Got any ideas?

Peachy Keen tagged me to fill out a little something about my self. I'm running around town right now trying to get settled into life in Charlotte before school starts! The grand apartment search is still on but I'm hoping to make a decision in the next few days!

1. What's your signature color? Signature color? Hmmmmm. I'm not one of those girls who is always decked out in pink and green but nor am I rocking tons of dark eyeliner. How about I choose my favorite color instead? Right now I'm loving turquoise!

2. What's your most embarrassing moment? I don't embarrass easily. That might be because I constantly am doing something embarrassing or awkward. But for some reason the story that pops into my mind the most is this:

Senior year of college I lived in New York City and had a internship at a fashion and beauty PR company. I interned with a great group of girls who I loved and would go out with on a semi-regular basis. One night we went out and I had on these really great brown high heeled boots. I thought I was looking smoking hot that night. I walked into the bar... took three steps, slipped in a puddle, and went flying straight up into the air and onto my behind. In true New York style, no one helped me up. I wanted to DIE.

3. Would you ever get anything besides your ears pierced? Probably not. I have my ears pierced but it's been years since I've worn earrings.

4. Are you a social butterfly or a homebody? As much as I love a good snuggly night at home on the sofa I am definitely a social person. I thrive on being around other people. And in true only-child style I crave being the center of attention.

5. Are you done having babies, or do you want more? I am currently baby free! WOOOHOOO! It's going to be a while before I even start to broach this idea. I'm simply much too selfish and flighty to commit to parenthood.

6. Are you loyal to your hairstylist or do you try every salon in town? I am terrible about getting my hair cut regularly. I usually go 6 to 12 months between hair cuts and then I will get sick of my long hair and chop it all off into a bob. Then I'll go regularly but eventually want my long long hair back and the cycle starts all over again!

7. How many times have you moved in your life? One zillion? It actually hasn't been that many. But between family moves, college, internships, and the recent craziness in my life I think I've lived in 10-15 different houses or apartments in my life. I've lived in:

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
back to Dallas
New York
and finally am setting up shop in Charlotte, North Carolina this very week!

8. If you could plan a vacation with just you and your love, where would it be? I'm dying to go to India right now! RIGHT. NOW!

Just to be difficult

A lot has changed in the last week and a half. Chris and I went from brainstorming life plans on a cocktail napkin to packing up our stuff and moving.

That's right. We're moving. (Again).

We're headed to my home state NORTH CAROLINA. I was accepted into the culinary program at Johnson and Wales and we decided that it was worth moving from Chicago to Charlotte, North Carolina!

Chris' job provides him with a lot of flexibility and as long as he is near a major airport he can work from almost anywhere he wants. While in Chicago we were living in an apartment that my mom owns so we won't have to break a lease or anything. It's basically a win-win-win.

School starts Tuesday, I have a to-do list about a mile long which includes finding an apartment! I'm so excited to keep you all updated on my newest culinary adventure!!

just like Nelly....

... but not

Got the stitches out today! The doctor said there should be little to no scarring. But, I do have to wear a piece of tape on my forehead for the next week and a half.

To paraphrase the words of my friend Courtney

"Balllllller. Rapper/wizard!"

Caution: FRAGILE

Friday night a little something terrible happened to me. Don't worry, it was just a little baby terrible. I tripped on myself and took a header into a fence.

I got 4 stitches and now have an awesome Harry Potter lightning bolt across my forehead. This year's Halloween costume? Done and done!

(The most awesomest hottest sexiest picture of all time.
It's going into Hustler next month for sures.)

I'm worried about the possibility of scarring. Since the accident I've been thinking about vanity a lot. Most days I don't wear anything more than mascara. If I'm going out for a nice dinner or just want to feel extra pretty I'll really do my makeup, but that only happens 4 or 5 times a month. I've always been comfortable with who I am. But now that my face is significantly swollen and there is a noticeable mark I feel a lot less secure about my looks.

I'm going to a plastic surgeon tomorrow to talk to him about reducing the possibility of a scar. I never would have gone to a plastic surgeon for my face normally.

This fall has made me question just how much I value my face. Which, evidently, is a lot.

Friday Videos

Two youtube videos that are cracking me up lately!

Saved By The Bell Hot Sundaes Music Video

Panda Cheese (I've watched this video about 20 times and I laugh every time)

Have a fabulous weekend!

Birthday in T-minus 35 days

My birthday is in 35 days. One month and 5 days. While I'm not getting ready to celebrate or even declare it as my birthday month I am starting to brew some ideas for presents. I like to think about my wish list for a while so that when the time comes I will have really thought out my options and not ask for something on a whim.

Chris is surprising me with a little mini-vacay the weekend of my birthday. He's planning a trip to some unknown local! He's going to try and keep our destination a secret for as long as possible. But, I think he will have to give it up once we get to the airport.

Since Chris is taking me on a trip the only presents I will be receiving are from my parents. Here are some of my ideas:

A copy of Swallow Magazine (which, yuck, totally sounds like a porn but is actually a foodie mag)

Bon Appitie
describes Swallow Magazine as unlike any other food magazine. "Distributed biannually, each issue focuses on a different region of the world. One part service journalism, one part ethnography of culinary cultures, and one part art project, Swallow reads as intimately as a backpacker's diary but thrives on experimental aesthetics. Each issue features lush and often bizarre food photography and stories. The graphic depictions of some food prep techniques--like hunting, butchering, and cooking marmots with Mongolian huntsmen--might cause you to squirm. (Or maybe they'll cause you to buy a plane ticket and get the experience firsthand.)"
A new point and shoot camera-- Olympus Stylus
My sweet little pink nikon was broken a year and a half ago during a camping mishap. It would cost more to fix than just to get a new camera (so much for being green). Since I am really hard on cameras I am desperately wanting the Olympus Stylus. It's crush-proof, water-proof, freezer-proof (does anyone REALLY need this?), and shock-proof. The big question is if it is Meredith-proof. I have a larger camera but I this would be perfect to throw in a pocket or take to (or into!) the ocean.

And really that's is. Only two items? And one is only $25; this list is so boring! Help! What amazing items am I missing? Maybe an iPad? Cash? Clothes?

What should I add to my list?

Fashion Emergency!

I'm sure you're all wondering when exactly Chris and I are leaving to travel. It's a long story that deserves a blog post on it own. I've been procrastinating writing about it.

But to make it really short, there's been a delay and we won't be leaving until January at the earliest. That means I need to figure out a better life plan for right now. I've been applying to cooking schools and had an interview at Kendall College in Chicago yesterday.

I think the way you dress for interviews, appointments, and first dates is really important. A lot is inferred by the way you dress. That said, dressing for my interview was a bit of a challenge. I wanted an outfit that said "I'm a creative young professional who would be an asset to your program. While I take things seriously, I also have a lighter and more artistic side." (read that statement in your best interview voice!)

I was getting dressed and the first outfit I choose just wasn't right. It was just a little too yatch club for the interview. At this point I sent an emergency email to Stephanie from Le Sigh of Fashionista:

from: Meredith
to: Stephanie
date: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 12:23 PM
subject: fashion EMERGENCY

I'm going to an interview to be accepted into cooking school.

Which is better:

1. White Trousers with Blazer


2. Dress

Stephanie, being the amazing friend she is, replied literally in the SAME MINUTE! She said dress, and since I always trust her fashion opinion I went with the dress.

Here's how it turned out:

Here's the first outfit:

I LOVE this blazer. It looks amazing on and has awesome sleeve lining if you want to cuff it or scrunch it.

Which would you have chosen for a culinary school interview?

Travel Lessons: Laundry

During my three months backpacking in Europe laundering facilities were hard to come by. They were expensive. And when you only have two pairs of pants with you and 6 shirts it's annoying to pay for an entire washer and dryer.

After a while I became a little creative:

(Nice, France)
In a French hotel? Use a bidet to soak your clothes!

(Riomaggiore, Italy)
Let them soak in a nice bubble bath!

(Riomaggiore, Italy)
Stir them around to get them nice and clean!

(Paris, France)
If you are stuck in a hostel where the windows don't open, try to find a space to hang a clothes line inside. This one is draped across the end of my hostel bed. I slept with the clothes hanging over me all night.

(Riomaggiore, Italy)
Hopefully you have enough clothes pins!

(Manarola, Italy-- and NOT my undies!)
Be shameless! Let it all hang out!

The Chicago Air and Water Show was great! We brought a delicious picnic of chicken salad and tomato and basil salad and watched the amazing aeronautic display!

We saw the Blue Angels


Cute little biplanes

Grumpy Chicago grandfathers

Incredibly drunk half naked people

There were over 2 million people watching on Saturday!

But only a few were brave enough to dive in to ice cold Lake Michigan!


Woooohooo! It's Friday my love bugs!

My mom is in town this weekend so we're going to do some girly things together. And tomorrow is the big show, The Chicago Air and Water Show!

The show brings over 2 million people to the shore of Lake Michigan to watch an amazing display put on by some of the best civilian and military teams in the country!

We're making a picnic and spending our Saturday staring up into the sky!

Because the beach is not far from our apartment it will be easy to bring lots of yummy goodies. Here's the menu I'm thinking about:

- Spring Rolls with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce
- Caprese Salad (we LOVE tomatoes)
- Fresh Fruit Salad
- Some TBA pasta salad
- And cheese cheese cheese! (YUUUUMMMM!)

Any suggestions?

The Chronicles of M-- 90210

M is one of my best friends in the entire world. I've known her for 12 years now. We weren't always close. In fact, we hated each other. If you asked her she would tell you that I was an evil bitch to her for a few years in high school.

While I love her with all of my heart now, I do have a large catalog of embarrassing stories about her. And like any good best friend and bridesmaid, I'm going to share them with the internet.


I first met M when she transfered mid-year into my 8th grade class. Her family had just moved from Australia and M was something of a oddity.

Was she from Australia? No, she's actually from Canada.
Did she have a pet kangaroo? No, she's lame.

After a sleep-over, Jessica M eagerly reported that M had a trampoline and a large collection of perfume bottles. As you can imagine, this only made me more curious about M. We were in the same group of friends for the remainder of the spring semester. That fall we both went to the same small all-girls high school, Salem Academy.

We had no sort of dress code at Salem. I usually wore soffe shorts (which I rolled twice making them obscenely short), a souvenir t-shirt, and plastic flip flops from Old Navy. About 10 times a year I would put on a dress and some makeup, but it was rare for me to look presentable.

(This was me, except I'm taller and have brown hair-- which was always in a ponytail with at least 3 pens and pencils stuck in it)

Not everyone at Salem looked like a slob. Best friend D would actually wake up in the mornings, take a shower, eat breakfast, apply makeup, and get dressed (for the first two years of school she wore a sweater set almost every day. D had the largest collection of sweater sets I've ever seen!). M and I usually both rolled out of bed, threw on the closest items of clothing and speed to school.

One day, sophomore year M arrived to school a little late. I will never forget the moment she arrived in the student lounge. She was wearing a denim skirt.

A Denim skirt? What's so memorable about a denim skirt?

It was an acid washed, pencil skirt with the 90210 logo stamped on the left thigh.


I almost died when I saw this skirt. And this was 2000! I know (because of wikipedia) Beverly Hills 90210 ended in 2000. But was anyone still watching? Much less buying acid washed denim skirts?

On Tuesday I received this email from M:

"What does this remind you of?"

M creepy stalked this woman on the streets of NYC and took her picture with an iphone and sent it to me (see why I love her?).

This is only the beginning of the great stories I have about M-- I didn't even tell you about the time she wore head to toe khaki....

(Sadly, M's mother gave the skirt to goodwill a few years later. If anyone can find a picture of this skirt I will send them an amazing present! I've been searching for YEARS.)

100 before 100! 61-70!

Happy Wednesday! We’re half way through the week! Only a few more days before the weekend! I’ve been working on creating my list of one hundred things to do before I turn one hundred. And let me tell you, it’s getting tougher and tougher to add items to the list!

Here's 61-70!

61. Be able to do and hold a handstand (again. Gah! 9 year old me was AWESOME!)
Read all of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov (I've never been able to make it all the way through)
63. Own a house.
64. Always write thank you notes (my birthday is September 24th, I'd be happy to send you a thank you note in exchange for a present!)
65. Scan and organize all photos from high school on.
66. Jump off a cliff. Cliff diving sounds amazing!
67. See the live taping of a television show
68. Use a rain barrel to help be more environmentally friendly (but I guess I need a garden, number 54, first)
69. Learn how to throw a lasso (why not?)
Visit the town in Austria where my Great-Grandfather was born in 1901

However, I am happy to say that I’ve been able to work on and check a few items off of my list!

13. Learn to scuba dive (Completed in Utila, Honduras July 2010! I can't wait to go again!)

44. Beat my Mom at Scrabble (I did it!!! On a plane! Which means it was a trans-Atlantic win!)

57. Learn how to use the weigh machines at the gym (Chris has been teaching me! Yay!)

Hiking in Cinque Terre

At the tail end of my grand adventure through Europe I spent a few days in the amazing town of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre area of Italy. If I ever have the chance I would love to spend a few weeks in Cinque Terre taking Italian lessons in the morning and hiking in the afternoon.

All of the people in Riomaggiore were so nice. I speak about 3 words of Italian and have excellent pointing skills; but, I was able to get around and work it out because everyone there was so patient and kind. I couldn't be more in love with this little town!

One morning I decided to take a hike along the coast line to another town and then a moderate to hard hike from that town, up through the mountain ridge, back down to my own little town.

This was the only map I had. A terrible terrible map with just basic squiggles for directions. Being fairly foolish, I decided that I could make it! I was a girl scout and a camp counselor (can you see where this is going?).

I made it along the path, called Via dell'Amore (Lovers Lane), stopping to take lots of pictures of these amazing cliff-side towns.

And without much trouble I made it to the trail and and started hiking. But being the responsible hiker I am, I checked the warning first:

(I actually took this picture with Stephanie from Le Sigh of a Fashionista in mind!)

Warning: do not wear high heels while hiking! Well, thank you, how thoughtful AND helpful. To be honest, I wasn't wearing the best of hiking shoes; no boots, only a pair of worn down converse.

After about thirty minutes of hiking I came across this sweet little altar. It was no more than 6 feet tall.

The gorgeous fall leaves reminded me of being home in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina (my personal happy place).

After about 2 hours of hiking I had made it about 3/4th of the way up the mountain when I encountered this:

and this!


I didn't actually see any boars. But I was on the look out.

I hiked for another hour (about 3 to 4 hours total) and finally made it to the top! Wooo! At this point I knew I needed to turn right to head across the ridge but I just wasn't actually sure where to turn but kept my eyes open for a sign or arrows or something.

As I kept on the path I soon realized that I was incredibly lost. I had really only two options: try to keep on going or turn around for what was guaranteed to be a steep and slippery four hour hike home. So... what did I do? I called my mom.

That's right, I took my international blackberry on top on a mountain in Italy and called my mom. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey Momma. Sorry to interrupt your meeting but I'm lost.
Mom: Yea? Are you okay? Where are you?
Me: Oh yea, everything is fine. Nothing to stress about. I'm just in the middle of the woods in Italy.
Mom: In the woods?! You have no idea where you are?!
Me: Erm. yea.

Eventually I found my way out of the forest, but at that point I had passed over the mountain ridge, out of one national park and into another. In the distance I could see a large town. I decided that town was the best bet for a ride home-- I would find a bus, a train, a donkey, something! I walked down a long winding road for 9 kilometers. After asking for directions and making some lucky guesses I got into town and found the train station. Using my Eurorail pass and passport (which, THANKFULLY I HAD IN MY BACKPACK) was able to take a 30 minute train ride home to Riomaggiore.

Getting off the train I was welcomed home with this amazing sunset!

After 9 hours of hiking, wandering, a bus ride, a train ride, and generally being lost I made myself a huge carbo-loaded dinner of lemon linguine with squash, tomatoes, prosciutto, and fresh ricotta:

(this is the picture appeared on the blog just a few days ago and got me started thinking about this story!)

This story could have turned out badly, forcing me to use my survival skills (of which I have none) and spend the night in woods. But honestly, I am so glad I got lost and spent those extra hours wandering through the woods. I'm also so glad I made it home that night!

But I will tell you that I was so sore after 9 hours of hiking and walking that I had a hard time walking for days!

Relationships: managing expectations

I've been in two really meaningful romantic relationships in my life. One failed in a miserable cry-fest which involved cheating, lying, yelling, and other unpleasantness. And now I'm in an amazing relationship with someone who I like (fine, I'm lame, and love him) so much that I might even be obsessed with him. But beyond being in happy and unhappy long term relationships I've also been single, dated a guy who delivered pizzas, and made myself look like a desperate fool. In the last 10 years that I've been dealing with boys (some, maybe, can be called men) I've learned a thing or two.

For me, the biggest thing that keeps me sane in my relationship is managing expectations and my insecurities. I had (and at times still have) these impossible standards and ideals about the way my partner should act. Undeniably, they are completely unreasonable. Keep in mind that Chris is amazing, and I honestly can't imagine a better boyfriend (gag. mush-fest). But in the beginning I had to work on my own expectations. Not because he was doing anything wrong but because I was wanting too much (an impossible amount) from him. And I let my imagination get away from me many many times. Chris and I call this "Hypothetical Evil Chris". Hypothetical Evil Chris is a cheating asshole who likes to put me down and sleep with strippers or any other lady he can find. When he goes away on boys weekends and I'm worried about what might happen I like to think to myself, "are these ideas about what Chris might do and think really something I know about his character? Or is this just Hypothetical Evil Chris who I am thinking about?"

So, when managing expectations I think you need to figure out what is {insert boyfriend's name} honestly capable of giving you? And what is an absolute need for you? I need lots of physical attention: I need kisses and hugs all day long. I need to be listened to and respected. I need to feel sexually attractive (I would hate for my boyfriend to like me just for my personality-- no seriously, that would suck). I need a partner who will dream big with me. I need someone who will be there for me on the great days but also on the days when I can't stop crying.

In the first 6 months or so of my relationship with Chris, our (okay, really my) biggest challenge was realizing how completely amazing our relationship was (and still is!) and to bask in that without letting some sort of crazy "ideal" or letting my overactive and insecure imagination get in the way.

So, the big question is what do you need, what do you want, and can someone balance them?

Ef... now that I've written this I'm going to be really embarrassed if Chris dumps my ass. But if that happens at least I'll have something to blog about...

I would tweet about it but....

Do y'all tweet? Cause I do! And I would love more little tweet bunnies to tweet with! Follow me! I'll follow you!


Choices. Choices. Choices.

I'm a lucky duck and CSN asked me to do a review of one of their fabulous products. If you don't know CSN is a great place to do some online shopping. They have everything! Dining room furniture! Shoes! Rugs! Everything! With about two thousand choices I'm a little stuck!

Right now I'm in a holding pattern. We're waiting to leave on our trip (details to come!), living in a temporary place and know that our stuff has to go into storage soon. So, I want to choose something that we will use now and when we return. I don't any decor items since I'm not sure of the space we are moving into.

Maybe a cute laptop case?

product image
Maybe a few Le Crueset items to add to my small collection?

product image

Maybe a suitcase?
product image

Some fancy new kitchen gadget?
product image
(So fancy! A crock pot!)

Maybe something entirely different? What would you choose to review?

Please sir, another carb? I'm 'ungry

Last Thursday I started a new lifestyle program (that's my fancy happy face word for diet) with Chris. So far it's been going pretty well.

I've worked out every day. And haven't touched a sip of alcohol. Y'all I went to dinner with my mom and turned down wine! TURNED DOWN WINE! Do you hear me? I could have ordered multiple martinis or delicious glasses of pinot. But I was strong! I made it!

Not boozing has been okay. It was a little weird this weekend though. What do people who don't drink do on the weekend? No, seriously. What is there to do on a Saturday night if I'm not going to a bar? Movies? Board games? Sleeping?

But here's the real problem. I'm craving carbs like crazy. I was ready to cut someone for french friends on Sunday.

This is what I want. I actually want 5 of them:

(This is the most delicious giant bowl of past I have ever eaten. That's fresh lemon linguini and ricotta fresh from the market. Ah, nothing beats Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre in Italy!)

If it stops raining today I'm going to for a run. I downloaded a Couch to 5k program on my ipod last night and am going to try to start running. I'm not someone who likes to run (actually I totally hate it), but I figured it was worth the $2.99 to download the app.

I'm trying for 30 days straight of working out. 7 days down! Only 23 more to go!

Now that you're gone sweetie...

Chris usually travels 2 or 3 weeks a month for work. That leaves me all by my lonesome to do whatever I want in Chicago.

When we lived in Dallas I just counted Chris' work weeks as extended time with my girls. Now that that we're in Chicago and I don't the same extended group of friends I end up hanging out by myself on weekend nights fairly often. And right now we don't have cable in our apartment so I can't even throw myself into Real Housewives or HGTV

So, what do I do by myself when I'm all alone? What are things I can't do when my dear sweet boyfriend is home?

- Instead of cooking real meals I make whatever is easiest and most readily available. Wheat Thins with cream cheese and tomatoes? Yes please!

- I play countless games of "scrabble" on the internet.

- I watch whatever chick flicks I want. I definitely take advantage of our Netflix membership when Chris is gone. (Speaking of, any good suggestions for girly movies?)

- I spend tons of time in front of the mirror checking out possible blackheads, stray eyebrow hairs, and wondering I will look like in 20 years.

- I work out and watch hours of bad reality tv at the gym. Honestly, most of the time I work out just so I can watch tv.

What do you do when no one else is home?