good karma.

  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
    • informal
      destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

If I can remember anything from high school, it was the sole value my principal was trying to instill into the student body: integrity. For some reason, this was the one word I remember from every single time he would speak. He was that principal who would make the varsity basketball team practice on one half of the gym, so his spoiled, obnoxious sons could take foul shots on the other half the day before a game. I once got yelled at and called to his office for calling him an asshole, during class, for saying to Vanessa Kermick that women were never going to be as smart as men. I’m not even a feminist. I just remember the look on her face when he said it, and the words came out. My point in telling you this is that my principal wasn’t the nicest man, but he did teach me about integrity. Regardless, the word integrity has become part of something I have always admired in people- and the most attractive quality someone can have. Good thing Brad has more integrity than anyone I have ever met. Perhaps that’s why I love him so much.

With integrity, comes living your life well. Brad said something to me once that has always stuck out. “At the end of the day, the only one who has to look in the mirror at yourself is you.” So, for the almost three years we have been together, I have striven to live my life with the utmost integrity. Not for the return on investment, but because it’s true. I’m the one who has to look at myself at the end of the day. I can’t tell you how fantastic it has been to smile every day I do so.

This past weekend, however, I have learned that my actions have resulted in FANTASTIC karma! I shall relay the past 24 hours to you, as it’s insane.

This weekend, we decided to go to see Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and Joe Nichols.

Side note: The history of the name “Lady Antebellum” stems from pre-Civil War, before the north won and celebrating the south.  A little surprised that name went over so well, especially given the omnipresent racial war. Being I was raised in NH, I didn’t know the meaning of the Confederate flag, much more than that was the decor of the Dukes of Hazard’s General Lee, but I learned very quickly the real meaning of it once college came. Don’t judge my lack of knowledge, my history teacher wasn’t that great- and New England tends to focus the curriculum on Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party.

just a good ole boy.
just a good ole boy. Never meanin’ no harm.

First act of good karma: I was looking for a hotel room in walking distance to the venue. Not only did someone cancel 5 minutes prior to me calling, but the woman was so nice she gave me an additional $20 off the room.

Second act of good karma: It started to rain like something out of a comedy. We got lawn seats, and of course assumed that we would be in the 20th percentile when it said there was an 80% chance of rain. I went to buy us ponchos and of course they had just sold the last one. Well, the woman behind the counter gave me one look, and simply reached into her bag and gave me her own poncho to take. “Seriously? What will you use?” I asked. “I have an umbrella.” I was in awe of her kindness.

advice: invest in an umbrella.
advice: invest in an umbrella.

Third act of good karma: I only got one poncho, so when I walked back to the completely soaked and smiling Brad, I had nothing to hand him, but the plastic bag the poncho was in. He smiled and proceeded to poke a hole and place it around his head. The people in back of us then handed him a brand new poncho to use.

Fourth act of good karma: 45 minutes in the pouring rain came an angle in our sight with an umbrella. “I have two extra seats inside if you would like them?”  So then our luck moved to the 4th row of the upper section- inside, out of the rain.

you deserve to be inside.
you deserve to be inside.

Fifth act of good karma: I had new earrings in- somewhere in between my dripping wet hair and the slow process of it drying, my earring ripped out of my ear and dropped on the ground. I found it within 3 minutes, directly in front of me.

Sixth act of good karma: I was waiting in a very long line, in the rain, for the bathroom. Upon entering, even though I was third in line to go, the women in front of me insisted I go- for no other reason than I made them laugh.

When things go shitty in your life you can get angry at the higher power or everything around you, even reflecting and blaming within, but it is these little moments of happy that give you hope that good karma really does exist. Either that, or I am one lucky girl.  If I am being honest, it’s probably a little bit of both.

Hope your weekend was as nice as mine.






Good morning! Sitting in bed, watching a rerun of MadMen and thinking about dinner last night at the York Harbor Inn’s Ship’s Cellar Pub. The food was amazing, as per usual, but it was the dessert that is lingering in my mind. So, I thought I would share that- and some other of my obsessions. Who knows, perhaps I will introduce you to something you didn’t know existed, or had yet to try. I’ll limit it to five.

Obsession #1. Flourless chocolate cake from YHI. After dinner, we ordered dessert to go. It came with fresh whipped cream and a raspberry sauce. Holy party in my mouth. Okay, I shared a couple bites with Brad- even though he had his own apple crisp. Dessert isn’t something I usually save room for, but in this instance- don’t mind if I do.

hello beautiful.
hello beautiful.

Obsession #2. J Lohr Chardonnay. The first time I had this wine was at a dinner with my roommate’s parents in Boston 2004. We were dining at Aujourd’hui, within the Four Seasons, before the Broadway show The Lion King. Looks like it’s just event space now, but it was a gorgeous restaurant. They ordered a bottle and I have been hooked ever since. It pairs wonderfully with seafood and Thanksgiving dinner.

buttery goodness.
buttery goodness.

Obsession #3. Fairy Drops mascara. I have very thick, but short lashes. These make my lashes look like I got extensions! Apparently, the Japanese are the best when it comes to mascara. Who knew?! I found this cute YouTube video, which tells a little more about it in detail. Take my advice and switch brands.

lashes for days.
lashes for days.

Obsession #4. Pinterest. Need a recipe? Want a new fitness routine? Don’t know what to wear to that party? Not sure how to decorate the house for Christmas? Looking for a quote or new book? Curious what common birthday gifts are for men? Pinterest. I love searching this site and getting lost in the pins. Next time you are at a loss for words: Pinterest will come to the rescue.

search. pin. like. share.
search. pin. like. share.

Obsession #5. Netflix. I was angry, along with the rest of the world, when they jacked the prices and decided to charge for the home streaming. However, I have had a change of heart and now I can’t stop watching it. Brad’s son, Gunnar, was nice enough to put the Xbox downstairs. We watch at dinner time. Okay, I might also watch/listen to it on my commute to work…which may or may not cause my data usage to equal that of an entire family plan. I can’t help it! Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are amazing! I’m honestly considering cancelling our cable, as it’s basically useless to us now.

“a great man once said, everything is about sex. except sex. sex is about power.” -frank underwood.
“a great man once said, everything is about sex. except sex. sex is about power.”                                        -frank underwood, house of cards.

As I lay in my bed, petting my golden retriever (who isn’t supposed to be in the bed, but as Brad is at work- he won’t know) and looking out the window, two thoughts cross my mind: Do I go to the gym and try out that new fitness plan I found, or do I go downstairs and watch more Breaking Bad? Decisions, decisions. Either way, my lashes will look fabulous.

Don’t you just love lazy Sundays?

sxm vacation.

the friendly island.
the friendly island.

Recently, Brad and I ventured out of the country to the island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, for 8 amazing days.  We stayed on the Dutch side, and only visited the French side a couple of times. We met Wanda, the life-long bartender at the Buccaneer, steps from our hotel, and where we watched a World Cup futball match. I got heat stroke and thought I was going to be kidnapped the first morning of our trip. We swam in the sea and drank rum with the fish. I thought I would run through the TOP 10 favorite moments of the trip. Here goes…

1. 5pm the day before we left for the trip. I would say 3pm, as that was when I got the “I’m on vacation!” text from Brad, but that was actually a jerk move because it was then I had to stare at the clock for two whole hours until it was my time to shine. HOWEVER, come 5pm, I had absolute joy knowing that I not only worked my ass off at work, but I was about to be on vacation with my love. That was an awesome moment.

2. Our view from the hotel room.

enough said.
enough said.

3. The scooter. There are no words really to describe this, but I shall try. Imagine 2 fully grown people- one 6’5″ and the other (roughly) 5’9″ on a scooter built for one. This would have not been a problem if the island wasn’t filled with mountains, but it was filled with mountains. Rather than cruising along (which we did just fine going down hill), we ended up in a comical skit, many times, with the theme of “I think I can, I think I can” as we mustered 5MPH uphill. Here is the scooter (and Brad).  It doesn’t look as small as I describe, but trust me when I say we laughed a lot at this poor little thing’s expense.

the little scooter that almost couldn't.
the little scooter that almost couldn’t, at all.

4. The morning we decided to be healthy and hit the gym. We weren’t lazy the whole time while on vacation. We paid our “couple’s fee” of $10 and spent a whole hour getting sweaty! Well, I don’t really sweat, per se, but I totally ran 4 miles while looking at the ocean! Brad did a full body workout. Totally forgot to mention that when we decided to do this “athletic” activity, I couldn’t find my workout shorts. I opted for a black pair of Brad’s underwear and one of his huge t-shirts to cover the “obviously men’s underwear” characteristics. They actually worked quite well.  I found my shorts as I was packing for home. Figures. 

athlétisme (en francais).
athlétisme (en francais).

5. Anguilla and the catamaran. This was so well done I wish I had taken more pictures. $95 for a full day of open bar, snacks (which were amazing with Gouda, apples and baguettes), music, you’re on a freaking catamaran in the Caribbean, a gorgeous sunny day, snorkeling, a boat captain who I am pretty sure was smoking a joint (which was both entertaining to wonder if , indeed, that was what he was doing), a fully catered lunch with grilled and smoked Mahi Mahi, and two stops in the country of Anguilla. One on a little island off the coast called Prickly Pear, and the other on the actual island of Anguilla.

Side note: during the excursion to Anguilla Island (proper), a bunch of friends we had made, swam through a school of jellyfish and got stung. This prompted my panic attack…while swimming. I completely forgot how to swim, so I ended up doing this side-swim-half-dog-paddle thing from shore to the boat. Once on board, Brad let me know that he too was stung. This was the conversation: “I got stung too.” “YOU DID?! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?” (him, very calmly) “You were freaking out, I’m fine.” “I THINK I’M GOING TO PASS OUT.” It didn’t even hurt him. Figures. I digress. I will say, I have never seen so many people offer to pee on one another. It was sweet…

As I said, I didn’t take a ton of photos, as there was snorkeling, rum punch, jelly fish attacks, and applying and reapplying of sunblock involved, but I did take a couple.

IMG_1462  (Video of Brad waving at me after he hoisted the sail on the boat)

6. Bang bang calamari at the Greenhouse Restaurant. I WILL figure out how to make this. Here is the menu for the restaurant, but this is the only thing I’m going to tell you to order, and then order seconds when you are done. It tasted of a Thai peanut sauce with a kick of some spice I want to have over for every meal. I didn’t take this picture, this is courtesy of a blog,The Wandering Sheppard” I found online.

please sir, may i have some more?
please sir, may i have some more?

7. When we decided to go to the grocery store and have snacks and drinks in our room, looking over the balcony. This was nice.


7. The beaches. Because of the scooter, we were able to explore little beaches on the island that weren’t very populated. Okay, we might have visited the beach where there are people, but not very many of them have clothes on… but most of the island had these little spots with no one on them. And before you ask, NO, I didn’t take pictures. You weren’t allowed. Brad did have to tell me that I probably shouldn’t giggle if we were going to stay.  Brad would sleep and usually I would linger in the water until he would realize I was no longer next to him- and then he would come join me in the water. That was always a nice surprise.

"if there is a heaven for me, i'm sure it has a beach attached to it." -jimmy buffett
“if there is a heaven for me, i’m sure it has a beach attached to it.” -jimmy buffett

8. Laughing. We laughed a lot while on vacation.  That was awesome. I think we both needed that, as we both work a lot. To laugh and just be was really, really nice. One day on the beach, a woman asked what we had done since we had been on the island (this was like on day 6). I had to think about it because I really couldn’t think of anything “exciting,” especially when she kept naming restaurants and a rum factory and all these other notable things. I really couldn’t think of anything (past the scooter), but we just had a really nice time being together.  I think that is more important that having Clark Griswold’s schedule of stops along the way- don’t you?

9. Brad really liked this moment. He got my phone out to take it himself. We had many moments like this one, but this one stands out as it was his.

boat in the setting sun.
boat in the setting sun.

Obviously my most favorite I saved for last, as that’s what you do when you provide a top ten list…

10. Being with the man of my dreams on a island in the Caribbean for 8 days. Did I really have to spell that one out?

The last day, we went to breakfast and I saw this sign:


I don’t know that I will race to book a trip to St. Martin again. In fact, I’m pretty sure that we wouldn’t, as there are so many other places to see in this world. I think next trip will be someplace in Europe.

All in all, we went, we saw, we scooted.

five years.

As I was driving into work this morning, I started to think about my sister. This week marks five years since her death.  I see the “national sibling day” posts on Facebook, with all my friends sharing them and showing love for all the world wide web to see. I see photos and posts of sisters and brothers loving each other and feeling “blessed” to have one another. I try to ignore it. I try to pretend that I am pragmatic and it simply doesn’t apply to me, but who am I kidding? This sucks.

When she first died I was so angry at her.  How could she be so selfish? How could she do this to my parents? How could she be so stupid, as to put herself in a situation that would cause her harm- and everyone around her pain?  The last conversation we had- she was mad at me.  The last time I saw her, she was mad at me. I said horrible things about her to anyone who would listen. I acted awful. I was blind to things going on around me because I was in such a state of hatred. Well, now that it has been five years, I can honestly look back and say that I didn’t deal with her death very well and I genuinely miss my sister.

token "kids in bath" photo.
token “kids in bath” photo.

I have always known that my sister and I didn’t get along. Anyone you ask who knew us both would say the same. I was the annoying little sister always getting in her way. I was the reason she had to stay home, so my parents could go out. I was the tattle-tale. Whatever- I was 5 1/2 years younger and looking back I simply didn’t understand how this “sister” figure could hate me so much.  She was like a foreigner in my home at times. But with as many things that I can think back on with pain, there are some memories that I can look back on and smile.  We had our moments. These are 5 happy memories of my sister:

1. She ALWAYS made Christmas special. Leading up to Christmas, it was almost like a campaign in my house for the gifts we would like to open come December 25th. We would start, depending on whenever the item would have been marketed through television, or whatever our friends had that we secretly coveted. Or whatever crazy idea was in our head that we had to have. We would pitch our ideas, much like Ralphie. Well, Jennifer had this skill of finding where my parents would hide the presents.  She would wait until my parents were gone out to dinner and she would take me on an adventure.  Mind you now I recall it they were always in the attic, but at the time I thought she was brilliant.  How did you know!? Then, on Christmas eve, we would go to bed, pretending we didn’t know what we were getting the next morning. Fast forward until the next morning: She would wake me up between 2-4am. She would lead me out to the living room to see what “Santa” had left for us. 100% of the time there were gifts that we had NO clue we were getting.  How did mom hide those from Jennifer?! My mom had this way of leaving some gifts unwrapped, our packed stocking and then the rest of the presents looking like we were the only house Santa visited. Jennifer and I would grab our stockings (that was all she would allow us to open) and empty them on the living room floor. We could eat some of the candy and then she would make us stuff them back up again, so mom didn’t know we opened them. It was usually around 4am at that time. We had permission to wake dad. We had a strict rule that we had to wait until 7am to wake mom, but until then we would watch cartoons with dad in the living room until she woke up. She made that morning special every year of my childhood. Even when she was 16, before she left for North Carolina. She would ignore the silly stigma of liking your sister not being “cool” and she would bring us back to our magical Christmas world. Nowadays, I try to wait until Christmas morning to open my gifts. I don’t look for them though because it’s just not the same.

i think this was in boston- at the kids museum.
i think this was in boston- at fao schwartz.

2. She was proud of me.  She always described me as 5’10”.  I don’t think I have to say how awesome this was, but every time I would walk into a room, she would have prefaced my entrance with the description that I was a 5’10” blonde, with green eyes and played men’s lacrosse. In later years, she would add “and went to college.” Note: I’m not 5’10”. I’m 5’8″ and change, and I only played men’s lacrosse for one year.  I did go to college, but she was so smart that if she had decided to go, she would have kicked ass. I was always sad she would brag about colleges she got into (BC and UNC-Chapel Hill), but then would be jealous that she didn’t go.  She could have gone! Side note: YES, my license says 5’9″, but I mean….I am basically 5’8 1/2″, so I’m not really lying, per se. 🙂 …Oh, shut up. 

i feel like this is cruel and unusual punishment. alas, those hula skirts were around all the time- for many holidays.
i feel like this is cruel and unusual punishment. alas, those hula skirts were around all the time- for many holidays.

3. She could be mean to me, but you would get your ass kicked if you dared give a bad look in my direction. She declared it her sisterly right. Seriously, I have seen her punch out a boy at the bus stop for picking on me. Damn straight. Now, this isn’t admitting that I necessarily liked the way she would play little games like “if you ignore me for two hours, then I will play Barbie with you.” Or when we would play Barbie, she would take all the good new clothes and leave me basically with a naked Barbie, saying I was her servant.  But hell, when she would pay attention to me I soaked up every minute of it.

4. My father, her and I all have one thing in common: we can read a novel in a day or two. Her favorite book was “The Grapes of Wrath” and she would often comment that she had read it many times over. She was this beautiful crazy party girl, who was secretly smart. It was up to her and only her who she would let know that information. I was often confused when she would be so bubbly and play the ditz, when she was anything but that- truly. She had this Daisy Buchanan way of living- perhaps it was simpler to be the beautiful fool. I just hope people know she wasn’t a ditz.

dad was working on the deck. mom dressed me like my big sister. i was psyched, she was not.
dad was working on the deck. mom dressed me like my big sister. i was psyched, she was not.

5. My grandmother Lois’s house. My grandmother lived in Statesville, North Carolina. Often times during the July fourth holiday, we would travel down the coast and stay with her. The trips graduated to Myrtle Beach, but for this memory I will stick to Lois’s house (yes, we called my grandmother by her first name). Lois had a trampoline. It was a huge old rusty trampoline.  Not like the ones today with padding and and nets.  This was where Jennifer taught me to do flips, splits and crazy jumps that she learned from being a cheerleader. It was so much fun. Once, I accidentally triggered the police alarm in the house.  Well, Jennifer grabbed my arm and pulled me to the trampoline. I had more fear in me than I knew what to do with, but she insisted that if we just jumped and pretended that we had no clue what was going on, then no one would be the wiser. Police showed up and we just watched from the back yard. Dum de dum.  We didn’t do it because we have been here all along!  From finding my grandmothers “toy” collection (inappropriate, I know, but it was funny as hell at the time) to helping me catch fireflies- it was always fun.  Side note: Yes, there was the story when she first taught me to do a flip and my head caught between the springs. She left me there, laughing. Obviously, I escaped. So I guess I can forgive her now.

my mother had this phase of dressing us like amish children.
my mother had this phase of dressing us in traditional norwegian garb.

Bonus: Pillow fights. Jennifer would make it like a celebrity death match, but in our hall way, with pillows. She would come to get me in my room or downstairs. I always felt so lucky when she would come to get me.  She picked me to play with, yay! We would shut all the doors in the hallway and stand at either ends- pillow in hand. My mom would yell “GO!” and we would start in on each other.  No mercy. I feel like she always won, but it was so fun. It was our duel. I want to go as far to say as sometimes when we would fight in the real world, my mom would make us pillow-fight-it-out, in order to work it out. We always ended up laughing.  Nice work, mom.  🙂

She picked on me for not being able to change oil in a car, claiming that there was no way we were related, but she would call me whenever she was sad. No matter where in the country we both were at the time- she would call. Those in our lives might not know that, but it’s true. I could play the “I wish…” game over and over, hell, anyone who lost a loved one too young probably can, but it doesn’t do any good. Five years this June 5th since I lost my only sibling and I’m happy to rise above the bullshit and finally admit I miss her.

Would have been cool if she were around- I’d totally give her shit for being in her forties. Hey, I’m still her little sister. You can’t take that away from me.  

proof she liked me.
proof she liked me.


I have been asked why I love advertising so much, and where this love was rooted.  Well, I remember the moments exactly, actually.

Back story: My mother’s side of the family lives in Milton, MA, so I spent my childhood in the way back of a station wagon (or whatever the car was of the moment), staring at the sites from NH to Boston. If you know the drive (and did it in the 1980s-1990s),  then you might remember how long it was to a kid. Well, I remember something else. I remember the ads and billboards I passed along the way. Saugus, Route 1: the plastic cows and giant cactus at the Hilltop Steakhouse and the orange dinosaur, just at the road splits, at the mini golf place (that I swear use to be purple). As you enter the city and see the buildings, there was a giant inflated Pink Panther that sat on top of a building, and the multi-colored water towers, just as you pass the city behind.  An ad with a model in a pair of jeans on the side of a building.  My memory tells me it was Marilyn Monroe in Lee jeans, but I have Googled the thought to death and I can find no proof.  My memory is that the ad read something along the lines of “Our models can beat up your models.but as I said, I can’t actually prove that, and it may just be the memory of a six year old.  However- whatever that ad said, and whoever was in it, it stuck.  I loved everything about those bright shining images, and looked forward to them every holiday.

Fast forward to my sixteenth birthday. My mom, aunt and uncle took me to New York City.  We did the whole “tourist” thing, and I feel like I saw everything. From our waitress in Planet Hollywood telling us a story about how this guy, who plays Opera man on SNL, won’t stop calling/bugging her roommate, FAO Schwartz, The Plaza, Central Park, getting my make-up done by a make-up artists of the stars (or so she claimed), and seeing a very nervous Steven Spielberg inside Saks Fifth Avenue (with a woman trying on shoes, who was NOT Kate Capshaw).  And then: Times Square.  At the time, Calvin Klein was making it’s mark, once again, with a scantily clad model. You might remember him:

good vibrations.
picture this, but like really really big. good vibrations.

It was amazing and I was captivated by it all.

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes talked about the history of advertising.   It’s origin, the greats, the icons, the moment makers. I loved every bit of it.  I didn’t know what I loved most about it, so I made a point to have an internship in every angle of it. Television, radio, newspaper, media buying, creative, etc. I majored in it. I LOVED it. This will add a little more merit to the reference I made one post back, regarding me falling asleep in the front row of a lecture, by a major agency CEO. I tried writing a letter of apology, it was ignored. Life lesson? I have no idea, but it’s probably best not to have a narcolepsy phase.

Outcome: my resume was awesome upon graduation, and I had a broad knowledge of the ins and outs of the field, but I wasn’t necessarily amazing at any one aspect of it.  Most people focus on a specific thing, well I wanted it all.  I guess it doesn’t really work that way, unless you are a savant, but I have never stopped loving it.

a personal favorite.
a personal favorite.

When I lived in Chicago, one of the most memorable moments of that time was in an elevator. I was in a building in River North, heading to a top floor for a meeting.  The elevator stopped on a floor. The door opened and I saw this:

don't bunt. aim out of the ball park. aim for the company of immortals. -d.o.
don’t bunt. aim out of the ball park. aim for the company of immortals. -d.o.

Tears started streaming down my face like a girl at a One Direction concert. It was not only bad timing, as I was on my way to a meeting, but it was unexpected. Quit crying like a baby, Katie! I had the same experience upon looking at the Leo Burnett building for the first time. I can honestly say that aside from the view in my apartment on Lake Shore Drive, the thing I loved most about Chicago was the cluster of amazing advertising icons who graced it’s streets throughout history.

As of today, I have been in the “marketing” field for over 15 years. Yes, I count the time spent in college because I was working my ass off! I still love it. It’s certainly changed, and I can’t say the greats of today have hit the mark with every ad, I can say that the people making it should know there is a girl in Maine always appreciating the people who founded it for us to love.

hanging in my office, right now.
hanging in my office, right now.

A common question people ask is “if you could have (fill in the activity- drink, dinner, etc) with one person, living or dead, who would it be?”  Well, I think you know my answer: Leo, of course.

October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971. American advertising executive who created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the 7up "Spot", and Tony the Tiger.
October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971. American advertising executive who created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the 7up “Spot”, and Tony the Tiger.

I might have to bring some tissues though, for he doesn’t strike me as the type who appreciates a good cry.


ho ho ho: the movie edition.

Allo my lovelies! Right now I wish I was home, watching some Hugh Grant infested British holiday movie. Actually, any holiday movie works for me, but I thought it would be fun to share my personal favorites!  Since I am a romantic mush, and could go on for pages, I will keep it to 10.

Side note: Most people will give you the classics like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas,” but I am nothing, if not honest.  I’d like to love those movies as much as some, but I just don’t.  Don’t judge- I know some of you watch the WHOLE “A Christmas Story” marathon! And that is nothing to brag about! 

1. The Holiday.  I just love this one. I don’t know if it’s the traveling, the cast or the music, but it all just works- kismet.  The writing on this one amazes me, and the characters are so relate-able to every woman who has gone through a break-up and then got the pleasure of a healthy, loving new relationship. I could watch this movie during a snowstorm, every time. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you add it to the top of your list.

holidays are about falling in love, i certainly agree with my 2 year anniversary coming up on 12/23!
holidays are about falling in love. i certainly agree with my 2 year anniversary coming up on 12/23!

2. Love, Actually. Aside from a woman in my office who doesn’t watch movies, I don’t know a person who has seen this movie who doesn’t love it. It’s wonderful. So many fun story lines, so many truths, so much fun awkwardness. I feel like the truth and awkwardness makes this movie what it is. Love, actually is all around.  (watch) Cue Cards Scene, Andrew Lincoln

3. Bridget Jones Diary. I could watch Bridget every day. She’s wonderful in her imperfections.  A close friend of mine, Laura, and I have a deep relationship with this movie and will often quote lines, short of something else to say.  The usual “Ahh, Perpetua” is a favorite.  I think a common theme in my first three favorites is relate-ability.  Needless to say I love Bridget, just the way she is. Oh! And i just found this post from 2011 that Laura helped me construct about movie lines (some touching movies I mention here). 

4. Elf. Elf is silly and funny and lovely.

5. The Family Man. I love this movie. Nicholas Cage usually creeps me out, but in this one- he rocks it. Ever wonder what your life would have been like if you didn’t get on that plane, go to that school, make that move, etc? This paints a picture of “what if” that makes you think about what’s really important. There are some funny one-liners, but mostly this movie is full of great life lessons that I certainly appreciate. “I choose us.”

6. You’ve Got Mail. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy (obviously). This is a light-hearted, funny, sweet, romantic, typical Hollywood movie that I love.  Funny, when this came out, the words “you’ve got mail” was so new! Now it’s archaic. Still, although the plot is predictable, its very enjoyable.

7. Just Friends. In the days before we realized that Ryan Reynolds had one movie personality (that probably mimics his own), this was unique.  I laugh a lot in this movie: from the creepiness of Chris Klein, to Anna Faris knocking it out of the park, per usual. Favorite scene is when Ryan’s character is looking for his ice skates and comes across his snow globe collection.  Next time you watch it, pay attention to that scene; it’s funny and subtle.

8. While You Were Sleeping. It’s hard to imagine Bill Pullman (well, for me anyways) as anything other than Loan Star, but he works the leading man in this flick. Sandra Bullock is great. I love her. It’s a feel good movie about family, which is something I will always appreciate.  They come in all shapes and sizes!

9. Home Alone (1 and 2). Self explanatory. I like that he knew who he was, had wit and the best advice ever. Favorite scene:

Bird Lady: The man I loved fell out of love with me. That broke my heart. When the chance to be loved came along again, I ran away from it. I stopped trusting people.

Kevin McCallister: No offense, but that seems like sort of a dumb thing to do.

Bird Lady: I was afraid of getting my heart broken again. Sometimes you can trust a person, and then, when things are down, they forget about you.

Kevin McCallister: Maybe they’re just too busy. Maybe they don’t forget about you, but they forget to remember you. People don’t mean to forget. My grandfather says if my head wasn’t screwed on, I’d leave it on the school bus.

Bird Lady: I’m just afraid if I do trust someone, I’ll get my heart broken.

Kevin McCallister: I understand. I had a nice pair of rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.

Bird Lady: A person’s heart and feelings are very different than skates.

Kevin McCallister: They’re kind of the same thing. If you won’t use your heart, who cares if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it’ll be like my rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it won’t be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.

Bird Lady: Little truth in there somewhere.

Kevin McCallister: I think so. Your heart might still be broken, but it isn’t gone. If it was gone, you wouldn’t be so nice.

10. Babes in Toyland. This movie I watched a a child. My father loved Laurel and Hardy movies, and this is the one I remember most.  Barnaby scared the bejesus out of me, but Dee and Dum won in the end! I haven’t seen it in years, so I might seek it out this holiday season.

I’d love to know your favorites!  Merry Christmas!

halloween candy.

bring it on.
bring it on.

Okay, it’s official- I’m totally drinking the fall Kool-Aid.  All this fall talk got me thinking about other things I loved as a kid during this time of year, but I will stick to really, really important topics for the purpose of this post: Halloween and the candy situation.

I don’t care who you are or where you grew up; Halloween for kids is a big deal. Candy is an even bigger deal.  Aside from all the unhealthy facts and findings the fitness experts of the world want to spoil you with, candy is awesome all the time, but when you are a kid- it’s like currency and happiness combined in one little bright and colorful package.  It was a festival of awesomeness for me.

Side note: Halloween was NOT the festival of awesomeness in the third grade. My first pet, Blanche, died while I was trick-or-treating with my friends. (Courtney, if you read this, there is no need to comment on the details of this event) I digress…

Anyway, I remember “beggars night” clear as day. I would dress up as whatever princess, Cabbage Patch Kid, cat, or bunny that I decided upon for the moment. With pillow case in hand, dad on site with his pick-up truck (we would ride from street to street in the bed of it), and strategy for the houses planned out- we were off, a-candy-hunting-we-would-go!

The difference in the aforementioned candy houses are easy to describe:

Type 1: Typical lollipop basket, Whoppers, M&Ms, Tootsie-Rolls, Smartees, Nestle Crunch bars, Starburst and Skittles are your usual give-a-ways. We appreciate you because you add to the collection, but you are not my favorite house.

Type 2: The jerks or the house that usually gets the “seriously? come on!” response. You know what’s there: raisins, Good-N-Plenty, apples, popcorn balls, mini toothbrushes, and toothpaste, and Raisinettes are in your basket. We typically are warned of your presence on the block and avoid you at all costs.  Then, through a strong use of WOM we carry-on the message. You do not deserve to have your light on.  Traitors.

Type 3: The trusting house. Sure…leave your basket of goodies on the porch with a note that says “please take only one.” We’ll listen.  Actually, this one is funny. A colleague of mine was speaking how his father was so patient, that he would dress up as a scarecrow and actually sit on the porch with said sign, holding the bowl of candy. As the kids would dare take more than one, he would warn them of the rules, thus scaring the shit out of the dishonest child. Cruel, but funny as hell.

Type 4: The COOL house. You have Reese’s, Twix, Milk Duds, and Snickers. We love you.

Type 5: The rich house. You have full size candy bars. Can we live with you year round?

*NEW* updated 10/14 Type 6: The haunted yard! I can’t believe I forgot about this little gem of a family. I KNOW you remember this house.  This family went above and beyond the call of duty by creating an experience before you receive your treats! Fake grave stones, skeletons, creepy themed music, spider webs, etc. As a kid this house scares the ever loving shit out of you, but as you grow, you see that it’s not so bad.  What is bad at every age? The person who jumps out and yells “BOO!” before you get to the house. This house better always have Reese’s.

Am I missing any?

When I would get home with my friends, we would sit in my basement (it was the TV room), turn on whatever scary movie (I don’t know why Elvira is popping into my head, but she is) was on TV and then go for it.

i recall this lady introducing every scary movie of my youth. so wrong.
i recall this lady introducing every scary movie of my youth. so wrong.

Business time: Candy was now emptied on the ground for organization, inventory and trade.  I took this VERY seriously. Reese’s and Snickers obviously got the most stock value, along with the full size (that usually were not in the pot for trade, as that was like gold), then down from there- the items from the bad house (if I partook) were usually tossed aside and then eventually thrown away, if not pawned off on my father.  I remember my parents would pretend they were looking for razor blades or poison, which usually just meant they wanted some and, as a parental rule, didn’t have to ask first. 

Last year was the first time I lived in a neighborhood (vs. a city) and was able to pass out candy.  I was so excited, but honestly, kinda nervous.  Would I do it right? Thankfully, Brad guided me through this process, and it went off brilliantly.  What would I do without him?  Actually, let’s be honest, being a skilled ex-trick-or-treater, I probably would have handled it just fine, but it was more fun with him. Then again, what isn’t?  🙂

happy friday!
happy friday!

time travel thursday.

Okay, so I don’t have an ongoing theme for any particular day of the week, but the title seemed to fit what I wanted to write about, so I am sticking with it. Work with me on this one. Welcome to #timetravelthursday.

I work about an hour from where I live in Maine. I drive everyday up I-95, passing nothing, but trees, for most of the journey. Well, as luck would have it, it’s fall in New England. I don’t know that I remember paying attention as much as I do now, but damn; I have never seen such natural vivid colors in all my life. The trees are the brightest reds, oranges and yellows I can remember.  I tried taking a picture, but my iPhone didn’t do it justice, so I used Google for this post. Anyway (I’ll get to the point)- all these leaves reminded me of something from my youth: field trip day.

now imagine a highway straight up the middle.
now imagine a highway straight up the middle.

Close your eyes and remember this with me, as it was an awesome trip down memory lane this morning. You remember those days: It’s back to school. You have new clothes, new school supplies, new shoes, new haircut, and that feeling of “it’s a whole new year” ambition. Can’t you smell fall in the air? I realize some people had different experiences of this, but this was mine. 

my mother use to sing to me "school days, school days, deal oh golden rule days..." to get me out of bed in the morning. best alarm clock i've ever known to date.
my mother use to sing to me “school days, school days, dear oh golden rule days…” to get me out of bed in the morning. best alarm clock i’ve ever known to date.

Well, having been raised in New Hampshire, fall is something we NHites have come to look forward to, as do the school districts. Whether it’s apple picking, visiting a local farm, or going for some sort of a nature hike up the White Mountains– we visited it at some point.

Remember? Your mom packs you a lunch. You’re excited to be able to bring a brown paper bag lunch vs. eating the gruel in the cafe. Mine was usually PB&J  (that will end up smooshed), an apple, Fritos in a little plastic baggie (not the cool ones with the zip-lock, the ones that you tuck into itself that usually opens), chicken noodle soup in a thermos (whatever happened to those?) that would stay warm all day, and a Twix bar.  Side note: I often forget how much I love Twix until I see them. I remember when peanut butter Twix came out it was a revelation, but then a super problem because I could never decide which one I wanted more- and I wasn’t allowed to have both! Oh, how I LOVED Twix.

i still can't decide to this day!
i still can’t decide to this day!

Once you’re at school- you don’t have to actually go in school, which was awesome.  School buses would be lined up out front. There was usually a list telling you which bus you would be on- which would be your group for the day. In this group you would either be without your friends, or with them in an odd number. The odd number is important to remember because it would mean that someone would be without a “buddy” or someone to sit with on the bus. On top of that- WHERE you sat on the bus was just as important as who was next to you. I look back now and recall the sheer panic I would feel, as I was looking for my best friend and a seat in the back of the bus. I guess it helped strengthen my independence, but GOSH did it suck at the time.  I could talk about as I got older, when boys and bullies were a factor, but I will keep it innocent.

i'm thankful we didn't have social media.
i’m thankful we didn’t have social media. could you imagine how much worse this experience would have been for us?

the feeling of relief when you find a place to sit.

Once you were on the bus your journey began. Sometimes there were parents on board, but mostly it was just your teachers and the bus driver. A half hour drive felt like a lifetime- and it didn’t really matter where you were going, the excitement of going somewhere was enough to make a little girl smile.

Do you miss those days of new and unknown? What was your favorite field trip?


it’s about that time of year, and i can’t stop smiling.

the carolinas.
the carolinas.

I don’t want to jinx my college football team, as I believe every major sports media outlet might have already, but I am a day away from kicking off college football season. I am also a day away from my family vacation to Sanibel Island.  I feel like my head is about to explode with too much stimulation, but I’ll take it.

The hype: The Freak

The reality: South Carolina Football 2013

I have actually been reading the “match-up” reviews, and looks like North Carolina is expected to upset the people of William Brice Stadium tomorrow evening. I don’t know what I think will happen. Although, I am not happy that Shaw keeps hurting himself.  Brad likes Thomson better, but I don’t know if either will lead the offense like they need to, in order to pull off the win. I miss the days of Lattimore, Garcia, Jeffrey, Sanders, Gilmore, and Ingram. Gosh they were fun to watch together (even more fun when Clowney entered the scene).  All eyes look to Clowney, but is he enough? Let’s hope! Let’s hope this young team pulls it together and has the confidence to understand what a great ball club and coach they have the privilege of representing. Oh, and a win would be really cool, too.

My blood bleeds Garnet & Black- and I seriously feel bad for the people who will be on my flight tomorrow.  Oh- did I forget to mention that I will be watching the first hour of this from 30,000 feet?

my sports bar of the friendly skies.
my five points of the friendly skies.

I have downloaded the necessary iPhone app in order to guarantee my front row seat. I have pre-ordered my 24 hour Delta WiFi pass. I have even emailed Delta- at the small chance I get a newer plane with a real TV in the seat.  I’m not taking any chances on missing this game.  Our layover is in Atlanta.  Don’t worry- I have already mapped out the closest restaurant to our gate. I just hope the other people on my flight don’t mind that I channel Carl Lewis on exiting the plane. It’s not personal, it’s Carolina football.

“We Hail Thee Carolina”

We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise
With loyal devotion, remembering the days
When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be:
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls
And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls
We’ve honored and loved thee as sons faithfully;
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim
Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame;
For ages to come shall their rallying cry be:
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still
Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill,
And crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee:
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Once the game has concluded, we will be on a much needed and deserved vacation for the Labor Day weekend. There will be shelling, laughs, gator hunting, relaxing, reading and sun. Nothing else matters for the next 5 days.

It’s hard to say which one I am looking forward to more, but it’s safe to say- as much as I love my Gamecocks, I can’t wait to spend some quality time with the boys on a beach.  Sorry, Sir Big Spur.

my beautiful little pissed off chicken.
my beautiful little pissed off chicken.

Now, just don’t break my heart tomorrow night. 🙂

when in doubt: consult with laura.

Okay, so since my horrible dining experience, it has been a while since something struck my fancy enough to post about- until today.  I’ll start.

On my way to work this morning, I had an inkling that I was supposed to attend traffic court today for a speeding ticket I was given back in January of this year.  I was positive the time was 1pm, so I went to work as usual for 8:30am.  Well, that little feeling in my stomach (I guess it was more my head because that would be strange if my stomach was talking to me) told me it might be in the morning.  So while driving, I waited until the court house was open (8am) and called. I didn’t get through until about 16 minutes later.

(8:16am) me: Hi! I think I have court today, but have no idea what time it is for, do you mind checking?  My name is Katherine Schmidt.

lady who answered the phone: “Katherine Schmidt? Please hold. Yes, I see your name on the list for 8:30am.”

me: Um. I’m in Scarborough at this point (40 minutes from the courthouse) can you tell them I am running late, or like bump me to the next time? (only I would say something like that) Or does it not work like that?

lady: Doesn’t work like that. Do your best to get here.

I walked in the door at 8:45 (yes I understand I probably sped to get to traffic court on time for a speeding ticket, but it was necessary and not ironic at all).  They had not called my name yet.  phew.  I will note- to the rather large guy who made the “great timing” sarcastic comment as I was standing in the hallway- mind your own business.  I digress.

Back story: I started working in Maine while still living in NH, so the hour and a half drive was killing me.  I decided to up my MPH to 85-90 and cut the drive by 30 minutes. I had not received a speeding ticket since I was 20 years old, so it never occurred to me that it was possible.  I mean, I’m driving to work- not trying to break the law.  Well, I got one.  Then another one a week later.  SERIOUSLY?! I decided to slow down, and seek guidance from my brilliant lawyer friend in DC, who HAPPENED to work with traffic related issues.  Can’t hurt to see legal counsel, right?  Laura (my brilliant lawyer friend) proceeded to construct a letter for me to mail to the state of Maine, defending my case. What I received back in my email inbox was nothing short of Pulitzer Prize winning legal jargon!  I immediately put it on my letterhead, and with and stamp and a smile it was in the mail! Ho-ray! I would be saved from the land of increased insurance and silly points on my license!

Fast forward to today. When they called my name, I was to meet with the citing officer. I walked over and immediately remembered how nice he was when he first pulled me over.  Well, as he was reviewing the ticket I see paperwork attached to my name.  I scanned the materials in his hand- until I saw it.  The letter.  OMG.  He has it. I froze.  He was reviewing it with a huge smile on his face.  When he was complete he gives me a look and says, “What would you like me to do?”  I told him I would gladly pay the fine, as long as my record could stay clean.  He agreed (as long as I don’t speed for 6 months). Success! I immediately want to call Laura at this point and express my love for her.

So, as I am waiting to get my final paperwork, I look up.  The officer is reading the letter again off in a corner.  Smiling. I’m telling you- it was an AWESOME letter.  I mean I didn’t even understand half of it to be honest. 🙂

You want to see the letter, don’t you?  Okay, okay- and you’re welcome.

January 4, 2013

To the Great State of Maine:

Please accept this letter as a proclamation of my protest to the moving violation citation #XXXXXX issued to me on the morning of Friday, January 4, 2013.  Setting aside issues of appropriate calibration of the speed detection device used by the citing office, I believe the illustrious and exalted State of Maine should release me from liability associated with the alleged violation of exceeding the posted speed limit on the basis that (i) I was operating my vehicle during rush hour traffic at the rate of speed considered by leading researchers to be optimal for improved highway safety and (ii) I have no history of prior moving violations.

First, Dr. Stephen Johnson of the University of Arkansas Transportation Research Center is the nation’s leading research expert on highway safety, particularly in the area of speed differentials.  Dr. Johnson’s research indicates that the vehicle interaction rate (aka accidents) increases by 227% for every 10 miles per hour speed differential present on rural highways.  Allegedly, (again I am phrasing this in the hypothetical as I do not accept that the citing officer had a properly functioning and calibrated speed detection device) my vehicle was traveling 14 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. Considering this was during heavy rush hour traffic, I was simply operating my vehicle at the rate of speed which was the safest for the conditions at that moment and that was with the flow of traffic.  Should I have slowed the vehicle down to the rate of speed where the officers “gun” would have registered compliance with the posted rate of speed, my chances of being involved in an accident would have exceeded 227%.  Surely, the State of Maine has a history of making exceptions for law violations where common sense are safety are so obvious to reasonably minded folk that it far exceeds the impetus of the underlying law so much so that compliance with the underlying law becomes non-sensical and in fact jeopardizes our collective well-being.  For example, do we support the issuing of citations during a blizzard where the motor vehicle operator has slowed the vehicle far below the minimum speed compliance rules?  Certainly not.  The State recognizes that conditions demand safety to surmount pre-determined speed limitations which are designed to be in operation during usual conditions.  On the morning of January 4, I respectfully submit to you that I was simply operating my vehicle under conditions that any reasonable person would have deemed to be the safest which was the rate of speed with the rest of the heavy flow of traffic.

Secondarily, the State must consider my stellar driving record while operating within its boundaries.  As a frequent, if not daily, traveler of the great state for nearly seventeen years, I am immensely proud of my prior safety record, which fails to include not only any history of moving violations, but any trace of criminal activity whatsoever.  Surely, upstanding citizens with such a dedication to safety, so much so that they are willing to read and cite leading research from one of the most reputable transportation research centers in the world, should be encouraged to continue to travel on the State’s highways and not discouraged.  If I may be so bold I am, in fact, the sort of safe operator the State wishes to embrace.  Therefore, should the State wish to not outright dismiss the citation, I would suggest that we reduce the violation to a warning so that I may reflect upon this as a learning experience and we may all move forward…safely.

I would also like to note that the ticket issuing officer was very professional and kindhearted about the ticket and alerting me to the safety of the cold and its effects on the roads.  I was appreciative and, in return, I would hope the State would provide him with a properly functioning radar gun. It is a shame to have such a nice fellow be continuously wrong on how fast vehicles are traveling.

Thank you and Happy New Year!


Katherine Dawn Schmidt.

My advice to anyone reading this that gets a speeding ticket: fight it with facts, wit and have an attorney (you know, if Laura is unavailable) construct it for you.  A smile won’t get you everywhere (trust me, I tried that first), but a brilliant retort just might.