Today I am thankful for ....


... my girlfriends.

A few months ago, I blogged in my 200th post that coincided with my "blogaversary" about the changes that have happened in the last year. At that time, I mentioned how the highs of the past year were my incredible friends, getting my MBA, and making some really great memories. Don't worry all still obvious apply to me currently.

I've been reflecting that past week or so about my life. And despite the some of the lows in the last year, I can't believe how lucky I am in general. A year ago, I was finally beginning to see the "light" shall we say on how happy life could and should actually be. I'd been in a relationship for quite awhile and it was failing. I'd put it akin to beach erosion. There were several "storms" that had been slowly eating away at the "beach" leaving me to look at the gaping holes were happy thoughts and memories had previously existed. Ultimately, I saw the light and realized I deserved more... much more.

In all of this, I've stockpiled some incredible memories with friends of weekends away, hilarious email chains filled with inside jokes, and phone conversations while I wandered the aisles of CVS or Shaws. I'm so excited for more memories as we plan more reunions whether they be centered around a royal wedding, weekend getaways, or just because its been too long.

In closing... just a little something that makes me smile.

.... so someone got married today?

I'm back in NYC this weekend to spend some time with friends and perhaps do a bit of celebrating / reconnecting / relaxing / eating / drinking .... you get the picture.

As I write this, I've been awake for 5 hrs since I woke up to watch the royal wedding. You know the one with William and Kate.... and the QUEEN... I figured it would be borderline inappropriate to pass up on this occasion given that I threw a wedding reception for The Office episode where Pam and Jim got married. While I didn't tear up at this one, I did get goose bumps as they looked at each other and at how GORGEOUS Kate was in her wedding dress. Hello lace.

From watching the wedding I can't wait for brides across the World to start demanding the following fit into their wedding budgets:
  • open carriage rides
  • horse processions
  • giant trees in the church
  • jet flyovers
I'm not a big wedding person. I haven't been to too many weddings or been a part of the planning process, but I watch my fair share of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC and have been known to look wistfully at pictures on Pinterest showing fabulous.
dreamy wedding reception in an old barn... with lots of lights :)

Personally, I can't wait for the following:
  • David's Bridal to remake Kate's dress .... and market the hell out of it.
  • the lip reading expert to tell us everything the royals were saying to one another
  • everyone to name their child "Pippa" after Kate's gorgeous sister
... and with that I'm going to spend the day with my ladies and enjoy what this city has to offer.

Bucket Lists aren't supposed to be easy


I can't remember at what point I started to write down my list of "life to do items". I'm a big list maker and so at some point it just seemed illogical to not be writing these things down.

As you can see from reading other parts of this blog I've been tackling the items on my bucket list and writing about them. There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes from completing even the smallest item - like eating at a Top Chef restaurant. {Which, by the way I have done.... I just haven't blogged about it yet. I ate at Social Eatz by Angelo Sosa and Colecchio & Sons by Tom Colecchio.}

I think its good to have items on the list the balance between easy / hard, cheap / costly, and solo / team. I think most of the things that I've done so far have been by myself - which I guess is the nature of the beast when you are single, 27, and travel for work. But, last week I was talking with this guy from work who has decided to drive across the country. He told me that he's been saying for 3 years that he's going to do it and finally took a month off of work and hit the open road. Talking with this guy made me realize that I've been doing all the easy items on my list. Enough with the polka dot dresses Jen, do something harder... or at least start planning it.

So, the first thing that I did was research how much it would cost to rent a Prius for a month. I was surprised that I could get a fuel efficient rental car for a month with unlimited mileage for $1100 - and that would be less if I didn't get it in Boston. Now, this is where it gets complicated. I need a PIC... partner in crime. It seems super challenging to find someone to do some of these "travel items" with... Grand Canyon, Teton National Park, Canada, Patagonia... etc.

I've lived alone for like 8 years at this point and so the idea of being alone doesn't bother me - but taking an across the country adventure seems to require company. If for no other reason than my parents might lose their shit if I went by myself. Even now, if I don't check-in on Foursquare and its late at night my dad calls to make sure I made it to the hotel. Truth.

So, I have no specific timeline... but at this point in time I am committing to knocking off two of my "travel items" by the end of next January. I know that seems like a long goal but if I decide to do Patagonia that would take some time / planning / be affected by seasonality.

Last night in my hotel room, I sat at my desk at decided I would give write out the first 10 things that came to mind that I wanted to do. I stopped at 8, but stay tuned I'll share it soon.

Pants free since '93


Ok, not since '93 but I like things that rhyme.

Back in the Fall, I gave up wearing pants. Pants to work, I guess I should be more specific. It has made my traveling life a lot easier since I only have to pack 4 dresses instead of trying to figure out what goes with what, shoes, etc.

Perhaps I'm too practical, but when you are packing a suitcase every week, you look for any way to make the process easier and less time consuming.

I'm not sure if there are any other plus sides to giving up pants, perhaps I feel more like a lady sometimes? Perhaps?

Anyway. I'm always on the lookout for good work dresses that fulfill the following specifications:
  • no wrinkles
  • pockets
  • comfortable
  • match black heels
You'd be surprised how few dresses out there fit these specifications.

But, recently Ann Taylor had a killer 40% off sale and I picked up two dresses that fit these specifications 100% .... plus, one of them was polka dotted. HELLO BUCKET LIST!

Cascade Dots Print Dress
Anytime I saw something polka dotted in the stores, I always wondered if I could pull the trigger and do it and finally I did.

As you can see, I even wore it to work last Thursday. Truth be told, Baby Sister isn't too fond of the dress .... said I looked a bit to 1950s. I'm not sure I disagree with her but I still really like it. And hell, it has pockets. Win and win.

Oh, how I love gifts from the ocean!


The arrival of spring and porch season has also brought me thoughts of summer and beach walks.

Any walk on the beach to me is an adventure in looking for still perfect shells or bits of sea glass glittering in the sun {see summer 2010 beach post}. Love gifts from the ocean! Last summer I got my hands on a unique sea glass necklace from a local artist. I wear it really regularly in an attempt to perhaps channel warm beach weather - that coincide with vacation days.

I've gotten a few compliments recently on the necklace and although I'd like to be the only one with one, I figured I'd share a few Etsy links where other people could buy their own.
$34.25 + shipping
The key to searching for this unique item is to add the word "lip" as this is how the top of the bottle is described (I guess). This type of sea glass is crazy rare, so I'd snap it up if you are interested in it. If I found one in blue, I'll be all over it like a grad student at a free food event.

Happy (fluffy) Easter

It can't be a bad day when the weather is 73 and sunny .... and baby chicks show up at your doorstep.

Another great part about Easter Sunday... porch season was back in full swing. We sat on the back porch and ate some tasty monkey bread that I made for breakfast. I'm not sure exactly how it became known as monkey bread. There is nothing about it that says "monkey" to me.
All baked and fresh from the oven.... ready to be flipped over.
I love stone walls. I think monkey bread looks like a stone wall.
Can you resist that drizzle of delish breakfast goodness?
The rest of the day was spent doing the following but in no specific order:
  • napping on the porch
  • going for a run by the ocean
  • eating "dinner" at 1pm
  • holding baby chicks
  • "facetime"-ing with a lovely friend who lives on the west coast
Oh... and I named one of the chicks "Edward". It just felt right. And no, I'm not a Twilight / vampire / crazy person. I've never touched the stuff (stuff being vampire bizness) and I'm not starting now.
... and of course the traditional family Easter egg hunt in the front yard.

I miss the train.


I miss the train. A lot.

This week I have to work out of nowheresville Pennsylvania and as a result i have to fly. This makes my life infinitely more complicated. All of the glorious reasons I love train do not apply to flying.

For example, I had to get up super early in order to get to the airport in time for my flight (which was in the end delayed an hour). You want to know who else is at the airport at 5:30 am? Nobody. I took a video.

Not to be negative Nancy but i'm going to list the other negatives...
  1. I have to rent a car. This also means I have to drive (obvious). Since renting a gps is not an allowable expense I also need to bring that with me. Just swell.
  2. I have been stockpiling liquids in my suitcase apparently. Every week I take that sucker home from NYC I have great aspirations of emptying it all out and I never do. I merely take out the top layer or two of clothes and throw more stuff in. I can honestly say that this Sunday was the first time that I have seen the bottom since I went to boca with baby sister. What was at the bottom? Liquids. And all more than 3 oz. Brutal.
  3. when you are just flying to philly you don't get to fly on a real size plane with real size overhead space... This plane has overhead space that wouldn't even fit one of those ridiculous childrens character backpacks. You know what I'm talking about.

Since I like to stop lists on odd numbers, I'll stop here.... But I most certainly have more reasons.

{btw. I'm secretly terrified of women that wear tons of makeup when they are traveling. I just don't get it... But we all know how relaxed I like to be}

Family + Future



It's been two weeks since I've been home and man it feels good. My own bed! All of my sweatpants! Ice cubes! Okay... okay...

Despite being in NYC this week, I did manage to see family. My dad and little brother were in town for Boy Scout trip and so I went to meet them for a quick hello while there were at dinner on Tuesday. On my way to tourist central (aka Times Square vicinity), I passed St. Patrick's Cathedral. I've often been by it but never inside and the doors were wide open since the weather was so nice. Despite being crunched on time, I zipped in and took a few minutes for myself.
The cathedral itself is quite busy with tourists but still serene and relaxing oddly enough. I can never resist lighting a candle or two with a prayer. This time I did two candles: one for family and one for the future.

and of course I checked in there on Foursquare. Not that I'm going to Foursquare mayor of a church (don't go enough to make it happen), but feels like an opportunity for a joke about separation of church and state... maybe not. :)


Giggles = Needed


In the event you are in need of a giggle this hump day, I stumbled upon this video of a baby penguin... being .... tickled. And yes, it is as cute as you would expect it to be.

Quick update? I had a really great weekend in NYC with my friend Ria and other new friends. Quick teasers? Rain, Rain, Yankees game, Rain ... and then there was sun! Here is one of my favorite pictures from the weekend (there weren't too many)

I actually made this my background at work so I can remember how gorgeous all those blooming spring flowers and trees are :)

Keep it real homeslices.

3 Things I Can't Live Without ... during a work day.


Rumor has it a woman's life is in her purse. Like she'd rather lose her arm than be disconnected from the life that she carries around with her in the the old handbag. I'm not sure I feel exactly the same way about my bags, but I do know that if I don't have a few fundamental items my work day totally falls apart. So, I've done some thinking and fundamentally I can't imagine getting through the work day without these three items. 

Bose Headphones
I don't think it would matter where I sit, I would still require headphones - but I definitely need them for my current work site. I sit in a bullpen area with about 20 other consultants and it can get rowdy loud in here. So the headphones allow me to block out the other activities and just get some stuff done. Confession? Sometimes I don't even put music on, I just slap on the headphones and do work. I guess, I need to include music as one of the items I can't live without.... but I can get that from Pandora, Amazon Cloud, or my iPad.

Hand Lotion
I always have one of the hotel lotions with me in my bag. I've been slowly savoring the
lotion that I got with Baby Sister at the Waldorf in Boca. Its one million times better than other hotel lotions. Side note: Hilton changed the products in the bathroom this week. I kind of felt like they should have told me this was happening - what if I really liked the Crabtree & Evelyn lotion? I didn't, but I still want to know in advance.
Lip Gloss
I probably have 4 chapsticks floating around in my bag. Maybe I'll count them soon... My
current favorite? This one from Artistry. I'm also a giant fan of this lip gloss in part because I won it from Rachael Passing Notes. I have no idea how this is different than other lip glosses I've procured over the years but I really like this one.... and it was FREE! I'll all about product attributes and it has three that I find creepy useful/awesome:
  • there is a little mirror on the side - perfect for applying without looking like one of those women that is preparing for Broadway while she's putting on makeup in a public place
  • there are these little LED lights in the cap/brush that light up when you open the lip gloss... so theoretically I could put this on in the dark. And by theoretically, I mean... I often creep out Baby Sister by walking into her dark bedroom and applying the lip gloss. She does not like this.
  • tingly lips! I have no idea what makes it tingle but I love it.
Items that almost made the list? My wireless mouse and bobby pins. By the end of the work day, I've pulled my hair is so many directions I might look like Helen Hunt in the middle of that tornado movie. The bobby pins help me look moderately pulled together as I hit the town for dinner.

Note: When I was looking for images for this posting, I googled "what's in my purse" to see if anything good would pop up. Apparently a lot of women take pictures of what is in their bag. Well, interweb.... you'd be super disappointed by my bag so I'm just not going to show it to you.

The Away Game


I'm not at all going to pretend that my career is similar to that of a long-haul trucker. Not for one bit. Beyond the solitary nature of their work, there are the strains of driving for hours and hours at a time. I don't mind driving - in fact I prefer it to being a passenger - but I consider it quite the event if I'm driving for more than 2 hours. But it is always for a great occasion like seeing some of my ladies in Maine or Vermont. It feels like I only drive north for some reason....


Harvard Business Review sends out a daily stat which tend to be either boring or completely unrelated to anything in my life... but occasionally they strike a chord with me. Here is the one I got on Monday:

So 72% of long haul truckers have spend 15 out of 28 nights away from their family... Since January 1st, I have spent 48 nights away from my family* living in a Hilton. There are 104 days (including weekends) during that period of time -- essentially I will have spent  46% of that time away from my family. On average, I spend 4 work days a week away from home. There a few things that make all this travel okay and they essentially boil down to Hilton Points and Free Dinners. I have an inkling that long haul truckers aren't reaping either of these rewards.

*as of 4/14/2011

(Even More) Spring


 Are you tired of my spring posts yet?

I hope not. The office that I'm currently working out of is located on 42nd Street in Manhattan. I would not have expected there to be flowers on the street in the middle of NYC but there are .... and its glorious. I love walking to my favorite coffee shop - Aroma Espresso Bar - and quite literally stopping to smell the flowers.
The News Building on 42nd Street

Blooming Trees .... now if only the sky was blue too.
Tulips are my favorite :)

Thanks Spring.


Dear Spring,

Thanks so much for coming to visit NYC today. I truly appreciate it. In your honor, I had two iced drinks and they were both fabulous. If you could please stick around for a bit that'd be great, especially this weekend because I'm going to stay in NYC. I'd would like to be warm during my adventures.

The coaster you see pictured with both drinks was part of a surprise I received last week in the mail at the Hilton no less. Oddly enough I got the package shortly after I wrote about how much I loved getting stuff in the mail. I can't remember what type of wood it is, but the coasters are handmade and from wood grown on the family farm I believe. Very thoughtful.

Spring is here.


Last week I tried (and successfully) willed spring to come and visit. I painted my nails pink and started to wear a trench coat.

This weekend, I took it a step further. Its porch season baby. Living in suburbia has its challenges for sure, but there are things that make it totally okay. Porches. Beach access. Gardening. Porches (again). Obviously, getting some salt air in my hair is a few more months away but I'm okay with that. Until then, I'm just going to spend my (non-working) days on the porch, sitting in the sun, reading.

Mac&Cheese + Twitter


Why yes.... I am quite lucky.

I've blogged about Mac and Cheese several times before and how happy it makes me. Other things that make me happy? Fleece, coffee, sweatpants .... and winning prizes. A few weeks ago, I read an article on Mashable describing a recent promotion that Kraft was running for tweeting about Mac and Cheese. So, I tweeted to my hearts content.

FoleyJennifer @moranfo family pictures 2011? Matching @kraftfoods MAC & CHEESE shirts? 7:40 PM Mar 9th, 2011
FoleyJennifer @moranfo ... and then Mac & Cheese for lunch on Saturday? 6:25 PM Mar 9th, 2011
FoleyJennifer @moranfo thanks for the tip. Thankfully roomservice doesnt deliver MAC & CHEESE cause I would have been fat emotionally recovering from date 3:45 PM Mar 9th, 2011
FoleyJennifer @moranfo we are relentless. But I happen to know that you spill and your train is dark, would Mac & Cheese be a good idea for you? :) 11:24 PM Mar 8th, 2011
FoleyJennifer excellent @wakemate customer service. When I'm done blogging about my love of Mac&Cheese for a tshirt, I'll blog about my @wakemate again 11:14 PM Mar 8th, 2011
FoleyJennifer I'm going to tweet about MAC & CHEESE until the cows come home .... and I don't even live on a farm 9:31 PM Mar 8th, 2011
FoleyJennifer New life goal. Get a Mac & Cheese tshirt. 5:43 PM Mar 8th, 2011
FoleyJennifer This day just started to require comfort food. I could really use some good ole Kraft Mac & Cheese. 5:39 PM Mar 8th, 2011
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And then, for once in my life. I won.

I can't even begin to describe how mad Baby Sister was about me getting the prize... especially since she got nothing. But alas, at least someone from this Kraft loving household took home the prize. Well, the package from Kraft arrived recently and it was just as glorious as I expected it would be.

Yep, I blurred out my address. Don't need creepers finding me.
T-shirt.... and new Mac attack
Other parts of the shirt.... twitter hashtag and fancy arm art
The only thing I would change? I'd like a smaller shirt. Kraft probably thought I'd like a large so it could be like a gym shirt or comfy shirt or bed shirt. Wrong Kraft. I'd like to wear this sucker to bizness meetings. Now, I know that can't happen but perhaps if it was smaller I could sneak it under a cardigan and only I would know the secret.

So, in short.

Dear Kraft, Thanks for the 5 boxes of pasta goodness and super cool shirt. You made my day. If you could just send over two more, we could use them for next year's family pictures. Hugs, Jen

So, you wanna link?


 LinkedIn recently just passed the 100 million members mark. Congrats CEO.

This is a product that I really believe in. Its a great way to network and see who is in my circle. But, just like any social networking tool there is the inherent issue of two things in my mind:

  • people who want to be your "friend" that you don't know
  • people who want to be your "friend" that you do know and wish you didn't
I know when you first join these sites there is the option to search your address book for any contacts you might know that is already a member. There are obviously three groups of people here.
  • Group 1: goes through the entire list and selects the people they know and would like to be linked
  • Group 2: doesn't go through the list but just says what the hell and emails everyone
  • Group 3: clicks so quickly that they inadvertently requested everyone they have ever emailed
I get how these things happen but I am an ardent member of Group 1.

There are obviously many subsets of each of these groups but after getting repeated reminders about open invites I'm going to go on record about why I won't accept them but I have no explanation for why I won't reject them. I have three pending invites right now ...

One time classmate. Simple one. This is a well-meaning person but they just lack many social mannerisms that would make me comfortable ever sharing my network with them. Ever. Just because you are well-meaning doesn't mean you get to have crazy awkward social skills.

Bank Loan Officer at a Suburban Local Bank. I emailed with this guy a few times in Summer 2010 about some family stuff. I would love to understand why this guy thinks linking to me would be beneficial - especially since I have nothing nice to say about this guy. He completely mismanaged the process and while I wouldn't go so far as to call him "unprofessional" I would most certainly label him inept. I'm not sure how those two things are different really, but they are in some way.

Guy who gave me a quote on cleaning my apartment in Fall 2009. I'm a big fan of small business owners. I admire someone that can make a profit (or work towards it) and do it without the support of a larger entity. I am sure that this isn't a very PC thing to say, but why would I be linked with a guy who gave me a quote for cleaning my apartment - once. He didn't even clean the apartment because we couldn't even agree upon a price. Separately but also related, he was late to the appointment and never followed up after said appointment.

Perhaps its really impressive to some people to have the 500+ connections show up on their profile, but I can only think of a few people in my network that would actually be deserving of that. One of which is a previous B-school professor of mine who taught an e-commerce class in Spring 2009. This guy is a fearless networker and quite literally the reason that I have the job that I have.

I get the social aspirational side of LinkedIn. Try to be linked to people that can change your career, life, etc. Do whatever means is necessary to get connected to that recruiter / hiring manager that has your dream job in their inbox. But, isn't the point that you "link" to someone after you've had a credible interaction with someone? Sidenote: I find it terribly entertaining that the one and only Barack Obama is considered in my network"

So, in summary.
If we wouldn't talk in line to get coffee, I don't think we should be linked. But, if you'd like to get coffee that's a whole other story.

Check out these links for cool visualizations of the LinkedIn power: 
cool infographic
Another cool infographic
Visualize the big shots in your LinkedIn network

Goal: Geocaching! {Part 2}


Things that I love. Free thing. Fun things.

Geocaching ended up being both. A win win in my book.

This past weekend I went geocaching with little brother and ended up having a really great time exploring an area that is incredibly close to my house. I set my sight on one cache in the Whitney and Thayer Woods called "Bigelow Boulder". I really didn't do much advance research besides download the app to my Droid and find one potential cache.

Little Brother and I parked in the Trustees of Reservations parking lot and set out into the woods with my phone and one cookie to split. We ended up splitting the cookie less than 5 minutes into the expedition but that didn't hold us back from having a good time. I honestly have no idea how far we ended up walking during our two hours in the woods but we had a great time.

A few ways we brought technology into our nature / outdoors activity:

  1. the welcome sign (not center, just a sign) didn't have any maps left. so we took a picture on my Droid and used that when we felt we needed to gain some perspective of where we were in the reservation. super helpful.
  2. brought my small Canon Point and Shoot camera so we could run around a bit. since it also has a video function, I didn't have to bring my flipcam as well. win win.... which means we have video. you know how this family loves video.
  3. we "checked-in" to each of the geocaches on the website allows you to see how "active" the caches are and what other people have had to say about finding them. really helpful for newbies since we didn't want to try and find a cache that might not still be there.
  4. I added "Bigelow Boulder" to Foursquare. Since it was our first cache sighting... and lets face a really giant rock, I thought it was worth the add. Little brother is just about 5 feet tall now... so do the math. One big rock.

All in all we had a really great afternoon of adventure and managed to find two caches. The other one was at "Rooster Rock" which is shown more in the video. I didn't try to climb Rooster rock... nor did I try to climb Bigelow... but I did set my sights on a much smaller rock... and was still unsuccessful.

Below you can see some of the pictures that we took and the short video.
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