A Little Orange is the New Black News to Last You Until June


June 6th, to be exact. That’s when the second season premieres on Netflix. Elle has some second season scoop that only makes me miss those crazy Litchfield ladies more! If you haven’t watched the first season yet, do yourself a favor and do so. Personally, I think this series is far better than Netflix’s other hit House of Cards. House of Cards made me feel sleazy after a few episodes. The Underwoods and everyone associated just seemed far too much on the side of villainy for me to really care what they were doing. Orange is the New Black blew me away–it is a show primarily made up of women–and diverse women at that, which is rare in this age (I’m talking race, sexuality, body types, personalities). Learning their stories as well as seeing real issues that are happening in our prisons made me not only appreciate the show but love it. Mark your calendars, fellow fans! June 6th and 7th shall henceforth be reserved for binge-watching.


The Winter Blahs

A sad view outside my classroom

A sad view outside my classroom

Sigh, another day, another few inches of snow on the ground here in Minnesota. Last week, the snow had basically all melted and we had some wonderful 50 plus degree days where I could actually go out of the house and not want to curl up and hibernate for a few months. But alas, yesterday we got a few more inches of snow and it’s really beating me down. By this time in winter, it’s hard to get too excited or happy about anything. I feel like I am just in a blah mood all the time. Our short trip to Ann Arbor this weekend helped but still, now back to normal life and this icky time of year. I’m dreaming of summer vacation (2 months away!), trips to the cottage and elsewhere, and just some time to be outside and feel not like a groundhog living underground without access to sunlight. I’m dreaming of sundresses, flats (goodbye ugly thick boots!), and freckles (I’m too realistic to dream of a tan). Hopefully it all comes here shortly! Since I only have one long weekend break left in the school year, I’m getting antsy!

I’m Ready to Talk about My European Vacation



It’s been criminally long since I blogged–I am going to blame it on my post-vacation malaise. You know, that time after you get back from vacation where your mind just replays whole days of the trip and you spend hours staring at pictures. As you probably deduced, I had a fantastic trip to France and Italy. It would be hard to describe every aspect of the trip in detail so I am going to break it down by some of my favorite/weirdest/funniest moments.

  • Montpellier France was as inspiring as I remembered it being several years ago. Isn’t it strange that you can be away from a place for so long yet once you are placed in those streets once again, you know the way? I got to discover all new places as well. Despite it being named after my least favorite writer, Papa Doble provided my Mom and me drinks that were sinfully good. Good enough to make me forget that I was enjoying myself at a place named after Papa. Puke. Speaking of which, after eating only a baguette and some cheese all day, I may have vomited all over the bathroom. I’m blaming it on Hemingway, not the very attractive French bartender who my mom coerced into taking a picture with me.
  • We hit a little train hiccup on the way from Nice to Florence. When we got off at the Italian border, we were told that the train tracks that we were supposed to take to our connection in Milan were “not there” (thanks for the detail, train station lady!). The solution was to shuttle us on to another train (going to a city that we had not heard of) where we would get off and then hop on a bus which would take us to another train. Easy, huh? If you are confused reading that, imagine having to follow those instructions in broken English while your head feels mildly squishy from a hangover. Luckily we were not the only ones forced into an unwanted adventured–my mom took under her wing an Asian girl who was equally lost (and traveling alone! If I was doing so, I would have ended up in England instead of Italy). I thought my mom’s concern for this girl quite heroic until she turned to me and said, “At least if we don’t end up in Milan, we’re bringing someone down with us.” Oh mom…Once we got off our first train, we were herded in the direction of several buses. Only one was loading so we assumed that was our guy. Cut to an overcrowded bus with people sitting the aisles weaving through tiny roads with a large drop to the Mediterranean on the other side. We were not told how long we would be on this bus or where it was even going. Note to self: bring a map of the place you are going to next time. Anyways, after being on the bus for about an hour and a half, we got off at this tiny, grungy train station where another train was not, in fact, waiting for us as the train station lady had suggested. Instead, we had to wait another two hours, which also meant there was no way that we were going to make our connecting train in Milan to Florence. Somehow we managed to get to Florence that night and I think our pitiful tale got us an upgrade to a junior suite at our amazing hotel!
  • Mom and I fell in love with Florence. There is something magical about it. I now understand Dante’s love for the city from which he was exiled. From the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo to the Palazzo Vecchio…each place left me breathless as if I was discovering Europe for the first time. I could have spent my whole life there and never bore of the city. On one of my favorite nights, we had a spectacular dinner of pumpkin ravioli, Floretine steak, and glasses of wine. The restaurant was on the smaller side, intimate, near the Palazzo Vecchio. I am sure I have dreamed of places less atmospheric than this place. A table of six or so middle aged Italian men sat at the table next to us, buying a few bottles of wine. During our meal, the men sent over a glass of wine each for Mom and me. Oh those Italian men, quite suave. They know the way to a lady’s heart is wine. But it didn’t end there. As they were leaving, one of the men blew me a kiss. I am not sure that I have ever seen anyone over the age of five blow someone a kiss, but he certainly made a case for it.

If you made it through those long paragraphs, congratulations! Can you believe that this is the edited version?

February Discoveries

Winter hasn’t been all bad despite the attempts by the polar vortex to wreck havoc on all of us. Here are a few things that have gotten me through the doldrums of January and February.


I stumbled across this website Stitch Fix which acts as your personal stylist. You tell them what you want/need, how much you like to spend on items, what your style is like (there is even a place to put a link to your Pinterest board–I know you have one!). You can also tell them what colors, prints, and fabrics you want to avoid.  You get the delivery which has 5 items in it–you try on the items in the safety of your own home (and by safety I mean mental safety–those dressing room mirrors are rough).


The first season of FX’s The Americans is now available for free with Amazon Prime. I needed something to watch so I kind of just mindlessly chose it. Boy was I in for a surprise! Not since the first season of Homeland has t.v. been this suspenseful. I particularly enjoy that it gives us two anti-heroes as main characters. You too will find yourself feeling guilty as you cheer on KGB spies. The Cold War has never looked so cool.

P.S. Yes, I will post about my European vacation! Look for it soon!

One More Sleep Till Europe


I have been singing this modified song from the Muppet Christmas Carol all day.

“There’s magic in the air this evening, there’s magic in the air/the world is at her best, you know/when people love and care/The promise of excitement is one the night will keep/After all there’s only one more sleep till Europe!”

Do You Still Go on Family Vacations? (We Just Booked One!)

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 4.07.50 PM

Since I can remember, my family has taken the family vacations that you only see in movies and t.v. shows. Maybe it is because we always managed to covertly squeeze all six of us into a single hotel room (I didn’t realize until much later in life that other families didn’t have to “disperse” in the lobby so that hotel employees didn’t notice how many people were staying in one room), but adventures and hijinks were guaranteed any time you put all of us in a foreign locale. This is all leading up to the announcement that the family (plus significant others–except mine because Tom Hiddleston couldn’t make it–damn you Hollywood!) are going to the Dominican Republic this summer! If that wasn’t exciting enough, we are staying at an all-inclusive resort. I can’t wait to spend some much-needed time with tropical drinks…um, I mean my parents and siblings (and tropical drinks!). Between my Europe trip next week and the Dominican Republic, my year is off to great start!

Who else still goes on family vacations? What about the Dominican Republic? I have never been!

Weekend Roundup

It’s been awhile since I have done one of these darn things, but since this may be one of my last blog posts before I leave for Europe, I thought I’d get back to business. Business being blogging. Next weekend will be full of traveling so I am planning on spending this one relaxing as much as possible. For her part, Jamie is in Minneapolis celebrating her fourth anniversary with her new fiance Kevin. I expect there will be a lot of cocktails and Instagrams of their drunk faces.

This weekend keep in mind…

If you have been following the recent developments in the Amanda Knox case and want to learn more about the perplexing Italian Justice System, you may want to check out the book The Monster of Florence. Regardless of whether you think Amanda is guilty (given the evidence I don’t), the book may give you a better sense of the system that she is up against. It’s also a must-read for those morbid folks who love crime stories. (In related/less depressing news: I will be in Florence sooooooon!).

Ladies, we get paid exactly what we are worth so stop complaining! (cue epic Liz Lemon eyeroll)

Striped shirts are my jam/inspiration/reason for living. So you’ll understand why I love this Loft tee. If I had Oprah’s money and Merlin’s powers (or is it the other way around?), I would say “free Loft tees!” to all of you and it would magically appear under your seats and you would all be happy. This one is particularly fun with it’s fake layered chambray.

Congrats to my cousin Katie! Her inspiring blog Live Half Full got listed as one of Chicago’s best health blogs by Refinery29. Everyone in the whole world needs to be reading it. Her approach to health and life is something that we all need to aspire to (I’m trying to be a little more like Katie every day!). I am so glad that she is sharing her endless optimism with more and more people! And for those who do read it I promise that Katie is every bit as awesome in person as she is on the web.

Have a good weekend, readers!

A Cocktail Recipe to Bookmark: Raspberry Mule

I love a good Moscow Mule (especially when it comes in those adorable copper mugs!). Made with vodka, lime, and ginger beer, it has just the right amount of tartness to refreshing ratio. When I heard about the Raspberry Mule, I wondered: why in the heck haven’t I thought of that? Ginger and raspberry–that sounds like a match made in boozy heaven! I am sold!

Raspberry Mule

1. Muddle about 1/4 cup of raspberries (add more or less depending on how fruity you want the drink to be) in cocktail shaker.

2. Add a dash or two of lime juice, 1 part ginger beer, and 1 part vodka. I usually do about 2 shots of vodka and 4 ounces of ginger beer, for reference. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake it!

3. Pour the mixture into a martini glass/Red Solo Cup/sippy cup/whatever you prefer. Garnish with a raspberry.


A Better Way to Pack

My suitcase is way messier

For someone with OCD, I sure am a slob when it comes to packing a suitcase. It starts off neat enough but within a day it looks like I hired an infant to do my packing for me (which isn’t a bad idea cost-wise…). By the end of a long vacation, I may as well be looking for a sweater in the bottom of a murky lake. Since I am going to Italy and France in 10 days (side note: WOWZA), I decided to take matters into my own hands and splurge on some packing cubes. I was skeptical at first although after using one of them for traveling this past weekend, I can gladly admit that it is going to make a huge difference. I bought the Space Pak kit from Flight001 although there are plenty of good options out there. There are a ton of different bags in the system from toiletry to clothes to shoes. My favorite part of the bags is that they have a divider so you have clean clothes in one part and on the other half you can store your dirty things. It’s like they know me!

Any one else use packing cubes? As for you wise travelers, do you having packing tips for me?

A Good Way to Spice Up Boring Water


I’ll admit it, I definitely don’t drink enough water in the day. Even though I get dehydrated really easily, I’m just so bad about making it a priority. Water just doesn’t do it for me. It’s so…blah. I am a big fan of herbal teas in the winter but want to actually cut back on my pop addiction. Last week I finally caved in and bought a water infuser from Amazon. At $19.99, I knew it would be a good investment since I love natural fruit flavored water. One of my favorite things at going to get my hair cut in Minneapolis is the spa water filled with fresh orange, limes, lemons, and other seasonal fruit they serve. So refreshing! It has flavor but isn’t over the top sweet. All you have to do is add cut up fruit in the rod (I know, sounds dirty), fill the pitcher with water, and ta-da! You are set! The rod allows the flavors to get in the water without big chunks of fruit getting in it. My first concoction? A simple strawberry, orange, and lemon mix! I can’t wait to try different herbs and fruits!

Anyone else have a water infuser?

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A Quiet Voice in a Loud World

Just a voice in this noisy place we call earth. Talking about just about anything and everything.

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Live Half Full

Working Motherhood Blog | Chicago Suburbs Based

Picture & Poem

Twins on life apart in the adult world. Navigating Love, Jobs, Fashion, Food, and More Scary Grown Up Things.

p.s. it's handmade

Twins on life apart in the adult world. Navigating Love, Jobs, Fashion, Food, and More Scary Grown Up Things.

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