Thursday, May 29, 2014

10 Day You Challenge - Day 2

Day One - Nine Loves

#1 - Hubs
Some people say your spouse can't be your best friend but we truly are best friends.  We are both complete nerds and have the best adventures.
#2 - My Parents

My parents are pretty awesome.  They are cool cats who raised me to be strong and independent.
#3 - My Best Friends
And sadly we don't have one single picture with our entire group!!
#4 - The Kiddos
The red-headed baby doll.

Super Handsome Nerd Baby

The Princess
My favorite ball player.
#5 - My Fur Babies
 Shelby is our rescue puppy.  She's a total mutt but obviously she has a LOT of German Shepherd.  We think her other half is Corgi.  She's a total doll and is seriously glued to my side every minute that I am home.
Jax is another rescue but the way cats think, he probably thinks he rescued us.  He is a curious cat but really a sweetheart.  He loves to cuddle on my shoulder and his favorite spot is on the couch behind my head.
#6 - The Beach
To clarify...Panama City Beach.  Our favorite vacation spot.
#7  - Photography
I have a photography business that started out of my favorite hobby.  I love taking pictures.  I love meeting new people through photography.  I have had the opportunity to capture countless family and children sessions and I'm about to photograph  my 5th wedding.
#8 - Thrift Store Shopping
I love browsing thrift stores and in our area, there are quite a few to explore.  You never know what you are going to find.  One time Hubs bought a car seat (like literally a bucket seat from a vehicle) and the other day I found a brand new DKNY sweater.
#9 - Blogs
I love reading blogs.  I don't comment as much as I should but I am getting better.  Here are some of my favorites (in absolutely no particular order).
#10 - Reading
I like to read when I can sit down and really enjoy it.  I like all sorts of genres - Romance, SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Classics, etc.  This past weekend I explored Play Books on my tablet and started reading The Secret Garden.  I know that I read this in school but that a little while ago so it is like reading a brand new book.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

10 Day You Challenge - Day 1

I came across this the 10 Day You Challenge on one of my favorite blogs - Peanut Butter Fingers.  I decided to give it a try.

Day 1 - Ten Secrets - I don't really know how good these "secrets" are.

#1 - I want to be a writer!  I write some but keep it hidden.  I am not comfortable sharing it but writing and getting published is definitely on my bucket list.

#2 - I have a soft spot for boy bands.  This may not really be a secret but I love some Backstreet Ones, New Kids on the Block, One Direction...etc. 

#3 - I have to hype myself up to run.  When I'm running, I get pretty unmotivated very quickly.  I have to constantly coach myself to keep going.  It's easier when I take Shelby because then I can say "Come on, Girl.  Just a little bit further," and everyone thinks I'm talking to the dog.

#4 - I'm quite OCD.  Some things I can let be ridiculously messy and unorganized but certain things have to have their place before I can relax.  Sometimes it happens with other people's stuff and I can't relax until I right the wrong. 

#5 - When I lost enough weight to stop shopping in the plus size section, I did a little happy dance in the dressing room. 

#6 - I absolutely despise wearing a swimsuit.  They are horrible creations.  Each time I'm in a swimsuit, I'm constantly thinking about how uncomfortable I am.  And I suck in the entire time I'm wearing one.

#7 - I'm scared of the dark.  I have to have light.  I cannot go to sleep in a completely dark room.  I fall asleep every night with the television on.

#8 - I can't stand nicknames like Kid, Honey, Sweetie, or any of those.  But I never correct someone if they use a nickname.  I'm generally friendly that way.

#9 - I once got my haircut and I told the girl that I liked it but I was crying before I ever got to my car.  It was sooooo short.  I cried all the way home. 

#10 - At Potluck meals, I only get the foods when I know who made them.  I have an irrational fear of buffets and potlucks in general so I make sure I know who made the food before I will even try it. 

Stay tuned...I think my Nine Loves is much better than my Ten Secrets.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

On sort of a whim, we decided to go camping Friday night.  There was supposed to be a new meteor shower to see and the weather was supposed to be great so we set out for my cousin's farm. 

Don't ya just love my packing list!?
 My cousins have property only about 20 minutes from our house.  It's a giant farm with loads of open sky.  It was the perfect setting.  We found a nice campsite and set up our tent and built a little fire.  The evening turned out much cooler than expected so the fire helped knock the chill off.

 We took Shelby.  First of all, Shelby LOVES to ride in the Jeep and exploring is her favorite hobby.  She was in farm heaven with all of the smells from horses, chicken, crops, and good Alabama grass.

All of the camping essentials - fire, comfy chairs, and the Jeep that got you there.

My cousins were there preparing a field for planting so we got to visit for a while.  When they headed for home, we fired up our tiny new camp grill and made burgers.  We had burgers, chips, and monster munch for dessert.

The meteor shower ended up being a little lackluster and we were just plain exhausted so we ended up falling asleep somewhere during the 11 o'clock hour.  

Shelby kept us up off and on all night.  Sleeping in a new place was exciting stuff.   

We ended up waking up around 5 Saturday morning.  Camping makes you an early riser. 

My cousin came by early to get started on their planting and we attempted to make breakfast.  All we ended up making was sausage patties but we all three ( me, the Hubs, and Shelby) enjoyed them.

I had a photoshoot on Saturday morning but afterwards we headed to my parents' house to enjoy some dinner.  My dad was hungry for bbq so he went a little wild on the grill.  We had ribs, pork steaks, Italian sausage, smoked sausage, and chicken kabobs with squash, zucchini, and onions.  We also had homemade potato salad and coleslaw and corn on the cob.  It was so delicious!

My daddy knows his way around a grill.
 We spent the rest of the weekend hanging around the house, working outside (Hubs!), and swimming at my parents' house.  On Monday, I had a late lunch with my parents, grandmother, and aunt.  It was another round of my dad's grilling goodness. 
My parents have 5,000 beach towels but this one made me giggle.  They have had it since my brother picked it out when Aladdin first came out in theaters (1992!). 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

So I was completely devastated this morning.  I had a gain of 5lbs on the scale!  This gain was due to improper planning - no meal plans, no lunch preparedness and eating entirely too much junk!  Hubs and I are determined to be better - plan better, shop better, be better.  I really want to try more clean eating.  I really need to focus on less fatty and carb-heavy foods.  Instead of dwelling on that horrible number on the scale, I plan to get rid of it by focusing, planning, and working hard!

Here is our menu this week -

Saturday - Stuffed Peppers (these were prepared by the Publix Meat Dept and not homemade), loaded potato casserole, and green beans

Sunday - Country Fried Steak (this is part of that no planning/bad decisions thing...), mac & cheese, leftover loaded potato casserole

Monday - Chinese "Fried" Rice and Chinese Chicken Salad

Tuesday - Steak and Chicken Kabobs (with squash, zucchini, and onions), rice, and corn

Wednesday - Breakfast at home - whole wheat pancakes and smoked sausage

Thursday - Grocery night with a plan for healthy, clean foods!

For hundreds of menu plan ideas, visit's Menu Plan Monday!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Our Weekend and Day One of Staycation

Each year we take a week's vacation in May, usually near Hubs' birthday (May 7th).  This week is our vacation and we decided to have a staycation this year.

Our vacation really started on Saturday.  Hubs worked around the house all day and then met me at a wedding. I spent the day decorating and getting beautified for the wedding of my one of my oldest friends. 

I met up with my friends at a local winery and event venue called Vizzini Farms Winery.  We decorated early for the evening wedding then headed to a local hotel to get ready.  It was a nice, busy day full of laughter and good company.  They introduced me to mimosas.  Wow I was missing out! 

 Forgive the blurry pictures.  These were the best I could get in the crowded hotel room.  But above is the bride herself and me before we dressed. 

Above is the maid of honor and my dear friend G and I after we got ready. 

The wedding took place at 6pm.  The weather was picture perfect.  N chose navy blue and gray for her colors.  Instead of tuxedos, the groom and groomsmen wore gray pants and vests with navy blue ties and each bridesmaid had a different style dress in Davids Bridal in marine blue.  Instead of traditional bouquets, the bridesmaids carried white lanterns.  After the ceremony, guests enjoyed to wines made the property (the green apple Riesling was my favorite) and a buffet of chicken Parmesan (with white alfredo sauce), potatoes, mixed vegetables, and rolls. There was dancing and some pretty amazing cupcakes (made by the bride).  We gave the newly married couple a candle-light send off.  It was a great evening for a wedding.

The only bad moment came on the way home.  There was a bad wreck and traffic was down to one lane.  As we approached the wreck, a cop stopped us then asked us to pull over.  We were very confused but I pulled out our registration papers and proof of insurance.  When the officer came to the window, he said they had received reports all evening that we were joyriding drunk, running people off the road and being reckless.  We were stunned.  We both said it couldn't have been us and that we had only gotten on the interstate a mile back and had been at a wedding for hours and hours.  I was still wearing my bridesmaid dresses and we still had the candles from the send off.  The candles were still warm.  I was even prepared to call the bride's family.  He didn't exactly believe us and had Hubs do an eye test.  He concluded that he wasn't drunk.  Well of course not.  I informed him again that I promise it wasn't us.  He sort of apologized and let us go on.  It was the weirdest 5 minutes of my life probably.  Being accused of something pretty horrible and yet we really couldn't defend ourselves without coming across as being disrespectful.   He never asked us for identification or anything.  I hope that if the "reports" were real, that that person was caught.  It was quite scary and just strange.  We drowned our nerves in burgers and chocolate shakes from Steak and Shake.

So for our first day off, we slept in late.  10 am.  We never do that!  We ran errands and enjoyed some Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo.  Hubs worked outside a bit more and I visited with him while he worked.  Now we have been enjoying a Dr. Who marathon for the past 4 hours.  A very nice staycation day.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Old Friends

This weekend I am in a wedding of one of my oldest friends.  Nicole and I knew each other when we were really young but became friends in 7th grade.  We are going on 20 years of friendship.  Every teenage memory includes Nicole.  Our group of friends were always together in some form or fashion.  I know this friendship is forever because it is that type of friendship where we don't see each other or spend near as much time together as we should but when we are together, things just fall into place.  It's comfortable.  And real. 

I'm super excited to be a bridesmaid in Nicole's wedding and celebrate this incredible time with them.

In honor of the wedding and since today is "Throwback Thursday," I want to share this beloved photo.

E, K, Me, G, and Nicole (the bride!)
This photo was taken our senior year of high school - homecoming actually.  These four girls (I'm in the center) made up my entire high school career.  We had other members of our group but this was the core.  I have so many memories that include these women.  It's amazing how much we have changed.  Our lives have taken unexpected turns but we are all still hanging on for the ride. 

E went on to work full-time for I guess all of these years.  She earned a bachelor's and master's in English.  She's as sassy as ever!  When I saw her at a celebration for Nicole, it has been years since we saw each other.  We never skipped a beat.  She's the exact same tell-it-like-it-is gal and I would never want her to change.  Oh, and she drives a convertible.

K went off to school right after graduation.  She is now a science teacher at our alma mater and lives in our hometown (as does E). She has a cute little boy - the only one of us with a child in fact.   And soon she will begin teaching kids of people we graduated with! Scary! 

G has a degree in art and works for a research department for the same univeristy I do (and Nicole too for that matter).  I gave her a reference when she was hired.  :-)  G was never a fashion guru in school.  Just be glad she showed up.  She didn't care for hair, makeup, and definitely not clothing.  Today though, her closet is probably 3 times bigger than mine.  She always looks amazing and her hair and makeup are flawless. 

Nicole is the same as she always was.  She's genuinely sweet and thoughtful.  She was always sort of the mother hen to G and I and she's still that way.  She plans everything out to the minute - which came in especially handy for wedding planning.  She has a degree in interior design.  It fits her.  She works for one of the academic schools on campus.  And I think she's thinking of going back to school to be a teacher.  She'll be a great teacher.  And hopefully she will add mommy to her list soon too.  If there was one person who was born to be a mother, it would be Nicole.  And she had plenty of practice helping to raise G and I.  :-)  G's parents adopted Nicole.  It was so very fitting that she and G became "real" sisters.  I can't wait to watch their mom this weekend.  She's going to be a puddle of emotion for sure.

So that's them.  My old friends.  Four incredibly strong, beautiful, and independent women.  In this group of women, three of them lost their mothers before they turned 25.  It shocked my soul each time.  But they kept going. 

Once upon a time we were just five band nerds with no responsibility.  Now we have husbands, kids, careers, homes, retirements, and the list goes on.  We have each traveled the paths in front of us and I don't know about myself but they are traveling with grace and strength.

I'm glad to have each of them in my life - even though we don't see each other as much as we should.  Maybe this big celebration will help bring us together more often.