Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween Travel Nightmare

Several of you have been total sweethearts and have checked in on my whereabouts and safety due to Hurricane Sandy hitting smack-dab in the middle of my scheduled trip back to the East Coast. It was really quite frustrating to be in the midst of blue sky, 80 degree weather, palm trees, and the ocean and to still be thinking about/figuring out travel arrangements back to the area about to be hit by this "Frankenstorm." I figured I'd be stuck in California until the end of the week since my Tuesday evening arrival in DC wasn't looking too promising.

Thanks to Southwest being AMAZING and offering all those whose flights would be affected by the hurricane to reschedule their flights at no charge at all, I was able to fly in late Sunday night. We were told it was THE last flight into Dulles Airport. If I had taken any later flight, I would be stuck in no man's land. God was sure looking out for me on that one.

And the travel gods were surely looking out for me that day as well. I made it from my hotel, to the rental car office, on the shuttle to the airport, dropped off my luggage, went through security, and was sitting at my gate in twenty minutes. Twenty! 

It was a crazy hectic day to be traveling that day. We had a layover in Chicago without a change in planes. As we landed there, the pilot said, "Well, those of you traveling on to DC... your fight has not been cancelled yet." Nice. So, those of us continuing on, stayed on the plane and all huddled together to talk about what we had heard about the storm/travel. Way to go, team!

I am sure after reading this post on my crazy flying rituals, you all can only imagine how thrilled I was to fly through the air while "the storm of a lifetime" was about to hit. The countless warnings from the pilot about "keeping the fasten seatbelt sign on" did not make me feel any more assured. Nor did the announcement that the flight attendants needed to collect trash early and return to their seats. I prepared for the worst. And took pictures to distract myself.

Oh, did I mention how a guy decided to chat me up while standing in line to board the plane in San Diego? During our layover in Chicago, he made it a point to come sit next to me on the plane and continue to chat me up. This did not go over well when my flying rituals began.  I mean, seriously... can't you see that I am trying to pray here?! Back off, homeboy. And then I got made fun of for burying my head in my hand during take-off. AND he used MY tray table because he was busy watching a movie on his laptop... which he invited me to watch along with him. I declined.

And when the turbulence got unbearable and I really buried my head in my hand, not only did he tell me I shouldn't do that because it would only make me more dizzy [thanks, dude, but I think I know what works for me] he put his hand on my knee and said, "It'll be okay." I beg your pardon?! 

That plane could not have landed soon enough.

I landed. Then got hit by the hurricane. Then lost power for 36 hours. Why did I leave California early again? What's one of your travel nightmares?

Oh, and Happy Halloween :) Michael Myers [my biggest fear] comes out tonight...

Monday, October 29, 2012

When Life Re-routes You

Greetings from San Diego! I'm just stopping in today to let you know that I'm having the time of my life! The weather here has been warm and sunny. I've had time to do lots of exploring and also spent time with some lovely people [some whom many of you know! More to come soon!]

I like my metaphors and on my first night here something happened to me that made me think deeply about life. I was on my way back to my hotel after grabbing dinner a little bit further North in San Diego. I hit the freeway and experienced what I'm supposing is your normal slower moving rush hour-ish traffic. It was pretty stop and go and then eventually cleared up... until my exit.

Two lanes of traffic that were exiting right were pretty much stopped as there is a traffic light at the end of that ramp. I knew I had to get over in order to get off at that exit but no one was giving me room to get over and I'm NOT one of those people who just stops in my lane until someone lets me in [meanwhile making all the cars stop behind me.]

I know, I know... I am so thoughtful of others. But because of my lack of driving aggression, I usually screw myself over. No one let me over so I had to continue driving along the freeway. Luckily, sweet iPhone Siri re-routed me and told me to get back on the freeway going the opposite way. Well, guess what! In doing that, I completely avoided all the traffic I had passed earlier and cruised into my hotel in four minutes. Bam!

So, I'm sure you're wondering where my life metaphor comes in...

Sometimes in life we're on a path, a road, a trail that we intend to be on. Then, we get diverted.

Not because we're not paying attention or aren't aware of our surroundings but because it just didn't work out. So, we get re-routed. And it's as if the new route, though unexpected, was the one created for us. The one that works better. The one that makes sense. Yet, it still gets us where we wanted to go.

Just something to think about next time life re-routes you. You'll still get where you're meant to be :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Project Inspire Card Swap

I love how certain opportunities find their way into your life unexpectedly. A couple months ago, Hollie and I partnered up to co-host Project Inspire, a card swap designed for bloggers to inspire, motivate, and encourage each other through a card.

My partner ended up being Kristen from Love, Lipstick, and Pearls! Once the date for sending off our cards had passed, I kept checking the mail for that special, little card. There's just something special about receiving snail mail!

I got the card and decided to wait for a moment when I really needed inspiration and encouragement. It had been a trying and long week at work and so really, the card came just in time :) I carefully opened up the envelope to find this pretty card inside:

Was that card perfect or what? Kristen's words spoke straight to my heart.
She knew exactly what to say.
Exactly how to comfort me and put a big ole smile on my face :)

I love that Edgar Allan Poe quote about angels and mothers. I had never seen it before but seriously, how thoughtful of Kristen to find that and include it in this sweet card! It was definitely a nice, little surprise.

Kristen - I can't thank you enough! Your card completely brightened my week. Your perspective is so refreshing and I'm sure I'll be reading your words whenever I need a little extra encouragement :)

See, isn't snail mail the best? Who's ready for another Project Inspire? ;)
I can't wait to see what everyone else got and to feel all the positive vibes going throughout the blogging world today! Link up below and show us your inspiration!

As you read this, I'm probably landing in beautiful San Diego! Feel free to follow along on Instagram [@chelseasunset] to see what I'm up to on my trip!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Happy Place

Many of us have a place we have visited often. A place full of memories. A place where you can look back at yourself through the years and see the change; the growth. 

San Diego is that place for me.

It started one Christmas season years ago when I went out to visit my brother. That trip honestly changed my life. It opened up my eyes to this beautiful place - a vibrant city right there on the edge of the coast. My love for San Diego grew visit after visit. I just couldn't get enough :)

It is truly my happy place. Looking back on these pictures is a vivid reminder of that.

Early [very early] tomorrow morning I'll be jetting off to that favorite town of mine. To explore, to relax, to take care of some business, to meet friends, and to make new memories. This time, it'll be as a brunette, too :)

I'll be able to look back on all these wonderful memories and years above, and toward all the memories to come. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time to re-visit my happy place. It'll be my first time visiting alone. Me, myself, and I. Follow along with me during my travels on Instagram! [@chelseasunset]

So, tell me, friends... what is your happy place? Far away like mine, or right in your own backyard?

Don't forget to link-up your Project Inspire card swap posts here tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Crazy Flying Rituals

With my trip to San Diego quickly approaching, let's talk about what it takes for me to prepare for long distance traveling. It's a process. If you've been around my blog for a while, you probably know that I love to travel and do so as often as possible. Traveling long distances by myself should probably just so on my resume because that's how experienced I am. 

I actually even love traveling alone. [Gosh, I am such an introvert.]

What I do not love, however, is flying. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but my anxiety during take-off especially has progressively gotten worse throughout all my years of flying. Here's a little glimpse into my life:

+Start panicking before flight is even booked. Everything starts spinning
and a knot forms in stomach.
+Study flights for two-three weeks.
+Finally book a flight and heart rate immediately heightens upon confirmation.
+Spend the following weeks planning what outfits to pack and what songs to download.
+Wait until the night before to actually pack.
+Get 0-.5 hours of sleep the night before.
+Dizzy all the way to the airport, repeatedly say, "I hate this, I hate this" and take necessary medication to calm the heck down.
+Medicine never works. Proceed to panic.


Then the rituals begin.
+Go to the bathroom... at least once.
+Sit or usually stand at gate until my "Zone" is called [aka Zone A because I always fly Southwest and always check in early]
+Constantly check surroundings. [Survey the passengers. Any children?
Start to remember faces.]
+The walk down the long, dark, freezing cold, hollow tunnel to the jet is the worst. Especially that little gap between where the tunnel and jet connect. You know what I'm talking about. And the overwhelming smell of fuel.


The rituals continue.
+Walk onto jet and make eye contact with and say "hello" to every crew member I can.
I have to be able to trust them, okay?
+Immediately start scoping out the seats. I am very particular about where
I'll sit on a plane. It has to be at the wing. Preferably right behind the
Emergency Exit.
+Get out my iPod/iPhone/book, place them in the seat back pocket, store my purse and laptop below the seat in front of me [because, uh, hello - I always check my luggage! Packing light? What's that?]
+Begin to pray as I continue to survey who sits where.
+I do not enjoy when the plane is half empty and no one else sits in my entire row. Is there something I don't know?
+I welcome children to sit in front or behind me. Because if they're laughing or giggling then that means everything is okay, right?
+More praying. Same prayer. Over and over... and over.
+Prepare for take-off. This is where I hyperventilate and almost pass out. It's pretty cool to watch.

This continues until either A) The flight attendants are given the okay to walk around and take drink orders or B) The captain comes on and tells us we can use all approved electronics. 

So, who wants to fly with me? :)

Note from the above picture: Chelsea and "prop" planes? We don't get along.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Catching Up on Fall

I'm back! Thanks, everyone for being so sweet and supportive of me taking some time away from blogging to get re-focused. It certainly helped! You're probably wondering what I've been up to. Like, what could I have possibly filled up all my time away from blogging with, right? Thinking, reading, planning, un-planning, renewing my faith, solidifying my ideals and the goals I have in life.

I even have a fun announcement at the end of this post but, for now, here are some pictures :)

1. I dug out the bins at my parents' house that my mom had designated just for Fall decor. These are only a few of the many bins that she had. My mom was SO talented at decorating every little piece of the home. She made it so beautiful and inviting and I'm sure her love for decorating led to my extreme LOVE for the HOLIDAYS! I tried my best to recreate some of the magical Halloween decor she was known for.

2. Because who doesn't love a lot of little glitter? I know I sure do! I had a blast working on this project for Project Inspire! More on that this Thursday!

3. How cute is this little photo op on the side of I-95 in Virginia? Inside the O it says, "Virginia is for LOVERS!" You've got that right! #LOVEVA

4. I was finally reunited with some of my sorority sisters a couple weekends ago! As always, it was so great to see them and catch up and make fun of my height :)

5. You'd be surprised how much commotion this outfit of mine caused at work. The guys couldn't get over how "colorful" it was saying things such as, "Well, we'd definitely be able to see YOU at night!" Please note my TOMS that I am in LOVE with! Not in love with the "no-see-um" socks I wore with them. Suggestions?

6. I'm in love with diners. I'm also in love with San Diego. So, a picture at the diner with the super retro SD was definitely a necessity. On another note, my hair is ridiculously long and needs to be cut.

7. Church outfit! I could pretty much live in pencil skirts. [Okay, so maybe that's not very practical.] But there's just something special about putting on your Sunday Best in the morning and heading out for a beautiful day.

8. On the drive home from church, I took in the color of the Fall leaves changing and their contrast against the bright blue Virginia sky. It is surely a blessing to live in such a pretty place during this harvest season.

And, now, for the announcement:

I am leaving for beautiful San Diego this Thursday! It's been nearly two years since I've visited my favorite place and I've missed it more than I can explain. It's my second home; my haven. The place for me that just makes sense. I'll be there for about a week and I am super excited to finally meet some of you beautiful ladies! If you're a San Diegan and we don't already have plans - let's meet up! :)

I will be writing more about this trip and my decision to go soon :) As for now, I'm super excited to be back to blogging. I love you all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Will Keep Aiming

Yesterday, I didn't feel like myself. I felt like a robot had been placed in my skin and all joy, free will, and excitement had been drained from my body. It might sound kind of funny at first but the honest truth is - I wasn't me.

I've been learning a lot about myself lately. I've tried to take the time to truly understand who I am, what I need, what makes me feel good, what makes me feel absolutely horrible. Simple truths, really - yet, it's taken me this long to really get to the bottom of myself; of Chelsea. I've learned that I'm deeply in tune with my emotions - whatever they may be at the time. I feel deeply.

And lately, that hasn't been such a pleasure. It's been ever so confusing actually. For the time being, I have to be vague and for that, I apologize but I'm in a time of transition. A time where I'm moving forward with my life. Yet, at the same time, I'm not quite there yet which means I'm still living in a world that is really almost my past. [Are you still with me?] This transitionary time is more trying than I had expected.

So, I have to keep reminding myself about the arrow. Maybe things get confusing and complicated right before the sky clears and everything comes together.

I don't want to become a car that sits idling. I certainly don't want this robot to continue operating my body either. I have to have faith that this is just the slow pull back of the arrow.

I will focus. I will keep aiming.

It's time to focus on the next chapter of my life and in order to do so, I need to refocus my goals, my voice, my place in this world. Because of that, I have decided it's time to rethink my blog. My mind has felt so cluttered lately as I'm sure you can tell from my posts this week. It's time to focus. Breathe. Get ready for the next chapter. I'll be stopping in whenever it feels right and will still be around Twitter and Instagram [@chelseasunset] so you can keep up with me there :)

*Also, special congratulations to Hollie for winning the RoseRags Leopard Poncho giveaway! Thanks again to everyone who entered and, if you didn't win, you can always stop by their website or Facebook page to see what gorgeous ponchos are up for grabs! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

After the Monday Obstacles

Yesterday was a no-good, really bad, get-me-out-of-here Monday. I had no idea when I put my fun, little chocolate brown wedge boots on early that morning that I'd be walking fifteen miles back and forth my office and up and down the flights of stairs all day. I should start wearing a pedometer. It was just a hectic, trying day.

However, I had a few things to look forward to once I climbed over those work obstacles.

1. A special delivery - Don't you love when you track a package that you've been waiting oh-so-patiently for and see that it will be delivered soon? I knew there was a 99% chance a fancy little shoebox would be sitting on my porch waiting for me when I got home from work.

Boy, was I right! As I pulled up the driveway, there it was. The shoebox weighing only one pound with my glorious new TOMS inside! I can't wait to put them on my feet and feel their soft comfiness! And to know there is a child somewhere out there with a new pair of shoes...

2. TV - I'm grateful for having a few shows that I whole-heartedly enjoy. They take my mind away from the day even if just for an hour or two. [You can read about my Fall TV line-up here!] Last night, I turned on my DVR and watched Sunday's Long Island Medium. There were tears.

Then, I watched the 90210 premiere. Surprisingly, there were tears.

There were even tears watching last night's first battle round on The Voice. I mean, Adam Levine was singing Sublime. [Okay, so I didn't actually tear up at that point.] But I did later.

3. The countdown to a long-overdue album - A Fine Frenzy is one of my all-time favorite artists. She is all I listened to in the months prior to and once I made the move to Utah in early 2010. Every time I go back and listen to her music - any song - I am taken back so fully to those very moments. I'll save those thoughts and feelings for another post as I'd like to keep this one rather light and airy :) Anyway, after three years, the new album - Pines - was released today and I'm proud to say before midnight, I became a proud, new owner!

And because I love you so much, check out my new theme song [explanation to follow in the coming weeks] Now is the Start...

What are the little things that bring a smile to your face after a long work day? What albums are you currently loving?

P.S. I can't be the only one crying during all of those shows, right? Several of you told me you were crying during Long Island Medium ;)

*Oh, and don't forget - today is the final day to enter the RoseRags giveaway for a leopard poncho! Enter now, here :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall 2012 TV Line-up

My DVR is going to break. It's just going to fry starting next week. Little by little, new Fall TV shows have been premiering and I'm already having a tough time keeping up. That is mainly thanks to all 6 hours a week of The Voice that occupy my time [thank goodness you can fast forward through commercials, right?]

So, now it's time to tell you all what I am/will be watching. Plus, it'll be fun to know who else is following along with me! Without further ado, I'm linking up with Lindsey and showing you my Friday Favorites [Fall TV Style]:

The Challenge. I am almost positive I have watched every single season of The Challenge. I must admit, I'm a little bit sad they are weeding out the "originals." They were the real drama queens. I could never, ever be on a season of this show and here is why: You take the drama of The Real World, multiply it by 100 AND add in physical competitions, alliances, strategies, and eliminations. No, thanks! But I do love this show and don't think any season has ever really disappointed.

I am a huge fan of The Voice and I am always, always #TeamAdam. Just had to get that out there. Although, it would be hard to say "no" to Christina after looking up to her since she was on MMC. Anyway, I love this show for its coaches, its talent, and its concept. I love the blind auditions and what they do with all the battle rounds. Not to mention, how cool would it be to sing WITH Adam, Cee Lo, Christina, or Blake toward the end? Answer: Very.

Long Island Medium. If you know me, you know I'm a believer. I 100% believe in mediums [although I don't necessarily believe everyone who claims to be given that gift.] Theresa Caputo's gift astonishes me. You can see it in the eyes of the people she "reads" whether it's at a private reading, group reading, or in the middle of the grocery store.

My mom LOVED this show. She got my entire family watching it before she passed away, which is such a blessing because it helps us know she is still out there, with us, and loving us. One day, I hope to talk to her again with the help of a medium :) Call me crazy ;)

Breaking Amish. This show came on after The Long Island Medium on Sunday and I randomly started watching it. It's about four young adults [three grew up Amish and one grew up Mennonite] who leave their families to live a modern life in none other than New York City. It's pretty crazy to watch them get acquainted and hear their stories about their beliefs and how they were raised.

I recently read that the show is not 100% true and that TLC confirmed that, saying more will be revealed later in the season. Apparently, a couple of the cast members lived a modern life for years prior to this... Has anyone else heard more on this?

I fell in love with Hart of Dixie last year when it premiered. It's funny, witty, silly, and has some good romantic twists. However, I must admit - I just wasn't impressed with the Season Two premiere this week. Anyone else? I was easily distracted during it and it just didn't pull me in. I will give it a few more episodes but if things don't pick up, it might be the one to go byebye this Fall :(

90210. Guys, listen and please, whatever you do... don't judge me. I think this is my favorite show. I've been a loyal fan of it [well, I've been a fan since the original BH: 90210] since the series started nearly 4 years ago. I've become attached to the characters, the plot has kept me hooked, and I've found some of my favorite songs from the soundtrack. Bam! MONDAY!!

Do I even need to say it? THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Season 4 premieres on Thursday and I could not be any more excited! I watched all 3 seasons in about a month thanks to Netflix and my lunch break. Many of you know I was originally #TeamStefan, and while there is still something mysteriously hot/romantic about him, I have to side with #TeamDamon. I am definitely excited to see what happens this season now that I can finally follow along live!

Well, there you have it! My fall TV line-up! I might be forgetting something. I am going to do my best to watch many of these shows live but life gets in the way sometimes. SO grateful for my DVR! 

Now it's your turn! What are you watching this Fall? Are you watching along with any of the shows above? :)

Go link up with Lindsey and share any of your favorites!

And don't forget - today is your last Friday to enter the RoseRags leopard poncho giveaway! One of my faaavorite clothing items in my closet! :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wishing to Wear My Fall Wardrobe

I "tossed and turned" so to speak about what to write about today. I was going to do my foundation review but decided to hold off on that. Then I was going to write about friendship but I'm not sure my heart is ready to yet. So, let's talk Fall Fashion.

Yesterday's post on the RoseRags Leopard Poncho [which you can win!] got me thinking about styling different pieces together and about how stellar that poncho will look with my brown faux leather jacket. [Remember when faux leather wasn't cool? SO glad it is now. #idontwearrealleather] Hashtagging in a blog post is cool now too, luckily.

Anyway - the temps are supposed to be in the 80s here in DC today. It's rainy. Muggy. I'm over it. I know some of you around the country are getting this same kind of weather too. It's October - come on now. Bring me the cooler temps! Here are the outfits that I wish I could be wearing right about meow:

1. This warm sweater/poncho is from Old Navy [Last season. Boo!] Have you heard of the blog Workday Weekend? Go check it out. I've apparently been hiding under a rock that I'm just now finding her.
2. I just want to wear my blazers! I have some fun colors this year like this one from The Pink Peonies and I want to wear 'em!
3. I like to call this look business meets urban meets a polo match. Kinda cute mash-up, yes?
4. I'm obsessed with plaid button-ups. Not pretty "J Crew plaid" but the "kind-of-worn vintage surfer plaid."
5. Do I even need to say it? I want to wear an animal print infinity scarf. Note: As of now, I still have not purchased one on Etsy. Soon! I love this outfit with the camel blazer. Although those particular heels aren't super "me."
6. But what do most of these outfits have in common/what is the #1 Fall item I am waiting so patiently to wear? Boots! Chambray and boots together = perfection.

Next week, I think I shall do the other half of my Fall fashion “wish” list. And when I say “wish” I mean “I have most of this stuff already and just wish to WEAR it.”

Which outfit is your favorite? :) What Fall items are your favorite to wear? Anyone else impatiently waiting to wear their Fall wardrobe??

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

RoseRags Poncho Giveaway!

I have a special little treat in store for you today! A few months ago, I "met" a sweet girl living in San Diego. We pretty much instantly became friends and chatted via Twitter/email. I loved her right away not only because she was living in my dream city and was sweet as can be, but because she was extremely [and I mean extremely] good at what she does.

Her name is Jessica and she owns her own little fashion line known as RoseRags! RoseRags started off as an eco-friendly line of hand-stamped scarves and has recently expanded into other amazing items of clothing, like the gorgeous poncho I ended up buying!

Jessica describes RoseRags as "chic, sophisticated, and distinctive." And here's the best part: all fabric scraps are recycled and placed directly into children’s art programs. So, not only are you buying a beautiful, carefully handmade item but you're giving back to the community as well.

As a handmade business owner myself, I strongly support small businesses who take the time, effort, and heart to create meaningful, unique items and I assure you RoseRags is not one you will want to miss out on.

Jessica has been kind and gracious enough to offer my lovely readers the Leopard Poncho - [my personal favorite that I bought from her as soon as she announced it!] The giveaway ends next Wednesday, October 10th! So, good luck and feel free to stop by the RoseRags Facebook page or send Jessica a tweet and let her know I sent ya! :)

Just another note: The Leopard Poncho is one-size fits all! The sides are open so you can wear it normal or belted! Either way looks great :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Good Ole Days | Vol. Three

I think it's safe to say that if many of you were asked to describe me, you'd say something about my love for the 90s. If you haven't heard, I'm planning on bringing back 90s fashion but we'll save that for another day. I'm starting a revolution.

Anyway, while obsessing over my favorite decade, I do quite a bit of reminiscing which leads into me laughing hysterically until my eyes sometimes tear up. I know what you're thinking - you want in on the fun. Lucky for you, I like to share :) Let me know what your favorites are!

1. What? You didn't have inflatable furniture too? You can still buy some on Amazon.
2. I still don't get the break-away pants trend but again, you can still buy some.
3. Totally Hair Barbie. I had her [and still do.] She even came with her own Dep hair gel.
4. I had a "play phone" that looked like the Zach Morris phone and it was cool. Real cool.
5. Somehow this was THE book to have. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling..."
6. HOW did I forget about Kid Pix? I was obsessed with it and can't even remember anything about it other than the firecracker eraser.
7. Oh, yes. I wore scented nail polish. I still remember how yummy it was and remember wearing it to my first Backstreet Boys concert. Apparently this stuff is making a comeback.

Now, here's my 90s challenge: Name what video the below clip is from. [No cheating] ;)

Sigh. I can't get enough of the 90s. So many memories. So many good times, toys, music, fashion. Speaking of which... I'm thinking it's time to start a "Good Ole Days" sort of link-up. We can even have certain categories :) Who's interested??