Need a Laugh?

Last week I assigned a project to my students called "Coming to America".
 It required each of them to research a famous American immigrant and present an informational poster to our class about him or her.
One of my students researched Liam Neeson, and included this picture of the actor on his poster.
This morning when it was his turn to present, he brought his poster to the front of the classroom.
But before he could even begin his presentation and tell us who he had studied, another student blurted out "You researched JESUS???"


The Big 'O'

First of all, get your mind out of the gutter.
Second of all, I'm talking about Oprah.
Why? Because I love Oprah. 
I love the way she raises her voice an octave in an attempt to convey her excitement but her voice cracks.
I love how she bagged the whole "Live Your Best Life" thing and now she just eats whatever the hell she wants.
I love the way she keeps up the shenanigan of living with Stedmen when we all know she's really in love with her boyfriend Gail.
I love it all.

And I watch her show loyaly every single day. 
As in the things on my mind as I drive home from work are Chris, Kenzie, sweatpants and Oprah.

So you can imagine my level of excitement when I realized that she was going to have not one, but two
Favorite Things episodes this year.
I mean, does it GET any better?!

For those of you who don't know what Oprah's Favorite Things show is, (first of all, where have you been...)
it is the show in which Oprah gives her unsuspecting audience members $10-15,000 worth of free loot all in the name of joy and giving.
Yes, you read that corrrectly: FREE. LOOT.
free, awesome loot to be exact.
So awesome, in fact, that my cousin's exact text pertaining to yesterday's giveaways was
You are going to have a heart attack when you watch Oprah.
Oh how well she knows me.

Most years Oprah has filmed one Favorite Things episode per season right before the holidays.
However, this being her 'Farewell Season' and the last time she will ever do a Favorite Things episode, she decided she would give two audiences the surprise of a lifetime.
Audiences who think they've come to watch an entirely different kind of show.
People who, upon realization of this surprise, resort to sobbing, screaming and and laying in the aisles.
It is a Saturday Night Live skit just waiting to happen.

This year's giveaways did not dissapoint. She gave away everything from a cruise to a car, and because this was the last year, I copied and pasted the list of everything she gave away onto my blog (I couldn't help it). If Oprah called you and said that you could choose anything from the list of gifts she gave away, what would it be?
Limited-Edition 25th Anniversary Oprah watch by Philip Stein ($2475.00)Nikon camera ($699.95)
Ralph Lauren Oprah Cashmere Sweater and Throw ($1093.00)
Judith Ripka earrings ($525.00)
Tory Burch tote ($250.00)
Andre Walker hair products ($65.00)
Lafco candles ($990.00)
Breville Panini Press ($99.95)
Kyocera knife set ($74.95)
Beecher's mac & cheese ($29.00)
Baker's Edge brownie/lasagna pan ($89.40)
'A Course in Weight Loss' by Marieanne Williamson and 'Decode' by Jay-Z ($59.95)
Williams-Sonoma mini croissants ($39.95)
Talbott Teas ($150.00)
'The Book of Awakening' by Mark Nepo ($18.95)
'Illuminations' by Josh Groban ($12.99)
'Let It Be Me' by Johnny Mathis ($12.00)
Sony Bravia 3D TV and Blu-ray player ($3600.00)
2012 Volkswagen Beetle
A 7-day cruise, including airfare
Netflix membership (5 years)
Kiva/Groupon gift card ($100.00)
Reva Ballerina shoes ($195.00)
Elfa closet system from The Container Store ($1000.00)
Oprah final season t-shirt ($35.00)
Lululemon pants ($98.00)
Black-Eyed Peas CD ((17.98)
Nike shoes (four pair: $340.00)
Apple iPad with Scrabble app ($500.00)
UGG boots ($175.00)
Sophia Satchel by Coach ($398.00)
Magaschoni tunic and leggings ($558.00)
Hope in a Jar by Philosophy ($38.00 and up)
Nordstrom lingerie ($500.00)
Herb Savor by Prepara ($29.95)
Centerville chicken pie ($20.00)
Garrett's Limited Edition Favorite Things tin ($135.00)
Le Creuset cookware ($599.00)
Miraclebody jeans ($110.00)
Sophie jewelry box from Pottery Barn ($179.00)
Jessica Leigh diamond earrings ($1900.00)
DonorsChoose.org gift card ($100.00)

How ever would I choose?!


Shutter love Tuesday: Fall!

Here are just a few of my fall favorites from a recent walk in the park...
(I can't say that I'm sad that "fall" in DC is currently 60 degrees!)



A Mexican "I Do"

Tulum, Mexico 10.30.10 - 11.6.10
Nights 73-79

I love weddings.
I especially love weddings when the bride and groom choose to get married in paradise.
And I most especially love weddings when said bride and groom invite me to travel to paradise with them to share in the festivities (and even bring my mom along!).
I mean, how much better can it get?!

Christina and her husband (!!!) Nick could literally win the 'World's Cutest Couple' award. 
They're funny, adventurous, animal lovers who are also the greatest hosts to Sabrina and me whenever we long for a Utah getaway. 

Lucky for their friends and family, they also make really great decisions. 
Like the decision to say their vows on a little slice of heaven called Tulum, Mexico.
We arrived on Saturday to blue skies and sunshine, and were greeted at the resort by a man with champagne.
I knew right then we were in for a treat.
Most of our week went a little like this:
eat, lay out, order drinks from the swim up bar, eat, read, party.
Add in a deep tissue massage and a swim with dolphins, and you've got yourself one heck of a week.
Though the big day was Wednesday, the celebration lasted all week long. We threw Christina a Bachelorette party, watched the sunrise, celebrated Halloween and the Day of the Dead, went snorkeling, watched a movie on the beach, and cheered on our friend in the resort's version of American Idol. 

Christina "wrecked her dress" the day after she got married. She wore it right into the Caribbean Sea, and it made for the most beautiful pictures.

Sabrina ordered a specially made cake topper from Canada for her sister and Nick. It featured the 2 of them surrounded by all of the things they love.
Christina's dress, Nick's suit, the flowers, the rings and the setting were all (so more than) perfect.

There are some memories you make and joys you experience when you think, 
"Wow- I don't know what I would have done if I'd missed this." 
For me, Tulum is one of those memories.

Congratulations, Nick & Christina
Looking forward to many future adventures with you. XO

Ni Hao Y'all



These are the Days

"The only reason why we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend."  
~Chuck Palahniuk

How was your weekend? :)
I gotta give a shout out to Mother Nature for convincing fall to mask itself as spring for an entire sundrenched weekend here in DC.
This was the type of weekend I'd been craving all week long. 
Maybe a little bit of wine.

I spent Friday night with my friends from work, then greeted the weekend bright and early on Saturday morning. 
Funny how that works.
The alarm goes off all week and you think "if I could just get my hands on one more hour of sleep..."
You daydream about your bed.
Count the number of days between you and your friend Saturday.
Then she finally arrives.
and BAM
Up at 7:00, bright eyed and bushy tailed.
I mean what is that about anyway?!

But this weekend I didn't mind. 
More time to fill up my bucket.

I started the day one of the best ways I know how:
Chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs and cheese, made by the one and only Big Mama.
Meals like this make it hard not to move back in. 
I mean the service (and the unconditional love) over there is 5 star. 

My next stop was a Middleburg winery, where Two Big Girls took on One glass of white.
It was so much fun. 
We sat in the sunshine and gabbed the hours away.
We've done it a thousand times before, and we'll do it a thousand times more.
But oh how it never grows even one bit old.

And as we headed home, this is the sunset that welcomed us.
Looks like a serene drive, right?
Well, not even close.
Because all the way home we did what we do best-
We sang at the top of our lungs like there was literally no tomorrow.
And we're talkin' the very top.
Like mouths wide open, hands drumming the beat on the dashboard top.
We took on Stephanie's IPOD with a vengeance , and let me just say that I think my ears wished they'd stayed at the winery.

We're thinking any day now Sugarland will call in need of backup singers. 
Of the 2 of us I know who they'd take first. Not pointing any fingers :)

That night I went to dinner with my parents and then my mom and I saw a mediocre movie called Morning Glory.
My advice? Wait to see it On Demand.
I know, I know, I love Rachel McAdams, too. But I don't think you'll love her in this.
I asked my mom to rate it and she gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Then I promptly made her demote the star status to 2.5. 
Having said all this, I gotta be honest and tell you that I did catch a few zzzzzz's  throughout the movie, so maybe I slept through all the best bits.
I was full and it was dark. What can I say.

Sunday was my way of celebrating one big, happy truth:
The holiday season has officially begun!
How in the world is it already the middle of November? 
After a visit with my Grandmommy, my mom, my Sabby and I spent the beautiful day in Ocoquan drooling over Christmas decorations (and crabcake sandwiches). 
We moseyed in and out of every little store, and even left with name tags.
I mean pillows.

I could have stayed in the land of antiques and Santas for hours and hours on end.
Just me with 2 of my best girls.

To top it all off, the other pea in my pod came home from out of town on Sunday night, and talking and laughing with him was the perfect way to end my really wonderful weekend.

Now, I know I'm a little early for Thanksgiving, but boy am I thankful for memories like these.


Tulum Sunrise!

I have had SUCH a busy week catching up on everything I missed while I was in Mexico.
And by busy I mean that I haven't even uploaded all of the pictures I took while I was there.
-This should tell you something-
Normally I can hardly get off the plane without plugging my sacred memory card into my equally sacred iMac.
However, I did have time to snag a few of my favorites, this being one of them.
I woke up and watched the beautiful Tulum sunrise on the last morning I was there. It was stunning.
~More pictures to come!~

and then, she {snapped}



We Can Do Anything Today

We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities that only we can hold
Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces 
Calling out the best of who we are
It comes in small inspirations
It brings redemption to life and work
To our lives and our work
It comes in loving community
It comes in helping a soul find it's worth
And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That's burning up inside
This is grace, an invitation to be beautiful
This is grace, an invitation.
~ Sarah Groves ~

I am so thankful for today.



Grilled Cheese Party FEATURED!

A big thank you to Michelle @ Everyday Celebrating
for featuring my Grown Up Grilled Cheese Party on her awesome website, here!

She has so many creative ideas, so go look around!
Thanks again for the shout out!
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