Thursday, November 11

Picture Story

A lot has happened since I last wrote. Life is a giant roller coaster and clearly I went up and down and about six loop de loops in the last few months. I'm not really sure how I feel about the way my life has gone and I'm even more unsure if I want to put my thoughts on some digital paper. Instead of going into the whole story I've decided to do a picture story. In the English Major world, a picture story is short, choppy sentences with snapshot pictures that tell a more detailed story. So here's JJ's Ways from May to Now:

End of May: Journey to Fla to see Kristen's nesting extravaganza.

June: It's just me and Grace Kelly now, enjoying taking a few summer literature classes, making new friends and interning with a GREAT group of rising 10th graders.

July: Senior seminar with Dr. Phil Beidler changes my outlook a bit on the whole English Major thing in a good way; the Johnson-Watson family welcomes the CUTEST little guy I've ever seen!
August: Cue up Fall Senior Semester Take One, Momma's birthday and the excitement of new classes.

September: A new football season brings an anxious air to Tuscaloosa, last year's Titletown. Saturdays bring friends and family decked out in their crimson, white and houndstooth: Roll Tide Roll!

October: Really feeling the pressure of taking 12 hours of advanced English and teaching courses and trying to have fun. The Braves enter the playoffs during Bobby's last year. I was lucky enough to go to the last game, with spectacular seats. Go Bravos! Alabama decided not to have a true Autumn and I frequently run around town in shorts/skirts/dresses while friends up North wear sweaters!

November: So far so good. I am writing a novel as part of NaNoWriMo and enjoying the days get cooler. College football keeps Saturdays interesting and lots of text messages back and forth with my Dad.

Life has changed for the better in my small cluttered apartment and I am looking forward to being extra thankful this Thanksgiving for the hidden blessings I have been given these last few months.

Wednesday, April 28

One Word for Wednesday

AHHHHH!!!

Okay, I said it would only be one word but I lied. This week, last week and next week are all SUPER DUPER stressful for me. And really I feel like screaming...so:

AHHHHH!!!!!

Tuesday, April 13

Postcards

So I wish life was as easy as a Spring day. Sadly, mine is not. Now, do I absolutely LOVE my life? Yes. Do I wish it was easier? Not really, I just wish I had about three extra hours in the day and more energy. But as the French say, c'est la vie. (It's just life). There isn't anything exciting around here to report except, work, work, work all day long!

I was fortunate enough to be a part of a poetry reading in my American Literature class last Tuesday. It's very rare that inspiration and a warm-ness wash over you while sitting inside a classroom on a wonderful Spring day. But hearing some of Ms. Andrea Barton's poems did that for me. I just sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses I guess. Well, this is her poem "Postcards" I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Postcards

I have to find a different space. I think the way that I will hurt you back
is to go to every city that makes postcards of itself and send you one with the directive,
“Wish you were here.”

I won’t stay anywhere for very long—stop at a gas station for a postcard or two,
a state-shaped magnet, diet coke and cheese crackers.

Every familiarity will change in proportion to my distance,
will mark that I am opening my car door in the elsewhere of corn fields
and distressed billboards until I recognize nothing in the foreign faces.

I will drive with purpose. I will drive in a way that throws up dust
or pothole debris, the wet muck sopping against my undercarriage.

When I am tired of driving, I will tell my friends stories that have nothing to do with you:
of how I slept at a rest area just past the bridge between Memphis and Arkansas
or met a couple in Arlington who made soaps for a living.

I will tell them how the accents became thicker, more difficult to understand,
how I rose to the occasion in a chess match with a farmer named Temple.

I will pray every day for people on the interstate with somewhere to get to,
will love them for being strangers.

And I will tell friends later if they ask, that I am wonderful—that I have been every place—
that I have learned to interpret loss and how it is always the same:
an empty postcard of a solitary windmill that stutters on an unused field.

Andrea Barton


Sunday, April 4

Bucket List

I FINALLY FINISHED! I feel such a great sense of accomplishment for creating this list. I am still working on the 101 in 1001 list but knowing I have put the bucket list out in the world makes me want to work on the other one a little harder. So here is what I came up with as the big dreams in my little life. I wonder what others think about it and what other peoples' dreams are...hmmm.

Meet a genuine celebrity

Win a contest/sweepstakes

Visit all 50 states--upon visiting each state put a pin in a map of the US

Visit Australia, South America, Asia, North America, Europe, Central America, and Africa--upon visiting each place put a pin in a map of the world

Buy a pair of Manolo Blahniks and Christian Louboutions

Cultivate a vegetable garden and keep it alive for a year!

Buy a car because I want a new one, not because I totaled one

Own my own home by age 30

Actually help another person

Adopt a piglet

Learn to drive a stick shift

Receive a post graduate degree

Adopt a shelter dog as often as I can

Take part in an electoral campaign

Grow enough sunflowers one summer that I can give some to others!

Keep a list of all the books (serious and fun) I have ever read

Plant a tree and watch it grow!

Go to the Final Four games for March Maddness

Take my Daddy to the MAC football Championship

Bring my child to watch Alabama win another football national championship

Do yoga on the beach in Bali

Take a cruise through the Mediterranean

Take my Momma and Mark to the US Open in New York, the French Open in Paris, Wimbledon in London and the Austrian Open in Sydney (not all in the same year)

Do something out of my comfort zone

Fire William's pistol, just once in a shooting range

As I grow and as I change, update this list with new adventures and new challenges

It feels really fitting I put this up on Easter Sunday. Easter marks the beginning of Spring and the coming of Summer. Easter means new life and a world filled with love. I hope everyone feels the same calm that I felt during Holy Week, especially Holy Thursday. Hoppy Easter!


Tuesday, March 30

Still alive...barely.

So I'm still alive. But barely. Not only am I drowning in school work (being an English major is a lot of reading and writing--I didn't see that one coming!!) work work, bow making, cleaning/laundry/upkeep of my home, and clinical experiences in the high schools....BUT I hurt myself. And when I say hurt myself I mean, seriously injured myself. I have what the doctor ESTIMATES is a slipped disc in my lower back. What it really means is for the last 10 days I have not been able to stand, sit or lay down for any amount of time. I'm pumping myself full of all sorts of chemcial wonders to get through the day but they make me sleepy and I just have no energy. The downer about my back is they have no idea when it will be getting better. Two to three weeks it should heal itself with the aide of painkillers, anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer. Yippee!

With my back, I have had zero time to do most things. Like blog about my super wonderful and relaxing Spring Break with William to Watercolor, FL. We did not really get any pictures(read: we took one picture of William and one of his best friends Lane). We did however, have fun. Saint Patrick's Day was the day we got wild. Green beer is SO fun. Especially when you're 21! We spent most of our time either in Watercolor or Seaside and really enjoyed running into one of my pledge sisters and her mother in Seaside! I wish I had more to say, but the vacation was really just quiet (with the exception of St Pattys when I got a little TOO drunk) and beachy--my two favorite things. I do recommend both Seaside and Watercolor as amazing beaches in Florida, with Destin about 30 minutes away, the areas are the perfect blend of quiet and fun.

So with all that: I'm BACK! Hopefully, I will have time to finish something I'm very excited to have started. By laying on the floor most of the day I spend a lot of time procrastinating on my homework and working on a bucket list. I've seen a ton of them on blogs, and I have to say my favorite is my sweet friend Paige's. By composing my bucket list I really have seen my fears (I'll NEVER skydive!!) and how truly blessed my life has been thus far (there aren't many places in Europe I haven't been to!). I'm also working on a 101 in 1001 list, but that seems a little more difficult. Basically a condensed bucket list, the 101 in 1001 list is REALLY giving me trouble! I promise it won't be two weeks until y'all hear from me again!

Have a wonderful rest of the week! And of course I hope as Holy Week begins, may we each have a blessed rest of the week!

Monday, March 8

Full Speed Ahead.

Life seems to be going just a bit to fast these days. Between tutoring, clinicals, actual class, work and my hobbies, I basically have ZERO time. My life looks like it isn't going to be slowing down anytime soon. I'm just hoping to make it to Saturday, and the official start of Spring Break. Last night's Oscars were a highlight to the weekend. I am so proud that Sandra won. It was so well deserved! However, Kathy Ireland, Miley Cyrus and Zoe Saldana needed to have stern talks with their stylists, makeup artists and hair stylists. Miley, my personal vendetta against you aside, you look like a Linebacker with helmet fuzz hair. (Picture thanks to Jared over at CelebBuzz)

Wednesday, February 24

Wordless Wednesday: Lucky to have my Momma


on days like today I'm lucky to have pictures like this. Count your blessings. Remember what's important, that's what I try to do. I hope y'all do too.

Tuesday, February 23

Tips Tuesday--Cleaning Up





So I was almost about 30,000% sure I was not going to participate in this week's hop thing, since I am not a domestic cleaning diva. But a few ideas popped into my head that works AWESOME for a college home:
  • Make friends with Lysol. I am a firm believer in air freshener and candles and anything that will make my home not smell like people (and furbabies) live here. But Lysol, if you buy it in a perfume type smell, not only freshens up the house but kills germs and bacteria. Germs and bacteria, my wonderful future science teacher friend Haley has told me, are the real cause of odor. So not only are you smelling an immediate better smell but stopping the smell from coming back. How awesome is that?
  • Okay, I know I spent another posting rambling on about my charming clutter so I am basically no authority. BUT I do live and die by Clorox Clean Up Wipes. Quick and Easy and Effective. I wish more things in life could be like that! I make a point after I bake or cook to wipe down the stove and all counter space. It takes about 3 seconds and gets rid of nastiness.
  • If you are going to make the choice to have a furbaby, BUY a vacuum. I just recently got a brand new Bissel Pet Hair Eraser with the Power Paw and folks it was worth every penny. I used to borrow a neighbor's vacuum instead of having my own. That was just terrible. Then I was "gifted" by my very intuitive Momma an old school Dirt Devil. That was just terrible. I was vacuuming on my hands and knees. So again I say, if you are going to make the wonderful choice of bringing a furbaby into your home, you'll need a nice vacuum. It will up the cleaniness quality by like 25 atleast.
I hope these ideas help someone else! I know I am in a constant battle to figure how to balance life, love, school, work, more school and more work. I wish I had a butler/housekeeper but for now I have a nice vacuum, Lysol and Clorox Wipes. It works for us on a daily basis. I always clean the house top to bottom on weekends. Since its so small and cluttered around here it doesn't take long just time and effort. College is a giant learning experience and I just hope mine is helping someone else.

Happy Cleaning!

Monday, February 22

Gods in Alabama

There are many kinds of gods in Alabama. These gods are special--they basically shut the state down. And last Friday, we Alabamaians were lucky enough to have one grace us with its presence. I'm talking about the SNOW, of course. I don't have classes on Fridays (I know lucky me, right?) so the canceled class wasn't exactly awesome, but I do my clinical placements on Fridays so I was lucky enough to sleep in and work a full day. Sadly, the snow melted by the time I came home! Grace enjoyed her first snow day William, the stay at home Daddy, informed me. He took her on a long walk and being the Princess she is, hated every moment of being wet. Since it was just the two of them there are hardly any pictures, and sadly no pictures of her! I've got one of his car, one of our building, and then the view of the Strip with the Stadium in the background--the shot that I think basically sums up the basic gods of Alabama. Bryant Denny stadium, the year we brought home number 13, blanketed in snow.

With that I say, Roll Tide Roll!



Tuesday, February 16

Tips Tuesday--Cooking Tips




Okay brace yourself for this one-- William's fraternity brother's wife, Leslie, who has become a friend of mine of course, is doing something called a blog hop about tips for life. I love to cook/bake and I wanted to try out the hop thing so here we go.

I am a sweets person. I eat cookie dough raw and I love freshly baked cookies! My best cooking tip came from a sorority sister. Although I am sure any good baker knows the secret: Parchment Paper. I line EVERY single thing I bake with Parchment Paper. While it might cost a bit more, you do not need to use icky aerosol can Pam spray and things do not burn (most of the time)!!!
Side note: if making more than one batch with a single cookie sheet you can use the Parchment Paper and not have to worry about washing cooked cookie off the sheet. Also, on the baking note I am a firm believer in holiday spirit. For instance, the Saints' colors are black and gold. So for the Super Bowl I made football cut out cookies and used left over black sugar from this Halloween to give the cookies Saints' flair. Along the same idea, red icing works for Christmas and Valentines! I always make sure the sugar has not gone bad for some reason, but usually you have close to year on things like that!

Happy Baking!

Priceless

Secret is out...I am a crier. And that is perfectly okay with me! But as William and I continue to watch hours of Winter Olympic coverage and I find myself SCREAMING during the downhill skiing for Team USA, which mind you I had no idea there was different types of skiing, something interesting happened. At a commercial break I was bawling my eyes out. I do not have a child and I can only imagine what it must be like to watch this with a baby. I know it reaffirmed why my Momma will literally do anything for me; because to her I will always be gap toothed, looking and acting just like my father, all the while refusing to let anyone brush my hair.

Bottom line: this is amazing and adorable.

P&G To Their Moms They Will Always Be Kids

Wednesday, February 10

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)


Rooting around I found this. I know I blogged a minute ago, but I love this picture and the idea of Wordless Wednesday.

Fully Recovered

So I am (pretty much) fully recovered from the big 2-1. I had a wonderful time and I really wish I had pictures to post. Luckily, or rather, thankfully, William did not take any pictures. I wore a wonderfully beaded high waisted skirt on loan from my fashionable cousin Kimmie. I paired it with a black tee shirt, tights and Jessica Simpson Henri's. I pinned my hair in a low chignon and did some sexy pink lipstick. I may say I was one hot ticket! It poured rain all day and well into the weekend so I tried to be positive. After all it was the big day!

Side note: Henri's are THE heels you must have in your closet. I beat mine to a pulp usually but I swear by them. Plain, flattering and all around amazing. I can and have run in them. Belk has them on sale usually and I was SO excited when I found them on Overstock! They are sooo worth the investment!

My birthday frankly is one of my favorite days of the year. Because, well, duhhh, it's ALL about me! But sadly Sunday came, along with the reminder of homework and the long week ahead. Today I am having a sick day, I woke up this morning with more tummy troubles. But tomorrow and Friday will require all my energy so I pray I lose these troubles :) Tonight is Grace-Kelly's third birthday party so look for some pictures and a posting about it soon!

Happy "Hump" Day to all!

Monday, February 1

Longest Week of 2010


So today marks the official start of the longest week of 2010.







This Thursday...drum roll please...I turn 21. F.I.N.A.L.L.Y.

Now, before I engage in a long ramble of how much my life has sucked not being the big 2-1, (and mind you with a boyfriend hitting 23 and mostly older friends it has sucked) I thought I would engage in a little pep-talk.
At twenty I did a lot of things I'd never imagine:
  • I became a doggie Momma.
  • I went to Disney World with the 23 year old boyfriend and acted like total 6 year olds.
  • I moved into my very first 1-bedroom apartment.
  • I got my very first credit card. Shortly after I "misplaced" said credit card for the very first time.
So while my list of accomplishments my first year of being a twenty-something is quite pathetic, I look forward to this big year. The picture above was taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios and captures the attitude I had as I moved into my twenty-somethings. It's all about how to dance and sing in the rain! Now, all I've got standing between me and the bouncer on Thursday are 3 tests and a paper.

Damn, it is going to be one LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG week.

Sunday, January 31

A Nutshell for 2009

I haven't done a blog update in forever...it seems life got in the way. But part of the new and improved 2010 me includes being better about blogging, in addition to having a cleaner house and better grades. I figure go big or go home in terms of the whole resolutions thing. I was reading my fabulous cousin Kristen's blog and saw this lovely set of questions and thought I'd make a steal. I feel like they give 2009 a good looking nutshell.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?


Celebrating that William graduated from the University of Alabama! It was one of the most amazing days. I don't think I have ever been so proud of him! A finance degree wasn't easy for him and finding a job still proves to be a challenge. I know one day the hard work will pay off.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

YES! Last year I made the choice after about 4 years of smoking to quit! I haven't smoked since last New Year's Eve and I am SO proud of myself. This year, I hope to feel better about myself all around by cleaning my house regularly, making better grades and doing what I enjoy.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Well, that fabulous cousin I mentioned earlier, has a fabulous friend Anne Anne welcomed a lovely little man this year. I cannot wait to meet him!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Well, technically my GMa died in 2008, but it was the beginning of December. I missed her every day of 2009.

5. What places did you visit?
  • Orlando, FL--DISNEYWORLD!!
  • Memphis, TN
  • Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic
  • Santa Rosa Beach, FL
  • Gatlinburg, TN
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Be more on top of everything I do! Feel less stressed out by taking on less! DO MY LAUNDRY! You have no idea how difficult it can be to go to a Laundromat. Do what I can for the dogs of the world that need love!

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

February 6th, 2009--the day I brought Grace Kelly into my little apartment with Mallory. It was a scary day, and a day filled with excitement!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

It would be a tie between 2 things:
  • Being selected to be a 2009 Sigma Rho Chi. For the non-Greeks, I was selected to help guide the incoming freshman going through sorority recruitment. I was able to bond with the girls and make an impact on their first week at Alabama. I dealt with all kinds of drama and was able to really see what great things sorority life can bring! Bid Day, the day the girls find out which house they would call home, was one of the proudest of my life! I know I sound super corny but it was a great feeling knowing that I did my part to bring their bid cards to them!
  • Not killing Grace Kelly. When I first brought her home she was very skiddish and had a lot of health problems. I spent A LOT of time worrying about her, and I am so amazed by her everyday! She is such a blessing I am glad to see what the next year with her will bring.
9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Late 2009 brought some serious heartburn and some tummy troubles. Icky.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

I first bought it in 2008, but late 2009 required a new iPhone! Obsessed with the 3G and cannot wait to see what Apple does next....I'm already drooling over the iPad.

11. Where did most of your money go?

A lot of my money went to my graduation present to William, a wonderful and magical trip to Walt Disney World for 4 days in the summer. The rest of my fortune, I say that with laughter in my voice, went to my closet and summer school. ohh, and my finance grad significant other made me put some in savings, how boring!

12. What song will always remind you of 2009?

I'm like Pandora radio, I'm so random it hurts. I loved Taylor Swift this year along with the rest of the free world. But I also was shaking my boo-tay quite a few times to "Right Round" and everything by Three 6 Mafia.

13. Compared to this time last year are you:

Happier? Ehh, I'd say I'm a happy girl every year.
Thinner? I don't want to brag but... :)
Richer? HAHAHAHAHAHA, I'm a college student with a traveling and shopping bug.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

My school work for Fall 2009, but hey it was a great semester to be a student at Alabama! So I like everyone else that got "distracted" blame the BCS National Championship season :) ROLL TIDE!!!

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry and then shut myself down. I'm a classic get nothing down when I'm worried or nervous. I wish I could channel that energy to something positive.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

The lovely city of Atlanta with my amazing family.

17. How did you spend New Year’s?

Drunk as a skunk with William, Daddy, Susan and their friends at the annual Saint Ives Gala.

18. Did you fall in love in 2009?

With Grace Kelly its a constant thing. I fall in love with her every moment of every day.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

My TiVo is quite busy. I'm religious about: Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Project Runway, Chopped, Two and a Half Men, Greek, Secret Life, Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. A new favorite: American Pickers. We watch a lot of TV in my house!

20. What was the best book you read?

As an English major reading is my thing. I fell in love with a few old favorites and discovered some great new ones.

Here’s my list I suggest you look into this year:

The Great Gatsby (I know you read it a hundred years ago, but look at it again as an adult, its almost a different book)
The "Almost" Series by Julie Ortolon (great for the Caribbean beaches)
Queen Takes the King by Gigi Levangie Grazer (my MUST read)
Jane Eyre (absolute classic)

2010 I hope will be another great year for my reading. I'm half-way into Married Lovers by Jackie Collins and just finished Shakespeare's Twelfth Night again. Spring and Summer are always big reading seasons for me, so stay tuned! And I absolutely cannot wait until Candace Bushnell releases "Carrie Diaries".

21. Best musical discovery?

LOVED Colbie Calliat's sophomore CD, "Breakthrough". You MUST listen to "Droplets". My other little gem is the rediscovery of Reddi's "Perfect". I've taken it to be a motto for my life now! You might recognize it from "Lipstick Jungle".

22. What lessons did you learn?

You don't study; you don't do well in school. You let other people take advantage of you, you get hurt.

23. Most exciting moment?

I watched the Alabama Crimson Tide win the SEC Championship. I watched Mark Ingram bring home Alabama's FIRST Heisman Trophy. And although it was technically 2010, it was based off the 2009 season--I watched the Alabama Crimson Tide bring home the BCS National Championship!!

24. What was your favorite film of this year?

My answer never changes--The American President. Although I loved The Blind Side and The Proposal--it was Sandra's year. And HATED Inglorious Basterds.

25. What did you do on your birthday?

I saw Bride Wars and had dinner with William and our close couple friends, Stephen and Hilary. William and I then enjoyed some nice vodka and a dance night sponsored by the late 90's including the old classic "Vega Bus". It was a silly night but a lot of fun. This year I turn the big 2-1 so I cannot wait to celebrate my birthday!!

Hard to believe I fit 2009 in such a nutshell. I look forward to everything that twenty-ten will bring. I wish nothing but the best for everyone! I feel so blessed to have the chance to share my thoughts and ramblings on my blog. Happy New Year!

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