frantic wade through dirty shin-deep water (wearing nothing but a pair of Spanx tights on my feet), and ended with a wild bird flying around the inside of my apartment?

No?

Oh, that's right- that's because it all happened TODAY.

Man, do I have a few stories to share with you this week...

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
1 Comments
Share :

Happy Friday!


It's 104 degrees in Phoenix today, not exactly the most ideal way to kick off October.

I've been daydreaming about this time last year, where daily life consisted of trench coats, riding boots, and the crunch of falling leaves underfoot on the way to the subway station.

Here's a photo from the stoop of our New York City apartment, circa this time 2009, to get you {and me!} in an October kind of mood...

Our Manhattan in Fall 2009

Do you have any fun fall events planned this weekend?

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
3 Comments
Share :

Britney- A Flashback


Woah, Nelly. Or- should I say- Woah, Britney.

I may or may not have had more college flashbacks in the past 30 minutes of watching Glee than I've had in the entirety of 2010.

You see- back in the day we? Were all about the Britney. I think that my entire time living in the Kappa house was fueled by one giant Britney Spears soundtrack. There were posters. Breakout dances in the middle of crowded bars. There was even a roadtrip that involved driving from Tempe, AZ to Las Vegas and back, in a single day, all for the sake of attending a Britney concert. (That one clearly deserves its own post, at another time)

One of the mainstays in our sorority dorm was the evening workouts. But your typical evening workour, this was not. In our opinion, Billy Blanks Tae Bo was for wussies.

We? Did Britney Abs.

You don't remember the Britney Abs workout video, you say? Well, that's because it didn't exist. What did exist was a VHS tape filled with back-to-back-to-back-to-back Britney music videos, gingerly passed from dorm room to dorm room. Night after night, we congregated religiously into someone's room, popped in the tape, and the workout began.

It consisted of us performing 1 solitary ab exercise over and over and over again, for the entire length of a music video, and then switching up to the second move as soon as the next video started. On good nights, we would go through at least 4 straight videos, crunching away like our lives depended on it.

It was tough. It was motivational. It was beyond necessary in order to sport those asymmetrical almost-crop tops emblazoned with "Ride the Bull" in rhinestones across the front that we coveted from bebe {*insert extreme shudder here*}

I haven't seen any old school B. Spears videos in at least 3 years, but as soon as those video scenes came on Glee tonight it felt like a little robot had taken control of my body. I knew each and every dance move in my head, and still managed to mimic all the choreography. And the hair flipping. And the heaving. (Thank Goodness my husband is in class right now, he would have thought I was having a seizure right here on the couch.)

Funny enough- it didn't motivate me enough to get up OFF the couch, and actually do any crunches.

Guess my motivation needs a little work.

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
5 Comments
Share :

On The Road Again...


One of the great perks of my job is that I get to do a little business travel from time to time.

I've been to Charlotte for a company conference, which ended with a fun afternoon of mall browsing and Cheesecake Factory with Erin from Blue Eyed Bride- our first time meeting in real life!

I had an overnight trip to Chicago, where the main event was a food and wine tasting with master chef Rick Bayless himself:

Bayless Cookbook Signing
Lulu and the Master, Chef Rick Bayless

I'm currently sitting in a club lounge at the airport, waiting for a 10:45 flight flight to the East coast. The ultimate destination? *Orlando*! Say it with me, folks- Oooooooh!! Orlando!

I'm headed to a conference for one of our partner companies, which makes me both excited and admittedly? A little sheepish. This is my first time attending an industry function for my job, without the support of my Director or any coworkers by my side (thanks for throwing me into the deep end, Boss... I kid, I kid). I absolutely, pos-a-tootly *love* my job, basically to the eat-sleep-breathe level of adoration, so it's not like there's an impending sense of dread for the week to come. It's just that, you know, me? Being the sole representative for my company for the next few days? In sunny Orlando? Where I get to talk about an industry I love? Pretty big in my book.

Oh, and there's one other small thing- the closing event of the conference will be a private party here:



So there's that.

Bon Voyage!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
9 Comments
Share :

Burlesque


Confession time.

I'll admit it.

I just adore Christina Aguilera.

I was a fan of hers when she first arrived on the pop tart scene back in 1999, and will admit to listening to many (*many*) hours of "Come On Over Baby" on repeat while getting ready in high school. I jumped right off the fan bandwagon during the Dirrrty phase in her life, because come on- eww. Just eww.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when she reinvented herself (yet again) as a vintage siren straight from the 20's and 30's. I'm secretly a *huge, huge, huge* fan of all things vintage (insert my unhealthy Mad Men obsession here), and especially loved the way Christina channeled the 20's and 30's with her look. Besides, this was right around the Britney Spears/K-Fed era, which was full of way too many trucker hats and Cheetos for my taste.

This girl was desperate for a little bit of Old School Hollywood, and I think Christina definitely delivered:

Now imagine my excitement upon discovering Christina's upcoming movie, Burlesque. It has dancing. It has music. It has Cher and Stanley Tucci. I haven't been this excited about a movie since Chicago:




Can't wait for Burlesque!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
3 Comments
Share :

Hooray for Ray!


Tonight, the Mr. and I are headed to downtown Phoenix for a once-in-a-lifetime experience... Our first official Ray Lamontagne concert!

Ray holds such a special place in my heart- our wedding song was "You Are The Best Thing", which is bright and upbeat and totally embodies how that day felt to me.


Any time I listen to him, my heart feels like it swells tenfold. I find his music so soothing and inspiring. If I've had a bad day, you can guarantee that it will be chased with a glass of Makers on the rocks and a session of Ray on full-blast.




This isn't technically our first Ray concert, to be honest... We were lucky enough to get a taste of Ray a few years ago, as he was the musical guest on the Saturday Night Live episode we attended the taping of. So amazing on so many levels... Every time I think about hearing Ray *and* seeing John Hamm up close, all in one night, I think my head might explode into little bits of candy... We were {thisclose} to seeing a full Ray concert last year, but my surprise ticket purchase was felled by a last-minute business trip to London. I was dev-uh-stated.

Tonight's concert has been a LONG time coming, and I'm excited beyond words.

I can't wait to tell you all about the evening!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
14 Comments
Share :

Book Sale!


Interested in Beth Moore? Maybe a little Dave Ramsey? How about Jean Chatzky, one of Oprah's Debt Diet gurus?

Or, maybe you'd like to finally get around to reading American Wife or The Manny?

Well then, hop on over to my Amazon book store Lulu's House of Books and shop away!

I'm clearing out some of our library, in order to make room for the Mr's ever increasing number of grad school books. Our lack of space equals your chance to pick up some wonderful books for a steal!

I'm flexible on combined shipping, as well as the price of every item. Care to make me a deal?

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
0 Comments
Share :

The Big 2-8


Thanks again for all your birthday well wishes, as well as the hilarious comments you left about age mishaps you've been having as well. So glad to know I'm not alone on that front!

As fate would have it, I work up on the morning of my birthday with a *wicked* head cold. What a miserable start to my birthday! I'm blessed to have the opportunity, when an emergency arises, to work from home, so I e-mailed my director (also known as the Coolest Boss I've EVER Had) (and no, I'm not just writing that because I know he might be reading this) (And just in case he is, Hi, Boss!) to tell him I'd be working from home that day.

I was delirious and head-coldy enough that in my morning stupor, I do believe I made mention to the fact that "yes, I do have a wicked head cold" but "yes, I do also realize that today is my birthday", and that "I promise I'm not pulling a Ferris Bueller".

"I promise I'm not pulling a Ferris Bueller"...?!? Nice and professional, Lulu.

For posterity's sake (and because who wouldn't take any opportunity possible to watch this movie), let's illustrate what "pulling a Ferris Bueller" truly means...





However, unlike Ferris Bueller, this is what *I* looked like on that fated day:

And yes, that is a) a pink Snuggie, and b) the previous day's mascara smudged under my eyes.

Pitiful thus far, no? Sickly, working from home, with a husband still living in Argentina... Poor Lulu! I promise you though, the day does get better. Like how my sweet parents shipped me a box full of colorful pressies, full of wonderful birthday bits and bobs:

I might as well just put it out there now for any future children I may have- I will never wrap presents as well as my mother. Ever. Luckily, Mama Martini *does* wrap a mean birthday gift, and thanks to the magic of Skype, I was able to open them with her from my very couch!

The picture of her dog in this photo makes me laugh so hard- the poor pooch kept hearing my voice and was trying SO hard to figure out where I was!

After a Skype date with my mamacita, I got a great e-mail from my sister-in-law Nat and her husband Marco. They send us hilarious JibJab cards every year, and this year's birthday surprise was no exception:

I was also able to have one more "Happy Birthday!" Skype date with the Mr. in Argentina, and even received a rousing "Feliz Cumpleanos" from his host family Suzy y Hector. I cannot wait to get to Buenos Aires soon and meet them both, they seem so funny and kind. Happily, my Skype date with the hubs was cut short, as his taxi to the airport had just arrived! Though he wasn't able to be with my on my birthday, at least I was going to see him less than 24 hours later.

The rest of the day was filled with more office work and sniffles. C'est la vie. But, once the work day was over, I was treated to quite the birthday sunset:

See that great mix of purple and orange? Makes you understand the Phoenix Suns' colors a bit better, no?

The Second Annual 28th birthday was capped off by one of my favorite foods- Papa John's BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza. Which I order without chicken OR bacon, rendering it a big pile of cheesy BBQ sauce on bread. Delish.

I did order Cinnesticks for myself as well, thinking that every birthday girl deserves a birthday dessert, but I didn't even bother to touch them. What was I going to do, stick a candle in them and sing to myself? (and yes, maybe I did contemplate it...)

Though I didn't even leave the house, and the only human contact I had the entire day was with the pizza delivery man, I had a wonderful, content 28th birthday. And the Nyquil nightcap wasn't half bad either.

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
5 Comments
Share :

Confessions of a Cable-Free Household


This may come as a surprise to many of you, but when the Mr. and I moved to Arizona, we decided not to get cable. The F-Word, and all that.

I know.

I know!

So for now, that means no cable box, and no premium channels to speak of. The television goes no higher than 15 now (or to 18, if the Mr. is in the mood to practice his Spanish by listening to a bit of tele en espanol).

You know what else no cable means, don't you?

No HGTV. No Bravo. No True Blood. No Entourage.

What else?


I know!!!

(As you may imagine, that last one stings a little more than the rest for yours truly)

I try not to think about it too much...(and you can rest assured that I've been ignoring your Twitter feeds come Sunday night.)

As you can imagine, we've come to rely pretty heavily on our second choice for visual
entertainment
-
Netflix. Hours of entertainment can be had just by signing up for Netflix's $8.99 per month subscription, which allows you 1 mailed disc at a time, as well as unlimited hours streaming on-demand.

And the fact that you can now stream all on-demand content from your Wii? Let's just say we were more than happy to stop staring at our laptops for hours on end.

Granted, there aren't a ton of new releases available on Netflix on-demand, so we do get a wee bit tired of watching older movies from time to time. Enter what may be my new entertainment obsession -the
redbox:



(Image Credit here

)



Now, I understand that his media contraption may not be a new concept in your household. However, one thing that we never came across during our 3 years in Manhattan was that elusive red movie rental kiosk I'd heard so much about.

I'm still feeling a little under the weather, so lastthe night we tested that red puppy out and get crazy with a little Michael Cera...



The movie made us laugh a lot, and left us with a few new one-liners that will surely pop up in future conversation. I'll admit that we're already a tad flummoxed by le redbox though- the other movie we rented, Clash of the Titans, was a Blu-Ray disc, which we didn't realize, and we're not Blu-Ray folks yet. So redbox #fail number one for us.

Have you ever used redbox before? What's your fave way to get entertainment at home?

xoxo,

Lulu

QuickEdit
Lulu
3 Comments
Share :

The F-Word


It's time for the first of many discussions about the new word around the Martini household.

The F-Word.

Now, before you hit the Unsubscribe button on the ol' Google Reader, I promise you that I haven't lost my polite senses.

The F-Word 'round these parts is...

Frugality! {insert jazz hands here}

While my husband navigates the exciting seas of graduate school, we'll be gettin' our frugal on in every way we possibly can. I know it won't be easy, but I'm hoping that you out there in BlogLand will be able to help me find a way to happily pinch pennies for the next 2 years.

My goal is to find that (elusive) middle ground where we can save as much money as possible, while trying to keep ourselves from feeling deprived beyond measure. Because we all know that's a one-way ticket to a wicked retail therapy session. And that's just counter-productive, now isn't it?!

I hope to share with you any tips and tricks I come across, and I would *love* for you to drop buy and share any tidbits you have for me.

Stay tuned for more F-Word coverage as it pops up!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
6 Comments
Share :

Home Sick...


I've been home sick for the past 2 days with what I think is the stomach flu (seriously, who gets the flu when it's 112 degrees outside besides me?!??).

I wanted to introduce you to a little gentleman that's been providing me lots of giggles while I've been under the weather- Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. He's brightened my day on more than one occasion... I hope he brightens your Friday too!




Happy Friday!
xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
2 Comments
Share :

My (2nd Annual) 28th Birthday


No, this isn't a post about that birthday tradition where people are so terrified of turning 30 that they stop counting at 29 and hold an annual celebration instead.

Today is my 2nd annual 28th birthday, because this I have spent the entire past year genuinely believing I was 28. Which I was not.

I can't really tell you where the whole "I've incorrectly stated my age for the entire last year" pheneomenon started. Looking back, I do vaguely remember being excited by the presence of a 7 in my age (my favorite number to write- add THAT to your official Fun Facts About Lulu list).

Is it because there wasn't a lot of pomp and circumstance surrounding my actual birthday day last year? I had decided to discontinue the habit of taking a vacation day from work off each birthday (well, I didn't actually HAVE any vacation days to take off, since I had used up EVERY vacation day for the entire year by May 1st for our wedding and honeymoon. Leaving me with ONE bloody vacation days for 8 months of work. But I digress.) so maybe the lack of birthday attention contributed to the mishap.

Or maybe it was the fact that the Mr.'s a wee bit older than I am, and I've been focusing so much on his turning 30 next March, that I just sort of felt like I was close to 30 as well.

It could have also been that phenomenon that seems to occur where all 20-something ages, after you turn 25, seem to become fuzzy and sort of run together. Kind of like your memories of partying in college. (Not that I did any of that.) I know I'm not the only one who's made this general observation on the "late twenties haze", so I know it could have been a factor.

No matter the cause, the simple fact remains that I've honest-to-goodness thought I was 28 for the past 12 months. Case in point:

- While getting to know my new boss better, he asked my age (very courteously, I might add, which men have seemed to have forgotten these days.) "Why, I don't mind you asking at all- I'm 28 years old" was my reply.

- While signing up for a membership at the local YMCA, I noticed that the staff quoted a different membership price than the one the Mr. had researched for me. "Well ma'am, the $30 fee is for those 27 years old and younger," the kid replied. "Oh, that SILLY husband of mine!" was my response. "He doesn't even know how old I am, and we've been together for 5 years!" So I signed up for the 28+ membership, which was $15 more per month.

-The final straw? While booking Miss E's flight reservation for our recent trip to BlogHer, I had an epiphany. Which led to me freaking the heck out, because I felt AWFUL for not making a bigger deal out of E's birthday 2 weeks prior. Because it was her 30th birthday and OMG what kind of friend am I for missing her 30th birthday! So I do what any self-respecting friend would do- text another person for ratting myself out on being such a bad friend.

To which our dear friend Lonnie told me that I must be smoking crack, because E just turned 29. Because she's a smidge over a year older than us. Because we're 27.

Because *we're* 27.

Ahem. I was 27.

So happy 28th year of life to me. Again.

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
22 Comments
Share :

Confession Time


I have a confession for you all.

I've been internet dating.

Yes, you read that right. I'm a married woman, and I have been internet dating for the last 5 weeks. G-chatting, Skyping, video flirting, and shamelessly texting at all hours of the day and night.

I think it's high time I finally came out about it, and introduced you to my online boyfriend.




Who is that, you're probably asking? Who is this newlywed trollop gallivanting across the interwebs with?!?

Well, Dear Reader, that is my husband.

Who lives in Argentina.

Let me just say that again.

My husband lives in Argentina.

For the past 5 weeks, the love of my life has been living with a host family in Buenos Aires. He's been taking Spanish language immersion classes, learning how to tango, eating entirely too much grass-fed Argentine steak and drinking too many bottles of Malbec. And playing polo. My husband now plays polo. (?!?)

I've been reluctant to write about the Mr.'s adventures abroad, since saying "Hey Internet! I'm a tiny little girl with minimal tae kwon do skills living all by myself in a shady apartment complex for the next 5 weeks!" isn't exactly the safest thing to do in my new neighborhood. I haven't gone it alone, since I have have a great job to keep me busy and many wonderful friends to keep me entertained while he's been away, but it's definitely been rough at times to cope with the absence. It's been quite the experience, spending the majority of the summer living in on a different continent than my spouse and adjusting to life as a wife living by herself.

If you're a new reader, you might not know that this isn't the first foreign country that my travel-focused Mr. has lived in (or even the second, third, or forth). However, it is certainly the first time that we've officially been man and wife, while living in completely different hemispheres. It's been tough, it's been adventurous, and I'm happy to say that it's almost over.

My husband is coming home!

I can't wait to hear more about his big adventure, and relay some of his awesome experiences to you all. And I especially can't wait for the inevitable justification for buying a polo pony. On one salary and graduate school loans.
xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
10 Comments
Share :

BlogHer '10!


I'm going!

Are you?!

Let me know!

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
6 Comments
Share :

Rememberance For One of Heaven's Newest Angels


QuickEdit
Lulu
9 Comments
Share :

If This Is An Average Thursday, Sign Me Up


Well, I didn't give us food poisoning last night from Operation: Portable Mini Breakfast Burrito Quiche Thingie, so there's that... I'd give the half-cocked recipe I threw together about a C- on the success scale though - back to the drawing board. I did get a big A+ reaction from the Mr. when he started smelling ham in the oven, so I know that it wasn't a total wash. Please keep the recipe suggestion/ideas coming, my husband and my stomach will thank you for them!

Today was one of those days where I felt like being back in Arizona was truly like being back "home". My boss was cool enough to let me take a long lunch, which allowed me to go visit a close college friend/sorority sister Carla who gave birth last month to a
*gorgeous* baby boy last month. The first baby in our rag-tag group of sorority friends- such a milestone! It was really a quadruple bonus of a visit though- not only was I able to meet the sweet babe (I'm already convinced he's going to be the hippest kid in school) and see his mama, but my other friend Iva was in town visiting for a work event, and we all had In-N-Out. Boom. Just doesn't get better than that.

I remember sitting on the floor of a sorority dorm room with these gals 8 or 9 years ago, eating cereal out of boxes and watching things like Felicity and the first season of American Idol on the TV. Driving to Costco before chapter meeting to grab the screamin' hot dog and soda deal at the food window. Talking about long-distance relationships. It really struck me as I looked back at the 3 of us around the dining room table today- we have all grown up now, have taken varied paths in life. We have so much more life experience under our belts since those days as earnest little Kappa Kappa Gammas.

It dawned on me today- we weren't 3 sorority girls anymore. We were three adult women. Wives, entrepreneurs, homeowners, mothers. And yet we were still laughing and chatting and eating {delicious} crap food, casually referencing events from 5 or 10 years ago just as easily as we referenced tomorrow's plans. And you know what? I felt so
PROUD to be right there, among 2 of the many amazing women I'm proud to call my friends.

And it only gets better from here.

And that makes this 'average' Thursday absofreakin'lutely fantastic.

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
9 Comments
Share :

Breakfast On The Run... Or A Catastrophe?


One of the things I found surprising about my hour + long commute to work is that I actually really enjoy having so much 'free' time between my house and the office to wake up each morning. Granted, I can't do it without a 14 oz. roadie coffee, (not including the additional 1o oz. I drink while getting ready) but still. Relatively enjoyable.

A small taste of the view on the daily commute... Pretty, no?

After 3 years of life commuting on New York City's ca-raaaazy subways (with the crazy stories to match- just wait 'till I get to the one about my hand being held hostage inside a 350 lb. man's stomach), I quite like having a 4,ooo lb. rolling bubble of travel space all to myself. I get to check out the beautiful scenery, catch up on all the latest happs via my homies at NPR, and most importantly just sit with my thoughts. Minus a little bumper-to-bumper traffic, all is sunny and shiny and right with the world. Sadly, there is 1 recurring thought that springs into my peaceful mind like clockwork about 3/4 of the way through the commute, taking me from zen to nearly frantic in about 3 seconds.



BREAKFAST BURRITOS.


I know. Pathetic.
(and at this point I would like to say NO, Mom, I am not 'with child', thankyouverymuch.)

The one thing that I haven't been able to master about said hour-long commute is the whole breakfast thing. As it stands, I have to fight the alarm at around 5:30, snooze it until at least 6, shower, make 2 gallons of coffee, beautify, drink coffee, dress, drink coffee, wake up the Mr. (who at 7am resembles more a petulant child than an MBA candidate), grab keys, finish drinking ''getting ready" mug of coffee, purse, packed lunch? (yah right), OMG FILL TRAVEL COFFEE MUG! (sensing a pattern here?), and go.

I have yet to make room for a 'big kid' breakfast in the routine. Inevitably, I get to the whole brain-consumed-by-breakfast-burritos mile marker on the Loop 101, and then start frantically gaming out the scenario of hitting up McDonalds on the way to the office (probability factor: zero). In reality, the breakfast of champions in my little area of the office is a bag of salty, carb-loaded goodness from the vending machine. Or, what I lovingly refer to as my "breakfast pretzels".

I've been on a mission for the last 3 weeks to find a breakfast food that fulfills the following criteria:

1) Portable
2) Make-ahead
3) Can be made in 2 options- meat-friendly for the Mr., vegetarian for me
and most importantly 4) tastes like a breakfast burritos

Baking away in my oven *this very minute* is the beginnings of a long kitchen experiment, which shall henceforth be named Operation: Portable Mini Breakfast Burrito Quiche Thingie. I've combined bits and pieces from a few inspiration points (tonight's prelim recipe to come), and have a muffin tin full of half vegetarian/half meat-hearty brekkie bites, similar to the photo below, just waiting to be sampled.
Photo Courtesy of Our Best Bites - Mini Ham and Egg Cup Recipe, my first inspiration

My house currently smells like the Honeybaked Ham store, but I'm cautiously hopeful that these puppies will be the answer to all my breakfast woes.

I'll let you know how they turn out... And if you don't hear from me on Twitter before tomorrow night, just know that I've probably killed us both from food poisioning.

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
8 Comments
Share :

... Let's Just Jump Right Back Into Things, Shall We?


The view from our back patio- April 2oth, 2010:


The view from our back patio - April 23rd, 2010:


The last 2 months have been a whirlwind of transition for me, going from the fast-paced hustle and bustle of New York City to life as a grad school spouse in suburban Phoenix. I'm a little bummed that I haven't been better about journaling our big transition on the 'ol blog here, The Dirty Martini Diaries obviously hasn't been much of a diary as of late. I guess that's what a vacation/cross-country move/road trip/busy new job/2 hour daily commute will do to a gal's blogging free time.

C'est la vie.

The one thing that has stuck out to me over the last few weeks is that I really do LOVE participating in this blogosphere, journaling my life and getting to know each one of you along the way. I've really missed spending time here on my little blog, and look forward to sharing a bit more of the Life of Lulu.

Here's hoping that my new life in Arizona, while different, will have just as many fun adventures to capture as life in New York City did.

And hey- even if it doesn't quite stack up.... At least there's a Walmart here.



xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
11 Comments
Share :

A Day of Firsts!


First time at Costco in over 3 years!

First Thai food meal in our neighborhood!

First time for the mister calling the cops to report a SUPER CREEPY SUSPICIOUS juvenile hiding behind our apartment trash dumpster wielding a medal pipe and wearing a black hoodie!

Nothing like feeling more creeped out during our first week in Arizona than EVER feeling in the 3 years that we felt in New York City.

Lulu

ETA: The cops arrived to take a statement, and our downstairs neighbor came outside just in time to notify us that a similarly described juvenile BROKE IN to their apartment last week and stole all their electronics, CDs, and credit cards. In front of their 3 year old daughter. Awesome.
QuickEdit
Lulu
9 Comments
Share :

Alive To Tell The Tale


We're alive.

We slept in 5 different cities over a 6 night span, drove 1200 miles, and took 5 different airline flights in the last 13 days.

I have 2 days under my belt at the current job (which is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, I might add).

As of this evening, we finally have a furnished apartment.

I don't know if I was happier to see my mattress or my wireless router.

My official work commute takes 2 hours by car, round trip, each day.

I'm exhausted.

More soon.

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
15 Comments
Share :

Charleston


I mentioned in a previous post that The Mr. and I would be heading out of town for the last 5 days of our time here in New York City. I'm so excited to announce that we're visiting...

CHARLESTON!

This trip will be special for us on many fronts. First of all, neither of us have ever been to a proper southern state before. Actually, the only time I've been south of Washington DC were 2 trips to Orlando for UDA Dance Team Championships in high school. Obviously, DisneyWorld is not exactly what a southern belle would consider "the South". As you can imagine, this is a pretty exciting first for me.

Second of all, we're heading there to attend a wedding- a proper, old-fashioned southern wedding. One of our wedding ushers is getting married, and I don't think I could be any more happy for him if I tried. Though I'm sure I won't be seeing any blush and bashful color combinations this weekend, I am super excited to see what a real southern wedding is all about. I'm expecting class, style, gorgeous flowers, lots of events (we've had to RSVP to 3 different events already!) and some of the most amazing hair I've seen in my life. (Or am I supposed to call it "sway"? I'm a novice here, GRITS, help a sister out...) I just hope I can perfect my hair poofing before I get there.

Though the wedding is our main purpose for the trip, there is also 1 small detail that'll take place while we're in Charleston...


Our First Wedding Anniversary!!!!

It absolutely blows my mind that come April 18th, we've been married for an entire year. It's kind of funny to look back on- in the last 12 months, the only true vacation The Mr. and I have been able to take was our honeymoon! Otherwise, every major trip we've taken in the last 12 months has been related to our close friends' weddings. We have *LOVED* celebrating such a large milestone with so many of our closest friends, don't get me wrong! But- I can't tell you how excited we are to head off to a destination without a bridesmaid dress or groomsman tux in our suitcase! We'll be able to soak up every minute of the trip, without having to worry about being "on the job".

Now- it's time for advice! I know that many of you have visited Charleston, or perhaps even live there now. What are the *do not miss* activities we have to hit this weekend? I've been just a liiiiittle busy these last two weeks (*wink*), and haven't had the opportunity to do any research about our destination. Please- help me figure out what to do in this gorgeous southern city!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
15 Comments
Share :

Another Moving Update, Also Titled " I Love Elle"


You see, Dear Readers, I only pitched you half of the moving story.

The second half of this move? A logistical nightmare, wherein we try to balance picking up our U-Haul (the 'when' and 'where' of that scenario won't be told to us until the night before), scheduling movers to help us parade our belongings down 4 flights of stairs (kind of hard to schedule when we don't know when we're getting the truck in the first place), packing the truck as quickly as possible so Mama Martini doesn't miss her midday flight back to Dallas, and then hittin' the road double-time to cover as many miles as possible in 1 afternoon.

Why do we have to barrel down that highway? Because I have to be in Dallas by Thursday, in order to do a drug screening for my new job. And then get my car. And then follow behind the Mr. for 2 days, caravan-style, in order to make it to Phoenix as soon as possible (Saturday, if we're lucky?). And then spend all day Sunday unpacking the van. And then START A NEW JOB on Monday.

That tightly-packed little timeline is if everything goes WELL throughout the entire cross-country excursion. And if there's no traffic. Or construction. Or really any long pit stops.

In other words? Not a bloody likely scenario.

So this, Dear Readers, is where Elle comes in. Superhero, Saves The Day Elle from Completely Preppy.

Elle chimed in on my last post and shared some of her super ninja packing secrets- one of them being a company called ABF U-Pack Moving.


Y'all.


In the words of Kate- I big, fat, puffy heart love this girl.



All that stressing about timelines and deadlines and motels and travel routes? Gone.

Now, instead of waking up Wednesday morning in a TravelLogdge somewhere off of I-70, I'll be waking up in my parents' amazing house and spending the morning in their hot tub. And drinking Shiner Bock. And eating Tin Star for lunch.


God Bless Texas. And God Bless Elle.

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
4 Comments
Share :

An Update On The Move


I vowed to myself to make a concerted effort to blog this experience as much as possible, because it's such a wild, exciting, crazy time of transition for us. I always thought in the back of my mind that we might be heading back 'home' to Arizona one day, but the concept always seemed so far out of reach for me. Now it's here, and coming at us a million miles a minute.

Leaving New York City. For good.

My head has been swimming- so much left for us to see and do and eat and photograph in this great city- I almost felt like if I don't blog every little thing, I'd somehow forget about it all. So I promised myself I'd try to capture every minute.

And then? We discovered all 6 seasons of Lost on Netflix. (Thanks, Erin! haha)

So here I am, 2 weeks later (?!?) sleep-deprived from multiple hours-long Lost marathons and trying to catch this little online journal of mine (as well as all of you readers!) up on the latest.

The most exciting (and freakishly stressful) part of this cross-country moving experience we're about to embark on? We've now decided to do it all ourselves. You heard me right, folks. We're preppin' for a cross-country road trip. Just the Mr. and me, barreling cross-country on the bench seat of a 14' U-Haul truck.

But- before that? We need to pack the *entire* house (which, um, basically hasn't even been started yet-Lost marathons, remember?), transition our jobs over to our coworkers, finish our last few days at work, have office going away parties, pack the U-Haul, and leave.

Oh, and did I mention that we're going to be OUT OF TOWN for 5 of those days? Which means I'll also have to go through the oh-so-stressful exercise of packing for a giant vacation WHILE packing up my entire life to move cross-country? And then somehow sandwich in the items left to do on our NYC Bucket List?

So all of the above (minus loading the U-Haul) needs to happen by the 14th. As in a week from yesterday. Thank the Lord that the cavalry (aka Mama Martini) will be heading to town for reinforcements. Otherwise, I don't think all the dirty martinis in Manhattan could calm the nerves I've got going on right now.

Keep Calm, and Carry On, indeed!

xoxo,

Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
10 Comments
Share :

The Big Announcement


My Darlings,

The time is finally here to announce the next chapter in our story.



We're moving.

We're leaving New York City.

We're heading home.



I'm proud to announce that the Mr. has been accepted into an amazing MBA program back in Arizona, and just 24 hours ago I accepted the job offer of a lifetime.

Are we nervous? Yes. Excited? Of course!!! Are we sad to be leaving New York City? Absolutely. We both have the most amazing 2 years ahead of us, surrounded by friends, family, a MUCH cheaper cost of living (heh).

I'm now tasked with packing up the amazing life we've lived here, in 3 weeks' time, and relocating ourselves back out west. It's a little bittersweet to leave this amazing metropolis during its most enchanting (and my favorite) season, but we're focused on the adventure we're about to undertake together.

And so the next chapter of our story begins.
QuickEdit
Lulu
29 Comments
Share :

A Movie-Worthy St. Patrick's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day, my dears! I'm part -Irish myself, so I think it's no coincidence that I've always been a big fan of March 17th. Even one of my (five) names is Irish, so you know I must be a fan.

Genetics aside, I think part of my fondless towards St. Patrick's Day is the fact that so many people choose to dress in green to celebrate the day. Even card-carrying members of Corporate America (such as myself), a land where work-appropriate attire reigns supreme, are decked out in all hues of emerald, moss, and lime. I've seen mint-colored button down shirts on the guys, gorgeous blue-green wrap dresses on the ladies.

Walking through the halls of my work today, in quite a chipper mood, has made me feel like I'm literally walking inside one of my favorite movie scenes. I loved the flick 500 Days of Summer, but especially loved Tom's dance scene. Not only is it playing one of my favorite songs, but I love the visual quality of the clip. Have you ever noticed that everyone in the dance scene is wearing some shade of blue or bluish-green? I think it brings such a neat effect to an already amusing scene.

Being surrounded by so many similarly-clad corkers has me tempted to start
dancing, singing Hall & Oates at the top of my lungs, to see who joins along.



Erin go Bragh!
QuickEdit
Lulu
10 Comments
Share :

...waiting...


Last week was a whirlwind birthday week for the Mr., let me tell you! thank you all so much for your kind comments on my post. It was so much fun to troll through my photo archives and reminisce about old vacations, inside jokes, etc. It was also fun to introduce to you another side of my husband, as he doesn't seem to be covered too much on the blog.

There is not much of an update to provide in our neck of the woods... It was a rainy, drizzly weekend, spent mostly sitting on the couch in our PJs and playing Super Mario Brothers on our Wii. Glamorous lives in the Big City, I know. I also tooled around in the kitchen like a madwoman, trying to avoid eating my husband's double-chocolate ganache birthday cake find creative ways to use up leftovers we have lying around. It's all about recession chic, yo.

Some of my adventures weren't so successful, but I did do one thing I'm ridiculously proud of- I think I figured out how to mimic the elusive texture of Pei Wei Tofu. AKA my second favorite food in the world (besides Taco Bell, which you all know so well). There are entire webboards dedicated to the wonderful perfection that is Pei Wei tofu, because nailing it down is just So. Dang. Impossible. Cooking tofu, y'all? Hard. Cooking EDIBLE, delicious tofu, that is firm, yet thin, yet tasty? Up until now, it's been a virtual impossibility for me (and I've been trying for *5* years). I'd be lying if I said this wasn't my greatest culinary feat to date.

There was one point where we did actually leave the house (shocker), to use a birthday gift card from my sister-in-law by trying out the new 5 Napkin Burger in our neighborhood. The verdict? Great interior, amazing tater tots and fries... We weren't uber-thrilled with our menu choices. The traditional 5 Napkin burger comes with about a 1/4 cup of aioli on it... which basically just a 1/4 cup of mayo plopped on your burger. bleh. My house-made veggie burger was HUGE, but somehow died red (beets, perhaps?) The result was a veggie burger that looked suspiciously like a big heap of raw meat. So much so that the Mr. and I poked it for about a minute before we saw an actual lentil inside and deemed it, in fact, meat-free. Knowing that people are vegetarians because they DO NOT EAT MEAT makes a veggie burger that looks like a big raw meat pile a little... unfocused? I dunno.

(I think you can gather by this point that the majority of my non-working, non-blogging life revolves around food. So now you basically have me figured out 100%.)

The real reason I'm writing this post is because I'm practicing patience this week, Dear Readers... Some seeeeeeerious patience. There are a lot of things brewing the scenes in the Martini household- things I cannot divulge just yet, but am bursting at the seams to shout from the rooftops soon.

I'll just put it out there now that there are no babies in this gal's 5 year plan just yet, so you can scratch that off the list... A funny sidebar though- one of my childhood best friends had a vivid dream Friday night that she was a surrogate carrying our child... The next day she checked the mail to find a real-life package of Similac coupons- it had her home address on it, but the package was addressed to MY MOTHER. Who lives in a different state. Bizarro, no?

Anywhoo. Patience. Focus. Right. How do you handle life's great anticipations? I'm doing practically everything in my power to stay focused on my workload, trying to stay "present" and "in the moment", but sometimes I feel like my mind is a million miles away, and a thousand ideas are colliding inside it at the speed of light. which makes things like, you know, updating Excel spreadsheets and all that 'job stuff', a bit difficult to power through at the moment.

Other than reading The Serenity Prayer for the thousandth time, and spending every waking minute praying for motivation and focus, I'm just plumb out of ideas on how to stop mentally bouncing off the walls (thinking about how to tweak that Pei Wei tofu recipe or writing unfocused blog posts) and buckle down on my responsibilities.

Thoughts, tips, or hilarious YouTube videos to keep me distracted even longer are appreciated.

xoxo,
Lulu
QuickEdit
Lulu
8 Comments
Share :

Follow @georgialoustudios