Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mystery Solved

A friend of mine did a little Google prying and found the origin of my grandfather's tie pin!

Wiki's got the answer:

Phi Beta Pi Medical Fraternity
Founded March 10, 1891, at the West Pennsylvania Medical College (now a department of the University of Pittsburgh) as an anti-fraternity society. It was originally known as Pi Beta Phi but changed its name because of an existing sorority with the same name.
Badge is a diamond of gold with emerald points and pearl edges. A black enamel center with gold skull and pelvis and the letters "ΦBΠ."

My grandfather was an OBGYN so it makes complete sense for him to have been in a Medical Fraternity. :)

Not quite as mysterious as an Ivy League secret society as I had first conjectured, but still a neat piece of history.

I simply remember my favorite things...

Edit: Oops! I didn't mean to publish this post yet since I haven't given all of my gifts... But I got an itchy 'Publish Post' finger and forgot all about saving it as a draft! Oh well!

I got this idea from a friend of mine last year and had SO much fun doing my take on it this year.

If you have not heard the song Favorite Things from Sound of Music this won't be quite as meaningful to you. I suggest you watch it now (here). Pomplamoose has a great version of the song as well (here).

I have been gathering little 'stocking stuffer' type items that are some of my favorite things.. some of which I cannot live without (my fave Burt's Bees chapstick!).

Stuff I gathered
I tagged each item with what significantly makes it my favorite (not just tea but Harney and Sons tea, not just chapstick but Burt's Bees Medicated with Clove, etc...) and put them together in a brown paper package tied up with string. :)

I punched and cut the labels out of a Burberry envelope I had. I made little holes to attach string to with a leather punch.

Stylish Band-Aids

Burt's Bees Medicated with Clove

Maybelline Great Lash BIG

Harney and Sons Teas. Each package has an Earl Grey Imperial tea sachet. I got the little plastic pods in a novelty machine. My 3 and 4 your old nephews were more than happy to take the trinkets that came inside.

Darling little stud earrings for every outfit

My favorite Jelly Belly recipe. :) Pink Lemonade. Ingredients: equal parts Lemon and Cotton Candy Jelly Bellys

Vintage Textiles. Each package has a vintage hankie.

All together now

In a brown paper bag

String and sweet little tags on the outside (this tag is from a craft store)

Ready to go!

I only made four this year but would have liked to have unlimited funds to make lots of them to give out!

Maybe next year!

Necklace alternative

I couldn't find a necklage that went with my outfit today... so I decided on an alternative: pins!

I have a collection of vintage pins from my grandparents (whom I have either never met or barely knew... all of whom have passed away) and I love it when I have an opportunity to sport them!

The top round one is a Harris Fellowship pin. My dad is in Rotary and made a donation in my name to the Paul Harris Society so I was awarded a Harris Fellowship when I was in Connecticut last Christmas at a Rotary meeting in an old Yale building. Very cool experience. My grandfather did the same for all of his three children ( not in a Yale building...but...) so it was very meaningful to me and my little sister. Both of us cried when asked to make a speach about what the Fellowship meant to us.

The middle pin is quite a mystery to me. It is a tie pin that belonged to my mom's father. The emeralds and pearls are real and the middle is probably onyx. The symbol, to me, looks like a club emblum for an Ivy League secret society. Would love to solve that mystery...

The third pin was also my mom's dad's tie pin. It is a coral scarab.

Vintage pins with a forest green belt and an Aslan belt buckle? I feel pretty awesome right now.

Aslan belt

Caitlin the Christmas Elf

December 20, 2011

What a busy night!

My chili sat untouched on the stove until about 9:30pm as I worked on Christmas projects.

First I made White Chocolate Peppermint bark.
> I crushed up peppermints by double bagging them and hitting them with a hammer
> Sifted the peppermint powder out from the pieces
> Melted white chocolate (great tips for chocolate choosing and melting here)
> Mixed the peppermint powder into the chocolate
> Spread the melted chocolate on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
> Sprinkled the peppermint pieces on top of the chocolate
> Lightly pressed the pieces into the chocolate
> Set in the refridgerator to harden

> Broke into irregular pieces

> And put in a cute Christmas tin for people at the office.

The rest of the evening was spent putting together my 'Favorite Things' gifts that I will dedicate a whole entry to once I give them out. :)
I can hardly wait to reveal this goody!

Here's a sneak preview:

Monday, December 19, 2011


If you haven't visited Art of Manliness, it is past time.
Men, read and learn.
Ladies, try not to judge the men you know for not being this manly.


Friday, December 16, 2011

The festivities continue

Today we had a Christmas breakfast and gift exchange at work.
It was a great opportunity for me to wear my Christmas turtle neck that I got at Thrift Town last week!! :)

I made a bow tie with yarn (that was the bow on a gift I got at a gift exchange a couple weeks ago) to quirk up my claaaasy reindeer, snowflake, holly, and tree turtle neck!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Office gifts are always a cause for pondering for me. Something cute that people will actually want that won't cost me a million bucks.
There are 15 other women in my office. 10 in my immediate area. Last year I found a great deal on Zum Bar Soap and stocked up on that.

This year I've had a couple of ideas and I'm giving a litte bit of each depending on who I think will like what more.

One batch of gifts are little bird's nest Christmas ornaments.
I found a pack of these cuties at a shop in China Town when I was in Boston over Thanksgiving weekend.
Last night I poked littles holes in the sides of each nest to knot twine for hanging them and: voila!

Cute Peppermint gift tags from Hobby Lobby

Things I like...

Nude polish. Likey.

Men's Fossil watch. Double Likey.

This cozy, fuzzy, super-warm Fossil scarf

Sugarless. Hiney-less.

I have been completely off sugar for a total of 7 weeks now.
No sugar, grains, sugary fruits, or white potatoes. Only Protein, healthy fats (butter!!), small amounts of dark fruits (blueberries, pomegranites...), dairy, and veggies.
The purpose of this diet was to get rid of a fungal sinus infection (doesn't that sound disgusting?).
The side effects:
Weight loss
Cured from Hypo Glycemia
Hopefully cured from sinus infection (I have a follow-up appt today)

So far, I have gone down a pants size (from 27 to 25) and lost at least 15 pounds. I don't have a scale but when I weighed myelf a couple of weeks ago at a friend's, after dinner with full clothing on, I had lost 12 lbs. Now, I am even thinner than that. I measured my waist this morning: 25 1/2 in waist, 28 1/2 in hips.
I wish I had before & after measurements.

My boyfriend is sad about the weight loss. He misses my 'old butt' (don't tell him I told you).
For me, if it was bathing suit season, I would be stoked. But it's sweater season. And now all of my clothes are baggy on me... Boo.

Ahhh accidental weight loss. A problem most people wish they had.

Look at me from the side. Do I look skinny to you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Time!

My family and I had been attending a Messianic Synagogue for the past 5 years and, therefore, had stopped celebrating Christmas as heartly as we once did. It is (for me) impossible not to be festive around this Holiday season so we still decorated a little and exchanged gifts, but I was trying to decide what Christmas really means to me. Between me and God. Not what someone told me to think or believe.

Messianic circles circles don't celebrate Christmas at all. The Bible does not specifically tell us to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (like it tells us to remember the Passever, etc) and, apparently, the holiday was originally planned by the church over a pagan holiday to get people to celebrate their holiday instead of the pagan one. I think that last one is the thing that really puts people such as Messianic Jewish believers off of Christmas. Well, that and the commercialization of the holiday. Some also say that Jesus wasn't even born at Christmas time. Well, I consider that, whatever day you want to celebrate it, remembering the birth of our SAVIOR is an admirable, reccomended, and wonderful thing to do.

For me, the start of winter is such a cozy, exciting time, it begs for celebration and special family time! 
In the words of Abed from the show Community, "The meaning of Christmas is that Christmas has meaning." Christmas means family. It means traditions and giving. It means rejoicing that our Savior came to earth (whether He came in December or July or whenever He was actually born). Christmas means something different to everyone.

I love Christmas. I love the smell of a real Christmas tree and the dim, twinkly light let off in the living room by a lit tree in the evening. I love hot apple cider and cooking with family. I love that people's jobs give them extra money during this time in the form of a Christmas bonus. People remember what it is to think about what other peaple like and want.
I love the 'holiday brain' in the workplace. Where people are easily distracted by a flury of new snow out of a window and take time to leave little gifts on co-workers desks. I think its wonderful when baking projects get started and those who would never sit down and paint a picture decorate gingerbread men or cut paper snowflakes.

So I happily rejoin the ranks of hearty Christmas celebrators with a fresh perspective on why these days are so merry and bright.
My boyfriend and I at a Tacky Christmas party

Remember: "The meaning of Christmas is that Christmas has meaning." Define what it means to you and each year remind yourself what your very own meaning of Christmas is.

My dear friend and co-worker spent a whole Saturday making
and decorating gingerbread cookies to pass out at work, etc.

Branching out in a fall sort of way - Dress for Less

November 23, 2011

I've had some fun dipping into my fall wardrobe.. finally!
ALSO, Thrift Town had a 'First Day of Fall' Sale with all clothes 50% off. I did quite a wardrobe re-vamp.
Here is a work week of outfit (you must forgive the fact that most of these were taken pre hair blowdrying and/or pre makeup):

Shirt: Thrift Town
Pants: Second Time Around -
Newberry St, Boston, MA
Shoes: Payless Shoe Source

Shirt: Thrift Town
Skirt: Secondhand
Belt: Urban Outfitters
Tights: Marshall's 
Shoes: Payless Shoe Source

Dress: Marshall's
Belt: Thrift Town
Pin: Family Heirloom
Shirt: Target
Shoes: Payless Shoe Source

Sweater: Thrift Store (J Crew)
Undershirt: Gap
Pants: Forever 21
Shoes: Thirft Town
Scarf: Flea Market (was a gift)

Sweater: Thrift Town (Ralph Lauren)
Skirt (actually a dress): Fossil (gift)
Shoes: Thrift Town
Necklace: Gift

Monday, December 12, 2011


November 14, 2011

Mmmmmm! It is getting colder!

I'm still rushing it along clipping snowflakes at my desk.

I have discovered something so wonderful that I may actually perfect paper snowflake making this year like I had hoped: Templates.
Cheating? No.
Utilizing resources. Yes. Win. Major win.

These are the best templates I found
Free and printable!

Here are the ones I clipped:

Check out the detail!
 Now, being the uber nerd that I am, I did not stop there. I stumbled upon the mother of all snowflakes: THE STAR WARS SNOWFLAKE. Not one, mind you, but two.

Here they are:

Boba Fett and a Clone Trooper

Obviously: Darth Vader