I'm a country music lover. It's not a secret, and I'm anything but ashamed. I'm quite proud of how much I enjoy country music! It's up there with how much I love Bud Light, and if you make fun of me for either one, you can consider us no longer friends. Music & beer are serious issues, people.
I wanted to share a few artists I've discovered recently and really enjoyed with my fellow country music lovers :) The last time I did this I didn't have good news to report, so I'm glad that I thought in advance and actually listened to the music before telling you guys about it!
Michael Sarver (left) has a BEAUTIFUL voice. His song Angels Sing brings tears to my eyes. I love his music -- he is so talented, and I'd be shocked if I didn't hear his music on my radio soon!
Jonalee White (right) reminds me of the Dixie Chicks combined with Sara Evans and the sassiness of Miranda Lambert. The songs are catchy, fun, and easy to sing along to. I have no idea how "new" of an artist she is, but she's new to me so hopefully she's new to you too!
Walker Hayes (below) is just plain FUNNY! I fell in love with his music when I was browsing iTunes one night and found myself wishing there was more than 4 songs! Plus, the man is straight sexy. Yum.
So there you have it -- my newest country music finds. Anyone else have any good music finds in the last few weeks? I'll be the first one to admit that I downloaded these as well as some (aka the entire discography) Hannah Montana. I'm still a little confused about when she is Hannah and when she is Miley, but either way I like the music.
Yep -- I like Miley Cyrus and Bud Light. I don't even know what that means.
It's the first weekend in October. Fall is (finally) in the air. I looked out my window this evening and there was a tree with orange leaves! On second thought, that might have been spraypainted by the DOT, but either way... they were orange! Just maybe a more neon shade than normal. Either way, it seems like fall has finally graced the south with it's presence. Just a few football games too late. So now what? We must take full advantage of this beautiful weather before it's cold and nasty out! Any plans for the weekend? Today's Top 10 Thursday is my list of the Top 10 things I think YOU should do this weekend to commemorate the arrival of fall! (And some of them, I will be doing too!)
1. Oktoberfest in Helen, GA. You could stay here, which is where I plan to stay, but not until November! I've been to Oktoberfest more than once, and it's ALWAYS a blast. This Saturday is even the Miss Oktoberfest 2010 pageant!
2. Apple picking at HillCrest Orchards. I haven't been here specifically, but a coworker was there a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it!
3. Battle of the Burgers in Virginia-Highlands. I received a ticket (thanks Yelp!) and am going with a good friend. I will take lots of pictures and report back on the best burger!
5. If you can't make it to Helen... what about Fadoktoberfest right here in Buckhead? $5 discount code: fado5 :) Anyone have some lederhosen I can borrow?
6. Even though I'm not baseball's biggest fan (Football > all other sports), the Braves are in town and I know enough to know that they are vying for a Wild Card spot... or something like that! And Twitter tells me that there are still Standing-Room-Only seats available, whatever that means.
7. Just get out of the house - go for a walk, do some yardwork, pick a project to tackle this weekend!
8. Wine tasting in North Georgia. Or, if you're lazy.. get a group together, wrap some Trader Joe's wines in brown paper bags, and pour. Have everyone try to guess what kind of wine they are drinking!
9. Sleep with the windows open! I wish I could, but the trains that pass by my window on an hourly basis stir up a lot of dust and make a lot of freaking noise.
10. You tell me! What are your plans for this weekend? Will I be seeing you at Battle of the Burgers?!
I love fall & I am SO EXCITED it's here! Boots, sweaters, long sleeves, leaves, fireplaces, cabin weekends, night football games, Halloween, Thanksgiving, family, friends... I love all of it!
If you've spent any amount of time wth me, you have probably heard me whine and cry about my lack of luck. I don't think I have bad luck, I just don't have any. My freshman year of college is the first time I actually remember winning anything in one of those raffle drawings, and it was at Zeta Day in Augusta. The trip had already sucked enough (my friend got a speeding ticket 5 minutes outside of Augusta, we had to leave Atlanta at 7am, you get the idea) so I was SO PUMPED when they called my number. The prizes had been neat stuff like tshirts, mugs, koozies, all the good sorority stuff that you are still excited about as a freshman. So I walk down to the front of the stage and what do they hand me? A basket the size of my fist with 4 plastic strawberries in it and some Easter basket grass. Seriously? What a joke. I was so pissed! That's how non-lucky I am.
So imagine my surprise when, late last week, I received an email stating that I had won a contest I entered! Granted this had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with my writing ability (and apparently spending habits), but still. I won! I finally won something of value! Woohoo!
What’s the best thing your parents told you about money—that you ignored? We’ll post the response we think everyone should hear and give the winner $100. (Maybe you should split it with mom and dad.)
A. Winning Entry
When I graduated college I received quite a bit of money from family and friends—enough to create a 6 month cushion in my savings. My dad informed that if I had that same cushion in one year, he would double it. He was trying to teach me the value & importance of having a 6 month emergency fund. Six months (and many beers, pizzas, and shopping trips) later, my cushion was gone and I was broke. I was forced to admit my failure to my dad, but have learned my lesson and understand how important that cushion is.
Yep, that's a true story. It was a dark time in my life where I thought that Moe's, Moondogs, and the Gap could solve all my problems. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, but...it wasn't exactly a life I could sustain. I've moved on to bigger & better problems, kids!
But seriously, thank you Schwab and I guess... thank you Dad, too. That $100 I won will be wisely spent, I swear!
I don't talk about my religious beliefs or faith much, both in real life and through the interwebz. But, if you read between the lines you might have figured out that I am a) Catholic and b) a volunteer with high-school teens. Volunteering with the teens is one of the best decisions I have made post-college. It's up there with my decision to only go out 1 night per weekend. Somehow, those 2 things are greatly related. I'll let you figure out how... It's also been an incredible way to meet new friends and foster new relationships. I think it could even be described as a hobby :)
Anyway, I was incredibly involved with this group as a HS teen, and the program and the leaders had a huge impact on me at a time in my life when I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. Ultimately, I want to have that impact on someone else. I want to pay it forward, if you will. So I am. And it's awesome, rewarding, satisfying, exciting, funny, and a million other things. I love it.
I am telling you this because I am looking for some new, creative, exciting ideas to incorporate into some of our planning sessions. Have you heard any songs lately that could apply to a religious teaching? I have -- Never Alone, by Lady Antebellum. Have you seen any inspirational YouTube videos? Seen any emails that have a great lesson inside them? High school kids are so plugged in, so we want to relate to them on their level. I'm also looking for ice breakers, games, and fun activities to play. We do a weekly Minute to Win It challenge that I love!
I guess the whole purpose of writing this was two-fold. I'd love to hear about your beliefs, religious, spiritual, or otherwise, and how you implement them in your daily lives, and your ideas for reaching out to a bunch of teenage punks!
I am "naturally" blonde. I go to my hair care godmother Alexandra because I like her to emphasize just how blonde I am "naturally." I've been going to Alexandra for four years now! That is like, totally impossible for me to believe.
She started at Aveda, then she did my hair in her kitchen sink, then her hair styling only cost me $10... now it costs a lot more than $10 but she's in the New Talents department at Van Michael in Buckhead. I love her. We've hung out socially, we talk about our personal lives... she is my hair diva. My friends see her, my friends mom's see her... she's basically the bomb [dot] com. She even fixed my hair when I decided to dye it brown. Don't even ask.... never again. Blame the idiot boy in the picture below for encouraging me and telling me it looked "fine." No offense, brunettes, but it's true, blondes really do have more fun!
A few weeks ago I was feeling cheap. My job sitch is tricky, making my income sitch tricky. I am buying a digital camera. It is football season... I was just being cheap! I went back to the Aveda salon hoping for equally fantastic results. Uh, wrong-o. I have zero beef with Aveda and don't blame them at all, but I mean... it was just no Alexandra. It was really no Great Clips... in fact, I real could have done a better job myself. But, it was hair. It was blonder, I moved on. But now I hate it. Now, I am kicking myself. Alexandra would never have let me have roots like this. Alexandra would have prevented this situation entirely. To refresh your memory, Alexandra = the bomb dot com.
Well, today is the day. Today I am going to visit my hair goddess. I can't wait to see her. She is so popular that I had to book my appointment 2 weeks in advance. You are talking to a girl who does anything for instant gratification. The fact that I waited 2 weeks for Alexandra... I mean, she's that good.
Ignore the fact that I was being a total goob taking a picture to send to my mom of my hair... Doesn't my hair look fabulous and oh so blonde??! Oh Alexandra, I can't WAIT to see you again!
To expand more on my tips for hobbies, I thought I would share with you all how I have incorporated running into my daily routine.
7am - roommate leaves for work after her hour long AM workout (she gets up at 5 to go run in the morning...she's sick, I know) and I contemplate getting out of bed
8am - I finally get up and contemplate running on the treadmill (again) and justify not running in the morning by declaring that I prefer evening workouts outside
9am - I get to work and wish I had run in the morning so I didn't dread it all day
10am - I gchat someone and tell them that I am going to run tonight (accountability partner by means of force)
11am - I think about the healthy choices I am going to make when eating today since I am running tonight
12pm - I eat nachos and pizza for lunch
1pm - I die
2pm - I start the countdown until 5pm when I go into the bathroom & change into my sneaks
3pm - I gchat someone else about how running really isn't my thing
4pm - Whoever I gchatted at 10am asks what time I'm running, I lie and say I think I've come down with the chicken pox and I can't run today.
5pm - I go change clothes, come back and sit at my desk a while longer hoping someone tells me something that is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL AND MUST BE DONE IMMEDIATELY
5:10pm - I finally go outside and start my measly mile around the complex... twice
5:25pm - I've made it the first mile (what? there's lots of hills and I'm out of shape) and I contemplate going back in to the a/c. Depending on how much I ran in the first mile, I either do the same thing again (if I only ran a little bit) or call it quits (if I ran a lot).
Basically what I'm trying to tell you is that I am just starting out. I have tried to quit running more than once and I keep going back to it. I'm determined to win it over, to be able to do it, and to be able to do it mildly well. And my mom would probably tell you I'm kind of stubborn, so damnit I'm going to do it, even if it takes me forever. I will never run a marathon. I will probably never run a 1/2 marathon. I am perfectly, 100% okay with that. I applaud others who do it, but it ain't my cup of joe. That doesn't mean I'm not going to run though. One of my very good friends said that she doesn't ever want to feel like she can't participate in something because of a lacking physical ability and I agree wholeheartedly, which is why I keep at this whole running thing. I want to be able to go for a hike and survive, or go for a walk/jog/run with a friend and hold my own. So slowly but surely, I am going to conquer this running beast.
Now can someone please come pick me up off the floor, stop my hands from shaking, and feed me ice chips? It's 90+ degrees in Atlanta right now and I might be dying.
There are approximately 890432 reasons why I love the city I have resided in for the last 6 years, and the state I have inhabited for the last 20 years, but today I am going to share just 1 of them with you.
I was reading Jessie's most recent post about her trip to Maine, and from it I deduced that NY was not a part of New England. Jigga what? As far as my southern belle brains were concerned, that whole area "up there" was New England. And the North. And the Northeast. North = Northeast = New England.
So, for your information...
1. North = anything above the Mason-Dixon line.
2. Northeast = New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, & the dirty Jerzzzz
3. New England = Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont & Rhode Island
Am I the only apparently geographically challenged idiot who didn't know these facts? Probably.
Whatever, weird northerners. I'll claim my Midwest roots but I fully commit myself to be a Southern girl, through and through. Nothin's that complicated 'bout the south, anyway.
Some people know this about me, some don't. If you follow me on Twitter then you probably know how in love I am with this show. Only the first & second season. It started being aired again on ABC Family, and I obviously recorded it even though I've already watched seasons 1-4 (in like 3 days, but that was a different time in my life. I've moved on from that lifestyle. Kinda.) Well, the episodes on ABC Family weren't coming fast enough, so I've parked myself in my bed in front of my computer and am watching Netflix Instant Streaming of Season 1. And probably as much of Season 2 as I can get to before I have to go do whatever it is I'm supposed to do on a Saturday night. If you have't watched Friday Night Lights yet... get to it.
Ps: For the ladies, Tim Riggins vs. Matt Saracen. I'm a Timmy Riggins girl ALL DAY LONG. Obvs we're the perfect couple.
(And obvs I need a new job where I have more to do than Photoshop myself into pictures with celebrities. Don't judge. Well, go ahead and judge, because I would.)
I'm going back to watching fake football, because apparently the real football I'm watching is SUCKING. Ugh.
I have mentioned before that I felt like I was missing hobbies. I am a young working professional, I can happy hour with the best of them, but really, is being able to drink a delicious Bud Light considered a hobby? In a perfect world, sure, but in my reality, probably not. And I could say that my "exercising" is a hobby, but it's really just a reactionary measure to the previously mentioned happy hours. I still dread it. I still make up excuses to not do it. So nope, that's not a hobby either. And those are about the only 2 things I really want to do when I get off work daily.
In an effort to complete my 101 in 1001, I have decided to add a few more hobbies to my repertoire. Plus I need something to do that doesn't involve taking a taxi home. On a Wednesday. At 9pm. Anyway. I'm also on a very strict budget, so I thought I would share with all of you some of the hobbies I have picked up that are time-friendly, don't require a ton of brainspace, and can be done on a budget!
1. Sewing. Although this requires a bit of an up-front expense, I got my sewing machine for under $100 at Wal-Mart and have been very satisfied! You can get fabric for incredibly cheap if you are patient and a good bargain searcher, and you can spend HOURS trying to figure out how the hell to thread your bobbin.
2. Crafting. I've picked up some crafting abilities between my mom and the blogs I read obsessively for DIY projects I can tackle. I've started hunting through garage sales, estate sales, and the junk I have in my house to find things I can spruce up. A couple cans of spraypaint and some scrapbook paper and you're in business! Sewing machines can also come in useful in the crafting department. Look at that - one machine, 2 hobbies!
3. Exercising. I know, I know, I just went on and on about how exercising isn't a hobby for me, but that isn't entirely true. Running 2 miles to work off the 2 glasses of wine I had at happy hour isn't a hobby. Going to a Step Class, or swimming laps, or playing a game of pick-up volleyball are absolutely hobbies, and they are pretty dang cheap. It's still warm enough around here that if you have a swimming pool, you could grab some hand weights and do your own workouts, it's a great time of year to join a gym (and you can join for about $30/month), or just grab a few friends and ball. Easy!
4. Cooking. You already buy food, right? Why not turn it into a challenge? One of the bloggers I follow has recently started a cooking challenge for herself that has forced her to step out of her comfort zone - what a great idea to motivate yourself! Bring in some snacks for the office, suggest a bake-off... whatever you feel like! I'm sure someone will appreciate your efforts! And don't forget - for every cooking victory there will be quite a few failures.
5. Volunteer! This doesn't have to be for a specific organization, or for a "good cause." Every cause is a good cause! Get involved with your university's alumni association. Join your sorority or fraternity's alumni chapter. Donate blood when the Red Cross is in your office building. I jumped into a role in my sorority's alumni chapter, I volunteer with LifeTeen, and I've recently begun working with a GT alumni chapter. All of these things have been incredibly rewarding, and offered me many opportunities to meet new people and expand my network. Plus it's been a ton of fun, and I don't sit at home wondering why I don't have any new friends or hobbies.
6. Read. One of the things on my 101 in 1001 list is to read books outside of my normal reading. That means non-chick lit. Real books. I've done an okay job so far, but this is the cheapest one so far - read some reviews on a topic you're interested in, reserve a few books online at the library, and wait for them to come in. Then all you have to do is read. You may love the book, you may hate it...it doesn't matter, it's all about the experience!
7. Photography. I admittedly know nothing about this, but I do know that regardless of your camera, you can take some pretty dang good pictures. Plus, there are a few free editing programs out there that can help jazz up any pictures!
8. Wine/Beer. I absolutely think this can be a hobby. My favorite beer & wine store offers tastings throughout the week with education that goes along with them, and to me, this is a great way to enjoy a beverage after work. Many times food is involved, so for $20 you get dinner and a few drinks. And again, you can take what you learned and pass it along, or use it in the future!
9. Sports. Watching, participating...join a flag football team, or a kickball team, or a bowling league. Plenty of options, and for $50-$75 for the season, this is a pretty affordable option. Another 2 birds 1 stone, because what a great way to also meet new people!
10. What do you do?! What are your hobbies? I'm interested to hear, and always wanting to add more to my list!
When I really sat down and thought about what I was doing with my free time, I knew I needed to do something besides go home and sit on my rear. For my own sanity! So my advice to you, my little friends, is to be conscious of how you are spending your free time. It doesn't mean you're spending it wrong, just be aware! Nothing wrong with a little rear-sitting, but try to balance it out, too! You'll be better for it :)
Because I am exercising my right to a mental health day today, and because I'm feeling indulgent, and well.. just because, here are some things on my wishlist.
1. This giant screen to put on my balcony and ward off the dust that the trains that drive right by my house stir up. That way, I can sit and enjoy my balcony without hacking up a lung. Unfortch, because this isn't my house, and because who knows where I will end up next, this badboy will remain on my wishlist until who knows when.
2. Nikon D3000 DSLR camera. I am not 100% sold that this is the exact version of a DSLR that I want, but I'm pretty confident that I want to go with a Nikon, and based on the reviews I have read, this is the best model for a beginner (i.e. me). This is the item on this list I am most seriously considering purchasing because I think it will get the most use and I will enjoy it the most. I am resident picture taker amongst my friends, always have been, so why not upgrade?
3. These cowboy boots. I bought my previous pair of cowboy boots at Aldo following a particularly fabulous night at my favorite fraternity house in college with Peanut and her cronies. I have literally worn those boots out, to the point that once on my feet, they don't really come off that well, as evidenced by the night that I slept with 1 boot on. Although I'll never get rid of them, I really need a new pair. And, have no fear, my feet shall never go cowboy-boot-less. I bought them last weekend!
4. (A little hint at a post I have coming up later this week!) I am looking for new sewing projects! I am now on sewing machine #2 because apparently my curtain-making was a little too much for sewing machine #1. But, all is well, and I am seeking out new projects. It's a little early to start my Christmas sewing, even for me. But that doesn't mean I haven't already purchased presents for half my family...
What are on your wishlists? Are they practical, absurd, necessary, or just your wants?
On that note, I'm going to enjoy the 2 hours I have left of my mental health day. I forgot that I agreed to run carpool & after-school pickup today for the kids I babysit for, so my mental health day is being cut short. Not the end of the world, really... I could stand to make a little money today! Happy Tuesday!
My weakness. Snickers. In ice cream form. At 100 calories a pop. YUM. A few weeks ago at the grocery store I had a coupon that was $1.00 off 2 boxes of these suckers. Of course the grocery store only had the economy boxes with 16 per box rather than the 7-count box I was hoping for. Oh well.
OH MY GOD. Best purchase ever. They are the perfect after dinner treat, before dinner treat, breakfast treat... you name it, I'll use it as an excuse to eat an ice cream bar. And, the best part is that just 1 is just enough for me. I don't find myself craving them, or other sweets for that matter, and it's the perfect 3 bite mini-Snickers. Shockingly enough... I still have 2 from the original box and the whole second box left! As long as I've got the coupon, I shall continue to purchase these chocolatey-peanuty-caramely delights!
PS - A tip: don't bring them to work, or thieving ninja bosses like mine will steal them. RUDE.
In preschool, we had 2 choices for a drink with our snack: apple juice and water. I could digress into a monologue about how much I hate apple juice, but instead I'll suffice to say I chose water. I attribute my water-drinking skills now to Grace Presbyterian Preschool and the choice they forced me to make. Because now, 20+ years later, I still choose water 9 times out of 10. Well, that and because my wonderful mother-dearest is a cheapskate who NEVER let us order soda when we went out to eat, and I mean NEVER. Even now, as a full-grown adult... no sodas allowed at dinner. But my mom's frugality is another story for another day...
Today's Top Ten Thursday is dedicated to the reasons why you, too, should choose water.
10. It's always free. 9. It makes your skin shine! I seriously notice when I haven't consumed enough water because I start getting more blemishes on my face! 8. You can carry around a cool looking thermos and be environmentally friendly. 7. If you drink 87 glasses of water a day at work like I do, you end up having to go to the bathroom 890432 times a day, and therefore probably get at least a 10 minute break every hour just in going to the bathroom. They can't deny you a potty break, can they? BONUS! 6. Getting up to get those glasses of water also can attribute to approximately 10 minutes per hour of your work day, especially if you have particularly long-winded coworkers who like to linger by the water source. 5. You feel like you are having a real treat when you drink anything other than water. 4. You save that extra $2-$4 on a drink at dinner so you can get an appetizer or dessert! 3. If you drink a lot of water during the week you are just preparing your hydration for the weekend when you thoroughly dehydrate yourself through lots of exercise... or copious amounts of non-water beverages (I never said I only drink water on the weekends, too!) 2. You can add awesome flavor to it with just a little piece of fruit! 1. It's just so great for you, how could you not insist on drinking a glass of water at every opportunity?
Anyone else drink more water than they could possibly imagine and waste at least 30% of their day getting water, going to the bathroom, or thinking about either activity? Because I do (and my amiga Jessie does!), and in fact some people at work have even noticed... and a while ago someone commented on it, and then I mentioned that smokers probably waste even more time than me thinking, worrying about, and actually smoking, and they shut up. I am developing and encouraging a GOOD HABIT, a HEALTHY HABIT. Can you say the same about your smoky, smelly breathed, excessive break-taking employees? That's what I thought.
So, today's lessons: Drink water, don't smoke. The end!
...when to eat the last cookie? (and when not to?) ...when to tell the friend the harsh truth? (and when to sugarcoat it?) ...when to buy flowers for yourself? (and when to let someone else buy them for you?) ...when to spend the whole day in bed? (and when you should get your lazy butt up?) ...when to play in the rain? (and when it's not worth it to get wet?) ...when to spend your last $5? (and when to save it for ice cream later?) ...when to leave a toxic relationship? (and when to stand by someone who needs you?) ...when to head out of town on a spontaneous trip? (and when to plan out your whole day?) ...when to be confrontational? (and when to pick your battles?)
These are all thoughts that occurred to me today. It has been one of the most fantastic holiday weekends I have had in recent memory, and that is due in part to my friends, my family, myself, and the universe. I laughed, I cried, I gave a hug, I received a hug, I celebrated a relationship moving forward and mourned a relationship lost. I learned more than I ever expected to, thanks to the people who made the weekend so wonderful. It has never been more clear to me that I am on the right path, and that my life is moving in the direction it is supposed to be.
Now if only my ankle stopped hurting, my knee stopped throbbing, and I could walk without a limp. Hey -- I never said the weekend was perfect :)
A combo from 2 of my favorite bloggers, I present you with Top [Ten] Thursday! Maybe this will be a regular thing, maybe it won't who knows. But, in honor of today being the kick-off of college football (my favorite season!), we're going to talk about tailgating. As an alumnus of a southern school, I think my tailgating skills are pretty facerockin'. Or at least my friends know how to throw a good party!
Top 10 Things to Bring to/Have at a Tailgate: 10. Tunes -- No tailgate is complete without a tailgate playlist. 9. Jim Beam (or other form of whiskey) -- I'm not a whiskey drinker, but it still smells like gameday! 8. Beer pong table -- at some point last season our food table transformed into a BP table. Food in the middle, cups on the ends. Two birds, one stone! 7. Koozies -- key in tailgating, gotta keep the brews cold! 6. A tent to tailgate beneath -- Out of the sun/cold/rain, and a centralized location for everyone to congregate. 5. A flag from your alma mater! -- Gotta let everyone know who you're rooting for! 4. Delicious eats -- burgers, brats, veggies, chips & dip... mmm! 3. Tailgate games -- bocce, bags, cards, whatever floats your boat! 2. Tailgate chairs -- who doesn't love sitting around in your tailgate chairs drinking a cold one? 1. Beers (funnel optional) -- no explanation needed :)
Happy Football Season! Did I miss any tailgating essentials?