The end.

Recently, I’ve found myself at the end.  At the end of Gossip Girl.  At the end of Harry Potter.  At the end of How I Met Your Mother.

{Warning:  This post will include spoilers for all three. Proceed with caution if you don’t know and don’t wanna know the end.  If you’re looking for the deep, meaningful message in all this, well, I don’t really have one.  This is all shallow and shameless rambling.}

There is something about a series that really allows for an attachment to develop between the reader or viewer and the characters.  Their world is our world for a few chapters or seasons.  And inevitably, when it’s over, there is a sense of loss.  Like an old friend moved away and while you know you can visit, it’ll never be the same.

But to put a spin of optimism on the subject:

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Gossip Girl.  It’s on Netflix and I’ve watched the entire series by streaming it.  I never saw the show when it was actually on the air.  I love the clothes, the music, the actors and actresses.  I don’t love the endless drama and I think the show needed to end.  After all, there are only so many times that Blair and Chuck and Serena and Dan and Nate and Lily and Rufus and Bart and William and all these nearly identical blonde girls (Ivy, Lola, etc.)  can break up and get back together…be best friends and then be worst enemies.  However, I loved the ending.  I thought GG was Dorota.  And I was in good company.  Even Blair thought it was Dorota.  But I was wrong.  And I love it.  I love that Dan Humphrey literally wrote himself into that Upper Eastside world. I loved that Georgina and Jack Bass hit it off (of course they would – they’re both so deliciously manipulative and lacking in emotion).  I love that Blair and Chuck had a kid and that he was wearing a little bow-tie in the last scene.  I love that Kristen Bell made an appearance…and that wink at the camera at the end of her scene.  Perfect.

Harry Potter.  I’m so glad that I waited to read these books for as long as I did.  I think I appreciated them more as an adult.  They are so good.  I have decided to treat myself to a new Harry Potter hoodie (via Etsy) to both celebrate and mourn the ending of this series.  I sobbed when Dumbledore died, mentally shaking my fist and shouting ‘Crucio!’ {I know it’s an Unforgiveable, but Dumbledore was dead and I was beside myself with anger} at Severus Snape, at the conclusion of book six.  And I picked book seven up trepidatiously because while I wanted to know the end…I didn’t want it to end.  It was sad when Mad Eye Moody was killed (Mundungus is a coward).  I cried when Dobby died.  Poor little loyal house-elf.  And Fred Weasley…that one hurt.  A deceased Snape redeemed himself when Harry dove into his thoughts in the Pensieve.  I cried when Hagrid had to carry a seemingly dead Harry back to Hogwarts.  But it wasn’t all tears.  I love that Ron, Hermione, and Neville all had the pleasure of destroying Horcruxes.  And it was delightful when Molly Weasley finished off the evil Bellatrix.  Now the question is – do I watch the movies?  I have it on good authority – from people who loved the books – that the movies are worth watching.  So I probably will.

How I Met Your Mother.  I liked the ending.  It took me a few days to process it.  But ultimately, I think it gave the show some volume and tied things up nicely.  I really like the actress who played the mother.  We didn’t have much time to get to know her, as viewers, but it was still meaningful.  And then we had six seconds to process her death, so the idea that Ted was actually considering asking Robyn out was shocking.  I had to remind myself that the kids had six years to process the mom dying…so it was really okay.  My biggest pet peeve:  the never-ending, multiple season coverage of Robyn and Barney’s wedding.  It felt like Groundhog Day.  OMdoubleG.  Then they were divorced.  Just like that.  Well, three years to them, but twenty seconds to me, as a viewer.  I was so over their stinking wedding weekend.  And then it was ALL for NOTHING because they got divorced.  Gah.  Overall, a good show.  The final season was by far my least favorite.

Do you want to obsess over GG, HP, or HIMYM with me?  Have you finished any series recently?  Do you have any recommendations for me – what should I dive into next? 

Sweekend and recently.

In the battle of sequin shorts versus ball gown, I said yes to the dress.

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We started the night with some Mexican food and margaritas and then made our way to the big event.  The gala was a lot of fun.  We enjoyed signature cocktails, cake pops with little vials of liqueur, socializing, and dancing in da club.

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We left the boys at home and made it a girls night.  Except for the part where Kevin drove us to the event, and one of the other gal’s husband picked us up and drove us home.  Nice guys.

That was Saturday night.

Friday night was spent in Paris.

imageWell, a Paris themed cocktail party fundraiser for the city museum.  It was so well done.  Very classy and there was an open bar.  (Of course, Kevin and I went wild and each had one drink.  Which meant that we could fully enjoy the drunken, bizarre ramblings of other people at the end of the night.)

We met some friends for brunch on Saturday morning.  Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather, we staked out a table on the patio and enjoyed catching up.

And Sunday I was lazy, lazy, lazy – spending the day with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I begrudgingly left Harry at home to run to the grocery store mid-day, and then we enjoyed a yummy early-Easter dinner with Kevin’s parents, my great-aunt and great-uncle, and some family friends.

In other recent events, on Monday, April 7, I had a date.  The doorbell rang at around 5:30 PM.  I opened the door to find a very handsome man holding a bouquet of summery flowers.

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He took me to dinner at a Thai restaurant.  He ordered mango chicken and I ordered the garlic pork.  Just like we had on our first date – April 7, 2010.

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We stopped for ice cream and then he drove me home.  To OUR home.  Our first date was a lot of fun…but we agreed that the fourth anniversary of our first date was even better.

How was your weekend? 

What to wear – aka: I need your help.

This Saturday, I’m attending a gala.  The theme is “Red Carpet Affair,” and the dress is to be ‘old Hollywood glamour’.  I have two outfit ideas in mind.  And I simply can’t decide which to choose.

First, of course, my sequin shorts.

Because really I’ll use any excuse to pull out the sequin shorts.

Look one:  sequin shorts, white button-up, black tights, silver heels, grey bowtie.

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There could be some variations on the sequin short option.  For example, I have black suede wedges and silver tights that could be switched in for the black tights and silver shoes.  I also MAY have access to a black bowtie, but it is still MIA at the moment.  If I manage to get my paws on it before Saturday, it would probably be my preference over the grey bowtie.  So it’s a regular mix-and-match – all centered around the sequin shorts.

PROS – unique and fun.  I’m pretty much guaranteed to be the only gal at the gala in sequin shorts – I like that I’d stand out from the typical ball gowns.

And speaking of ball gowns….

Look two: blue mermaid style gown and TBD shoes.  Maybe the grey heels pictured above, but preferably, my sequin flats. (Note:  if I go this route, I will steam the bottom of the dress, so don’t concern yourself with the wrinkles.)

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PROS – safe and classy.  This is probably what the event planners had in mind for attire, and I know it would be a safe look.  Plus I like the dress.

So…what should I wear??  Unique…or safe?  Which direction would you take the look?

 

The mind is a powerful thing.

En route to the hardware store, the thought flittered through my consciousness.

“Did I shut the garage door?

By the time I left the hardware store – freshly minted key copies in hand – I had not only convinced myself that the garage door was wide open – oh no, that would be far too easy – I was certain that a posse of cold-hearted criminals had been prowling my safe, secluded neighborhood on this particular morning.  They were cleaning out my garage at that very moment – I just knew it.  The half-full paint cans!  The dusty fake plant in the corner!  The Christmas tree and holiday decorations!  They were emptying the extra fridge of its assorted Gatorades and Vitamin Water’s.  As I rushed home, I knew I would arrive too late to save anything, despite my best efforts.

I even turned right on red in this one spot that explicitly declares “No Right On Red” in bold, black-and white-signage.  This is capital L-B Law-Breaking in my world.  But it was okay if the cops caught me at that one, I thought - they could follow me home and see the scene of the robbery firsthand.

I turned the corner and saw my house right away.

The garage door was closed.

As I turned around and drove toward the remainder of my day, I thought about the lessons I could learn.

First, be present and conscious – watch the garage door close, see the red light go dark on the curling iron as it is clicked off, think about the click of the lock as the key turns in the keyhole.  Every day is full of so many ordinary moments that go untracked by the conscious mind.  There can be joy in ordinary things – or at the very least, angst avoided by remembering those things specifically.

Second, wherever I am in any given moment is where I am supposed to be.  Even if it is driving across town for no good reason.  I’ll never know why; I can only accept and be thankful that life works out as it should.

Finally, the mind is a powerful thing.  Whenever possible, use it to convince of good, not evil.

Have you ever convinced yourself of a would-be-tragedy that wasn’t? 

30 by 30 – First quarter update.

There was some great progress on my 30-by-30 list in the first quarter of 2014 {cue patting myself on the back}.

A few items are crossed off entirely, which is exciting.  Many items on my list include specific quantities to meet in order to complete the item.  In the language of percentages, here’s how that’s going:

30 by 30 1st Quarter Progress Graph

 

1. Find a flattering (key word) red lipstick.

2. Sit at a floor table for dinner at Pars (a Greek restaurant). 

Kevin and I met up with two of our good friends at Pars for dinner in January. Not only did we sit at a floor table, but it was also a belly dancer night.  Kevin and I find the belly dancer nights to be a bit awkward, so we try to avoid them.  But it seemed appropriate that we had the full experience at the floor table.  I love Pars, but I’ll stick to regular tables.  I’m not an especially tall person and my legs were aching by the end of dinner, crammed under that low table!

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Pars with K & N in January 2014.

 

3. Buy a designer purse for myself.

4. Fund IRA for year.

5. Plan and execute a surprise date.

6. 52 hours of volunteer work. 15/52

4 hours – El Ranchitos de Los Ninos

5 hours – Chocolate Fantasy gala

3 hours – Charity Cruise gala clean up

3 hours – JL rummage sale to benefit Henderson House

7. Read 24 books. 10/24

1) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 4 stars

2) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 4 stars

3) Anne of Windy Poplars – 4 stars

4) The Fault In Our Stars – 4 stars

5) Devil In The White City – 4 stars

6) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – 5 stars

7) The Silver Star – 3 stars

8) Princess Academy – 4 stars

9) Divergent – 4 stars

10) Roots of Empathy:  Changing the World Child by Child – 4 stars

8. Take Kevin to an OK State football game.

9. Send 24 just-because letters or gifts to friends. 6/24

1) Cardstore card to Tiffany

2) Card to Sara A.

3) Stickers and card to Nicole

4) Cat-cards and card to Janelle

5) Card to Tessa

6) Card to Sara S.

10. Go on a blate – with a blog friend that I have not yet met in person.

11. Complete the Photo-A-Day challenge following Fat Mum Slim’s prompts. 94/365

12. Run a 5K.

13. Host a murder mystery dinner party.

14. Visit the Grand Canyon.

15. Weekend trip with my mom and sister.

16. Attend three theatre events or concerts. 1/3

1) Jim Gaffigan – 3/13/2014

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Pre-Jim G. smiles on 3/13/2014

 

17. Attend one of Meta’s weekend yoga retreats OR attend one yoga class a day for seven consecutive days {just in case the weekend retreat options don’t work out}.

18. Take a train ride.

19. Spend a morning shooting guns (including the one I inherited from my dad) with my friend Tom C.

20. Take a dance class.

21. Go see Vanilla Pop play.

22. Cook 15 new recipes. 4/15

1) Melt-in-your-mouth baked chicken – recipe

2) Spaghetti squash in the crockpot – recipe (if it can even be called that)

3) Swiss chard with honey roasted garlic – recipe

4) Slow-cooker beef brisket – I’ll post the recipe next week

23. Go on twelve date nights. 3/12 (This one has proven difficult to track because Kevin and I go out to dinner at least once a week and every dinner out feels like a date!  But for the purposes of this 30-by-30 list item, I’m only counting the fancy and/or unique times out together.)

1) Dinner on Season’s Rooftop – 3/1/2014

2) Jim Gaffigan performance – 3/13/2014

3) Dinner at The Chophouse – 3/14/2014

24. Enroll in a continuing education class.

25. Send twelve More Love Letters notes. 4/12

26. Take tea in a tearoom – topped off (haha!) with a fancy hat, naturally.

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Tea with new work friends at Figments on 3/22/2014.

 

27. Journal 52 times. 11/52

28. Assemble a framed travel map.

29. Attend a festival. (Jazz Fest, Lavender Fest, etc. - whatever I happen to stumble into.  The sky’s the limit when it comes to fest-ing.)

30. Explore a city I’ve never visited before.

Recently on Instagram.

Marching onward through the month of March in the photo-a-day challenge using #fmsphotoaday prompts.  Here are a few of my most favorite-favorites.

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Day 1 Prompt:  Yellow

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No prompt…just a white cat, cozy fire, and House of Cards season II

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Day 5 Prompt:  Something Beginning With i

The iPhone and I.

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Day 7 Prompt:  Fly

The flag will fly especially well on windy days.

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Day 8 Prompt:  In The Corner

This work of art is entirely made of chocolate.  I set up shop with it in the corner of a ballroom as a chocolate valet for the Chocolate Fantasy gala.

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Day 12 Prompt: Partial

I am quite partial to my freshly snipped bangs.

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Day 16 Prompt: Beautifully Ordinary.

The fly-over states – beautifully ordinary to many; beautifully extraordinary to me.

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Day 19 Prompt:  Cropped

Half a Kiki.  So basically Ki.  Or ki.

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Day 21 Prompt: Full

We’re in full bloom, folks.

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Day 22 Prompt:  Morning

This particular morning was perfect for brunch.

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Day 23 Prompt:  I’m Loving…

Spring flowers!

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Day 24 Prompt:  One Of A Kind

A one-of-a-kind kinda view on the drive to work.

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Day 25 Prompt: Soft

To paraphrase Sheldon…

Soft Kiki, warm Kiki, little ball of fur.  Happy Kiki, sleepy Kiki, purr purr purr.

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Day 26 Prompt: I Am Here

Takin’ on the day with my pink Sperry’s and faithful sidekick.

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Day 27 Prompt:  Something I Made

This messy bow bun of a hair-do was made by moi…and set the bar high for further creativity that day.

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Day 30 Prompt:  Fast

I’m not.  But I’m grateful for strong lungs and strong legs.

What did you snap photos of in March?  Oh, and do you have any April Fool’s Day pranks planned? 

Chance of sunshine.

On cloudy days, I tend to reach for the brightest cotton in my closet.

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These yellow pants certainly fit the bill!  They may seem a little dull in these pictures, but let me assure you, in person, it looks a bit like I attacked some denim with a fluorescent highlighter.

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They are so cheerful and sunny.  I really can’t get enough of them.  Do you suppose that brightness comes with Vitamin D?

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On this particular cloudy day, I paired my highlighter pants with a soft, grey sweater.  Serious stripes in the front, silky party in the back.

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I also broke out my new black dress boots and some black jewelry.

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I usually feel that I should strike a balance{ing pose} when wearing fluorescent colors.

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My sweater, boots, and jewelry say ‘cloudy day’…but my pants proclaim that there is a very strong chance of sunshine.

Do you wear colored denim?  (I think fashionistas in the know may argue that colored denim is OUT, but I’ve never been one to follow fads too closely.  If I like it, I wear it.) Do you follow fashion fads? What is your favorite thing to wear on a cloudy day?