Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall for Dance + More Oktoberfest Shenanigans + Taste of France

It's been a weekend chock-full of fun! After work on Friday, I met up with the girls for a Fall for Dance show at the NY City Center. I've been going to Fall for Dance the last four years (or maybe more, I can't remember) with my friends and this year was no exception.

We love Fall for Dance because it's a showcase of different dance troupes ranging from ballet to contemporary and also in our case, South Asian (Indian) traditional dance. We watched four different performances that night and they were all pretty great - in their own interesting way.
Next, a friend and I went to the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden in our neighborhood in Astoria. It's the oldest beer garden in New York City. I love it because it has such a great atmosphere. This past weekend was the beer garden's Oktoberfest. They had a pig roast and lots of other traditional food. We decided to partake in the pig roast and get it with sauerkraut and dumplings. Deliciousness! 
Then, Sunday, I went to a Parisian festival in Bryant Park called "A Taste of France." There was a whole lot of people there too! It was tough to get around, but we managed to get around everyone and have a great time. They had a hot air balloon in the middle of the festival that would occasionally fill up and float above the park. Earlier in the day, they had an adorable parade of French Bulldogs. We missed that, but there were still several cuties roaming around the festival.

The area map.

The Eiffel Tower in butter.

Special French carrousel.

A picture of the grounds.

The hot air balloon.
A French Bulldog dressed as a chef.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Somemore Sunshine! Part Two

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

Now, it's my pleasure to share with you my answers to Nicole's questions from Adventures of a Semper Fi Family! Yesterday, I explained that two amazing bloggers nominated me for a Sunshine Award. Without further ado, here are my answers for round two!

1.What is the most recent thing you bought for yourself (food doesn't count)? Share a pic.
A pair of adorable flats with cat faces on them!
2. If you could hop a plane this weekend and go anywhere in the US, where would you go? Why?
Hmmm, maybe home in Texas. I miss my parents way too much.

3. Who is the first person you call when you have good news?
My parents. They really are the first to know anything big that happens.

4. What is your least favorite blog topic to read?
Politics. People have different opinions, which we are all entitled to have, but sometimes people get way to passionate about it and take it out on others.

5. What is your favorite blog topic to read?
Anything else really, haha - I do enjoy reading about different activities. It's great to get ideas from blog friends and to see what people are up to!

6. What is the 10th picture on your phone (or computer)? We want to see it!
It's a picture from waaaaay long ago (2011) of the Brooklyn Bridge from a sunset dinner cruise I attended for work. I clearly need to clean out my camera phone!
7. What is one thing you do to spoil yourself?
I enjoy a good pedicure! Here in the city, pedicures only cost $15 dollars (at least in my neighborhood!), so I love to soak my feet and have someone paint them.

8. Who is your favorite coffee date?
It's tough to pick just one person! All my friends and family for different reasons.

9. Share the link to your favorite blog post from your blog.
My Love Letter to My Husband

10. What blogger would you most like to have a blate (blogger date)?
I think any of the lovely ladies I nominated would be a lot of fun!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

All Smiles! Part One

I feel so honored to not only receive one Sunshine Award, but TWO! The fabulous Jen over at The Adventures of Our Army Life nominated me for my first Sunshine Award. Since then, I've learned that after you are nominated, you also nominate ten other blogs that make you smile. It's really a cute idea and I'm really excited to participate!
Jen's Questions:
1. What is your biggest fear?
Being alone. I thrive when I interact with people and enjoy company, so if I were to survive an wouldn't work for me.

2. Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Yikes, neither really. I used to be a night owl, but now I get really tired past a certain time. Maybe that's because I have to wake up early for work? Otherwise, if I actually let things go organically, I'd probably still be a night owl.

3. If you could change one thing from your past what would it be?
Nothing really. I haven't done anything that I've regretted that bad. Maybe start off college with having a better student loan payoff plan? At the rate I'm going, I'll be old and gray when I finish.

4. Do you have any pets, if so what kind?
None at this moment. My husband and I want to adopt when he gets back from Korea. Since we're headed to Virginia, we're most likely going to an apartment first. We wanted to get a husky-type dog, but we think it would be unfair to have a big dog in an apartment, so we're going to start off with a kitty...I can't wait!

5. Did you do everything you wanted to do this summer?
No! I didn't work-out as much as I'd like, but still did a lot. Also, I wish I made it to the beach more. I would have loved to enjoy the hot weather while swimming.

6. What is your favorite song?
That's a tough question! I LOVE music - and studied music for the longest time. I minored in music in college! So, my likes range from rock 'n' roll to baroque-era music to pop, country and everything in between! For some reason, the Beatles resonate with me a lot - and I'm a fan of their styles and range as they developed as a band.

7. If you were on a deserted island what 3 things would you take with you?
1. some sort of water purifier/desalinization machine, 2. my husband and 3. soap

8. Would you rather cook or go out to eat?
It really depends! I enjoy cooking during the week, but love dining out on the weekends!

9. What is your dream car?
Any Audi sedans...they start at 33K (and goes up to 135K!!!!!), so it really isn't within my current budget for buying a car right now, but they look so pretty!

10. If you could have any job in the world what would it be?
I'm doing it now! Being a publicist is pretty awesome - and I hope to continue to do so even after PCSing

Here are ten blogs that make me smile (not including Jen's blog and my other nominator, Nicole from Adventures of a Semper Fi Family, who I also love!):
Jackie from City Girl Finding Her Place In the World
Adrianna from Military Money Chica
Lacie from Domesticated Breakdown
Krista from Army Wife Style
Lisa from Sorority Life to Army Wife
Lauren from Going Green: Our Army Adventure
Wifey from Semper Wifey
Alex from Munchkins and the Military
Jane from Poppiness
Mal from Mal Smiles

*Note: There are so many other blogs I adore!

My Questions!:
1. What did you have for lunch today?
2. Since we're on the subject of food, what's your favorite meal?
3. Name the most unusual item in your purse right now.
4. Tell me something you are looking forward to the most in the next week.
5. How about the next couple months?
6. Where did you go on your last vacation?
7. What are your favorite pair of shoes? Can you share a picture too?
8. What do you love the most about Fall? If not, what do you dislike?
9. Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
10.If you found a genie in a bottle, what would be your three wishes?

PS: This is my 100th blog post...YAY!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Late Night Work Date


Phew! I just made it home from a work outing and I'm exhausted! (It's only 9pm!) I'm pretty much an old-timer now at 27.

We left the office a bit earlier than usual to head over to Boqueria at their Flatiron location. It's a delicious Tapas Bar and Restaurant. My coworker is getting married next Saturday and all the girls came into town to celebrate. This wasn't purely a work outing! I love getting together to catch-up on life outside of the office. One of my coworkers brought senior portraits of her son and another had pictures of her son as drum major of his high school.

I work with amazing women! They all are great role models and I just hope I do them proud with my work for the firm. Their friendships are also great and I just love getting to know them personally.

After dinner, I walked south to Union Square because once we walked to the restaurant that particular subway station was closer.

I almost fell asleep on the train! So, it pretty much took every ounce of me to blog tonight...haha. It's time for bed now! Good night everyone!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome Autumn!

Before the weekend, I had a major itch to go shopping. I convinced the birthday girl to head to the Herald Square-area with me. I wanted to get some appropriate networking/work attire for the National Military Spouse Network Summit in about a month. I donated all my business clothing because they don't fit anymore, so I really needed to get something. Well, we also got a little distracted and got some other stuff that caught our attention.

Our first stop was JCPenney. There I got a pretty awesome black faux-leather jacket.

On sale for $31.99!

Afterwards, we spend another couple hours in Macy's. There I saw an awesome faux-leather vest in gray and it was on sale too!

I realized that I had a theme going on - and it wasn't business attire! Finally, we went to Ann Taylor Loft where they were having a 40% EVERYTHING sale. I couldn't help myself and got a pair of black slacks, pencil skirt and a handful of tops. Overall, six hours later, it was a successful shopping venture and I'm ready for the summit!

Yesterday, was the first day of autumn and my friend's birthday. We had a birthday brunch at this fun restaurant in Astoria called The Astor Room. It's been around since the 1920s and was originally the commissary to the silent (and later sound) movie studio that was home to Paramount Pictures at the time.

From the website:
"Take a step back in time in our new restaurant, that celebrates the glory of a bygone era in American and cinematic history. The Astor Room is our contemporary interpretation of the American Supper Club where classic dishes, master-crafted cocktails, superb service, warm hospitality and fabulous entertainment combine to offer a truly unique dining experience"
On Sundays, they have a live Jazz band playing. It was awesome because the band was also dressed in the period. The banjo man had a skimmer hat on similarly to Leo's picture from The Great Gatsby below.

I was very sad to see the weekend go, but it just means I'm one more weekend closer to my husband coming home. Yay!

PS: I'm glad I got the jacket because it's definitely cold enough now! Fall is here in full force!

How are you welcoming Fall?

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Friday, September 20, 2013

PA Oktoberfest at the Mohegan Sun

Last weekend, I drove to visit Tara, my oldest friend ever. We've known each other for more than 20 years (crazy, huh?!) She lives with her man in the Poconos-area now. It's difficult to travel to her because there really isn't a bus that goes there. Greyhound goes there, but it's really expensive! I got this fantastic deal for renting a car, so I picked a weekend and just went with it! I picked a fun weekend because the PA Oktoberfest at the Mohegan Sun was that weekend.

When I arrived, I was greeted by my old friend and a pack of friendly pups!

I dropped off my stuff and we got started with our Oktoberfest adventure. It was such a fun experience! Tara's smallest dog Wusler has some of wiener dog in him, so we entered him for the wiener dog race. They had a stadium set-up and horn blowers. It was quite the spectacle!

Little Wusler before the race!
Wusler did AMAZING! He won his heat and won Second Place overall! It was a blast!

Yes, there were tons of men wearing lederhosen, including Tara's man - it was amazing! Saying good-bye wasn't so fun though. The pups were also giving me a sad face, so it made it extra difficult!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Virginia is for Lovers?

It's been a crazy week. I went to the Poconos area this past weekend to visit an old friend for Oktoberfest (which I'm excited to share with you soon!).  Something else takes precedent right now, I HAVE to share with you that my husband now knows where he's going after Korea.

I realize that everything isn't certain until we are actually there, but it's really looking like we're going to Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

My husband's assignment manager reached out to him with the station and said that orders will be made soon. Shortly following that, he got an email saying that he has been placed on assignment to Fort Belvoir. Now, we're just waiting for the hard copy orders.

I'm freakin' over here. We have less than four months till he gets back and it's pretty wacky that we already know where we're headed. It seems to be the case in Korea because his buddy that flew over there with him at the same time also got his notification. He's going to Fort Carson, Colorado.

In the coming weeks, I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say about our upcoming move. Right now, I'm going to let my mind race!

Before all the madness, I planned to link-up with the "Boys Behind the Blog!" I asked my husband five questions and shared his answers below. You'll learn that my husband is a man of few words...haha.
Mal Smiles
Video chattin' with the man

1. If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Koala according to my wife
*Let me preface, I identify my husband to a koala because he clings to my like a koala to a branch. His hugs are so tight!

2. What is your favorite meal?
Steak and mashed potatoes 

3. Do you use any forms of Social Media? What is your favorite?
I'm on Facebook,  but just to keep up with old Army friends

4. Beer, wine, liquor, other, or none of the above?
I like all kinds of beer, Jack Daniels is my favorite whiskey. Soju isn't bad either.

5. Complete the sentence: "Never have I ever..."
Been to Canada

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Biggest Complaint Right Now

For the last month, my office building is doing a huge lobby renovation. It has caused a big disruption because no one is able to use the main elevators. Instead, the whole building has to wait for the freight elevators. Our freight elevators are not electronic, which means a live person needs to be the one to pull a rope that causes the dolly to move the car up and down. The only people that are qualified to do it are the building staff.

It's a big of a pain because they might be off helping another office tenant with a problem, so we have to wait. And because the elevators are all manual, it causes a huge back-up and is extremely slow. In the mornings, the line is out the door to use the elevators! It's so silly because it would take just 15 minutes to use the elevators! If I wasn't on the 11th floor, I might totally be inclined to walk up it everyday.  I actually have been walking down the flights, which is a million times easier than going up!

On a side note, we have been able to take a peek of the lobby. Throughout the month, there were occasion to use it! They are doing some wacky stuff in there. I like to describe the experience like boarding a space ship. There are light coming out of the floors and it's bright in there. Once it's all done, I'll have to share with you how it looks!

Overall, my elevator problem is a ridiculous one to have and I'm just lucky that's the least of my worries. I have some BIG meter moving news to share tomorrow though. It's almost killing me inside!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Keeping the Liebster Train Going!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Lauren from Going Green: Our Army Adventure!

It's pretty awesome to know that people are reading your stuff and it's even more awesome that they actually think anything of it!  I really appreciate everyone that stops by my blog to take a read.
Anyway, I've been nominated by Lauren to receive a Liebster Award! I'm very honored to accept! Here are Lauren's questions:

1. If you could have dinner with any famous human, who would it be? (explain, you know you want to anyway) I would say either Barbara Walters, Oprah or Beyonce.  Barbara Walters and Oprah because of their HUGE influence in the media world.  I would love to pick their brain on anything and everything that comes to mind.  Beyonce because...well, she's Beyonce. I would love to ask, how do you do it?!

2. Be realistic, where do you see yourself in a few years? (a few could be 2, 10, 20, whatever) Finally living with my husband somewhere where the Army tells us - and me being awesome at my job and being a legit wife.

3. What is the one thing that can instantly make you happy, like turn your whole day around? As cheesy as this sounds, watching adorable animal videos...there is something to be said for a napping kitten or doggie jumping. It just warms my heart.

4. What is the news headline you’re following most closely lately? Syria. How could I not hear about it?

5. If the concept of a bank account/bills didn’t exist, what would you buy yourself? Plane tickets to Korea or maybe I should just buy my own jet and learn to pilot? That would require time off too.

6. Chocolate, vanilla, or twist? Vanilla and it's not because I'm plain! ;)

7. How do you relax? Share your favorite tip… Binge watching television shows! That's how I'm been spending my time winding down after a long day. Thank you Netflix!

8. Tell me three things you love about being you. (no skimping, THREE!) 1. I'm determined. 2. Yet, love to be silly 3. and I'm unpredictable (most of the time!).

9. White or Red wine? Or is liquor quicker? I'm a whiskey gal!

10. What makes you feel most accomplished, or what do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment so far? I would say graduating college. If I didn't make it through, I wouldn't be where I'm at today.

11. What inspired you to start blogging? The community and the avenue to share my story. When I first married my husband, I was clueless. My mom was a military spouse, but it's been out of the loop since my dad retired in 2002. She gave me great guidance, which was what made me realize "I got this." Being separated from my husband while I'm in NYC made it difficult for me to connect with other current military spouses. The blogosphere gave me the connection that I was looking for and is a fantastic support system!

Now, I'm opening up the opportunity to answer my questions to anybody! I want to keep the bloggy love flowing! So, if you're a blogger with less than 200 fans...please answer and elaborate! :)

1. Where is your favorite place to read?
2. What is your guilty pleasure?
3. Where did you receive your first drivers license?
4. What is the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
5. Pick one place in the whole wide world you would want to visit at this exact moment.
6. Why?
7. Name one language you wish you knew proficiently.
8. Who would you say is the most influential person in your life?
9. What was your favorite subject in grade school?
10. What is your most embarrassing habit?
11. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Thanks y'all!!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

How to be Thrifty with Wedding Decor

Right now, there are two very big countdowns going on in my head. First, it's the one for when my husband comes home...and the second is our church wedding!

As y'all know, my husband and I had a very quick and small civil ceremony before he left for Korea. That same weekend, we put down our deposit for our church wedding at my childhood church and reception space. The lucky thing about a year tour in Korea is that the date that he leaves is pretty definite, plus he will get a month of leave, so we were able to have a good sense of time (pretty awesome by military standards!).

The ceremony in the church will be called a "convalidation of marriage" or better known as a marriage blessing. I'm VERY excited about it because it will give my husband and I a chance to actually celebrate our marriage with our parents, my grandparents and all our nearest and dearest family and friends. Because everything went by so fast and not all of my friends and family could attend our courthouse shindig, this would be the perfect opportunity to include everyone. In my head, I'm also seeing this as a huge "welcome back from Korea" party!

Anyway, I'm not one that usually breaks the bank. I keep a pretty tight budget - living in NYC has done that to me along with my student loans, which I think I'll be paying off for the next 30 years, I digress. A wedding budget nowadays isn't so pretty.  Based on my research, people, on average, spend more than $25K for a wedding. Granted, that includes people spending boku bucks - still even $20K is WAAAAY above our price range.

Before my husband and I put down our deposits, we gave ourselves the goal to just spend $10K for our wedding. I'm pretty confident that we can stick to that budget. The Knot is a fabulouso resource for all brides and one of my favorite pages is the "wedding budget" page.  You type in your budget and it allocates the amount from your budget that should be spent on different aspects of the wedding from the reception/venue rentals to dresses and headpieces.  Of course, it gives you the ability to tailor the list to what you want on your special day too.

In my opinion, one thing that gets a little out of hand is the decorations and flowers. Things can get pricy and out of control quick! Don't let that discourage you because with a little DIY, careful budgeting and compromise you can go a long way!

1. Recycle!: Centerpieces can be pricy. They have tall elaborate ones with crystals dangling from them or just detailed glass vases that could also be a pretty penny. If you buy it, you'll be stuck with a ton of unwanted stuff or you can rent, but even renting can add up! That's why I opted to recycle and use beer bottles as centerpieces. My husband and I like to enjoy a bottle of beer ever now and then other people drink beer, right? I have my friends and family saving their empty beer bottles to recycle for my wedding - and volia - a rustic and original(ish) idea for a centerpiece!

2. Shop online: I started out window shopping at Michaels, Jo-Ann's Fabrics and other craft supply stores to get a sense of price for lace ribbon. I knew I wanted the beer bottles wrapped with lace. At the retail stores, I noticed the price would be around $3 dollars per yard. So, I began searching online to see if I can get a better deal and found  They have a bunch of other goodies that are at a fraction of the retail price. I found the lace ribbon that was similar to what I saw at the retail stores for $1.25 per yard. Score!

3. Etsy can be a great resource too!: I have the beer bottles and lace set, but I wanted to add a burlap table runner too. I found that I could buy reams of burlap. If I did that though, I would need to spend time and effort to measure and cut the burlap myself. I googled "burlap table runner" and as I was shifting through the pages I found that there are several shop owners on Etsy offered that! For just around 7 bucks each, I can have a ready-to-use table runner! In addition to saving a very difficult task for me, I'm helping out a small-time shop owner with their business!

4. Use a grocery store's floral department: Flowers are beautiful - and expensive! After researching, I found that going to an outside florist got to be costly. Instead, I went to my local grocery store's florist department. From the start, the cost was a fraction of the price and I was even to work with them more to get it at a more reasonable rate for us.

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