15 December 2011


Can we do a little question and answer about etiquette? (mainly I want to voice my humble opinion and rant about a few etiquette questions)

disclaimer: All assumptions or comments about my job location and office should not be posted (and will be deleted by me). I don't want to name call, point fingers or make this into a "she said, he said". This post is merely my observations and opinions. Thank you! 

Question: Is it ok to say no when someone ask you to do something that they could do themselves, should do themselves or you are too swamped to get to at the moment? Is this acceptable practice in the work place? On the same topic, is it ok to then ask the person you asked to do you a favor if they have done the task yet?

Answer: I really don't know. I want to be very helpful and I like to get everything done that I know I need to do BUT I am too busy to stop my own work some times. I don't want to be rude with saying no, but yes is not a truthful answer.  I am not the hand madien of the office, I have a title just like everyone else. I am happy to file every single piece of paper ever printed every day as a part of my job, but that means I can't "grab" something for you at the same time. I am new to the office and maybe there is period where maybe that was my job description. Since I began working at my current location though, I have started to really get my feet wet with the job, and now seven months in I feel quite comfortable. I have my own accounts which required most of the time in my day. I stay consistently busy. That being said, I can't drop everything for a request every time.

And, if I am doing all the work that is required, a favor might not be on the top of the to do list.

Perhaps I am too independent and self sustaining, I would not ask someone to get me a piece of paper if I knew I was capable of getting it in the first place. Those kinds of task personal priorities and require me to do it for myself. And perhaps I am too nice in doing everything that is asked of me in the first place. I am not well known for my ability to say "no". 

Question: Is it acceptable to clip your nails at the workplace?

Answer: NO! Not ever in my opinion. I believe this opinion would be shared with most as a general 'no-no' in the office. I know people want to keep clean and presentable for work (yes, I do keep a toothbrush at my desk for this reason) but it is call PERSONAL hygiene, not share 'my-nail-clippings-with-the-office' hygiene. Ah! Due to budget cuts and the like, we only get our office cleaned once a week, so keeping your personal space clean is necessary. Clipping your nails at your desk does nothing for cleanliness.  The sound of the clipping has even begun to bother me. Ah. I just am not a fan. And think its kind of rude. It's one thing to have to blow your nose, and even doing that in the bathroom is a little more sanitary, but clipping nails at your desk. Heavens.

14 December 2011


A recent post from a good friend reminded me that I wanted to write more about running. So here I go.

Beside working full time and spending time with my husband, my days are numbered by the miles I put in. I count the weeks leading up to a race, miles per day, and hours spent running. I thought this blog would be a great place to record, vent and write about my running. I love running very much, but some days it just sucks. Like most people I suffer from bi-polar workout syndrome. Some days I want to run a billion miles, while other days eating bonbons on the couch sounds like a better idea. Hopefully this blog will keep me focused on my running and provide a way for me to enjoy keeping track of it. I love to write about what I love. If you don't enjoy running or think I am crazy leave a note. On the other hand if you think I am super woman feel free to let me know that too. 

Side note: today is an eating bonbon type of day.

13 December 2011

30 fo 30:The Challenge Ends

Of all the clothing I have tucked away in my closet (perhaps stuffed is a better adjective), wearing 30 pieces for 30 days was very humbling. I really liked the challenge, and it was gratifying to know I did not shop, enjoyed what I already own and got creative with clothing.  

I am sad to say tomorrow is my last day of the challenge! But hope lies ahead, I am off to NYC on Friday (perhaps shopping will ensue!)

A few of the things I learned in the last 30 days:
  • If you bought a pair of jeans 5 years ago and you wear them in this challenge they will rip. And not in a “I can still wear these if I have a long shirt on” way. Sadly, my favorite pair of skinny jeans are done for. They are not in the salvage pile.
  • Having a few sweater options was key. I really didn’t think about how often I wear a sweater and they came in really handy.
  • My closet does have a lot of “essentials”, like t-shirts and black sweaters, but they do wear out when worn consistently. I think I will have to replace a few of the items after this adventure. But I am ok with that, because I know I wear them out!
  • Having good accessories can really go a long way. Even if you only have one black skirt, wearing it with black tights one day and yellow later that week you can feel like you are limitless. I would like to invest in some fun color accessories to make my closet feel bigger.
  • Shoes. Oh Shoes. I noticed that I wore my tan boots a LOT (even my husband commented that I had worn those several days in a row). I have a black pair of heels that got their use as well. I would say I wore maybe about 5 different pairs of shoes. I would hate to not shop for shoes, but I don’t see the need for a new pair every month. I would still like to find a red pair (they go with everything!)…
  • Making outfit choices every day was a breeze! I spent a lot less time thinking about clothing then I usually do. I am notorious for trying on about 12 different shirts every day before finding the perfect one. With one 30 items to choose from the hassle (and time) was cut in half. I am fan of that! I would plan my next day's outfit the day before as well. This was important as I tried to keep with laundry and the items I had already worn. It worked out much better than frantically running around in the morning wondering if my dress smelled bad since I had worn it earlier. I think I will stick to this picking out outfits at night routine.
  • Traveling & packing was always such a hassle. I would never know what pieces to take and how many outfits I could make out of the small selection I brought. This challenge solved that problem! I can bring a few items, a few more accessories and make it work Tim Gunn style.
  • I suck at taking photographs of myself. I am also not the best model. I would forget most of the time. Sorry! I promise I only wore 30 pieces of clothing for 30 days!

All in all, I am glad to have done the challenge. It’s hard to feel like you don’t need something new just because, but learning that you have plenty really helps. I have always been a shopper, and lover of great deals, but I don’t feel the need just to buy any more. I know what works on my body (most of the time) and if I love a piece of clothing I guarantee I will wear it out. It feels good to know that I can be creative and make many different outfits. I am thankful that I can buy new things when I need them and not feel like I just want them. It became easier to see what I need versus what I think I should have. When you work full time it make sense that I purchase items I can wear to work, be comfortable in and dress down in for the weekends. I like versatile style and would love my wardrobe to reflect that.

It was really fun to be creative with my work wardrobe as selling electrical supplies doesn’t not rank high on the best creative career list. My one female coworker said that I looked nice often. At least someone noticed!

My style is forever changing, and like my life, some pieces will work some days and some will not. I am glad to have options, but in the end simplicity works best. This challenge came at a perfect time, and I am very glad I embarked on it.

Until I need to challenge my closet again,


06 December 2011


I suppose writing a blog about the life I lead brings with it all the ups and downs, which eventually help write my daily story. It’s not too often that I like to write about stressful situations here, often because I don’t need to be reminded of the stresses every day (or in years to come when I look back at this blog). I like to micromanage my stress. I love the task options on electronic calendars, I am forever making list (and then forgetting them some where…), and I love to be able to reflect on the day to see what I did.  I like to be in control of my personal stress.

I do not cope well with stress that is not mine.

I am sure it’s been mentioned, or at the very least implied, but being a wife of a medical student is not a walk in the park. If you ever read blogs about spouses of medical students (yes, I am a reader of such blogs) you will find a common theme. Stress (or anxiety or nerves or disappointment or happiness) that is related to the student, yet some how educes the same dizzying effect on the cohort.  I find it to be one of the most difficult parts of  being a spouse of a student doctor. I don’t get to spend hours upon hours of studying until my brain hurts, yet when exam day comes I am a ball of nerves waiting for the results.  It’s like being a coach, getting your athletes ready and then leaving the win to them.

My husband (thankfully) is going a fantastic job at school, his grades have shown that he works hard. He does get stressed (read: restless) before big exams (like those coming up next week) and some how I end up stressed too. There are days when I feel like I can’t  fully concentrate on my job because I know he is taking a huge test. Or nights when he has to study for 4 hours and I wonder if he is getting all the information he needs. I worry that he needs more time away from me (and my nagging about taking out the trash) or more resources (as if the 20 pound books he has now are not enough). I get just as restless, and perhaps as sleepless.

Does all this stress show that I care or does it have a negative affect on my husband?
I would hate to add more stress to his life (but I really do hate taking out the trash…).
I struggle with this question a lot.  Just because stress is present doesn’t mean I have to make my self-stressed too. I tend to think having two people stress under one roof brings more problems than solutions.

So selflessly I try to ignore these stressful thoughts, concentrate on the things I can control while trying to be as helpful as I can to the stressed.  It is not easy. I want him to do so well, yet I can’t go in and take the test for him. I have learned that this mother-like quality has reared its head as my husband and I grow closer (I am thankful for the growing closer part though!). As mothers try to make your day just a little brighter, I try to make my husbands stress a little smaller. This in turn reduces my stress. A win-win when you get the combination right.  I am not at my best every day, and like today I end up trying tirelessly to de-stress.

This brings me to think of things that allow my husband or myself to de-stress:

  • A warm bath (a post college luxury I never knew I missed!)
  • A good meal (Chicken & Rice from my Grandmother’s recipe always hits the spot)
  • A long talk with a good friend
  • A hot chocolate, tea or coffee (especially today since it has been 40 degrees and  rainy all day in Erie)
  • A long run (I’ll try that one for sure. 7 miles on the docket for today!)
  • An even longer stretching or yoga session (If it fits in I will do this too)
  • A good book (paired with that hot drink would be nice)
  • A back massage (I might be able to convince my husband to help with this one)
  • Knitting (There is something so soothing about this hobby)
  • A good laugh (made even better by those I share it with)

What do you do to unwind or de-stress? What stress do you carry? Is it yours or could you be more helpful by trying to lessen the load? Is there someone or something that helps you figure out what stress you can leave behind? 

28 November 2011

Thanks & Giving

So nothing like a blur of a week. I swear that I sat down but I sure don’t feel that way.

I am not hung over on turkey, but lacking in sleep. Even after a 2 hour nap yesterday I am still exhausted. In light of that, my post for the last 7 days has been lacking.

I will do a quick summary and then start new with pictures from today.

In the last week I wore:
  • flare jeans (multiple times!)
  • black t-shirt with black sweater
  • white t-shirt with orange sweater
  • gray sweater with white long sleeve t-shirt
  • blue t-shirt with black sweater
  • pink sweater with black shirt and black skirt
  • striped black & white shirt
  • white sweater, black shirt and skirt 
  • and a purple sweater.
I wore a few of the t-shirts with a combination of sweaters in the last week. I can’t even remember all the combinations (due lack of picture taking!) but I didn’t stray from the 30, I promise! 

I spent a lot less time thinking about what I wanted to wear and more time with my family this week. And I like that.

Today’s outfit included one my favorite accessories, leg warmers! What better way to make sure your legs are toasty warm inside those boots?

My lack of writing made this blog seem lackluster but I did make it through the biggest meal I have ever made! There were a few tears while sitting around the table with family. It was an awesome weekend. I am very proud of myself and hope I get the opportunity to make that kind of meal again. I loved having everyone around while baking up a storm (homemade cheesecake, anyone?).

It also so happened that there was a 5k and 10k at the State Park this weekend. why not add 6 miles to the cooking! Results? Ok! Click here! There are four of us to find, go!

Even after all that rushing around we still managed to put up our very first Christmas tree. I am very sentimental and it meant so much to me to have our first tree as a married couple. Could I be any cheesier? 

So in spite of of my lack of pictures of outfits this week here is my offering:

Have a great week! I'll write again soon!
The Albano's First Christmas tree!

21 November 2011

Days 4, 5, 6 and 7: 30 for 30

30 for 30 week update: Well. I made it. One whole week down. I surprised myself, I thought of some new combinations that I don't usually wear (I know this because I always wear some of my favorite pieces together). It got a little tricky at the end when I needed to do laundry and get errands done (I might have worn the same t-shirt twice in a row).

So far I have found that 30 pieces is plenty to get through a week, but I am missing some of my favorite pieces. I could easily see this going to 60 pieces and relying solely on those. I do like that my closet isn't so stuffed that I need to shove things around to get more clothes in. It's nice to wake up in the morning, have a few options, pick out something I love and feel comfortable all day. There is nothing worse then picking out an outfit because you feel like you bought something uncomfortable yet feel like you should wear it at least once ( I speak from lots of experience).

So here's the rest of the week recap:

 Friday- At my office we reserve the right to wear jeans. Some people think jeans are ok every day but I prefer to save them until the end of week in order to have something to look forward too. So, starring in Friday's role is flare jeans, my orange sweater and a black t-shirt. I must say, this is one of my go to outfits that I love to wear. The sweater is very warn in. I think its one of the pieces I would like to replace after my 30 days are up. It's getting faded and piling.

Saturday- Although it was one of those sleep until 9, drink coffee until 11 am kind of days, I did have to run out and get some things done (the Christmas rush is on!). I put together one of my favorite stripped black & white shirt, flare jeans, and some bracelets. I went for comfort and even wore a pair of tennis shoes. I know, very mid-western of me but all that walking is hard in heels.

 Sunday- Um. Well, that 9 mile run on Saturday must have killed me, or else I am pathetic because I slept until 10:40 on Sunday. Not that sleeping in is bad, but a commitment to 11:30 Mass does make this a rushed morning. Some thing about rushing around in the morning is not appealing to me. I really don't like it. I have enough rushing by in life, I don't need my weekends to be fleeting too! Needless to say, the navy skirt, white shirt and black knitted sweater were the most easiest pieces to throw on (literately!).

Monday- Back to work! Ok, I have a thing for sweaters, and sweater vest fall into this category.
I went classic with my look for today. This shirt has appeared in a my challenge a few times so far.

Tuesday- I love this sweater. It's knitted and I love the pockets (I am a pocket fan too!). I got a little crazy and went with two necklaces (neck party?

I am especially proud of my no shopping for 30 days adventure. My husband has noted that I don't need another piece of clothing before and I am proud to tell him I am not shopping for 30 whole days! (This no shopping is going to affect my trip to NYC though. It will be difficult to resist!)

OK. Back to baking things.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 


18 November 2011

the craziness

besides being a sadist, i am slightly crazy. and I can explain. 

it's cause: wanting to run a marathon
it's problem: darkness + lots of miles + life + work 

literally this is what one of my runs looked like last week 

The red lines are my running "tracks" or where I went. Ha. This is great. When I wear my GPS watch at the gym and run around a 200 meter track this is what I get. This really looks like a hot mess, which is how I feel after some runs any ways. 
So this is why I am slightly crazy. I run around a track over 48 times in one workout.

I have not even gotten close to super crazy, but it's coming soon.
I can feel it. There will be plenty more post about the craziness that is life.

All signed up for my next 10K too! I am running with my family in the local Turkey Trot here in Erie. I have not raced in a while but I am looking forward to it. I convinced my father-in-law, husband and brother-in-law to run with me too. The Albano racing team will be in full force. Look out Erie road racing!

More on the closet challenge, weekend and adventures and trip plans. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!

Always, Erika

16 November 2011

Promised Update- I swear!

Ok. I know I promised an update. And I swear I will get there. Later.

In the mean time (and why I have been m.i.a the last few days): ready, set, winter fashion

Perhaps I should revise my 30 for 30 challenge: update on a weekly basis? We will have to analyze this further. Running 40+ miles a week is starting to get tricky. I am still holding true to the challenge, but updating pictures has been a struggle!

By the way, ever want to know all the ways you can get sick? HUNDREDS! There are hundreds of bacteria just floating around. I studied them last night with my husband and am now a germ o-phobe. 

15 November 2011

Days 1, 2 & 3: 30 for 30

Before I go on and on about myself and fashion I will give some credit where credit is due.

"To be meek & humble; if we are meek and humble, we will learn to pray. If we learn to pray, we will belong to Jesus. If we belong to Jesus, we will learn to believe, and if we believe we will learn to love, and if we love we will learn to serve."  -Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
It is through God's many gifts I can be here.

Ok. I made a slight error in writing that I would update my 30 for 30 challenge with a photo (and subsequent) post Monday.
Something happened between the tornado watch, taking out the trash and making dinner. I am not sure why time moved so much quicker but I soon changed and never took a picture. I have attempted to recreate the look here:

Purple floral shirt
skinny black pants
brown boots
(see, its even in order of how it was on my body!)

On a better note. I did manage to get a picture from Tuesday's and Wednesday's look, and its not too bad if I do say so. I paired the black skirt, ruffled top, black sweater with some open toe pumps and tights. I feel very professional yet cozy (it is freezing in my office every day!)

For Wednesday I picked one of my favorite dresses and a white long sleeve. I dug out my winter-like gray boots and some leggings. Good to go!

So far so good. Three days down! The hardest part will be doing laundry to keep up with the 30 pieces. Also my model needs to work on posing and standing still (oh well, I will have to watch more America's Next Top Model. Too bad.)

In other news: Thanksgiving is a little over a week away. Did I mention that I am hosting? YIKES! I shopped for about half of the things I need last week and will get the rest this weekend. I don't know why I am so nervous but I want it to be nice, edible and enjoyable. I am afraid cooking for 6 is slightly different than cooking for 2! Yes, that is my rant about Thanksgiving. And it will continue until next week. You're welcome.

Ok. I need to make a master shopping list now.

Always, Erika

13 November 2011

Day 0: 30 for 30

Ok. Ladies and Gents. Here is its. The official start to my 30 for 30 clothing challenge. 
I wanted to take some time (about 48 hours) to figure out what I could live with and leave behind. I have even taken the extra clothes out of the closet just so I am not tempted to wear anything else. 

I did set some boundaries for myself:
  • I run a lot, so running clothes are out of the challenge. They are not counted as 30 pieces I selected.
  • Clothes worn on Satruday morning while lounging around the house don't count (really, I shouldn't be going any where in them any ways!)
  • Tank tops, accessories, shoes are not counted as part of the 30 (although I will try to only wear a few pairs of shoes to see how I can get by!)
Alright, want to see what 30 pieces of clothing looks like?

Here's what I selected:
  1. Black Skinny Pants
  2. Skinny Jeans
  3. Flare Jeans
  4. Black Shirt
  5. Khaki Skirt
  6. Black Long Sleeve Dress
  7. Dark Blue Skirt
  8. Charcoal Dress Pants
  9. Black front button sweater
  10. Gray ruffled shirt
  11. Polka Dot dress
  12. Cream sweater
  13. Gray sweater
  14. Black Knit Sweater
  15. Long sleeve white shirt
  16. Short sleeve black shirt
  17. Short sleeve white shirt
  18. Short sleeve light blue shirt
  19. White dress shirt, long sleeve
  20. Pink turtle neck
  21. Sweater vest
  22. Black & White Striped shirt
  23. Long Sleeve blue shirt
  24. Orange button front sweater
  25. Pink shrug sweater
  26. Purple V-neck sweater
  27. Green ruffled shirt
  28. Butterscotch colored cowl neck shirt
  29. Purple & Black flower patter top
  30. Brown Dress pants
phew. Ok. The official wearing starts tomorrow. I will be attempting to take a picture of each outfit as well. I am going to see how many combinations I can think of (i know there is a math equation involving the "!" to figure that out but I am being creative!).

Can't wait? Check back tomorrow!

Always, Erika

11 November 2011

Closet Confessions

As this title implies, I have a confession. 

I have WAY too many clothes. Let it be know that I acknowledge this fact. I think I realized it some time in college when I could have 2 or 3 girlfriends over for a clothing hand out. Literally, clothes I didn't not wear were given away. 

I am not sure that I have a cloth obsession, but I do like to shop. Picking up things here and there as I see them, getting a great deal and buying two, or finding some great fitting jeans then "needing" two pairs (c'mon, good jeans are hard to find!) I also have been given clothes, as it would happen I have been the same size since about 8th grade. So here I am with a closet full of confessions.

This confession shifted into an internet hunt for good ways to slim down my closet. In my never ending quest to make my life simpler, I know my closet needs a diet. I will always have a love to shop, but it's never going to be realistic to have a stuffed closet. Other needs come, and should come, before my latest need for black pants. There is also the fact that giving away clothes is helping others and recycling in one. How great of an idea?! Good can come of this dieting, I just know it!

I have tried to go through my beloved closet each season, getting rid of things I did not wear in a particular season or find I am too old for (let the record show I had a few "brand across my chest" shirts in my drawer. They don't scream successful adult so away they went). This trick however, was not doing the trick. I am still stuffed! What to do? 

I really like Kendi's mix of style and practicality. I admire her ability to create such an engaging and interesting blog about fashion and life. I also love the fact that the pictures on her blog are her, wearing her own things! How great is that? Kendi posted about a 30 for 30 day wardrobe challenge. Pick 30 pieces (or how ever many you have) and make them work for 30 days. I love the idea!! I know that I can live with less but some times it's hard to figure out which 30 things work the best. I also love the fact that I can try and challenge myself not to shop for 30 days. This way, the money I save can go toward to new items I discover I might need (like perhaps with all the shirts I have I learn I need a skirt!). Not to mention saving money, but helping to weed out my current closet. I think if I can visualize the 30 things I can wear often, I can give up the clothes I think I will wear. 

And what better place to display my findings then here! Perfect match! I will attempt to take photos of each outfit I wear each day (start date to be determined) so you and I can see the progress, and comment on it!
More details to follow for sure!

I cannot wait! This is going to be fun!
Maybe I'll start tomorrow?!

Wanna take the challenge with me?

09 November 2011


In the realm of usual-ness I think I fall pretty standard. Married, living in the Midwest, working full time.
There is not a day that goes by that I would change any part of that equation (ok, I could live anywhere and be ok with it) but nothing in my life screams "I need to blog about this because I know people want to know!"
 i.e.-I am not a celebrity, I am not a hot new fashion designer trying to launch a new line, and I am not the heir to the British throne. 

Why blog then?

This question lead me to think about purpose the other day. Purpose for my running has become increasingly important. I am following a marathon plan that requires I run a specific workout each day with a purpose in mind (Jack Daniel's Running formula if you are interested!). The book I am reading about it stresses that you need to define a purpose before you start in order to make it worthwhile. And its a good practice. Spend time thinking about the purpose before you feel like you have wasted 2 hours. I rather like having a set goal for each run, a way to not only just run some miles but keeping in mind the reason I am putting in all the work.

I tried to think of other things I do that are purposeful. I found that the things I know the purpose for make me feel more positive, effective and I enjoy doing them. This blog feel in the hmm... purpose category. I do enjoy writing on this blog and I am happy to see page views, but does it serve a purpose? I thought about it, decided to write about it and found this purpose: I like to write. I like my life (as Hollywood-less as it is!) and I like to let people know what is going on. I love writing e-mails, and sitting down to write a letter is always good, but this blog allows to me update instantly. And that is neat. It will probably never get a rave review from the Wall Street Journal or an award for more interesting topics but as long I an enjoy it for myself I will keep it up. 

Purpose-filled. Satisfied. Ready to blog again and again. 

Thank you to those who find my blog interesting enough to read. mushy as it sounds, I am glad!

I will try to keep it full of life's little moments that are so great. Oh, and maybe some beautiful shoes.


01 November 2011

ode to the pumpkin

Ode to the pumpkin
with a delicious recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies
1 box Spice Cake Mix
1/4 Cup Water
1 can Pure Pumpkin (the smaller can is plenty!)
1 5 oz. bag of Dried Cranberries
Pecans (optional if you don't love them)

Mix all ingredients in one bowl. Spoon onto cooking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


29 October 2011

New York, New York

 officially (of course, I still need to purchase the actual train tickets) I am heading to NYC for my birthday (which just so happens to be during the most beautiful time of year, Christmas!)

Nothing better than turning 24 in the big city. 
Shopping at Macy's done up in its holiday best.
Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center.
Running in Central Park.
Navigating to the best Thai food.

One of my very best girlfriends, my maid of honor at the wedding, moved to NYC in pursuit of her very first big girl job. Although she works crazy house right now because it is earnings season, she has been begging me to come when I could. I finally find a weekend, free and totally available, to visit. I will be taking the Amtrak train on a Friday an returning on Monday. I cannot wait! Expressing my excitement on a blog is difficult. I need more explanation points!!!!

 I am looking forward to seeing my friend, and getting a chance to talk with her. I do love being with my husband, but some times being with my girlfriends brings such happiness. And, she appreciates beautiful shoes. 

Already. I must carve a pumpkin!