Monday, September 18, 2017

monday five

When Matt and I bought our house, we knew it needed a lot of updates, the biggest being our kitchen.  My mom, sister and I went to D.C. the summer after we bought the house and we joked about how our kitchen could go to the National Museum of American History.  

I knew it would be a lot of work to remodel, but I don't think I really processed that I would be doing a lot of that work.  But, we are about two weeks in and I am here to tell you that remodeling a gigantic, 60 year old kitchen is A. LOT. OF. WORK.  Our cabinets arrive on October 4th, so we are trying to get as much done as possible before then.

We did some work Friday night, went to Lowe's, and when I woke up on Saturday morning, Matt had the following items ready and waiting in the kitchen:

-abreakfast sandwich
-a gigantic pot of coffee
-12 sheets of drywall

We hung drywall on the back walls and it already looks like a different room.  It might not seem like a big deal, but when you live for 18 months with brown and gold wallpaper featuring actual jugs of cider, bare drywall is amazing.

My eyes have never been so relaxed.

Anyway, I don't have the brain power to come up with a whole post of words, so I thought I'd take the easy way out and talk about five things that made me happy this weekend.

1 - This sunset at Lowe's on Friday night.  

“There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” 

2 - On the way home from Lowe's, Alanis Morissette's Ironic came on the radio.  I started singing along and I asked Matt if he knew who sings it.  "Of course I do," he said, "it's your girl Reba.  It's the one about all her friends that died in a plane crash."

Well, I am positively thrilled that he referred to Reba as "my girl."  However, that was your one chance Fancy and you let me down with the song content.

3 - We took a kitchen break on Saturday afternoon and Matt cut the lawn and I went to the mall.  I got all of the following for $89.   

4 - Penn State won their game (and is currently ranked #4!) and my siblings are tweeting again.  

5 - My Friday ended lousy at work.  But, I scheduled vacation for the days between Christmas and New Year's and I will have TEN DAYS OFF IN A ROW.  I cannot even wait.  95 days to go.  

But who's counting.  


I plan to spend those ten days sitting in my new kitchen.  In my bargain priced neutrals.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

matt can blame cold medicine for his faux-pas. i've got no excuse.

I ran to Target last night because I heard their home decor was on clearance to make room for the new line by Chip and Joanna Gaines.  Also, Matt is in the throes of a terrible cold, so I had to re-stock on the necessities.

Reese's peanut butter cups and wine.

Oh and Theraflu.

After work yesterday I sniffled a little bit and Matt said, "Oh, no.  Are you coming down with the same cold?  I'll prep you with the timeline.  You will feel sick for one week, and then the normalization process will begin, and you can expect that to take about 3 weeks."

So by my calculation that means the common cold will knock him out for an entire month.  And also, what is the "normalization process?"  Matt invented an on the spot explanation that it has something to do with taste buds regenerating and overall recovery going from 90% to 100%.  That last 10% is, apparently, no joke.

Matt said the cold medicine made him feel better, but tonight he started with some labored (and dramatic) breathing, and said, "Uh-oh, you know what this means.  My areolas aren't working properly."

Whoa boy.  That's a WHOLE different kind of illness.

I cracked up and said "I don't think areola is the word you're looking for!" 

 "Maybe not," he said, "but I know it starts with 'a' and ends with an 'ola.'

"I think you mean alveoli," I said.  One entire year of college nursing, all paid off in that moment.

"That's it!"  he said, "I knew it was another Italian word."
Tonight we laughed at one of Matt's mistake, but last week we were laughing at one of mine.  We have been talking constantly about the devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida.  Just last weekend when we ripped the drywall out of our kitchen and I was tempted to complain because it was messy and dusty and tedious, I thought about all those people in Texas ripping drywall out of their homes because they'd been completely flooded, and here I was ripping it out to get a brand new kitchen.

Anyway, we were talking about the three active hurricanes: Irma, Jose, and Katia.  I remarked about how I could not believe Katia was already well into the gulf, while her alphabetical predecessors, Irma and Jose, were still way out in the Atlantic.

"I just don't understand how Katia got so far past them.  That must be one fast moving storm," I pondered.

Matt looked at me quizzically.  "It's because Katia formed in the gulf.  You know hurricanes can form all over the place, right?  There is no universal starting line, it's not a race."

Well, hmm.  I'd never thought about in that respect.  I always imagined there was in fact a starting line for hurricanes, and it was the bottom right of my television screen.

I guess we should leave the tough stuff to the experts.

Monday, September 11, 2017

what i read: september edition

I'm linking up today with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your books.  For the second month in a row I only read two books.  

First up is Fly Away by Kristin Hannah.

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate---to be there for Kate's children---but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.
Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother's death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.
Dorothy Hart---the woman who once called herself Cloud---is at the center of Tully's tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter's side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.
A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another---and maybe a miracle---to transform their lives.
This is the first book I've read by Kristin Hannah and I know a lot of people love her.  Let me start with the positives.  I think the cover is so pretty that I want to frame it and hang it in my house.  As for the actual content, it wasn't my favorite.  Each chapter was written from the perspective of a different character, and it jumped back and forth in time.  On more than one occasion I felt like I was re-reading the exact same thing I'd read 50 pages before.  I actually went back and forth to compare page numbers because I thought I might have gotten a faulty book!  The plot was okay.  Nothing great and I was kind of relived when it was over.

And of course, I couldn't end the summer without reading an Elin Hilderbrand.

Claire has a problem with setting limits. All her life she has taken on every responsibility, assumed every burden, granted every request. Claire wants it all--and in the eyes of her friends, she has it: a devoted husband, four beautiful children, even a successful career as an artist. So when she agrees to chair the committe for Nantucket's social event of the year, she knows she can handle it. Claire can handle anything.

But when planning the gala propels her into the orbit of billionaire Lock Dixon, unexpected sparks begin to fly. Lock insists on working closely with Claire--often over a bottle of wine--and before long she can't ignore the subtle touches and lingering looks. To her surprise, she can't ignore how they make her feel, either. Claire finds the gala, her life, and herself spinning out of control.

A Summer Affair captures the love, loss, and limbo of an illicit romance and unchecked passion as it takes us on a brave and breathless journey into the heart of one modern woman.

This book won't win any literary awards, but much like The Bachelor, the drama sucked me right in.  If you're looking for a fantastic piece of literary greatness, this is not the book for you.  If you're looking for a mindless read about people whose lives are far more dramatic than you'd ever want yours to be, give it a try.

I am going to the library tomorrow and have a whole list of books to look for thanks to posts from this link-up.  Have you read any of them?

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Celine by Peter Heller
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
That Night by Chevy Stevens
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Friday, September 8, 2017

there's a dumpster in my driveway, and hope in my heart

I had high hopes for a beautiful Labor Day weekend, an extra day off, and some time at the beach.  But, that didn't happen because I had to work on Friday, and Saturday dawned cold and rainy.  Matt and I decided to finish up our little living room remodel, which we started right after Memorial Day, but who’s counting?

Me.  I’m counting.

We installed the new baseboards, bought a rug, and then sat in the living room and admired our handiwork.  I still need to put up decorations and do a few final finishing touches, but the room has come a long way.

This is what it looked like when we bought the house.

The weather wasn’t much better on Sunday, so we went to the store to buy a new air conditioner for the kitchen and then Matt decided to start demolition.  There's no turning back now.

On Monday, I decided I would tackle wallpaper removal.  I created a little itinerary for the day in my head, and set aside three hours for wallpaper removal, because I am a fool who forgot about the painful master bedroom wallpaper removal of January ’16 and the fact that it takes many, many, many, DEFINITELY NOT JUST THREE, hours.

You know how much progress I had made in three hours?  I’d gotten about 3 square feet removed.


I’d also sliced my finger on the scraper thing whose technical name I cannot remember at this moment.  I want to say scalpel but I know that’s not right since I wasn’t operating on anyone.   

The hours ticked by and finally at 4:15 I decided I’d go to the store to buy decorations for the living room.  I went to about 4 stores and left every one empty-handed because I was overwhelmed with the thoughts of shelves and gallery walls and is there such a thing as too many mirrors?

A high point of the weekend was that the local rock radio station does a back to school A-Z special every year, and it started last Friday.  They play their entire library of music in alphabetical order and it takes about ten days.  Matt and I enjoyed listening and racing to see who could name the artist first.  Matt kept thinking he could stump me but I continuously surprised him by knowing, among other, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steely Dan, and The Doors, like I didn't grow up with my parents playing the same music his dad did.

The low point of the weekend was probably when I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash came on, and Matt said, "Hey, it's George Thorogood! Or is this Bob Dylan?"

However, he did know a Heart song so that might cancel out the Johnny Cash mix-up.

Speaking of old classics, we’ve found all sorts of things in our kitchen.  The kitchen is an addition to the back of the house that the previous owner built about fifty years ago.  When we ripped away the window woodwork, we found cardboard shoved in instead of a shim.  Upon further inspection, it was actually a recipe card.

Pudding, anyone? 

(Also, I feel the need to tell you that nail polish situation has been rectified.  Shameful.)

We also discovered a hole in the floor that had simply been stuffed with old newspaper.  In case anyone was wondering what was going on in Philadelphia on April 6, 1979, I can tell you.

I also know how old two of their kids were in 1968.

Here is where the kitchen progress stands as of tonight.  As you can see, I've waved the white flag of wallpaper removal and new drywall will be installed tomorrow.

We have a lot of work ahead of us this weekend.  Hopefully no more injuries.  And lots of good music.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

people are interesting

I didn't check my work email one time over the long weekend, and then I opened my computer yesterday morning only to realize I had an out of town meeting at 9:00 this morning.


I scrambled to get a rental car reservation and arranged for a pickup last night. Because Enterprise picks you up, just as their slogan claims.

My mom also picks me up, and she usually does for rental car drop-offs.  But she is a teacher and yesterday was her first day back to school, and my reservation was extremely last minute, so I decided to get a ride with Enterprise.  Stevie and his Honda Odyssey showed up in my driveway promptly at 5:15, and he was the most cheerful person I've come across in a long time.  

We got to talking about the weather, and Stevie told me that he was looking forward to experiencing his first winter in Pennsylvania, because he just moved here six months ago from New York City.  He said he loves Pennsylvania so far, it seems so calm and relaxed compared to NYC.  I asked Stevie what brought him to suburban Philadelphia.

"Well," he said, "a woman."

He asked me if I was traveling for work (yes) and what I do (child welfare) and then he told me that he spent the last 17 years working in the medical examiners office in New York City.  He has his bachelor's degree in mortuary science, his master's degree in forensics.  

He worked in the medical examiner's office in New York City on 9/11.

I cannot even imagine and he said he will never be the same.

He said that when he moved here and became a service manager with Enterprise, people in his life kept asking him if he was going to try to get a job in his field.  He said no, he is 54 years old and doesn't want to be surrounded by death anymore.  He vacuums cars,picks people up and drops them off, and finally doesn't think about his work when he goes home at night.

Stevie told me many stories about his time as a medical examiner, including one which I'm not sure is true or not, but he claimed his team was performing an autopsy on a homeless man and when they opened him up A RAT JUMPED OUT OF HIM.   He said an intern got sick to her stomach when she saw it and had to quit, and as someone who fainted in freshman year nursing biology lab when I saw a blood cell under a microscope, I can sympathize.

I wonder if that intern changed her mind and got an English degree like I did.

Anyway, he also said he saw some famous people, including Aaliyah and Keith Ledger.

I think he meant Heath.  Heath Ledger.

Stevie also had many memorable quotes, including but not limited to "Some medical examiners make a 'U' cut.  Some make a butterfly cut.  But once that first cut is made, you just crack those ribs and fillet it like a fish.

And "I will never forget the first burned body I saw.  I ain't never eat anything off a grill again."

You may be wondering how far we traveled for Stevie to have enough time to tell me all these stories.  About three miles.  First of all, he talked fast.

Second of all, there was an awkward moment when we stopped for a train crossing, and then the train passed and the railroad arms went back up, and Stevie did not proceed forward into the intersection.

For about eight to ten minutes.  

He just kept that Odyssey in park and told me about autopsies and what happens to a body as it decomposes.  After opposing traffic went through two or three light cycles, I gently suggested that Stevie move the old Odyssey up a few hundred feet to trigger the sensor to turn the light green.

"No, no," he said, "This is a weird intersection.  The stop bar is very far back.  The light must be malfunctioning or something."

Stevie.  You may have spent decades in the Big Apple but I have spent my entire 29 years in this town.  I know how this intersection works.  Finally a car that had been sitting (and sitting, and sitting) behind us passed us (illegally and quickly) and Stevie followed suit.
As we pulled into the Enterprise parking lot, Stevie wished me good luck at my meeting, reminded me not to lose heart even when work is depressing, and NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT AT NIGHT.

Its almost like he knows my new birthday motto.

I got back from my meeting around 6 tonight, and Matt picked me up at Enterprise.  Stevie was great, but I'll admit, after a long day I sure was happy to see Matt in his old F-150.  He even had dinner ready when we got home.  

And it wasn't grilled.

Monday, September 4, 2017

sibling rivalry take 3, alternatively titled, is he working for national geographic or something?

I was going to write a post about our long weekend, but my left index finger is currently bandaged up because I had a run-in with a wallpaper scraper earlier this afternoon.  Typing is a bit cumbersome and I'm experiencing an unusually high number of typos.

For example, I initially typed infex dinger up above, instead of index finger.  On second thought, maybe I should type a long post.  I bet it would be a riot.

Anyway, last weekend, I went to the zoo with my brother and his family.  We hadn't done a photo challenge in  a while, so we decided to do one at the zoo and see who could take the five best photos.  As soon as Phil emailed his photos to me, I knew who the winner would be.  But, since this is my blog, I'm just going to share this extra photo because while I may not have taken the best pictures of the day, I'm pretty sure I took the cutest one.

Below are the real contest pics.  You can vote for your favorite in the comments and the winner gets $50 and a behind the scenes tour of the zoo.

Totally made that up.  The winner gets zero dollars and bragging rights.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

everything you never wanted to know

The other day I thought maybe I'd do another day in the life post, because I'll be honest, the material around here lately has been pretty slim.  Emily needs to come back from college and Matt needs to do something funny so I have something to write about.

Yesterday I woke up around 6:15 when Matt started getting ready for work.  He typically sings in the morning, but he must have sensed my Monday morning mood because there was no musical accompaniment.  He did have an original, catchy song the other night which I have since been singing non-stop.  It goes a little something like this:

It's the holidays,
and I'm coming at you,
live from Times Square.
We're gonna party like no other.
We're in our underwear.

First of all, no we're not.

Second of all, Matt has the best rhymes.

After Matt left for work, around 6:35, I hopped in the shower.  I don't eat breakfast (I know, most important meal of the day), but after my shower I poured a giant mug of coffee.  I ran the dishwasher, packed my lunch box for the day, read a little bit, and worked on a blog post.  This weekend I moved my desk to be under the window and I'm really enjoying the new placement.

I'm probably about to become 47 times more productive.

Around 7:50, I got dressed and ready for work. I had a 9:30 meeting about 40 minutes away, but I like to be early so I left at 8:30.  Do you know how long it took me to get there, thanks to the PennDOT crews who were trimming trees and only had one lane open on the highway?  TWO. HOURS.

Luckily the person I was meeting with was very flexible, so we just met when I got there and finished up around 12:50.  After that I had to stop and get gas and then drove to another office to work for the afternoon.  I parked on the roof of the parking garage because this is the same office where I had the rat sighting.  Since then, I have been parking on the roof and taking the stairs down, instead of the elevator.  My thought process is that at least if I see a rat in the stairs, I can run away.  If one crawls into the elevator with me, I'm stuck.

The stairwell is really beautiful.

When I got inside I practically ran to the kitchen to microwave my lunch because I was starving and wishing I'd eaten breakfast.  I share an office there, and one of the lawyers was there so we chatted and I worked for the afternoon.  No exciting pictures of that except for this one, which is technically from last week.  I got a free Starbucks coupon for my birthday, so I went to the Starbucks in our local grocery store to redeem it.  After I'd ordered my coffee they told me they didn't accept the birthday coupons.  I had my heart set on the drink so I got it anyway, but holy cow, fancy Starbucks drinks are not cheap.

I left the office at 4:00, and in total contrast to the morning, there was no traffic on my way home! I was home at about 4:35 and got started on dinner.  I went with an easy one, just chicken stir fry and rice.

While dinner cooked, I emptied the dishwasher, cut up some strawberries for a snack this week, and threw in a load of laundry.  Matt got home around 5:15 and we ate at about 6.  After dinner we went out back to let the chickens out for a bit and get veggies from the garden.  There were a bunch of peppers ready but we decided to give them another day and just picked some tomatoes.

When we came back inside, I switched around the laundry, and Matt and I looked online at flooring options for the kitchen renovation project.

Around 7:00 I went for a walk, which is my very favorite part of the day.  It was a beautiful, cool night and I almost wished I'd brought a sweatshirt! In August! Sometimes I listen to podcasts and other times I listen to music.  Last night I listened to Bruce Hornsby because there's nothing like a little "On the Western Skyline" on a Monday evening.

After my walk I sat on the patio until the sun set completely, and then we hung out in the kitchen for a while.

(Sawhorses out because I am in the midst of painting woodwork.)

I grabbed the laundry from the dryer and took it up to my office and folded while I watched some of the news from Houston about the flooding.  The devastation is almost impossible to comprehend.

Matt went to bed, but I was hungry so I made a little snack and folded the second load of laundry.  Even if I don't get any chores done for the rest of the week, having two loads of wash done on Monday makes me feel productive.

I went to bed a little bit after 10:00, right after I moved Matt's slippers, which remained on the steps and made it look like he'd disappeared into thin air.

(The side of the steps will look better once the woodwork I painted on those sawhorses is installed.  The carpet color is another story.)

I wonder if the slippers will make the trip to Times Square.

Friday, August 25, 2017

i can't believe i waited 29 years to try chicken and waffles

My birthday was last Friday so I decided to take the day off and make it a three day weekend.

I was going to kick off the celebrating by doing one of my favorite thing, sleeping in.  But I woke up at the crack of 5:55 a.m., so I had plenty of time to do my second favorite thing, sit on the patio and read and sip my coffee.

Except it was hot and cloudy and with about 812% humidity.

So, I just waited around and curled my hair which was a complete waste because did I mention 812% humidity?

My weird hair and I picked my sister up and we headed out for breakfast.  I got a giant plate of chicken and waffles and washed it down with a chocolate chip shake-a-chino, because I decided to start the year off on a healthy note.  Emily also went the nutritious route, and ordered the most decadent french toast I've ever seen and a Reese's peanut butter hot chocolate.

Right after we took this photo, someone came over to Emily and told her how pretty she is. I'm sad to report that I did not receive any compliments from strangers, so after we finished breakfast we walked right over to Ulta to try to find something to make me beautiful and cover up the dark under-eye circles with which I've recently been plagued.

While we wandered around, I told Emily that I'd decided on my new life motto for the year.  Things have been stressful at work lately and I haven't been sleeping great, so I told her my motto was going to be "Don't worry about it at all, but certainly don't worry about it in the middle of the night."

I think that might be the solution to my under-eye circle problem for ZERO DOLLARS.

After Ulta, we went to Kohl's to get Emily a nice shirt to wear with dress pants and a business suit because senior year of college requires job fairs and career dinners.  While we shopped I shared career advice with her, the main piece of advice being, "Lots of people are going to be smart enough and qualified enough to do the job.  Be the person that the hiring manager LIKES and WANTS to do the job.  Sometimes being friendly and a hard worker can get you farther than credentials on your resume."

I might have borrowed that particular piece of advice from my dad, but he's a very successful guy and so far it's served me well, so I think he's on to something.

Matt and I had talked about going out for dinner, but I decided that I'd rather cook a nice dinner (hello, 29!) so I made this and we really enjoyed it.  Matt brought home a cake and presents and after dinner we went to sit out on the patio and we looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow.

It was a good way to end the day, and start the year.

Monday, August 21, 2017

the eclipse really shed some light on some things

Well, it's almost as if the producers of the local ABC station read my last blog post, because when I checked in this afternoon I saw the headline, "Emotional Moment as Adam Joseph Experiences Total Solar Eclipse."

I clicked that link and while Adam didn't have a total breakdown, he sure enough did tear up on camera as he reported on the eclipse.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I had a meeting in an office with no windows at 2:00, but luckily it was a quick meeting and I was back outside and on the roof of the parking garage where I'd strategically parked at the peak time of 2:44 p.m.  I didn't have glasses or a fancy cereal box viewing mechanism, but someone in the office told me you could take a photo on selfie mode and then look at the photo and see the eclipse.

I did just that, but as I was taking my photos, my boss called, so obviously I had to end the photo shoot and take the call.  When I got home, I texted my brother to see if he'd gotten any good eclipse shots.

Of course he had.

Then I remembered I'd taken my own with my selfie camera, and I am about to present you with the best photo of Solar Eclipse 2017.


There are so many terrible things about this photo, not the least of which is the fact that I DID NOT EVEN GET THE WHOLE SUN IN THE FRAME.

In that moment I felt a camaraderie with Adam Joseph, in that the eclipse also made me want to cry.  And then perhaps call a cosmetic surgeon to inquire about an eye lift and some botox.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

i hope the actual eclipse is more dramatic than this article was

I am a major local news fan, and the local ABC affiliate is my station of choice.  Don't even try to talk to me about NBC 10, CBS 3, or heaven forbid, Fox 29.  It was almost a deal breaker when I found out Matt was a CBS loyalist.  Don't worry, I've since converted him.

I grew up watching 6 ABC, and I know to this day if I call my mom and say, "Did you see Rick and Monica today?" she will immediately know I'm talking about Rick Williams and Monica Malpass, the noon and 5 pm anchors.

One of my favorite on-air moments was during Hurricane Sandy, when one meteorologist, Cecily, called another one, Adam Joseph, a moron when he was struggling with his mic.  Except Cecily's mic was still on, so her remark was broadcast for all to hear.  And then to make it more awkward, the old, wise anchor tried to smooth it over by explaining that Cecily was simply offering Adam her mic and had said, "Do you want MINE ON?"

Even though all of the Philadelphia area heard her clearly say moron.


Anyway, last night I was checked the weather and saw this headline, "Adam Joseph's Eclipse Forecast Breakdown."

I don't think I've ever clicked on anything faster, because I thought it was going to be Adam Joseph having a breakdown.  Over the eclipse forecast.

No, he was just breaking down the forecast.

To-may-to, To-mah-to.

Or, moron, mine on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

emily is as honest as i am vain

I had off last Wednesday and went to my brother's to see my niece and new baby nephew.  That has nothing to do with the rest of this post but I'm only including it so I can show you a picture of the cutest baby ever.

Now that that's out of the way, my sister and I went to my uncle's one afternoon to swim in his pool.  It's just too bad it doesn't look like a five star resort.

Oh wait, it does.

Matt gave me an underwater camera for my birthday before our vacation to Punta Cana two years ago, so I thought I'd bring it along to the pool because how often can you use that feature?  Emily and I had a grand old time taking underwater videos of ourselves jumping in and swimming around pictures of the frogs that were in the pool.  

Then I decided to try to model the cute floppy sun hat Emily brought.  Naturally, I assumed I'd look like a model, but when I put it on and asked Em how I looked she said, "Well, you kind of look like The Flying Nun."  

Every girl's dream.

A few weeks ago I'd mentioned to Emily that when I see photos of myself, it looks like I have major dark circles under my eyes.  I spend more time than your average bear looking at myself in the mirror, and during the hours of research I've noticed that the dark circles aren't quite so prominent in person, but in a picture, YIKES.  Emily was very supportive and said maybe it was just unfortunate shadows, but I'm here to tell you the camera can add ten pounds and in some circumstances, under-eye circles.

Anyway, I half-seriously, half-facetiously, told Emily that we should have a photo shoot and I'd show her a new smile I'd been experimenting with.  It involved squinting my eyes a bit because I thought that made me look more friendly.

She agreed, but upon seeing the look, gently suggested that squinting my eyes did nothing to help my under-eye circle situation and that perhaps I should just put my sunglasses back on.  I told her I'd try a close-mouthed smile and Emily sighed and said, "Well, I have to be honest.   Now you just look half asleep and grumpy."  

Everyone needs an Emily.

We were telling this story to my parents at dinner on Saturday night and told them I'd show them the pictures so they could judge the friendliness factor for themselves.  I pulled up the pictures on my phone and my mom scrolled...and scrolled...and scrolled...until she finally said, "Laura, this is a few pictures of frogs and about 100 pictures of you."

Guilty. As. Charged.

Although if you look closely, you'll see one photo of Emily.

The one where she has her back to the camera.

Maybe she was worried about the camera adding some under-eye circles.