Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Friday, January 29, 2010

Christmas in January!

The past two days, I received such fun presents in the mail, so I had to do a little post to share with you all.

Yesterday, I received this necklace that I was anxiously waiting for:

Here's a close-up, so you can see what it says: 

And let's not forget the lovely packaging it came in:

Awesome, huh? I scored this lovely necklace from The Rusted Chain on Etsy. You can go there and order one of these for yourself, along with many other gorgeous items. The reason I chose this particular piece, other than its beautiful sentiment, is because $10 from the sale of each Blessed necklace goes to Compassion, a charity offering support in Haiti. Beki is still working furiously to get these necklaces out, with no end in sight, so go order yours now! 

Then, today, this arrived.

It's the Pampered Chef Cooking for Two and More book! I scored this from Cher at Love, Actually (I mentioned this here). I flipped through it tonight while cooking dinner, and the recipes are so exciting! I can't wait to try some, and of course I will post about each attempt with pictures!

Have a good weekend! Tomorrow I'll be heading to Yoga class in the morning, then cleaning the house and doing laundry. Once Jed gets home from work, we are finally seeing Avatar in IMAX 3D -- I'm ordering tix tonight to make sure we go! Sunday is relaxation day. Probably watching a lot of Lost to catch up before season six starts and reading blogs.

Roses and Thorns

Quick little R&T this week... have a good weekend, peeps! You should hear from me a little later today.

Roses to winning a giveaway and the Happy 101 award!

Roses to receiving my Blessed necklace yesterday (another post on it today)!

Roses to Friday... it's been the longest week ever!

Roses to the global support for Haiti -- a reminder that there is still good in the world.

Roses to good music discovered this week.

Roses to meeting my deadline at work!

Thorns to a gloomy, miserable, sleepy Monday. Not a great way to start the week.

Thorns to having no motivation this week.

Thorns to the Haiti disaster, that still makes me cry watching the images.

Thorns to boyfriend going away next weekend... and me leaving Thursday night, making it that much longer.

Thorns to sub-freezing temps all weekend.

{Images via K.Law: Inspired}

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: 3 Minutes

Wishful Wednesday

'I wish' .... I could spend three 
minutes in Taylor Swift's shoes!

This poised young lady seems to have it all -- although we all know no one really has it all. She is talented, beautiful, kind, light-hearted, adorable, independent, confident, intelligent and friendly. I've loved her for a while, but I really caught a glimpse into her sparkling personality when she was on Oprah a couple weeks ago. I almost couldn't contain myself. She is a normal 19-year-old girl who loves to sing and play her guitar, and she just happened to have realized her greatest dream. She loves her life. She knows who she is. She follows her heart. All traits that I am trying to build in myself.

For just three minutes, I'd love to know how it feels. To be so young, yet so accomplished. To have such self-realization and confidence, to be assured I'm on the right path.

Plus, she has a great, casual fashion sense and style! And she really OWNS her curly locks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IRL blogging friends!

I was so excited this past weekend to discover that two of my IRL friends from college are bloggers! Please check out their blogs when you get a chance. One is all about happy stories in the news media, and the other is all about the travel and tourism industry, specifically in Boston, MA.

So glad I found you in the blogosphere, Megs and Adam!

Happy 101: Good friends, good reading, good times, good thoughts

Debbie at Debbie: The College Years gave me this wonderful award, which I've already added to my sidebar. :-)

Thank you, Debbie! She kindly described my blog as "interesting and eclectic." I love it!

The rules of this award are to list 10 blogs and 10 things that make you happy. 

Since Nifer Musings is interesting and eclectic, I thought I would pass this award on to other blogs that I find share the same qualities:

1. Vivian at Lost in Translation 
I love reading about V's adventures in Japan!

K. Law: Inspired
2. Kristen at K.Law: Inspired 
She would be my BFF if we lived in the same state.

3. Nicole at More is Better
If you haven't read this blog, you don't know the comedy you're missing!

4. Matt at Life Without Pants
He gets my vote for most creative blog title, hands down!

5. Ashley at Writing to Reach You
Discovered Ashley through 20SB, and she is an amazing, thoughtful writer.

I found Sara's blog just in time to read about her incredible honeymoon in Belize, and she stole my heart with tales of Caribbean adventure.

7. Sarah at Yes and Yes
This blog never fails to inspire me to be a better person and live a better life.

8. Anna at Reminders of Love
Anna has such a kind soul, and I look forward to every post on her blog.

9. Micaela at Dolce Vita
I don't know if I have ever known a kinder, more empathic person.

10. Amber at .{aefilkins}.
Amber has some great blog series, like Friend-Making Monday, and she inspired me to start Shredding!

{off the top of my head}

1. Long walks on the beach (seriously!)

2. Skiing

3. My dog, Morris (when he's being a good boy)

4. Roller coasters

5. Jack Bauer on 24

6. Summer BBQ's

7. Singing at church

8. Dancing

9. Cruising, especially in the Caribbean

10. Spooning

{All images, except of Morris, via weheartit.}

Thankful Tuesday

True to my word, I'm back to post about three things that I'm grateful for or make me smile.

I'm relieved that I think I have found skis I want. I tried these out Sunday skiing at Sunday River, and I really got comfortable on them. The one hesitation is I was using 150cm length skis, which I felt were a little long. I'd like to try them in the 145 length -- even though I'm supposed to be skiing 150's.

I smiled this morning when the clouds parted just enough to let the sun shine through. I feel like I haven't seen the sun in weeks, even though I was skiing in the sunshine Saturday. I felt majorly drained, but the sun is lifting me up, both physically and emotionally.

I'm grateful to Cher at Love, Actually for this cookbook, that is in the mail on its way to me. That's right, this lucky girl won another giveaway! Cher's blog is such a lifesaver if you've hit a rut in your romantic relationship -- or even if you haven't and are looking for new ideas. She has such great ideas and tips, all easy and economical! Plus, she's calling Boston her home these days, and I love a Boston girl! I can't wait to start experimenting with these recipes, especially since I've been cooking for one lately.
Thanks Cher!

Monday, January 25, 2010

FMM: My Daybook

It's a rough Monday. I'm totally exhausted from skiing all weekend (although it was great!); my shoulders ache, my legs feel like spaghetti, and I'm sleepy. That would all be bearable if it was a sunny day, or even if snow was gracefully falling to the ground. Instead, we get pelting rain in high winds. Fantastic.

So, this version of Friend-Makin' Monday is perfect for me: no thought required!

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... gray, gloomy rain and wind.

I am thinking.... of how tired I am, and how I can't wait for this day to be over.

I am thankful... for my awesome skiing weekend!

I am praying... for those in Haiti.

I am reading... The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb (still), and all of your blogs!

I am creating... new customer notes for my job. {Boring, I know.}

From the kitchen... I have no idea. Going to try to hit up the grocery store after work.

Around the house... I have to vacuum, big time. Tomorrow.

One of my favorite things... Snow! Boo to this yucky rain.

A few plans for the rest of the week... dinner with a friend I haven't seen in almost a year Wed. night, and then hopefully Jed and I will finally be seeing Avatar this weekend!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Roses and Thorns

Happy Friday! TGIF! Seriously.
Quick lil post here, but I wanted to wish everyone a great weekend.
What are you up to? I love hearing your plans.
I'm sleeping over my parents' house tonight,
so me and lil sis can rise and shine in the AM to pick up my aunt
and drive up to Sunday River in Maine.
We're staying over Saturday night for two fun-filled days of skiing!

Now, on to the main event...

Roses to a little weekend trip in Maine for Sunday River skiing!

Roses for Friday! This four-day work-week has been the longest ever!

Roses to having the cutest dog ever; he's made me smile so much this week.

Roses for finally buying my own ski boots.

Roses to having a "financial plan."

Roses to just finding out that I MIGHT get a raise this year and actually be making what I'm supposed to (I'm at least $10k short of the quoted salary range for my position).

Thorns to feeling like I'm really going to miss Jed this weekend.

Thorns to Google Reader overwhelming me with new blogs this week!

Thorns to work's excuses.

Thorns to the dog using my door mat as a pee-pee pad.

Thorns for not taking Monday off to recover from this weekend's trip.

Thorns to laundry on a Friday afternoon.

{Images from K.Law: Inspired}

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Be still my heart.

I just saw this image on Great Full Day, and my heart skipped a beat, and my soul leapt for joy.

This is home to me.

This is where I need to be someday.

This is where I'm meant to be.

This is where my heart is at peace.

Happy thought

I love that it's 5 P.M., and it is still light outside. It reminds me that the days are getting longer as we move toward summer and more light to have fun by.

Winter sunsets are so beautiful and awe-inspiring.

HUGE smile

I mentioned blogging about my blessings the other day.

Including things that make me smile.

Well, this...

... put a HUGE smile on my face.

As I'm working, Morris is sleeping on the couch next to me.

I notice his tail is wagging.

Hee hee...

I think he was having sweet doggy dreams.

I love watching him sleep.

But then, he senses me watching him and wakes up.

And acts all annoyed, rubbing his eyes -- he's covering his face with his paw (too cute!).

And then he gives up and goes back to sleep.

Hoping I'll leave him be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I baked, without a box!

Last night, I made brownies -- from scratch! -- for Jed to bring into work for their daily "snack time" (apparently during busy season, accountants revert back to childhood; I know there's nap time too).

I never thought I was a baker, and I NEVER saw myself making any dessert from scratch. I rely on Betty Crocker all the way. But, this was fun, albeit a bit nerve-wracking since I was cooking for such discriminating guinea pigs, and I'm really proud of the way it turned out!

The prep: cookbook, all ingredients and all tools out and ready.

This is how it all started.
In that pan is an entire stick of butter + 3 oz. Ghiradelli unsweetened chocolate.
Yummmm... fat...

And this was the finished product: chocolate, cream-cheese brownies.
That is my new brownie pan my mother gave me for Christmas -- no more cutting brownies!

I meant to take pictures of all the steps in the middle...
But I got so caught up in what I was doing, I forgot!
So, this remains my "secret" recipe.

Now, I'm just waiting for the report cards to come back.

Photo help

I'm dedicating this post to Kathy at Mama's Losin' It! Because we bonded over this mutual problem and overwhelming feelings stemming from it. 
So, if you're also having panic attacks in the middle of the night because, like me, you have over 5,000 photos in your iPhoto library, and they are not backed up anywhere, read on! There is hope for organization!
I'm adding this to my list of 2010 resolutions: I will organize my digital photos (and maybe my old 35mm photos too).
The Photo Archivist

Michele Bender, freelance writer and mother of two, New York City

Digital Drawers to Die For

Michele’s home-office storage includes a drawer where cords and chargers live in tangle-free bliss. Just below is her showpiece: a photo filing system that holds a decade’s worth of family shots, beautifully organized on colorful CDs. Whenever Michele transfers images to discs, she deletes them from her iPhoto library.

Payoff: “Since having kids, the number of pictures I take is ridiculous,” says Michele. “My computer was so overloaded. Now, if the school needs a recent photo for my son’s cubby or a shot of my daughter as a baby, I don’t have to click through a thousand pictures. I know exactly where to look.”

Advice for technophobes: “Do it in pieces. If you wait till the end of the year, you’ll never get to it. When you go on a class trip, come home and put the images on a disc―it takes two seconds.”

Humbled by her habit: “I love having everything in order. It gives me a faux sense of control over my life. But my family always makes fun of me. When I say the word organize, my daughter puts her fingers in her ears. If my son wants candy, he’ll say, ‘I’ll let you organize my toys!’ ”

2 Ways to Create Your Own System

For digital images: Color-code your collection by storing discs in vibrant cases (slim jewel cases, $11.50 for 25, staples.com)―blue for parties, green for trips, and so on. Use empty cases positioned vertically and marked by the year as dividers; they’ll extend about a half inch above the others.

For old-school snapshots: Mail photos to ScanCafe.com and get them back in digitized form. About 1,200 images (from 29 cents a photo) fit on a DVD; CDs hold far fewer. The company touches up images in a climate-controlled facility monitored 24/7 by armed guards. You can track your precious cargo online every step of the way, and the originals are returned when the process is complete.

{Article & images via Real Simple}

Wishful Wednesday: Gown

Wishful Wednesday
'I wish' .... I could have worn the gown that Cameron Diaz wore at the 67th Annual Golden Globes Award!

I think Cameron looked the most elegant and classy of all the women I've seen on the red carpet. Her red dress was tasteful and chic. (And it matched her umbrella!) The color compliments her and doesn't wash out her fair complexion. The cap sleeves and cowl neck are charming additions to a simple satin gown.

And the classic style didn't end with the dress. She carried the look down to her amazing Ferragamo satin peep-toe pumps. I adore these shoes! Not only did they compliment her gown, but they are versatile enough to keep in your closet for other looks and events.

I even love her hairstyle! The messy bun is sophisticated without being overly polished, and the sparkly accents add just the right amount of bling to an otherwise beautifully simple ensemble.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Count your blessings

I read somewhere today that a surefire way to stay upbeat and happy is to be grateful, we all know this. The article also suggested noting three things daily that you are grateful for, make you smile or make you happy.

I'm going to start small and commit to Thankful Tuesdays. You may, I hope, start to see daily posts on this. We'll call the new tag "blessings."

No better time than the present, they say, so...

1. I always smile when Morris rests his head on my knee. He did this last night in bed.

2. I'm so thankful for the tech guys at work who never fail to help me out of a jam; in today's case, resetting my password remotely so I could log into my computer from home when my passwords had expired.

3. Yoga refreshes me so much! Just 15 minutes makes me feel more relaxed, taller and stronger.

{Images via Google Images}

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making a Difference Monday

This is my first time participating in this series, created by Carrie at [carrotspeak.], but I have been so impressed at the outpouring of charity and thoughtfulness in the past week that I felt I had to post something.

I like to think I make a difference, somewhere, somehow, to someone, every day. It's not always note-worthy, but I like to think my actions matter. We all do.

Well, this week, I stepped it up a tiny notch because I was so touched by the terrifying earthquake that struck Haiti last week. I have never been to Haiti, but I've been hoping to stop there for a day on a cruise in the future. I've traveled to over a half dozen Caribbean islands, and the images I took in my head on the poorest of those islands remains with me. While they may not have been the most beautiful islands or the islands I had the most fun on, they were the islands that touched me and, I believe, made me a better person.

So, I felt the need to help the Haitians in whatever small way I could. After researching the Red Cross cell phone donation to make sure it wasn't a scam, I texted "Haiti" to 90999 on my cell phone to contribute $10. My only regret is that, as I heard on the radio this morning, the Red Cross has to wait for everyone to pay their phone bills to actually get this money! But, the campaign was hugely successful.

Then, I read on a Greatful Day how an Etsy seller was donating $10 from the sale of each of her beautiful "Blessed" necklaces to Compassion's work in the Haiti disaster relief effort.

Isn't it pretty? I promptly ordered one, and I'm thinking of ordering a second to give as a gift.

I wish I could do more. I wish I could volunteer and fly down to Haiti to hand out clean water, or help connect children with their parents, or save all of the abandoned animals. But the only other thing I can do is pray, and I will most certainly do that. Lord, please watch over your children in Haiti and provide them with strength and comfort in this desperate time of need.

I also wanted to share this lovely act of kindness from Micaela at Dolce Vita.

What does waterless hand sanitzer, refreshing mist spray, pillow spray and ultra-moisturizing body lotion from Bath&Body Works do? Micaela, who has a brother fighting over in Iraq for this country, learned there were women over there she could help. She obtained the names and addresses of three of them and sent them this lovely care packa sanitizer ge of thoughtful "girly" things to make their time over there a bit more pleasant. This act of thoughtfulness just blew me away! I hope these women have sweet dreams sleeping on lavender-scented pillows, feel refreshed from the dry desert air after using their mist, stay healthy because of their sweet-smelling hand, and maintain comfortable skin using some lush lotion.

Calling all you lovers out there!

You must check out this blog:

This woman gives the most creative, fun ideas for you and your special someone.

From 12 minutes of healthy things to do with your partner


retro date night ideas


amazing giveaways!

I'm looking forward to trying out some of these ideas myself!

Shhh... don't tell Jed where I got them. ;-)

FMM: Projects

With the new year here, and resolutions & organizational goals in full force, what are some of the projects on your list? Are you working on any specific projects around the house, such as purging, organizing, craft projects, home improvement projects? Share with us! {And hopefully you'll be sharing the before & afters on your blogs, so we know what we can tune in for!!}

There are a couple of things we hope to do around the house this year.

1. Fence in the backyard.

2. Build a deck, either off the side door or in the back, or both!

3. And maybe plant a nice lawn in the backyard.

But, my personal project is a little more personal.

I simply want to be a better me. That involves multiple little projects, which you can see in this FMM post. I think these will be the best projects I complete all year.