Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All I wanted for Christmas...

was a left handed cast? Wait, I don't remember putting that on my list.

Turns out, although the holidays were wonderful this year (spent some great time with family and it was the first for me and Justin), I got a little surprise. A few weeks ago, I tweaked my hand during my Krav Maga class. I thought that my left pinky knuckle had popped when I hit the pad, but it hurt for me to grasp anything the rest of class. One of my instructors and I thought that it was just bruised muscles or strained ligaments. No big deal.

Two weeks later, I was still unable to put full pressure on that side of my hand. Otherwise I could really do whatever I wanted so long as I didn't turn my hand at a certain angle. I was convinced however that a trip to the doctor was necessary.

I received a call Christmas Eve morning from my dr's office saying that I did indeed have a fractur in my hand and that he wanted a small cast put on it to restrict use and ensure proper healing. I had to laugh a little because of all the bad accidents I've had, it just took one bad hit on the tombstone pad to give me my first broken bone, lol. I ended up with just a partial cast on my left hand that took me from pretty much all use of the hand to having three usable fingers and showering with a plastic bag over it, haha. I told someone that evening that it was cool for the first ten minutes, then it just got annoying. It looks worse than it really is and since I'd already gone two weeks, I only have to wear this for two weeks before doing follow up xrays.

It definitely makes for some fun conversation. I've told several people it was from trying to keep Justin in line, and since my mom's finger was still all wrapped up from her surgery a few weeks ago, we got to have fun with the family Christmas pics.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Melts. My. Heart.

Justin with Miss Bailey Grace

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In Rememberance

As the animals that we choose (or that choose us) to be pets often become a part of the family as much as any human, it's only natural to mourn the loss of a cherished friend when their time comes.

Sage was the first dog that lived inside our house since I was just a toddler. After Mom and Dad had to put their Dobermans to rest, there was no real emotional attachment to future pets for my Dad, and it was understandable. It's hard to lose someone that has a large presence in your every day life, whether it be human or pet. But then Sage came along, a little Mountain Cur puppy with gorgeous topaz fur and eyes to match, and stole all our hearts. Although Ginger would be added a few months later, and Storm a little over a year later, Sage was always Daddy's baby boy. He was a hunting dog, a companion, a cuddle buddy and as a lot of pets are, spoiled rotten.

I accidentally lost Sage a few years back while I was home for Christmas. One morning when leaving the house, I didn't get the door completely shut and by the time Dad woke up the door was wide open and Sage had disappeared. Dad spent three days trying to keep himself busy around the house while taking time every few hours to drive around the countryside to see if he could find him. And I felt so guilty for being responsible. Dad had printed fliers to put up in the small country store a few miles from our house in case someone were to see him, and thankfully a lady called not too long after to say that Sage had been sleeping under their car and must have gotten hungry enough to finally climb onto their porch for the food she had left out. And I know that as sad as my dad was in those three days that he thought his buddy was gone, I can't imagine what he must feel right now to know that he's not coming back.

It was pretty short notice with all of this, something that has probably just come to light in the past few months. One of those deals where when you finally realize there's something wrong it's really already too late. I'm just glad that we got the pleasure of spending three and a half loving years with Sage and that he's in a better place. Rest in peace Bubby. We'll miss you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Under the Covers- Part 2

A second post dedicated to cover songs. I don't think the first one really came up to its full potential and since I'm in youtube mode, here ya go :)

First up is Miss Leona Lewis, this performance being pointed out to me by my lovely Flo. Seriously, she and I share youtube music like it's going out of style. This is Leona's version of Snow Patrol's "Run"

Nastasha Bedingfield is one that although I can't stand to hear "Unwritten" any more (thanks to The Hills), she has so many other songs that I love. Here is her version of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know"

There are few people left out there who haven't heard Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl". This is McFly's version of the hit.

I've always had a soft spot for (most) of Eminem's stuff, the movie 8 Mile included. For some reason, I've always been drawn to the song "Lose Yourself" from that. And here's an interesting version of it from The Script

And no post concerning cover songs would ever be complete without an obligatory Me First and the Gimme Gimme's version of something- this one in particular, The Jackson 5's (or Mariah if you prefer) "I'll Be There"

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Little Bit of Life

Not that life is boring, but it's just been a little slow going recently. Which is perfect considering the summer was so fast paced, it flew by before I had a chance to turn my head and watch it go. Being lazy has become one of my more favorite past times, after my initial gumption with my etsy store wore off. Not that I don't love being creative and such, it's just that I have a habit of diving head first back into my hobbies and then getting burned out. It's okay though. I've still got two quilts that are in the works and cornwarmers to help make for Christmas presents.

Justin and I got to have our first Halloween together and our first time handing out candy at this residence. He didn't move into the house until November last year, so this was his first year too (happy anniversary to buying the house!). We had a handful of kids that stopped by, so we definitely have quite a bit of candy leftover which isn't going so well for my previously snack controlled evenings. I'd just started feeling changes in my body since being active in the Krav Maga classes for about two months now and here I am shoving chocolate into my mouth every time I walk into the kitchen. It's all about portion control, lol.

We've got to figure out when a good time is to go grocery shopping on the weekends. We started out by going on Sunday evenings and after that proved trying, started going right after noon. Were both starting to grow weary of the masses yet again, and today I said we were going to have to give midnights on Saturdays a try just to see. Should we attempt this experiment in the near future, I'll be sure to let you all in on the results. Anything to help my fellow man.

Nineteen (almost 18) more days til Twilight comes out in theaters! I can't help but feel like a 15 year old for my internal obsession with the series, and more specifically Edward Cullen, but as I re-read Twilight this past week to gear up for the movie, I found myself yet again wishing that Justin would somehow become a vampire. Sad, yes. But I do have a big imagination. And he does dazzle me, so it'd be fitting. I'm excited for my date opening night with Emmy so we can wear the bracelets she bought us (fashioned after Jacob's gift to Bella) and I'm seriously considering buying a shirt I found that quotes Edward: "You are exactly my brand of herion." I wasn't this bad about Harry Potter people, and I preordered the last four books.

Sigh. Seven o'clock and it's already been dark for an hour. Although, it does play pretty well into my being lazy past time...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How About a Cover?

As much as I love originals of songs, I also enjoy the occassional well performed cover song. I generally enjoy when the cover is a complete 180 from the original, yet still sounds awesome. The following are a few that I would recommend.

Where did these guys ever go?

Slowing things down

Karate Kid anyone?

Some classic Don Henley action

And although all performances on shows like American Idol and The X Factor would be considered covers, I have to give this one special mention because it's the only covered version of the song that I've ever heard to be just as good as the original

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My New Toy

I've been an avid sewer all my life. Okay, well avid in the sense that I get on kicks that last for months and then take a few months off while daydreaming up all the hundreds of projects I wished I had time to do. When I was younger, I would thread as many needles as my great-grandmother had on a pincushion so that she could hand piece for awhile without having to worry about her poor eyesight keeping her from something she loved to do. My mamaw and I used to make clothes for my Barbie dolls, and to this day I have a simple, yet unfinshed "quilt" that I had started for them goodness only knows how long ago.
Although I prefer to hand piece all my quilts, a sewing machine would be nice for some of the quicker projects I'd like to accomplish over time and someday it'd be a great resource for new curtains, sheets or whatever else I decided to throw together. Although I'd been contemplating the idea of buying one for a bit, it was mine and Justin's decision to start building and making cornhole boards and bags that solidified my decision in buying a machine for myself.
My new toy:
Isn't she a beauty? Lol. Kenmore's were what my mom and mamaw have sewn on for years, so I knew because of that and after reading lots and lots of customer reviews that they were a pretty reliable brand. I found this one on sale at Sears and after our dinner date, Justin and I headed over to the mall to purchase one. Turns out she was the last one in the store. Lucky me!
I put her together that night and filled a bobbin. The next morning, I threw together a few pillowtops that are to be a Christmas present for a friend once I get a backing on them and stuffed.

A detail shot:

And this is my new sewing area: the kitchen :)

After talking about sewing cornhole bags, Justin decided we could turn the area into a sweatshop- turn the a/c off, turn the lights down, turn the oven on and just let me have at it. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Country Cookin'

I love to cook and I love even more to find new recipes to try. So far, so good with everything I've experimented with thanks to http://www.allrecipes.com/ . I decided to go a little off the page and give my absolute favorite dish a try this weekend: chicken and dumplings. My mamaw fixes them at every family dinner because she knows she'll have a twenty something pouty granddaughter if she doesn't :)

I'm so excited (and proud) to say that they turned out wonderfully!

And here's Justin enjoying his warm meal

Later on this week- chicken pot pie. I'll keep you posted.

From the Lost and Found

I go through random spells when I listen to youtube throughout the day. For the past two weeks, Pink has been on a constant rotation as well as Hoobastank, whom I rediscovered after hearing "The Reason" on the radio. One memory of a live Hoobastank performance came from an MTV awards show years back that they sang that song and bombed big time. It was only later after watching it again that I figured out the lead singer seemed slightly intoxicated and maybe that's why he was so off pitch. It was only a few weeks later that i saw them on another television show and he totally killed the song that I realized that had to have been it, cause he was seemingly sober this time around and was great.

This song was off their most recent album. I remember always wanting to dance along to it when I heard it in the car.

"Inside of You"

Pink's got a catchy new song out called "So What" which covers her recent divorce from now ex-husband Carey Hart. The kicker of the video? Carey makes an appearance. When questioned, Pink said something to the effect of "Carey knows I'm crazy but loves me and would do anything for me." I think she's got another hit on her hands :)

"So What"

And of course, for the teenager still living inside me, I have to include some Jesse McCartney, both old school and new.

"Just So You Know"

"Buy You a Drank"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I've Just Experienced a Medical Mystery

About a week ago, I discovered halfway through my workday that there was something poking my left foot right underneath my next to last toe. I remember pulling my shoe off while talking to my boss at one point just to run my hand across my foot in order to brush off whatever may have gotten picked up while I was barefoot earlier in my office. After getting home that evening, my foot was still irritated, so I decided to take a gander. In the questionable area, I found a visable dark line, of which both Justin and I thought it was probably a small cut seeings how the shoes I had been wearing that day were a little worse for wear. We laughed about how just a week before he had been telling me of an article concerning hairdressers finding strands of hair embedded in their feet, apparently the longest of which was 5 inches long!

As the week passed on, I noticed that the discomfort was still there, although on Monday after another inspection, the dark line wasn't there anymore. After having a few "ow" moments during the evening, I took a closer look and found that the line had moved down a bit, and now instead of being horizontal, it was vertical. There was definitely something under my skin, it was irritating and there was no way I could get it out on my own.

Finally, last night I caved. I contemplated tweezers and fingernail clippers to get through the skin, but decided that I would probably make an infected mess out of things in the end and should just make an appointment with the foot doctor for today. As much as I hated to on the offchance that it turned out to be not much of anything, the little line had dropped a little further down to where it now rested in the middle of the ball of my foot and was more noticeable when I walked than before.

At the doctor's office, she decided to take an xray of my foot just to check and see if it was a hard material, like glass or something of the sort. Of course, nothing showed up, but she stated several times that there was something definitely underneath there. She asked if I wanted her to see if she could find it, and I responded "I kinda hoped you would cause I'm pretty sure it'd be more sanitary for you to do it than for me to." After a few minutes of light scalpel work, she informed me that although it wasn't incredibly deep in there, it was a little more than she originally thought and I was going to have to be numbed up. I do thank her for using that cold spray in conjunction with giving me the shot, although it still hurt like the dickens. A bit later, the cutting went much more smoothly (pun intended) and turns out that it was just what Justin and I had joked about- a hair. A little, quarter of an inch piece of hair that had somehow worked it's way underneath my skin and become an irritating little bastard that had to be cut out. How crazy is that? For a little piece of hair to feel like something poking at you whenever you were to bunch your foot up in a certain way.

I've already warned Justin that there will be no more discussions in this house of odd medical happenings and/or rare diseases as I don't intend to be an example of any more.

Monday, September 8, 2008

When The Lights Go Down In the City

So yesterday I made the trek up to Riverbend in Cincinnati with my boss, her husband and two of their friends to see Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick in concert. Now, it must be said that I am a huge 80's music fan. I'd already seen Journey before with Def Leppard, along with Motley Crue and Aerosmith and the only reason I missed last year's Poison concert was because no one would go with me. And although I was excited to see Journey again, Heart was my obsession for the night.

Cheap Trick was actually really good although I only knew two of their songs well enough to sing along. I don't know how many years these guys have been doing it, but his voice was still spot on.

When Heart came out, I was ready to rock. Ann and Nancy Wilson are two majorly talented artists and have been rockin' since the 70's. From the first note out of Ann's mouth, there was no doubt that this lady is just as good now as she was all those years ago. Over and over, she literally just blew us away with her vocals. And I was so happy that they played a lot of the songs that the crowd wanted to hear: Barracuda, Alone, These Dreams and they encored with Crazy on You. I wish they would have played all night.

Journey hit the stage with force and put on just as good of a show as I remembered from the last time. Their lead singer, Arnel Pineda (who is from the Phillipines and they found through Youtube), sounds dead on Steve Perry which is just awesome. They played all the songs I wanted to hear except for one. When they walked off the stage the first time, I turned to Carrie and said "Aw, I was really hoping to hear 'Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin'. When they came back for their encore, they started out with a bluesy type deal with the guitar and a harmonica, and I kept telling myself that the beat sounded like it, but not to get my hopes up. Sure enough, that's what they ended the whole shebang with, and I couldn't have been happier, lol.

Next time Poison comes around, I'm totally in. CC Deville is the man :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You Know You're an Accounting Dork When...

...you spend your downtime at work scheming an elaborate plan as to how you can more quickly pay off your car loan all the while being able to maximize savings over the course of time it originally should have taken you to pay it off. Yep. *raises hand* That'd be me, the nerdy girl sitting at her desk with a newly calculated amortization schedule, excel spreadsheet and hand on the ten-key. I still can't be sure of where I got these tendencies, but I keep promising Justin they'll pay off in the long run.

I'm not really concerned about paying off my car in the sense of money being tight. I originally financed it for a period of five years (as most do) because there's no penalty in an early payoff and why stretch yourself thin when you don't have to? My goal, nay-obsession, at this point in time in paying it off early is in the sense of saving money by knocking off interest. I had originally planned to have the balance to zero by around June of 2010, two years ahead of time. Then today, an epiphany hit and I've spent the last hour coming up with different figures as to how money would balance out should I move that date up to December 2009. So far, so good.

Of course, this sudden inspiration came from a little game I like to play against myself called "See How Much Under the Budget You Can Get in the Month", or as I'm sure Justin would term it "How Big of a Jew Can I Be?". I always want to be covered in case something unexpected were to happen. And of course I want to be covered when the expected shows up all too quickly (don't you hate it when those days and weeks fly right past you?). So my main concern in accelerating payments would be having the money put back for the future things I know I'll need it for. Future vacations, maybe my masters, a wedding somewhere off in the distance, a house that maybe we'll get to build in the next decade, starting my nest egg for retirement. And of course once the first set of worries are taken care of, the second round will start: future children, said future childrens' first cars, college educations, food expenses and general well being. And still piling on to that nest egg for retirement. All things that I worry way too much about to only be where I am right now in life. *shrugs* Eh, well. I'll just be well prepared.

If anyone ever needs a budget in a pinch, just let me know- I'll do it just for fun :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cause Sometimes You're Just In the Mood

Although Justin would surely protest, I think that this would be an incredibly sweet wedding song.

Sometimes it's just nice to go back through memory lane and revisit the songs you used to love and play over and over and over again in your cd player. I proudly state that I'm the owner of all the *NSync albums, including the Christmas one, and every once in a while still like to go back and listen to them. They were my favorite boy band and I always thought they were the most talented (they always sounded the best singing and dancing at the same time, lol). So in honor of this nostalgia, I thought I'd share some of my favorites with everyone.

My favorite off their Christmas album- love most anything accapella, especially this since you can so plainly hear all the harmonies.

One of my favorites off their second album. Granted, I prefer the music video in getting the crotch shot from Justin rather than this one of Lance, but hey, it's all about showcasing their impecible live singing skills here, lol.

And of course, one of the songs that started it all out

I have to say that I rather enjoy music, and sharing it for that matter. I feel a spinoff coming from this one...

Why Can't People Just Let Fiction Be?

Reading used to be an every day event for me, always searching for the next story that I just couldn't put down. After college though my time for recreational reading seemed to dwindle as there was always something else needing to be done. The last series of books that I started and finished was the Harry Potter series, usually the newest book being delivered on the release day and me not emerging from my room until I was finished reading it in the entirety that night. Fiction has always been my favorite, as I've always had a very active imagination that I like to feed.

Just this morning, I finished the fourth and final book in the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. It's popularity has picked up over the past year, the fourth book came out a few months ago and the movie based on the first book, Twilight, will be out in November. I bought the first book to read on the plane rides to and from Vegas, and was not able to really set it aside until it was finished. The evening we got back, I bought the second book, ordered the fourth from Amazon, and was back to Target two days later to buy the third. My mind has been wrapped around Bella Swan and Edward Cullen for over a week now, and I really can't say that I would have had it any other way.

A co worker of mine had mentioned to me last week that she was disappointed in the fourth book. And that quite a lot of people that had written reviews on Amazon.com and websites of the same caliber with the same opinion. After finishing what I thought was an amazing series, and book by itself, I decided to take a gander at what the naysayers were sharing. And of course, was shocked.

Fiction is fiction in my opinion. Stephanie Meyer wrote the first book of the series based on a dream she had one night. She took the pretense of the conversation the two people in her dream were having and wove an intricate tale that has allowed so many to immerse themselves in the fairy tale world that took place in a small town in Washington state. Yet a lot of readers have taken from it so much more. Drawing conclusions of what morals, or lack thereof, the author speaks of, what ideals she is supposedly supporting through the characters actions in the last book. It's a work of fiction folks, a fairy tale, people that don't exist and a story that all came from a dream. The great thing about fiction is that it's not real- it doesn't have to follow what rules the general public or even the author would follow in their every day lives. It's not written as a self help book or a guide for young readers to take to heart in influencing the decisions they make as they begin their adult lives. It's simply a fun way to let your imagination have it's way and spend a few moments outside of the real world to get away from it all. Let you curl up and imagine all the fantasy "what ifs" that you used to when you were young and got a thrill out of watching Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella and every other fictional fairy tale that was out there. All the movies that were ever made about unrequited love and the girl or guy always ending up with the one they pined over. Overcoming all obstacles to get what they wanted. I just don't know how else to say it. Just like with the uproar over the Harry Potter series, your child will not rebuke God and be destined for hell just because he or she reads a series about witches and wizards. Who, mind you, are usually moral and always trying to do the right thing. Sheesh.

The one thing I do know is that I won't let my imaginative high be destroyed by anyone who can't seem to just enjoy a simple tale. A story with no moral, no fable with a lesson at the end. Just a pure, entertaining, absolutely well written tale that I'll re-read for years and years to come.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to Reality

Our little jaunt to Vegas was a fun one. The morning we left started out pretty good, I decided that Southwest airlines were my now number one when it came to flying (mainly because you can seat wherever you want) and although it was about 105 degrees the entire time we were there, I might actually take that over humidity. No frizzy hair when there's no humidity!
Circus Circus was a nice hotel, and of course my first experience in walking through the maze of casinos to get anywhere-your room, a restaurant, to the outside world. Whoever came up with the idea of casinos totally got the floorplan right when they decided to make it to where you had a hard time finding your way out. I'm sure that they knew people would eventually throw up their hands and sit back down to play :)
The first evening there did start out a little less than happy as my cheapness turned to catastrophe. I had packed a bubble wrapped bottle of vodka in my checked bag for the plane, and the plastic cap subsequently busted, allowing the alcohol to spill all inside my luggage and on my clothes. Justin and I spent the first few hours of our vacation finding the laundry facilities at the nearby KOA campground to wash all my clothes. I definitely used up my quota of profanities for the week in about two minutes.

We toured the strip several times throughout the days, walking the first night and taking a co-workers advice by purchasing an all day bus pass for the double decker buses that run up and down each side all day long. It amazed me to see all these huge, intricate buildings in the daylight, but at night it was even more spectacular. The insides of the Bellagio and Ceasar's Palace were so ornate and rich, I definitely felt out of place the first time we walked through them as we were in shorts and tshirts. I did find a cute scene on the inside of the Bellagio that was made up of lots of moss, flowers and model trains :) Of course, I was most enarmored with the sunflowers.
Fun time was spent at M&M World, Coke World, Gameworks, Coyote Ugly, a performance of Ka by Cirque du Soliel, and the Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati Museum I'm pretty sure that Justin got his $200,000+ car thirst quelched the first night there, although it never ceased to amaze me when he would continually point out cars driving down the strip that were an easy half million. Craziness. I'm so glad that I was able to take another trip out west, this time just a little short of the coast. It was a short enough trip to get away for a few days, and a long enough one to wear us out. It was the first vacation for Justin and I together and we can't wait to do it again. And as promised, no one came back married.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hey baby let's go to Vegas...

So Thursday is the big day...Las Vegas! I've always been curious about Sin City and all the fun (and trouble) it had to offer and now I'll finally get the chance to see it all firsthand. Of course, no trip to Vegas would be complete without the best partners in crime, so we're making this mini vacation a group effort :)

I initally came up with the idea of heading west when it was announced that Cher would be starting performances at Ceasar's Palace this fall. I've always loved Cher and it would be the perfect oppportunity to see her amazing stage show as well as get to see the city that never sleeps. In the beginning, my fellow travelers seemed to be all right with the idea of taking in the show, but as time wore on I think it became apparent they just wanted to go to Las Vegas in general, not necessarily to see Cher. As sad as it makes me to think that I'll be there for enough time to actually see her perform twice, I don't want to sift through that large of a crowd by myself so in the end decided I'll have to just try and catch clips on youtube. However, I do retain the right to whine at least once a day while there about how I was swindled into the trip under false pretenses, lol.

We'll be taking up residence in Circus Circus for a few days. Justin and some friends stayed here a few years back on a spring break trip so I trusted his judgement on sleeping arrangements. He did make the good point that you don't need much from a hotel room when you won't be getting much sleep anyway. We'll be just a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip though, which I'm sure will benefit us at some point during our stay.

With so much to see and do and four days just not being enough time to even make a dent in it, we had to narrow down our options as far as the shows were concerned. Any Cirque du Soliel performance was an option and Justin mentioned possibly seeing Penn & Teller. We're still on the fence as to what our final decision will be, but will probably decide by tomorrow night before we leave so we can order tickets a few days ahead of time. I've only ever seen Cirque performances on tv, but from that alone I know that I'd be in awe of everything on the stage.

I'm also hoping to be able to make an appearance in a few of the bars/clubs around town. I've always wanted to see Flare bartenders and I hear that there are quite a few places like New York New York that have bars just for them to put on a show. I told the boys that I'd like for us all to go to Coyote Ugly and of course they were all agreeable to that one :) The one thing that I can assure we won't be partaking in though is this:

There will be no midnight marriages officiated by Elvis. Cross my heart.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The end of an era

This weekend marked the end of an era that began what seems like forever ago. Meg and I, with the help of my mom and Justin, cleaned, packed and transported the last of our things from Apt 7 to begin the next phase in our lives- living with boys :)

After I graduated from college in 2006, Meg moved into my first apartment with me for the summer. Thus began the late weekend nights of neighbor stalking on our second floor balcony, Meg crawling into bed with me after getting in late from work to talk for a few minutes before heading off to her own room, weekly supper menus and alcohol friendly nights. She had to head back to campus (which was all of five minutes away) in the fall to finish her last year of school but we reunited a year later, along with our other friend Dre, to move into an awesome three bedroom place on the other side of town. My dad made the comment that our new place was like a train station with people coming in and out all hours of the day and night, but I really don't think we would have had it any other way.

We started out just the three of us, me assuming the role of "mom" pretty soon into the endeavor. It wasn't too long before we had the addition of Cedric, Dre's boyfriend, and then our little family fell into place. On Halloween, Michael came for a visit after work and never left. Literally. I can probably count the number of nights that he didn't stay with us on one hand, lol. I have to say that after a while you get to used to a full house, and when one or two of your "kids" are gone, things seem so empty.

After the first of the year, a lot of things changed. I met Justin and started staying more often with him than in my own room. Cedric moved into his own place in Lexington so Dre started visiting him there more often as well. In May, Dre graduated from college and moved back home for the summer, leaving Meg and Michael to their own devices as most of my clothes and such were already taking up space in Justin's extra closet. After some discussion, it was decided that at the end of the lease we'd pack our things and go our separate ways, albeit sadly. Meg brought me close to tears several times in these past few weeks by saying "it feels like we just moved in" as we piled belongings into boxes.

It's a rite of passage I suppose, at some point having to leave behind late nights, crazy escapades, collective bad decisions and those inevitable awkward moments that seemed to follow us in order to move into the next phase of things. Meg made the comment yesterday about how we swore last August that we'd be content with living in Apartment 7 for at least five years and I laughed and said "Funny how boys can change a person's mind." It's definitely a time in my life that I'm blessed to have been in the company of my girls and their guys, becoming "mom" and of course being Cedric's 'baby mama' (we all had our respective titles). But I look forward to what's yet to come. Beginning a more permanent part of life with Justin, watching Meg and Michael grow in their relationship, learning to schedule the time out to spend with everyone even if we live twenty minutes apart now instead of right there together. I've already told Meg that I'm planning ahead for the scary movie nights she loves so much that will fill the month of October. It's just another step into the adult life that you want so badly as a teen yet wish could hold off a few more years after college. Ah, that crazy cycle of life.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Daily Dose of Romance

I knew I loved you before I knew you

The hand of time would lead me to you

An evening star was from afar

It guided me, it knew you'd be here

Now wrapped in moonlight, at last together

Here in the incandescent glow we are all we need to know

As we softly please each other til the stars and shadows glow

And we sleep with our dreams around us

It guided me, it knew you'd be here

I knew I loved you before I found you

I knew I'd build my world around you

Now all my days and all my nights

And my tomorrows will all begin and end with you

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

for grilling!

Justin's parent's bought him a wonderful grill for his early birthday present and after a few mosquito infested hours Monday night and yesterday evening, we (okay, well mostly Justin but I held a flashlight for him dangit) finally got this baby put together and cooked our first meal.

Cooking is something that I can always remember helping out with around the house when I was little. If it involved chopping things like for homemade pizza, or pre-cooking ingrediants like hambuger for chili, I was there. Although my enthusiasm for making full blown meals lacked in high school, once I moved into my first apartment after graduating college I was thrown into being "mom" and feeding myself and Megan every night. I think I did an all right job.

Nowadays I get to cook for Justin and I, so I'm always looking for new recipes in order to keep our rotation of favorites from becoming monotonous too quickly. I love cookbooks and I've also found that I get most of my new ideas from http://www.allrecipes.com/. I think I like the site so much simply because you can rate the recipe after trying it and leave a review. Those reviews come in handy since most people make suggestions for extra/less/substitute ingrediants and if some part of the recipe didn't work, they'll usually tell you how to prevent it from happening to you. I'm also trying to show Justin a few tricks here and there as we go about our time together, and I have to say that he successfully made himself pancakes while I was gone to California to visit Flo and Brian. He says that they each turned out to be as big as his head, but I was still proud nonetheless.

So here's to the rest of the year full of hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, steaks and veggies. I can't wait to throw some skewers filled to the ends with zuchinni, squash, mushrooms and tomatoes for kabobs!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Feeling grown up

This weekend seemed to bring about a lot of thoughts concerning maturity and growing up into my mind. I guess a combination of cleaning the old clutter from your room and declaring a huge step in life to family members will do that for a person.

For the first time in a long time, I went home Saturday to spend the night with my parents. I used to do this fairly often, but it seems that every since Justin and i started dating, there's just been a lot of events happening on weekends that aren't conducive to spending more than just the afternoon and part of the evening at home. Mom and I spent a few hours at Mamaw and Pap's that afternoon, doing the usual. Talking gardens, flowers, quilts, the latest family news. It was also this day that I had decided to tell them that I was moving in with Justin at the end of my lease term. I forewarned my mom the week before saying "We're going to tell Mamaw next weekend about me moving" to which she responded "We?" It actually went better than I had thought, but only because Mamaw had been expecting as much and seemed to have prepared herself. THere wasn't a lot of discussion, as she doesn't like the notion one bit, but it felt so good to have that off my chest. Mom and Dad have known for a few months now, so it's just been a waiting game with her.

Saturday night I holed up in my room to start cleaning out what had come to be a nine year collection of stuff in my room. A clutterbug/hoarder by genetics, I've started making myself go through my belongings with less tolerance for emotional attachments as of late, because really, who needs to hold onto class notes from that Business Calculus class you took your junior year of college? But over the course of three trash bags full of things to throw away, I found letters from friends, from old boyfriends, from people that I used to have such a good time with and somehow messed things up with along the way. Such is life I suppose, but it really made me stop and think about how bad of a friend/girlfriend I had been in past situations. And those thoughts then lead me to where I stand today.

I finally feel that it's the point in life where I'm a real, mature adult now. Despite the fact that I've stayed at his house for more than three months now, in exactly a month from today I'll be taking the first step to a more permanent relationship with Justin by officially moving in. No more backup plan of an apartment I'm paying rent on that I can run to just in case, just me and him in what will be my new home. I've never lived with a boy before. It had been contemplated at one point in time, but that was purely out of finanical concerns. And I'm glad that it didn't happen that way. It just wasn't meant to. And to add greater joy and meaning to the occasion, after the last bits of carpet have been cleaned and furniture moved into what will then be "our" humble abode, I will be able to open a great bottle of wine to share with Justin to mark our six month anniversary. To me, the stars couldn't be better aligned.

There was a moment last fall that everything changed. That as I look back, I can see where I transformed from an unsure, always indecisive, constantly questioning pre-adult, stuck in between the carefree days I had in college and the wanting so badly to feel like a respected grown up, to a live for today but think about tomorrow, place myself first on the priority list, be nothing but happy in all the decisions I make kind of woman. I finally put my foot down, said "No more" and stepped it up. And after living in my new perspective for a few months, everything started dropping into place like I had always hoped it would. And that leaves me here: staring at the horizon of a full life I'm going to live. The mistakes and naive decisions from the past will always be with me, but they merely remind me of how far I've come and where to not go back. My heart and mind are finally content.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shana goes Acoustic

I have always been a fan of stripped down, acoustic music. Granted, I'm also one that normally gravitates toward more "breakup" and "I'm in love" music than just regular every day stuff in general, so of course anything put into acoustic mode usually makes me happy. What makes me even happier is when the biggest badasses of rock can take it down a few notches and show off their chops with just some vocals and guitar. Here are a few of my favorite acoustic versions of songs, not in any particular order.

First off, I'm a huge, beyond huge, Papa Roach fan. Their latest cd, "The Paramour Sessions" was incredible and they put on one of the highest energy shows I've seen yet. And of course, I may have a small celebrity crush on Jacoby :) Here's two songs of theirs that they've done live acoustic performances of in recent years, and as Jacoby says in the first, they don't do many stripped down performances. It's during songs like these two that it's reaffirmed the man can sing :)

(For the actual song, skip ahead to 3:22)

I fell in love with Paramore the first time I ever heard "Misery Business" on the radio. I immediately hit youtube and listened to everything they had available and had the band in constant rotation on my phone within days. I think Hayley is really talented and she shows it well here.

Crossfade has several songs that I really enjoy. This particular one is awesome in it's full, high energy version, but I've always had a greater liking for this recording of the acoustic version specifically.

And of course those are only a few of many. But I just thought I'd share some entertainment for the day. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The kindness of others

I'll be the first to admit how awesome Justin's parents are. They're laid back, have a great relationship with one another as well with Justin and just genuinely care about others. They went on vacation last week and when they came back, they brought with them a few gifts for Justin and I. I can't speak for Justin, but as for myself I was super excited about what my bag was stuffed with.

A lovely garden stake that I've named Crazy George for some reason that will look adorable in front of the porch with my flowers. A cute little tote bag that included 2 bottles of Virginia cider and roasted peanuts. And then, my two favorites of the batch.
I can't remember if I told Mama Scarberry that my mom collected pigs or if she just thought that this looked cute, but we'll just say that I'm super excited to make these cookies in order to share them with my mom who will love them. I actually don't own any cookie cutters, so this is my first and I don't think that there could have been a cuter or more appropriate innagural one.
And my absolute favorite, a new cookbook. I am a sucker for new recipes and this one not only has some great ones (that don't require a lot of ingredients), but there's also little cleaning and cooking tidbits at the bottom of every page. Justin's mom called the night we got the gifts and apparently asked if I was offended by the cookbook, and Justin laughed and said "No, she's actually sitting here reading it right now." We'll be dining on the first recipe out of the book sometime this week and I haven't even looked at the dessert section yet :) Mama Scarberry was just so incredibly thoughtful with these things, and I appreciate them very much.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh the celebrations!

In the coming months, I'm going to be getting the chance in sharing in the celebration of so many different things. Celebrating yet another year of life during birthdays, this country's independence, the joining of two people in marriage, the many fun times that were had at Apt 7, half a year of love with Justin and of course the celebration of just pure fun and debauchery in Vegas :)

I feel blessed in the sense that I have a handful of close friends around here, and around the US for that matter, that I can share in their lives, their pain, their laughter. Blessed for the opportunities given to me to share a phone call, an email, dinner or a cross country trip just to be able to give them a real hug for once. I'm also so appreciative of the fact that Justin's friends were so accepting of me from the very beginning. The girls are wonderful (as are the guys) and remind me so much of my own longtime friends that there's never a moment of unease with them. I can only hope that Justin feels the same about mine.

To some it seems odd that a few of the people that know more about me than anyone live on opposite coasts and I've never met them (well, only one now). When you forge friendships through similar situations and emotions like I did with Flo, and over years and years of being pen pals like I did with Kelly, there are bonds there that run deeper than just some superficial "oh, you're my internet pal". Kelly and I lost touch for a few years when she was transitioning into college, but somehow down the road we picked right back up where we left off and I've been with her since she moved to New England and started her worldly travels. Flo and I have been through a few boyfriends, tours of duty, shady situations and lots of funny happenings together. And I'm so glad that I now have pictures of us to put on the wall.

So here's to celebrations of life, love and friendships- three things I could definitely not live without :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What's in a Gift?

So Justin's friends Mike and Brittany (of course they're my friends too now :) ) are getting married in about a month and this weekend is Brittany's bridal shower. The "theme", or general idea for gifts is of the household persuasion, and I have no idea what I want to give.

First I considered wine glasses, but I don't think that they drink much wine so I don't want to get them something that won't be used. Then I thought about a crockpot, but felt like it was too older ladyish of me (despite the fact that I was thrilled to get mine for Christmas a few years ago). I want to find something hip, modern, something that not everyone else is going to be getting a similar version of (no toasters or pots and pans from this girl).

I enlisted Emily for some ideas on the matter, and she shot back an email chock full of possibilities. I think that the two of us are going to make a shopping date for Saturday and hit up Hamburg for Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linen's n Things. Maybe even Bath and Body Works depending on what I decide to theme my gift as.

I love putting gifts together for people, especially on these occassions because it's a special time in that person's life and they're going to appreciate and remember everything that they get commemorating it. Hopefully my warm wishes of a long marriage will be conveyed and I'll get a smile and a thank you for it. But really, the payoff is when you actually see your gift in use :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Introducing Miss Pouty Butt

I hate being disappointed. For me, getting my hopes let down means a few days of pouting (mostly internally), questioning the person who seemingly let me down, the justifications of the let down and just the overall situation as a whole. It also includes me not being as nice as I should be to the other person involved, meaning no enthusiasm for normal things and definitely no random kisses and hugs.

I guess I can just simply state that because of things that have happened in the past, I sometimes blow things out of proportion in my mind. And then can't function properly until I've allowed things to run their course, finally say my last (and maybe deal breaking piece) and then apologize for being a pouty, ugly bitch.

Today was a small family reunion at home, and because of legitimate reasons (i.e. class this morning and leaving at 5 to take his dad to a race for father's day) Justin ended up deciding not to come with me because of time contraints. Not because he didn't want to go, but because I'm pretty sure he just wanted me to be able to spend as much time with my family as i wanted to instead of having to leave early to have him back in time to leave for the race. Deep down I knew that this was what he was getting at, but I couldn't help but be a little sad that he wasn't going to be with me. And I held out with the pouty attitude right up until he left for class this morning, and even cried when he shut the door behind him. After a few minutes, I sent him a text of what I was really thinking, then clarified that it wasn't being said meanly or trying to guilt trip. And then I called three different times on my way home until he called me back in order to apologize. He laughed and said that it wasn't necessary but he appreciated it. The boy is too good to me :)

Anyway, we all have our quicks and faults and it's just a part of life. I'm just glad that mine are generally docile in nature and that it just takes a small amount of patience to get through my "spells." Anyone else have those little quirks about you that probably just won't ever change?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Music of the Week

I've been crushing on a few different songs for the past few weeks, and I happened to run across a few new ones today so I thought I would share.

"Last Name" by Carrie Underwood. I've pretty much liked everything Carrie Underwood since I heard her sing Heart's "Alone" during her stint on American Idol. There were several favorites off her first cd, but this fun song definitely one upped "Before He Cheats" for me. (Another song from Carnival Ride, "I Know You Won't" is also on my list of favs).

"18 Days" by Saving Abel. A new band from Mississppi with their debut album has really made their mark on me. Their single "Addicted" has been playing up the rock stations here at home for a few months now, and being the Youtube addict that I am, I had to see what else they offered. Remiscent of a combination of Hinder and Three Doors Down, the band definitely offers great melodies and some harder drums as well.

"Forever May You Run" by Gavin Rossdale. I actually looked this song up this afternoon after reading about his new cd release in last week's People. There's a live performance from the AOL sessions of him singing this particular song, and as I was a fan of Bush, of course I'm a fan of Gavin's. Of course I"m also a sucker for melancholy songs, so it's all a perfect fit :). (Also check out "The Trouble I'm In" which features Shirley Manson)

"Gunpowder and Lead" by Miranda Lambert. Miss Miranda can really do no wrong with me as far as her songs are concerned. The first time I heard "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" on an awards show last year, I was immediately on the internet trying to find the song. "Gunpowder" is definitely an anthem for the ladies out there who finally find the courage to say no more when it comes to being mistreated. And although one doesn't have to take it literally in order to get the point, it's still fun to pretend :)

"Better As a Memory" by Kenny Chesney. As previously stated, I am a sucker for melancholy, sappy songs, and Mr. Kenny Chesney does such a good job at providing me those to sing along with. This song came at the appropriate time of the end of mine and Kent's relationship and the last lines say exactly how I felt about the situation ("But one day you're gonna find someone, right away you'll know it's true, that all of your seekin's done it's just a part of the passing through. Right there in that moment you'll finally understand that I was better as your memory...").

"Your Arms Feel Like Home" by Three Doors Down. I've been waiting patiently for a new TDD cd, and I was not disappointed when it happened back in May. I was instantly drawn to this song and felt like the first verse was telling the story of Justin and I. I have to say that it's gone around in my head a few times that with a little editing for time, this song could definitely come into play during my hypothetical wedding :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thank you Ky

So my visit in California was beyond amazing and of course all too short of a time to spend with the wonderful Flo and Brian and their little family. I got to tour some nice wineries in Napa (and bring a few souveniers back with me), eat some kickass food (the Rutherford Grill on St. Helena Highway has some awesome, awesome ostrich medallions), survive the cold and windy downtown San Francisco, help Brian beat the last boss on Guitar Hero and giggle as Flo covered her eyes with a piece of paper while we were driving up the road to Mt. Diablo's summit. Bruno was my cuddle buddy again the night before I came back home and I've since been trying to convince Justin we should get a clone of him.

So many memories, great conversations and silly moments will be remembered from this trip. I even got to meet a few of their friends, whom I loved :) My trip home wasn't as eventful as my arrival (although I did get bumped from my original flight to another that left at the same time, just connected through a different city). And of course Justin was waiting patiently at the house with a huge hug when I walked through the door. After we'd said our hello's and "I missed you's", he went to grab his shoes to help carry in my stuff and I said "You totally slept in the middle of the bed the whole time I was gone didn't you?" and he smiled and said "Yes." Silly boy.

Back on the homefront, I've been trying to get back into the groove of work although it's really hard sometimes. I have things that need to be done, but other things that I want to do more. I've started my list of what belongings are going where when I move and last night I drove up to the apartment to start packing some things. My plan is to do this steadily over the next three months that way it won't be all down to the wire the weekend before we go to Vegas. I got most of my closet cleaned out and now have a decent amount of things that will be going to the Mission at home that Mamaw volunteers at every month. It feels good to clean out your closet sometimes.

Justin is also a very happy boy right now because as of last night, Miss Z, his camaro, is back in comission! We took her for a short ride down to the gas station as she was below E, and he drove her to work today. I'm happy that the other woman is back in our lives now and can only imagine the fun that we're going to have with her :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

No Humping!

So yesterday I boarded a plane in Louisville that would eventually, through a connection, lead me to the great San Francisco, where Flo and her Brian would be waiting to whisk me away on a mini vacation that I was so excited for. I have to say that the travel went well (I even saw the guy who played Ethan on Lost at the Louisville Airport) and it was so good to finally get to hug Flo for real instead of over google chat :)

The adventure officially started though when I couldn't find my luggage. I had Brian pick up a bag that i thought was mine (identified by the one broken peg) but when we turned it around, the front was torn all to pieces and I said "No, that's definitely not it." After all the baggage had come through and the carosel stopped, I started getting worried. As we were standing in line at the baggage claims office, I ventured over to the collection of unclaimed luggage to look at the tag on that beat up bag and was completely surprised dto find that it was indeed mine. Not only was the front torn all to hell, the zipper was broken all the way around. Fortunately for me (and the airline) nothing had been lost out of the baggage, including the gift I'd brought for my gracious hosts- some good ol' Ky made Makers Mark Whisky.

A lady that worked there immediately asked if that was my luggage, and then said "Hang on, let me get you a replacement." Out comes this awesome piece of luggage with technology I'd never seen before- wheels that roll sideways :) Flo said that she'd been admiring the smaller version of this particular kind, so I told them they could buy it from me and I'd mail it back to them, lol. I filled out some paperwork, was told I might receive a call in a few days and then we were on our way. Brian and I were starving, so Flo placed an order for pizza with a restaurant called Roundtable Pizza, and I'm telling you it was right up there with La Rosas in NKy and Ohio.

I got to meet the doggles, plus one- Mr. Howie Tucker, a four month old beagle whom Flo and Brian are dogsitting for a few days for a friend. He was my cuddle buddy last night, and a cute one at that. Granted, no one can beat Justin, but Howie will be placed in a close second :) If he'd just stop humping Bruno.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The First Week

My first week of being twenty four went fabulously. Monday, my actual birthday, I was surprised by this lovely bouquet at lunchtime and with an ice cream cake later on that night. Of course Monday and Tuesday both were a bit hectic with last minute tax returns and extensions to help with, but I did a happy dance at 5pm Tuesday evening when I headed out to my car. I picked Justin up at the house and we drove back downtown to meet my coworkers for our annual tax party, which I consider my day late birthday present, complete with an open bar. The food was divine (our whole table ordered tenderloin medallions that came with the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten and my cheesecake for dessert was simply heaven), the paid entertainment soft in the background and the real entertainment (Carrie's husband Johnathon) hilarious. He's never met a stranger and I think everything that comes out of that man's mouth makes me laugh.

Wednesday night I met up with one of Justin's friends for supper in Georgetown. It'd been a while since I'd given in to half price appetizers at Applebees and she and I both like to eat cheap, so it was the best choice. Her fiance had been out of town for almost two weeks and I wanted to help get her out of the house. We talked about a lot of random things, enjoyed food that was so not healthy for us and parted in time for me to get home to Justin a little early and be lazy with him on our two month anniversary :)

Thursday night, Justin took me out to Hibachi for my birthday dinner just the two of us. The food was wonderful (the chef made a 'volcano' out of rings of onions for us) and of course getting dressed up to go somewhere with the boy is always fun. I'd also gotten my hair cut the day before and was super excited to show off the new do (better pictures to come below)

I took a vacation day on Friday as my birthday gift and to get away from the office I'd spent so much time in the past three months. I got to laze around that morning and play with my new hair style, eat lunch with Justin and then run some errands in the afternoon. We met up with several of the friends around 7 at a quaint little Mexican restaurant in downtown and had kinda meh service, but great food.

After dinner (and Cassie's 44 ounce maragarita), we headed back to Justin's house for some drinks and conversation. The night went well, everyone had a good time and of course the boys broke out Guitar Hero :)

It was all good fun and I'm so thankful for everyone that came out to celebrate! Here's to another year of love, friends and fun!