Thursday, April 30, 2015

Just in the Nick of Time

So here's the monthly blog! Just in the nick of time!

I feel like I use the word busy too much. Aren't we are all guilty of TBD (Too Busy Disorder)? I don't mean it as a crutch or excuse. The thing is--you always make time for what's important to you. Whether it's your family, friends, job, church, hobby, etc. It's what you look forward to when all the other parts of your life are mismatched and hectic---we all have that reward.

One of the highlights of the past few weeks is getting to see a good friend of mine, a writer, and fellow blogger, Elizabeth Mozley McGrady. I had the pleasure of meeting her about this time last year at a book signing and then getting to read her beautiful words about our shared love of NYC in "We Share the Same Sky." Please check out her blog: http://wesharethesamesky.com/.  What a sweet friendship to have when you know when you get homesick more than anything for your favorite city--you know you can talk and share memories with that person because they love it just as much! We met for dinner at Mater's in Gadsden and had the best time talking about so many things...but to sum it up--LIFE! How beautiful! Forgot to get a picture but we did get this photo sometime last year--she's a wonderful person & friend!

Early this month, I met my sister in Birmingham for the Mat Kearney concert. We ate dinner at a place called Slice! It was love at first sight of this upscale pizza joint! Their salads had gotten rave reviews so it was a must for us--the house was perfection in every way. The sugared pecans, the honey dijon dressing. We split the Very Veggie--and it was that! So yummy!
And then there's dessert--quite possibly my biggest weakness, tiramisu, and then you say tiramisu cheesecake?! Done & Done.


The concert was a favorite for sure! Parachute and Judah & the Lion put on a great show too!

 Side note: a guy at the concert asked me if my dress was chevron. Anyone who knows me close, knows that is the ONE print I CANNOT stand! Taken aback, I immediately fired back, "I don't know what it is but I hate chevron!" and walked away. Geez. Micheal Kors wouldn't do chevron print!

 
My cousin Kase turned two on April 1st but we celebrated on Saturday with a Thomas the Train theme party!
He had a boucey house that he adored & got a little jeep to drive around just like his Dad's, among other toys and goodies, mostly Thomas the Train!
 
Mom & I went for a hike at Noccalula Falls Park! So much fun!
 
April showers sometimes bring one of my favorite things--Rainbows make me so happy! God's beauty in nature is just perfect---He doesn't have to do any of this but He chooses out of His love for his children!

  
 It's garden time!

One of the biggest events at work happened April 9-12--the Bassmaster Elite tournament!
It was a lot of work and planning but also a lot of fun and great for Marshall County! Skeet Reese ended up winning the tournament with over 90 lbs of fish for 4 days! Here my coworker Beth & I took a minute out of the craziness to pose for a magazine cover, ha!

Mom and I went to Tuscaloosa last week for the NEEDTOBREATHE Compadres Tour! Can't say enough about the venue, the band, the night, etc. The new Embassy Suites Hotel downtown is super nice and within walking distance to the Amphitheater!

 Priscilla Shirer is an awesome Woman of God! I love her style of teaching and girl did she bring The Word on Saturday in Huntsville! She talked about putting on the full armor of God in every part of our life! Amazing time spent with some of my favorite ladies from church!

 My cousin Kase wrote the book on cool, y'all! He calls me "Enshey" and it's precious.

Living Out the Plans:
I'm preaching to myself when I say it's time to SLOW DOWN and appreciate what is in front of you--don't get so busy you start neglecting your time with The Lord, your family and friends, and the things that truly make you happy. I don't want to be always caught just in the nick of time when it comes to what matters. May we seek God's beauty and promises each day, rest in them, knowing they are sound, secure, and our Rock in whatever we face.

One of my favorite hymns is "Standing on the Promises." Did you know how many promises we have in God's Word? Over 8,000 are offered up from The Lord! That should give us such hope for whatever we are going through! We must grab hold of His promises and not be hindered in fear.

"Standing on the Promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit's call.
Resting in my Savior as my all in all.
Standing on the promises of God."

Until Next Time...
                                                                      Take it easy!
 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Heart NYC...let me count the ways

New York City...
It's been ever on my mind--as always but especially this week. On a scale of 1-10, I'm about at a 15 on being homesick.
My uncle is visiting for school/business. He ate Shake Shack, got in the same elevator with Gus Malzahn--(how random), and is getting quite the education on all things business, culture, and atmosphere I'm sure. I keep begging him for photos and can't wait to hear about his trip.

Several of my favorite bloggers have been on point this week with posts that speak to me, as well as the Instagramers posting all the spring photos in Central Park, etc. http://annaosgoodby.com/ http://newyorkcliche.com/  http://www.tracysnewyorklife.com/
 
And then just this afternoon, a fire broke out in the East Village, causing a building to collapse! My heart goes out to this neighborhood! See news story here.
 
And these new series:


Thus inspiring me to finish a blog draft I've had for 6+ months or more (I have lots of those on standby.)

Books, music, movies, fashion, the history, icons, and memories made in this city are endless. It haunts you as you crave more of it. Or it does me. When I need my NYC fix, I gravitate to books, tv shows such as Friends and Seinfeld and movies.

Here is my personal list of movies that I LOVE all set/filmed in Gotham (in no particular order):
1. Ghostbusters (can you really even mess with not giving this the #1 spot?!) "I love this town!"
2. One Fine Day--can I just add that the filter on this movie was incredible.
3. Breakfast at Tiffany's--Classic chic
4. Big--One of Tom Hank's best! If I lived in the city, I would want a trampoline, too.
5. Hitch
6. Sex & the City--ohh the fashion, the library scene!
7. Working Girl
8. 13 Going on 30--it's like "Big" all over again!
9. Scent of a Woman--wonderful acting...a young Philip Seymour Hoffman
10. Bed of Roses--one of my favorite movies ever--warning: it's corny and cheesy but it has Christian Slater, so all is forgiven.
11. Home Alone 2 "Guests of the New Celebrity Ding Dan Dong stay at the world renowed Plaza Hotel"
12. Splash--Mermaids in Manhattan..named Madison.
13. Three Men and a Baby, Three Men and a Little Lady
14. Sleepless in Seattle--who can forget that last scene at the Empire State Building?
15. The Money Pit
16. Serendipity--one of the best Christmas movies
17. When Harry Met Sally--worth a trip to Katz Deli
18. Baby Boom
19. You've Got Mail---I wrote a whole blog about it
20. After Hours--lesser known, freaky, Martin Scorsese movie.
21. Scrooged--Bill Murray---every Christmas. Must watch!
22. The Devil Wears Prada--ohh that fashion!
23. Barefoot in the Park---CLASSIC!
24. The Nanny Diaries--Super Cute!
25. Romancing the Stone
26. Annie--the 80's version!
27. The Secret of My Success
28. Raising Helen
29. The Pick Up Artist--Great cast- Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr.
30. Hello Again
31. 27 Dresses
32. Unfaithful--creepy & instense Richard Gere and Diane Lane duo
33. Begin Again--Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo
34. Maid in Manhattan--JLO as a housekeeper falling in love with a politician...filmed at my fav hotel, The Roosevelt!
35. Men in Black--who could forget Frank, the pug, with the I heart NY sweatshirt!
36. An Affair to Remember--again, too classic for words!
37. Something Borrowed--great book by Emily Giffin and decent movie--lots of Shake Shack!
38. Manhattan---another Woody Allen film, also staring Diane Keaton
39. Hannah & Her Sisters---must see this movie STAT!
40. Elf
41. The Secret of My Success
42. Beaches--grab the tissues
43. Look Who's Talking
44. Curly Sue
45. Uptown Girls
46. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days--that love fern tho.
47. Meet Joe Black
48. August Rush
49. Kate & Leopold
50. Sweet Home Alabama

What are your favs? Which ones did I leave off that are a must on your list??? Comment below.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

14 Thoughts on Life, Love, and Other Mysteries

 
So..how is it already mid February? I have been a major slacker but also majorly busy, and thus neglecting one of my favorite things---the blog. So here it is, with lots of random thoughts on life, love and other mysteries.  As always, thanks for reading!  
 
1) This was New Year's Eve---Fabbbbbbulous bash at my church with my adorable Mom! Love her!
 
2) I made lots of goals for 2015--not resolutions because who sticks to those? ha! I began a Grateful Notebook--not a diary. What is it about diary that sounds so 6th grade? So I write one thing each day I'm grateful for. It's been the most random things, y'all. Everything from umbrellas to my church family to some of my favorite artist's playlists being available for a listen on Spotify to my daily coffee...it varies but by the end of this year I will have listed 365 of the most random things that I'm thankful for.

3) So I'm expecting big things for this year...it just feels right. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with life. Some things looming might be the fact that my 10 year class reunion is upon me this year! AH! Where did time go?! Yikes! I'm excited though! But it makes me question what I've done with my life in the past 10 years. Sure, college was fun and a great experience and I'm blessed with my job, but I want this year to be a year that I focus on some things I've been neglecting in the past. I'll be 29 later this year and I'm such a different person than I was when I was 19. I know more of what I want, but still feel very green in life.
10 Year Class Reunion THIS YEAR!

4) Did you know that NEEDTOBREATHE is coming to Tuscaloosa in April? I'm excited to see them for the third time, second of which is in Ttown! They are an awesome band if you don't know them. Take a listen. Now. And Mat Kearney is coming to Birmingham, also in April! :))))






5) My job allows me to serve in many capacities and one of which is doing some volunteering for my favorite causes. The 10th Annual Hospice Race to Remember is coming up on March 7th. Oh, and it's a COLOR RUN! I've loved getting to help in the planning. I would like to encourage you to either have a team with your church, businesses, family or friends. If you would rather not actually run or walk in the race, please consider being a VOLUNTEER! And contact me because I'm the Volunteer Chair and am seeking willing and able bodies to be there the day of event and make it a true success!

6) World Nutella Day happened. Last week. I considered making a cake, brownies, fudge, a tart, etc. with the wonderful hazelnut cocoa crack, but when it came down to it--all I wanted was this:
                                    Just a pancake + gobs of Nutella (because it's free calories and fat on World Nutella Day) + raspberries + a banana nose. It was perfection. I'm in favor of everyday being World Nutella Day...
 
7) February is Heart Awareness Month---my goal is to do at least 30 minutes of cardio every day. Miracles can happen, right? Let me tell you one huge motivation: those FitBit Daily Challenges!
 
8) It seems like there are times when I never watch TV because there is NOTHING on! Lately, however, I'm loving early "Modern Family" reruns, the new VH1 series "Hindsight" which is set in the 90's, making it totally rad, and "The Bachelor." Who will Farmer Chris choose? My favorite is Becca. She's just real and stands up for her beliefs.  What are your favorite shows right now?  
9) I'm thinking of making lamb. And risotto. It might be my next blog post adventure. Stay tuned and PLEASE send me any tips if you've tried cooking either of them!
 
10) Wishing and hoping for snow next week---I just miss it and this is probably our only hope in Alabama this year to see ANY. PPPPLEASE Mr. Weatherman, get it right! It's sooo beautiful--no ice or power outages, please. Just a pretty snow to build funny snowmen in, make snow cream, and play in!


11) So my family and I did something kind of strang last weekend---we practiced our shooting skills on some of my aunt and uncle's land. It was kind of comical and fun to have most of my cousins and relatives out there shooting guns at a target. I guess it's not so strange for families in the south, but it was a first for me and my family. My dad is a pro at hunting/target shooting, etc. I have a long way to go, but hey, the family who shoots together, stays together, right? Anyone else out there have friendly family shooting practices? Anyone?
 
12) So the last few thoughts are some blog drafts I've been saving for a while...I've fought this for as long as I've been blogging...but it's almost Valentine's Day so here it goes:
The fact is that while I love both reading blogs and writing my own blogs, to be honest, the blogs I read the most are those of girls who are similar to my age write about their dating experiences, fails, etc. Isn't that what we are most drawn to? To live vicariously through someone else's experiences is thrilling. I never saw myself opening up to the idea of writing about such personal aspects of my own life but then it hit me that it too is a part of living out the plans God has for me. It's as much part of the journey as my travels, what He is teaching me in my quiet time, through my friendships, etc. So, here it is...a very raw description of the struggles of the single life. But it's also all in how you see it.

Relationship/Marriage trends are different for everyone. My parents got married young, as did my sister and some of my closest friends. That's great those who knew then, as I've heard you just "know when you know!" And then, for others like myself, you also know that you're just not ready to settle down just yet, or "the right opportunity just hasn't presented itself yet." I have my set routine and hobbies and even my Friday night ritual, which doesn't usually involve getting dolled up after a week of work, etc. Then there's that phrase "You're just not putting yourself out there." Aren't we all doing the best we can? I have been set up on more dates than I can count now. I think you learn something from each of them and try to not to get jaded. It's all part of the process and I get that. Can I also tell you, America, that is a true struggle to date, not just in the year 2015 but especially in a small town. CMT is launching a new series called "Single in a Smalltown." I may or may not have been intrigued about this series, but in looking at the questions for participants it asked you to submit a 5 minute video answering the following questions:

1. Name, age, where you are from & what you do
2. Tell me about your town and population - "My town is so small..."
3. Describe town- what is there to do and etc?
4. Describe your personality
5. Describe your relationship status and history?
6. What is it like dating in your small town?
7. What do you like to do on date?
8. What is your image in town? Have people tried to fix you up?
9. Who have you dated in town?
10.What is the best and worst part of dating in a small town?
11.Tell me about your best and worst dates?
12. Describe your ideal type. Looks and personality.
Cuddles says it all: The struggle is real.
 
13. What country star do you most relate to? Which do you lust after?
14. Where do you see yourself in five years--family, dog, and etc?

I honestly don't think I could go on camera with any of this info with a straight face, much less actually apply to be on a reality TV show with that title. It makes me laugh but also brings home the point that yes, single America...the struggle is real.

I don't care if you're in small town USA or a thriving metropolis with speed dating and everything in between. As if adulthood didn't have enough pressures of it's own then you throw in the "get married, buy a house, have kids, etc." AHH!

13) Dating sites are a million dollar industry. I am not too proud or unashamed to admit I have tried it for a matter of days and got somewhat weirded/grossed out by the concept, and could write an entire blog all about dating horror stories...will save it for when I have writer's block. I know it works for some and in today's society, it is convenient and trendy. I can truly appreciate that. Maybe someday I'll give it another go if I'm feeling really brave. Until then, I am content to just be in the present. I've always heard love finds you when you least expect it. So I'm not going to expect it by any means, but I'm always going to be open to it.

So, society, don't think of my late twenties single self as odd because maybe I still enjoy the freedom I have by not being tied down to a relationship...to go and do and see the world as a single in this season of my life. If it's God's will, hopefully in the future I will have someone to do life with, to build a life and family together, but until then, let me be.

Ok, I'm done with this rant. And those who find yourself in the land of single OR married bliss...let's just embrace it and not judge those who are not in the same boat. Everyone's life PLAN is different and that's the beauty of God deisgning each of our lives uniquely. There is no perfect script or blueprint. It just happens as it's supposed to, when it's supposed to. We all are in control on a daily basis how we react, respond, and choose to accept or change the way things are going in our life.
14) Happy Valentine's Day (weekend)! Make it a great one & make sure you tell everyone how much you love them! And...these Bojangles Boberry biscuits are a good way to say it! Just sayin...
 
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turkey Day, 12 Acts of Christmas, 2 Ingredient Brownies, and more!

Hey y'all! Can I get a ROLL TIDE?!
Wow! What a great season for the Tide! Wishing hard for another National Championship title for Christmas, but it's just an honor to make it this far! Looking forward to playing Ohio State in 2 weeks!

Merry Christmas Saint Nick! Bama fans love you, Blake Sims, Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, Kirby Smart, and even Lane Kiffin, and your whole team!








So not much has been happening here...to get caught up...
The usual Into the Woods with Simba:
 The wonder pose, side right
The wonder pose, side left


 The "I'm Too Sexy for a Selfie" pose

                                                             And finally, the purple tongue teaser pose

 Thanksgiving happened: Thankful for this view on beautiful Lake Guntersville:

                                                   And this view on the homefront:

                    And a Thanksgiving spent with family, an overflowing table, laughter and memories! We had taco soup and appetizers this year and they were yummy! My cousin Kase was our turkey!

 The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Mom and I did the Skinny Turkey 5K in Guntersville! Lots of fun!
My sweet Daddy turned 59 this year! Love him very much! He is the hardest worker, most humble man I know! Wish him many more special birthdays!

Oh, I got adventurous for National Brownies Day (December 8, FYI) but you can totally observe it everyday of the year! So I wanted to indulge but without the guilt. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present 2 Ingredient Brownies The short cast is simply a brownie mix--when in doubt, go for the Gold--as in Ghiradeli. And a can of pumpkin. Holla! So simple. Mix together and it looks like a scary Halloween mess but after 50 strokes, pour into a pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350 and BAM! Lowfat Healthy Brownies that are soooo good! You cannot taste the pumpkin at all--but like that would be a crime! And I chose to dress mine up for the National Brownie Holiday it was by adding marshmallows and sticking them on broil for a minute (no more) and there you have it, folks! Next time I'm trying avacado. Anyone tried this recipe or the avacado? Ok, that's my food post. :)


I'm a stickler for Christmas movies and music. I've got my own playlist on Spotify Playlist and a countdown calendar on my phone, etc. At random, here are the Top 10 movies I will gladly put down everything to watch on any given Christmas season:
1) Love Actually
2) I'll Be Home For Christmas (with JTT) Duh!
3) Scrooged with Bill Murray
4) The Holiday
5) Christmas Vacation---saw this at the Alabama Theatre this week! Never gets old!
6) Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
7) Home Alone (1 & 2)
8) Prancer
9) Charlie Brown Christmas
10) Elf

What are your favs???

I'm doing something special this year I created myself, called The 12 Acts of Christmas.

They are the most random things. I realized if I wasn't careful, the season would pass by as it always does, way too fast, without time to really enjoy it. So it's like a seasonal bucket list. They are all over Pinterest (what isn't?!) but I customized my list. So over the past couple of days I've been trying to cross these off my list:
1) Christmas dance party in the den-- Lots of old school N'SYNC!
2) Pay it forward at the drive thru.
3) Play Christmas theme Scrabble--harder than it sounds.
4) Go on a Christmas scavenger hunt---search for ideas on Pinterest
5) Have a brunch/breakfast at the table
6) Drink hot chocolate & watch Christmas movies!
7) Read the Christmas story out of Luke
8) Get dressed up in holiday attire (tacky sweaters or fancy) and go out to dinner
9) Take my girl Cuddles in her Christmas sweater somewhere in town to get a treat!
10) Buy my chow chow Simba a bucket of chicken from KFC. His fav.
11) Watch home movies from Chistmases decades ago and look at old Christmas photos.
12) Create a new holiday tradition

Looking very forward to another year of getting growing, learning, living out God's Plan. Hope you are too! Until then, may we enjoy this joyous season of celebrating our Savior's birth.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dark vs. Light


Daylight Savings Time...oh how we loathe you. It stinks getting home at dark and being woken up by the sun an hour before you're supposed to get up. Where is the petition to sign to not observe this? This case of Dark vs. Light---I choose LIGHT!


I'm crushing over this adorable pug dressed in fur in front of the Plaza Hotel I saw on Pinterest. That tongue, that coat, that darling!

 So here's my own little darling, Cuddles,--doing our Sunday thing on the couch...napping, watching corny Christmas movies--a month too early, and binging on trail mix/kibbles & bits. FYI--I got my hair trimmed--after 5 months! :0
Our Young Professional group hosted a Halloween Party on Thursday at the Bridge Cafe. We had all kinds of entertaining costumes---
Cruella DeVil won Best Costume! Glad no Dalmatians were harmed in the making of her costume!

June & Johnny Cash in the house! This dude could play, too!
I was a tacky tourist--- fanny pack, I Heart NY shirt, socks over sandals, etc. My cousin and I were being our usual silly self! We decorated together and it was a lot of fun!


Did y'all do your civic duty of voting in the midterm elections this year? I did...even after learning that my polling location had changed. Kind of embarrassing when they couldn't find my name on the sheet and then they had to look up where I needed to go...and so I found it and voted happily and was ready to wait for results. Later in the day I discovered my FitBit was gone from my wrist. This is my means of keeping track of my exercise/steps/calories/sleep/etc so it was crucial I get this back ASAP! I turned to my app for help. I saw the last time it was synched, which was in the morning. I knew it had to be at one of the polling locations. Searching online, I saw where there is an app (LightBlue) that will actually locate your bluetooth devices, should they go missing. I was able to trace it all the way back to the first place I tried voting that morning. I felt like a modern day Sherlock Holmes.Technology is beautiful! We are reunited and I can once again begin my love/hate with my FitBit reminding me how active/inactive I am each day.

Countywide Early Bird Breakfast this morning at Hospice of Marshall County/Sheppard's Cove--great event, yummy grits, and fun times talking to people from all over the county. Me & my coworkers were bright eyed this morning! Coffee coffee coffee!  Which reminds me--"Gilmore Girls" on Netflix, people!




What are y'all reading right now? With the time change, I actually want to read at night--until I get crazy sleepy at 9 pm, ha! I'm reading another Gillian Flynn book "Dark Places." It's different than "Gone Girl," but just as riveting! Her writing haunts you and puts you right in the book! It's also going to be made into a movie, starring Charlize Theron, due out next year. Good read if you like...all things dark.

All this NYC Marathon media attention last weekend got me motivated enough to want to train for a half, at least. One of my favorite bloggers even made a Pro/Con List http://newyorkcliche.com/2014/11/03/pro-con-list-running-nyc-marathon/ about doing the marathon. Anyone have any training tips? I'm not a fan of the dark evening runs, but determination is winning, this week anyway. I did manage to see one of the prettiest sunsets on the lake I've ever seen. (Slightly touched up with Pro HDR app). 

Living Out the Plans: Dark vs. Light
Good works don't get you into Heaven. The Bible is clear on that --Eph. 2:8. It is by grace/salvation alone. A relationship with Jesus is the most important thing we can have on Earth. If we are children of God, we enjoy many blessings here, among those is being served and serving others. I was remembering a few times I have been the recipient of a kind gesture, gift, or random act of kindness. It totally makes your day, doesn't it? It is humbling and always seems to come at the right time. It encourages you to then pay it forward, whether it's a sweet card in the mail, a phone call, a smile, hug, or a stranger in front of you paying for your order at the drive-thru. I encourage us all, as the holidays approach and things can tend to get crazy, stress levels run high as there are gifts to be bought, parties to attend, money can be tight, and the demands of family, work, and activities can easily consume our already busy lives, may we take the time to make someone's day as we are led. You never know it's impact AND you usually get just as much if not more of a blessing by doing so! May we be a light in the dark world--radiating God's love in who we are, in what we do. (Eph. 5:7-14).