Things I couldn’t flesh out into full posts

1. So I got the blue Akira dress. And at first I was pleasantly surprised because the material was nicer than I expected. But then I put it on. And was unpleasantly surprised to learn that the medium was, in fact, too big. So the search continues.

Honestly, I just want to find a dress now so I can stop talking about it. Because I literally can’t stop talking about it. I’m a woman possessed. Possessed by a phantom dress I invented in my mind.

There’s probably a Latin term for that condition, right? Something that ends in -mania.

2. One of my favorite bloggers (and one of my lovely sponsors!) wrote a post about expectations and romance today that I really liked. The gist of it is that you need to ask for what you want, rather that simply get pissed off and broken hearted when your significant other doesn’t psychically know what you want. (I totally butchered the elegance of how Liz described it. Just go read the post.)

3. Today I discovered dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt. And my life was never the same again.

It’s a giant bar of chocolate, so my plan is to eat it slowly throughout the week. It’s literally taking everything I have not to tear into my snack drawer and devour the entire thing.


4. Last night, I made this for dinner, and it was AWESOME. And super easy. And healthy! I followed the recipe exactly, so it’s not really worth doing my own post about it, but I highly recommend it if healthy chicken enchiladas sounds like something you would enjoy. It’s also husband-approved, so that’s just a bonus.

5. Broke and ate two more squares of chocolate since writing #3. I may have a disease.


I don’t speak Long Islander.

You know how I like to document the cultural differences between life in Long Island/on the East Coast and life elsewhere? Well, I may have mentioned this before on here (Lord knows I talk about it in person enough), but there are a lot of language differences as well.

And I’m not even talking about the accent. (Next time we’re face-to-face, ask me to give you my Erin vs. Aaron schpeel.) I mean the actual language we use to express ourselves.

One popular term you hear on the Island is “jeat?” (Written phonetically…because it’s not a real word and therefore doesn’t have a real spelling.) What this means is: Did you eat? (Shortened to “didja eat?” shortened to “jeat?” Natch.)

Another term you’ll hear here? “Are you on line?”

Now, you may think I just made a grammatical error there. But no, I did not mean “online.” People in Long Island say “on line” instead of “in line.” For example:

Person 1: Are you done shopping?

Person 2: Yeah, I’m going to get on line now.

The first time someone said that to me, I was genuinely confused. You’re going to get on a computer? You’re going to browse the web? BUT WHY?

Once I figured it out, I still didn’t get it. You are not literally standing on top of the line. You are in it. You are a PART of the line.

I could get my new neighbors to understand why I didn’t agree with their terminology, but I couldn’t prove to them that it confused things.


I met up with my friend Sam for lunch today. I arrived at the eating establishment before he did, so I was standing near the line, but not actually in it. To pass the time, I was perusing Facebook on my phone.

Suddenly, a girl walked in, looked at me and said, “Are you on line?”

CONUNDRUM. Because while I was not standing in/on line, I was ONLINE. Therefore, saying “on line” is confusing and inaccurate.

Ergo, I’m right.

Justine: 1
Long Island: Goose egg.

Oh yeah…I’m going to be real popular here.

Busy, busy, busy

I’ve literally spent a solid five minutes trying to start this post any way except “Happy Monday!”, and I’ve got nothing. (I’m going to hope it’s just that the coffee I’m sipping hasn’t kicked in yet.)(Either that, or I’m just officially this woman and should just buy an unflattering pantsuit and call it a day.)

Anyway. It’s Monday. Moving on.

First things first, I announced the winner of the Gloria Joy Art & Design giveaway! Was it you? Click over to the post to find out.

Next, my weekend. I had to be fairly cryptic about my plans until now because I was attending a surprise bridal shower on Saturday, but now it’s out and the bride was surprised and everything went off without a hitch, so we can discuss.

I forgot my own camera, but fortunately my friend Heather was on-hand to snap a few pictures with her iPhone:

Two of my favorite ladies...and our "pretty" faces. {photo by Heather}
Now with Megan! (And actual pretty faces ha.) {photo by Heather}

And here’s a shot of the happy couple (those striped presents are the ones I got them…convenient, huh?):

{photo courtesy of Brittany A.}

Ahhh love. Hard to believe I was doing all of that less than a year ago!

Also, training for my second half marathon has officially begun! Ran four miles on Saturday, and it actually felt pretty easy, so here’s hoping I can keep it up until May 6th.

Oh, and for the more invested-in-the-mundane-aspects-of-my-life among you, I went with the blue Akira dress. I’ll let you know if I end up keeping it when it arrives. (Because obviously you’re on tenterhooks.)

Here’s the point in the post when I would usually start gushing about some new project or plan that I’m starting up for the month. But just to prove that I’m not totally predictable, I’m not going to do that.

Ok, you got me. I’m really not going to do that because March is turning into a super busy month in which all of my weekends are extremely packed. A huge volunteer project coupled with the aforementioned half marathon training means I won’t have as much time for crafts, home decor, or even extensive recipes. (Though I did whip up a really yummy shrimp and asparagus pasta on Friday, and yesterday I invented a dessert I’ll be sharing as soon as I have time to make it again!)

Which means as much as I want to get to the craft store and Goodwill to pick up some goods for the bedroom decor, I’m probably going to have to hold off until April. Of course, patience isn’t really one of my virtues, so I could be totally lying. I’m just wildly uNpReDiCtAbLe like that. Duh.

But just in case I do end up stretched to my limit, I’m still going to need a few small-scale projects to keep myself from going crazy. (Crafts calm me. Don’t judge.) I have a couple of wall art ideas in the works and obviously ideas for pillows to sew, but I’m up for suggestions.

What are your favorite quick projects?

What to Wear to a Wedding

It’s March 1st. Does anyone else find that to be insane? Well, I do. Anyway.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a couple of weddings this year. One of them I’m in, which makes life easier in that my outfit was selected for me and is already decided and hanging in my closet.

The other…well, there’s the rub.

Not surprisingly (probably), I put a lot of research into dresses I buy for events. (Ok, into any clothing purchases. We all remember the pants.)(I’m actually wearing the black pants right now! They’re awesome, but I need to get the waist tailored.)(I know, I know, you don’t care…)

My biggest problem is that I always come up with a very specific idea of what I want to wear without any consideration for whether or not that idea is actually available anyway. I like to drive myself insane like that.

For this wedding, I want a dress in a bold color (like green or berry…but ideally not blue because I really don’t need ANOTHER blue dress) with some kind of open, drape-y back. I want it short, but not mini, and I would prefer no or short sleeves. I want to look hot, but it’s still someone else’s wedding, so not like, BAM-look-at-me-hott-with-two-T’s. More like turns-my-husband’s-head-hot. (One T.) Oh, and also under $100 if I can find it because I’m returning to my cheap old woman ways.


Oh yeah. Because I’m a crazy person who dreams too big.

So anyway. In true me fashion, I hit up the Google for ideas. Here’s a collection of what I found and why it’s not perfect:

1. CUT25 Draped Back Dress in Palm: Ok, so this one is so close to perfect it’s ACTUALLY painful. Perfect color, good shape (maybe a little tight on the caboose, but the hubs wouldn’t complain). Only problem? check the price tag. Plus, there’s only ONE left, and while that usually is my size, I would feel safer going a size up since it looks tightish. But mostly, check the price tag.

2. Bebe Open Back Shine Dress: Also very close EXCEPT. The price is a little high, and the bridesmaid dresses for the wedding are the same color. Sorry, not going to be that girl.

3. Akira Black Label Open Back Drape Sleeve Dress in Royal Blue: So this is actually the closest to perfect and I may actually buy it. The only issues: I would prefer NOT blue and they’re out of my size. But the waist cinches, so I think I could get away with a size up. And I guess I could deal with another blue dress…if I don’t find any other options.

4. Warehouse Exposed Back Dress: LOVE this dress. But it’s expensive and…well..white. I also refuse to be that girl at the wedding.

5. ASOS Sexy Cowl Back Dress in Mink: Close, but a bit tight and short. Blah, I’m getting tired of the same excuses. The price is nice, though.

6. Joanne Kitten Open-Back Pleated Dress: This is actually another promising option. I like the cut of it, the color is ok, the back works. I just don’t…it’s not drape-y. I think that’s the problem.

7. French Connection Dress with Strip Back Detail: I LOVE the back of this dress. It’s amazing. And the overall cut is great too. But it’s navy, which is basically blue except MORE common in my closet. And it’s too expensive. Blerg.

So what I’m saying is that the search continues. And since y’all are such great problem solvers, I’m hoping you’ll share any colorful, drape-y, open-back-but-not-slutty dresses you know of in the comments. Worst case scenario (which isn’t even all that bad), I’m going with the blue Akira dress. (It’s also available in red, but it’s like WHOA RED. Not sure I can pull off that color.)

I really, really, really love this dress in blush, but I have no idea who makes it (and let’s face it, I probably can’t afford it):

Any help out there? Or are you searching for something really specific that I can help you find? I’m pretty good at this whole “online searching” thing.

Bedroom Decor on the Cheap

It’s official: I’m never making another decision on my own without consulting you guys first.

Seriously, you’re all so helpful! After I posted my (FIRST EVER SUPER AWESOME) mood board yesterday, packed with all kinds of questions and requests for advice, you all stepped up. I got answers through gchat, comments, emails — and they were all really helpful!

If I can get super mushy for a second, it seriously warms my heart when you guys comment. It’s especially exciting when you’re people I don’t even know in “real” life, but all responses are extremely validating.

Ok, mushy second over. In other news, I’ve started pricing out my dream bedroom. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m hoping to DIY a lot of things, but there are still purchases that need to be made.

Duvet cover: Since the Target one I referenced yesterday has since been taken off the market (d’oh), I found one at Bed Bath & Beyond (of which I am a huge fan):

The only issue is that I can only find it online. The pros of this are that I don’t have to go searching for it and I can get cash back from (which you know I love), but the cons are that I have to pay shipping and I’m not sure if BBB’s endless stream of coupons applies to online purchases. I need to rustle one up and check. It would be about $75, with 1 percent cash back from Ebates. (Le sigh.)

Rug: As I mentioned yesterday, as much as I love Crate & Barrel’s pretty rug, it’s a bit too pricey for my taste. So I did what any cheap-o, decor-loving girl would do and settled for the next best thing: IKEA. Their Stockholm Rand rug would work perfectly, and it’s $100 cheaper than the C&B version:

However, it’s still not exactly free, so I’m saving my pennies.

Vanity/desk: This was a perfect example of how a commenter really came through for me. So we know I love the West Elm Parsons Desk. However, we also know that it costs a billion dollars. You know what is much more reasonable? THIS little beauty from World Market:

And it’s basically the same look. I actually like it a tiny bit better because the legs add some visual interest. Plus, um, hello? Cheaper. (Although, again, not free, so I’m trying to hold out for a coupon.)(Plus, 4 percent cash back from I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE EBATES YET?)

Other than that, I need 3 shadow boxes, fabric, a couple Goodwill lamps, and a vanity stool I can paint and recover. Sooo…yeah. Dream decor is kind of a cash suck. But I already have coupons for Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics, so that’s a start. And I’m trying REALLY hard not to let my excitement take over and make me spend a bunch of money right off the bat. I. Will. Take. This. Slow.

Anyone else ever find themselves diving head-first into projects (only to be left EXTREMELY poor)? Also, anyone have any cheap-o options to share? You know I love it when you do.

8 Dreamy Decor Ideas

You GUYS. I am really excited right now. And we all know what happens when I get too excited. So I’m trying to keep calm. Trying.

What has got me all twitterpated? I’ll explain.

So as you know (if you’ve been a loyal follower of this blog as I pretend everyone reading this is), my bedroom is one of the last portions of my apartment to be beautificated.

(Those of you who don’t care about my apartment are realizing that this a decor-centered post, aren’t you? I fully understand if you want to walk away now. I don’t like it, but I understand.)

Anyway. Now that the more dedicated/decor-interested of us are alone, without those other people, let’s begin.

So as I was saying, the bedroom. It’s in pretty sorry shape.

I mean, we got a pretty bedspread on our wedding registry, but then we got a bigger bed. And then we started using the bedspread as a blanket. And then it got all kinds of warped. And…well…it just doesn’t look as crisp as I’d like it.

And aside from the bedspread, the room really is not even masquerading as a thoughtfully decorated room. There are literally no other pretty bits. AND remember how I really wanted a room where I could display Joey’s guitars? Well, my friends, I have a solution that solves all of my life’s problem. (Well, almost.)

So, without further ado, my plan for our bedroom/THE FIRST MOOD BOARD I’VE EVER MADE EVER:

Not bad, right? I’m ridiculously proud of it, so if you have anything negative to say, SAVE IT FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO HEAR ANY KIND OF CRITICISM. Because that’s not me right now, ok? Let me revel.

Here’s a breakdown of that bit of gloriousness you see above:

1. RUG: We’ll work our way up, starting with this pretty little rug from Crate & Barrel. I’ve been getting more and more into bold, graphic prints lately, and I love how this rug grounds the whole look. Unfortunately, this version is a wee bit out of my price range, so I’ll either have to save my pennies or search for a cheaper alternative. Anyone have any ideas?

2. BEDSPREAD: We already have a pretty impressive bed, but as I mentioned, the covers are a little worse for the wear. I really like how simple this grey bedspread from Target is. Simple, solid basics are good for people who are as fickle about their decor as I am.

3. LAMP: I’ve sort of been on this kick lately to incorporate more color into our apartment (even fickle girls get tired of neutrals eventually), and I think a bright, glossy lamp or two would be just the ticket. (Double bonus because this room has ZERO overhead light and we need lamps anyway.) I’m sort of hoping to DIY this bit of loveliness, so I’ll be scouring the Salvation Army for lamps with good lines. (I’m not sure where that particular lamp is from, but I found the image on Pinterest.

4. WALL ART: This is a DIY project I’ve been wanting to do ever since I first saw it on Pinterest months and months ago, I just didn’t have any place to display the finished product. WELL NOT ANYMORE. I want to make three of them to display on the far wall of our bedroom. I just can’t decide if I should stick with our honeymoon destinations and do Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid, or if I should incorporate Iceland and just do France, Spain, and Iceland. Any opinions?

5. VANITY: Remember the time I sort of tried to create a little dressing table area for myself? Well, I want to make one for real this time. I still have that gold mirror pictured in the linked post, but what I really need is a desk/vanity to go under it. I die for the Parsons Desk from West Elm, but again, my dreams don’t quite match up with my budget. I’ve been scoping out Craigslist for a while, but does anyone know of a sleek desk/vanity out there that I’ve been missing?

6. VANITY STOOL: This is another detail I’m hoping to DIY. I’d love to find a cute little stool from Goodwill or something that I could paint and — gasp! — even reupholster. I know. I. Know. But I honestly think I could do it if it was as simple as the one pictured. I’d love to do one of the bold patterns you see in the pillows. Speaking of which…

7. PILLOWS: Yay, patterns! I have links for all of these beauties, but honestly, I’d prefer to just make them myself to save on cash. (And to make myself feel awesomely crafty.) For those of you who would rather have them RIGHT NOW, here are the links: Black and white Greek Key pillow, seafoam green pillow, grey Ikat pillow, Scrabble pillow (I would get a J, obvi), orange trellis pillow.

8. GUITARS: And finally, the detail I’m especially excited about, Joey’s guitars. We have this giant, blank wall facing the bed that has nothing on it. (Well…there’s a Japanese fan taped to the wall…but that’s a longer story and is really a joke between Joey and me…err…moving on.) I realized the other day it would be the PERFECT place to display the guitars. So that’s the plan. He has like four or five, so it should make for a nice display.

I’d also like to swap out the curtains for something like these:

I couldn’t find any good source info in that pin, but I found this place online that can make a similar version. Who knows, maybe I’ll get really crazy and attempt making my own. But they’re dreamy, right? (Speaking of which, if you’re interested in other bedroom decor that tickles my fancy, be sure to follow my bedroom board on Pinterest!)

So anyway, that’s what I have so far. Obviously, I still have a ways to go to put all that into practice, but I feel better even having some mild direction. Now I just have to keep myself from getting too excited and spending a million dollars on accident. As I am wont to do.

If you have answers to any of the questions in my breakdown, I’d love to hear your input!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Gloria Art & Design giveaway announced yesterday for a chance to win a CUSTOM painting of your choice to add to your own dreamy decor!

Steal a kiss

I’ve lived in a lot of corners of the country. Born in California, a brief stint in Texas, a large chunk of my life in the Midwest, a year in Brooklyn, and now settled in Long Island, I feel like I have experienced a lot of the different cultures you find in America.

One of the most interesting parts of living in different places (at least to me) is seeing the quirks of the people raised there. Especially when it comes to their level of human contact.

I’ll explain.

In the Midwest, people don’t really touch. I mean, sure, you get handshakes and high fives and you hug people you know really well, but for the most part, your standard greeting is sans contact.

So one of the biggest things I had to get used to when I started spending more time in Long Island was not something you might expect: kissing.

No, I’m not saying every new person you meet will expect to engaged in a little tonsel hockey, but you are expected to kiss hello.

(Anyone else remember Jerry’s aversion to the kiss hello?)

I recently had my cousins from Ohio to visit, and it was kind of funny to watch them react to people leaning in for a quick smooch.

My advice was basically to react to cues from the other person. If they lean in, cheek first, they’re probably expecting a kiss hello or goodbye. The only time it’s ever awkward is if you both go for the opposite cheek, and then you end up doing that weird chicken bob trying to figure out which direction to turn your head. I’ve never accidentally kissed someone on the mouth in an attempt at a cheek kiss, but I’m sure it has happened.

Personally, I think it’s kind of a nice custom. It reminds me of high school when I had a French foreign exchange student come to stay with me and the group always did les bises, or kisses when they wanted to say hello or goodbye to their friends. But I can also see how it would be uncomfortable if you’re more of a big-wave-hello kind of person.

What about you? Are people touchy-feely in your area? Or do you keep your distance? Anyone have a good accidental kiss story to share?