Monday, October 14

The Hardhat Diaries: Bacterial Infection Edition

I've been a little MIA on the internets. Mainly because I've been off living the glam life of getting a terrible bacterial infection and then flying (literally) all around the world for work... More on Finland later, I SWEAR.

I spent nearly two weeks, both of which I was sick as a dog, up in North Carolina and New York in late September/early October. There were really no highlights to the trip. ZERO. (Unless you count getting tested for malaria at an Urgent Care facility in rural North Carolina...)

Except of course these two videos...

Bear in mind, I was battling strep throat (days like 8 & 9), had a 102 degree fever, it was raining, and it literally pained me to talk. Oh, and my hair? Yeas, let's not go there.

Sometimes I forgot how decidedly NOT glamorous my job is.

Wednesday, October 2

Road to 100

It's no secret that I love Pure Barre. When the Montgomery studio opened, on my birthday ironically enough, I was over the moon. Not only had I heard so many ladies rave about the workout, but as a former ballet dancer I knew it would be a perfect workout for me.
Original Image via Indie Film Lab
I haven't ever been an exerciser, in fact, during my lastmonths in Tuscaloosa, I actually committed to living a healthier lifestyle in an effort to become an exerciser. And I got there. I put running into my routine and it began to feel weird if I missed a session. Then I moved to Montgomery and some how got out of the rhythm.

Life happened: I became this fake grown-up person with a job and when I got home at night I was tired. I neglected things. Hell, I’m still neglecting things. (So sorry Ashley, you and Charlie still haven't gotten birthday presents. My bad blog, I just don't have anything "blogworthy" to say. No Momma, my house still hasn't been fully decorated.)

But lately, one of the few things I haven't neglected is Pure Barre. I've gotten sick; I've been out of town; I've been mentally not there, or too tired to go. But I keep trying to go. I have seen my body change a little, but mainly, I've felt myself get stronger: mentally and physically. I've gotten back to my days of high school-ballet-five-days-a-week flexibility. I feel a sense of community now with the ladies of the studio, that until February, I never felt in Montgomery.

Last night I found out that I've taken over 73 Pure Barre classes since I started/they opened. (I miscounted when I did it on my own…whoops. Math hasn't ever been my thing.) That's a lot when you think about the fact that I've probably been cumulatively out of town for two solid months during that time!!

It's my goal to hit the 100 tuck/class club by December 1st. I would like hit it by November 1st but I have two week long trips planned in October and I just won’t be around! I know I can do it. I know I will do it.

And I know once I do, I will have no shame in bragging about it!

Wednesday, September 11

Breakfast Wonder: ZonePerfect® Greek Yogurt Bars

It's no secret I love starting my day with Pure Barre. It's weird because I actually don't mind getting up at 5:20 three mornings a week to lift, tone and burn. The one thing I do mind about it is my breakfast.

Since I finish my workout and am home by 7, I go straight into the shower/my morning routine. And I never know what to eat for breakfast. Usually, I just grab a protein bar or Bolthouse smoothie, because I know I need the nutrients, but I never have the time am too lazy to fix anything else. I want to get to my office and not sit scrambling eggs or whatever. If I, for some reason, don't eat I not only get crabby, but I get a pretty bad headache.

ENTER ZonePerfect® Greek Yogurt Bars.

Thanks to Influenster, I received the Good Life Vox Box. Inside the box was a bunch of different health and fitness related stuff, some things I couldn't enjoy {thanks nut allergy} and some things I fell in love with. Like the greek yogurt bars. For me, they were the perfect amount of crunch and creamy. I've tried other bars that are way too creamy that had me thinking, "Ew, I have teeth I'd like to use them, thanks." I've also experienced the too-crunchy bars, which went a little something like this: "OMG WTF."

Imagine my delight when I was greeted with creamy chocolate and crunchy bubbles? pockets of vitamins? Heck, I don't know but it was delicious. Plus, 3g of fiber! 12g of protein! 190 calories! I actually felt full after I ate it!

I got the chocolate flavor in my box, which hello who doesn't love healthy chocolate!!, but they also have raspberry and vanilla, which both have piqued my curiosity. These bad boys will definitely be added to my weekly shopping list.


*I did receive this product complimentary for my review, from Influenster, but all opinions are my own—duh!*

Monday, September 9

August Cara Box Reveal!

During the month of August I was able to participate in the Cara Box Exchange that Kaitlyn from Wifessionals came up with. Through this exchange you get paired with two other bloggers and get to know them via email and their blogs. At the end of the month each blogger sends one box and receives one box. This month we were paired using our "seasons of life" and our geographical regions. This helps us have the opportunity to really connect with our partners and make a new friend.

Y'all. I hit the jackpot. I was paired with Reba of RebaKWrites and Leslie of Legally Leslie. I sent Reba a box, so check with her to see what I sent...I had a blast pulling it all together.

Leslie sent me a box, and boy, even though she's a Michigan girl, she definitely gets this Southern girl. Her note was the perfect dose of encouragement, I couldn't ask for anything better! How she knew I've been drooling over the September Vogue, I'll always wonder...

 Here's what I got:
One can never have too many pillows. EVER.
With Fall TV back soon, this is perfect!
Perfect reading material for the next Woods Barbie adventure!
I wasn't sure what I was in for when I signed up for the exchange, but it exceeded my expectations. I made two blogger friends I'll definitely still follow along with. In fact, I can say I'm already thinking once Leslie gets out of 1L we might need an Atlanta coffee date! I had such a good experience I went ahead and signed up for the next box exchange! I'm looking forward to getting to know another set of bloggers!

Friday, September 6

The Hard Hat Diaries: Time to Spread My Wings

Coming off my week long "Loop" trip, I had 48 hours at home before heading to Atlanta and catching a plane for Flint, Mich. My quick one day stop over in Atlanta yielded some delicious home cooking I had desperately been craving, and as a bonus, a girl date as well. One of my best friends lived with my parents in August as she finished up an internship at the Georgia Aquarium (I KNOW HOW COOL!?!?!) so during my stop over, we were able to hang out for the first time in a long time. Too bad she wasn't as excited as I was.
I love you too, Little Shelby Fish Guts.
I flew out nice and early to Flint, my first work trip where I actually took a plane. This was huge for me. I still drove clear across the state of Michigan, and accidentally to Indiana once, but to actually fly to my destination and not drive was such a relief. Especially since it would have been a like bazillion hours in the car just to get to Michigan from Montgomery. Nevermind the added mileage to get to my interviews!
I don't go anywhere without my trusty atlas!
Just like when I am in points South, in Michigan I was story gathering. Though, I spent two days attending an equipment manufacturer's new equipment demonstration and anniversary celebration. (Say that three times fast.)
 
I met some interesting people, including hanging out with Bobby and Lori Goodson of Swamp Loggers, which is like hanging out with the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner of the logging world. Saw some pretty cool equipment, like this bad boy, and came to the realization that Michigan might be one of the most beautiful states I’ve been too...If only it wasn't so damn cold. I mean COME ON I was wearing a sweater. In August. And I still ended up with some cold/flu like nasty virus. Yuck.

I know your college football is subpar, but can your weather be better? Please? By midday Wednesday I had a pretty bad cold, and by my flight home Friday I was ready to crawl in bed and never leave. I will also never, ever, ever fly with a cold again. I was literally crying during take off and landing. I'm pretty sure it took days for my ears to recover.

Wednesday, September 4

The Hard Hat Diaries: God Bless Whataburger

Holy crap! It's...September? Already? Where'd August go? Heck, where'd July go? I keep telling myself I'm going to make time for this little personal slice of internet, and then I go home and find Netflix. Sad truth. I know I can't be the only one. {Speaking of which, it only took me one month to rewatch every episode of Greek. Remember how awesome that show was? CAPPIE&CASEY4EVA}

July was a blur of basically nothing....August on the other hand...

Well I went on not one, but two Woods Barbie adventures, received my first Influenster box and my first Cara Box, as well as began year two as Miss Jessica. So I have plenty of material. Guess it's time to start writing...

August has been by far the craziest month of travel I've had in a long while. First up was what I like to call a week long "Loop" trip, hitting Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana for stories. This time, however, I added Texas to my list. I'd only been to Texas once before, to Fort Worth, so I was excited to expand my horizons. AKA add another state to my every growing list of states I've gotten lost in.  Texas has LOTS of Whataburgers, which is basically the best food ever. Happy little me didn’t mind Texas one damn bit! Gone are the days of surviving on Sonic. THANK GOD. I don't think I could eat another bite of Sonic if my life depended on it. Seriously. 
This stack is one day going to be toilet paper!
The week was basically a blur between accidentally making my phone think it was March 2011, remembering to take real time marketing photos, actually getting to drive one of the giant pieces of machinery I write about, and seeing a bear.

Yes, you read that correctly: I saw a bear. I was piloting a Chevy 200, which is a wanna be Chevy 300 which is a wanna be Bentley{don't I get the best rental cars?}, so I was NOT confident that the bear couldn't paw it's way in. Hence no photographic evidence. I was lost on some backwoods Arkansas state highway, trying to find Louisiana, when out pops a damn bear. BEAR! During the bear debacle, my boss starts texting me about the movie Deliverance. Again. I really don’t think I ever want to see that movie. Ever. 

Sadly, those were the major highlights of the week. Compared to most trips, I laid low. Though I went from boots and jeans Friday morning to a black tie fundraiser Friday night. Ahhh, the beautiful dichotomy of my life. 

Friday, July 5

Five on Friday

I intended to get back in the blogging saddle this week, if only for posterity’s sake, but then I had one of the worst sicknesses of my adult life. Now, to be fair I’ve only been an “adult” for a hot minute, but woof. For almost five straight days I was running a fever of about 100 to 101.

I didn’t blog like I should’ve because I could barely muster enough energy to breathe. My bad. But now I’m back to breathing and blogging.

Secret’s out: I read Mommy blogs. Okay, I read like three. And for the most part they are women I know (or my family knows) in real life. So when a few of them “link up” to The Good Life and the Five On Friday, I’ve always thought, “I need to do that! What a good way to list random thoughts for the week.” So here I am, joining in on the fun.
One: Happy Birthday America!
In a cruel twist of fate, I started feeling better Wednesday. Just time for a wet July 4th. A day off/holiday where I had no plans, did practically nothing and took a nap in the middle of the day. It was awesome and a little sad at the same time.  I wore blue tempos, a red Chicago Blackhawks tshirt and cleaned my kitchen. That’s American right?

Two: Welcome to the Real World
I bought a car last Friday. A car. A car! I own something worth real money. It’s a surreal feeling. It also needs gas, which I’m quickly learning, in an SUV ain’t cheap. After not driving for a few weeks, being able to drive, and actually owning the car!, is a glorious feeling. Somehow I have managed to not take a photo of said car. How very unmidtwentysomething of me. Whoops.

Three: Back to the Barre
With sickness, traveling, working at night and no real wheels to speak of, my Pure Barre attendance was slim to none for June. July shall change all of that. It’s back to the Barre for this seat. Lord do I need it. Though the thought of going back to three and four classes a week after basically being completely gone for a month has me terrified.

Four: Decorating (or Attempting to Decorate) My House
I love my house. It’s by no means a dream house, but for right now, for this point of life, it’s perfect. I’m by no means the interior genius, I mean designer, that others in my family are, cough Mrs. K. J. Williams cough, so I’m scouring Pinterest for ideas. Having a whole house to decorate and a limited budget has me pretty overwhelmed.

Five: Projects for the Weekend
One of my dearest friends is having a baby girl reallll soon. I keep stockpiling things Charlotte will one day receive from Aunt Jess, but I never get around to sending them. I also have my little sis’ wedding gift I never sent. I’m making it a point to head to the post office this weekend. I’m also planning on attempting to make a wreath for my front door and spray paint my front porch chairs. I think I’ve bit off more than I can chew at this point. Story of my life.

Friday, June 28

Woods Barbie Reflects: Year One


Lately I have been a little "distracted." Lots of things have been happening, both good and bad, and I'm just not sure what the hell I'm doing with myself. While I sort that out…or try to at least, I had the opportunity to write my first editorial for Southern Loggin' Times. A serious reflection on the last year of my life. My first year in the woods.

And it was way harder than I ever thought it would be.

 See, my entire world changed when I joined the editorial team at Hatton-Brown. I traded in my high heels for Wolverine men's work boots. My sundresses for good ole fashioned Levi 501's.
One of my favorite parts of this editorial was coming up with the following list: the twelve most important things the forestry industry (& my job) has taught me.

One: In the most simple of terms, the smell of pine mixed with diesel is wonderful. It reminds me why I love my job and I am grateful to have the chance to spend some time outside. It does some good for the soul.

Two: Loggers are some of the best people in the world. As a Louisiana logger once told me, there are many misconceptions about this industry, but the biggest one is what loggers are really like. We need to fight to change these misconceptions.

Three: Some words are interchangeable and commonly accepted to stand for other things. Some don't.

Four: There are some companies that really are the embodiment of everything I hate: greed, stupidity and stepping on the little guys to get ahead.

Five: I'm never going to not get lost. As a Mississippi logger put it, "you need to brush up on your left and your right."

Six: Faith is a wonderful thing. In the last year my faith has been revealed to me in ways I never thought possible.
 
Seven: I love the sound of a chain flail delimbinator. (Pictured above for you nonheavy machinery people.)

Eight: Sonic Drive-Thru is in fact delicious, but a small person such as myself should not eat it for eight out of eleven meals and not expect to get sick. Try out the meat and three place. It's worth it every single time.

Nine: This industry, unlike any I've been around before, is a family. People look out for each other.

Ten: The EPA needs to slow their F'n roll.

Eleven: My interviews are fun. I love getting to know this extended family I find myself a part of, and sharing their stories with me is an honor. But I also like to laugh a little in the process. And it is always, always okay to laugh at me. I’m still getting the hang of the woods and I’m bound to make a fool out of myself.

Twelve: Riding in a giant piece of equipment over a bunch of trees in seven feet deep water, sitting on the lap of the operator can make for an interesting conversation and can get you some great pictures. It can be a little awkward though, when climbing out.   
I don't know what year two will bring for little Woods Barbie, but I can honestly say I can't wait to find out... and getting to this point, it's been a helluva ride.

Wednesday, May 22

#montgomerymove2013

This year, unlike last year, I didn't live tweet the disaster that was my cross-town move. Honestly, I've been too f'n tired. Why? Well, because...May was a crazy month for me. First there was my weeklong story-gathering trip to Florida, which was an adventure all in itself. After five days and nearly 1200 miles, I arrived safely back in Montgomery just in time to move.

Everything about the move makes me want to tear my hair out.

  • First it was a struggle getting everything packed and physically moved from one location to another. (Don't ever move hungover.)
  • Then the power wasn't turned on the weekend I moved. (Oops.)
  • Then there was a problem with the fuse box, which presented a fire hazard. (Yeah...)
  • Then the gas fueled water heater wasn't vented properly, which presented a fire hazard. (Cue a MAJOR freakout by me.)
  •  Now that every one of those issues has been fixed, I finally get to take a hot shower in my own home…and the water is brown. When it's not brown it's got a yellow tint. (Who wants to bathe in brown or yellow water?)
Literally every day has been something. I'm sure one day I'll look back on this and still cry laugh. Until then: I'm buying a case of water bottles, LOTS of beer and wondering why on Earth I moved into an old house.

Because I really can't even broach the subject of unpacking, organizing or rearranging my furniture.
...and I wonder why I can't find clean clothes?

Tuesday, May 14

Three Hundred and Sixty Five


365 days ago my life changed, in a very big way. I don't think I really took time to let it sink in that I was moving, that I was no longer going to be in a town I called home for so long. That I was no longer going to be comfortable in my own life. That I was going to struggle like I never thought possible. (That, one year later I would still struggle like I never thought I would.)

365 days of waking up and wondering if today would be the day I snapped, packed up my crap and moved home.

365 nights of going to bed in an apartment I pay all the bills for, myself.

Today I turned in the keys to my first grown up apartment. I am slowly moving away from my old self.

I'm becoming a real grown up. Not the fake one I've spent a few years pretending to be. I wonder what the future will hold. When I moved to Montgomery I had no idea what to expect. I thought I had things pretty well figured out, but I don't—I have no flippin' idea what I am doing, where I am going and who I will become.

The dogs are alive and well. I've managed to pay most of my bills on time. I don't have insurmountable credit card debit. I'm doing better than the national average. I know who I am. I have an idea of who I want to become.

Things aren't perfect, but I'm learning to let go of the perfect ideal I had in my head and roll with what is actually happening. Roll with the punches, isn't that a famous Jerry Maguire line?

I've never been good at looking back: I just get melancholy; I am not a person that really likes change. Ironic, because I love adventures and yearn for the day where on a whim, with some planning, I can just up and travel the globe.  

But here I am, looking to day 366 of living in Montgomery in a new (to me at least) house, with boxes and tote bags and my prized possessions shit everywhere… I'm sure it'll get unpacked and organized eventually, just like my life.

For now, I'm going to enjoy having a porch swing and some early Summer weather. Or at least try to.

Friday, May 3

Fulfilling My Civic Duty...


So I might have jury duty? While I was out of town, I received a survey from the US District Court as a prescreening after being randomly selected to possibly serve on a jury.
"Prospective" who are we kidding? Might as well as Juror #6.
I have the worst luck in the history of the world. This type of stuff, when it happens to me, usually results in a worse case scenario coming to life.

"Randomly selected to possibly serve" might as well be my summons. And while most I've talked to about this either laugh at me uncontrollably (thanks Momma), tell me to just stick to an extreme and not wavier (thanks Corey) or wax poetic about civic responsibility (thanks Papa); I know I will be on some Criminal Minds-esque gruesome case that leaves me horrified for weeks. Because that’s just how my life rolls.

F.

Wednesday, May 1

The Hard Hat Diaries: To Pee or Not to Pee?


It's funny how I have begun to measure my Woods Barbie trips. Not by the hours I spend in the car, or the miles I drive. But in the amount of drive thru meals I consume. How many Hampton versus Holiday Inns I lay my head in.

Which is just sad.

But, frankly, it's the reality of "traveling for work," at least when it comes to my job. I'm sure the glamorous people of the world that work glamorous jobs travel a little different than I do. Good for them. I wear work boots, a hard hat and never forget to pack my sense of adventure. Or GPS.

Florida is one of those states I really haven't (at least prior to last week) had a chance to explore. While I'm sure south Florida is lovely, and God knows the Keys are where it's freaking at, north and central Florida, well you kinda reminded me of Talladega, Ala.

I did get to spend one afternoon at the hotel's pool, soaking in some Florida sun. So, win? This pool mind you, was at a Hampton Inn in Lake City, Fla., and I could literally see I-75 from my lounger. We shared a parking lot with a RV dealership.  It wasn't quite as trailer park as your wild imagination might make it seem. But close. VERY close. 

Big highlights of this trip: I got lost, big time. (Surprise, surprise.) I didn't get a single marriage proposal. (Depressing.) I spent six hours with the same logger. He had so much to say, and I was grateful that the interview was so in depth. But around hour four of being in the woods, I literally had to think about which was worse: peeing in the woods without toilet paper or wetting my pants.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to what I selected. 

Monday, April 29

Playing Catch-Up


The last ten days have been crazy around here. The next ten are going to be even crazier.

Before I get ahead of myself and discuss the latest Woods Barbie adventure, or how I might be getting jury duty, let me share this little gem from last weekend. I was never really a lake person...and then I went to this house which should be featured on Southern Living

I think we might have a future on Dancing with the Stars.

Also, who swing dances to "Thrift Shop?" Apparently me and my friend Eddleman, whom I've nicknamed Eddlenasty. I believe it was also sent to my dear friend Caitlin in an effort to set her up on a cross-country blind date? Sometimes I have the best ideas, y'all, the best ideas. 

Wednesday, April 17

The things you do for love...


It's no secret that my Momma and I have a very interesting relationship. I love her to death but homegirl drives me crazy sometimes. That's the reality of grown up mothers and daughters though right? Right.

Anyway, I've become one of those people I make fun of. I've become a "Share it to Win it" person. Sorta. I'm not going to share this link more than once. I'm not going to beg for y'all's votes. I'm not going to remind you that every day you can click vote and hopefully help momma and me bank $5,000 to World Market. I promise we will share the wealth when if we win. No. Instead, I'm throwing our/my entry into the world just once via each of my social outlets and then seeing what happens.

My Momma is amazing, but hey, so is everyone else's. It's just pretty cool I got to share it with the world in this unconventional way. (Also, 150 words is SO not enough to discuss all of Linda's high points. Marrying a former bartender? GENIUS MOVE.) Plus, I mean, this picture.
I love you Momma. Hope we win. Yet, one of the most important lessons you taught me was that if it's meant to be, it will be. Maybe this is meant to be. Maybe not?

Tuesday, April 16

All Quiet on the Western Front


Call it the calm before the storm. Call it whatever the heck you want. Life is about to become an epic mess of fun things, work things, moving things, school things, life things.

That was my lead in sentence on yesterday's post about how Monday was going to be the calm before the storm that is about to become my life. Last week I was able to deny how busy and tired I was from the combination of sickness and back injury and just the sheer desire to think about it "tomorrow."

Yesterday I promised myself I would get my head out of my ass and recognize that life is changing. I am moving. It's happening at a very rapid rate. I work a busy job where I'm about to go out of town for a week with little internet and cell phone access. Sipsey is having surgery, possibly right at this moment. There's nothing I can do for her now. 

But this all seems trivial, because, Boston. At the same time, it doesn't seem trivial. Life is moving forward today. In my own way, from what seems like a different planet, I will try to be better, for Boston. Being better is all we can ask ourselves to do. The world, collectively, has a better heart than this.
via
I'm choosing to express mine by giving blood. It's something I have always done, when able, since I was 16. It's something so easy that can make such a difference. Maybe you'll think about it as well. Or say an extra prayer, or do whatever you can to be better. Let's all just be better; not "tomorrow" but today.

Friday, April 12

Fail Friday


One of my favorite sayings is "You're doing it wrong." Because, frankly people, a lot of times, you're doing it wrong. And no, I don't consider myself an exception to this rule. This week has been an excellent example of me, doing it wrong, WAY WRONG.

As I mentioned Monday, and if you follow me on twitter or IG you'll know, I hurt my back this past week. I have spent most of my days high as a bloody kite on muscle relaxers sitting in a straight-backed chair trying to write about oxygen sensors and lawn and garden equipment.  (I live a glam life.)

This morning I realized as I was finishing my monthly column: using the latest technology to transfer sounds onto paper in regards to carburetors...yeah, you’re not alone; I have no idea what the hell I am talking about either...half of it is made of up of tax return information.

Thankfully I caught it before it actually went into the production department, but let's just say my $250 donation to Holy Spirit Catholic Church in fiscal year 2012 and a $1,300 Snap-On Vantage system used to do the whole sound on paper thing, don't exact go hand in hand.

I also did my taxes two days ago. Pray for me that I don't get audited. I doubt, "I'm sorry I was infirmed and on some medications when I did this, oopsie," will be an acceptable way out. 

Monday, April 8

Monday Medley


This weekend was a big one for little ole me. Friday night. I spent some time with some of my favorite people in the world, doing some ridiculous things. (Like wearing a pink lipstick and a purple shirt.)(I also need to be more cognizant of the giant bar cups that always find themselves in my pictures.)
 I found a perfect place to live. Cross your fingers my references check out!

I threw my back out again. So I am back to walking at a 75 degree angle. It's not a cute as it sounds.

I added a movie to my Top 5 Favorites list: Midnight in Paris. If you haven't seen it, rent it immediately. Use Redbox code BREAKROOM and you'll get it fo free. Aiii, what a bright Monday.
 Finally, I bought this Saturday and I literally cannot get over how much I love it. Can't wait to wear it later this week with white denim as it FINALLY feels like Spring down here. (pssst, no code needed, you get an extra 40% off the marked price!)  
Celebrate the best thing about Mondays: go getcha a Moe's burrito for $5 with Moe's Monday. 

Friday, April 5

Lovin' Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Please?

As I am redesigning the blog and trying to make myself accountable to posting and keeping up with my increasingly impossibly busy life, (if only to show my children that one day Momma was a hot mess in a small dress size!) as well as make some blogland friends I encourage you to follow me on Bloglovin'. Mainly because I have a big fat 0 on it and it KINDA makes me sad.

Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, April 3

Wednesday Wisdom


This past weekend almost the entire Johnson crew, or really I guess the entire Williams crew plus Watsons and Johnsons!, gathered in Tuscaloosa for some family Easter fun and to celebrate the Baptism of sweet Saylor Grace. With three kids and lots of adults, more than half with Johnson blood running through their veins, it was definitely a fun, loud, hilarious weekend.

Saturday night, Kristen and I, over a pair of Sam Adams' summer ales, playing at a pink train table with her wonderful son, got to talkin'. Talkin' about life, love, the Internet, family, grammar. Basically Kristen was throwing down some wonderful big sister advice and I was soaking it up like a sponge.

Then she dropped this line. It is something that will never leave me in the time of 140 character snippets, one-picture stories and five paragraph blogs.


She is totally right. 

Wednesday, March 27

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington


My all time favorite movie is a '90's classic: "The American President."  Set in modern day DC, mainly The White House, the President of the United States meets and falls in love with a lobbyist. It really is the best movie in the world. There's politics! There's sex! There's a whack job stinky poop face! You should watch it as soon as possible. (& make sure to let me know, because I can quote pretty much the entire thing and it's usually amusing to see.) In one of the scenes from the movie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," a classic movie by Frank Capra, is referenced. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT GOOGLE IT BECAUSE YOU'RE EMBARRASING ME. Hence the title of this trip recap! #endramble

Over this past weekend DCK and I flew out to Washington DC! We hung out with friends, took in the sights and rode the metro. We also ate. And then ate some more. And then decided we were really proud Americans.  

Washington this go 'round was such a different experience than it was when I last went. As an adult I appreciate more of the history. I, also, standing in the middle of the Library of Congress, realized I am a huge nerd. Like epic nerd. Like I was disappointed I didn't get to hear all the guest lectures they have scheduled this month, nerd. Mooooving on.

We took in the sights...
 Marveled at buildings filled with beauty...
 
Paid our respects to those before us...
  Froze our asses off...
Showed Dixieland pride...
Fangirled so hard (not because of Obama, but the aforementioned favorite movie!)
Walked all around Georgetown U in search of a souvenir for my Dad's personal sports bar...
Witnessed what true dedication and belief in a cause looked like... 
 These protestors slept in front of the SCOTUS in the snow and rain days before arguments were heard. Before the general masses got involved in the cause. These people showed up; heads held high as they listened to a crazy man protest Roe v. Wade in front of the hoards of varying middle school tour groups. These people amazed me. Love is the most important thing that God has given us—in any and all forms. These people reminded me.

We ate at some of the most amazing restaurants I literally can't bring myself to eat a meal in Montgomery. I was also too busy shoving the food in my face to take pictures, so just trust me. The. Food. Was. Sensational. Ooof. It was a wonderful weekend and despite the 3:30am wakeup call and 6:00am flight back yesterday, I wouldn't have changed a moment of it.

Oh, and we had been batting around a certain possible location for our next BIG trip and then saw this on one of our many metro rides. It was clearly a sign...
So, basically, here we come Reykjavik. Can't wait to meet you (and the Northern Lights) in January of 2014.

Wednesday, March 20

A True Love Affair


I've never had something I swear by. I mean I loved my Rainbows in high school and college.  I've always thought Apple products are better than their Windows counterparts; I think that in some instances generic brand foods are just as good as name brands. But I've never sworn by anything.

I am a flip flopper. I like trying everything and sticking with what doesn't look terrible at the end of the day. That was until I met my Minnetonka Moccasins.
It started out as a DSW gift card/coupon combination impulse purchase. Now I know it is real love. I now have something I swear by.

Oh yeah, and they are the most comfortable shoes ever that compliment a variety of my offbeat outfits. Winner winner chicken dinner. 

Monday, March 18

No Green Beer This Year


St. Patrick's Day (or St. Practice Day for the revelers that celebrated Saturday) for most people involved green beer (more green beer) and crappy food and things I pretty much earmark as an average day in the life of college me. 

I worked out at 9am on Saturday. I wore a green bikini to the pool Saturday afternoon. I GOT ABSOLUTELY TORCHED IN SAID GREEN BIKINI. It still hurts and I'm still cranky. I darkened my hair using my new favorite thing in the world, eSalon, before I went on a theatre and dinner date.

On the actual Feast of Saint Patrick, I did a little party for the baby Catholics. I spent a good bit of time last week trolling the interwebs, mainly Google; Pinterest has been overwhelming me in a bad way lately, for activities and crafts that would help convey WHO St. Patrick was and WHAT St. Patrick's Day really means to us Catholics. (Hint, leprechauns have nothing to do with it.)

Anyway, we did a word search as warm up and enjoyed donuts before praying the Breastplate of St. Patrick! The word search was okay; honestly, I will probably make my own next year.

Then we learned some quick "life and times of Patrick" while filling out this mini book. I loved this activity because my classroom has a SmartBoard and we were able to fill in the worksheets right on the screen. It was great.

Our final activity, which clearly highlights that I am infreakingsane, was creating spoon saints. I got the idea from Catholic Icing, my new favorite place in the world, who got it from Cottage Blessings.

The kids did great! I was able to get all the supplies for all 23 of my kidlets for about $15 using a coupon at Michael's. I got the 12X12 pieces of green and yellow paper, then using my paper trimmer cut them into four separate pieces to pass out for the vestments.
The glitter was an absolute F'ing disaster, but it made them happy and y'know whatever. (I'm pretty sure I still have gold glitter in my ear.) 

But in the end everyone was proud of what they made. I'm still kicking myself for not getting a close up of an actual spoon saint, but you live and learn right? There's anyways next year, because this is one craft I will be doing again. 

Friday, March 15

Friday Favorites Pinterest Addition

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I'm slowly working thru my pins, either actually making the recipes or deleting them, and as I do that some favorites jump out...
L’Uomo Vogue
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via Real Simple
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Hot boy with books! Piglets with Paint! Fancy Gin-based Punch! Pink and stone! These are definitely the top four I'm feeling this week.



Don't forget about the Samantha Faye flash sale! Ends Sunday night, 3/17 at Midnight CST. 30% off EVERYTHING with the code Jessica30. Use it to get an adorable little guy like this.


Wednesday, March 13

Literary Snack


Lately I have been in a Nora Roberts mood. My reading has a tendency to come and go in waves, and while I read so much technical stuff for the day job, the heavier classics for my classes (say that three times fast!), sometimes I just want a literary snack.

Or literary filth as someone has called it. Which, by the way, if you think NR's romances are filthy have you actually READ any pages of Christian Grey? Don't get me started on that...that…filth.

Off my soapbox and back on to my topic. The world is complicated, constantly changing, and topsy-turvy and hard to understand. Nora is all those things. But with a happy ending that life usually sometimes decides you don't deserve can't have.
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But surely I'm not the only one that spends hours reading titles like Playing the Odds: The Story of Serena and Justin.

Or maybe I am.

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