I find myself reading very few 'Best Of' lists this year. I don't know why. Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic for last year when I got to put 'I was on MTV' on my own 'best of' list. Ah, 2010. The glory days.

For real though, 2011 was a weird, roller coaster year. Call it growing pains. Being 24 is not easy. I struggled with my living situation, my relationships, and keeping the balance between work and life.

That being said, I'm trying to look on the bright side. Diablo Cody once wrote that the year was like a Sham-Wow - prone to occasional suckage, but mostly bright. 2011 was kinda like that.
  • I watched the Cards win a World Series, and getting my picture taken with a few of the players
  • I went on an amazing trip to Colorado
  • I found Pinterest
  • I started to do outfit photos
  • My mom got a new puppy
  • I watched some great friends walk down the aisle
  • I saw my Dad fly a helicopter
  • I spent many a weekend at the lake
  • I had an amazing summer in St. Louis
  • I went on my first grown-up fishing and camping trips
  • I joined the board of directors of the Lindbergh Schools Foundation
  • I visited with my best friends when they came in town to visit (now I just need to repay the favor!)
  • We moved in to a new office. However, I have a feeling that no matter where I was working from, coming to work at Atomicdust everyday would be an amazing privilege. 
  • I went on a 'work' trip to Baltimore
  • The boy and I enjoyed planty of impromptu winery trips, movie dates and fancy dinners. 
I'm ready for 2012. Bring it. 


Holiday Hangover

Sorry I've been MIA. We're off all week and my big plans of reading, writing and 2012 planning turned int me laying in bed, watching The Wire. All. Day. Long. Oops.

If you must know (I must! I must!), I had a very happy holiday. My whole family was in town, plus the boy's whole family, so it was a crazy week of family gatherings and lots of lunch/dinner dates. And presents, lots of presents. I got boots, a winter coat, loads of new socks, a blender, a couple books and so much more.... I'm pretty sure it was everything I asked for and more.

Now, I'm in Rome/Morocco planning/packing/freak out mode. Eeks.


Twas the Week Before Christmas...

{shuffleboard rules at my work office party]
{red and green swirl cupcakes}
{that moment when you realize you won't be able to tell any of your presents apart}
{a 'to do' list for my 'break'}
{running on doubles this week}

I Must Learn...

"I must learn: There doesn’t have to be a word for everything, you don’t have to talk so much, think so much, carry so much, care so much, reveal so much. I must learn: Take small bites, pause, breathe, savor."


Hey Universe

sweater and jeans from Target. necklace from Spike the Punch. boots by Chinese Laundry.

I think the universe is out of whack.

Not only is it 60 degrees and rainy... in December... in St. Louis, but I took forever getting ready this morning because I was distracted by the Today Show's announcement of Time's Person of the Year and story on Ugly Holiday Sweaters; I think I need new tires because my car was skidding all over the road this morning; I accidentally took an almost two-hour lunch today, where I got egg yolk on my red jeans; and I'm wishing it was about 10am instead of 5pm because I still have so much work to do before today, and this week is over.

Seriously, universe. Go back to normal.


Be Awesome.

"People always say, “Be humble, be humble, be humble.” When’s the last time somebody told you, “Be great, be amazing, be awesome?” Be awesome. BE AWESOME."
— Kanye West - Watch The Throne Tour, December 12, 2011 - Staples Center
via Gabi


At Least One Of Us Is Ready

I'm so not ready for Christmas already.... Sure, I have most of my presents all bought and/or shipping. I've got all the bags/wrapping paper I need. I moved my annual holiday party to my parents' house so I don't have to clean or put up decorations (don't judge me). But the fact that the holidays are just about 10 days away? And then New Year's the week after that? And then Rome and Morocco the week after that?



Home Improvement

black jeans from Target. jacket from Ann Taylor. boots by Steve Madden. scarf by Van Heusen.

The last two weekends have been filled with cleaning and moving... and cleaning again. Pictures to come, but I moved my 'TV room' up from my basement into my formerly-vacant front room; rearranged the furniture in my room; got a new shower curtain, rug and accessories for my bathroom; and framed a whole bunch of pictures (notice I did not say 'hang a whole bunch of pictures'). Needless to say, I'm exhausted.

Which is why I'm totally Grinch-ing it and not putting up Christmas decorations this year. Oops.


I went to the Bob Seger concert on Friday. The boy is a big, big fan. And now... so am I.


Looking Forward to the Weekend

dress, belt and tights from Target. cardigan from Old Navy. boots by Chinese Laundry. 

Things I'm looking forward to this weekend....
  • Bob Seger concert tonight with the boy!
  • laying on my couch in my 75 degree apartment (yey for a fixed furnace! note the furnace filters in the photo above...)
  • a little home improvement - buying (and hanging) frames, a new shower curtain & a bath rug, kitchen rugs and area rug for the TV room 
  • all so that I can out up Christmas decorations! I can't wait. 
Happy Friday, folks. 


I Had A Nervous Breakdown


black sweater from Gap. jeans from Target. boots by Steve Madden. scarf from Weathervane (RIP. I loved that store.)

Last night, I had a nervous breakdown inside a Walmart. 

I went there for a rug and to get fixings for dinner. They didn't have the rug I was looking for, nor did they have the fixings I needed for dinner. I filled my cart with things I didn't necessarily need or want. I tried thinking of other things I could make for dinner out of their severely limited grocery selection. I abandoned my cart about four times, intending to leave, before I finally parked it in the sock aisle and high-tailed it outta there. (Apologies to the poor worker who had to return all my items to their correct shelves all over the store...).

I'm not sure what happened. I've been second guessing a lot of decisions lately and I think that it really got to me. I didn't know what I wanted. I didn't know if the things I wanted were really worth it. I didn't know if I was even in the position to be saying I wanted certain things. (Is there a term for the equivalent of 'vague-booking' on a blog? 'Vague-blogging?')

And now that I'm thinking of it.... I might need to rethink how I categorize things on the blog. Turns out, pretty much every one of my posts is becoming a random rant.


This Weekend

denim shirt by Miley for Walmart. black jeans from Target. boots by Chinese Laundry. messy hair courtesy a windy morning on the porch...
  • I hung out with friends at Pour House
  • I saw the Muppets with my parents
  • I shopped at STL Style and All Along Press for the Cherokee Street Print League Holiday Sale
  • I had beer biscuits and gravy at Benton Park Cafe
  • I played too many rounds of catchphrase
  • I moved my 'TV room' from the basement up to my front room
  • I drank coffee while the boy napped
  • I enjoyed a delicious three-course meal (and bottle of wine) at The Block
and I'd like to go back. Weekends just aren't long enough sometimes.

Sunday Dinner at The Block

Important question: How long has The Block been open? And why on earth didn't anyone tell me about it?!

The Block is a new(ish?) establishment in Webster Groves that has a unique twist - it's a restaurant and butcher shop. And it's gooooooood
We were starved, so what started off as a quick dinner before Sunday night TV started turned into a three-course meal and a bottle of wine. For starters, we had the potted pig appetizer. Pork confit + cranberry and apple chutney + bread + pickled veggies. Oh lord. So good. 
Our entrees were heavy on the meat (of course). He had the chef's cut beef (which was a ribeye) with garlic herb fries, and I had the pork chop with sweet potato + bacon hash and braised greens. 
You'd think we'd be stuffed, right? Of course we were. But we couldn't resist the bread pudding. Banana + walnut + chocolate and a little dollop of vanilla ice cream? How can you say no to that?
And I just have to add - I had read a few Yelp review before I went and people seemed to be blasting the beer menu, saying it was too short. I actually think it's pretty decent - maybe eight or so of the typical brews (Bud Light, Sam Adams, etc.) and eight or so local breweries. And a lot of people failed to mention that they have a pretty extensive wine list. Maybe the 'bar and butcher' part of the name throws people off to thinking this is more of a pub atmosphere. It's not. It's fine dining. I love beer.... but I most certainly enjoyed a glass of red wine with my pork chop.

Meat lover? Go to The Block. Thank me later. 

New City Ordinance

black top from New York & Company. black cardigan, olive jeans from Target. boots by Chinese Laundry. earrings from Apricot Lane. assorted silver bracelets. 

Text from an old friend I got Friday afternoon...
'new city ordinance: gotta get down on Friday!'
Couldn't have said it better myself. This weekend gave me some much-needed family time, friend time, house-cleaning time and (perhaps most importantly,) me time.


Today (And Some Boyfriend Praise)

white shirt is Liz Clairborne. black cardigan from Old Navy. jeans from Target. boots by Chinese Laundry. necklace by Van Heusen.

He's going to hate me for this... But I have the best boyfriend.

I've been distant. I've been crabby. I've been an all-around jerk the last few days. And he's been nice to me. He watches TV with me. He makes me laugh. He plays with my dog. He makes me delicious butternut squash soup and acorn squash with brown sugary goodness and toasts the seeds so that they taste like popcorn.

How did I get so lucky?

Yesterday (And Some Deep Reflection)

dress, tights and belt from Target. cardigan from Tommy Hilfiger. boots by Chinese Laundry. necklace by Scarlett Garnet

It's been a long couple of days. On top of being busy at work, it being 30 degrees outside and the holidays approaching, a good friend of mine lost her father last weekend.

It's made me think a lot of my own life, my own family, my own faith. Her dad was young, younger than both my parents, in fact. He was healthy. He was vibrant and full of life and he was taken too soon.

This past Thanksgiving, I was searching for an excuse not to go to our annual morning football game. I really just wanted to sleep in, hang out with my dog and boyfriend and not be rushed to get ready for the day. I ended up going (because the boy told me he had been looking forward to playing) and I remember thinking about how much the game meant to my Dad. And that, God forbid, if something happened to him this year, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I had skipped out on one last football game with him just to sleep in an extra hour or two.

My friend's family plays football on Thanksgiving too. And that's the last time they'll get to play football with their Dad.

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