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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.
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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

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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.
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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
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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
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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

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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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