My Quarter Quell

Today, I am 25 years old.

Two-five.

A quarter of a century.

Whoa.

Does this mean I’m a grown up yet? 😉

I’ve been sifting through some of the dozens and dozens of old family photos my brother has posted on Flickr, and happened upon a few that are particularly apropos to today’s date. Y’know, the day of my birth and all. So while there will likely be lots of ridonkulous photos and good timery to show you after my Hunger Games-themed party on Saturday (get it? My Quarter Quell birthday? Hunger Games? Eh? Ehhh?), for now, I think I’ll take a stroll down memory lane–a journey through birthdays past. Care to join me?


1996 – My 8th birthday


2000 – My 12th birthday


2001 – My 13th birthday


2006 – My 18th birthday (first in college!)


2009 – My 21st birthday (legal drinking age booyah!)


2010 – The big double-2 (and my last birthday at 246+ lbs)

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2011 – My 23rd (down maybe 40 pounds at this point?)


And of course, last year – My Potterlicious 24th!

Regardless of how far I may have come, how much weight I may have gained or lost throughout the years, and what the state of my health has been at various times throughout my life, one thing had remained the same: I frakkin’ love my birthday. But even more than that, I love that now I get to share this slice of my life with all of you! Thanks for being with me through the past 2 birthdays–here’s looking ahead to the next 25, eh?

They Grow Up So Fast

Happy MLK Jr, Day/Inauguration Day, everyone! I have the day off here in DC for both of those reasons, but if you’re stuck at work today I definitely sympathize. Of course, today is also important to me because it’s a very important day in dog world too: Daxter’s birthday!

Clean Daxter

So yes, feel free to roll your eyes at the fact that I’m the kind of person who celebrates dog birthdays, but also, I mean, you really shouldn’t be surprised, hahaha. My little pupster is a whopping THREE YEARS OLD (sniff, sniff, they grow up so fast!) and it shall be duly celebrated. While Harry rolls his own schnauzer eyes in the background (he turns 9 in April!).

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Hehe. I’ll be back tomorrow with a smorgasbord of pictures from the baby shower that I threw for my sister (it was super adorable and OH SO VERY PINK), but for now, enjoy your day! I know Daxter will definitely be enjoying his. 🙂

Dogs like Yogurt too?

Weekend Update: Vanity Edition

Happy (?) Monday, friends! I hope you all had excellent weekends. Mine was pretty rockin’, if I do say so myself. It started out Friday with an amazing ladydate that combined these two wonderful, wonderful things:

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Sushi at my beloved Koi Koi

Aaaaaand…

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Claire!

Even though Claire and I live less than a mile from each other, we actually don’t see each other very often! We read each other’s blogs, obviously, but it’s always much nicer to be able to catch up in person. Especially when doing so involves sushi, too.

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We had so much to talk about this time around, that neither of us ended up finishing our rolls (and for once, I only ordered one. Shock!) I also took advantage of her DSLR-familiarity to have her shoot some photos of me for this week’s fashion post. Unfortunately, I felt incredibly awkward shooting pictures out on the street, right in front of the restaurant. I’m not sure how fashion bloggers do this every single day (shamelessly, I suppose?).

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Oh, hello imaginary person sitting in this chair.

I felt so foolish that I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, so I didn’t manage to get all the shots I wanted (details and whatnot). So I’ll just have to come up with something new for this Friday’s post. And will definitely be shooting it in Ben‘s studio again, where strangers can’t judge me for my vanity. Buuuuut since you all are probably judging me anyway, I figured I’d just post these pictures now anyway.

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“I feel so awkward…”

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The one pretty decent shot (though I had to crop out some creeper photobombing in the background, haha.)

Still, a great way to kick off the weekend! Oh, and for those of you who might be interested:

Lace tank, jeans, and purse: Old Navy
Blazer: Forever 21
Shoes: Payless
Wrap bracelets: Stella & Dot
Stone cuff: gift from my parents

Saturday was spent being predominantly lazy during the day (I got a bunch of writing done though – huzzah!), with a nighttime birthday extravaganza for Sean’s friend Megan. So I’m not going to lie, I’m actually a terrible DC twenty-something. I rarely ever go out, and I think this was maybe the third time I’ve gone out in actual DC proper. Before Saturday night, I’d never even tasted Jumbo Slice! I know, I know. So getting to go out to Alero on U Street was a total learning experience for me!

It also left me full of questions, such as: how are all the young women of DC not incredibly overweight? Boatloads of sugary cocktails and empty calories thanks to alcohol, to be followed by a slice of pizza so huge that it could feed an entire third-world village? Seriously, I was not properly prepared for how, uh, jumbo the Jumbo Slice, uh, slices are. I’m pretty sure that if this was my regular weekend lifestyle, I would be back up to 250 pounds in no time.

But you know me. I never pass up an occasion to get dressed up. I spent like 2 hours trying to figure out how to do a nighttime-appropriate smokey eye (without looking too, y’know, whorish), and stepped into my most comfortable heeled shoes. Also, I bought that dress for $16.99 at TJ Maxx! What uppppp good deals! Anyway, since I have (aptly) titled this post “Vanity Edition”, here are just a few more pictures of me (meeeee, meeeeeeee, MEEEEEE!), pilfered from the birthday girl.


Were you/are you a weekend partier? How do you balance that with trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight?

Jenny’s 30th Birthday Wine Tour

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had fun and/or relaxing weekends. Mine definitely fell squarely in the former category! It started out Friday night with a late showing of The Dark Knight Rises on IMAX. The Air & Space Museum out in Chantilly has a real IMAX screen (in actual IMAX dimensions, as opposed to the IMAX screens that are usually installed in regular movie theatres, which is just bigger) and they show some of the big blockbusters there sometimes. Unfortunately there was a bit of a fiasco with the seating and even though Sean & I got there an hour and a half before the movie started, we still ended up in the 2nd row! Oof. We also had met up with a whole bunch of my friends, but we all ended up separated and spread out through the entire theatre. My neck wasn’t thanking me much afterward, but the movie was awesome so it ended up being okay.

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My opinion of the movie is that it was really great, although slightly less great than The Dark Knight. Definitely go see it! Also, I am generally flabbergasted as to how they made gorgeous, beautiful, hunkalicious Tom Hardy look so repulsive as Bane. Movie magic, I tell ya!

Saturday was the really big day of the weekend. My older sister is turning 30 on Thursday, but as some of you already know, she recently moved to Houston with her husband. Well lucky for us (but not so much for her), she’s still coming back to Baltimore occasionally for work, so we took advantage of her being nearby and celebrated her birthday a little early. How? Why, with a limo-chauffeured winery tour, of course!

I have a recently discovered appreciation for wineries and wine tastings, and it was a total blast to get chauffeured from one to the next. There were 10 of us total: Jenny, her husband Dan, our brother Ben, his fiancee Taylor, Jenny’s BFFs Anne and Lara, her friends Scott and Amy, and Sean & yours truly. We hit up three separate wineries out near Middleburg/Charlottesville area: Chrysalis, Piedmont, and Quattro Goomba (best winery name ever, btw).


Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great (drizzly and misting all day long), but it could have been way, way worse. I took about a zillion pictures and got fairly drunk, so I’d say it was a success overall! 😉 Brace yourself for photo overload!


Jenny made sure the limo was stocked with snacks aplenty from our beloved Trader Joe’s, so we had all sorts of fun things to munch on during the car ride. Then before we knew it, we were at Chrysalis!







Taylor and I were the only ones stupid enough not to wear flats, haha. Our platform wedges looked pretty sweet, if I do say so myself, but they did not FEEL sweet on the rocky gravel that is apparently a requisite for all winery paths. Taylor ended up switching shoes with Anne about halfway through, the lucky duck. Unfortunately, nobody else in the van shared my sasquatch-sized 9.5s, hahaha. Oh well, at least I looked cute?


I also didn’t feel so bad being the photo-nut, since fellow blogger Anne was right there with me! She and my sister are besties from high school, and now she and I are friends in our own right through blogging. Just another reason why this li’l ol’ blogosphere rocks so much.




Siblings ahoy!

Yeah, that 2nd picture right there is why you don’t often find me in heels/platforms (though I’m getting better about embracing my Amazonianness!). Can’t you tell who the big sister and who the little sister is? Hahahahaha. Jenny’s also usually wearing much, much higher heels, to be fair. 😛


Piedmont was probably my least favorite of the three. They’re in the process of being sold to new owners right now, so they don’t have much Piedmont wine available. We only got to try two from Piedmont — the rest were all from other wineries. Hopefully they’ll still be open for wine tasting once the property changes hands though. Piedmont is apparently one of (if not the?) oldest vineyard in Virginia!




Quattro Goomba was probably my favorite. Chrysalis was very pretty (and the wine was very nice, especially their whites!), but Goomba was just so much FUN. They had live music, homemade pizza, and tons of people just hanging around, eating, drinking, and having fun. It was like a big party! I really dug the vibe.

And there you have it! One very fun, awesome, pretty unique way to celebrate my “big” sister turning the big 3-0. And for me to continue my wine education too, of course! I’m still working on softening myself to the reds (the only red I really like is pinot noir, hehe), but I’d say that I am officially a full white wine convert — even Chardonnay has grown on my palette.

Are you a white wine or a red wine drinker?

Le Dreams Do Come True

It’s been an epic week, my friends.

Oh sure, it started out the same as any other week. Full of work, good intentions, and general life stuff, y’know? But for a myriad of reasons, this week has had just a little something extra to it.

First of all, I have literally worked out more days in a row this week than I have in who knows how long. Score!

Secondly, I got to have a stellar blog-turning-real-life-friend meetup with Kate (and got to have my first taste of crawfish to boot!). Score!

Thirdly, my eating has been really on point this week. I’ve been tracking well, feeling good, and stuck to my (unannounced) goal of only eating out for one meal (which was the aforementioned crawfish awesomeness). Score!

Fourthly, I am literally still reeling from the amazingness that was the season finale of The Vampire Diaries last night. I do not know how to process all these emotions. I’m still stuck somewhere between crying, shouting, and jumping for joy because I totally called the ending happening like, two episodes ago. I HAVE TOO MANY FEELINGS. Score…?

And lastly, to cap off my epic week of epicness, I received this box from my epic boyfriend:

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Qu’est-ce que c’est?

And inside the box, you ask? Why, my belated birthday present!

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A Le Creuset french oven. And it is truly glorious.

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GLORIOUS!

So the story is that back in April, on my actual birthday, Sean gifted me with a tiny silver knob that said “Le Creuset” on it. I was super confused at first, since I couldn’t tell what it was. I had told him a long time before this that a Le Creuset french oven had been on my Christmas list for five years straight, so I thought that maybe he got me a magnet or something as a joke? Well, it turns out, it was actually a replacement handle for the pot, since the factory knob that comes with the lid is only oven-safe up to 375 degrees.

I’m not going to lie, I may have started to tear up when he told me that my real gift was the french oven. Though for those of you who already know the story of how I burst into tears when Ben, my brother, got me a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas three years ago, this should not surprise you.

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So basically, not only is this gift incredibly generous, but it just goes to show that Sean’s a thinker, too. No melted pot lid handles for this gal! SCORE! It took me forever to decide what color and size I wanted (he let me pick!), since I’ve been obsessed with the Kiwi green color for the longest time, but it’s been discontinued. Sad! The Dijon color is pretty rad too though, as you can tell.

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Some of you may be wondering (or more likely, not caring at all) what I’ll be christening this gorgeous piece of cookware with? Well, I’ve known that for a while. My gorgeous friend Lara gave me this gem at my birthday party:

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And I think I literally clasped my hands together in glee when I realized what I could now make. Any guesses, my fellow Hunger Games fanatics?

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Why yes, yes I will be making your favorite lamb stew with dried plums, Katniss. Thank you for asking. You all know how I feel about actually following recipes (I, er, don’t), so I’m sure that there will be more than a few swaps and additions that I make to this thang. Hopefully it’ll be successful (haha…ha?) and I can share the deliciousness — in picture and recipe form — with you all!

In the meantime, just know that this is proof that persistence CAN pay off, and le dreams DO come le true… if your boyfriend is awesome enough. 🙂 Have an amazing Mother’s Day weekend, everyone!

PS: For those of you who are local to the Metro DC area, my friend told me about this sweet contest from local caterer Saint Germain Catering. Just submit a photo of your mom, a short blurb on why she’s so great, and you could win a $200 catered dinner for your wonderful mama! Enter on their Facebook page, I know I did! (Feel free to “Like” my entry too, hehe!) 🙂