Thursday, December 22, 2011

last update before the holiday madness begins

We have been busy since not long after Thanksgiving. Busy, and I've been tired. Not that ten+ days without a post is a rare thing around here. Between work and getting ready for Christmas, there hasn't been much time.

I did really well this Christmas in terms of shopping. Really well considering I'm usually a day-before-Christmas marathon shopper. With work and an hour-long commute home at the end of the day, I realized there would definitely not be time for that. I wouldn't say I started early, but it's one step closer, so maybe next year I'll have most of it finished before December 1!

Speaking of December, I cannot believe tomorrow is the first day of winter and it's supposed to be 70 degrees here. This is ridiculous, and I hate it. Honestly, ever since I moved back from Boone, there have been several heavy sweaters I can't even wear because it just doesn't get that cold. I like the seasons, winter included, and I at least want to be able to comfortably wear a sweater and a cute scarf or something without burning up. Snow would be nice, too, but I realize the chances are slim.

The next item on my list of things to talk about is: Merry early Christmas to me, I have a Nook! I bought it yesterday. Just the Nook Simple Touch. I really like the Kindle Fire, but I don't want to feel like I'm staring at another computer screen after I've stared at one all day. I like that the basic e-readers look so much like book pages, and I'm kind of disappointed that the Fire, etc don't have an option to somehow switch display modes. Someone get on that.

I guess if I decide I want a tablet, I'll spring for an iPad. I got some funny looks from everyone some people (namely my husband) when I told them I wanted a Nook, because I'm not big into reading. But maybe now I will be? Seemed like good logic for purchasing one. Haha. In all seriousness, there are a lot of books I want to read, and this just makes them way more accessible. First on my list is (free, of course) Wuthering Heights. Don't ask me why, because I realize it's kind of random. I'm also excited to get into this whole library thing, I guess I need to get a library card so I can borrow via my Nook. Yay reading!

This weekend (and beginning of next week) is going to be a whirlwind of traveling and family get-togethers, and I'm excited to see everyone and spend a few days in the mountains. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!! I'll leave you with our we-didn't-send-out-Christmas-cards-so-I-posted-a-picture-on-facebook picture:

ps. our bow is red, not pink. (it kind of looks pink in this picture, doesn't it?)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What are three things that are on your Christmas wish list?
Minnetonka Slippers, a Kindle or a Nook (the basic, not the tablet), and that's about it.

2. What's your favorite Christmas song?
Do You Hear What I Hear?

3. Do you have a favorite band or singer that sings it especially awesome?
Not really...but Destiny's Child did a pretty good version of it. Haha

4. Have you heard about the website goodreads?
Yes, I'm on it...I like the idea, but I don't read that often.

5. What are three books you want to read?
I think I would like to try The Hunger Games series (I know, that's more than one book), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Help.

6. Do you hunt deer?
No. I know people who do, so I have eaten deer meat before and it's pretty good.

7. Have you started Christmas shopping? Are you completely finished?
I'm ahead of the game compared to most years, but "ahead of the game" for me means doing any shopping before December 20. I only have a couple things, so I've still got a ways to go.

8. Did you shop on Black Friday? What was the best deal you got?
I did! I've gone shopping during the day on Black Friday before, but this year I decided to try midnight shopping! I left for Concord Mills at about 11:45pm on Thursday night and arrived at about 12:10am on Friday. It was a madhouse! As big as Concord Mills is, I thought for sure it wouldn't be busting at the seams, but it was. As for the "deals," I was pretty disappointed. They didn't seem any different from the sales that happen most days in December. BUT - I have been looking for a pair of boots for a while now, and I didn't want to spend $50+ on them. I found a pair (the very last pair of these specific boots, I might add) that were regularly $59, had been marked down to $45 or something like that, but were on sale for Black Friday for $22!!! It was a fun experience, but I can't say I'll do it again.

9. What's one holiday tradition your family has?
On Christmas morning, we always read the story of Jesus' birth out of the Bible, and then we go around the room and each of us talks about what we are thankful for. We do this at both of my family get-togethers (mom's side and dad's side).

10. How many blogs do you read? Do you subscribe/unsubscribe often or do you purge every once in a while?
On a regular basis, I'd say there are 7-10 blogs I keep up with via google reader. As far as subscribing/unsubscribing goes, I guess I just purge every once in a while.

Questions found here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas continued: decking the halls!

Everyone else is posting pictures of their trees and Christmas decor, and I took pictures a week ago with the same here we are!

The perfect Christmas tree! This was a difficult choice for me, and major props to my husband for standing in Lowe's while I stared at pre-lit trees for an hour trying to make a decision. I grew up with real trees, so the switch to an artificial wasn't easy, but it made the most sense. The tree is pre-lit with clear lights, but I added multi-color strands. :) It being the first year I've had my very own tree to decorate, I cannot believe how expensive tree skirts are! Maybe it's just me, but I refuse to fork over $40 for a round piece of fabric that someone decorated. I bought the cheapest one I could find at Target...solid red, and it was either $15 or $20.

My stocking display...another "first" - first year without a fireplace! These shelves are a great replacement. On a side note, we have the most randomly placed thermostat.

And the elf & ornaments. Plenty of NC State candy canes and my little ASU snowman! My grandmother has an (very vintage) elf she puts up every year and has a few smaller elf ornaments. I love them, and happened to find one in a store. I just realized the ornament on the bottom left kind of resembles a grapefruit. The picture doesn't do it justice, though. It's beaded and sparkly, and I bought it when I visited the Biltmore in December a couple years ago.

I love Christmas decorations, and I may just leave mine up until March. Ok, not really, but I wish I could!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas music is my favorite!

Christmas music never gets old to me. I know, crazy. For someone who says every other song is "way too overplayed," I sure do have a high tolerance for holiday tunes played 24/7 over the course of two months (Light 102.9 starts on Nov. 1!). I think it's because I appreciate the variety. So many different interpretations of the same songs. How many times can one song be recycled? Every year there's something new.

I have an old favorite this year and a new favorite. My old favorite Christmas album (well, old as in 2006) is Wintersong from Sarah McLachlan. When it came out, I listened to it every night as I was going to sleep for like three weeks. That's pretty huge for me because I'm not a listen-to-the-tv-or-radio-when-trying-to-fall-asleep kind of person. One of my favorite songs is "River" (originally by Joni Mitchell), but I love the whole thing. Sarah McLachlan has a heavenly voice, and this is the perfect quiet/peaceful/soft Christmas album if you are looking for one.

My new favorite is the recent release from Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow. LOVE Kate Bush. I guess it doesn't really qualify as Christmas music...more like winter music. This album is completely slow-moving (in a good way), but the story each song tells keeps you waiting for the next note and lyric. Definitely the most haunting winter album I have ever heard. "Snowed in at Wheeler Street" (w/ Elton John), "Snowflake," and "Among Angels" are the three I'm loving right now. A snippet that sums the whole thing up for me:

they (the songs) contain wondrous multitudes thanks to the singer's still-expressive voice and knack for uncanny arrangements. And mood. There's an appealing creepiness that runs through this album...

I'm willing to admit the record is a little bizarre, but that's Kate Bush.

You can see a little pattern here, I guess. All creepiness and bizarreness aside, I prefer the Christmas (or winter) music I'm listening to to be as relaxing and/or quiet as I hope the holidays will be. Hah! What are you listening to this holiday season?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Well, second home. Boone and ASU definitely have a special place in my heart - I graduated from App, and so did my parents and grandparents. I grew up spending fall weekends in Boone for football games, and (obviously) I spent four crazy but wonderful years there.

My senior year of college, I was so blessed to become a part of a group of great friends, and every year we get together and rent a cabin for a fall weekend. I LOVE that we are continuing this tradition and it is something I look forward to every October (or November). We had a great weekend that involved King Street, Macado's, Dan'l Boone Inn, downtown Blowing Rock, and of course the game vs. Western Carolina (that I, admittedly, was quickly bored with).

There is just something amazing about Boone. I love that beauty is everywhere, and you don't have to look hard to find it. It's hard to be unhappy when the awesomeness of God's creation is so in your face. Sorry, I couldn't think of a more eloquent way to say that. I would move back in a heartbeat. And yes, I love snow. My husband hates snow and the cold, but we're going to work on that.

Speaking of snow, we saw a few snowflakes this past weekend! Somehow, that led me to the decision that it is not too early for Christmas decorations. With a few hours to spare on Sunday afternoon, Halloween was packed up and a few Christmas decorations were put out! I have a pretty good beginning collection, but it needs to be improved upon. This weekend I am (a) deep cleaning our apartment and (b) buying and putting up the Christmas tree! Hooray! I know some people think it's too early, and that's fine. I just decided it wasn't too early for me. Maybe, instead of a fake tree, I can convince Ross that another trip to Boone is necessary to get a real one...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What are your pantry staples?
Umm...haha. Right now, my pantry is an abyss. On my to-do list is inventory everything.

2. What are your refrigerator staples?
See above. Just kidding, my fridge isn't quite as bad. Orange juice, milk, Pepsi and cheese.

3. You already look like Heidi Klum (or your favorite supermodel). Now, what are the top three non-physical things you would change about yourself?
That's tough. And I mean that in a completely non-cocky way, it's just hard to pinpoint exactly what I would choose to change. I could stand to be more assertive, I wish I was more organized, and more motivated.

4. What's holding you back from your dream job? (If you already have your dream job, how did you get there?)
The short answer: money.
The long answer: Well, what I think would be my dream job (still a little uncertainty there) would involve more money and schooling. The tough part is that it's completely non-related to anything I've studied before. That would mean the schooling wouldn't be improving upon what I already have (i.e. getting a Masters degree), but starting completely over. And it isn't like law school, so in other words, it would basically be a completely new Bachelor's degree. Not to mention it would be in a field where I think there is a lot of uncertainty, and getting a job would be quite a feat (but that's almost every field right now, I suppose). It would probably also involve me not being able to work full-time while going back to school. Kind of a perfect storm for financial disaster. Just call me Debbie Downer.

5. You have $500 to spend but it has to be on one item only. Go.
If we are speaking in terms of frivolity, I'd say a new Kate Spade bag. Reality - my car is in need of some body work, so I'd probably do that.

6. What is something you are embarrassed to admit you buy on a regular basis?
Starbucks. The item isn't embarrassing - but I'm embarrassed to admit that my habit has become out of control lately. Like seriously, I don't even want to know how much I spent on coffee the past month. My excuse is that I can't get coffee I make at home to taste right.

7. What's in/on your bed every night?
Pillows, sheets, blanket, and my super soft green blanket that I got from Target.

8. What is a non-necessity item that, no matter how expensive it gets or how tight your budget is, you will always find room for?
Nail polish. I've always found it to be a good way to buy something new and fun even if you are having to clamp down on the rest of your spending.

9. What is the weirdest sandwich you've ever made?
I haven't, really. But my husband always eats cheetos ON his sandwiches (like if he has a turkey and cheese sandwich or something). I think that's pretty weird.

10. Would you rather: Be banned from Pinterest forever, but gain a million captive Twitter followers; or, never get on Facebook again but gain five thousand blog readers?
Tough question. I think I would go with the Pinterest scenario. Of all those things, Pinterest is what I use the least. I don't really care about Twitter, but I think I'd rather keep Facebook and live with the fact that probably only 5 people read my blog. :)

Questions found here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What's your favorite television show for each day of the week?
Monday: The Sing-Off, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune ...and that's about all the tv I watch. I've been falling behind lately on Sister Wives (Sunday nights).

2. How many times do you wear your jeans before you wash them?
Twice...maybe three times. I've noticed the tags on a couple pair of jeans I recently bought even say, "wash me as little as possible."

3. What is your favorite pasta shape?
I don't have a favorite. I love all pasta equally!

4. Do you read newspapers?
I read them online...haha.

5. Do you sleep in socks?
Usually I do in the winter. Just depends on how cold I am, but my feet tend to stay freezing most the time. I have some of those slippers that are made to look like Uggs, and I actually get so cold that I sleep in them sometimes.

6. Favorite genre of movies?
Romantic comedies, duh!

7. How do you feel about wrestling?
Eh...I don't like it. I guess I can understand it as a competitive sport in high school or college. But I have no desire whatsoever to watch it, and I definitely don't like any kind of pro wrestling.

8. Should men pluck their eyebrows?
If they need to, then yes!

9. Do you have dimples?
I do not.

10. Do you like to camp?
LOVE it, but I rarely get to go. We went camping as a family a lot when I was growing up. But I had my first "rustic" camping experience a few years ago. Rustic as in - not at a campground, but at some random spot 45 minutes off a dirt road in the mountains of Tennessee, no running water or restrooms, no one else nearby. That was really a lot of fun. I don't think I strike a lot of people as someone who would enjoy camping, but I definitely do. There's something about no electricity, sleeping in the woods, sitting by a fire all day and doing nothing that's just wonderful.

Questions from Roots and Rings.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

end-of-the-week hodgepodge: movies & money

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween weekend/Monday! I have zero to report from Halloween, since Ross and I spent the weekend hanging out at home. :) This is the first year in quite a while that we didn't dress up and go out, but a weekend of rest is definitely what we needed. Well, a weekend of rest and switching out summer and fall clothes for me. That was a chore, and I'm still not quite finished yet. I really don't mind doing it though, because I forget what I have and then I'm like "I forgot I had that it!"

Aside from swapping out clothes, I also spent the weekend watching all the Halloween movies on ABC Family. Saw Coraline for the first time and was thoroughly freaked out. What a weird flick. But then it came on again, and I loved it after watching it a second time. Same with The Corpse Bride (except I loved it after watching it the first time).

We saw Puss in Boots as well. Very cute. It got great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and someone even said it was funnier than Shrek. I wouldn't go that far, but I'd say it's worth seeing if you like Shrek-ish movies. Had no idea Zach Galifianakis was in it either, so that was an added bonus.

On a completely different subject, in my quest to be more organized lately (I haven't gotten too far with that), I've also been thinking about getting organized financially. I will be the first to admit that personal money management is not my strong point, nor has it ever been. Marriage has forced me to be a little better about finances only because I know that my decisions affect someone else now. So this is mostly a question to you all. What are your tips on money management? What budgeting programs (if any) do you use? What have you found to work and not work? I've tried using, but it was too elaborate for me. I just need something simple where I can keep track of everything, and see when I'm spending too much in one area, etc.

Not that this post needs anymore randomness, but I want to end with a couple links:

Clean Mama - I stumbled upon this blog somehow and found "31 days to a cleaning routine" (and free printables to go with it). She also has an etsy store for all her additional cleaning/organizing printables which look awesome. AND, there is currently a giveaway going on for two of her starter kits! *crosses fingers*

Best Case Scenario Me - Something I really enjoyed reading. Featured on, written by Sarah Von from Yes & Yes

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh, how pinteresting!

Trying something new and fun today...a collection of some of my favorite pins from the week:


Kate Spade knightsbridge debra agenda. Loooove this - and love the color! If only I had $225 to spend on a planner...early Christmas present to myself, perhaps?

Sparkle in a sophisticated-not-sixth-grade way. Although I'm not gonna lie, I love all things sparkly, so you will still probably catch me wearing all out glitter nail polish from time to time.

Source: via Aubrey on Pinterest

This is another LOVE. I have honestly spent time browsing looking for ballet flats that actually resemble real ballet flats. Why? Because I like the look. These fit the bill perfectly.

Golden Snitch ornament (Harry Potter)! Not sure what the wings are made of, but it looks super easy to make.

Practical pin of the week! I have not tried this yet - but it's on my to-do list. It looks like the plastic bag monster vomited all under my sink in my kitchen, and plastic bags are just stuffed wherever they will fit. What a clean and neat way to store them, assuming that it does actually work.

And that's it. Happy pinning!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On being a homebody.

Before starting this, I pulled out the trusty ol' and looked up "homebody." The definition is this: one whose life centers on home. That's a really good definition, in my opinion. I actually expected to see something more along the lines of "introvert who has no life." I guess I just think that is what everybody else thinks.

Although the two aren't really connected, what started me on this topic was when I realized that this blog is picture-less (I'm not counting the pictures of random things and wish list items, etc.). The obvious explanation for this is that I'm not a picture taker. I wish I was, but I'm not.

But that led me to my next point - I don't do much. And I'm lucky to have a husband who loves being home just as much as I do. Maybe I'm normal in that I spend 40 hours a week at work, and can't find time to do much more than just hang out on the weekends. But I have always, even in my teenage years, "not done much," and I enjoy it. "Not doing much" isn't really an accurate way to describe it, though. There is still a lot I don't know about myself, and things I'm still figuring out. One thing I do know is that I have always loved home. There is absolutely nothing I love more than to be at home with my family, or spending an hour (or several) chatting with a good friend. Those times are especially precious now, when it seems like no one knows how to press the slow down button (or does that even exist). Spending time with the people I care about is something I never get tired of, and something that I will never not have time for. Not sure how many of you listen to Sara Groves, but her song "Every Minute" might be a perfect description of what I'm trying to convey. You can listen to it, too. :)

I am long on staying, I am slow to leave
especially when it comes to you, my friend
You have taught me to slow down, and to prop up my feet
It's the fine art of being who I am
And I can't figure out why you want me around
I'm not the smartest person I have ever met
But somehow that doesn't matter
No, it never really mattered to you at all

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment, and every minute that you'll give me

And I can think of a time when families all lived together,
four generations in one house
And the table was full of good food, and friends and neighbors
That's not how we like it now
Cause if you sit at home, you're a loser
Couldn't you find anything better to do
Well no, I couldn't think of one thing I would rather waste my time on
than sitting here with you

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment, and every minute that you'll give me

And I wish all the people I love the most could gather in one place
and know each other, and love each other well
And I wish we could all go camping and lay beneath the stars, 
and have nothing to do and stories to tell
And we'd sit around the campfire
and we'd make each other laugh, remembering when
And you're the first one I'm inviting, always know that you're invited, my friend

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment, and every minute that you'll give me

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

things to be excited about.

I feel like all my posts revolve around lists, but that's ok I guess.

Leather Baggus

I'm pretty stoked about this. Well, let's say 50% stoked, 50% not sure what to think. I absolutely love regular Baggus - nylon reusable shopping bags that come in all the happy, neon, and fun colors you could ever want. And I've thought before that they should come out with something a little more purse-like. Not to say that you couldn't use their nylon bags for that, but you know. Here is the answer, I suppose. Part of the appeal of Baggus is that they are effortlessly cute. Mostly because of the colors, but also because of the simplicity. And I think I love this. The ultimate question simplicity (even the 100% leather kind), worth $130.00?

New Blood

The new album from Peter Gabriel (orchestral remakes of older songs). Not many songs give me goosebumps these days, but every song (especially "In Your Eyes") off this album does. Some people might get tired of artists reinventing things all the time, but I love it. If songs are so good that they can be reinvented multiple times and be amazing in different ways, then why not?

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops
Found at Real Mom Kitchen

No picture, but this recipe turned out great! I love it when recipes turn out well. :) This was super easy, and the flavor was really good. The recipe called for one can of cream of chicken soup, and one packet of ranch seasoning, but next time I'm going to do two of each. I also made mashed potatoes for the first time, and they turned out pretty well. Kind of bland, and I think everyone has their own take on the perfect mashed potatoes, so I'm open to input. On days like this (I was off work), I say to my husband: "See, don't you like me better when I don't have to work??" Seriously.

Some Additional New Music 
Obviously. Aside from Peter Gabriel, I have a new playlist this week. Hooray! Tracks include:
1. "If I Had a Gun" -Noel Gallagher.
My math goes a little something like this: Noel Gallagher - Liam Gallagher still = Oasis.
2. "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)" -The White Stripes
Not sure how I missed this one until now. Thank you, satellite radio.
If you haven't listened to this song, do it now.
4. "Mistakes" -Mates of State
We've been through this already.
5. "Mother" -Pink Floyd
I've become a little re-obsessed with this one after listening to Pearl Jam's cover.

KitchenAid Retweeted Me
Yes folks, you read that right. Do you even care? Probably not. But I'm kind of a big deal. You can view said tweet here. They didn't respond to my follow-up tweet regarding the free mixer I get for giving them such great advertising. #lame

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

a wish list, and more Kassidy

I don't keep a physical wish list, but my mental list has been getting pretty long lately. Turns out marriage means way more bills. More bills, and a lot less money to burn (as if "burning it" was a wise choice before). So, my list of things-I-can't-buy-now is a whole lot longer than it used to be. I'm pretty sure a lot of the funds are sitting in my closet, and somewhere on my to-do list is figure out ebay so I can sell all the junk (re: purses I don't carry anymore) and make room for the new!

1. Riding boots. (Am I the only one who calls them that?) This hasn't been a money issue as much as it has been a picky issue. I am VERY picky about riding boots. Certain heels I like, certain ones I don't, I don't want them to look like cowboy boots, but I don't want them to look too military, I don't want too many buckles, but I don't want them to be plain. I'll admit, it's all getting a bit ridiculous and eventually I will just have to settle.

2. A new black purse. I need a solid black purse. One smaller than my Longchamp. Again, this has been somewhat of an I-can't-decide problem. I want it to be casual but dressy if I need it to be. I can't spend $400, but I don't want it to look cheap.

3. A piano. Haha, I know, WHOA where did that come from. A couple years ago, I started piano lessons because it's something I want to do, and I need a hobby. For various reasons, it didn't work out, but I want to try it again. I would love to have a nice digital piano. Actually, I would prefer a real one, but space is a small issue considering we live in an apartment.

4. A pair of Birkenstocks. Just call me Julie Patchouli, but they might be some of THE most comfortable shoes on the planet earth. I've been through two pairs already, and I need new ones. Yes, I said *need.* I can't wear my ever-so-stylish Danskos everyday of the fall and winter, ok??

5. Ballet flats. ACTUAL ballet flats. I think they are super cute, and this confirms my suspicion that I'm not the only one who wants to wear them in public.

Is all that too much to ask for? I think not.

On a completely random note, we all know I love a good cover song, and I'd love to know what you think about this:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

wine and crazy thoughts I probably shouldn't be blogging about

This post...I'm not really sure where I'm going with it. But it's something that might be a little interesting, so here we go.

Sister Wives. You're probably already laughing. I LOVE the show, and have absolutely no idea why. I guess I've always found people interesting. Who they associate with, why they behave the way they do, different cultures, etc. My minor in college was Sociology, and I would've majored in it if my advisor hadn't told me it was a waste of time. That's another story.

One of the first places that forced me to semi-seriously contemplate the subject of polygamy was in class for a Human Rights course I took at App. I think what we discussed could be summed up with this: is it wrong for us to pull people out of their norms, because their "norm" isn't the same as ours? And who defines norms? Something to that extent. It's been four+ years, so that's a sloppy recollection. It really does ring true, though. I do want to make it clear that I draw a line somewhere - this is all in regards to consenting adults. In no way, shape or form do I think forced marriage, sex, etc involving minors is acceptable. That's my personal conviction anyway.

My conclusion here is that I have no problem with polygamists. And I've gotten some shocked looks from people when it comes up (I know you're probably wondering how often does that randomly come up in conversation?). I originally thought that Kody (the husband on Sister Wives) was a self-centered jerk who manipulated four women into worshipping him, but I've changed my tone after watching multiple episodes. I'm going to take it a step beyond that. I can see a few pros to their situation. They have a major support system, and God knows it isn't easy being a wife and mom these days (I speak from experience only regarding the former half of that statement). I'm not going to sign up for the show anytime soon (hah!), but In simple terms, they aren't hurting me or affecting how I live my life. And I'm gonna be honest, I think they value family and marriage way more than a lot of monogamous families do. I do laugh when the jealousy issues arise on Sister Wives, when you're married to someone who you know is sleeping on a regular basis with three other women, that MIGHT be an issue. But also, I'm not here to tell people what they can and cannot do, right? This spills over into a lot of issues. Gay marriage, even. Maybe it boils down to my take on government, and that they should in no way, shape or form be dictating who an adult can or can't "marry." Who defines marriage, anyway? I think marriage is VERY important. But at the same time, a piece of paper defines your lifetime commitment to another person?

And this is what happens when I drink half a bottle of wine and watch Sister Wives on a Sunday night. I welcome your thoughts!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween!

So glad fall is here! Well, it's sort of here. Not a fan of this 40 degree morning/80 degree afternoon thing. Weather wise, those are my LEAST favorite times of the year (when the weather can't make up its mind). Either way, Halloween is my second favorite holiday, so I'm definitely excited about that. Here are some of my favorite fall things!

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I know, I'm one of the bajillion people who talk about this when fall comes around, but it truly is fall in a cup. I would also recommend the Salted Caramel Mocha (but maybe in latte form - the mocha flavoring was a little too much for me).

More of an excuse to watch one of my favorite movies: Hocus Pocus! Finally bought it at Best Buy the other day. The cashier said, "I used to love this movie!" And I was, I still do. Speaking of Halloween movies, can't wait til ABC Family's 13 nights of Halloween...The Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and CASPER! My kind of "horror" flicks. :) AND more of an excuse to watch Young Frankenstein and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (both of which I have on DVD). The Addams Family musical is actually coming to Charlotte this month, and I think I'd like to see it. I wonder if it's any good.

Fall candles. This is my latest favorite - Woodwick Glazed Pumpkin. Combination between cookies and pumpkins. It smells soooo good. And of course makes that fun crackling noise.

Oh, and while I'm talking Halloween movies - does anyone remember watching this? As a child, it was one of my favorite things to watch on Halloween. I watched it on The Disney Channel every year. There are listings on ebay for it, but they are mostly 25 year old VHS copies that go for around $80.00. I so wish Disney would release it on DVD...maybe someday!

Aside from those things, I LOVE decorating for Halloween, and I also hope to make some pumpkin cupcakes before the season ends. Not sure if Ross and I will do anything costume-related this year, but I'm hoping we'll have some trick-or-treaters at our apartment. There seem to be a lot of younger families/children where we live, so I'm assuming we will. Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

recent [music] obsessions

Mates of State :: Mountaintops

Cannot. stop. listening. And yes that warranted three periods. Mates of State is an acquired taste, for sure (consisting primarily of drums and an organ), but they seriously never disappoint. I've been listening to them for a while now, and I love their music and story (husband and wife duo, they quit their day jobs, and now record and tour with their toddlers in tow). The organ is something I specifically love about Mates of State because it's unique, but also because it gives their sound a depth that you wouldn't expect. The vocal blend and harmonies that they pull off is something else I love. I assume that comes easier to spouses in the same way it comes easy to siblings who sing together, etc. Also, if I want to be in a good mood, I put on MOS. Conversely, that doesn't mean that all their music is happy, because it isn't necessarily. I've read a couple reviews that dub MOS almost too sugary to stand, but I disagree. I am the queen of being attracted to depressing music (Tori Amos is my favorite artist of all time, if that doesn't say enough), and I love them. So there. One of the few artists who I can bank on buying their new album on iTunes the day it's released without even giving a listen because I know I'll love it. "Palomino," and "Mistakes" are two of my current favorites form this one.

Sarah Jaffe :: The Way Sound Leaves a Room

One of the many artists I've discovered as a result of having satellite radio. My first favorite of her's was "Clementine"...I wore that song out and still love it. This new EP is amazing. Highly recommend the songs, "The Way Sound Leaves a Room," "When You Rest," and her cover of Drake's "Shut It Down." but I am loving the whole thing. Here's a good review if you're interested. Yay for new music from artists I love!


Very new to me...but I am loving them so far. Heard their song "I Don't Know" on the radio and loved it, then spent thirty minutes thinking I had mistaken their name since they were nowhere to be found on iTunes...then realized it's because they aren't. LAME. They were described on the radio as "Britain's version of Kings of Leon"...which, from what I've heard, is about on point. Maybe a cross between Mumford and Sons, Kings of Leon, and The Avett Brothers? Like I said, they are totally new to me, but if I'm right about that, that's a pretty awesome combination. They're from Scotland...which I also think is awesome (for no real reason). The song I mentioned ("I Don't Know") is pretty much my favorite song right now and it is catchy as hell. I hope we hear more from them soon...and the U.S. iTunes store needs to get on that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday on Thursday

The 'Would You Rather' Edition

1. eat chocolate covered grasshoppers or this freaky squid thing?
Oh dear Lord. I almost puked just watching that youtube video, for reals. Grashoppers, please!

2. never see another movie or never watch TV again?
I could live without tv. I don't follow shows too closely (with the exception of America's Got Talent this year and The Sing-Off).

3. be a superhero with a lame power or a supervillain with an awesome power?
Well it wouldn't be awesome if you couldn't use it for good, now would it? I'll take superhero with a lame power.

4. eat only salty snacks for the rest of your life, or only sweet snacks?
Salty. I like sweet every now and then, but not all the time. I could eat salty all the time.

5. never read another book or never hear another song?
Definitely never read another book. I enjoy reading from time to time, but I pretty much couldn't live without music.

6. be a whale carcass remover or a sewer inspector?
I'm gonna go with whale carcass remover on that one. I think I could handle a dead animal before I could handle sewage.

7.have no electricity or no running water?
I think I could live without electricity. In fact, sometimes, I think it would be kind of nice.

8. be a dog or a cat?
Probably a cat. They get to be lazier and don't have to go on walks. Haha.

9. always be hot or always be cold?
That's tough. I guess I'd say hot...I LIKE cold weather, but when I'm bundled up. So I wouldn't want to actually be cold. Hot is miserable, too, though. I'm going with hot.

10. be forced to watch all three High School Musicals on an endless loop, or the Twilight movies?
I think both would suck, but I did at least like the Twilight I could stand that.

Questions found here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

End of the week updates, and some 90's music.

Hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend! I had a great one. First NC State game of the year, saw Ross's family and some of mine, and spent all day Monday cleaning *gasp*. And I mean seriously cleaning. Go me! I swear though, weeks that start on Tuesday feel longer than regular ones to me. Not sure why. At this point I'm working four days a week all the time, so it shouldn't be an issue. It's like even though you didn't have to deal with Monday, it isn't letting you get away with having an easier week. File that under things-I-have-no-right-to-complain-about. I know, I'm kind of heading towards late night/tired crazy rambling at this point.

So, we all know I have a small obsession with music before my time (or before my time-ish). Basically, all things 80's and 90's. Lately it's definitely been the 90's, though. One of the bands that would top my list as a 90's favorite AND an all-time favorite would be The Cranberries. I have always loved Dolores O'Riordan, specifically her completely unique voice coupled with that distinct Irish accent. One of my favorite things about their songs is the intricate two-part harmonies in every song (all Dolores). I have bits and pieces of different albums in my iTunes collection, but I've read elsewhere that No Need to Argue is one of those rare albums that you can always pick up and listen to all the way through and love it. I haven't done that, per se, but I can vouch for most the songs. From here, the only place to go is a list. A list of semi-lesser known songs I think you should listen to if you are remotely interested in The Cranberries.

1. No Need to Argue - Love. this. song. One of the saddest relationship-themed songs I have ever heard in my life. So bare and honest. Dolores O'Riordan's vocals+an organ=amazing. Worth sharing lyrics.
And I remember all the things we once shared, watching tv movies on the living room armchair, but they say it'll work out fine, was it all a waste of time, cause I knew, I knew I'd lose you.

2. Liar - Featured on the soundtrack for Empire Records

3. Twenty One - One of the few songs off No Need to Argue that I hadn't listened to until recently...currently a favorite.

4. Sunday - I actually owned Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We? on tape at some point, and remember rewinding and rewinding so I could listen to this song repeatedly in the car.

5. Free To Decide - from To the Faithful Departed, one of their albums that I'm not so familiar with.

Just a few suggestions. "Linger" holds a special place in my heart, because at the height of my guitar-playing career, I could play that song. yessss. Well, happy Friday, and go enjoy some good 90's music.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pinterest Recipe Rundowns

Pinterest, of course, is one of my new favorite things. So many great ideas, visuals, and RECIPES! I got into Pinterest right around the same time I got married, and considering I did zero cooking before now, there is no shortage of recipes on my to-try list. As good as the pictures always make the food look...they haven't all worked out for me. On a little bit of a tangent, I've also noticed that the word "easy" is thrown around waaaay too much. And as someone on facebook clarified for me, "easy [when it comes to food] is takeout."

Back to Pinterest. Here are a few recipes I've tried, and I thought I'd give you a little bit of insight as to how they turned out. Maybe this will be helpful, or you'll get a good laugh out of my attempts at cooking. Click on the image to go to the recipe.

Recipe #1: Creamy Shrimp & Mushroom Pasta

This was...meh. It actually turned out great, and it wasn't TOO complicated to make. Problem: recipe called for 10 tablespoons of butter. The author even noted that she realized that was a ton, but that it didn't taste nearly as good without all ten tablespoons. So, I've never cooked before in my life, I listened to her! Turns out that is WAY too much butter. It was so rich, Ross and I struggled to take more than a couple bites. We love pasta, we love shrimp and mushrooms. But not ten tablespoons of butter. I might go back and try it with less. If it supposedly doesn't taste the same, then I'm wondering if there is an in-between?

Recipe #2: Easy Enchiladas

Easy? Very. Delicious? Yes. And typically, I don't care for enchiladas. Again with the over-doing-it-on-an-ingredient, though. I put almost an entire 16 oz of shredded cheddar cheese on top of these before baking. Too much cheese (not something you'll hear me say often). I guess I'll just cut back next time. But these were very tasty and so so easy. Winner!

Recipe #3: Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This recipe and I didn't get along too well. My first mistake was starting the process at 6:30pm. Actually, everything went well until the lasagna noodles came into the picture. I cooked them, and then the recipe said to "make sure they were dry." What, exactly, does that mean? Of course I drained them after cooking...but that still leaves them a little soggy, right? So I let them sit in the strainer for a few minutes. Then they were all stuck together. Not sure how this happened, unless they weren't quite cooked well enough. Rookie mistake, I'm sure, but I was a little irritated. We tried to soak the noodles in hot water again and slowly pull them apart. We ended up with six noodles (three of them double-layered) instead of the nine we were supposed to have, but that was ok. It actually turned out pretty well. Ross and I both decided we were not a big fan of the spinach. It's healthy, so that should have been a no-brainer. Final thought: the word "lasagna" is in the name, so why not just make lasagna like normal and not fool with rolling stuff up? Either way, if you like spinach, this might be worth giving a try.

I have many more recipes on my there will definitely be more of this to come! Yay for cooking!*

*Trying to convince myself that I actually enjoy this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vanessa Carlton: she's finally there

Are the echoes coming back to you, is wisdom seeing patterns on a loop, like a blanket around'll figure it out, and get good again...
-Vanessa Carlton, "Get Good"

Self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe? I am loving her new album, Rabbits on the Run (released July 26, 2011). All along, I've had faith in this one. Maybe because I'm big on the girl+piano thing. I can even remember back when I first heard "A Thousand Miles" and then saw the music video with Carlton seated at the piano. During a time when my choice of singers of the Tori Amos variety were few and far between (they still are), Vanessa Carlton was a tiny bit of fresh air. Unfortunately, she was plagued for a while by the whole Mandy Moore syndrome. Ew. Over-produced, overly-pop crap. But finally, she has risen above all that.

The first track I heard was "I Don't Want to Be a Bride," which was the first indication to me of something a little not-so-mainstream and perhaps a little bit of realness. It's still my favorite track off the album. I think it's audibly noticeable that the gap in time between her last album and Rabbits on the Run was the difference of four years. Vocally for her and lyrically. This is finally the depth I was looking for from someone who I thought had the potential. It all comes together. Other favorites include "Fairweather Friend," "Get Good," and "London." From someone else who can say it better than I can:

"Rabbits on the Run is a deeply satisfying 37-minute romp that will make you remember why you really liked Vanessa Carlton once upon a time. And don’t lie. You did. A lot of people will say this is Carlton’s best album since Be Not Nobody, but I say this is her best album ever."
-Adam Finley (perfect review - read more here)

Also, if you're interested in a little more background on the album, this video is definitely worth watching:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

so much to do, so little weekend

To be honest, this isn't entirely the case anymore. Yes, I cut back to a four-day work week, but the fifth day is reserved for job hunting. This summer, there have been SO many things I've wanted to do on the weekends. The good news is there have been lots of get-togethers and weekends spent out of town. The bad news is that means I've had zero time to do anything normal. Normal as in - go to the local farmer's market., or visit the Goodwills and thrift stores in my area (I've heard they are good). This weekend, we have absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go, so I plan to do both! #superexcited

Speaking of things to do, our apartment got a random semi-deep cleaning the other night at around 10:00pm because we had company coming (psh, why else would you clean?). I had been putting it off for a while thinking that (and I debated admitting to this) I was going to pay someone to clean our apartment. Yes, you heard that right. Child-free couple in their mid-twenties, with no real responsibilities outside of work, paying to have their two bedroom apartment cleaned. I said "couple" in that sentence, but it was really me pushing for this. In my defense, there's the whole I-have-to-drive-an-hour-to-and-from-work-every-day thing. Still, I'm willing to admit that's not a really good excuse. Which brings me to this point - I HATE TO CLEAN.

I chalk it up to perfectionism. My honest thought process when I start to clean is this: "I'm not mopping this floor correctly. WHY won't this dirt come off??? In order to do it right, I'd need to get on my hands and knees and scrub every last inch with a toothbrush. Wait, every last inch?! I don't have time for that! I spend ten hours a day at work and in my car! Now I just wasted thirty minutes and it still looks like crap! I hate this!" *runs off to bedroom sobbing* (<--not really, that was just for dramatic effect) I feel like I don't know how to clean, and I feel like I'm not good at it, and it's all a little discouraging.

In my search for people who sympathized with my views on cleaning, I stumbled upon I like what I've seen so far, and I plan on following the "Beginner BabySteps" program to a new cleaning routine...and just routine in general. I'm not very good at keeping them, but I know I feel better when I have one. Less stress, for one thing. I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

In other news, an EarthFare opened up right across the street from me this week! Anyone shop there on a regular basis? I've only been in one a couple times before (the one in Boone). I know it's on the pricey side, but I definitely want to try shopping for a few things there. It's been waaaaay to crowded to visit so far, so I'm waiting until it dies down a bit. Perhaps I'll add that to my list of things to do this weekend! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Exciting Weekend Adventures

For the first time in quite a while, I have an exciting weekend to report on! Four of my close friends from college came to Charlotte for a visit (two of us already live in the area, plus my husband), and a good time was had by all. We started the weekend with dinner at Killington's (a Huntersville favorite of mine & Ross's), hung out for a short while, and then went to bed early-ish.

The next day was spent at the U.S. National Whitewater Center! So much fun. I hate that I haven't taken advantage of it before now, considering it's only about 20 minutes away from where I live. We definitely got the most out of our time there - whitewater rafting, flat water kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing. It's pretty expensive for the all-inclusive pass ($49 per person), but otherwise I think it's free to get in if you just want to walk around. You can also pay individually for some of the activities, i.e. $15 for kayaking. Something else I enjoyed was the atmosphere, minus all the screaming kids running around everywhere. In the main area (where the rafting, climbing and zip lining is), you are almost always within walking distance of a bar with a decent beer selection, and you can tell a lot of people come out just to watch everyone else and enjoy a day outside. It turns out they even have a weekly Whitewater River Jam featuring different bands each week, admission is free, and of course this involves good beer and sitting out by the "river" (where the rafting takes place).

Speaking of the rafting, it was a lot of fun, but not as exciting as I had hoped. But really, you can only expect so much excitement when it's all man-made. Everyone goes around the same loop, so the guides have to tweak things in order to make the "difficulty" level higher. In other words, there's not a lot you CAN do to make the difficulty level higher. We chose the middle level. The highest level involves a smaller raft and a swim test since you spend more time in the water, so we opted not to do that.

Now, on to my little mountain biking adventure. I'll admit, I have not exercised on a regular basis in probably two+ years. Making the decision to mountain bike 3.5 miles was not one of the smarter things I've ever done. Their website describes the green trail (the one we took) as "beginner/easy, mostly flat trails." Either we got lost and ended up on a different trail, or my understanding of the words "beginner" and "flat" is way off. I thought I was going to die, but I survived. As we got towards the end, I had to walk the bike on the level ground as well as on inclines. I have to admit though, it felt nice to have pushed myself that hard for the first time in a while.

Sidenote: And now, I really want to buy a bike - something I had actually thought a lot about before my experience at USNWC. There's a Trek store about ten minutes from my apartment, but we're talking a price range that starts at around $600. I guess I have a lot of saving to do. I want a hybrid bike of some sort, one that can be used on the road around town but also on trails. Maybe the perfect one will pop up on craigslist or ebay. *crosses fingers*

After all that physical/outdoor activity, we ended the day at The Melting Pot! Charlotte Restaurant Week is here, so it was the perfect, and cheapest, time to go. :) Our original plan was to go to Chima (Brazilian steakhouse) but calling one week in advance wasn't enough to secure a Saturday night reservation. Maybe next year. Sunday was spent recovering. I wish I had pictures of all this, but unfortunately, I do not. Either way, it was a fantastic weekend, and I especially give the Whitewater Center two thumbs up!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

more thoughts on cooking, and a summer list

Well, today was FUN. Except not. I suppose this is going to lean towards a "whiny" post, but just bear with me. I try to avoid them, but sometimes I can't help it. As I mentioned earlier, I'm married now (woo!), but along with that came a new hour-long commute to work (and then one hour home). I. hate. it. The sky opened up on me twice coming home today (I'm talking everyone was driving 40 mph down the interstate), I was already drenched from running out to the car, had a mini-panic attack after almost hydroplaning like five times, and that's all I've got.

Speaking of the long drive, I'm now one of "those wives." The ones that are like "but I'm too tired to cook tonight." And we've only been married for a month!!!! This is not good. But I've at least learned something about myself. I fall apart without a plan. If I don't have a planned out list of meals for the week (along with the ingredients in my cabinet already), it ain't happening. You can just go ahead and pre-order all your takeout for the next five days because that's what's for dinner. I know, this can also be remedied by having a few easy stand-by meals, I just have to figure out what those are.

For all that cooking I don't have time for, I finally invested in a sort-of food processor! I originally planned on just going for the big one and getting a 12 cup food processor, but I opted for the 4 cup mini-prep food processor instead. I just re-read a few reviews on each, and I'm kind of second guessing myself now. Most people said I didn't need the big KitchenAid, in fact, most said they didn't even have a food processor. The primary reason I'm buying one is chopping, and slicing. I want to be able to put half a potato in and it come out chopped. The manual for my mini food processor said I had to cut onions into "1/2 inch pieces" before putting it in the chopper. Wtf is the purpose in even using it at that point? I might as well chop them up one more time and get the size I want. I mean, seriously. Opinions, anyone?? Recommendations for a good chopper? I know I'm kind of contradicting myself, since I just said I don't have time to cook, but I think the food processor might lead to more cooking since it (the KitchenAid) can do so much. Or maybe I just like the finer things in life, like $200 KitchenAid 12-cup food processors.

In other news, I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by. The month of July is going to be super busy, but in a good way. I think one weekend will involve a visit to the US National Whitewater Center - should be awesome.

List of other things to do/start/finish this summer:
• Finish reading Love the One You're With. Started reading on our honeymoon, haven't picked it back up since (but I was really enjoying it).
• Start some kind of daily workout routine. Thinking about trying out the Purre Barre dvd's. There's a studio in Charlotte, but the classes are way too, there's the whole being-around-other-people thing.
• Eat healthier. I downloaded a calorie tracker app on my Droid, but so far, it hasn't been motivating.
• Go to bed earlier, as I sit here typing at 11pm. Seriously, one week I'm just going to take the plunge and start making myself get in bed at 8:30pm. Yes, I said 8:30. The drive to and from work wears me out, so I need to be compensating.
• Come up with a very set daily cleaning routine (different tasks on different days), so I'm not waking up on Saturday morning and dreading doing it all in one day.

That's all. Actually, it isn't, but the list would get a whole lot longer if I kept going. Really, the list is more of a start-at-some-point-eventually kind of list, but preferably before the summer ends. We'll see.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

the married life!

There's definitely a whole lot of "new" in my life right now. New husband (well, first and only husband), new town, new apartment, new hour-long drive to and from work every day. Other than the last item on that list (which sucks as bad as it sounds), I am loving it all! The past couple months have been a whirlwind, and it's finally settling down a bit.

Post-wedding thoughts:
The first three months or so after being engaged, I was seriously considering eloping. I still think it is a great idea, and I don't think I would have regretted going that route. With that being said, having so many people I love and care about in the same place was so wonderful - all the planning, time, money and stress was worth it ten times over. So I guess where I'm going with this is do whatever you feel like doing. We would have come out just as happy and as married as we are now if we had eloped, but we chose the big wedding. I say do whatever makes you happiest. Not sure our wedding day could have gone more smoothly, and I am definitely thankful for that!

On another topic, cooking has been a fun new adventure for us. And when I say "new," I really mean it. Living at home with busy families meant that Ross and I spent most our time eating out before we were married...and I'm gonna be honest, cooking has never really been my forte, although I haven't tried much. I am really excited about trying new things though, especially with all the new cooking gadgets and makers and cookers etc that were given to us. I'm very proud of the first thing we made, Mushroom Turnovers. I know, definitely not anything to brag about as they are really simple...but trust me, it was a big step for someone who hasn't really done much more than heat up frozen pizza before. They turned out really great, and I'm sure we'll eat them again! And when I refer to "we" as in "we cooked them," my husband and I have cooked everything together so far. It's fun, but is also probably a good move on his part to ensure the safety of ourselves and everyone in our apartment complex. Saturday morning consisted of a not-so-successful attempt at making breakfast. Our mistakes were cooking the eggs first (which meant they were cold when we ate them, of course), and also burning the bacon, and subsequently setting off the fire alarm. If you ever thought breakfast was too easy to screw up, you thought wrong.

Luckily, since we are now living right outside of Charlotte, there are plenty of restaurants around in case the whole cooking thing doesn't work out. :) I haven't really been able to enjoy living in a new town since ten hours of my day are spent at work and driving there and back. Ready to get out of that situation asap.

I plan on posting a few pictures of our wedding and honeymoon (spent in Nassau - we had a blast) soon, and maybe even reporting on a few more newly found/newly attempted recipes!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

slowing down...and the madness ahead

This time next week, I will be married. CRAZINESS. I'm happy to report there have been no meltdowns...yet. I have come very close, but luckily avoided them thus far. Tonight, it kind of clicked in my head why I've gotten close several times. With the exception of late night moments like this, my schedule seems to have been planned down to the minute every day. It's a constant feeling that I was unsuccessful at getting everything done for that day that I should have done. And really, by all accounts, it still doesn't add up. I still can't figure out exactly what it is about weddings that takes up so much damn time. I guess it's just the thinking and the planning, which is a very broad description of what I've been doing since January. There are a lot of things that have to be done at just the right time. For example, you can't tally up your response cards til you've sent out invitations. You can't write thank you cards until you get gifts. So I had much more free time from January to April because I couldn't do those things yet. That goes for a lot of other tasks also.

This brings me to my other point. Tonight I realized that I am a slow moving person. I like to enjoy life, and I am admittedly a homebody. I'm not a go-getter by any stretch of the imagination, which probably relates to the fact that I'm not a planner. I feel like all this planning and organizing has been quite difficult for me, and I have a mother AND a sister who I'm pretty sure have done 70% of the work compared to the 30% I put in.

The bottom line is that I want to eventually find the perfect balance. The perfect balance between being myself, but still being an organized and put-together person who gets things done. Completely random, but I caught an interview on the radio the other night with Demetri Martin (who I love). He talked about how he had devised this points system every week where he gave himself points for getting things done and for spending time working on things he wanted to accomplish. It sounded like a good idea, but the guy graduated with straight A's from Yale, and I didn't understand anything he said about it other than that points were involved. Either way, I hope that after everything settles down post-wedding, I'll be able to find the balance I'm looking for. I'm open to suggestions on how you keep yourself organized and motivated.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

(Questions from Roots & Rings)

1. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Holiday, hands down. I just love everything about it; the actors and actresses (Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz and Jack Black), the storyline, and all the music. Pretty in Pink is a close second.

2. Let's say someone wrote a screenplay about you; what actor/actress would you choose to play you and why?
Zooey Deschanel. She is one of my faves, and she was just the first person who popped into my head. I'd say her or Kate Winslet.

3. What's the first movie you remember seeing in theaters?
Pocahontas. It came out when I was ten years old, and I'm thinking surely I had seen something in theaters before that. Although, with two siblings, it's possible my parents avoided movie theaters in order to save the $343254.00 they'd have to fork over. I do have very fond memories of my mom renting Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, and Rainbow Brite movies for me, though. :)

4. Did you ever make out at the back of a movie theater in middle school/high school?
Definitely not. My intense moment in a movie theater would have been when I "held hands" with a guy at the movies in sixth grade. Gettin' a little crazy!

5. Are you a Netflix-er, Blockbuster-er or a Redbox-er? (Or none of the above?)
Redbox just because it seems to be the easiest, but I think Netflix is in my future.

6. Name one actor/actress who you would give anything to have a dinner date with.
Tough question. I actually don't think there is one that I would "give anything" to do that with. I don't care that much. But I think dinner with Tom Hanks would be interesting. He's such a good actor, and I would like to just sit down and talk to him.

7. What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
Luckily, it's been a while since I've seen something that was absolutely the worst. I've seen movies I didn't like, but that was more on a level of personal preference.

8. Do you sneak snacks into the theater when you go?
Of course. Snacks AND drinks. One of the many perks of always carrying huge purses.

9. Movie theater popcorn: love or hate it?
LOVE. I actually worked at a movie theater in high school, and we could have all the popcorn we wanted. I never did get tired of it.

10. What is the all-time best Disney movie in your opinion?
I'd have to say Mary Poppins. My personal favorites would include Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland.

Monday, May 9, 2011

weekend musings

This weekend I was reminded of how thankful and blessed I am to have such wonderful friends. It was my bachelorette weekend (spent in Charlotte), and SUCH a great one! Three of my friends from college were there, and two from high school, and my sister of course (who planned the whole thing). I'm so very glad to have friends from different stages of my life who I can still call my best friends. I'll end my sappy I-love-my-friends story now. But I think we all had a great time. Dinner at Rí Rá Irish Pub followed by Howl at the Moon and The Breakfast Club = awesome. As for The Breakfast Club, what could be better than dancing all night to some of the best 80's music while the actual movie is playing on a big screen on the wall?? So I was dancing to "Don't You (Forget About Me)" while simultaneously watching the scene where Claire gives Bender her diamond earring. Side note: "P.Y.T." is currently my favorite Michael Jackson song. Anyway, I made it to the next morning with only a horrible headache, and I considered that a relatively good outcome.

On my music radar right now is a band called Grouplove. I am loving the song "Colours" off their self-titled EP, which I bought. XM radio has made finding new music SO MUCH EASIER. And somehow, while browsing Frank Sinatra playlists on iTunes this weekend, I discovered a beautiful song called "Poses" by Rufus Wainwright. Pretty sure it's my favorite song right now. I love randomly stumbling upon great music.

Well, I'm really ready for this week to be over. I'm not going to lie and say I don't say that every Monday. But there is much wedding-related planning to be done, and I am ready to have it behind me so I can just make it to the big day! I feel like things have come together far better than they should have in such a small timeframe, and for that I am grateful. I'm just stuck in that completely in-between stage. Not married, some of my things are moved but some aren't, new apartment is filled with unpacked bags and boxes, furniture is mostly taken care of but not completely, all this halfway business is driving me crazy! Not much longer, though.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Giveaway!

I love giveaways...and I love the idea of being organized (doesn't always come to fruition with me, but I try) - so head over to Kyla Roma to win a Filofax Planner! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oh, the waiting...

The next three weeks are going to be cah-razy! Moving+wedding=insanity. But good insanity. I visited my new apartment for the first time on exciting! Ross and I had visited probably ten different places, and finally, I told him to check out a place near where he works (an hour away from where I am). We had actually started our search there, but left when we got there early and didn't want to wait for the main office to open. The rent was decently priced in comparison to other places, it was in a great location, and I knew it was fairly new as far as age goes. So, I went from being terribly picky to "just do it, I don't care if I haven't even seen it." And it worked out PERFECT! So glad.

I was told by several people that I was a little on the crazy side for trying to plan a wedding in four months, but I can't imagine it any other way. The time between now and the wedding seems to be creeping by - I can't imagine waiting any longer. I'm sure it all depends on what your situation is and how much you have going on in your life, but I feel like a shorter time frame forced me to get things done. If I had half a year or more, seems like it would have been planned and I would've been sitting around waiting on the next three or four months just to go by. Whatever floats your boat, but that's how it worked out for me.

Moving has been relatively painless, but that could be because I haven't moved much at all yet. So, it's probably going to suck. I'm considering just opening my room up to a bunch of people and saying, "come in and take whatever you want!" I have a feeling I'm going to have about an eighteen-wheeler's worth of stuff to take to Goodwill after it's all said and done.

To end on a random sidenote - I am loving the song "Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes right now. They are new to me, but conveniently, their new album (entitled Helplessness Blues) came out yesterday...can't wait to give the whole thing a listen!

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes,
unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking
I'd say I'd rather be a functioning cog
in some great machinery
serving something beyond me
But I don't, I don't know what that will be
I'll get back to you someday soon, you will see
-Fleet Foxes

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ten on Tuesday Fun

(Questions from Roots & Rings)

1. What is the weather like in your city today?
Warm and fairly sunny. They're calling for thunderstorms later, though.

2. Do you like the zoo?
Sometimes. It depends on the zoo. I'm certainly not any kind of animal rights activist or anything, but sometimes it makes me sad to see the animals in captivity. :(

3. Do you eat coconut?
Not often. I don't hate it, but I don't particularly care for it.

4. Have you ever hammered a nail? Are you good at it?
Yes. Not so much.

5. Does your family have a vacation destination that you visit often?
Yes! We don't get to go every summer like we used to, mostly because everyone is so busy. But for a long time (starting when I was around two months old), we went to New Smyrna Beach, FL every summer. Some of my very best vacation memories are from that place. Also, if you're wondering, that would be the beach known as shark-attack capital of the world. Aside from the beach, we usually spend our 4th of Julys in Banner Elk, NC. I do love the beach...but summer in the mountains of NC is a close second.

6. How many pillows do you sleep with?
Just one.

7. What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Check emails on my Droid. That's sad, isn't it?

8. Will you send your kids to summer camp?
Probably, but in a so-they-can-have-fun sense, rather than a daycare sense (not that you can't have both of those at the same time). Growing up, I participated in local summer programs like art camp, and also spent the latter half of many of my summers doing a kids musical program. Always loved it!

9. What do you put in your baked potatoes?
Typically just butter and sour cream.

10. Did you take swimming lessons as a kid?
I did when I was three years old. It's actually one of the few things I remember at that early of an age. I can even remember that I had two teachers - a guy and a girl, and I'm pretty sure the girl's name was Rose. I also remember that my "default swim" was always the backstroke - I don't think I knew how to swim any other way, so I just went with it. Funny what you remember sometimes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

thrifty thursday and trends...on Sunday

I had intentions of posting this on Thursday...but that didn't happen.

Recently, I have come to love spending time scouring the internet to find affordable items that compare to designer items I see in magazines, etc. I usually see a celebrity carrying a bag, or wearing sunglasses or shoes I love, then I have to find out who makes the original (if it isn't already obvious), then I find out that it usually costs more than I am worth as a human being, then I move on to trying to find a cheaper alternative. It's kind of a fun game.

Well, recently, I'm kind of embarrassed to say I've spent every night this past week some free time watching all the specials Lifetime and BBCA currently have running on the upcoming Royal Wedding. I mean, it's kind of fun to watch...right? Well, at some point, Kate Middleton was shown out shopping (I can show you a picture):

The show I was watching showed her walking around with the brown leather handbag you see in the picture. (Obviously I saw it from different angles than this, I wouldn't say I liked a purse based on that picture.)

After way too much time spent surfing the internet trying to identify the handbag....Found it! Price tag: $1295.00 ...USED.

I'm determined to find a fun, brown handbag to carry around that costs a little less than that. And I think I've found a few (well, three) that might fit the bill. I was going to take votes on which one I should buy...but I already chose. I will take guesses, or thoughts, though! I know the suspense will be killing you all. Options 1, 2 and 3:

(Option 1: Frenchi Convertible Tote, $38,, Option 2: Tan Leather Maxi Holdall Bag, $160.00,, Option 3: prepped for travel canvas purse in navy, $52.99,

I realize Option 3 is not solid brown, but it's still really cute, and comparable in size.

And to expand on that last bag...I love the navy blue+brown leather look! I would not have come up with that combination in my own head, but it's really cute! See below:

(BDainty from Steve Madden)

I've accepted the fact that I'm not really going to get super close to the appearance of Kate's bag...I mean, the original is selling for $1295 in used condition. But I can come semi-close!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Iona, you're gonna O.D. on nostalgia."

This title applies to me in a serious way right now. I recently discovered the joy of XM radio (I know, I'm a bit late on that), and am pretty much obsessed with Lithium (90's grunge/alt rock) and 90's on 9. Really, it's rare that I listen to any other station. This is also evident if you've ever been over to my tumblr. The 90's song of the week is about the only thing I blog, and every week I spend more time than I should watching youtube videos, listening repeatedly to my favorite 90's songs on iTunes, and looking for ones I loved at some point but forgot about.

For a while, it was 80's. And it still kind of is, but I've switched over to more of an 80's-movies-obsession rather than music. I wouldn't be lying if I said I've watched Pretty In Pink four times over the course of the past three weeks (see image). But I get hooked on things like that. When I find music I like, I wear it out, same with movies. I couldn't tell you what I like about Pretty In Pink...well, actually I could. A huge part of what I love in that movie is John Cryer and the role he plays. He is absolutely great.

But back to the 90's. My current obsession-within-an-obsession would be Oasis. I found this video the other day, and haven't stopped listening to them since. I mean, I've always had the Oasis staples in my collection (Wonderwall, Don't Go Away, etc)...but these kicks come out of nowhere. It's just kind of like, you've heard "Champagne Supernova" more times than you can count, but then you see or hear a different version or whatever and it's like a lightbulb goes off and you're just like "damn, that's a GOOD song." That happened with me too the other day for Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car." I hated that song when it was popular because it was played so much on the radio, but I watched a live version on youtube the other day and got goosebumps. Maybe I'm just weird. But I do love the 90's.

In other news, ROBYN was on The Ellen Show today...awesome. This would be the same Robyn you know from the 90's ("Show Me Love" was one of her more popular singles). But she is way better now. Also, I may have exaggerated a tiny bit earlier, I do listen to a couple other stations from time to time on xm, and I'm kind of hooked on a song called "Young Blood" by Naked and Famous. I have no idea who they are, but I love the song.

Monday, February 28, 2011

wedding schmedding

So, the big day is right around the corner...eek! There is much to be planned, and conveniently, "planner" might be the antithesis to my name. For real. But it is forcing me to be a planner, which is kind of good. I might grow from this.

Caution: the following is what could be considered as a rant.
The dress. Quite possibly the most exciting part of the whole wedding (you know, besides the whole spending-the-rest-of-your-life-with-someone thing). I envisioned laughter, tears (mom's), and good times all around with my sister and mother. One bridal store (I won't name any names, but you could possibly rhyme it with Cavid's Fridal), however, had other plans. If you could envision the worst possible nightmare experience EVER at a bridal store, that's basically what happened to me. Keep in mind this was also my very first time trying on any dresses. The store was, on a whole, a mess in terms of organization, checking people in for appointments, etc. My "consultant" was probably 65 years old, wearing a hideous sweater dress, smelled a little like cigarette smoke, and was so unfriendly and unhelpful it was unreal. My choice of words in assessing the situation to my mom, I believe, were: "this is a f$%#ing disaster." I really can't think of a time or place where I had customer service worse than what I experienced there. And today, up pops an email from none other than said bridal store! Among other things, they were asking me to take a survey. HAHA! I wrote a scathing email to their customer service when this first happened, but it's like really, what can they do? Because I'm for sure not going back. Unless maybe they offered me $1,000.00 but that is unlikely.

Moral of the story? I don't recommend them. I'm not much for google reviews, but if google reviews say the particular store in your area is bad, then for the love of God, trust them. Or just trust me.

But all is well that ends well, and I found the perfect dress at a fantastic store that I stopped at on a whim. So far, all other details seem to be working themselves out. My only other complaint would be that it is unnecessarily difficult to get prices/quotes from vendors via email. It's 2011, people! Get with it!

I apologize that this post was more of (ok, almost completely) a rant, but sometimes bad experiences at stores are worthy of a blog post. If only everything were as easy as shopping at

Monday, February 14, 2011

comfortable...a valentine's day story

So, I've heard that things kind of go down hill after marriage. Haha. Not in a bad way, though. Actually, let me rephrase that -- marriage may be the ultimate level of comfort. I'm thinking we are well on our way, and engagement is certainly a step in that direction. Hence, this conversation:

Ross: What do you want to do for Valentine's Day?
Me: Eh, let's just do lunch on Sunday or something. (in an effort to avoid any large crowds)
...after said meal...
Ross: So, want to do anything else?
Me: Nah, I'm kind of tired. (note: it was 5:30pm at that point)
Ross: Yeah, me too.

And we proceed to hang out/watch an episode of The Office then call it a night.

Funny how things get real when you've been dating two and a half years and are engaged. Not to say that we still don't go out from time to time and do fun stuff, but it's a lot easier now to just be chill and not really care. I think that's good, as long as you can keep a good balance. And really, the larger part of this is that I'm slowly realizing how precious weekends are where you don't have anything to do. They are few and far between, it seems. And when I don't have much on the agenda for Saturday or Sunday, I like to maintain a high level of nothingness if at all possible. For the record, I had mentioned to Ross that on the way home from Sunday's early dinner that we may need to "stop by the Coach store" on the way home for a potential Valentine's Day gift/purchase, and he was willing. I was tired and had no intention of actually doing that, so it was more of a test. He passed.

In other news...didn't watch the Grammys. I did catch Gaga's performance, though (which was actually pretty lackluster compared to some other ones). I think, after the past couple years, nothing she does is really shocking anymore. We've seen the kermit outfit, the bubble one, the meat one, yada yada yada. So she shows up in an egg? *yawn* I also caught the last part of The Avett Brothers performance...LOVE them. (So I lied. I watched a tiny bit.)

I'm getting bored, and I need some new music. Tomorrow = new PJ Harvey. Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PJ Harvey...and why I love her.

I am very much a newbie when it comes to PJ Harvey. As in, White Chalk (2007) is the chapter I started in. Probably the earliest song I have is "You Said Something" which was released in 2000, and she's been around since the early 90's. Based on that, I probably don't have strong grounds to say a whole lot...but I'm going to anyway.

It's safe to say that "You Said Something" and any songs off the White Chalk album are like night and day. The former at least has a little bit of mainstream potential, but I can assure you White Chalk does not. Whatever the difference is, I can appreciate it. The material isn't better, it hasn't gotten worse, but it's changed. There's something to be said for artists who can maintain quality while still exploring completely different sounds and going places they've never gone before. For me, three words sum up her sound: unpredictable, bizarre, and genius. I love it.

White Chalk is quite possibly one of the most haunting records I've ever heard (not sure I can even think of any others that would fit in the "haunting" category), and the overall tone of the album is dark and melancholy (my fave!). Timing was good considering it was released in the month of was probably my favorite album for fall of '07. A lot of piano involved, too, which we all know I love, and there's kind of an old timey simplicity to it all. Seriously, if had to give a visual, it's of some 1800's era woman in a haunted cabin in the backwoods of some crazy mountain town (Boone, perhaps?) writing freaky ass songs on her piano. Some of that visual might stem from the album cover. A sidenote: Harvey taught herself how to play the piano, specifically for creativity purposes related to this album. From Wikipedia: "In an interview in The Wire she explained "the great thing about learning a new instrument from scratch is that it [...] liberates your imagination.""

So that was an interesting, but good, starting point for me. Now I'm looking forward to her upcoming album, Let England Shake. I've only heard "Written On The Forehead" so far, but it sure sounds like this album will be yet another venture into new sound for Harvey, and I can't wait. Bring on the weirdness! Saw a comparison somewhere between the sound for this new song and The Cocteau Twins who I LOVE. Either way, I'm anticipating greatness.