Turkey coma

Monday, November 30, 2009
Welcome back everyone from their turkey and family hangovers.

Whew, these few days have gone by so quickly. I was on the far east side of the state to visit with the bf and his family, and then off to my hometown for two days of food, family, fun and wine.

Unfortunately, I didn't snap any pictures of all the delicious food. I was too busy stuffing my face with turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes. Oh, how I love yams and stuffing. I didn't even take any new pictures with my camera so I stole a few from my dad. Now, this week, I need to kick my ass into high gear with my workouts to eliminate every ounce of stuffing and cranberries I ate.

My Thanksgiving in pictures

With some younger cousins. I am the oldest in the picture. The OLDEST! I'm showing them how to drink when they get to my age.

And, I'm the youngest in this photo with my aunts, mom and cousin. Yes!

all the cousins up on the staircase

and the family Thanksgiving picture

I hope everyone's Thanksgivings were absolutely delicious! Now, back to reality with a full work week.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who entered my Cha Cha handbag giveaway. According to Random.org, they piced lucky number 16 - Maureen! Congrats and I'll let you know when your new Lola clutch is in the mail.

finding my balance

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tonight I took a beam pilates class at my local fitness center. Typically I gravitate toward cardio classes where I sweat my ass off -it's what I know and love. Way back when I was an athlete and could wear a size four (yes, I did once), I have always associated the amount of sweating to gauge if my workouts were hard enough.

Throw in a beam fit and some pilates moves and you just threw this girl off her game.

I came to find out that I'm lacking balance. I have a little but I really need to focus on improving it. The instructor kept telling us to not look around because it would throw off our poses, so I was trying as hard as I could to kick forward, squat, kick forward, squat, kick forward and then stretch all the way back on a five inch wide beam.

I couldn't help but laugh at myself because my right side is much better balanced then my left side. I would do really well for a few reps and then fall off when she got a little more tricky with the all the magical leg circles and squat/lunge positions.

After an hour of laughing at myself but getting a great workout in, I felt extremely refreshed with a little bit of bruised ego because my balance isn't exactly what I thought it was after all. Because I've been pretty busy at work, I really have fallen off my workout wagon.

I feel SO much better when I'm working out. Everything is better in my life. I eat better. I am less stressed (as my dad so matter-of-factly pointed out to me last week.) I sleep better. I'm better to be around. I feel better. My mood is better.

So, I've decided, that I've made enough work/life/personal excuses and it's time to give myself a swift kick in the ass and get back into shape. Focus on getting me back into routine while making my butt and legs smaller all at the same time.

After all...that Cleveland half marathon isn't going run itself, now is it?

Blog It Forward

Monday, November 23, 2009
I don't know Anissa. Although I feel like I do through her posts and through all the support tweets I've read about her. (This blogging community is a supportive one, let me tell you......)

I'm joining Chef's Widow along with a group of Cleveland bloggers to blog it forward for Anissa's family this holiday season.

How can you help? There's a way. Come to the Greenhouse Tavern on December 3, meet some new people, throw back discounted alcohol and ultimately give money to Anissa's family this season.

Wicked. Finally.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Who isn't going to see New Moon this weekend?



I was planning to see it with my friend's Thursday night but I'm going to see Wicked instead. I believe I'm the only person who hasn't managed to see Wicked yet.

Last year, the BF and I missed out on our opportunity to see it and I was so upset. Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies growing up. I have fond memories of my mom singing the songs to me, including Mary Poppins and Sound of Music.

The BF surprised me this summer with tickets to the show. I have no idea where our seats are because he sealed them in an envelope so I couldn't peek. He knows me too well :)

Oh, and get on over to Alexa's contest and enter to win an HP Pavilion dm3 laptop. Why? Because it's a sweet deal and Christmas is coming before we know it!

wedding shower fun

My weekend flew by over the past two days. I was all over northeast Ohio visiting my parents way over on the west side and then shopping with the BF all day today. (We probably won't have another one of those trips for awhile because he said I take too long.)

On Saturday, I headed to one of the rites of passage for women: The wedding shower. Somehow along the way of all the weddings I've attended, I haven't been to many of actual wedding showers. I've had other obligations and just had fun picking out things on the gift registry and sending a nice card.

Since it was my cousin's shower, I was excited to go and catch up with my mom's cousins and the rest of my extended family.

These women are hilarious. My mom has a huge family with at least 50 cousins and when all the women get together, it is one loud gathering. (As a kid, I thought everyone's family yelled when they talked. Maybe that's where I get my loud talking from??)

It's absolutely hilarious to be with these women. Growing up, I loved hanging out with them because it was always such a fun environment at family events. I was also reminded by now 18-year-old cousin that I burned popcorn and stained their microwave when I babysat them all those years ago. (I believe I made that same mistake last year and ruined our microwave.)

While I was there, I was bombarded with the age old question: When are you getting married?

So, I took the liberty of sharing with my mom (and everyone else) what I would want my shower to consist of so that my mom wasn't shocked if it ever came to time for me.

I want it to be in the evening where we have a great sampling of alcohol and appetizers on a Friday or Saturday night. I also do not want to open any gifts. (Here's where Jules gave me a weird look.) That's right - no gift opening. I'm going to specify that my guests don't wrap their gifts or if they do, greet each of them as they walk in and spend time with everyone talking, sharing stories and catching up. All my mom's cousins agreed it was a great idea, but I'm pretty sure I didn't win Jules over with my idea. Not yet anyway but there's plenty of time for that.

I was so busy, I only snapped one shot of some of my family.

Cha Cha Handbag giveaway

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Meet my obsession.

Handbags, meet my readers.

Yes, it's true, I have an obsession for accessories and purses from my ridiculous obsession with Louis Vuitton to perfectly crafted wallets and clutches you find thrift stores.

Meet Lori Chalmers - the new it girl of handbags from Toronto. If you scour the pages of Lucky like I do, you probably noticed one of her designs here or notice what handbag Lady Gaga is carrying. (I do because I love her!)

Well Lori was nice enough offer up one of her handmade clutches to you from her line, Cha Cha. Christmas is coming early ladies, in the form of this beautiful Lola mini clutch.

But, first, who is Lori you may wonder? Read below to find out more about her inspiration, designs and what she would be doing if she wasn't designing bags. Follow her on Twitter for more @Lori_CHA_CHA.

Where does your inspiration come from for your designs? Do you design with celebrities, time periods or friends in mind?
My design process is often quite selfish, I design what I like and what I want to wear. As soon as I start trying to figure out what other people would like my designs start to get ugly.

When you are concepting a new design or making bags, what is your creative routine?
I have a bit of a ritual. I gather up all kinds of things that I like, a piece of jewelry, a photo, a swatch of fabric, a book cover it could be anything that has caught my attention. Then I isolate myself, often in a hotel (for some reasons I focus well when working from a hotel room) I spread out all of my inspiration pieces on the bed, pour a coffee and start sketching. After many drawings and many coffees I have a new collection.

What's one of your most favorite designs and why?
Hmm... never thought about that. Usually my favorite design is my most recent design. But I would say the bag I use the most is "Entourage", it's big, blue goes with everything I wear.

You love ice cream - What's your favorite flavor?
I recently found a really yummy coconut cream pie flavor, this month that is my favorite.

Are you going to expand your line into more accessories?
I would like to. For years I have been daydreaming about the perfect little leather jacket. It will happen eventually.

What are your favorite blogs or magazines you are reading now?
Almost everyday I stop by Style Bubble, she's fun and so cute.

Will you expand the Eco-Conscious line to develop more designs featuring salvaged materials?
Yes. When I first started making handbags I was using a lot of recycled and salvaged leather. I would like to bring that back.

If you have an iPhone, what are your top 3 fav apps?
I had an iPhone for a month but sold it and went back to the Blackberry. I am a creature of habit.

For someone seeing your bags for the first time, summarize your designs in one sentence.
A Cha Cha handbag is like your best friend- charming, chic, and reliable, the perfect partner in crime.

If you weren't designing full time, what would you be doing?
I have narrowed it down to 3 possible careers.
Chef, Pilot or owner of a fruit stand on a tropical island. It's always good to have a plan b.

Now it's your turn, leave a comment here or tweet this for more chances to win. (Leave your e-mail in the comment section so I can contact you.)

Tweet: I just entered Allison's Cha Cha handbag giveaway. Get over there and do the same http://bit.ly/17JVfu #chachahandbags

Contest ends Friday, November 27.

[Disclosure: No payment was made in exchange for this post. Giveaway is courtesy of the designer.]

don't mess with my iTunes

Just a Tuesday night conversation.

BF: "Allison, this computer is running really slow. I'm going to get rid some of your unused applications."

Me: "Ok, so you know what you are doing?"

BF: "Look at all this shit. You don't even USE half of these programs."

Me: "Whatever, just make it run faster. I need to get another one anyway."

About an hour later....

BF: "Babe, watch how fast this boots now."

Watching it boot up and not noticing anything better yet.

Me: "Load iTunes at the same, then we will know if you made it run faster."

About five minutes later....

BF: "Um, I think I have to restore iTunes."

Me: "Why? Don't mess with it - I have the newest version."

BF: "Um. I think I deleted an iTunes program."

Me: "Way to go Macintosh!"

20 minutes later..... and he's still messing with it, trying to fix my library.

Lady Gaga better not be missing off there or there will be hell to pay.

Off roadin' it

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I'm the first to say women can't drive. We can't. We are too busy singing to music, messing with our phones, yelling at the kids in the back seat or at our significant other.

I'm personally distracted by shiny objects.

Now, I have a feeling this is a woman driver and not only because that's what the YouTube description says.

First off, look at the wide turn into the space. (Only women do that as they talk with their right hand grasping the cell phone and maneuver the wheel with the left.) Plus, with the sudden acceleration, you know the woman was probably talking to friend and she hit the pedal to run to a Sak's sale. Oops.

Then, as she drives over the unsuspecting white Neon, she reverses (as she's talking to her friend) who then fills her in on another sale at Nordstrom's. She waits and listens for directions to the sale and drives over the mall. Why sit and wait for the police when you are missing a perfectly good shoe sale?

Damn hidden cameras - they will get you everytime.

Mimosas are never a bad thing

My friends and I are reaching the age of "the parties." And by parties, I mean the parties where it's around make-up, jewelry and Tupperware. You know, those invites you receive, want to turn down but ultimately attend?

I typically turn down jewelry party invites. I don't have fun at them because I feel pressured to have to buy something. Anything to support the person holding it. And, personally, I'm not interested $56 sterling silver necklace where I can buy a cheaper and trendier version of it at Forever21.

However, my friend invited me to a spa party on Saturday afternoon. Spa party? Count me in! Who doesn't want a little relaxing with mimosas on a Saturday?

All the BeautiControl products

Mask me

Katie rocking the lip mask

Michaelene with the relaxing eye pads

After testing lotion after lotion from your feet to hands to face, I ended up buying eye cream and the purple face mask I'm modeling above. Vicki, the consultant, was really great about going over the products with us and sharing relaxation tips with us. Although when it came to the "relaxation part" complete with eye pads and a hot wash cloth to put on your face, my eyes were burning like all hell so I had to skip that part. I just drank another mimosa while everyone was picturing themselves at the beach. Not too shabby for a Saturday afternoon.

Shortest fuse

Friday, November 6, 2009
Canon Ball! This entire week I have been a loose canon. Not only do I have the shortest attention span, I also have a shorter fuse more than ever this week.

[Editor's note: I apologize in advance for anyone I hung up on without saying goodbye. You know I have bad phone etiquette especially when I think the conversation is over but you still keep talking on the other end. I will try not to do that anymore.]

I have dropped one too many f-bombs for no apparent reason.

I have yelled at my computer when it freezes.

I have yelled at People.com for the ridiculousness it calls news with Jon Gosselin. Take a poll, please, because Americans would ask you to stop reporting. Remember when E! News asked viewers if they were done with Heidi and Spencer? And they stopped reporting about them.

I am continually freaked out by the serial killer living in Cleveland.

Did I mention I've threatened to throw my computer? As if it even knows this....

I have deleted one too many friend e-mails about possible weekend plans. (I'm working and can't be distracted because if I am, my Explorer window would freeze.)

Whew. I feel better.

Even with my crazy emotional roller coaster that could kick Millenium Force's ass, I still made it through this week intact - or at least I think I did. Maybe we have to ask the BF for a better opinion.

We will now return to your regularly scheduled program version of Allison.

Happy Friday and I need a Christmas Ale.

Boston Day 1

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
After 72 hours of each other, we made it back alive to share our weekend vacation together in Boston. The BF and I haven't taken a vacation together in the three plus years we've been dating.

Yes, we've gone to weddings out of town, but never a vacation alone and together. (I know, we were well overdue for one.)

We threw around a few ideas of places to visit and ultimately decided on Boston because I always wanted to see Boston in the fall and I have a small obsession with Salem. That's right - I've always wanted to go to Salem on or around Halloween to explore all the history that is the witch trials.

Since we were there for three days, I'm just going to let our pictures tell the story.

Day 1: Off to a beer tasting

And maybe I spilled some...

The BF kneeling in front of beer, only boys.

Beautiful view

BF reading the map. all. the. time

Ride on Paul Revere

Mike's Pastry is our Presti's

Hanging outside of Paul Revere's old digs

We finished the evening out with friends and at Jacob Wirth where you can sing around the piano while eating dinner or drinking. It's amazing place. Plus, there was a guy dressed up as Caeser with sword and all and it wasn't even Halloween yet.

Next up: Harvard, Salem and dinner at the oldest restaurant in America