Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Plan Now, Relax Soon"

Don't worry, friends-- I'm not sitting on my computer and blogging the first day I've arrived in San Diego! I scheduled some things to post so that I could try to keep you entertained while I get pedicures and sip fruity drinks. (Who says you can't still be productive as you repose by a pool?)

[Island Palms Resort pool at sunset]

My dad forwarded me an email from the Guest Services staff at the resort at which we're staying for this vacation, welcoming us and letting us know of some fun activities to do while we're there. That's not really important; what sort of struck me about the email was the title. "Plan Now, Relax Soon." Certainly that's what a vacation is all about; you plan (and plan and plan) and make yourself maybe even more stressed/anxious than you were before you ever even decided to go on vacation at all, presumably to decrease your daily stress and anxiety, but when you get there, ideally all that goes away and you turn into a wonderfully lazy pile of relaxed mush.

Until, of course, you get back home. New research shows that, although it's been proven that experiences, such as going on a trip or to a play or out to dinner, increase happiness more than material possessions, such as buying a new pair of shoes or a new car, people's level of happiness after they return from vacation is no greater than the happiness levels of those who did not take a vacation. Those planning a vacation were happier than those not going away, most likely due to the anticipation of the trip, but once they return, having to then anticipate all the work they have to catch up on and impending responsibility can sort of siphon off all those positive benefits they gained by going on vacation in the first place.

[San Diego Bay, via Island Palms Resort]

Pretty depressing, huh? But when you think about it--at least, when I think about it--it's definitely a little true. I never really enjoy my last day or two of vacation because I'm always dreading returning home. (The big exception here is "summer vacation," which isn't a real vacation anyway since I work 40 hours per week, but I always anticipate going back to school by the end of July. I just like to be busy and stimulated.)

However. You might be thinking, "Gosh, Michelle, you're bumming us out. Why are you writing this before you go on a vacation? [Well, I guess since you guys are reading this on Thursday, I'm already on vacation. Which is even more of a bummer!]"

Because truth be told, that's not really the point of this post. I enojy my vacations well enough; sure, no one wants to go back to work afterward, but I do get to see L. afterward. And when I get back it will be August, and then I'll be that much closer to senior year. So, I'm not experiencing any big plummet in happiness after my vacations.

The reason I was drawn to that quote--"Plan Now, Relax Soon"--is because in a way I sort of feel like that is my ultimate, yet unattainable, goal in life. I mean, that's sort of the whole point of this blog--this blog where "an admitted compulsive planner appreciates small moments." I'm always planning, but never relaxing. The research I cited above, that says people get the most happiness out of planning their vacations, even more than being on them? I must have that, to the extreme.

I don't think I've ever not known what my life would look like in a year, two years, even four years, at least since the age of 12, when I began living with my adoptive parents. Before that, I had no control over my life, over with which family members or foster homes I lived, over not only where my life would be year-to-year, but even if I would have the opportunities to even go to college. I've always loved school and excelled in it, but back then, I simply might not have had the money or the support. I think, though, since I've been safely, comfortably, and above all happily living with my adoptive parents for the last ten or so years, I've found an obsessive love of planning--mostly because now, I can. In high school, I could plan to go to a great college; I had the grades, I had the recommendations, and I had my parents' support. Now that I'm about to begin my senior year, graduate with honors, and complete a two-year internship, I can plan to move anywhere I want (LA) and reasonably expect to find a job, because I've worked for that, and because I have the freedom to. Now that I'm in a serious relationship, I can plan to move to LA with L., sign a lease with him, and possibly even marry him. So even though I know that obsessive planning really detracts from appreciating everyday moments--it's something I really do struggle with every day, having the newfound option of planning, and the ability to, is almost intoxicating for me, since for so much of my childhood everything in my life was beyond my control.

That being said. Planning is exhausting. It gives me a high to go on or and search for my dream job in Publishing; there's hardly anything as exciting as logging onto and finding L.'s and my future dream apartment in West Hollywood. But it makes me tired. And then I realize: what about senior year? That's going to fly by, and I would have been so busy finding editing jobs and one bedroom apartments that I missed everything. And then I realize: as much joy as having my own clean, well-decorated apartment will bring me, shouldn't I appreciate this essentially rent-free, effort-free last year in dorm life? A lot of things in my life right now--communal living, rigid class schedules, internships--might not be as sexy or exciting as what my life will hold next year, but it's probably the last time I'll ever experience them. Do I really want to just essentially fast-forward through them?

Not only on my vacation, but really in my life: I am going to try to relax. I can't promise there won't be clandestine job searches and online apartment-lusting, but, I don't want to be a statistic of that study and only enjoy my life when I'm planning how I'm going to live it. I'm going to relax, not soon, but now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

You Stay Classy, San Diego

If you remember that my three (yes, all three!) brothers live in San Diego, then you'll know where this post is going. See, every two years, my family has a little reunion. And by "little," I mean that there's so many cousins of grandparents that by the end of the night, no one knows what's what and half the people there are calling me Jennifer or asking if I'm dating my brother, Brad. (True story. Ahh!) (Also, they clearly don't KNOW he's my brother. THAT would be weird. Not like it isn't weird anyway.)

However. This year's family reunion has a couple things going for it. For one: it is hosted by my three brothers in beautiful San Diego, which is a step, leap, and a bound ahead of our location two years ago: Rome, NY. You didn't know there was a Rome in NY? Well, it's okay because no one else did either; it made Buffalo look easy to get to. NEVER AGAIN, Rome.

For second: This is the first family reunion for which I will be 21. Sound the trumpets! Cue the confetti! This means this is the first family reunion where a. I will not be basically the only sober person between the ages of 13-21 there (for some reason there's a big drop off in that age in my family's, er, offspring results) and b. This is the first family reunion where I don't have to designated drive anyone, anytime, anywhere. Oh, the glory.

Thirdly? Well, why tell you when I can show you? I took the liberty of snapping a screenshot of the forecast for the week. We'll be arriving Thursday afternoon, and leaving Sunday morning.

LOOK AT ALL THOSE YELLOW CIRCLES. You know what? I totally deserve it. It has been 90, humid, and downright oppressive here in New England for, oh, the ENTIRE SUMMER. And, AND, I'll get to sleep in an air conditioned hotel room. What a luxury!

But the best part of the family reunion being in San Diego this year? Instead of the Rome, NY Quality Inn that whichever miserable, miserable distant family member of mine booked us two years ago, my brothers really did keep it classy, San Diego.

Which is why I'll be spending my four day, five night mini-vacation at the Island Palms Resort, San Diego.

Have I told you that I love my brothers? Because I do. They're simply wonderful...

...really, just the best brothers a girl could ask for.

The hotel is also right on San Diego bay, so Friday night we'll be having our big reunion dinner in their banquet center, and Saturday night we'll be having a dinner cruise on the bay. Saturday afternoon is also going to be my future sister-in-law's surprise (shh!) bridal shower! All of my brother Brian's female relatives will be in town and we thought, what a perfect time to host her shower! It's so strange to think that I'm getting a sister, since I've only been able to meet her once! But I'm so looking forward to her shower and getting to know her better this weekend. Plus, we all know I'm obsessed with everything-wedding, so. There will be that.

And my mum and I fully have plans to get mani/pedis and sip mai tais, poolside. THE LIFE.

Hopefully I'll have tons of amazing pictures to share when I get back. I wanted to bring my L.'s camera, which is the official unit of photography here at Things I Said and Meant to Say, with me on the trip, but darn it he actually wants to bring it to NYC this weekend to use, himself. PSH. Since when does L. use his own camera? Or get the first bite of any of his food, the first sip of any of his drinks, for that matter?

That being said, I will miss him on this trip. Just a little.

[All images via Island Palms Resort]


How funny! Emily, from Cupcakes and Cashmere, just posted her most recent outfit recap...and she was wearing the same striped H&M top I got in Boston last weekend! Here it is again for reference:

No doubt Emily wears it better; I would snag a pic and link to her outfit post (okay, I'll link it), but I won't repost a picture right up next to mine because then it will turn into one of those People magazine "Who Wore it Better?" features and frankly, I wouldn't stand a chance against Emily. Oh, and Rachael commented on my Boston post to let me know that she had just bought the top, too! I guess I picked a goodie. Rachael, I'd love to know how you wore it. I paired it with a gold necklace that my best friend C. bought me for my birthday, white shorts from Old Navy, and silver strappy sandals. Emily paired it with jean shorts, gold necklaces (it works so well with the nautical look), an awesome green military-inspired jacket, and killer platforms. Typical: the East Coast girl plays it safe and nautical-preppy, and the West Coast girl makes it stylish and bold. I really can't wait to get out there!!!

Update: Rachael commented and said that she wore her top with black opaque tights, a black skirt with braces from Urban Outfitters and black flats. (She says she thinks it was boring and necessitated by the bad weather, but I think it sounds oh-so-chic!) Rachael's from the UK, so now we've seen how three girls in three very different parts of the world wore this one top, and you can totally see how our locations influenced us. Is it just me who thinks that is so cool?

And, Chelsea commented to say she owns it too, and wore it with jean shorts, black opaque tights, oxfords, and a gold owl necklace. So she sort of combined elements of Emily and Rachael's outfits. And the gold necklaces seem to be a constant.

I love seeing one top do so many different things! And getting validation from a true style icon that my own isn't too bad ;)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just Peachy

Do you guys know Brittany from Diary of B? Well, in addition to blogging about her sweet husband and adorable golden retriever and their life in Southern California (so jealous! Girl I will be there so soon!), this talented girl has recently launched her own blog design business, Peachy Keen Blog Design! In fact, I saw over on my lovely bloggy friend Date Girl's blog that Brittany was offering some free design services in honor of the recent launch of Peachy Keen Blog Design, so I decided to see if she'd make me a header. I'm in the process of teaching myself web design and Photoshop, as most of you probably know since I constantly ask for your validation on all the changes I make around here ;), so I've been working on trying to make some cute headers, but Brittany whipped one up for me in no time at all! (Like, same day.) She generously made all the little tweaks I asked her to, and even downloaded the special font I wanted, which was super sweet. I asked for lots of texture, simple, gray and gold design. Didn't she do a great job? I love that she produced the header that I wanted, not one that SHE wanted to design, as some blog designers can do.

If you need a header, a button, or a whole blog overhaul, head over and check out Brittany's new site! Her gorgeous banner alone should be enough to convince you that she's got some talent. And her rates are super reasonable.

Thanks for the header, Brittany!! =)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Which We Go to Boston

L. and I tried to hit the road pre-rush hour on Friday (have you SEEN the Mass Pike during rush hour?), but to little avail, so we didn't end up getting into Boston until about 7:30pm. That, combined with the fact that though I could navigate that little city with its little T structure with my eyes closed, we cannot for our lives drive in it. THIS is my biggest problem with East Coast cities, as compared to the bounteous beauty that is LA. These cities weren't built for cars, and as a result, are completely un-user friendly. Everything is a one way. And half the one ways are closed, anyway.


So. In the car we had texted D.H. asking if we could pretty please make reservations for Fire and Ice, our favorite restaurant to hit up when we're in the city. He knew we were getting in late but had said he'd eat dinner with us, though he had a work drinks thing at 6:30. But he responded that he wasn't going to be able to eat dinner since they were getting appetizers at his work thing, so we should just go there. Which was fine...except for the fact that a. we were completely starving, and b. we didn't know any of his coworkers/knew it would be super awkward. And c., I didn't feel right about our food getting charged to their table's tab, which would of course then be expensed. So we got in, grabbed D.H.'s keys to drop our stuff in his apartment, and then decided we'd do dinner on our own, so we could try to eat real, healthy food, and to avoid the awkwardness of a table filled with 12 or so people we didn't know.

L. and I just went to Brownstone, the cute Back Bay restaurant that D.H. took me to last time I was in the city. It's so good, and it was close, since D.H.'s work thing was on the same street, anyway. The work happy hour was already a little silly, so we decided it'd be best for us to try to catch up at dinner. I ordered a Kentucky Lemonade, which was probably the best thing I've ever had in my life, maybe even better than my newfound love for gin and lemonade.

After dinner, L. and I walked back to the bar to meet up with D.H., and his roommate, Tennis Guy. Even though he introduced us to all his work friends we were still, obviously, feeling pretty awkward, but then he informed us that in about an hour the dance floor downstairs would open up. YES and also yes. L. and I LOVE to dance, so we were highly anticipating that. In the meantime, the boys did Jaeger bombs (of course they did) and I kept it classy by ordering a Manhattan, which is definitely an acquired taste, but delicious nonetheless. Then I kept it totally un-classy and ordered a frozen margarita, which probably had more calories than my dinner, but was delicious nonetheless.

The dance floor finally opened up, and everyone essentially stampeded downstairs to get down there. This bar is out of control. It's the same one that D.H. and I watched the Celtics-Lakers game at a couple months ago, and it has not one, not two, but THREE fully-stocked bars in it. Including the one on the dance floor. Unfortunately, I had left my card open at one of the upstairs bars, so we danced for awhile, but then I decided I had better go up and get my card before I forgot about it later. I ran upstairs, cashed out my tab, and attempted to go back downstairs. The following is an accurate portrayal of the situation:

Me: Try to walk downstairs.
Bouncer: Uh, excuse me, you'll have to go to the back of the line.
Me: (Noticing there is, in fact, a line.) Oh, no, I'm sorry. I was actually already down there, I just ran upstairs to grab my card from the bar.
Bouncer: (Arm does not move from the stairs). Sorry. Back of the line.
Me: (Beginning to get upset). But, I was ALREADY down there. I ran upstairs for two seconds. Everyone I know in this bar is down there.
Bouncer: Back of the line. (Do you see a pattern here?)

Now, I am the sweetest person you will probably ever meet. It's true- ask anyone. And I'm pretty terrible with confrontation. But if I feel like I've been wronged, or if someone screws me over, then I will lose any trace of pleasantness. It's just not cool to let people walk all over you. Granted, this guy was probably just doing his job. But I HAD ALREADY BEEN DOWN THERE. I fumed and huffed and puffed, alone in line, and texted the boys that I was stranded. D.H. and L. ran up the stairs to try to get me, but the bouncer told them if they walked up the stairs, they would be stuck up there too. I told them to go back downstairs and have fun. The guy standing in front of me turned around to look at me, and I figured it was because I was being super obnoxious. But instead he smiled and said that the exact same thing had happened to him, and everyone he knew was down there too, and he was equally miffed. And when we finally got to the front of the line, he let me go in front of him. How nice is that? Always bond with other people who are in equally yucky situations with you!

Back downstairs, the fun was kind of killed for me, and it was already slipping into the wee hours of Saturday morning anyway, so the boys and L. and I decided we should just head back to the apartment. But not, of course, before I stopped at the store and bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's Cookies and Milk. (My judgment was clearly flawed- I had been so good all week!!). But then D.H. and L. decided they needed to run to D.H.'s office, which was just down the street, to grab Forgetting Sarah Marshall so we could watch it. Well, obviously. So Tennis Guy and I walked back to the apartment while the boys did that, and had glasses of water and had a nice chat. See, TG and I are quite the same when we drink: we stay almost exactly the same, albeit perhaps more loose and giggly (on my end.) L. and D.H., however, turn into these crazy people who run around and sing and do lots of physical activity. It was definitely wearing us out.

The boys came back with the movie, which we proceeded not to watch, and we all watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother before falling asleep. The reason I go into so much detail about all this is that something really funny happened the next morning: on the way to lunch at the Prudential Center (right across from D.H.'s office/apartment...lucky duck), D.H. had to stop in his office again to grab something. When he came back out he looked puzzled. "Why was there chex mix in my elevator?" he asked. L. burst out laughing, and said that he had totally forgotten that the night before he had "left a trail of bread crumbs (chex mix) from D.H.'s office to the apartment so that he could find his way back to work."

Blog friends, meet my boyfriend. He makes me, and Boston pigeons, very happy.

We spent the day shopping on Newbury Street, which sounds like something I forced them into until you realize that D.H. likes shopping more than I do. I found a super cute boatneck sailor-striped tee at H&M and totally lucked out by getting pair of luxe black Editor pants from Express for only $30 because of a promotion! Ladies, if you have NOT purchased a pair of Express Editor pants...I just have to. You just do. They are the most comfortable and flattering pair of dress pants you will ever wear. DO IT.

So anyway, after our shopping excursion the boys and I finally went to Fire and Ice, where I happily went into a little bit of a feeding-frenzy blackout and awoke to discover I had eaten probably more than my body weight in chicken stir-frys. That didn't stop us, though, from heading to JP Licks in search of cupcakes (red velvet with cream cheese frosting!), but ultimately settling for ice cream since all they had was vanilla. Boring!

Of course, the only pictures we took all weekend were at the ice cream shop. This is my new H&M top! What do you think?

Then we headed to Newbury Comics, which has the CHEAPEST MOVIES YOU WILL EVER FIND (like, $3.99. For realsies) and pretty much bought out their entire stock. I'm not kidding. Between the three of us, we bought: Get Smart, Catch and Release, The Girl Next Door, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Old School, 500 Days of Summer, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, PS I Love You, Accepted (showing a little love to our friend J. Long), Season One of the OC, Season One of Psych, The Wedding Date, Season One of How I Met Your Mother, and more that I'm forgetting. Let's play a fun game where you guys try to guess which movies L., D.H., and I bought, respectively. Hint: they're all probably opposite of what you'd think. (Translation: D.H. really likes chick flicks).

We all curled up at home and watched Catch and Release, which may or may not be an awful movie, but which I love, anyway. We were getting ready to go to bed around 1:30 when Tennis Guy came home...with a girl. L. and I were sleeping on the couch, right across from the bathroom, and when she came out in the middle of the night we were a little worried that it might be awkward. Of course, we didn't know then that the next morning, when L., who had been sleeping on the inside of the couch, tried to crawl up and over me (but of course decided to be a big joker about and "pretended" to get stuck, mumbling "oh, jeez, um, oh gosh, sorry, I can't seem to, oh, um") wearing nothing but boxers, TG's nighttime visitor would pick that exact moment to walk out to use the bathroom. That's right. L. was scantily clad and straddling me as I lay on the couch, completely innocently, and she walked right out at that moment, let out a startled giggle, and ducked into the bathroom. God knows what she thought we were doing. Not our finest moment. We had to clear our names at brunch.

We had brunch at the South End Buttery, which was a super cute cafe with casual outdoor and bar seating upstairs and cozy tables downstairs. Being just a short walk away from amazing brunch in the city made me realize how much I am DYING for this year to pass quickly so I can graduate and move to LA and take in all that the city has to offer. On the other hand, though, I'm a sentimental wreck and will probably cling to every mundane event senior year has to offer (last Homecoming! last Thanksgiving break! last course selection!). I just have to remember what the subtitle of my blog is all about: small moments.

(butohmygosh I can't wait to live in the city.)

(especially a city I can drive easily in. I didn't say quickly, just easily.)

(because my feet were killing me Sunday morning and I almost ruined a pair of super cute silver strappy sandals. Say that five times fast.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alpha Ring, Part II

Everyone seemed to really like the Little Green Room alpha ring L. surprised me with that I posted about last week, and I thought it might be fun if I posted pictures of the actual ring with the actual correct initial (L., of course), rather than the stock photos with the "A" that I posted last week.

No one has commented on it yet, which I thought was notable since I think the ring is really shiny and noticeable. Except, that is, for my friend Rachel, who was looking through pictures I had taken on my (er, L.'s) camera and stumbled across these, and yelled, "Michelle! Is that a diamond!???"

No it is not. Thankfully for L., this ring was about 5,000% less expensive. (But it's approximately the right size...)

Here it is on. Sorry about the weird clarity of all the grooves on my hands--just focus on the shiny ring! I've worn it every day so far and although it's a tad big (who knew a 6.5 would be BIG?), I would never want L. to order another one. I'm really sentimental about things like that. (Like, really. To the point where, when L. got me a beautiful gold chain and pearl-drop necklace for my 20th birthday, I never wanted to take it off because HE had put it on, on THAT night.)

It has one tiny nick on the right side, which at first I was really bummed about. But I think it just symbolizes how much I love it and wear it? Let's go with that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

ANOTHER Road Trip??

L. and I are quite the jet-er-car-setters this summer. We had anticipated a lazy Williamstown summer, complete with lounging by the river, visits to the art museum (but why would I want to do that, really? It's where I work. No going to work on the weekends!), and general happy boredom.

Well, that all changed considerably as soon as we got here, since we've gone away more weekends than we've stayed. Last weekend was our Mohegan Sun and New Jersey pool party weekend, and today after work we're leaving for Boston to visit our good friend Real Life Dan Humphrey. I visited him not too long ago, but L. hasn't seen him for awhile, and since their bromance is one that will last through the ages, it will be fun to all spend some time together. I am, however, planning on taking it a little easier this weekend than I did last. That, by the way, explains why there was no Preppy Pool Party recap-- things got a little silly. Perhaps too silly for the blog.

Anyways, I fully expect Boston to be silly enough but still coherent, so hopefully some fun and exciting things happen for a recap on Monday. Although maybe all the fun and excitement is here in Williamstown, considering last night, hanging out at the bar, I got not one, but TWO kisses on the cheek from Justin Long. I'm never washing this cheek again. (Except, I already did. Too late.)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mohegan Sun!

In a burst of spontaneity on Friday afternoon, I decided that since L. and I needed to be in New Jersey for a pool party on Saturday, we should get on the road Friday night and stop over at a hotel near Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. It wasn't necessarily on the way, per se, but why not?! We're young, we're fun, and we could really use some money!

To my surprise and delight, L. needed very little persuading to decide that my idea was not so bad. He tasked me with the job of finding a hotel that provided a free shuttle to and from the casino, and agreed that we'd leave after work and make it there by dinnertime. Because we're broke college students who don't want to let that deter them from doing fun things, we decided we'd skimp on dinner (as in, we stopped at a Wendy's on the road there), but allow ourselves to go all out at the bars and clubs, since we're not big gamblers anyway.

It was so exciting to leave work, run home, throw a bag together and make our hotel reservations. Spontaneous trips are just so much more exhilarating and out-of-the-ordinary than planned ones! We hopped on the road, derailed only briefly by a stop at the outlets since, in all my excitement, I had forgotten to pack underwear. (Why is underwear so forgettable? A certain friend who shall remain nameless left her entire underwear drawer intact after she moved out of her dorm after freshman year! THAT'S a surprise for the custodial team!)

Anywhoodle. After underwear-collecting and Wendy's-consuming, we arrived at the Comfort Suites about 20 minutes before 9:00, and were informed that the shuttle for Mohegan would be leaving at 9, and the next one not until 10! We frantically scrambled up to the room, got changed, and primped. Oh, and I got ready too.

(Why are jokes at boyfriends' expenses always funnier than all other jokes?)

Anyway, we rushed rushed rushed, and then, we were there. I love casinos because they're kind of like cruise ships, but on land--everything you would ever want or need is there. Shopping, restaurants, bars, clubs, casino. What more is there to life?

Besides, you know. Libraries. Pet shelters. Schools. But besides those things.

I was really excited about everything flashy. For instance, this blue sculpture. Loved it. L. didn't really get it.

But he did take a picture with me in front of it, which ultimately is all that matters. It's unbelievable how flattering florescent blue and white backlighting can be.

I kinda like how busy the blurry lights make it look in the background, though.

If you look closely, you'll see that there's a Tommy Bahama behind the weird blue sculpture.

This, friends. This was the site of a miracle.

On a whim, I decided to stop in and see if they had a bathing suit that I could pick up for the pool party, seeing as I hate all my bathing suits (or maybe just the way I look in them?) and therefore had defiantly not brought one with me. I'll show them!, I thought.
But then I thought, uhh, how will I go in the pool?

Anyway, Tommy Bahama had a sign in the window advertising 50% off all women's swim, and within minutes of walking in, I had fallen in love with this mandarin orange ensemble (minus the skirt):

Which, incidentally, happened to be the same color as the J. Crew pencil skirt I was wearing that night. It was meant to be! And when I tried it on, it actually looked GOOD. Has that ever happened?

I excitedly brought my purchase--which was, or so I thought, $114 on sale for $57, to the front desk. The salesman, Ben, rang it up for me, and announced "That'll be $144."
I think my face literally dropped. Ben explained that the promotion was actually spend $100 FIRST, THEN get 50% of all swim. Well, I didn't have $157 to spend at Tommy Bahama, so, crestfallen, I put the swimsuit away. As we were leaving, L. and I started chatting with a woman who asked us where we went to college. We answered Williams, she said "oh, what a great school!" and yada yada yada. As we were walking out, Ben called me back over.

"Michelle," says Ben, "I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm going to extend you my employee discount, which is 50%, and that will make the swimsuit exactly $57."
My mouth dropped open. "Really? But...but...why?!"

He laughed. "I overheard you chatting. I just figured, you're a broke college student, you go to a great school, you deserve it!" And, chuckling, he walked off to go get his swipe card. One of his fellow employees began ringing up my suit, and when she saw that my jaw was still on the floor, she laughed. "As you were walking out, he said, 'I'm going to make her whole day,'" she told me.

That was probably the nicest thing a stranger has EVER done for me. I saved the receipt and I'm going to send a thank you note to the store, addressed to Ben. I hope he gets it! It more than made my night--it made my whole weekend!

Since I got to go shopping, it was time we did something for L. We went to the Michael Jordan 23 Sports Cafe, which was AWESOME. There were about 10 projectors covering every game on that night (which included a Yankees AND a Red Sox game), not to mention 500 sports news stations covering Le Bron. And their menus were made out of basketball! Literally, they were orange and textured. Too cool. I had the best drink of my life, made with Bacardi Dragonberry, triple sec, cranberry juice, and sour mix. SO GOOD.

And then. Then we ordered these:

BBQ Chicken spring rolls. With JALAPENO RANCH. These were SINFUL, they were so good. Michael can cook at my house, anytime.

Needless to say, L. and I have been forgoing carbs all this week.

We had to gamble a little, so we decided to be adventurous and risk it all on the .25 slots. I was hoping to win big, while L. of course found the only golf-related slot machine in the whole place:

After all that we decided to go to the club, but they wouldn't let L. in because he was wearing cargo shorts! Booo. They even let people wearing jeans in! We were pretty bummed, but ended the night in a fun Irish pub with live music. And I was wearing heels anyway, and was happy for the excuse to sit down!

When we were finally to tired to do much of anything, L. and I wandered back to our shuttle and our hotel. Even though the pool party Saturday was supposed to be the main event of the weekend, our spontaneous trip Friday was just so romantic, fun, and exactly what we needed. I wish we had stayed Saturday, too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010



Pardon me for getting all squeaky for a second.

But I WON!

(Did you hear the squeak? It was there.)

I have not-so-great luck. I don't ever really win anything. But I enter lovely giveaways all the same like nobody's business, because I feel the same way about them I feel about plane crashes: the odds are slim it will happen, but really the odds for everyone are the same.

Does that make sense?

(This is why I'm terrified of flying.)

I digress! I entered the lovely Freckles Chick's (if you don't read her...go start!) Shabby Apple giveaway last week, an adorable boutique home to only the most amazing dresses ever. And when she posted the results tonight, I almost fell out of my chair when I saw my profile picture next to MY comment next to MY NAME!

Here are the colors of the dress I get to choose from:



What do you guys think I should pick? I'm leaning toward the green color, as I think it goes well with brown hair and brown eyes. It'll be a perfect summer-into-fall work dress, no?

(PS- a green, cotton dress worn to my brother's rehearsal dinner at the end of the summer will be the perfect complement to my fancy pink cocktail dress I bought for his wedding! Scratch that purchase off the list!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Justin's Premiere

On Thursday night, my friends and I decided to go out to dinner and then to see the premiere of the show that Justin Long is in town to do: Samuel J. and K. If you haven't heard about it, don't worry; it's the world premiere, so it hasn't been performed anywhere but here yet! Justin plays Samuel J. and Owiso Odera, who is also totally awesome, plays Samuel K., his adopted brother from Cameroon. The writer, Mat Smart, is phenomenal. I wouldn't be surprised if this show makes it far--I've heard rumors that it might get picked up in London in the West End, but who knows if Justin and Owiso will be able to stay with it then, since both are pretty active in their tv and film careers.

We were also going out as a goodbye dinner for Moyukh, who just left for Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday. When we asked him what he wanted to do as a goodbye dinner, he answered that he wanted to do sake bombs at the Chinese restaurant.
Well, what Moyukh wants, Moyukh gets, so that is what we did.

Rachel and I, however, opted for something a bit more ladylike, and got a giant scorpion bowl with pretty straws:

After dinner, we went over to the theater. Moyukh had promised us he'd bring Justin white roses, but at the last minute all he managed were to pick some tiny flowers from the grass. This, combined with the fact that all the boys ended up wearing blue shirts, made for a hilarious picture.

The show was really great. Even Moyukh and Zeb, who don't really see plays all that often, loved it. The writing was current, fresh, funny, and heartfelt.

Oh, and for those of you who may have been hoping that we'd finally get a picture with Justin, without further ado:

Kind of exciting!!! Even though only Moyukh and Zeb were lucky enough to be in the picture. (Also, please observe Zeb's face. He seems excited, no?) And Owiso is in the orange shirt. With that wonderful picture, I think Justin will be staying off the blog for awhile now.

After the show we continued our goodbye party for Moyukh, and Rachel and I decided to make the most delicious drink ever: Gin and Lemonade with fresh fruit. Like I had said in my previous post, when I asked for this at the golf course, the bartender thought it was really strange. Well, I am here to say that it is delicious.

We used fresh raspberries and they gave the drink a nice pink color. Oh, and please pardon the fact that this picture is taken on the floor. You remember college.

And in case you were wondering, Operation Get Lucas to Go to Mohegan Sun Over the Weekend was a success!!! More on that soon! (Hint: It was a BLAST.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Short Week Plans

I have something to say.

My name is Michelle.

And I love short weeks.

Despite the fact that this four day week seemed to take longer than most normal weeks, it has two fantastic endcaps-- the Fourth was a great weekend, and this weekend L. and I have fun plans to head to New Jersey for a friend's annual Preppy Pool Party.

That's right. A Preppy Pool Party.Let's keep in mind, before you laugh at me, that a. Said friend is actually a very well-respected and successful Williams alum laywer in NYC. And sometimes he just needs to cut loose. b. His house is in Princeton and is a mansion. How could we say no to that? and c. Well. It's just going to be awesome.

We have a four hour drive from Williamstown to New Jersey that we were going to make early tomorrow morning. BUT. Sneaky sneaky as I am, I'm hatching a brilliant idea to drive down to Mohegan Sun in CT TONIGHT, stay there, and then leave for New Jersey tomorrow morning. How amazing would that be? Let's see if L. goes for it. (Plus, sleeping in an air-conditioned room would be SO luxurious I can't even begin to imagine.)
Like I said, those were two fun endcaps to this short week. But the week itself hasn't been bad, either. Since we had the day off, on Monday L. and I decided to celebrate summer in the most quintessential way we knew how:

If you're thinking like I was hoping thinking, you are guessing we took a little trip to the beach...

However, you would be wrong:

That's right. Because I am the best girlfriend in the world, (and also because I have very few other friends this summer and didn't want to be alone), I accompanied L. on one of his favorite things to do in the whole world and went golfing with him on Monday. Now, I'm not a terrible golfer. I'm not great, by ANY means, but I can hit my way through a course. However, it wouldn't be fun, and it wouldn't be pretty. So I decided to be a good girlfriend and walk the course with my man while he did his thang.
And for the first couple holes, it was really cute and fun. I excitedly took pictures of L.'s flawless form and whipped out my sports photography/journalism skills to get some action shots:

(Can you spy the ball?)

(PS. Check out the creeper checking out L.)

But, alas. A girlfriend can only be so good. After all, it was over 90 degrees Monday. And the heat index was near 100. And I was walking the course barefoot because my sandals were giving me too much resistance in the grass. (The old golfers were shocked by my carefree, barefoot ways). And, I mean. It was GOLF.

So then I turned to something that we all love a little more than golf: house stalking.

There are some beautiful houses on the golf course. MANY of them beautiful enough that I would take the hit of living in Williamstown after graduation, IF I could live in one of these houses.

Exhibit A:


When can we move in?

Look at that porch!

I think I'm in love.

But then something else caught my attention...

In the words of my homegirl Carrie Bradshaw, "Hello, lover."

There aren't many things I'll miss about New England after I leave (okay, that's not true--there's more than I let on), but big, white Cap Cod style houses with black shutters and white picket fences are definitely one of them. I don't think houses like this exist in LA.

After L.'s round, and after I proceeded to get the WORST SUNBURN probably ever, with a really awkward scoop-neck tanline that I'm now sporting, L. and I sought out the solace of the AC in the clubhouse and ordered drinks. All I wanted was Pimm's, which of course the clubhouse didn't have, so I settled for a gin and lemonade with fresh fruit. The bartender thought it was weird, but guys? Best drink ever. It was SO refreshing. It's my new summer drink.

In fact, Rachel and I made a big pitcher of it last night after we attended the premiere of Justin's play, but that's a whole other post that I'll get up after this weekend. For now, it's Operation Convince L. That We Really Need to Spend the Night at Mohegan Sun.

Have a great weekend!!! Anyone have fun plans?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alpha Ring

Last month, Melissa hosted a giveaway from an adorable Etsy shop, Little Green Room. Amy Aguirre, the mastermind behind the shop, makes these gorgeous, tiny little rings, and the one Melissa gave away was an alpha ring-- a tiny silver hammered band with a little hand-stamped initial in a disc.

I was really excited about the giveaway, and I showed the rings to L. as I entered. Unfortunately I didn't win the giveaway, but L. remembered how much I loved the ring. Last week, we got together on our lunch break and he told me he had a surprise for me, and pulled out a little white box with the Little Green Room label on it! I was so surprised, since I had completely forgotten about the ring. He ordered the sterling silver one with an upper-case "L" stamped on the disc. I love it so much and have been wearing it ever since. In fact, it's the only piece of jewelery I wear, besides small stud earrings!

[Photos via Little Green Room]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Forge

Friday night after work, my friends and I kicked off the long weekend (and the traditional Friday happy hour) by heading to one of our favorite restaurants, The Forge. At about a 30 minute drive from Williams, it's not one we can frequent as often as we'd like, but the fact that it remains sort of a special occasion place is perhaps part of some of its charm. The other (bigger) part of that charm is how perfectly it pulls off the timeless wings and beer combo. I don't drink beer, but my three boys and intrepid girl friend Rachel do, and they got right down to making a small dent in the 300+ bottle and draft selection. (The selection is so big, you get a separate beer binder when you're seated!)

Our wait for a table of six (the five of us plus Justin Long, who had said he would hopefully meet up with us there later) was an hour, but we were nonplussed; we simply headed to the bar and got down to business.

Once we were finally seated, L. and I ordered our respective favorite wings; his are the Buzz Orpingtons, which are tangy and have a curry kick to them, and mine are the traditional Dean's buffalo. They're crispy and spicy and meaty and perfect.

Rachel, Zeb and Moyukh had already eaten dinner, so we were worried for awhile that ordering just the wings (and about two or three more rounds of drinks--believe me, our tab wasn't small!) would cause our waitress to write our table off. And at the beginning, it seemed like we were kind of right, as she pretty much left us alone to focus on the dinner-ordering tables who seemed like they would give her a better tip. Moyukh and Zeb decided to join L., who already has one, and open beer cards. What happens is every time you come in, every different beer you order gets written down on the card (fifty total.) When you reach fifty, you're awarded an engraved pewter beer mug. The boys were quite excited about their purchase.

As we ordered a last-minute apple crisp with six spoons and our last round of drinks, we had just about figured that Justin wasn't going to be able to make it. Which is, of course, exactly when he walked in. We immediately got him to open up a beer card and I pressed our sixth spoon into his hand and made him eat some of our apple crisp.

Oh, and our waitress took a LOT more interest in our table after Justin showed up. When she signed his first beer onto his beer card, she giggled and said, "I can't believe that I'M signing something for YOU!" We were all amused enough that we didn't really care that she had basically snubbed us up until that point.

I am sorry I don't have any photos with Justin to post, but if I had even been thinking about asking him for one (which I wasn't), a girl came up to the table in the middle of our meal and asked Justin to pose for one with her and her friends. I totally get that, but we were in the middle of a meal, and I totally realized how rude it was. Justin, of course, was as nice as could be about it, but later we all agreed that we'd rather be the people Justin feels comfortable around who treat him like a normal guy, rather than the awkward fans who ask for photos and autographs. (Plus, who needs autographs when you have texts from him on your phone? Just sayin'.)

Justin popped out when we were getting ready to leave, and when our waitress came back she said that our bill had been taken care of. Knowing what a great guy he was, I wasn't all too shocked that Justin had paid for our dinner, but it certainly wasn't necessary. Needless to say, we all went back to our college bar that night and repaid him in grateful rounds.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Could It Get More Exciting?

Fourth of July has always been my third favorite holiday, after Christmas and my birthday, which of course is, in fact, a holiday. Some of my favorite things in the world happen on the Fourth: picnics, shorts-and-sweatshirts weather (I love wearing them together on a blanket on the grass at night), hot dogs, fireworks. And it's one of those rare holidays that only gets better as the day goes on, unlike, say, Christmas or Thanksgiving, which get tired and sleepy as the evening approaches.

Sunday will certainly be a fantastic day. L. and I are probably going to get together with some friends and have a cookout by the river, go swimming, go to a baseball game and watch fireworks.

But in a rare turn of events, my weekend, pre-Fourth, might be more exciting than my Fourth! The same group of us who met and hung out with Justin Long last weekend are going to one of our favorite restaurants tonight, the Forge, for their amazing wings and hundreds of varieties of beer. And when we invited Justin along, he actually said he'd love to come! So we're not getting our hopes up, but we're super excited that we might have a fun addition to our Friday happy hour.

What are you guys up to for the Fourth? Anyone doing anything out of the ordinary (i.e. NOT eating hot dogs and hamburgers and watching fireworks?)