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 sweater...love 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 Mint.com, 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 KylaRoma.com, written by Sarah Von from Yes & Yes