Thursday, February 28, 2013 sick day...

I woke up this morning feeling poorly. I have had a cold first and then a tickle in the back on my throat that provoked a dry cough for the past ten days actually. Today, I have a sore throat; it's painful to do anything with that and just plain sore when I'm not doing anything. I called out of work (my full-time job in fact) which is pretty rare. Instead of heading to work, I headed to Patient First, knocking down their door at 8 (with people still in front of me!). I was diagnosed with tonsilitis and pharyngitis and as a result, received a ten-day regime of antibiotics. I usually develop this once during the winter.

I mentioned that I rarely have a sick day, off from work. Well, today, I couldn't even stay in bed! At Patient First, I received a voicemail message from my part-time job boss. I listened to it back at home and learned that she was in the hospital for something related to the heart and her pneumonia. I called the woman who left me the message on behalf of the manager. Following that, I hopped on my phone, leaving messages until our district manager called us back. I convinced him to take action, finally arranging for him to drive to the store so he could cover and call other store managers in the area for help. I met him at the store to open it with my key since he didn't have one. I waited until he got settled in, even assisting customers in my soft, hoarse voice, in pain with every word. By the time I left, the closest store manager (from about 30 minutes away) walked in and plans to cover it the day shift through Saturday. I felt incredibly guilty in not hopping in my car to go open the store on time and I don't believe that I'll get over it. I was very sick too and have been working while sick and will have to like whoa in the future starting tomorrow. Usually decisive myself, I actually called my mom for advice and she advised me to stay in bed, to even consider taking off tomorrow. Yeah... that's not gonna happen.

I have been in bed resting since. Even though I have taken two doses of antibiotics, I still feel the same as I did when I awakened. I was scheduled to work a lot before the previously stated emergency... two doubles Friday and Saturday (8:30 to 5 and then 6 to 9:45) and 9 hours on Sunday. The other part-time associate tells me in texting today that he could close on Monday so I don't work a 12 hour shift that day. I haven't looked at the schedule beyond that. It being 1st of the month tomorrow, I have a busy day tomorrow. I really need to feel much better today.

I realize that this has been a tough winter, with a longer and more intense flu season and with other illnesses. If you're sick or have been, I feel for you. I look forward to spring.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Work Hard, Play Hard

The full-time sales associate at my part-time workplace recently left without notice, so I went from working 9 hours a week to 24. ...oh well... The other part-time associate also works a 9 to 5 and is stepping up just as much. This boss is also covering the sales floor while suffering with pneumonia.

Luckily, my precious little time off has been well spent lately...

I was off last Friday night, and the highlight of my evening was preparing my pasta specialty for dinner. As usual, it was penne pasta with tomato sauce loaded with vegetables, this time, red pepper, zucchini and spinach. I enjoyed it with red wine and good bread with flavorful olive oil. 

I was also off last night on Tuesday. With a Christmas present gift certificate in hand, I indulged in a professional pedicure. I brought my own polish and am now wearing my favorite, California Raspberry by OPI. It was relaxing to savor such a pampering experience and read a bit of my latest book. I love that not only my toenails are well taken care of, but my feet are as well, so soft! After that, my parents had given me a steak, (meat is a more expensive item at the grocery store so I don't buy so much of it), so I grilled that and made olive oil roasted Tuscan gold potatoes. Following dinner, I watched Monday's episode of How I Met Your Mother on my little netbook. This is the one TV show I keep up with. As usual, it was legend... wait for it... dary! Ted is so close to meeting the one. I hate to see it end! I hope my boss hires someone soon as I can watch the series finale on my TV when it airs on a future Monday at 8.

The cast of How I Met Your Mother

Tonight, I prepared another pasta dish. This time, I made penne with tomato sauce and sauteed spinach with grilled boneless skinless chicken breast sliced on top (again, grazie Mom and Dad). A bottle of red wine is a fixture on my kitchen counter, but alas, I didn't have any to go with this Italian meal. 

I've requested a week of vacation from my full-time job beginning on my April 15th birthday. Usually, I know how I will spend my birthday by the end of January, but this year, I have no idea... Usually, I am out of town. (Remember last year's birthday weekend in Boston and the previous year's weekend in Philadelphia and then Annapolis?) I am so worried about making my trip to Paris happen on my 30th birthday that plans for my 29th are simply not a priority. About a week and a half ago, I redirected the direct deposit from my part-time job into my savings account, separate from my checking. So, everything I make at that job will go towards Paris. I took action on this payroll change at the beginning of my busy season in leasing, where I tend to earn more commission. So, I should still be able to eat! As you know, this is very important to me! Anyway, I think the celebration of my 29th will be low key for me. Perhaps a day trip? Or an Italian feast shared with friends in an independently-owned restaurant? Maybe in Baltimore's Little Italy? You know I appreciate experiences, but maybe I should simply purchase something nice, something beautiful for myself instead... That stunning dark pink ruby bracelet from Fire & Ice that I wrote about here in December comes to mind... If I can afford it on my strict budget! The rest of my spring vacation should be a relaxing staycation.

Will I be Betty in Paris?

On Monday morning, doing laundry at my parents' place really quickly, my mom asked if she and my dad could give me a membership subscription for my birthday. I really look forward to dating again. In preparation, I asked my girlfriends to take new solo pictures of me for my profile as I don't have any since the ones from my vacation to Fort Lauderdale and Miami with my friend E in July 2008. With a College of Visual and Performing Arts degree, the results have to meet my artistic standards. I've been trying to think of poses, what I could wear, etc. I hope to go to Paris with a new boyfriend!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Style Sunday: Coffee Table Book

I want a coffee table book on Coco Chanel.

The one in this picture is likely to be this one entitled Chanel by Francois Baudot...

It's a set of three books actually...

I only possess a few other style books, three by Nina Garcia and another on identifying personal style. I would like to stack them along with something on Chanel on either my coffee table or bookshelf.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What I'm Reading

Inspired by the quote "Do one thing every day that scares you." from Eleanor Roosevelt, the author decides to confront her personal fears during the year leading up to her 30th birthday. 

It's good so far! Even only a few chapters in, I find it funny, honest and inspiring. I look forward to find out the crazy things she does!

I took a Roosevelt class in college and focused on Eleanor for papers and presentations. With this book, I can see myself entering an Eleanor Roosevelt phase like my previous Coco Chanel and Julia Child ones, reading all I can... All three of these women happen to be pretty confident! I should learn from them...

Monday, February 11, 2013

What I'm Reading

I'm currently enjoying The Venice Experiment: A Year of Trial and Error Living Abroad by Barry Frangipane with Ben Robbins.

I happened to stumble across the title on and since the library didn't have it, it had been on my wish list for awhile until I could work it into my budget. I love Italy travel narrative and this is a particularly good one.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Style Sunday: Striped Shirt ...and the Skinny Truth Tangent

I bought this boat-neck navy shirt with three-quarter-length sleeves and thin white stripes all over from H&M on my day off last Monday...

Personal Photo
Shirt Available In Multiple Colors at H&M

I love it because it reminds me of the classic French striped sailor's shirt or the Breton top. [Read a little history and delight in pictures here.] This shall be my Parisian Shirt, a visible reminder to stay motivated to make my trip to Paris on the occasion of my 30th birthday possible. (I turn 30 during April 2014.) Unfortunately, I still do not know exactly how I can make the funding happen.

I also want it to be a visible reminder to lose weight. I realize that's a lot of work for a single shirt! Studying pictures including how the eye travels throughout a work of art as an art history major, I know that horizontal stripes read across and therefore make the wearer look wider. I've always avoided them as an adult as a result. However, I wanted to try something new (with both its horizontal stripes and high neckline) and it looked awesome in the dressing room, so I took a risk and purchased it! I wouldn't mind it at all if I had a slimmer silhouette.

One of my new year's resolutions was to lose 12 pounds, one pound a month. Losing a single pound this January, I suppose I am on track... Since college graduation in December 2006, I seem to stay within a certain range, fluctuating between the weight I was at high school graduation and my weight at college graduation, a fifteen pound difference. I simply don't like the way I look and don't feel like me at the top end, where I am now. I feel confident at the lower end! Luckily, all this is a single size, so I don't have multiple sizes in my closet! As I'm sure it is for many women, I'd prefer to be skinny. I want to feel and look fabulous in this one, short life. Not average and ordinary. Not only do I dream of being thin, I truly want to be healthy. I do love to eat (and drink!) and will have to make sacrifices there. In addition to developing a healthy relationship with food, I also desire to incorporate exercise as a part of my life. I didn't think that some inspiration would come from my dad, who, up until fairly recently, was a big guy. He has lost 70 pounds on the Metafast diet and working out including at a gym with a personal trainer. I am enormously proud of him. If he can lose seventy and counting when he's nearly 60, surely I can lose seventeen (and not too much after that) and maintain it nearing age 30! Only wanting to mention my goals and motivation here, I'm sure I will elaborate on my plan of attack at a later point.

Back to the subject of style, I could wear this striped shirt with cropped (white?) pants or jeans, ballet flats and diamond studs. Maybe more? And lots of skinny bangles? Or perhaps with a coral necklace for alittle contrast? Or my terra cotta scarf and khaki trench for a rainy April day.

Personal Photo

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Style Sunday: Go Red

I love a deep shade of red, the color of Chianti.

I go red for...


personal photo of my favorite earrings 
(simple Murano glass beads from Venice)