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Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Dear Diary | 5 comments

Mia Turns One!

Howdy neighbors!

I’m back from Macon, GA after a wonderful few days with my sister, brother-in-law, and baby niece, Mia (short for Amelia). I even got to see my mom for like two hours on Sunday (we overlapped with her flying into town and me flying out, haha) and, most importantly, got to ring in Mia’s FIRST YEAR OF LIVING with an amazing party that my sister and I put together for her. Apologies in advance for the proud Auntie Gretchen photo overload that’s about to happen, hehe.

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I’ll let the photos primarily speak for themselves, but since you guys already know my penchant for throwing big birthday parties, it should come as no surprise that this was themed out the wazoo… owl-style!

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Owls

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The smash cake in particular I really am quite proud of, hehe.

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My sister, Jenny, did all the planning and I think Miss Amelia ended up with quite the Pinterest-worthy first birthday party! Owls, owls, everywhere, plus cake and cakepops and cookies and chocolate and, well, just lots and lots of sugar. I think that this may have been the sugar OVERbinge I needed to set me back on the right path, diet-wise, because I honestly cannot even THINK of eating another dessert item until Mia’s second birthday, hahaha.

Noms

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Jenny made Mia a SUPER adorable tutu to wear around on her special day and we got an iron-on patch to put a big ol’ “1″ on her butt. She was most certainly the belle of the ball in my toooootally unbiased opinion.

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Pretty Mia

And girl can EAT (she *is* part-Powell, after all), so the smash cake part was really fun. She had noooo trouble digging into that thing!

CAKE!

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Clearly, ’twas a most excellent party. I just love this little nugget!

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Her actual birthday isn’t until Thursday, so hopefully this is the start of her carrying on my longstanding tradition of celebrating my birthday AAAAALL week long.

Mia Hug & Run

Speaking of which, my birthday’s coming up! What the heck am I gonna do for it?! I usually have it all planned out by now, but since my job is pretty much planning epic parties all year round, I haven’t had time to give it much thought. Hmmm…

In other news, my CM Week plague has ALMOST left my sister, just a few sniffles and coughs left over. But daaaang, I haven’t been sick like that in a looooong time. I tend to get stomach/digestive sick over head/sinus/chest sick, so I actually was pretty miserable. Who’d have ever thought there’d be a day where I’d rather be throwing up if it meant I didn’t have to sneeze another 80,000 times in a row?

Anyway, being (almost) back to full health, and FINALLY back in one place (no more traveling pleeeeeease) means that hopefully things will be a lot smoother with my diet and exercise routine now. See you on the flip!

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Posted on Apr 15, 2013 in Blogging, Food | 29 comments

The 25th Annual Hunger Games

This past Saturday, the citizens of Panem gathered for a celebration.

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The 25th Annual Hungers Games–my very own Quarter Quell–took place. Needless to say, it was glorious.

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But I figure, why tell you when I can show you?

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May the odds be ever in your favor… to get through the smorgasbord of photos you are about to be subjected to.

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Let the Games begin!

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First up: SUSTENANCE!

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Choose your weapon.

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Georgetown Cupcake!

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Cherry blossom district cupcakes and red velvet mockingjays.

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Lamb stew with dried plums (my own recipe!) and Caesar (Flickerman) salad. Get it? GET IT?!

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Fruit cornucopias and crostini with goat cheese & apples.

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Peeta Pita chips & hummus.

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Next up: LIBATIONS! (Sidebar: My cousin Nicky–Reaping Katniss–hand-drew the mockingjay pins on those shot glasses. Amazing, right?)

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Nightlock punch. Drink at your own risk.

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So. Many. Jello shots. From left to right, those are mosaic jello shots, strawberry champagne, and cupcake jello shots. Yep, you read that correctly. CUPCAKE jello shots. Let’s take a closer look:

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Aaaand one more time:

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So. Effie-ing. Good.

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And finally, the most important part: THE GUESTS! (Or, at least as many photos of the guests as I could take before I got too, ehm, libation…ed. Heh.)

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Katniss Everdeen, the Girl on Fire. ;)

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Reaping Katniss and Seneca Crane(‘s beard).

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TRACKER JACKERS!!

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District 2′s Tribute vs. The Capitol.

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Citizens of the Capitol came out to PLAY.

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(Another sidebar: I would absolutely sacrifice my dignity and become a citizen of the Capitol if it meant I got to wear lashes like Megan’s everyday.)

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Katnisses of the world unite!

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Even the pets of Panem came out to say hi.

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And I could not have done a thing without these two beautiful ladies by my side: Aileen & Ai Rei.

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The Ai’s have it! (That’s never gonna get old, by the way. Nope. Not a chance.)

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Thanks for all the birthday love, super fun times, and, of course, birthday wine, friends! Happy Hunger Games INDEED. <3 <3 <3

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Posted on Jul 30, 2012 in Dear Diary, Fashion, Food | 14 comments

Weekend Update: Vanity Edition

Happy (?) Monday, friends! I hope you all had excellent weekends. Mine was pretty rockin’, if I do say so myself. It started out Friday with an amazing ladydate that combined these two wonderful, wonderful things:

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Sushi at my beloved Koi Koi

Aaaaaand…

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Claire!

Even though Claire and I live less than a mile from each other, we actually don’t see each other very often! We read each other’s blogs, obviously, but it’s always much nicer to be able to catch up in person. Especially when doing so involves sushi, too.

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We had so much to talk about this time around, that neither of us ended up finishing our rolls (and for once, I only ordered one. Shock!) I also took advantage of her DSLR-familiarity to have her shoot some photos of me for this week’s fashion post. Unfortunately, I felt incredibly awkward shooting pictures out on the street, right in front of the restaurant. I’m not sure how fashion bloggers do this every single day (shamelessly, I suppose?).

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Oh, hello imaginary person sitting in this chair.

I felt so foolish that I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, so I didn’t manage to get all the shots I wanted (details and whatnot). So I’ll just have to come up with something new for this Friday’s post. And will definitely be shooting it in Ben‘s studio again, where strangers can’t judge me for my vanity. Buuuuut since you all are probably judging me anyway, I figured I’d just post these pictures now anyway.

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“I feel so awkward…”

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The one pretty decent shot (though I had to crop out some creeper photobombing in the background, haha.)

Still, a great way to kick off the weekend! Oh, and for those of you who might be interested:

Lace tank, jeans, and purse: Old Navy
Blazer: Forever 21
Shoes: Payless
Wrap bracelets: Stella & Dot
Stone cuff: gift from my parents

Saturday was spent being predominantly lazy during the day (I got a bunch of writing done though – huzzah!), with a nighttime birthday extravaganza for Sean’s friend Megan. So I’m not going to lie, I’m actually a terrible DC twenty-something. I rarely ever go out, and I think this was maybe the third time I’ve gone out in actual DC proper. Before Saturday night, I’d never even tasted Jumbo Slice! I know, I know. So getting to go out to Alero on U Street was a total learning experience for me!

It also left me full of questions, such as: how are all the young women of DC not incredibly overweight? Boatloads of sugary cocktails and empty calories thanks to alcohol, to be followed by a slice of pizza so huge that it could feed an entire third-world village? Seriously, I was not properly prepared for how, uh, jumbo the Jumbo Slice, uh, slices are. I’m pretty sure that if this was my regular weekend lifestyle, I would be back up to 250 pounds in no time.

But you know me. I never pass up an occasion to get dressed up. I spent like 2 hours trying to figure out how to do a nighttime-appropriate smokey eye (without looking too, y’know, whorish), and stepped into my most comfortable heeled shoes. Also, I bought that dress for $16.99 at TJ Maxx! What uppppp good deals! Anyway, since I have (aptly) titled this post “Vanity Edition”, here are just a few more pictures of me (meeeee, meeeeeeee, MEEEEEE!), pilfered from the birthday girl.


Were you/are you a weekend partier? How do you balance that with trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight?

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Posted on Apr 17, 2012 in Dear Diary | 17 comments

Harry Potter and the Epic Party (Part 2)

Awwwwwww yeah. Here we go. The final chapter, as it were. I promise after today we shall return to our regularly scheduled, wizard-free (well, probably) programming. I edited the photos that Ben took at the party, and I think it can now be confirmed that a good time was had by all. I love having a professional photographer for a brother!

Naturally, I couldn’t have kicked off my epic Harry Potter birthday party without forcing said brother to take some studio shots of me. After all, it’s not every day that I’m dressed up in my finest Harr(iet) Potter attire! (If only, though. If only…)


I want YOU to love Harry Potter as much as me.

I would like to point out that this costume is marketed as a dress. A DRESS! Maybe wizards have a hefty dose of exhibitionism, but I cannot imagine a girl who would be willing to wear this “dress” without something to provide some serious opaqueness underneath. Or without something to cover up top, for that matter!

God, I’m such a dork. I love it.

Okay, enough narcissism (for now). Onto the party! BRACE YOURSELVES FOR PHOTO OVERLOAD.



Quidditch Pong!


Oh hai, Hermione!



Dobby & Kreacher


Snitches and House Elves and Muggles, oh my!


No squibs in this family!


Hey Cho. You lookin’ fine, girl.


Dumbledax with his adoring fans.


Theresa came as a talking painting – brilliant, no?


Snape, Hermione, and your average wrong-place-wrong-time Muggle.


I think the party got to be a little much for Harry the Lion and Padfoot. They ended up hiding upstairs!


Most magical photobomb ever, Rik.





And finally: Felix Felicis. You burn so good.

And there you have it. A glimpse into the secret world of wizard parties. Of course, I can’t let you Muggles actually LEAVE here with this knowledge, oh no sirree. Such information is far too valuable, after all. Sorry folks. Imagine I’m putting on my sunglasses right now, MIB-style.


Obliviate!

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Posted on Apr 16, 2012 in Dear Diary | 24 comments

Harry Potter and the Epic Party (Part 1)

Ahoy-hoy, friends! I hope you all had a MAGICAL weekend, because I know I sure did! My 24th birthday party took place on Saturday and as you are all more than aware, it was Harry Potter-themed! Since I’d been touting my excitement for this party for far too long, there was always a chance that the build-up would outdo the actual party itself. Luckily, I’m glad to report that I had a smashing time! And hopefully my party guests — Muggles and Wizards and House Elves alike — did as well.


An amazing shot that Ben got of Dobby/Taylor and Harry/me before the party.

My wonderful brother graciously played the role of photographer for most of the night, so you’ll have to wait just a little longer for photos from the party itself (the costumes that some people came up with were amazing!). Before things got kicking, however, I did make sure to capture detail shots of the decorations, food, drinks, and whatnot. Prepare yourselves for a photo schmorgasbord of Potteriffic proportions! (Consider this your official nerd alert!)

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The foyer, all done up.

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Dumbledax!

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Order of Merlin: First Class & Chief Wizard of the Wizengamot

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Harry the Gryffindor Lion!

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Stanley the Pygmy Puff kept watch over the Common Room.

Dungeons
The basement became the Dungeons, naturally!

Astronomy Tower
While Hedwig guarded the entrance to the Astronomy Tower upstairs.

Chamber of Secrets Basilisk
Guests who dared enter the Chamber of Secrets had to avoid the stare of our baby basilisk…

Potions Lab
… if they hoped to make it to the Potions Lab, where the real fun began!

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Cauldrons Brewing
There was a Butterbeer station as well as a batch of Polyjuice Potion (Vodka Lemonade + Blue Curacao) all brewed up!

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Felix Felicis
The Felix Felicis (Goldschlager) and Veritaserum (Pinnacle Whipped) shots ended up being quite popular!

Liquid Luck

Butterbeer Bites Butterbeer Jelly Shot
As were these DELICIOUS Butterbeer Jelly Shots (thanks for the tip, Dani!!)

The Lost Diadem
Can you spot the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw?

Georgetown Cupcakes! Bernie Bott's Every Flavour Beans
And of course, we can’t forget about the food…!

Chocolate Frogs
Chocolate Frogs I made using this mold, some stuffed with Maple Almond Butter, some with cookie dough!

Golden Snitches
Golden Snitch cakepops

Snitch Cake Pops

Muggle Munchies
Mandrake Roots
Muggle Munchies, Mandrake Roots, and the piece de resistance…

Hogwarts Cupcakes
Georgetown, I mean, Hogwarts Cupcakes!!

Ravenclaw - Coconut Gryffindor - Red Velvet
Hufflepuff - Vanilla and Chocolate Slytherin - Key Lime
Ravenclaw: Coconut; Gryffindor: Red Velvet; Slytherin: Key Lime; Hufflepuff: Vanilla with Chocolate Frosting

So yes, maybe to some this seems like a dork gone overboard. But to me, it was the makings of an awesome party atmosphere! And judging by the way I felt Sunday morning, it was a rockin’ party, too. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Happy Monday!

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