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The Type of Blog Post I Used to Write in 2004 (Alternate Title: Sharks Ruined My After-Work Beach Plans)

By conversations, food, hazards to my well-being, summer One Comment

Heather: How’s it going?

Lisa: It’s soooo hot. Do you want to go swimming in the ocean and then get some ice cream for dinner?

Heather: You want to go swimming with all the sharks?

Lisa: Oh. Sharks? I guess I’ll just get ice cream then. What sharks?

Heather: Haven’t you read about the sharks all over the place? There were like two at 78th street.

Lisa: I mean, I read about that shark eating people down in North Carolina, but… I guess I’ve been really busy.

Heather: Have you been watching The Bachelorette?

Lisa: Those guys should all leave. Sharks? Really? What are you doing right now?

Heather: Yeah. We really need to find someone who has a pool. Going to Applebee’s.

Lisa: Applebee’s is disgusting. I gotta go. I need to order my ice cream.

P.S. Speaking of sharks, this guy seems like a cool person.

P.P.S. Eleven animals more likely to kill you than sharks.

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Little Cousins

By concerts, conversations, events, fabio the hamster, guest posts, hot lead singers of bands, las vegas, links, little cousins, lj, memories, milestones, music, ruling at life, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? 4 Comments


Guest post #2 comes to you from two of the four infamous little cousins. There are actually a lot more little cousins in my family, but I’d bet money this blog wouldn’t exist right now if I hadn’t spent three months living with these cousins in Vegas back in 2004. They were a constant source of entertainment and my inspiration to write every single day while I was out there. Sometimes I posted three times a day just because they made me laugh so hard.

Courtney: Shortly after moving out to Las Vegas, NV my siblings and I were informed that our cousin Lisa was going to be moving in with us for a while.

Kristin: I will always remember when my mom told us that Lisa was moving in with us. We could hardly wait for her to arrive, and all of us kids thought we were so cool, having our big cousin as a houseguest. We were all CRAZY excited, but we didn’t know how awesome it would be. Just the prospect of having our older cousin living with us was cool enough. Like the nerds Courtney and I were, we ran around the block bragging to our neighbors/friends that Lisa was moving in.

Courtney: My little sister’s room was quickly transformed into sleepover central when the bunk beds were put in along with a sweet TV with TiVo, (and, of course, Fabio the hamster).

Kristin: One of the best nights Lisa told us that she had a surprise for us and that she was taking us out for the night. After finding out we would be leaving soon, Court and I scrambled to figure out what to wear.

Courtney: My mom dressed me up in an outfit I would absolutely regret wearing later that night. Let me paint you a picture, I was wearing jeans a black t-shirt with a purple sparkly oversized cardigan. I looked like a Grandma.

Lisa: Oh, you don’t have to paint a picture. Here you go. =)


Kristin: Lisa did our hair and makeup, and then we were off. Lisa brought us into the House of Blues restaurant, where we ate delicious food and had some killer Banana Pudding for dessert.

Courtney: As we were finishing up dinner, she surprised us with tickets to the Simple Plan/MxPx concert.


Kristin: It was the best night EVER! When Lisa surprised us with the tickets, and we FREAKED OUT. It was the coolest thing, and we were OBSESSED with Simple Plan.

Courtney: We had been obsessing over Simple Plan for months. Obsessing includes buying trucker hats, patches for the hats, buying posters, buying wrist bands, and blasting music in the car.

Kristin: It’s true. We were OBSESSED with Simple Plan. It was an amazing show, but Courtney passed out for the last band, MXPX. We laughed so hard, because it was so loud, and so exciting, but Court was sound asleep.

Courtney: I didn’t fall asleep for the entire last band! After shrieking and screaming lyrics while Simple Plan performed, it was time for MXPX to take the stage, and it turned out I couldn’t hang. MXPX, quite literally the loudest band ever, were awesome, but I found my mind and body had different things in mind. I wanted to dance and yell, but my body decided that falling asleep during a concert was a better idea—and that was just sad. While I never actually fell asleep, I remember sitting back on the seat for one song because I was so tired.

Kristin: Whatever, Court.

Courtney: Upon arriving home, we proudly told our parents that we were partially deaf from the loudness of the concert, and then proceeded to fall asleep while Lisa wrote a blog entry about our excursion.

Kristin: All in all it was probably the coolest thing we’d ever done while living in Vegas.

Courtney: It was my first real concert and Simple Plan was definitely some of the best performers I’ve seen live.

Kristin: There were a ton of other perks that accompanied Lisa living with us. Courtney, Ellie, and I convinced my mom for a few weeks that Fridays were OPTIONAL school days, so instead of school we went to the Fashion Show Mall.


Courtney: We would tell her, “Friday this week is optional! I swear we’re watching movies in every class!”

Kristin: Lisa drove us around Vegas while we screamed the words to countless Sugarcult and Simple Plan songs.

Courtney: There really was nothing like screaming “Stuck in America” by Sugarcult to the guards at the gate in our neighborhood.


Kristin: Looking back now, that was most likely TOTALLLY embarrassing for you L, BUT IT WAS AWESOME for us.

Lisa: Not as embarrassing as the day you idiots started ripping the security stickers off the CDs at Barnes & Noble and throwing them through the detector to set the alarms off. Or the day you wouldn’t stop going up the down escalator at the mall and then I had to take you to Build-A-Bear


Kristin: Lisa drove us to the movies, she took us out to eat, and she took us to SKYZONE! Wall-to-wall trampolines, you can’t find anything much more awesome than that. We would look forward to Lisa taking us there all week. And once again we thought we were so cool every time Lisa took us out somewhere.


Courtney: We wouldn’t have done half of the stuff we did if she didn’t live with us. We would have never discovered the trampoline place, or have gone to the concert, or play American Idol by the pool with heels on. It would have been dull without her there.

Kristin: Samantha’s room was the THE PLACE to be in our house, because that’s where Lisa was.

Lisa: The craziest things happened in that room. I mean, what are we doing here? Am I singing into the TiVo remote?


Kristin: She showed us the ways of TiVo, and introduced us to “America Dreams”, as well as countless bands and songs we’d never heard before.

Courtney: The best nights were when “American Dreams” would be on and all of us girls would be glued to the TV for the hour it was on, or when Simple Plan would debut their new videos on MTV and we would watch them over and over again. It absolutely amazed us that Lisa could rewind live TV — we never had TiVo before.

Kristin: We also watched and giggled as she posted on her LiveJournal every night. The stories on the blog about Vegas never get old. Fabio the hamster is a classic, and it still cracks me up every time.


(Here is a picture of Fabio the hamster, a brief mention of him potentially being in imminent danger, a long post about him being in imminent danger, and a short post about him being in imminent danger.)

Lisa: You know what else was embarrassing? The fact that I drove around with that stupid tumbleweed in the rear window of the Malibu the entire time I lived there.


Kristin: I must say though, that the most memorable thing that happened while Lisa lived with us was the dildo incident.

Lisa: Nothing is more embarrassing than the fact we are suddenly discussing a dildo on the front page of my blog right now.

Kristin: I am confident in saying that it was the FUNNIEST moment of my life. I went to college in 2008 and one night we were telling funny stories, and of course, I told the dildo story. I wanted to tell it just right, so I got onto Lisa’s blog and read it from there. Everyone lost it. I could hardly read it though the tears I was laughing so hard. It was just so ridicules. Dinner screeched to a halt when our neighbor, Shelli, came busting through our front door and started shouting for my parents. Everyone though Samantha and Amy must have died or done something terribly wrong, but it turned out that they were outside on their motor scooters with a giant dildo in their hands. Lisa and I decided to stay and eat, but the laughter and screams of outrage from my dad clued us in. We both just sat there laughing while listening to all the yelling.

Courtney: I love that Lisa blogged while we were out in Las Vegas because every time I get bored I’ll click on one of the many Fabio stories, or other memories from Vegas and smile. It was one of my favorite places to live and I love reading about all of the crazy and silly things we did.

Lisa: Here I am blogging in Vegas. Can’t say much has changed. I sit on the couch now. =)

P1010018 (2)

Kristin: Looking back through Lisa’s blog is like reliving Vegas and all the adventures she took us on. And half the time the stories were so crazy that no one believes them until we steer them toward her blog. That year in Vegas was the most fun out of them all, and I’m not just saying that. It really was, and I miss it!!!! Everyone stay tuned for the crazy stories to come when we get the old group back together and party in Vegas!! (WE HAVE TO DO THIS.)

Lisa: Oh, that is definitely happening. If only so I can document the entire experience right here. Thank you guys so much for this. You two, Sam and Franky are the best cousins a girl could ask for, and I miss you! I can’t wait to see you in a few weeks. =)


Shop Talk: Ava Clara Couture Bridal

By conversations, shopping, virginia beach No Comments


Several months ago, one of my closest friends asked me to be her wedding coordinator. Not only was I honored and flattered, but I was so excited. I’ve had a blast riding along with Tina to scope out wedding venues, experiment with floral arrangements, and shop for dresses — especially shop for dresses. =) In the process, we discovered Ava Clara — a local bridal boutique, and the shop where Tina found her perfect wedding gown and beautiful bridesmaids dresses.

Ava Clara is a darling little store, and the owners — Karen and Alex — are gracious, friendly, super stylish, and dedicated to helping every bride find her dream dress.

Over the summer, Tina invited me to an evening anniversary party at Ava Clara to celebrate their first year in business here in Virginia Beach. Local wedding vendors (caterers, photographers, musicians, lighting technicians, etc.) set the scene for a festive cocktail party, complete with delicious hors d’eourves, a signature martini, and the most amazing chocolate cake pops on the planet. While I was there, I had an opportunity to take tons of great photos and set up an interview with Alex and Karen (pictured below).





Lisa: How did you two meet?

K & A: We met when Alex was engaged and shopping for her own gown and bridesmaids, and Karen was her bridal consultant. There was a definite “click” between us, and we began working together shortly after Alex’s wedding. Sharing a common dream of owning a bridal store, it was definitely a case of fate that brought us together!

Lisa: What made you want to open your own bridal shop?

K: I’ve been in the bridal industry since college (I’ll date myself here by admitting that it was in 1996), as a manager and buyer for other stores. It gave me a lot of time to learn the ins and outs and think of all the ways I’d like to make things a little bit better if I could. So many brides shop in New York or D.C. Why couldn’t we bring those styles and level of service to Virginia Beach? I like to believe that we did.

A: Having planned my own wedding in the Hampton Roads area, I believed that there were plenty of things missing. With only one or two shops to choose from locally, I felt there was plenty of room for new ideas, offering designers not seen anywhere else and a fresh perspective on the bridal gown experience.




Lisa: What has been your most rewarding experience running your business over the last year?

K: It has been so fulfilling to see so many happy brides! The amount of trust and support that people have placed in us, as a new business, has been truly amazing! We had no idea how many brides we might meet the first year. To have been a part of almost 150 weddings and to already be getting referrals from our brides is a pretty great feeling! Seeing wedding pictures on photographers’ blogs or on our Facebook page always gives us a little chill!

Lisa: What is your favorite thing about what you do?

A: I love that I’m able to be a part of such a special time in a woman’s life. Every girl dreams of a wedding; to see such a happy time, and play a role in that is a dream job!

K: Bridal gowns are the ultimate game of dress up! Seeing a bride put on that dress that makes her feel giddy and completely beautiful is the best feeling ever. I could not ask for a better environment than a bridal store! We also love the bridal market, where we get to see all of the latest bridal trends, and choose which gowns we think our brides will love to wear.




Lisa: Any advice for aspiring business owners?

K & A: Dream big! Do what you love, and don’t let the naysayers get you down.

Lisa: Do you ever get inspiration from the web? What are some of your favorite sites?

K: All of the traditional sites, such as and are great. It’s also really inspiring to stumble upon brides’ personal blogs. They give a ton of insight into how women feeling as they go through their wedding planning- what stages were stressful, what did they not want to have end? We love the real, unvarnished stories!

Some of our favorite photography sites, like Echard Wheeler Photography and Ramone Photography Studio, are always good indicators of how a bride likes to stylize her day. We love to see all of the little details the pictures capture!




Lisa: Do you have a favorite wedding dress or bridesmaid dress right now?

K & A: Our favorites probably change everyday! Right now we’re loving working with the Modern Troussaeu collection. They are true couture gowns, custom patterning each bride’s gown individually. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, and made to a bride’s measurements. Gowns like this don’t really exist anymore!

We carry a range of designers, including James Clifford, Augusta Jones, Wtoo and more, with prices from $850 to about $5500. Our bridesmaid collections include Amsale, Alvina Valenta, After Six and Alfred Sung. We have worked hard to ensure that there is a gown for every bride’s style and budget, and that every bride can be an Ava Clara bride!




I hope you enjoyed my first interview! Thank you so much to Karen and Alex for taking the time to answer my questions.

You can visit Ava Clara in Virginia Beach at Renaissance Place Shopping Center (401 N. Great Neck Road). Appointments are recommended, and you can reach Karen and Alex via e-mail ( or phone (757-962-1466) to set one up.


Thanks to Pippa

By conversations, e-mails, employment, fashion statements, hazards to my well-being, life-changing purchases, ruling at life, the coastal chicster, you might learn something No Comments

{click here to read about my new purse. or stay here to find out how it contributed to my productivity at work today}

I’ve got a folder set up in Outlook at work where hundreds of purchase orders have been piling up that I need to redact before sending them on to someone else. It’s a temporary situation that I volunteered for so that I could double-check the accuracy of the documents before I forward them on, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that a cluster of them this large wouldn’t come along quite so soon (as in, not until I can pass this task off to its rightful owner). Unfortunately, I wasn’t that lucky.

Anyway, redacting PDFs isn’t so bad…if you have Acrobat Professional, which features a redaction tool. If you don’t have Acrobat Pro (which I don’t have on my work computer), then you need to get creative. You can’t just draw a text box over proprietary info (contrary to popular belief) because people can still highlight the text beneath, copy it, and paste it somewhere they can read it. What you need to do is place a text box (or multiple text boxes); then save the PDF; then examine it for hidden objects; then remove hidden objects; then save it again. It takes about four minutes per PDF, give or take depending on how many text boxes you need to draw. Pretty much the most inefficient thing ever, since a redaction tool does, in fact, exist in Acrobat Pro.

At four minutes per file with 128 files in my Inbox, I was looking at a little over eight hours of work…redacting PDFs.

I asked our IT department if we had any spare licenses for Acrobat Pro, but no such luck. I reluctantly began dragging the 128 files from my e-mail to a folder on the server. Then I sighed as a started renaming them. Then it dawned on me.

1. I’m not renaming 128 files. I’m combining them into one PDF.

2. I might have Acrobat Pro on my netbook.

3. My netbook is in my purse.

I ripped that netbook out of its case, turned it on, and sure enough, there was Acrobat Pro! Yesssss! I love having a computer genius for a boyfriend.

It took me about 25 minutes to redact the files and move on with my life.

“Did you already redact all those files?” someone asked.


“Are you serious? How long did it take you?”

“Well, thanks to Pippa Middleton, it only took me about 25 minutes. I seriously thought it was going to take eight hours. Don’t tell anyone,” I stated.

“Pippa Middleton?”

“Mmmhmm. You see, if it weren’t for Pippa Middleton, I wouldn’t have discovered this purse. And if I didn’t have this purse, I wouldn’t be carrying this netbook around. And if I didn’t have this netbook, I wouldn’t have access to a redaction tool. And without that, this redundant task would have taken for. ev. er. So yeah. Thank Pippa,” I said.

“Well, okay then.”

This crazy trip has got me feelin’:  productive
And I’m singin’ along to: Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco

Some Things Never Change

By conversations, food No Comments

Co-worker: “What are you doing?”

Lisa: “Looking up the points for all of the Kit Kats I just ate, so I can write them down in my Weight Watchers tracker, and find out if I can eat anything other than celery for dinner.”

Co-worker: “Nice.”

Lisa: “Do you think I can count those as a Low-Fat Dairy on this thing? Or maybe a Lean Protein? I need to check off some of these boxes.”

Co-worker: “Um, no.”

Lisa: “How about a Healthy Oil? No? Multivitamin? Vegetable?”

Co-worker pretty much looks at me like I’m not funny anymore.

Lisa: “Water? I still need to check off like six of those. What is that you’re eating?”

Co-worker: “One of those 200-calorie frozen pizzas.”

Lisa: “Oh yeah, those things are only like five points per pizza.”

Co-worker: “They’re pretty good.”

Lisa: “Mmhmm. And I could eat two of them for 10 points, which might actually fill me up. I feel like there should be a check box on here for fun-size fattening snacks, don’t you think? Then at least those Kit Kats would count for something other than half my dinner, you know? Next time someone asks me a dumb question, I’m going to be like, ‘Yeah, you can do that as soon as I can count chocolate as water on my Weight Watchers tracker.’ I think that will be really effective.”

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: silly
And I’m singin’ along to: Road to Ride On – Joshua Radin