Tuesday, November 29, 2011

go, see, do: prague

First stop on our mini tour through eastern Europe was Prague. (Spoiler alert: My favorite place we went.) I've always wanted to visit Prague, so getting the opportunity to tour the old city was amazing. If you ever get the chance to visit, here are my tips:


I would suggest going in a warmer month. Although the crowds were not bad in November, the cold weather was hard to stomach. You'll be walking around quite a bit so the warmer temps will be to your advantage. Plus, with everything in bloom I'm sure it would be 10 times as pretty as it already was.

Prague Castle is a must. The views at the top are stunning. There's a museum and some old buildings to walk through. But my favorite thing was the Golden Lane, a sweet little street lined with tiny shops.

Be sure and check out the Charles Bridge... It will be hard to miss! Cute stalls of shops line the bridge and be sure and stop for the buskers.

We took a day trip to Kutna Hora, a city about an hour and a half outside of Prague. One of our stops was the creepiest thing we did the whole trip: visted Sedlec Ossuary, a church filled with the skeletons of over 40,000 people. It was certainly unique! But we loved it and I'm glad we went.

Take the tram to the top of Petrin Hill to check out the beautiful views of the city and the little Eiffel Tower that sits on the top. We went at night and it was beautiful. One of our favorite meals the whole trip was at a cafe halfway up the hill.

Eat! The food in Prague was amazing. From the cute little Bohemian restaurants to the street vendors selling delicious Staroceske Trdlo (above)... I loved it all. I'm still dreaming about recreating some of it here at home.

Everything about Prague was exactly how I expected it to be... which I suppose is why I loved it so much. It was totally different from anything we have here in the States, which is part of the fun of traveling. My mom and I have already discussed at length when we're going back. Can't wait!

this is why you're single

To the boy obsessively texting my friend morning, noon and night—no one finds it charming that every time her phone chimes it’s you "checking in." I can’t think of one person I would want to text that frequently, and it surely isn’t the guy I randomly met in a bar just a few weeks ago.

“Good morning dear!”
“How is your day going?”
“What’s up?”
“Are you surviving Monday?”
“Is it the weekend yet?”

If these messages are each met with one-word responses, chances are…. She’s not interested.

Take a minute before you hit send. Has she ever started the conversation? Does she ask you questions about your day? Does she actually care about what you’re saying?

If the answer to any of the above are no then, she probably does not want to talk to you every minute of every day. Sorry, but it’s true.

Each time your name pops up on her phone, your grave in her cemetery where bad dates go to die is just getting deeper and deeper. Didn’t your mother ever tell you to play hard to get? Because mine certainly did!

Next time, don’t act so eager. You’re sweet. You treat her well. She has no reason not to like you. But give her a chance to realize that! All these text messages are only making her realize that you have way too much time on your hands and not enough friends to entertain you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

holiday bucket list


I'm baaaaccckkkk!! :) And it feels so good. Vacation was just what the doctor ordered. But it's always nice to return home, isn't it? Europe was amazeballs. I definitely have another few top favorite cities in the world and if y'all are interested I'll do a post about our trip later this week. Not typically what we talk about on S&E, but y'all might want a peek at the other side of the world? Let me know!

I missed out on all the Thanksgiving festivities--not a turkey or stuffing in sight. But I hope your holidays were great! Everyone is putting up Christmas lights and seem to be getting into the holiday spirit around here, and I for one could not be more excited. I love this time of year. Love, love, love.

In fact, I may have already started a list of everything I want to do in the next month or so before the year is up....

ice skating
s'mores in the fireplace
christmas present shopping
checking out the lights around town
hot chocolate on a regular basis
cookie baking party
fun christmas crafts
gingerbread house building
putting up the christmas tree
snow angels
paper garland making
lots of holiday cocktails
tacky christmas sweater party
holiday movie marathon

This time of year flies by and I am determined to squeeze every ounce of merriment out of it. Am I missing anything?? What's on your list of to-do's for maximum holiday enjoyment??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poll of the Week: What are you thankful for?

It's that time of year when we reflect on what we are most thankful for. I'll talk more about what I'm thankful for when the poll closes, but to get us started, one of the things I'm truly thankful for this year is my parents. They have both had health issues this year, and next week my dad will be having open-heart surgery. Prayers are appreciated! Although we live eleven hours away, my dad is my rock and if you ask my boyfriend by the way I talk about him, he is also my hero.

I hope all of you have a happy, happy Thanksgiving, surrounded by people you love. I can't wait to hear what you are most thankful for.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Good Giving

Gift giving...it's one of those things I've always prided myself at being good at. I always want to give that thing someone will truly enjoy. Good gift giving isn't about how much money you spend, it really is about the thought that is put into it. Think about those favorite gifts you were ever given and why they were your favorites.

When I was a freshman in high school my boyfriend saved all of his allowances for months and months on end to give me $500 spending money on a trip to NYC. When I was new at my first job, my friend Danielle gave me a gorgeous constellation necklace for Christmas that I had once mentioned I loved at a photo shoot for work. When I found out I got into graduate school this year, my boyfriend surprised me by hosting a get together for me and my two girlfriends to celebrate. The link tying these all together, while each "cost" something different entirely, they all were filled with thought and effort.

Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas:

Make magnets. You can transform your Instagram photos into magnets. How cool is that? This is a fun {and special} gift to give! 

Make a Blurb Book. Blurb is very easy to use and very affordable. The quality of these books are great, too. {You can make hardcover or soft!} You could make a photo book, or even write a book. Yes, write one. {For my nieces first birthday I made a book filled with my wishes for her.} 

Personalize a Mug. For any coffee or tea lover, write them a sweet message they can look at every morning. Certainly a nice way to start the day. {Great one for those parents who don't get to see you every day!}

Make a Donation. As always, this is a great way to spread a greater love this holiday season.  Download and print the card above if you choose to make a donation as a gift! 

I hope you enjoy this holiday season and have fun sharing your love with all those people in your life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

poll of the week: can you do the distance?

First things first! Last week's results...

What are the boundaries for dating a man that your friend once laid claim on?
Majority rules: You must ask before you touch. How polite! Your friend should come first in this situation, regardless of their past history. We think this is a great rule of thumb.

This week's question is....

What's your theory on dating someone who isn't local?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

let's go somewhere else

After the last week of my life, I've never wanted to say those words more. Deadline time at work means I am usually a very tired, annoyed version of myself. However, this time was different. I got to say those words above and they were actually going to come true!

If you remember, my little sister is studying abroad in Italy this semester. Her semester ended this past week, and since then has been traveling around Europe like a nomad. Luckiest girl ever. So far, she's visited Spain and France (she also went to Ireland for her fall break) and in two days my mom and I are meeting her in Prague! I cannot wait.

Tomorrow morning I'm boarding a flight across the ocean. I can't tell you whether I'm more excited to be disconnected from the world for a few hours or the fact that when we land... I'll be able to squeeze my sister! It will be nice to actually hold a conversation outside the confines of our computer screens.

We'll be traipsing around Prague, Salzburg and Munich for 10 days. I'm looking forward to freezing my buns off in eastern Europe and celebrating Thanksgiving in a completely unfamiliar way. I live for traveling and am so grateful I get to do it every now and then. I'm sure I'll come back with a tale or two to share.

In the meantime... have you ever been to Prague, Salzburg or Munich? I'd love any tips or insider information you'd like to share!


Ps. Jena will be keeping you company while I'm away, but if you feel extra curious you can also follow my adventures on Twitter.

How Rude

Via Pinterest
Oh how I loved Stephanie Tanner and her ability to tell people they were being plain rude in such an adorable, cute way. Because when someone is rude to me, I want to kick them in their shins.

My boyfriend's son recently got in trouble for doing that. A little girl in his daycare was untying his shoelaces and he asked her to stop. When she didn't, he kicked her.

Props to the little man, if you ask me. If we could go around kicking people when they were just plain rude, mean or out of line, perhaps people would take it down a few notches to spare their shins.

I'm writing this post because for the last two days I feel as though I have been surrounded. Rude people. Snarky people. Someone with this wrong or that wrong, and it is somehow my doing, fault or problem.

And while I may have just taken all of my aggression out on the fly currently buzzing around my head, it's much better than taking it on on these people behaving as such. BECAUSE, I once had one of those "aha" moments a few years ago that went something like this: Never let another's poor character affect your own. For me, this was a powerful realization.

As Mother Teresa so wisely says:
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. 
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. 
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. 
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. 
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. 
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. 
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” 

While I am far from being any sort of saint, her words remind me that if you let people influence the way you behave, they start to influence who you are. And slowly, but surely, you may become one of those rude, snarky, just plain mean people. 

So, I'll take heed to what was explained to my boyfriend's 3-year-old son, "We don't kick." And put myself in a long time out. 

P.S. Don't be rude tip: IF you are replying to an email, which someone signs with their name, LOOK at how they spell it. And when you reply, either DON'T address them by name, or freaking spell it correctly. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

the challenge--follow up


30 days have come and gone, my friends. I'm not sure when, but I think "The Challenge" is officially over.

It all started off as a way to intentionally do little things that would inspire our own happiness. From taking a bath after a long day to getting drinks with friends--we pledged to set aside some time each day to be happy.

At first, I was really diligent. Purposefully deciding what each day's "task" would be. But as time went on, I was finding that smaller things were making me happy and I no longer needed to "plan" them. Then I stopped paying attention to days and before I knew it... 30 days had passed.

Was I happier? I think so.
But was that the important part, really? Probably not.

Happiness is such a weird thing to define. Regardless of how hard we try, there will always be things that affect our mood that are out of our control. That's life. But if we make a conscious effort to personally invest in our own happiness, whether for 30 days in row, once a week or as often as we need to, I think it's possible to make ourselves happier and healthier.

The reminder that yes, I was in control of my own happiness is all I needed out of this challenge. Everyone is going to have bad days. But it's how you pick yourself up from those days and carry yourself onto the next that really matters. No one or nothing should be allowed to tear you down, but if they do just remember.... YOU are in control of your OWN happiness.

Friday, November 11, 2011

poll of the week: hands off my man!

We're starting a new feature here on Smith & Emma to get your feedback to some of our burning questions! The topics will vary from week to week, but they are bound to be good. Take a vote in the poll, then let us know what you really think in the comments! We'll chat about the results next week when we introduce our next question. Sound good?

This week's question is .....

Ever experienced this conundrum? Tell us about it in the comments!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Going overboard

Via Pinterest

Smith & Emma Land, how I have missed you. Excuse my MIAness, I've just been so up my relationship's ass I have A) Forgotten I have a life. B) Almost ruined my relationship.

Can you tell I'm a bit angry with myself? Mainly because I am the queen of doing this thing where I get in a serious relationship and begin to slowly but surely allow it to suck the life out of me. Sometimes because my boyfriend has required it, and sometimes {such as this instance} because I have thrown myself at it like a crazy woman in front of a train.

And now, my dear friends, I've been run over.

But, lucky for me, the train didn't kill me this time. But one of these days its going to. So it's time to snap the hell out of it and for once, actually learn my lesson.

Why I do this, I'm not so sure. But, I do know I'm not alone. Liz Gilbert says in Eat, Pray, Love in regards to relationships: “If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will protect upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check..."

The funny thing is, this time around the man I love requires none of this. But I shove it down his throat anyway. And then, since he has become the reason for my very being, when something doesn't go "right" I overanalyze a word, a look, a feeling, a thought, anything, until I've exhausted myself, my friends and him.

I've been an analyzer since as long as I can remember { I am going to be a shrink after all}. It's kind of a part of who I am. Most of the time, I like this aspect of myself. I tend to be self-reflective and self-aware, which {i hope} allows me to be a better person. But sometimes, the overanalyzing can cause me to push away people I care about. But I've forgotten that I don't let people in that easy. If I do let someone in as a friend or boyfriend, whatever it may be, it's because I think you are all kinds of wonderful. And at the end of the day, that is what I need to remember. I need to trust the people I've let in. Take their word for it and move on. 

It's time to get my life back. To get back to me being the reason behind me. To have my relationship be a part of my life. Not who I am. No healthy relationship can exist that way. Not to mention this guy is actually one that doesn't need to be driven off.

To anyone who has lost themselves in a relationship--with a boyfriend, a friend, a parent, a sibling--get yourself back. If they really love you, they'll love you more for it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

wink wink

if you are are of the male sex and ever want a chance at dating me--you'll never use an emoticon in any context or conversation directed at me.

last week, a group of my lady friends and i were out for a glass {or 2} of wine at a local bar when out of nowhere a very nice looking man approached our table. he whipped out a card, handed it to my friend and introduced himself. she had caught his eye {no surprise there} and he wanted to give her his number. major points in my book for a) being forward and b) being ballsy enough to approach a table of girls. after the exchange, he left and she texted him--to give him her number and let him make the next move.

not five minutes later did her phone chime, an eager response time, with a message and uh oh.... a smiley face. a little weird, yes, but we'll let it slide. but no, he didn't stop there. instead of using actual question marks in his next text, he used two animated question marks (from the emoji app if you have an iphone, i believe). let's just say he was going way over the fine line and into down right disturbing real quick. it was like a 12-year-old boy had hijacked his phone and decided to text his crush for the first time.

while half of the table wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, i was ready to write him off right then and there. i've made a pretty solid rule about refusing to date grown men who use emoticons. strict? yes. but i can't deny that men who use smiley faces or any type of emoticon in any context give me the heebs. not cute y'all. not cute at all.

i'd be willing to let the occasional :) pass. but as i told my girlfriends, when the faces start to become more complex and involve things like eyebrows, noses and winks {let alone question marks--who does that?!}.... i might as well delete your number right then and there because it just ain't happening. text me in 10 years and maybe i'll give you a chance. ;) ;)

what do you think? am i crazy for being too judge-y about text etiquette? sound-off!

ps. less than a week later, my girlfriend sent me a screenshot of a text he had sent her where he had legitimately used an emoticon of a bow and arrow to signify going hunting. needless to say, she called him out for his over the top usage and i don't think we'll be seeing much of him in the future. let this be a lesson boys! do not abuse your right to emote. also: if you went hunting... just say so.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Remember when I mentioned Jena and I got to do something fun over Halloween weekend?? Well I can finally tell you about the fabulous photo shoot for the local boutique Maude we were a part of. And if you'll indulge me, I'd love to share a few of the photos!

Who are these two super models??....
It's Smith & Emma!

On Sunday, Maude invited a group of local lady bloggers to take part in their fall photo shoot. And of course I could not turn down the offer to dust off my modeling chops. Boy was it a lot of fun! Meeting all the great local ladies involved, getting our hair done by the fabulous Kelly Cooper from Studio 8 Salon, wearing Maude's fabulous clothes and being photographed by the talented Maliah Pinkleton--it was all pretty great!

Each of the ladies were able to pick out our own outfits. I tried about three or four outfit contenders on (each adorable), but as soon as I put this dress, I knew it was the one! Jena had asked me how I wanted to look and I told her sexy and cute. Is that possible? Well I felt both sexy and cute in that dress so... win!

I was seriously so in love with my hair. Just wish I could do it myself! Kelly certainly worked her magic. Check out her blog for great hair tips and tricks.

Look at my gorgeous co-blogger.
Jena knew how to work it in front of the camera. Plus her dress was seriously amazing.
And of course her hair was just as fabulous...

That's it! Thanks for indulging me. It was so fun and we owe a huge thanks to Maude for including us! I lovvve stopping by their store so it was a special treat to get asked to join the other ladies.

See something you like? Be sure and visit Maude if you're in the area! But the best part is... even if you aren't local to NWA, you can still shop Maude via their Facebook page found here. Love! Their clothes are to die for--just check out each of these fabulous outfits below.

And be sure to check out each of the fabulous other ladies featured in the shoot!
Left to right: Erin-Ashes of Laughter, Gwen & Shannon-NWA Motherlode, Anna-Tulip Louise, Leslie-A Blonde Ambition, and Jena & I!

Thanks again Maude!

***all images courtesy of Maliah Pinkleton Photography.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

just married

(via, and also lyrics from one of my favorite love songs)

This is not what I planned on blogging about today, but I can't help but say something because it seriously riled me up so much! After venting to my mom about it last night, she was the one who suggested I write this blog about it...

What riled me up, you ask? Kim Kardashian and that sham of a marriage.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think about how much this wedding cost, how many advertising dollars were earned, how much they earned as a couple, etc. etc. etc. from the entire spectacle that surrounded that whole relationship. I will admit to watching the first special on the wedding. But even before I knew about the divorce, I could not stand to watch the second part of the special because it was a gross spectacle to me. I get the idea of celebrating a relationship with an over-the-top party, but to go that extreme just seemed inappropriate and irresponsible, especially now in hindsight! But the wedding is not what this is about, this is about the 72 days later divorce.

One of my favorite bloggers, the Angry Therapist, basically said everything I was thinking on the matter. You should definitely check out his blog if you haven't already, but here is my favorite part of what he wrote:
I think there’s a tremendous lack of responsibility here. I don’t know their hearts or the details of their relationship but unless there was physical / emotional abuse, 72 days is not a marriage. It’s a summer fling. I don’t care if they went straight in couples counseling right after the honeymoon, 72 days is not enough to say you worked on your marriage.
-Marriage Abuse, The Angry Therapist
I want to get married one day. But it's people like Kim K. who makes marriage look like a joke. And when people are getting married and divorced in 72 days, what's so special about marriage any way?

I believe that marriage is an entirely personal thing, to be chosen by two responsible adults when they feel like they can sustain their relationship for the long term. Am I naive to think that all marriages can and should last forever? No... I understand that things happen, people change, etc.

But then I look at my parent's marriage.... They've been married for almost 30 years. Have raised four awesome kids (I may be biased...). And have truly been through the gauntlet including health issues and scares, moves, and now believe it or not, they live on opposite sides of the world-my dad has worked and lived in China for several years now. And yet, their relationship is the strongest I've ever seen. They Skype every day. They have a mutual love for each other. But more than that, a mutual respect. Something I can only hope to emulate one day.

Their marriage gives me hope. I just wish it was people like them that were celebrated in the media and today's society... and not people like Kim Kardashian.I suppose it says more about our society than Kim Kardashian herself, that we would put up with this. It also makes me sad to think that there are couples who are in love and would truly fight for their relationship who can't get married (yes, I went there). But then again, I know couples who aren't married and have much more fulfilling relationships than a lot of marriages. But for something that I hope to one day do, I find more offense in letting people like Kim get off so easily when others who would love to marry their significant other can't. I'd rather share the "sanctity of marriage" with them, than those like Kim.

Listen, I'm sure Kimberly is a great lady. I'm not judging her as a person... just judging her lack of respect for a special vow that I hold on a pretty high pedestal. I think a lot of people felt the "slap in the face" I felt after flaunting her marriage so publicly, only to toss it aside when she grew tired of it.
P.S. 7 other things that take 72 days

Edited to add: I just saw that Kim wrote a blog post today about the divorce. {You can read it here.} I must say, that although my feelings really haven't changed, it's nice to know she apparently didn't make any money off the wedding and will be donating money from gifts to a worthy cause. {The first question my mom had when I told her about the divorce was about returning the gifts...ha!}
What do you think about her post?? Do we forgive her? I don't know... but does she seem like a horrible person? Absolutely not.
Just wish she would have gotten off the "roller coaster."

Peace & blessings, loves!