Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Year in Photos

'Twas the week before Christmas, and the minutes on the clock were moving slower and slower ... and ... sloowerrr .. you get the point.

I guess I am still a kid at heart when it comes to Christmas (obviously, the elf.), but this week has seemed longer than the last 3 weeks put together, and it's only Wednesday!!
Now, I know I have only myself to blame for not leaving a laundry list of Christmas related things to do until the week before, but, I did leave myself a list of non-Christmas related items, such as getting an oil change, packing for all of next week (which may take me years), and of course, who isn't still trying to keep up with the last few new episodes of Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, the holiday specials?! Alas, when I'm not frying my brain in front of the TV, I get some reading done here and there.

Reading is definitely one of my favorite hobbies. Of course, the majority of the time I am reading one of the made-for-young-women bestsellers, and even more of the time, it's a recommendation from Ash. Girl has great taste in books!

In recent months, I have been devouring the books I've been reading. A few Jodi Picoult's, Nights In Rodanthe (clearly) and my recent taking up of the "Shopaholic" series. Sophie Kinsella is funny! I definitely recommend that you read "Confessions of a Shopaholic." I have been laughing out loud while reading it, and have been breezing my way through!

The new goal for this week (now that the Christmas shopping/wrapping and some of the parties are done, and I obviously need something to occupy those hours that I won't be spending at work or with B) is to finish Confessions, and move on to the long awaited "Twilight." I just needed to see what all the buzz was about, and I have every intention of falling in love with it like every else did.

(Note: most annoying thing at the gym = the random "not serious about the gym" girls that hog the elliptical for 30-45 minutes to read their gossip magazines. I have actually seen a few girls some into the gym, hair done, accessories galore, and they're here for a good workout? Doubtful. Don't get me wrong, you go girl for getting your butt to the gym, but if you're going to hog one of the only ellipticals, at least get a good workout in! OK, getting down from my soapbox now, sorry.)

Anywho.

Is it just me or is this one of the slowest weeks we've had in a while?! (Did I say that already?!) This whole year seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye until this very week, the last full work week before the holidays, one of the last week's of 2008. Oh, and what a great year it was. Lots happened this year! Here is a bit of a flashback via pictures, enjoy!


B and I made frequent visits up to Philly to visit his brother and wife (fellow blogger!) because they're our favorite, hehe.

Jen and Kyle McGuire got married in February!! The first of our group of girls from high school to get married.

My parents bought a vacation home in Florida! Now we have a warm getaway that we can also call "home."

We still spent lots of time at the local watering holes, you know, cause it's the "twenty-something" thing to do! And, I got the super fab Katie Holmes haircut, along with the rest of the world.

Steph and JT got engaged! She moved to Florida (and we miss her), and they set their wedding date for April 2009!

Brian and Caitlin became the Hutchisons!
We celebrated Melissa and Nick at her bridal shower and surprise bachelorette weekend in August! (Bachelorette party pictures are hidden for a reason, haha!)

Mellott family beach week in Ocean City - a full week of sun, sand, drinks and family!

We flew to Vegas for Aliya's bachelorette party for Labor Day - and what happened there, you guessed it, stayed there.

My Surah became Mrs. Sarah Hoffman in August - her wedding was beautiful!

The unthinkable happened this year. If you're a Jets fan, you're with me. Brett Favre became a New York Jet! And this season has been exciting, to say the least! Keep your fingers crossed for the playoffs!!

I turned 25 in October (monumental, I know) and we had a celebrity dress-up party, at which, B and I were David & Victoria Beckham, oh yes.

Justin and Aliya became Mr. and Mrs. Justin Rinaldi in their beautiful, traditional Indian wedding on Ocotber 18th.

Christy (who is a quasi-cousin/almost like a little sister to me) got married, and man are they cute!

Andrea & Russell got engaged, and we celebrated (none other than) the JMU way!! These girls were my roommates freshman year at JMU. I absolutely love them.

As I wrote about before, Amber & Phil will also be tying the knot in March of 2010!

JMU Dukes' football made it to the semi-finals of D1-AA, with their alumni fans right behind them!

My beautiful family; we're all one year older now!

We will be spending New Years Eve at the all but famous "Friendship Lane," hosted by a few of these crazy kids, who I love dearly.


And last, but certainly not least, B wins the best boyfriend of the year award, for the 2nd year in a row :o)

Yes, my year was full of engagements, weddings and parties! That's normal, right?! And don't worry, I already have 6 weddings in 2009! It's really amazing how something like this can let you sit back and reflect on all of the wonderful experiences that a calendar year brings. It especially made me realize how many amazingly wonderful people I have in my life, and that I am thankful for every one of them.

So, in the spirit of the season, tell everyone in your life that you love them, and how happy you are to have them in your life. That's what this season is all about, right? And while we're at it, remember the real reason for this blessed holiday, and keep Christ in Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Elf

Christmas time is hereeeee!! And I am commonly referred to by my friends as an "elf" at this time of year (no joke).

I love Christmas, as I've mentioned before. Loved it so much this year that I am 100% done shopping and wrapping as of today, December 15th! That's a whole 10 days to spare!

It doesn't take much to get me into the Christmas spirit. I have been shopping and preparing for this for a while now, and yesterday was the cherry on top!

Aliya and I spent (literally) all day wrapping, baking, listening to christmas tunes/watching football, and even had time to watch The Holiday. It was one of the most productive Sundays that I've had in a long time.

Now with all my wrapping and cookie baking done; what's left, you ask? Well, plenty of holiday parties/gift exchanges this week, both at home and in the office. And then plenty of travel/reunions/family time next week. There are so many reasons why this is called the most wonderful time of the year!

Here's a sneek of what we were up to yesterday ...


Knowing me, I will go out and buy a few last minute things for my loved ones just before time runs out.

Well, are you all motivated now?!

If not, ask Aliya to wrap your gifts, she's a pro and helped out with a few of mine big time!

Friday, December 12, 2008

success!!

Today there are many reasons to celebrate!

1) Please, Pam, state the obvious: It's FRIDAY! Do you ever notice how the energy around the office is just different on Fridays? Well, it is here, and at my last job. Everyone is just over it. Over this week. Ready to move on. Give me those two joyous, relaxing days in between! So, Happy Friday, everyone!

2) For JMU Nation (and for all of you who have recently become JMU football fans as a result of my inspirational story), we have another big game tonight! JMU will be taking on Montana (the team we beat back in '04 in the championship) at home. This is not only the first nationally televised game to take place at JMU, but the biggest game that JMU has ever hosted at home. We will all be parking it in front of various HDTV's to tune in for this match. WATCH: Tonight at 8 pm on ESPN 2!!

3) We have successfully made it through 2 of the 3 remaining full work weeks before Christmas! The closer it gets, the more the "christmas elf" in me starts to come out. More on this later. One more full work week to go, and then 9 blissful days of holiday vacation!

4) B and I have our first holiday party tonight. By holiday party, I mean, a few of our adorable girl friends are throwing a housewarming/holiday party at their place! It should be a great time, lots of friends, and hopefully, lots of photo opps!

This weekend also kicks off our celebration of Doyle, B's best friend, and by far, one of the greatest guys I know. His parents are hosting a going away party for him at their place Saturday night. Doyle is leaving us for med school on January 2nd, and he will be missed terribly in his short absence! More to come on this later, as well.

5) We have "officially" completed our Christmas shopping! (minus the one last gift that we have secured, but are waiting on, for B's brother) I have a great feeling of accomplishment this week, knowing that all that is left is the wrapping! Aliya and I have a festive day of gift wrapping, cookie baking and holiday-movie-watching planned for Sunday, don't you worry.

So, friends, let me leave you with this, and wishes for a happy weekend!



Also - check out the new MyTunes recommendations. I promise to have them done by the end of today!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

dirty: check, sexy: cheeeckkkk!!

Another one of my tragic flaws (other than being a shopaholic) is that I LOVE TV. Love it. Without a doubt.

I would say that, on any normal week (during the fall-spring season), I watch close to 12 shows. And, by watch, I mean I set them all to DVR on that fabulous little invention, and catch up as time permits.

(Sidenote: DVR is definitely one of my absolute favorite.things.ever. If you're living with out it, which, let's be honest, hardly anyone does anymore, I definitely suggest that you invest in it. A very smart investment.)

Anywho.

So, I have a thing for reality/drama series on TV. Anything from Gossip Girl to Grey's Anatomy, I am there. Count me in. The new 90210? You know it! If only Luke Perry would come back! Sigh.

Well.

One of my favorite shows this season and last, is Dirty Sexy Money. And the title is spot on. Take an insanely rich American family, with a gaggle of semi-grown up/still ridiculously immature half adults that they call "children," slap in some high society events, politics, love triangles and Nick George, and you've got me hooked!

See what I mean?

Sheesh, I have developed a crush on this made-for-TV-lawyer. Clearly.

Well Nick George/almost a Darling/Peter Krause - I will follow you around on whatever rants the Darling's send you on this season. Keep 'em comin'.

xoxo, A Smitten Kitten



PS - No worries, B - you're still my #1 :o)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

holiday time at the office!

Well, the holiday season is officially here! I wish you all could see me jumping up and down at my desk (no, really.)

One of the best things about my job (other than the great people, and the fact that I love what I do), is how my whole office really gets into the holiday spirit. And, not just Christmas. We have had a Halloween bash, official potluck Thanksgiving, and weekly happy hours since I started here (not to mention the monthly birthday/engagement/congratulations parties.) What can I say? This is a very social place to work. And that is right up my alley!

Well, now that the Christmas/Hanukkah month is upon us, we have found more reason to celebrate around the office!

Just today, I went out to a lovely ladies lunch to celebrate, at the delicious, Passion Fish ( I highly recommend it!) Shortly after this delicious and filling lunch (and while my food coma is setting in), we receive presents from one of the girls! How cute. And, to top it off, the office threw a holiday/tree decorating/happy hour for us this afternoon!

Now, if all that doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit, then maybe this will:


Suckers. You gotta love Love Actually, especially if you call yourself my friend.

I might as well call myself a Christmas elf, with all the inspiration that I'm stirring up in people! Clearly.

OK, off to finish my shopping. For real this time. Promise.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"well, I guess this is growing up ..."

Growing up stinks, sometimes!

Like when you realize that you are now employed, live on your own, and have a Christmas shopping list a mile long?!

Well, I may be exaggerating a little bit. I actually DO love to give gifts to people, especially my loved ones.

You see, I was raised in a house where Christmas Day was THE day of the whole year! Forget birthdays, anniversaries, even Thanksgiving (to a certain degree, cause duh, we all heart turkey day!); they were all overshadowed by the wonder that was Christmas Day in our house. Christmas' with my family are definitely one of my fondest memories of growing up. We would all sit around the house, in our PJ's, for hours opening gifts; paying special attention to what everyone opened and how much they loved it! We would even all pick our spot in the family room for our "gift corner" (I know, super lame. Shoot me.)

So, why do I bring this up today?

Well. I am about 85% done with all of my Christmas shopping! Yay!

B and I do joint family gifts for Christmas. Which is super fun for all of you who are receiving gifts from us this year, like this girl, cause we have a little bit more money to work with.

Anywho.

Let's just say that, in my innate Christmas spirit, and as a result of the wonderful Christmas history of my life, I tend to go a LITTLE overboard at the holidays. Again, shoot me. It excites me so much to think about and see the reactions on people's faces as they open up the gifts that I chose for them!!

This year is an extra special Christmas. B will be making the trek up to NJ with me, and this year, he'll stay through Christmas! I am so excited to have him share in what Christmas morning is like in our house; cause let me tell you, it is an experience, to say the least. I could not be more excited and thankful for the next few holiday-celebrating weeks that are upon us!

So, while we're in the giving mood; here is my Top 10 list, this Christmas:

1) David Yurman Petite Albion Black Onyx Ring (sweet, sweet expensive jewelry)











2) Steven Intyce Boot, love.

3) Chesnut Tall Uggs (I have a boot thing, OK?)

4) North Face Women's Venture Jacket - sorry, I couldn't find a decent pic of this one!

5) Vacuum (and yes, I do realize that coveting an item such as a vacuum at my young age, is pretty pathetic, but what can I say? I like a clean house.)

6) David Cook's Self-titled Album, obviously.

7) The Women's Guide to Life in the Big City; aka, the Sex & The City DVD Series. I think this should be a top 10 for every girl, that is, if you don't already have it.

8) The Stephenie Meyer "Twilight" Box Set - (yes, I caved. I am about to start "Twilight" in the coming days; stay tuned for updates)

9) "Shopaholic Takes Manhatten"
Thank you, Sophie Kinsella, for opening my eyes to my true, tragic flaw - "Hi! I'm Pam, and I'm a shopaholic" Man, if you only knew how much this character sounded like me! So, reading the series will definitely help me give up the habit, right? Right?!

10) This really should have been #1 - lame, lame, lame - but I basically put the bait out there for myself. My real Christmas gift this year (christmas #3, is it?) is the gift that keeps on giving.

You guessed it.
Happy shopping everyone. The economy needs it :o)

Monday, December 8, 2008

the real deets.

OK, so after my eventful Friday, the weekend I had so lovingly written about last week began!

Let me just start by saying how proud I am of both the JMU Dukes and the Baltimore Ravens (eat your heart out, Skins fans!)

This weekend's football was one of the best this year, in my eyes; so many friends, so many exciting moments!

Our JMU Dukes took on Villanova at home, in what turned into a nail biter in the 4th quarter! But, our Dukes came through, and came out on top, once again, beating Villanova 31-27. Woohooo!!

It was a fabulous, freezing cold weekend, and a few of my favorite pics are below!

B and I tailgating at JMU, just like the good old days :o)
Some of the group in the game!


Supporting our Dukes, all the way to Chattanooga!! Bring on Montana!


It really was a weekend for the record books. How many layers can I wear to keep my fingers and toes from falling off?

And one game wasn't enough for B and I, apparently. The old "battle of the beltway" was also last night. The Washington Redskins traveled up to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the good old Baltimore Ravens.

(Back story: I am a NY Jets fan at heart, and always will be, but as long as they're not playing my Jets, I will root for the Ravens, along with B and the gang.)

All this being said, I was ready to root on the Ravens yesterday. We ventured (as exhausted as we still were from JMU) up into Baltimore to one of the local Ravens fans watering holes for the first half. The Ravens seemed to have the game in the bag after scoring twice in the first 5 minutes of regulation. But, it was cold, the ball was like a rock, and the game got a little tricky there for a while.

But, led by the helpful hands of Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Le'Ron McLean, Derrick Mason, Joe Flacco and many others, the Ravens pulled it out - winning 24-10 in Baltimore.


A successful football weekend. I am exhausted. 17 days until Christmas!!!

A winning weekend!!

Where do I begin?!

Alright. At the beginning, you win.

(Sidenote: "my wonderful boyfriend" as mentioned earlier, will now lovingly be referred to as "B")

Well, Friday night B and I went on a double dinner date with the Rinaldi's to Ray's Hell Burger (yes, refer to Aliya's post about how marvelous it is!) The burgers were fab, and it gave B and I a taste of something new in Arlington!

Post dinner - Aliya and I thought it would be fun to ditch the guys and go see chick flick, standard, right?! Not so much, not this time. According to Aliya - this has happened before - well, I thought it to be quite an odd experience!

We went to see "Nights In Rodanthe," at probably one of the last theaters it is still playing at. I was super excited because I had been dying to see it back when it came out, but never did.

Anywho.

We decide to see the late showing; and in our girlish manner, are totally excited for the film version of the phenomal book! Well, turns out, this amazing Nicholas Sparks book should have stayed that way; the movie did the novel no justice whatsoever.

The funny part, and the point of this post, you ask?! Well, with about 10 minutes left in the movie (maybe), the screen starts to flicker, and the sounds of Diane Lanes voice goes total robotic, and then the whole things dies. We are sitting in a theater with about 8 other people (two of which were guys whose prayers had just been answered by this meltdown), and it's now a white screen, after midnight, and takes us 15 minutes just to find that last soul working at th theater.

Long story short - we got free movie passes, and I think I'll be using mine to see a less "chick" flick this time. I am hereby recommending everyone see Will Smith's new movie, Seven Pounds; and hey, if you go with Aliya and I, maybe we'll leave the theater with more free passses!

dish it to me.

Well, it was an eventful weekend, for sure. I feel like I spent more time in the car than watching football, but it was WELL worth it!

Since Aliya and I just spent the last 30 minutes catching each other up on all the latest gossip (and trust, me that girl can dish!), I now feel informed enough the begin posting about this weekends' events.

Stay tuned, more to come shortly.

xoxo, Gossip Girl :o)

Friday, December 5, 2008

JM - U Wish U Had A Duke Dog.

Something you should probably know about me, right off the bat, is that I LOVE football. Flat out, love it as much as the next guy, yes guy.

I must say that being a football fan has it's ups and downs, as some of you may well know, but it has been one of my favorite things over the last few years; not only because it makes a Sunday afternoon with the boys much more enjoyable, but because it gives me something to look forward to, that I can count on, every Saturday and Sunday throughout the fall.

Heaven on earth is a place that I hold close to my heart; none other than JMU. I spent four of the best years of my life in this place - and this weekend - we're going back.

I bet you're wondering where the heck I am going with this?!

Well, JMU's football team has been working it's way up the ranks for a long time. I was lucky enough to be a student there when they won the D1-AA National Championship back in 2004 in Chattanooga, TN. And yes, I did make the trek all the way from New Jersey (my hometown over Christmas break) down to good 'ole Tennessee with a ton of my closest friends and fellow Dukes fans to share in this monumental victory, that will, without a doubt, go down in the history books of my life.




Wipe your tears. Moving on.

So, leading us back to 2008; I am now an alumni, close to 2 1/2 years removed (ugh, that's awful, jk) and the Dukes are blazing the victory trail, yet again. Still under the leadership of coach, Mickey Matthews, but with a whole new band of team leaders. And, I must add, I think I have developed a serious crush on our quarterback (standard), Rodney Landers.

JMU clinched the #1 seed in the CAA a few weeks ago, shortly after this win:



This #1 seed guaranteed them home playoff games!! Last week, we barely grazed by Wofford in a home victory on Thanksgiving weekend.

This weekend, it's time for playoff round 2, and for Villanova, again. But this time, it's at home, in better weather, and with thousands of their biggest supporters standing by.

I will be traveling down to the wonder that is Harrisonburg, VA, again with a large group of great friends, for plenty of bbq-ing, adult beverages and solid college football. I could not be more excited!!

Stay tuned for an update next week on the future of 2008 JMU football - and say a prayer, cross your fingers, drink a beer, whatever you must, for our Dukes.

For the good old days ...


GOOOOO DUKES!!!

My Roots.

No, I'm not talking about my hair - in fact, I am one of the few people that I know who has never died their hair! I know, terribly boring, but what can I say, the maintenance is too expensive for my taste.

Moving on.

The point of this post was to talk a little bit about my very best friend in the world, Amber. We have been friends for about 10 years now, and she is truly that person that (I know, it's corny), I never miss a beat with. Even though we don't see or talk to each other as often as back in our high school days (sorry ladies, I know this wasn't actually high school, but the pic was necessary), she is still my closest friend, a "sister by choice."

Why am I bragging about her?

Well, there are two VERY important reasons for this!!

#1 - tomorrow is her 25th birthday!! (join the club Amber, "congratulations, you've officially reached your mid-twenties!") So, I wanted to give her a special shout out, and wish her a very happy birthday, even though I won't be there to help her celebrate this year!


#2 - Amber just got engaged to a wonderful, wonderful man (did I mention that I love the two of them together?)

I was on a little vacay with my Mom and sister at our Florida house and got a phone call from Amber while out to dinner. I even said to my Mom and sister, "every time Amber has called me in the last month or so, I have been expecting the big announcement." And, sure enough, she immediately announces (skipping the "Hi, how are you's" obviously) that she is "ENGAGED!"

Well, I practically burst into tears right there at the dinner table. There is truly something to be said about the amount of happiness and love that you can feel for your closest friends, and this was definitely one of those moments for me.

So again, Congratulations to Amber & Phil! I wish you a long, happy life together, and cannot wait to share in the planning of your special day.

(Oh, and did I mention how much I love her new bling?!)

Love yous

I'm a Newbie!

Well, thanks to the many blogs that I have been following recently, I have been inspired to start one of my own. Yes, that's right, I am new to the blogosphere!

To tell you the truth, I can't believe I did it, but I couldn't resist anymore! And as soon as I saw my "your blog has been created" message, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning, it's wonderful to have that child-like excitement about something new!

So, I have started to create this blog "A Girl, Inspired" so that I have a place to talk about things that inspire me! My family, friends, wonderful boyfriend, music, travel, football, shopping; the list goes on and on!

Stay tuned for more posts about what's been going on in my world.