Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Friday Success Story

If anyone had any doubts Black Friday was a huge success!!

     I have been doing Black Friday shopping for a very long time and I have contingency plan.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I went to the mall and hid all of the things I planned to buy.  I tried on all of the things I wanted to buy on Wednesday at my pre-shop to ensure proper fit.  I do this at 9:50, 10 minutes before the store closes!  I know that none of the sales staff is going to readjust the store the day before madness starts!  Thanksgiving Night was capped off with pie and changing into my traditional Black Friday outfit:  jeans, black turtleneck, Uggs, and a white puffy vest.  So my dad and I arrive at the mall at 11:50 pm.  T-10 mins til showtime!  We join the other Varsity Level Shoppers outside of Macy*s.  The energy was high, the people were all psyched, and ready to go!  A random man came up to a woman standing near us, "Hey,  what's going on here?  Why are all the people standing here?" She looked at him and said,"It's NJ.  It's Black Friday.  The mall opens at 12."  He just nodded and walked away.  We were at a mall people!  Not just a random store in a city.  No.  A mall.  In a small town.  Why was he here if he didn't know...So now the Macy*s workers open the door and people start moving...slowly.  I am bouncing off the ceilings with excitement to get in and people are taking their sweet time!  Knees to Chest People!  Knees To Chest!  So I dodge and weave my way past the Sunday Strollers and grab my stowed prize...Black Jeggins.  I know...Dream Big!  And guess what?!  I was the first purchase at the mall!  Woo hoo!  The saleslady was like "Whoa, you know what you're doing!  That was so fast!"  I was like yep I was here on Wednesday getting the lay of the land.  So I dash upstairs and buy a faux camel leather jacket.  Super cute!  In love!  Then I got two bracelets from LOFT.  Really chunky, cute, bright pieces.  I love them.  They're the perfect chunky.  They're the Goldilocks of bracelets:  not too big, not too small.  Now it's time to go home and prep for round two.  I don't have a death wish so I will not be going to Target until 10 am on Friday.  So at 9 am I make my second rounds at the mall picking up some tops.  Then, I head to Target and buy...guess...CHRISTMAS MUSIC!  I need help.  I really do.  It's a sickness!  I bought Sugarland's Gold & White.  Then I bought Toby Keith's Hope On The Rocks.  So I had a jam sesh all the way home.

     I also have this belief that whenever you go to the mall for Christmas shopping you have to buy a present for a child who is in need.  Christmas was always a huge deal in my house and my brother and I are incredibly spoiled.  So I bought a game for my KDP toy drive.  I love buying games because I think they promote cognitive skills, teamwork, social skills, fine motor skills, and they're awesomely fun!  My family was always more like the Geller family in the sense that we were never allowed to play games because we were are too competitive!  Seriously in our house the LIFE game pieces are all bent because we'd fight over them.

      So long story short, I accomplished a lot and I had so much fun.  This is one of the highlights of my year!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving...T-7 DAYS

So my favorite holiday is just around the corner!!  One week away!! I can't wait!  I love Thanksgiving because it is the unofficial kick-off to the best season...CHRISTMAS!!  The Kitley's have many holiday traditions centered around Turkey Day!

My little brother will return Saturday from college for his fall break so that's exciting.  Whenever Dylan comes home we usually go out to eat A LOT because he's never really home.  

Okay so on to traditions!

Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

One of my oldest best friends and I get together for "Cheap College Kid Day"!  First we meet up at 9 am (again this should indicate how much I loooooove hanging out with her because I don't wake up early for annnnyboddy.) and we go to the diner for "Cheap College Kid Breakfast".  That's not the official title but it's $2.95 for pancakes so it really is for Cheap College Kids!  Then, we're off to Shop Rite to acquire the accouterments for the best chocolate chip cookies.  My friend is an expert chocolate chip cookie baker.  I excel at brownies not cookies.  Her cookies literally make the world better.  When you eat them you just are instantly happy.  It's like rainbows+sunshine+happiness in cookie form.  BEST!!  We bake cookies for two reasons.  Ourselves and our FAVORITE teacher!  Our favorite teacher literally changed our lives.  She was so dedicated and so invested in her students that she literally would do anything for us.  LOVED HER.  I always felt like the girl version of Cory Matthews because she was my Mr. Feeny.  She lived next door to me and taught me for so many years.  She and I have heart to hearts over the hedges and talk about life, books, relationships...everything!  She was our ACE teacher (Advanced Classes for Education) from grades 3 (4 for me)-8.  A special privilege afforded to the middle school ACE students was that you got to stay after school on the half-day Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  We got to eat pizza, snacks, and paint the windows of the classroom with Winter Scenes!  These winter scenes were soooo cool because we got to paint depictions of classic holiday activities.  One window would have a skating scene, one would have a "holiday tree" (gotta love public school and their ability to crush Christmasness), one would have sledders, and one would have a log cabin.  Every year since we graduated 8th grade (2005) we have returned to help paint the windows!  This will be our 10th year!!  We are college seniors and we still relish in decorating windows!  So we join in the fun and paint windows and wear Santa hats and listen to Christmas jams (they can't kill the spirit that much because as Buddy taught us...The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!)  After we've painted the windows (a tradition that I fully plan on continuing when I teach) til our little hearts are content we say our goodbyes and head out to look at model houses.  Model houses have been something that our favorite teacher took us to visit when we were younger.  On the drive over to the model houses, the three of us cooked up a "story" about how we were studying architecture and therefore needed the floor plans of all the houses.  I'm sure the sales reps saw right through our story but we didn't care we thought it was awesome!  We thought we were super slick and supercool!  

This Thanksgiving Wednesday we will probably celebrate my parents anniversary with dinner.  We can't celebrate on the 17th because all four of us having different schedules.  After dinner we will watch  A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. 

     Thursday is the BIG DAY!!  I love Thanksgiving because it is just the four of us.  My parents, Dylan, and me.  It's just a nice intimate and relaxing day for our family.  When I was in high school I always had to cheer on Thanksgiving Day and it caused a lot of stress for our family.  Deb would have to get up early to put the turkey in the oven and do all the prep stuff.  I was also sad because I used to miss the Philadelphia Parade.  But NOW I  get to see the parade in all it's ginormous turkey, Cecily Tynan, high school marching band glory!  I am pumped!  You should know that my Deb owns Thanksgiving.  My Deb is seriously the best cook.  Yes my Deb is my mom but as I always say, everyone has a mom but not everyone has a Deb.  So while we're watching the parade, Deb always makes Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls...every year.  We NEVER eat them besides Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.  I mean they take literally no effort to make yet we never buy them.  I've talked to a few of my friends about this subject and they ALL have the same tradition:  you only get Cinnamon Rolls on Thanksgiving and Christmas...no other time lol.  
      After we munch our Cinnamon Rolls and Santa rolls on by, Dylan and I start watching every Thanksgiving themed episode of FRIENDS.  FRIENDS is our family's favorite show.  Dylan and I watch all 8 (yes 2 season do not have episodes) and laugh ourselves silly.  We started this tradition because Deb DOESN'T like helpers in her kitchen.  She pretends like she does but we "help" by setting the table and staying out of her way.  #bestideaever!  Yes Dylan, my dad, and I have the collective helping skills of a 4 year old.  You better believe that we rock setting that table though!  We combine staying out of the way and constantly praise our Deb.  This has seemed to work thus far-so why stop now?  So around 4 we all sit down to eat.  Before dinner we all say Grace and then say what we're thankful for.  It seems cheesy but it really is good to verbally say what you're thankful for and thank God and all the people sitting around the table for everything they have done for you.  So now it's time to EAT DEVOUR dinner.  Deb makes the whole dinner from scratch.  She makes 2 different types of mashed potatoes (fully mashed and lumpy (for me!)), 2 different kinds of stuffings (my Mom-Mom's recipe) one with turkey sausage (for me) and regular sausage for them.  Then we have turkey, cranberry sauce (another thing we suspiciously only eat on Thanksgiving) broccoli, rolls, and then 2 pies for dessert.  We have pumpkin with whipped cream and Deb's famous apple pie.  This apple pie is bubbling with deliciousness.  The pie is jammed full of apples and cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, and butter.  It's fantastic.  After dinner we all watch Elf.  

    After Elf, I power nap because Black Friday is my 3rd favorite holiday!!  It is time to revamp my energy!  I take Black Friday very seriously.  Since I am not a toy-obsessed parent or buying any electronics (although I fully intend to one day be those women) I usually just stock up on teacher clothes.  However, you have to have a contingency plan.  I go to the mall a week before Thanksgiving and try on all the things I want to buy.  This allows me the opportunity to know what my sizes are before the mayhem sets in.  Then at midnight on Thanksgiving I can run into LOFT and buy buy buy!  Believe you me, size 4 women get pretty testy and competitive when black pants are on sale.  I also get a feel for how the store is laid out and where all the good stuff is.  Black Friday is something I take very seriously.  I wear the same outfit every year.  Why do I do this?  The answer is two-fold.  One luck.  Two it is comfortable and warm and I don't have to wear a big puffy coat.  I hate shopping in a coat because it takes up too much room, you get too hot, and it is uncomfortable.  So I wear jeans, Uggs, and a black turtleneck with a white puffy vest.  Hair in a ponytail is essential because it helps keep you competitive.  You can lose valuable time (therefore clothes) by having to push your hair out of your face.  So armed with my snacks (usually cereal), coupons, and passion for shopping and head out to the mall.  I get so excited because I don't know what I will find.  I shop from 12-3am then come home, sleep til 10-11 then go back out.  Target is a place that I will hit up around 11:30 the next day because the crowd is gone, yet the sales are still going on.  I have collected many Sex and The City DVDs this way!  Then I go home and have Thanksgiving Dinner part II!  I love love love Thanksgiving leftovers.  

So now all I can do is just sit and wait for a week.  I can't wait but I know that I have so many fun Thanksgiving things to do!

So there are our traditions!  They may seem silly but we love them and we can't wait to continue them for many many many years to come!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Happy Poll People Are Half The Reason I VOTE

Happy Day After Election Day!!

Yesterday was the first time I was eligible to vote in a Presidential Election!!  I was so excited!  I've always been a huge fan of voting (literally I will vote in every election...fireman's, favorite color, mayoral, school board, etc.  Doesn't matter, I will vote) and since last time I missed the election by a month I was superpsyched when I got to go yesterday.  So after work yesterday morning I went to my old high school (not something I love doing, but it's my civic duty so I'll put my feelings about my alma mater aside #growth) and as I'm walking in one of my favorite teachers was leaving and said that I "as always looked like a class act!"  This made me so excited because a) I loved her class and consider it to be one of the most relevant classes I've ever taken b) I really liked my outfit yesterday.  Why did I like my outfit so much?  Well, God knows I love a theme, so my Election Day theme was...Modern Day Jacqueline Kennedy Votes As A 22 Year Old Girl From NJ. I achieved this in black Loft pants, nude flats, and a magenta cinched waist structured jacket.  Obsessed much?  Yes, but it resembles the coat she wore on Inauguration Day 1961!  

So now I'm walking into the cafeteria and I sign all the voting slips and get on line.  While standing in the patriotic queue, I begin to wonder why I do not have to show ID to vote.  Granted, my hometown is insanely small and everybody knows everybody else so if someone came in and tried to pose as somebody else no one would believe them.  (This mostly stems from the fact that not only is a greater majority of my town related to each other, but the fact that feuds/friendships run generations deep)  But if I lived in a bigger town or if I was new to the area and voting precinct, why wouldn't anyone check my ID?

After I push identity theft out my brain the magnitude of what I'm about to do finally sets in.  Since I am in college I obviously could have mailed in my ballot but something about being in the high school cafeteria heightens the weight of what I'm about to do.  I LOVED the atmosphere.  Everyone voting and partaking in their right as Americans...LOVED it!  As I'm standing on line with a hugely dorky grin on my face, I begin to realize what an awesome and rare experience I am about to partake in.  I have the opportunity to exercise MY opinion as to who I think should be the leader of the GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH!  My opinion!  I was overcome with a great sense of responsible and pride because I know so many people across the globe do not have and will never have the opportunity to vote.  I'm most definitely not a feminist (well...mostly not) but I do very much feel lucky and blessed to have the opportunity as a woman to vote.  I know so many other women would KILL to have half/quarter/smidgen of the opportunities that I have being an American woman and therefore I vote for them.  I vote for the women who will never get the opportunity to vote.  I vote for the women who risked their lives, reputations, families, jobs, everything, to avail me with the right to vote.  I vote for all the people who have lost their lives in the pursuit of being able to have their voices heard via vote.  I vote for all our armed forces members who have died for my right to vote.  I vote because I care about my country.  I vote because I CAN!  I have that right and responsibility to do so.  

So as I'm standing in the voting booth, I proudly made my selection.  (Did I love either candidate whole heartedly?  No, but I did agree with one candidate more than the other)  Even though I am a registered Independent (and strong McCain supporter in 2008) I voted for President Obama.  I like him as a person and I think he is doing the best he can with the cards he was dealt.  I read a funny meme the other day that said, "Re-electing President Obama is like resurrecting the Titanic and hitting the iceberg all over again.  Electing Romney is like resurrecting the Titanic and hitting a new iceberg"  I actually really laughed at that and I thought it was a pretty accurate portrayal of the current candidates. 

Also, I voted for my dad for school board!  And congrats Daddy on winning!  I'm so proud of you and I know that you will do a great job!  My dad is one of those people who is always fair and can see the bigger picture.  As a high school senior I was the student representative to the BOE and therefore, I as a previous Board member, endorse my dad and can say he will do a very good job!

Anyway, regardless of political leaning I really am a huge believer in voting.  Vote because you can!  This is your country and you should vote.  You have the right and the responsibility to do so.  Vote because not everyone in the world can.  Vote because someone (a lot of people) don't have the right to. Vote because you deserve to be heard.  Make a difference.  Do good.  Also, on a cynical note, there is nothing I hate more than people who run their mouths about politicians and then DON'T VOTE!  If you're not going to vote, don't complain!  You had your chance to make a difference and you did not.  So shhhhhh!  

Now I'm going to take a moment to thank all of the positive poll people!  Aren't they so freakin' cute?  I can't wait to be an old person because they're just so cute and funny!  I love old people!  Maybe because my Gramma and Mom Mom were such a huge part of my life, but I've always felt a very strong affinity towards the elderly.  They are just hilarious and awesome.  They also steal jellies/sugar packets/napkins/plastic utensils from diners and restaurants and let's be honest, that's one of my strongest qualities, too.  So in short, my favorite non seismic part of Election Day is the Precious Poll People!  How cute are they?  When I retire I am going to be one of those Dunkin' Donuts Box O' Joe fueled, patriotic, white haired wonders!  They are the sweetest people ever!  I am going to say  "Hi Honey!  What's your name?  Thanks for voting!"  or "It's so good to see young people come out and vote!"  Gahhhh I just love them!  They have the best job.  I will probably not even mind waking up at 5  am to take the line of curlers out of my white hair and dab on my hot pink lipstick and meet my other fabulous twilight year friends (because I'm so not a morning person) because I'll be so excited to live out one of my greatest dreams!  I just really want to do this.  Obviously I will be a fabulous old lady who will perform all of her stereotypical old lady rituals/habits/routines/rights but I'm gonna rock the vote even in my rocker!  I'm gonna flirt with all the other old single men and rock my tan velcro sneakers like no other! 

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”-John Quincy Adams

Peace. Love. Democracy.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

What I'm Obsessed With November 3, 2012 Edition

Very often, okay wayyyy too often I become obsessed with some youtube video and watch it on repeat.  Today I am obsessed with the video If Guys Were Like Girls.  This is a fantastic representation of how guys see girls.  And the scary part is that it is actually accurate!!  I love all parts of this video!  Brennica?  Who doesn’t love that name?  These boys are not far off with their satirical banter. The boys give us girls a clue into how we come across.  This reminds me of Andie Anderson’s How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days article.  I am just obsessed with this video because it is so funny and scarily accurate.  Is my life goal to be like the girls they are parodying?  No, quite literally the opposite; however, this is a fantastical Bering Strait between how girls see themselves and how boys see us.  It is equal parts hilarious, perfect, and fantastic!  Enjoy!

If Guys Were Like Girls

If Guys Were Like Girls II



Friday, November 2, 2012

Christmas Is In...ONE MONTH AND 22 DAYS!!

***Notice the red and green typing...Christmas is soon people!!  I have foregone my usual pink...you know I mean business***  PS sorry this was posted twice...I don't know why

So today at 1pm my day got infinitely better!  Why do you ask??  Because that was the time that I walked into Target and bought Christmas JAMS!!  Being a December baby I feel an extra special affinity towards Christmas.  In my house, December is literally the busiest and most expensive month...EVER.  Both my brother and I are December Babies (he's the 9th and I'm the 14th).  Then comes Christmas Adam (a term I copped from my friend...i.e. the day before Christmas Eve...who came before Eve?  Adam #ChristianityHumor) a day filled with shopping or just people watching at the mall with a Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider in hand, then, Christmas Eve (a day filled with eating hors d'oeuvres/primping for church/having my hair not work with me even though I've had wayyyyyy longer than usual to perfect it/arriving at mass an hour and 45 minutes prior to ensure we get the "best seats"/going to Red Lobster for dinner (I know it may seem a little strange but we will get to that in a later post titled Kitley Family Holiday Traditions)/my Aunt's house for Christmas Dinner part II/wrapping presents/watching 24 straight hours of A Christmas Story/then reading Twas The Night Before Christmas/getting new Christmas jammies.  Then, finally Jesus' Birthday!!  Then December 26th shopstravaganza!  And then New Year's Eve and finally New Year's Day.  As you can see Christmas and December are a big  FREAKING GINORMOUS deal in my house!

Back to today, Target is my all time favorite store.  Literally who doesn't love Target?  You can buy dog food, lawn furniture, and moderately priced nail polish all in one place...Heaven?  I think so!!  Well today Target reached a new level of epicness.  As I strode through the Jedi-like sliding doors, I was debating what I wanted to buy.  It's payday and payday means Target Day!  Do I need a reason to go to Mecca?  No, if it is a day that ends in y, I will most likely be at Target.  Anyway, I decide to buy myself some new music.  Maybe a little Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Jana Kramer, who knows whichever I feel like.  Well, I didn't even make it to the country section because what to my wandering eye should appear but the glittering Christmas display that can only be described as having been created and primped by angels or Jovie...THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC DISPLAY!!  Be still my beating heart!

Well, I just went nuts.  EVERYTHING was on sale!  Nothing was more than $8.99!  God knows I love a sale, let alone a Christmas music sale!  Amy, Nat, Luther, NSYNC, Kidz Bop, all the greats were sitting there staring back at me saying BUY ME BUY ME BUY ME!  Well, I did.  I bought three CDs...Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers...Brad Paisley...Rudolph...wait for it...the original with Burl Ives!  I had to verbally command my self...out loud mind you..."Walk away from the Christmas display Erin...walk away."  So I went to the register with my glee in full force (literally a huge dork smile on my face) and paid for them.  $18.97...I think yes!  Before the saleslady could hand me my bag I grabbed it and said "THANKYOUVERYMUCHHAVEANICEDAY!" and pranced out the store!  On a scale from 1-Kristen Bell and a sloth, I was right with her!  So as I bounce to my car, barely withholding my glee, I rip open the Dolly/Kenny jam and...well, let's just say it was a Hard Candy Christmas in my car allllllll the way home.  

While jamming out and smiling like Ralphie when he opens the Red Rider BB gun, I decided I wasn't going to make it to the gym today, no sir...I was going to weigh train while watching Elf   *First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle*  Much better decision I think!

Well, the moral of the story is that Christmas is soon and there is room for everybody on the nice list!  So remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!  So I will continue to jam (exclusively to Christmas Jams) and I expect everyone to be as happy as me!  So if you see me standing outside a department store dressed as an elf handing out candy canes...you know who to call...yes that's right Macy's Security!

xoxo AND ho ho ho


Christmas Is Coming...In One Month and 22 Days!

You will notice that today's post is written in red and green because....Christmas is in ONE MONTH AND 22 DAYS!!

So my obsession with Christmas has only infinitely progressed since 1 pm today!  Why do you ask?  Because I bought Christmas JAMS!!  Being a December Baby I always had an extra-special relationship with Christmas.  December is a big month in my house because both my brother and I are December babies!  (Dylan's the 9th and I'm the 14th)  Then, just when you get a chance to breathe it is suddenly Christmas Adam (a term I copped from my friend ie Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve #ChristianityHumor, then Christmas Eve (spending the day primping and eating hors d'oeuvres, having your hair still not come out right even though you've spent wayyyyy longer than usual on it/Church (at 3:15 for the 5 pm mass as to not get a bad seat/then Red Lobster for dinner (see future posts for Kitley family traditions)/Then more eating at my Aunt's house/wrapping gifts/watching 24 hours straight of A Christmas Story) then finally, it's Jesus' Birthday!!  Followed by December 26th sales, and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!!  Whaaaaat a great month!  

Anyway, today I went to Target.  Why did I end up at Target?  Oh I don't know, because it's a day that ends in y?  Well anyway,  I LOVE Target!  And today I was like hmmm, I'm in the mood for some new music so I wander over to the music section and BAM just like the opening scene in A Christmas Story I am awestruck by the glittering, sparkling, awe-inducing display of Christmas Jams on sale!!  Literally, NSYNC, Luther, Amy, Rudolph, and Kidz Bop, you name it they had it...and they were each marked below $8!!  SCCCCOOOREE!!  There is nothing I love more than clearanced priced things at Target.  Some of my best purchases were made on Target Clearance Section!  So after much debating...and literally verbalizing out loud "No Erin, put down the cd's" I managed to walk away with three new Christmas Jam CDs!  I settled on Dolly and Kenny (because I love her so much), Brad Paisley (because I love him so much), and Rudolph... wait for it...The Burl Ives edition!  I hit the jackpot!  And my total at the register was $18.75!! #Winning!!  So as the saleslady attempted to hand me my bag of awesome, I beat her to it!  I literally grabbed the bag and was like "THANKYOUSOOOOMUCHHAVEAGREATDAY!"  ALL one word because I was that pumped!  So soon as I got to my car, barely containing my excitement, (I didn't open them in the store because people would no doubt think I was stealing because of my shaking hands) I ripped open the Dolly and Kenny Christmas CD and ejected Taylor Swift's RED (sorry Tay but you get it...your a fellow December baby) and jammed the whole drive home!  My mood was literally elevated from its usual jaunty 7 caliber self to 45!  I was like Kristen Bell and a sloth!  I was that excited!  I had big plans to go to the gym tonight for some cardio but now, I think I'm much more in the mood for watching Elf and doing weights...a fair trade I think!  *And then we're gonna make snow angels*  #becauseIhadtoandit'smyblogsoIcan  

Christmas can't come soon enough!  On Tuesday I will start buying Christmas presents and I will be one big mess from then on out!  If you find me dressed as an elf passing out candy canes...you know who to call

xoxo AND ho ho ho