Monday, January 9, 2012

We had our first snow of winter today in D.C. I definitely wasn't expecting it when I walked to work in heels and didn't bring gloves or a scarf (it was 68 degrees on Saturday), but I definitely welcomed the snow. It is so pretty! I snapped a couple of quick pictures on my phone to share. I hope everyone had a great Monday. Enjoy! 
Outside of my office building.
At the front door of my apartment building looking towards the street.
Benches outside my corner market.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's that time of year again. It's time for people everywhere to make New Year's Resolutions. Since I'm a full week late on this post, thousands have already made their resolutions for 2012. They've challenged themselves to lose 20lbs., quit smoking, or maybe to simply live a happier life. 

Instead of making a list of things I want to change about myself after 2011, I've decided to make a list of things I absolutely loved about 2011. Why look back on the negative of 2011? I say we should celebrate all things fabulous about 2011 and look forward towards 2012.

Number 10. Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang
Overall, award show fashion seemed to be down in 2011, but I fell in love with Sandra Bullock's Oscars dress. Vera Wang always does things the right way. Her strapless, scarlet gown paired with a crimson VBH clutch and Harry Winston earrings and bangle made for a perfect combination for last year's Best Actress winner, the lovely Mrs. Bullock.

Number 9. The Help
This film did not disappoint. The story, the acting, the fashion -- for me, this movie had it all. If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. 

Number 8. Skinnygirl Cocktails
Bethenny Frankel saw an incredible opportunity and ran with it. These low-calorie cocktails don't sacrifice on freshness or taste and have become all the rage. Skinnygirl started out with Skinnygirl Margarita and they have since added Skinnygirl Sangria and Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo. Check out their website here. Trust me on this one.

Number 7. Lace
I love all things lace. In 2011, lace made a move from the basic black and white into beautiful new hues. I think I'm in love!

Number 6. NBA Lockout
I've never been a big fan of the NBA. This season, we were lucky enough to have the start of the NBA season delayed until Christmas. During college football season, I don't want to see NBA highlights on SportsCenter. If only they could have delayed it a few more weeks, we could have fully enjoyed the perfectness of college football without hearing about Queen Lebron and his inability to perform in the 4th quarter.

Number 5. The death of Osama bin Laden
I didn't really know where to rank this one, so I decided to place it right in the middle of my list. In 2011, heat waves swept the country, natural disasters made near daily appearances in the news, we came within hours of defaulting our our national debt, and the political theatre seemed to be more vicious than ever. So, as odd or sick as it may be for Americans to come together over someone's death, it happened, and it was beautiful. In addition to all of the obvious reasons that the death of Osama bin Laden was such a major event in 2011, it was notable because even if just for a few days, America was united again. 

Number 4. Pinterest
As if we didn't already have enough social media platforms to keep up with. Pinterest made a debut in a big way in 2011 and girls everywhere found another procrastination tool.

Number 3. Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
The highly anticipated fourth installment of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn - Part 1, did not disappoint. In my opinion, it was by far the best made movie of the series. I'm looking forward to the final installment of the series to premeire in 2012.

Number 2. The start to Election 2012
Election season is finally upon us! In 2011, we were introduced to several new faces looking to evict President Obama from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Please do me a favor this year -- educate yourself on the issues and candidates. Do your duty and vote!
As for me, I've joined the Hunt and am supporting Jon Huntsman in the primary. (Check out!) However, you can bet your last dollar I'll be supporting the eventual Republican nominee, whoever that might be. We seriously cannot afford (both literally and figuratively) another four years of the current administration.

Number 1. The Royal Wedding
The royal wedding lived up to the hype and gave women everywhere something we had been lacking since the tragic death of Princess Diana -- a new people's princess. There is really only one word to describe the royal wedding -- perfect.

So, there you have it. My favorites from 2011. What were your favorites from 2011? What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear Aggies

While watching one of our new SEC additions this afternoon, I was unpleasantly surprised by the wardrobe of the fans. Who knew t-shirts were so dang popular? Texas A&M fans (and I'm assuming Missouri's, too) need a wardrobe intervention, and fast! Here in the SEC, Saturday's are considered a holy day, and I have a feeling the SEC football gods will not smile down on all that cotton. If I had a ton of money, I'd be opening two cute boutiques -- one in College Station, Texas and one in Columbia, Missouri. However, I still have faith they can do it without my help. It took me five minutes to find dozens and dozens of cute gameday dresses online in maroon/black (for Texas A&M) and gold/black for (Missouri). Trust me, it's a lot easier to find than Tennessee orange. So, with that, Aggies (whatever the heck that is) and Tigers, there will be absolutely zero excuses for unacceptable clothing next season. Consider this your spring and summer challenge and use this as an excuse to go shopping for a new wardrobe. Leave the cotton at home and we'll see you next season!
Not in our houses, please.

Ideas for Aggies

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to write a Thanksgiving post due to traveling back to Tennessee this week, but I do want to share my Thanksgiving post from last year with you. Some of you have already read the story, but for those of you who didn't follow my blog when I first started it exactly a year ago, you can read my first blog post here:
I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Men Are In Trouble

     (CNN) -- For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.
     Now, society has rightly celebrated the ascension of one sex. We said, "You go girl," and they went. We celebrate the ascension of women but what will we do about what appears to be the very real decline of the other sex?
     The data does not bode well for men. In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women's earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.
     In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. Men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, but women are catching them and will soon be passing them if this trend continues.
     The warning signs for men stretch far beyond their wallets. Men are more distant from a family or their children then they have ever been. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40% in America. In 1960, only 11% of children in the U.S. lived apart from their fathers. In 2010, that share had risen to 27%. Men are also less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39% of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47% of women.
     If you don't believe the numbers, just ask young women about men today. You will find them talking about prolonged adolescence and men who refuse to grow up. I've heard too many young women asking, "Where are the decent single men?" There is a maturity deficit among men out there, and men are falling behind.
     This decline in founding virtues -- work, marriage, and religion -- has caught the eye of social commentators from all corners. In her seminal article, "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin unearthed the unprecedented role reversal that is taking place today. "Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed," writes Rosin. The changes in modern labor -- from backs to brains -- have catapulted women to the top of the work force, leaving men in their dust.
     Man's response has been pathetic. Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys. While women are graduating college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married and not raising families. Women are beginning to take the place of men in many ways. This has led some to ask: do we even need men?
     So what's wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, "What kind of man are you?" but don't explain.
     Movies are filled with stories of men who refuse to grow up and refuse to take responsibility in relationships. Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. Through all these different and conflicting signals, our boys must decipher what it means to be a man, and for many of them it is harder to figure out.
     For boys to become men, they need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example and correction. It is true in all ages. Someone once characterized the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them? Each generation of men and women have an obligation to teach the younger males (and females of course) coming behind them. William Wordsworth said, "What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how." When they fail in that obligation, trouble surely follows.
     We need to respond to this culture that sends confusing signals to young men, a culture that is agnostic about what it wants men to be, with a clear and achievable notion of manhood.
     The Founding Fathers believed, and the evidence still shows, that industriousness, marriage and religion are a very important basis for male empowerment and achievement. We may need to say to a number of our twenty-something men, "Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job and get married." It's time for men to man up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Tomorrow night I leave for Tennessee to attend my first post-graduation Homecoming. It is sure to be a busy and fun-filled weekend with friends and family. As some of you know, I'll be crowning the 2011 University of Tennessee Miss Homecoming as my final duty as last year's Miss Homecoming. I absolutely love Homecoming and am really looking forward to all of the festivities! 

Looking back, I can certainly promise you I never thought in a million years I would go from this:
Brittany and I before our first football game as students.
to this:
Dad and I on the field last year.
in just four (and a half) years.

A lot of people have been asking me over the past few weeks:
What is Miss Homecoming?
How does it work?

As defined by All Campus Events (the student organization that organizes homecoming), Miss Homecoming should be "a senior woman who possesses poise, leadership skills, loyalty, strong character, and most of all true "Volunteer Spirit." She will be one who the students, administrators, and peers will be proud to have representing them as the emblem of the University of Tennessee and all for which it stands."

- Any registered student organization at the university is able to nominate one senior woman for Miss Homecoming.
- The nomination process consists of a nomination statement from the organization, two self-written statements from the candidate, and additional information about the woman's involvement both on and off campus.
- The nomination packet is followed by two rounds of interviews conducted by university administrators. The first round is a group interview (3-4 women). After the first round, the candidates are narrowed down to the Top 10. The second round is an individual interview (which, by the way, was by far the hardest, most intense interview of my life). The candidates are then narrowed down to the Top 5.
- Throughout Homecoming week, the Top 5 candidates participate in a number of different events to promote voting. However, no individual campaigning is allowed.
- The Top 5 candidates are then voted on by the student body through an online system and the winner is announced at halftime.

This weekend I'll be in the annual homecoming parade on Friday night and will then crown Miss Homecoming 2011 at halftime. Five amazing ladies are nominated this year and I'm so excited for all of them! Best of luck to all of you. You've all been great representatives of our university! 

With that, I'll leave you with one of my self-written statements from my nomination packet. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and 

Tennessee has always been my home. Though I considered many different colleges, I followed my heart to the University of Tennessee. The fear of becoming a "number" at a large institution deterred many of my friends from attending Tennessee. However, my love for my home state and home university wouldn't let me go anywhere else.
The opportunities I have had over the past four years have cultivated a greater love for our university and for the state of Tennessee than I could have ever imagined. Now, as I look back on my four years as a Volunteer, I realize this University has changed my life. My experience at UT as a member of some of the most rewarding organizations on campus has allowed me to meet amazing people, enjoy my education, and make a difference at a university where so many worried they would become a "number."
Enlightened by my experiences, I hope my love for our university has shone brightly to my family, friends and fellow Volunteers during my time at UT. No matter where life takes me when I graduate, I will be forever grateful to this university.
While I have been highly involved in campus life and have tried to live the true "Volunteer Spirit," being chosen to represent my university as Miss Homecoming 2010 would be one of the highest honors I could imagine. I am humbled by this nomination. Thank you for this consideration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And Guest

Receiving a wedding invitation can be a stressful experience. I know what you’re thinking. Weddings are stressful? No way…

In a relationship: “I love weddings. How romantic! I can’t wait to plan my own!”
Single: “I love weddings. How fun! I hope the bridesmaids/groomsmen are single and good looking and I really hope they have an open bar!”

Weddings are supposed to be exciting. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part they are; however, we’d all be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that sometimes being invited to a wedding can cause a brief moment of selfish stress. Let me explain.

What causes this brief moment of selfish stress? Answer… two words:

“…and guest”

Such a simple phrase, but yet it can cause stress whether you are single or in a relationship.

In a relationship: “I better be ‘and guest-ed.’ Why did he/she get a plus one and I didn’t? What if they give my ex a plus one and not me just because he/she is in the wedding party? Did he/she get a plus one just because they are engaged and we aren’t? I’ve known the bride/groom longer!”
Single: “What if I’m not ‘and guest-ed?’ Or, what if I am? Just because I’m not in a serious relationship doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to bring a date. I’ve known the bride/groom longer than all these fools. But wait, if I am and ‘guest-ed,’ who will I take?

Catch my drift? Don’t lie; we’ve all been through it.

Recently, four (yes four – and I have a feeling a couple more are coming soon) of my close girlfriends got engaged. Before we go any further, let me just say I could not be more excited for these four women. They are four of the most wonderful people I know and I can’t think of four people who deserve happiness more than them. I love them all so much! Let me introduce you:
Aren’t they beautiful? (And, wow! Blast from the past!)

All of these wonderful ladies are getting married between June–July of 2012. What does that mean for me? It means I better start saving money so I can travel back to Tennessee for their big days!

What else does it mean? It means I’ll soon be stressing out about being “and guest-ed.” I don’t expect to be “and guest-ed” at all four weddings (trust me ladies, absolutely ZERO pressure here, I’ve learned from experience that weddings can sometimes be more fun without a date), but I probably will be for a few of them.

So, as a single twenty-something who lives at least 500 miles away from these weddings, what are my options if I am “and guest-ed?” This is what I’ve come up with so far:

1.     Find a serious man --- and fast!
Ok, let’s all be realistic… this probably isn’t going to happen. If you know anything about me, you know the story of my life is bad timing and distance. I don’t necessarily expect that to change anytime soon, but I’m optimistic. If I find someone in the next five months, then great! If not, no worries.

2.     Take someone I’m interested in.
This one could be tricky. It all depends on how interested and how long I’ve been interested. The same caveats apply to this one as apply to taking a friend.

3.     Take a friend.
Maybe take a friend who lives in Tennessee? Or, maybe take a friend of a friends date? Or, ask a friend from D.C. (or another city) if they’d like to take a road trip back to Tennessee for a big party? Everyone loves road trips and parties, right? I think so. A few caveats with this one (and with taking someone I’m interested in): He has to be fun, and I mean really fun. He has to be social. He has to get along with everyone, be a likeable person and be able to entertain himself. I don’t want to be babysitting all night. Liking to dance would be a plus. Sense of humor, that’d be great. Look good in pictures? Even better.

4.  Thank my wonderful friends for “and guest-ing” me, but graciously let them know I’ll be coming alone (I can always use the fact that I love 500 miles away from Tennessee as an excuse, right?) 
I’ll put on my dancing shoes and celebrate some of the most wonderful people I know with some of my closest friends and have the time of my life while doing it. 

Sure, there can be a little selfish stress along with weddings, but at least for me, weddings are some of the best nights of our lives. I love everything about weddings and with or without a date, I can't wait for this next wedding season to kick-off!

Congratulations Staci, Mika, Caitlin, and Annie!!! I love y'all!