Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Field trip for fashion...

“Plus my boots were made of awesome.”
-Gwen Hayes

My coworker and I took a "field trip" to Charming Charlie during lunch today. We could have spent days in there looking at scarves, purses and jewelry. However, we were on a mission. A mission for boots!

We tried them on, modeled them in front of the mirror, and even asked the store employees to call another store for our sizes. (Don't mind our tucked-in slacks!)

My friend walked out with that pair of brown ones, but I wasn't quite sure I had seen exactly what I wanted. (By the way, why do I always find tall friends?!?)

On the way home from work, I stopped in at Burlington and found a pair that was the right size and the right price! Can't wait to wear them this weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beach or Bust...

"Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live."
-Mark Twain

My Friday started at 3:15 in the morning. Still in my pjs, I dropped Rob, his bike, and his gear off in a grocery store parking lot.

While I headed back to bed for a power nap before work, Rob and fourteen of his cycling buddies began their epic bike ride... from Spartanburg to Charleston! In one day!

After working (almost) all day, I headed that way myself. In a car though! (I'm not as crazy as them!)

About 10 pm, we could see a slow line of lights coming down the road. From the driveway, we cheered on the group as they pedaled through the last of the 240+ miles.

The cycling group rented an amazing house (just across the street from the beach!) for the weekend. So on Saturday, Rob and I celebrated his accomplishment accordingly with a beach day.

We wandered up and down Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms, squishing our toes in the sand, looking in tide pools, and just enjoying each other's company.

On Sunday Rob joined the group on a short ride into the city. He wasn't sure if his legs (or crotch) could handle it, but apparently the pace was slow and leisurely.

While he rode, I enjoyed (well, as much as one can enjoy running) a 4-mile jog on the beach and then curled up with a magazine on a beach blanket. (I'm regretting not rubbing sunscreen on my legs first.)

To wrap up our epic weekend, we met up with my sister-in-law and favorite boys for a late lunch at Cracker Barrel. Their path from grandma's house happened to cross ours, and we were glad that they timed their journey so that we could spend an hour with them.

Even though our weekend was restful and relaxing (for me at least!), Monday morning still came early. But, it's back to the real world... at least until we escape on our mystery getaway this Friday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When the bubble bursts...

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.”
-Helen Keller

As middle-class Americans, most of us live in a bubble. Even as globally-minded as we think we are, we don’t have a good understanding of what it’s like to be impoverished and struggle daily to survive. 

And, then sometimes our bubble pops… as mine did the other day when I read Kristen Howerton’s post the inconvenient truth about your halloween chocolate and forced child labor. Until then, I didn’t realize that most of our  chocolate is sourced from West African plantations where child labor is the norm, and child slavery is common. My stomach has been in knots, and I have been having trouble sleeping, thinking about life without M&M’s. And, then I just get angry at myself for being so wrapped up in little chocolate candies. Knowing that there are children and forced labor behind these treats, how can I justify even a fun-sized bag? 

As my sister said in our gchat conversation yesterday… “it looks like im giving up chocolate for a while....”  

Then of course, looking deeper, many items that we buy without thinking are regularly cited for workers’ rights violations. Sugar and coffee being two common violators. (Thank goodness I don’t drink coffee…) But, that just makes me wonder… are there others.

This revelation is hitting at a time when I am especially ripe for this sort of message. After reading Interrupted and several other blog favorites, I’m trying to embrace simplicity and “less is more,” and I even have Rob on board in that endeavor. I’m also finally reading Same Kind of Different as Me and A Lesson Before Dying, both of which speak to the ramifications of modern-day slavery. And, our women’s group at church is currently selling fair trade Bead for Life products. 

On one hand, I want to do everything I can to boycott these disreputable companies and to spread to word; on the other, I’m overwhelmed… we still have to eat, we have to work within a budget, and ohmygosh, we live in the middle of South Carolina, where there just aren’t a whole lot of convenient options. 

My sister recommended a website/iPhone app, called Free2Work, which rates brands and products by measuring a brand’s efforts to make sure that child and forced labor do not exist in its supply chain. (The irony is not lost on me that I’m accessing this information through a product from a company that scores an overall D rating.) 

After days of consternation after reading her first post, I also appreciated Kristen Howerton’s follow-up post, from problem to solution: practical ideas for an ethical halloween, where she provides levels of practical activism that address the chocolate issue. 

For myself, I’ve decided that this journey begins with heightened awareness and a new conscientiousness at the grocery store. It may feel a little risky and uncomfortable at times, but if I can have even the smallest impact, it’s got to be worth it. I’ll be checking product labels for more than just nutritional information, and after an initial browse of the Free2Work ratings, I’ll be avoiding Hershey’s, Nestle, Wal-Mart store brands, Pop Secret, McCormick spices, Zatarain’s, Lawry’s, Simply Asia (this list is more for my own reminder than yours). I’ll be looking for fair trade/organic chocolates and sugar, as well as seeking products made in the USA with a new urgency. 

What will your response be?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Somebody celebrated an anniversary...

"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that."
 -Michael Leunig

Rob and I celebrated five years of marriage this weekend. In keeping with tradition, this year we themed our gifts to each other around "wood." (anniversary gifts from years past can be found here: Year One: Paper, Year Two: Cotton, Year Three: Leather, Year Four: Fruit)

I came downstairs for breakfast to find candy and a card propped up on Lincoln Logs. And, a promise for a weekend getaway to a cabin in a few weeks.

I set up a fire pit in the backyard, but unfortunately due to a late Saturday night at the football game and rain on Sunday, there was no fire for us this weekend.

And, although I had a makeshift screen set up outside on the exterior wall, we had to move our wedding photo slideshow indoors. We piled up in the papasan chair to relive our wedding day, from the early morning preparations to the helicopter chase before the "I do's" (that's what you get when your wedding is in downtown Atlanta), from the dance floor to the tired eyes after the party.

Want to listen to our Firepit Tunes playlist? Here it is...
  • "Anyone Else But You" by The Moldy Peaches
  • "Collide" by Howie Day
  • "Groovy Kind of Love" by Sonny & Cher
  • "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain
  • "Is this Love" by Bob Marley
  • "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer
  • "Power of Two" by Indigo Girls
  • "Say Hey (I Love You)" by Michael Franti
  • "Steal My Kisses" by Ben Harper
  • "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson
  • "You are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne
  • "You're Still the One" by Shania Twain

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Fans for life...

"So it's up with the White and Gold..." 
-Georgia Tech fight song

10 years ago... bonding at Georgia Tech football games.

5 years ago... getting married at the Georgia Tech Alumni House.

Last night... still cheering on the Jackets!

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