Smell the (spray) roses…

I think bridal magazines should come with this disclaimer: Actual Planning does not come as easy as pictures suggest.

Wedding planning is no piece of cake– unless you are taste-testing the fine delectable. Don’t let me fool you–I am enjoying most of it, but I feel like it’s never going to end. Decision after decision… which is not quite my cup of tea. I want someone to just stand next to me and say pick; this or that– or even better, read my mind and pick for me.

I don’t like being the responsible party.

I think deep down I know what I want but then I find myself on Pinterest or Etsy and think of more ideas. I’m just hoping everything will gel together like I’m imagining. I went to the florist a few weeks ago and she confirmed that I knew what I wanted.

–(huge sigh of relief)–

Pretty, huh?

I think so.

And… it’s only going to get better!

You just wait.

Who thinks I can name all of the flowers pictured in that photo up there? — This was my first experience at a wholesale flower shop.  SO MUCH FUN. I went into this huge cooler that was filled with hundreds of different flowers in all shapes and sizes. My creative pallet almost exploded… maybe I should switch careers… ; )

Published in: on March 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Something Old

I wish I would have bought that birdcage…

I loved it so much I took a picture.

Why, oh WHY! didn’t I buy it right then and there?

This birdcage has been haunting me for months now.

Michael and I have fell in love with our new hobby of antiquing. It all started on one of our visits to Hendersonville, NC to visit family. We stumbled upon a pair of old suitcases in perfect condition– the best part– they cost $5.00 for the set.

 Remember this?

It’s finally on the wall!!!

Just in time to move in a few weeks… :/

Oh, yeah… I’m moving. Five minutes closer to work– not that I was ever far away, but it will be nice to by-pass traffic.

I’m really excited for more space and less stairs.

Anyway…

This was Michael’s treasure find. He knew I needed nightstands and saw the vision. Once a beautiful vanity, now split in two for bedside tables. I can’t quite decide if I love the color or not. I’m a rather boring, neutral, modern (play it safe) person– afraid of color, really.

He likes a pop here and there and is trying to convince me to change my ways.

BUT somehow this Tiffany Blue is growing on me– maybe because it reminds me of fine jewelry. So-What if it does…

Remember this trunk?

That’s right– Once upon a time this trunk housed barbies, well at least their shoes and will now hold my countless number of loose papers. I originally thought I’d store blankets or odds and ends, but a file cabinet was a much better decision. The legs are still a little wobbly, but it serves its purpose.

Oh yes, my favorite piece EVER!

This old farm table was quite the find.

On one of our trips from North Carolina back to Birmingham, we found ourselves passing all of these interesting looking shacks displaying the word: Antiques. Michael was ten and two, eyes straight ahead, ready to hit the interstate. I, however being the navigator was drawn in to these buildings wanting to stop.

“Do you think you would like to stop at one of these antique shops?”I asked, acting like I was not really interested, but hoping Michael was game.

“No.” (it was a cold no)

“That shop looks neat.” I pressed on.

Two minutes go by.

“Oh, wow- Michael, look at that old sign in the front yard.” (What’s the worst that could happen… he keeps driving?)

Another two minutes…

“I wonder how many people stop at these shops?” (…!!!)

I think he got the hint– before I could finish my thought, Michael was whipping the Jeep onto the dirt driveway that lead to this small shed-like antique shop.

“THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!”

“Ten Minutes” Michael said. (Well– I think this is what was said)

As we explored the small shop I spotted a blue ball jar with a lid. (one of my many current obsessions) I glanced at the sticker- $5.00- we’ve got ourselves a bargain people! I turned around to show Michael and saw the table– I loved it. I had to have it. This was instantaneous. Table or desk that piece of furniture was mine. As I flipped the ticket, I hoped that I would find a price rather than a NFS (not for sale) stamp.

Whew, I was in luck. Before I could hesitate, the owner of the shop told us that everything was 15% off that day– SOLD. Michael took the dimensions and confirmed that the table would fit in the Jeep and the rest is in the books.

I really do love it. My GREAT find. I’ve been searching for some antique chairs, but the ikea ones will have to do for now.

As for my latest project…

This one won’t be completed until after the move. Michael obtained some old photos from his Dad that were recovered from his Grandmothers house many years ago. I’ve always loved old photos. It’s fun to see what events were important at one time in another persons life. I wasn’t fortunate enough to ever meet Michael’s grandparents, but it’s sweet to attempt to go down memory lane and create what I think their life may have been like.

My Mom has old photos displayed in frames in her home and I love looking at these pictures. My Grandmother as a little girl in Cowboy boots. My Great Grandmother- fashion diva in the 40’s. The one wedding photo that was taken at my Mom and Dad’s reception. (I’ve been learning a lot about the family weddings these days) An Orchestra from my Dad’s side of family musicians. I REALLY need the story on some of these photos.

My vision is to obtain photos from all sides of our families and combine them within this collage of frames. Just need to work on getting a few more pictures…

As I go into my day off tomorrow, Michael and I already have a new antique shop scouted out to hit up. It really is exciting even if you don’t purchase anything.

A Bacon Press…

An old set of silver… (probably should have invested in this set). Would make a really awesome wedding present (wink wink).

You really never know what you will find.

These last two items were found at a few antique shops in downtown Milford, OH on my home sweet home vacation. It’s my first vacation since I started with Verizon a YEAR ago! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long.

While I was at home I made a stop here:

This story is for another day, BUT I did say Yes to a Dress! WOOO! It’s starting to feel very real!

The big day is set for May 12, 2012!

It will be here before we know it– 6 months from last Saturday.

Music of the Moment is brought to you by Spotify– check it out! (Singer-Songwriter Radio) BUT you can type any artist and listen/stream for free!

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm  Comments (1)  

Never go grocery shopping while hungry

If you’ve read my blog, you may remember this post…

Remember now… I’m not quite the culinary student my heart oh-so-wishes I could be.

That’s okay though. I am making strides.

In an effort to try and save some money, (and looking at the my money map feature on my online banking site) I decided that I would plan meals for Michael and I to eat for a few weeks. Simple things really. You’ve got the basics like spaghetti and frozen pizza, but then you get your hands dirty with a little more prep work– try shrimp po’boys and homemade lasagna. Michael gets a major shout out here.. my idea– his masterpieces.

For all who know Michael, the tomatoes on the po’boy were for me, not him… same goes for the pickles.

The lasagna was made from scratch and very yummy!! Who would have thought a pizza sauce could have tasted so good. ; )

Shrimp Alfredo. The Macaroni Grill makes this fabulous alfredo packet– just add shrimp.

Well technologic girl over here can’t get this picture to rotate, but I really wanted to show you what true love is. Retail hours are brutal to relationships…

Operation Clean out the pantry day 1: Campbell’s Vegetable Soup, add 1 can of water heat till warm. (If I only spent half as much time as I did taking all of these food photos from my phone, maybe I could learn how to cook REAL soup… nah, I like this one just fine.)

Comfort food… reminds me of being sick… in a good way.

On another note– I did make this delicious dish that my parents would make every summer. Not really sure what you call this– I just asked “What was that zucchini, tomato, cheese dish, you made while I was growing up?”

I made this all by myself!! Very tasty AND very successful!

1.Slice up a zucchini

2. Open a can of Italian Recipe Stewed tomatoes (or add your own spices with a regular can)

3. Combine the two in a medium skillet pan

4. Heat over medium heat until zucchini softens

5. Sprinkle mozzerella cheese on top while in  pan to melt.

Prep: 1 minute

Cook: 5 minutes

Well it looks to be dinner time again– Let’s see what I can go make tonight. Bon Appetit!

Current Music: Adele, “Turning Tables”

Published in: on September 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

YUM

There are some things I find extremely hard to resist.

Unfortunately, in my five to ten minute commute, I pass both of these locations.

YEP– two times a day. (Well four if you count my lunch hour).

Every day is a struggle to not stop.

I have to say, “Jackie– keep driving, you don’t need it.”

I can be running late to work, stop at Krispy Kreme, and STILL make it right on time. I’m in and out in minutes. So glad we share parking lots..

Chipotle isn’t much better.

I can make it in and out of Chipotle faster than trying to find a parking spot and walk up the flight of stairs to my apartment.

…and today, I gave into my weaknesses.

NO SELF CONTROL!

Hey– a girl’s gotta eat.

Just so you know, I enjoyed every last bite.

Music of the moment: “Looks like Love”, Needtobreathe

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Feelin’ hot HOt HOT!

…and this is how I know that it is summertime in Alabama

1.Entering my car to go to work at anytime of the day nearly suffocates me. (Yes, even at 8:00AM)

2.My sunglasses fog up as soon as I walk outside.

3. The knob on my car’s air conditioner is stuck on full blast– and I’m okay with that.

4.I basically have to change my clothes once arriving at work b/c I’ve sweat so much. (Okay– and my AC isn’t fast enough)

5. My pin-straight hair, now has a slight curl from the humidity.

6. There is no such thing as “laying out” — you must actually get in the pool.

7.My electric bill has skyrocketed out of sight.

8. My dog smells like sweat after going outside for 5 minutes.

9. I haven’t seen a person jogging in months.

10. I actually asked Michael if we could go to a waterpark…

11. I feel a strong urge to purchase Coke Icee’s on a regular basis.

12. I ‘get’ why so many people “Go to the lake” every weekend.

13. I also ‘get’ why the windows in my apartment are basically painted shut.

14. I’ve stopped making “hot meals” in order to keep the apartment cool.

15.Wal-mart has 3 aisles dedicated to “Grilling out” and reminds me that I can’t enjoy this luxury in an apartment.

16. I have burns on my hands and chest from buckling my seatbelt and driving my car.

17. Fashion has escaped me once again, and it appears that shorts are much shorter than I remember.

Please, fill me in on some of your observations… but MAN is it HOT, HOT, HOT!

Published in: on July 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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April 27, 2011

I’ve had to kind of sit back and take in everything that has been going on these last two weeks.I started to write a very detailed post on my encounter with April’s Fury, but chose not to post it. I am so blessed. I am alive, I have a roof, I am a volunteer, not a victim. This is not my nightmare that I have to relive every single day. I am lucky.

I arrived in Tuscaloosa the day after the storm with a team of volunteers with Verizon Wireless. The town I called home for four years didn’t look the same. Streets hardly recognizable. Houses that past friends had once rented and lived in– houses that friends currently lived in torn apart. As I quietly sat in the back of a pick-up truck passing out bottled water and snacks, I didn’t know what to think or say. A lot of the people we encountered were numb– some, didn’t have much to begin with and now, had nothing.

After an emotional day of viewing the devastation and giving out anything we could– we headed home. I prayed. What was the state of Alabama going to do? Not only was Tuscaloosa hit– so were many other towns in Alabama. I prayed for the missing, the homeless, the hearts of the community, the state… the list continued. I heard plans of what our company was going to do and was very impressed at how quickly a plan was put into action. I heard finals were cancelled at the University as was graduation– my heart broke for the class just below me. They never imagined their college experience to end this way.

The next day I was sent to Pleasant Grove, AL– a community on the other side of Birmingham. Verizon needed my help to work our relief efforts. For the last week, I’ve been volunteering and getting to know this community. I am so so so so so very impressed with the relief efforts of so many in Birmingham.

Let me tell you a short story. Next to our trailer was a small tent set up with 120 cases of bottled water. The tent was staffed by maybe four members of the Birmingham Amateur Radio Club.  They wanted to help and so they did what they could. As I came and went from our trailer, passing out our own donations, I noticed that their donations continued to grow. They were now grilling hotdogs and passing out meals– to anyone. A few more hours went by and I noticed cars kept circling through the parking lot dropping off donations. Now the small tent next to us had expanded to not only food, but they were fully stocked with clothing and toys and other household necessities. The donations continued to pour in from people all across the city. Many people would stop by our trailer and ask if we were taking donations, yet we pointed next door. This continued all weekend. I was intrigued by the generosity, so before packing up for the evening, I made my way over to the small tent which was now surrounded by donations to thank the volunteers. The lady I spoke with was very emotional. She said “We came out here with only a few cases of water. We never planned to stay more than a few hours. We can’t really even take any more donations. God is good- he will provide for the people of Pleasant Grove.” — This is just one of the amazing stories I’ve seen unfold from this disaster.

The first picture is of a trailer of ice that arrived where a group of volunteers ran to work in an assembly line to get it into the cooler. The second picture is of a car that was taking food and other donations directly into the community. (This was very common to see).

Throughout the week several community members and VZW customers seem to all ask the same question. What image has stuck with you. Everyone’s image of course is different. I know this picture doesn’t really do it justice, but the bark on the trees is gone. I wonder how some trees much like this one are still standing where others are broken in half like matchsticks or completly uprooted and lying in someones living room.

I also can’t seem to get the image of an entire house being destroyed yet the closet in the middle of the house is still standing– with clothes neatly hanging on their respected hanger. What about the spray painted words, “We are alive”. Pieces of metal wrapped around tree trunks– a mattress stuck through a tree branch– these are now landmarks that we used to navigate.

In the end these are all peoples belongings and homes. They didn’t choose this. The road ahead of them is long and we need to continue to pray. The first responders have been great but like I said– they have a long way to go.

Until this storm–I’d never encountered a natural disaster– I’ve spoken with insurance adjusters who have seen many disasters including Hurricane Katrina. They say the devastation here is just as bad. The Country is deeming this storm one of the worst in history. I pray that the country does not forget what has happened and continues to offer it’s resources. We have built a support system for all who were affected by the storm and need to remain strong.

Again, I’d like to thank anyone reading this who has donated, volunteered, or prayed. Seeing first hand– these people are appreciative. I see progress in the small town of Pleasant Grove. The Morale of this community is amazing, too. They may have lost everything but by gosh by golly, they are going to rebuild. Thanks to my friends and family who have called to chat with me too– it’s very emotional being a volunteer. I am so thankful for where I’m at in life and feel so blessed.

One more thing– If you’d like to donate or volunteer I know there are some really amazing organizations out there that are making a huge impact in Alabama. I’m not as familiar with them as I’d like to be– but I’d be willing to help figure something out.

Published in: on May 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fro-yo

Frozen Yogurt is all the rage these days.

I can think of a few yogurt places near my apartment that are adopting this self serve style… and I’m not complaining. Whoever came up with this idea was a genius. You grab a (over-sized) bowl, choose your flavor of yogurt, then add as many toppings as you’d like. They charge by the ounce. The weight does add up quickly… BUT you don’t feel as guilty due to the fact that you are eating frozen YOGURT with FRUIT! (Or whatever unhealthy toppings you’d like…) 😉

Check out Menchies website and see if there is a location near you!

I mean seriously… look how cute the spoon is.

Let’s discuss the flavors. This place knows how to make good combination’s. Here, I’m sampling Cheesecake and Raspberry. There are over a dozen flavors that you are allowed to sample before making your final decision. Once you’ve chosen your fate, head over to the toppings bar and create the perfect dessert. I love how creative they were with toppings– cheesecake, cereal, cinnamon apples, and granola are just a few.

Okay.. this blog is making me very hungry…

One final photo for this post:

Guess who found Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream!

Thank goodness for, The Fresh Market! Not only do they carry Black Raspberry Chip ice cream, but they carry the UDF brand. Sure, it’s no cup of Graeters, BRC, but it tastes like home. Whoever said that I’d say goodbye to some of my favorite Cincinnati foods when I moved to Alabama, was wrong. Publix sells Skyline chili in the freezer section and if I come by a Kroger, I can also hit up some of my other Cincinnati favorites!

Okay.. the NIT game is getting intense– I’m out! ROLL TIDE!!!

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm  Comments (2)  

Here’s a riddle for ya’

What is colorful…

Requires power tools…

Help with the power tools…

Precision…

and cheap materials?

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Will you marry me?

(This is a bit overdue)

I have been wanting to blog about this for quite some time now.

Tonight I find myself sitting in my comfy bed, covered up because winter has decided to strike again. It’s freezing! My computer widget says 42, but I’d beg to differ. (much colder!) My T.V. movie options are Titanic or Finding Nemo– which one did I choose, you ask? Well Titanic of course. I’ve seen it a dozen times, the ship always sinks, but somewhere in my heart I always want it to steer to the left and avoid the iceberg.

Ah, what a classic love story– “You jump, I jump.”

Before I graduated last spring, Michael and I had many conversations about where we were going to take our relationship. We were under the impression that we’d make it work. The summer came and went. Job interviews came and went. Life as we had known it surely had changed.

I guess I could say “I knew it was coming” — what I mean by this was that I knew eventually we’d get engaged, probably in the spring or summer. (You know– once life slowed down) As you can see I was completely caught off guard.

Michael left early that morning to arrive and prepare for his graduation. I woke up and was excited that this day had finally arrived. I couldn’t wait to celebrate such a wonderful accomplishment! This was Michael’s day!

I spent the morning texting all the graduates I knew. Not only was Michael graduating, but a few of my closest friends as well. I love Tuscaloosa for the mere fact that I experienced so much growth in that city. Many memories that I hold very close to my heart.

While the graduates processed in, I remembered my own graduation a few months earlier. Such an accomplishment! We had a fantastic seat that we picked at random that happened to be directly in front of Michael. We waved, texted, took pictures, and called. I scanned the program for college acquaintances and cheered as they crossed the stage.

After the graduation was over we had already pre-planned to meet around the baseball field. (Everyone attempts to meet in front of the coliseum- it just doesn’t work). As I fought through the crowd I could see him standing  just where we had planned.

This is where it goes a bit fuzzy.

Michael’s family immediately jumped in starting taking pictures. Family photos here, individual photos here. I patiently waited while scanning the crowd for one of my best friends, Ashley. I had been texting her during the graduation and desperately wanted to see her. (She was moving out of state the following week). It was my turn to take pictures (and well you  guys know what comes next).

We started taking pictures. Michael and I exchanged a few words. I remember him asking  me to hold his diploma jacket because “it was heavy and he ha been holding it alllll day.” I, being oblivious of course just kept smiling away. (I was also still scanning the now, crowded, baseball field area for Ashley).

Here, Michael was saying something funny to me about graduation

This is where he made me hold the jacket. You can see how sneeky he was trying to be. His mom said, “Give him a kiss” to distract me– it worked beautifully.

“AHH. NO WAY!” — yes, that is what I said.

oooh! Let me see… a little closer.

In case you missed it– I said yes.

Ahh! Can’t believe everyone knew!

FINALLY looking at how beautiful it was!

After scrambling around trying to call my family I spotted Ashley and attacked her. Ashley introduced me to Michael– so I suppose she is responsible for all of this. ; )

I miss her!

And now… some pictures of the beautiful ring!

Michael picked this out all by himself.

It’s lovely.

Well, there you have it. It was such a magical day. A graduation. An Engagement. (A few hours later I picked up the keys to my new apartment). Yes, it was a fantastic day. I never told anyone this, but I always secretly wanted my engagement to be photographed. So, that was great. The crowd of people around me clapped and cheered- one lady was crying. I felt like a celebrity couple. I sort-of liked that too. ; )

I am so blessed and thankful for all the love and support. I’m also very excited!! It’s been 3 months today that I said yes, but with the circumstances of my new job I really haven’t had a lot of time to plan anything. I guess I need to earn some vacation days as well before I really dive in planning the beginning of this next chapter of life. None the less– EXCITING!

Thanks again for all of your love and support!

Music of the moment: Celine Dion, “My heart will go on”

(Who didn’t see that song coming? hehe)

Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 9:47 am  Comments (5)  

LOVE

Happy Valentines Day, friends!

So… What do you think?  I received the ‘J’ pendant today along with some beautiful flowers! The other pendant was my birthday present. ; ) I’m so proud of Michael picking this kind of stuff out all by himself!

I actually had the day off which meant time to catch up on rest. Michael is sick and went to the doctor and I’m afraid I’m right behind him. What started out as a scratchy throat is now turning into an icky cold. I’m really not fond of this illness b/c it usually just takes a good dose of Vitamin C and rest to recover. (Maybe I’ll go to the doctor on my next day off to prove this theory wrong).

I was very proud of my present to Michael. I’m actually really terrible at giving gifts. It gives me anxiety because I like to try and find something perfect and when I can’t– I give up. I gave him a promise though that I was going to try REALLY hard this holiday and SURPRISE him.

I got him two things. 1.) A second playstation move controller (which he guessed). 2.) (don’t make fun) A playstation game to go with it called, Little Big Planet 2. (A game that we can play TOGETHER). This game is very creative, but probably designed for kids. I actually had fun playing AND I think he liked teaching me how to play.

We’ve talked about learning a PS game together and here’s our chance… I’ll let you know if I throw the controller through the T.V. in the next few days.

On another note…

Thanks to Netflix I spent the entire last week watching season 1 of Dexter. (It sort of reminded me of my freshman year of college where I laid in bed watching several box-set series in a row and had to be rescued from the dorm)Way to take me on an emotional roller coaster. WHEW! This show is excellent. I initially started watching to escape from reality for an hour each night after work and got sucked in. I’m not even going to explain my dreams between watching this and talking about the iPhone at work.. (hah– they were quite humorous, believe me). If you’re interested in a good thriller, this is the show for you.

Let me know if you watch it– we can discuss the psychological impact later. (Wow.. did I just say that?)

This Valentines day was also filled with some WONDERFUL news.. ; ) but more on that later. I need to go get some rest if I expect to make it through tomorrow!

Music of the moment: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Apologies (really any of their music–getting ready for their concert in a few weeks at workplay)

Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment