Saturday, December 31, 2011

new accessories and decisions to make

Clearly, I was a very good girl this year because Santa was good to me. I got tons of new running gear to help me with my goals this year including new shoes (that I designed myself) and a heart rate monitor/timer/watch/calorie tracker.

Yesterday I did a test run with the shoes and watch that was pretty good for being my first run after a month off. Considering the trainer had me bust my butt at the gym just before my run I feel like I did well.

Speaking of the gym... it's going to  be interesting fitting it into my schedule this semester, but after yesterday I feel like it will be necessary. If I want to be ready for the half marathon in the fall then I am going to need some more strength to pull from during my runs.

Now I've just got to decide what race to sign up for. Originally the Savannah Rock 'n Roll half was the plan, but I found out recently that the 2012 race is going to be in November instead of September. Not a big deal, but there is a half marathon going on in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Day that might be better. Basically no travel to mess with race prep.

I have time on my side though. Early Registration for both races goes through October. I think I'll make my decision later in 2012 once I'm further into training. Opinions are welcome though! Anyone ran a half marathon they had to travel for? We would have to drive for about 4 hours the night before the race if I do the one in Savannah.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

confession time

I haven't been out for a run since Thanksgiving.

I've been eating like a fat kid for the last two weeks.

Making consitant, healthy choices is not easy. It isn't always fun. In fact, it's hard work that gives results slowly and reluctantly.

I have some specific goals that I would like to reach this year, but that can't happen unless I put in the effort to stick to the plan of healthy choices. Time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and hop back on the wagon.

First up, a meeting with a personal trainer at my gym to get a true evaluation of where I am and make a plan to meet my specific goals.

We'll go from there....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas craziness

I thought the running around crazy portion of Christmas was over when I finished buying and sending out gifts. For most people, it probably would be.

Not me.

Nope, for some reason I got a huge burst of holiday spirit and decided that I NEED to do all of the Christmas things RIGHT NOW. So much that I could not sleep. I laid in bed until 1am before falling asleep and promptly woke up this morning at 5:30.

Steve got plenty of sleep. Probably because I wore him out with my manic Christmasness. I actually tried to convince him last night that we should go get some candles to decorate the tree so it would be more traditional. This was shortly after I spent over an hour researching German Christmas cookies and shopping for expensive wooden cookie molds for a hard cookie that takes 12 hours to make and tastes like licorice.

Thankfully, I seem to have gained some much needed clarity in my 4.5 hours of sleep.

I narrowed the list of fun things to do for the holiday down to two big ones: 1) baking some holiday treats. Not even difficult ones. I'm going to make some treats for Finn and then whip up some cupcakes to take over to my parents' house for dessert on Christmas Day. 2) Attending the Candlelight communion service at the little church up the street on Christmas Eve.

This plan seems much better than wiping myself out in a blaze of manic festivity. I hope everyone has a relaxing and pleasant holiday!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

three point seven four

Final grades were posted this morning and I, being the highly obsessive person that I am, checked the onlline transcript as soon as I woke up. When I looked at the page I about killed Steve with my celebrating...

I made all A's. For the first time since I can remember.... probably elementary school.

Not only did I earn a 4.0 this semester, but I earned myself a spot on the President's list. I also bumped my cumulative GPA to it's highest point in my college career. 3.74.

It's amazing what you can do when you stop making excuses and apply yourself.... and when you are finally in the right program of study. That might have more than a little bit to do with it.

On a slightly related note, Congratulations to my older brother, Thor, on his graduation! He received his Bachelor's degree in Psychology yesterday from Georgia Gwinnett College.

I hope everyone else who graduated and those who are on a semester break has a relaxing holiday break. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December waiting period

It is now that weird part of December where you feel like you are in limbo... prepping for upcoming things while still waiting for others to finish.

I have ben done with finals since Thursday, but my final grades are not published yet. This has led to repeated calculations on my part utilizing "what if" final exam/paper scores to determine a general range for my final grade. Since being asked to join the honor society and making the Dean's List last semester I kind of want to keep the positivity going.

The other thing creating this weird feeling is the approach of Christmas. We decorated weeks ago, I've done Christmas crafts, told the kids my favorite stories, watched Charlie Brown and the Grinch, baked Christmas cookies, sent out Christmas cards, bought the gifts for family.... all that's left is getting together on the 25th.

I'm incredibly thankful for the ability to celebrate this year since last year was so nuts, but everything seems so much more relaxed than I remember. There is no holidy budget crisis, no last minute shopping spree and postal bankrupcy shipping everything out on time... just quiet nights with the lights on and cuddles on the couch.

I like it a whole bunch. In fact, I could get used to this.

Now, all I need to do is finish wrapping everything and come up with stocking stuffers for Steve and I will be all set. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My letter came!

I've posted about it pretty much everywhere today... might as well make it a full set of internet attention whoring and post here as well.

My letter from the college of education came in the mail today and I got into my degree program! I will start my first block in the spring and graduation is set for December 2013. I am so stinking excited I can't stand it.

As a matter fo fact, I out nerded even myself when trying to explain my excitement to Steve this evening. Our conversation went like this:

Me: I actually cried when I got my acceptance letter.

Steve: Well, I imagine you were pretty relieved. You've been stressing since before your interview.

Me: Yeah, I felt like Hermione must have while waiting for her Hogwarts letter.

Steve: .... *silence*....

Me: you know... really really wanting to go be a smarty pants but having to wait on the damn owl with her letter. Only I just had to wait on the mail man.

Steve: you realize you're a bigger nerd than me now, right?

Whatever... If I get grades like Hermione too I really don't care how nerdy it is to cry over an acceptance letter. And Steve likes Battlestar Galactica. He still wins the title of head nerd in our house.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the holiday treat trap

The one downside to the holidays is the amount of sweets and treats available. It seems like the holidays come around and suddenly my ability to rationally choose what I eat goes right out the window.

This was a non-issue last year because I was miserably sick with gallbladder issues during Thanksgiving and recovering from surgery/moving during Christmas. There were no treats in the house and no temptation to go get any. The 45 minute drive to starbucks alone pretty much killed any potential for giving into cravings.

Although I am grateful for the positive changes in my life, namely the fact that I don't require any additional surgeries and am living in an area that Steve and I love, it does bring about the holiday treat temptations again. Having a Starbucks inside of or sharing a parking lot with every grocery store in my area only adds to that temptation.

I won't list it all out because you will find it as gross as I do, but suffice it to say that Thanksgiving and the first few days of the Christmas season have been a major wake up call for me about how easily the holidays can get out of hand with food... among other things. I certainly haven't been careful with my food choices this last week and the uncomfortable symptoms I'm experiencing as a result are serving as a great reminder of why moderation is so important. As I type this my stomach is rolling from the sugar in my afternoon latte (that I grabbed at the Starbucks inside Target).

The only thing I can think of to prevent me from falling into the holiday indugence trap is to remind myself why we celebrate the holidays in the first place. The holidays (regardless of what black friday rioting and car commericals tell you) are not about mindless indulgence. The holidays are about celebrating life and being thankful for the many blessings we have received this year.

I can't possibly list all of the blessings I have been given... even just in this past year, but one of the most important blessings I have received is the knowledge that I have nothing to prove. I am happy with my life and the future I am building.

Cookies and lattes can't give me anything close to that kind of contentment. You know what can? Going for a run and seeing how much progress I have made in the last year. Taking Finn to one of the many dog parks nearby with Steve and seeing how happy he is to run full speed with his doggy friends. Reading some new research to help me prepare for my observations next semester. If I am going to choose to indulge myself, why not indulge in something that will only add to the blessings I've got?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back at it

I feel like I've been out of it for so long. It really was only about 10 days, but being sick really took it out of me. Not running made me feel gross and led to some bad food choices.

Yesterday I got back to it though and it feels great! I didn't lose any time on my pace and I'm still able to run 3 miles without stopping, so count me as a happy camper.

I also recently looked up some info about the student rec center on campus and what kind of fitness equipment they offer. After all, my schedule next semester will more than likely be insane. Workouts will definitely have to take place downtown if I want them to happen at all... which I do. So, I looked into it. Imagine my suprise when I found out that it's a state of the art facility about three blocks from where my classes will be. Not only do they have awesome facilities, they offer personal training and nutrition consultations for pretty much dirt cheap to students.

I'm hoping that, between this and the gym membership the apartment complex gave me, I can get going on my half marathon training in January.

I would also like to say that I am due for new running shoes soon and I am thrilled that Nike now offers customization for my running shoe style in their online store. Not that the blue/white look isn't cute, it's just not something I would choose if I had other options.... which I do now.

If you want to buy me a present I would be happy to point you to the saved design on the Nike website. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


My 5K was yesterday, but I didn't run it. I didn't even show up. Why? Because of this awful cold I've had for a few days.

Since about Wednesday I've been sniffly and coughing, but Saturday morning the chest congestion hit along with big fat sap-all-your-energy coughs. I felt awful, but I really wanted to run that dang race! Steve and I decided to run some errands and see how I felt. If that went well we would consider still goiong to the race.

After a brief run to Best Buy to complete our Harry Potter blue ray collection, it became obvious that any attempt at racing would be a really terrible idea. We stopped at the grocery store for some necessities and then went back home so I could cuddle on the couch with my robitussen and our dog.

This week I will be finishing my observations and wrapping up my courses before Thanksgiving break. Missing class or observations is not an option, so today is all about resting and getting better.

Once the semester is over I will look into another race.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

positive side effects

I've noticed during my post-run stretching that I am becoming much more flexible than I used to be.

For example, this time last year, I could not touch my toes when my feet were straight out in front of me on the floor. Now, I can grab my heels. Now, with ym feet spread and my body stretching up the middle, I can lay my elbows on the floor.

Not quite a pretzel pose girl, but way better than where I was.

Steve made a couple comments recently that brightened my day. According to him I am already looking more toned. This may have been him trying to encourage me and win brownie points, but I am choosing to believe that certain areas are less jiggly than they were a few weeks ago.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

3 miles of hills and win

Ever since I started running about two years ago I have been a proud run/walker.

The couch to 5K running training program got my butt off the couch initially and broke the crazy difficult concept of running down into easy to handle pieces for me to accomplish. At about week 7 of the program I stopped due to a foot injury (watch out for those desks at work, they'll attack you out of nowhere) and never went back to the program. Instead, I did run/walk intervals that challenged me but never lead to full on running for the 30 minutes like the program says you should do by the end of week 9.

Then came my gallbladder issues and various other impediments to training... not the least of which were my own excuses and laziness.

After signing up for the Lanier Under the Lights 5k on Saturday, though, I stepped up my training again. I started with 3/5 intervals... walk for 3 minutes, run for 5. Then I switched to timing my intervals with my music. I would run for two songs (roughly 8 minutes) and walk for a song. Eventually I increased the running and decreased the walking.

Today, I ran a full 3 miles without stopping for the first time ever. And not just any three miles... three miles of hills!

Of course, I have participated in a 5K race before and gone greater distances than 3.2 miles... but never without some sort of break (walking or full out stopping).

Today's run was a big deal for me... a mark of major progress in my training. On top of the usual endorphin rush, I had this incredible sense of pride in myself. I can only hope that this sense of accomplishment will carry me through my last two training runs this week and my race on Saturday.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's the little things

This morning I woke up to an email saying that the college of education at Georgia State has invited me to join the education honor society.

You better believe I sat bolt upright in my bed grinning like a fool. I even woke Steve up to tell him.

I've never been asked to join any kind of honor society. Excluding elementary and early middle school, my grades never would have qualified me for that kind of distinction until very recently. Apparently someone noticed how much I've been busting my butt these last three semesters.

After the crazy day I had yesterday trying to be in about ten places at once, it was a nice email to wake up to. This week in particular has been rough between school, work, classroom observations, and trying to keep myself ready for this 5K next week... you can pretty much forget quality time with Steve and Finn. I needed a small reminder that it is all going to pay off very soon.

I'm also taking this as a good sign for my interview on the 11th. If they want me to be a part of the honor society then it stands to reason that they are confident that I'll be accepted into the college of education.

Still, no garauntees. I've still got my fingers crossed and my game face on.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

taking a walk

This moring when I went to go out for my run I noticed my cell phone battery was basically dead. Since that cell phone pulls double duty as my pace/distance monitor and my music player, I was about to scrap the whole run and stay home. When I don't monitor my pace I tend to go nuts and hurt myself somehow... not worth it.

Then I thought about it some more and decided to just go my usual route and walk it. If nothing else, it gets me out of the house, gets me moving around, and I still get in 30 minutes of exercise even if it is less intense.

After all, if I am serious about my goals, I need to make choices every day that reflect those goals.

So... I walked it out. And you knwo what? It wasn't super intense. It wasn't anything like my runs full of sweat, adrenaline, and loud music to keep me going. My walk was relaxing. It was refreshing. It was energizing in a different way than my runs normally are.

Tomorrow I can lace up the running shoes and make up the training run I skipped today. I can stay on track to rock my 5K in about 2 weeks. But today I'm going to be happy that I did somethign good for myself, even if it was different than what was planned.

Sometimes you need to take the endorphins whichever way you can get them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

it's that time again

Steve and I went to our leasing office this morning to renew our lease. Hard to believe it's been almost a year since we moved in already!

Along with our new lease (which starts in January), we found out some interesting things:
- they are completely renovating the on-site gym and extending the hours of operation
- they are converting the infrequently used walking track into a dog park!
- residents are now allowed to paint their apartments as long as they paint them back before moving out.

We've had our ups and downs with this property, but so far the new management company is making some great changes.

As a perk for renewing our lease, we received a memberhsip to the brand new LA Fitness that opened up down the street. It is good for the entire length of our lease and I am beyond excited. Although the property is redoing their on site gym, the gym down the street offers things like group classes which are obviously not available at the on site gym. They also have a swimming pool available to swim laps in... something that is definitely not an option at the neighborhood pool.

Overall, I'm excited to have all the paperwork taken care of so that we can just relax and enjoy our home. I'm so excited for the holidays and the ability to actually decorate for them this year and next year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Biggest Loser

While watching my DVRed episodes of his season of the Biggest Loser I came to understand why I love this show so much.

Of course I like watching people change their lives.

Of course I like seeing the impressive results at the end.

However, I think the reason I continue to watch, season after season, is because of the people. No matter how many times I watch, every season the people struggle with the same issues regarding food and their own body image. These people started out relatively healthy and, somewhere down the road, something happened that sent them on a downward spiral. They used food as a coping mechanism and hid themselves from life as much as possible.

Then, somehow they end up on the ranch and the trainers there help them recover from this dependence on food and avoidance.

It's so much like an addiction recovery that at times I feel like I'm watching Intervention.

I love this show, even if their methods are a bit extreme.

Monday, October 17, 2011

pumpkin muffin/cake goodness

I made a recipe from Pinterest for pumpkin muffins and the only appropriate description is this...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Nothing this simple and this low in calories has any business tasting so good. I'm not even kidding.

You want the recipe?

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, mix a can of Libby's pumpkin puree with one box of yellow cake mix. Spoon into a muffin pan with liners and bake for 20 minutes.

Ta-daa! A crazy delicious fall snack awaits you! All for 17 measly calories per muffin.

Go... make them. You can thank me later.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

back to training

My run this morning was a bit rough. I haven't been out for a run in about a week (Doctor's orders due to the vertigo diagnosis) and I could tell from the first steps that it was going to be a battle every step of the way.

The toughest thing about running for me so far has been the mental aspect of it. I can make all the plans in the world to rock my run, but when I finally make it out the door I can find a million reasons to go right back inside.

When I focus on the fact that I'm exercising my mind loves to put up road blocks and set limitations. It's only when I let go and decide to make my run about clearing my head and put my feet to the pavement that I'm able to get something worthwhile out of myself.

Bad run... good run... no big deal. At least I got out there and earned myself another gold star.

Friday, September 30, 2011

feel free to judge me for this...

I'm one of those people who loves holidays, but I feel that stores and society in general tends to start in on Christmas stuff WAY too early. I saw Christmas decorations out at Hobby Lobby the other day. It's insane!

That being said, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite for what I'm about to admit...

I've already picked out Christmas gifts for people (including myself and given Steve the appropriate information) and may have listened to the Glee Christmas CD. There also may be a brochure on our refrigerator about the new 10 year ornament and flute collection from Waterford that starts this year.

Like I said... feel free to judge. I haven't even bought Halloween candy yet and I'm already busting out the Christmas stuff.

I don't even feel badly about it either. That's the shocking part. Then again, look at this ornament and tell me it doesn't make you feel ready to haul out the holly:
This is the first ornament from the new special collection called "Snowflake Wishes". This particular one is "Wishes for Joy" and features a ruby. I think it will look beautiful on our tree... which I actually get to put up this year! This beauty can hang right next to our Captain Kirk and Superman ornaments.

Uh... I mean... right next to our other beautiful, super grown up looking ornaments....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

laundry really shouldn't be this exciting

Recently I have made two purchases that have completely changed my life. The first is a canister of Downy Unstoppables:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

These llittle scented granules go into your washing machine and make your clothes smell incredible. Best of all though is the fact that the scent doesn't go away for DAYS. Seriously. I wore a dress and sweater to the beach recently and got covered in sea water (a consequence of being short and an unexpectedly tall wave)... once the clothes dries they STILL smelled good. Even Steve's undershirts smell good after being worn all day. Anything that can make sweaty man clothes still smell fresh is a winner in my book.

The second purchase was this Canopy 3 bin laundry sorter:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Steve put it together for me, so I have no idea how easy that part is, but the finished product is one of the best things of my week so far. Most laundry sorter things I've seen are just one big mesh or canvas bag with dividers in it attached to the frame with glue or something so you HAVE to store the fool thing in the laundry room to make it even slightly useful... not the case here. There are three seperate canvas bags which are easily hooked onto the frame by what is essentially a modified clothes hanger. Each bag is completely removeable on it's own so when one is full I just lift it out and carry it to the laundry closet. Even bigger perk, the handles of the bag (yeah, it's got legit handles) are wide enough to fit over the handles on the laundry closet door and hang there while the clothes wash. Each bag is big enough to hold about one large load of clothes and the unit isn't so big that having it in our room creates any space issues. I see this thing being really convenient for college students or anyone who has to haul laundry down stairs to wash it.

Anyway.... as I was doing laundry this morning, using my new stuff, feeling all
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I realized that I am 24 years old. People my age get excited about a lot of things, like the new season of American Idol and a sale at H&M, but they don't typically happy dance over a new laundry basket or anything to do with Downy.

Suddenly, all those years of being called "Martha" by friends in school make sense.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

another race!

Tonight I registered for my second 5K race. It's the Lanier Under the Lights 5K at Lake Lanier Islands' Magical Nights of Lights.

Of course, I am really excited for many reasons.
1. This is my first race since my surgery (ok, first race since before ALL of my surgeries) and is sort of a celebration of my health.
2. This:

It's the week before Thanksgiving and the course goes through a huge Christmas lights display. Considering I was busy having internal organs removed and moving across the state (again) last holiday season, this is a way for me to fit in extra holiday excitement this year to make up for it.
3. It is my first night race.
4. I'll be running it with some cool ladies that went to school with Steve and currently live in the ATL.

With the start of the semester and other stuff going on in my life, running has sort of fallen by the wayside, so signing up for this also is working as a swift kick in the pants to get back to training. My current training reward system is simple, super cheap, and inspired by one of my favorite Gleeks.

In the first season, Rachel Berry talked about how she likes to put a gold star by her name because she is a winner. After several reward schedules and plans fell apart for me, I decided to take a play from Rachel's playbook and use gold stars too.

I have a calendar hanging in the hallway. On the days when I meet my training goals, I get to put a gold star on the calendar for that day.

Sounds a little ridiculous and a lot silly, but if today (technically yesterday since it is now 1 am... yikes!) is any indication the system is going to be very successful.

So... here's to putting some mileage on my still relatively new running shoes and loading up that calendar with a ton of gold stars! Because I am a winner and I am going to rock it out at that race!

Monday, September 19, 2011

music monday

This song has been stuck in my head for days. I love it!

I think what I love most about it is that the song manages to still be upbeat and optimistic even though the person singing has clearly been the victim of some shady shenanigans (teasing, bullying, etc.).

Recently I've figured out that some of the things people have done to me have more to do with their own issues and nothing really to do with me at all. If I remember that then I find myself feeling much more at peace and better able to enjoy my own life.

Friday, September 16, 2011

5 years...

This post is a bit late, but I feel like it still deserves to be written.

August 26, 2006 was the day Steve and I had our first date. That night was awkward, nerve wracking, and then, out of nowhere, became the beginning of something really special.

You see, that night Steve picked me up from my friend's apartment (since I didn't have one of my own) and had planned on taking me to dinner. We went to Applebees because that's all there really is in a college town, but both of us were too nervous to eat or really talk at all. The guy actually answered his cell phone at dinner.

Shortly after that I realized we wouldn't really get to know one another if we stayed at Applebees, so I suggested we go to my favorite place in Columbus... the Riverwalk.

Steve paid and we quickly made our way down to the waterfront and sat on a bench looking up at the clouds, pointing out the shapes we saw.... having a blast. We finally started talking to each other like we had done at the party the previous Saturday night. He told me I was beautiful and kissed me right there on that park bench by the Chattahoochee and we decided to be together no matter what.

our first party after becoming a couple

Now here we are, 5 years after that first date, and the dreams and plans we made back then are coming true. We are living in Atlanta in a great townhome. Steve has a job he loves. I'm finally finishing my degree in a field I'm passionate about. We have a dog that we love and adore as if he were a child.

Life isn't perfect, we have rough days and craziness always manages to find us, but that's kind of the point. We've spent the last 5 years dealing with life as it comes and even the big blows weren't so terrible because we took them on as a team. As lame as this sounds, he's the Spock to my Kirk. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The date is set!

I've set up an appointment to meet with my advisor tomorrow to get my application to the College of Education pulled together!

My archived Advanced Placement scores finally came in (after a full month of nail biting) so I can officially move forward with my application. From what the GSU website says, I'll submit the application form, proof of my GACE 1 exemption (since I'm a smarty pants according to my SAT score), proof of tort liability insurance, and my criminal background check.

The meeting tomorrow is really to make sure I knwo how to go about getting all of that stuff and how to officially submit it when I do gather everything together.

The final deadline for applications is October 27th, but I figure getting things in early can only be a positive thing for me. This is not the sort of thing to procrastinate. If all goes well, and the committee thinks I look good on paper, they'll call me in for an interview.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed for positive outcomes on this one... thanks. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

warning: nerd alert

My classes this semester are really great. Not only do I have knowledgeable professors, but the subject matter is engaging. What we are studying actually pulls me and and holds my interest. Doing the readings for class don't seem pointless... in fact, I've found myself doing extra research on my own just out of my own curiosity.

My favorite so far is my educational psychology course. That sucker has given me so much useful information and such interesting material to read that I'm thinking of subscribing to the journal we get a lot of our readings from.

We recently finished discussing a study published in 1995 about the development of language and how traditional education does or does not influence that development. We also discussed how the study has impacted the public school system as well as the perception of preschool and daycare for young children.

I've spent many years bouncing around from one major to the next. I've taken many many classes and studied a lot of varied material, but this is my favorite. Not only is it quality psychological research, but it's research that I understand and can put into practice in my own classroom in the future.

It's all very exciting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

fall semester has begun!

Today marks the beginning of the fall semester for me and the 31,999 other students at Georgia State. Fun times my friends.

This semester is a pretty big one for me. I'm only taking three classes, but they are important ones. They are my last prerequisite courses for the College of Education. Being enrolled in them allows me to submit my application to the College of Education for admittance into the Early Childhood Education major. If I am admitted, I will be three semesters of coursework and a semester of student teaching away from being a certified teacher. I'll be four semesters from being completely FINISHED with my bachelor's degree.

As exciting as that idea is, I've been trying to keep a level head about the situation. After all, I still need to get through the current semester of courses and get accepted into my major. It doesn't sound challenging, but I know being successful in this is going to take a lot of work. There are 80 spots available in ECE and last semester almost 200 people applied. It isn't impossible, but it is certainly competitive.

My advisor assures me that my GPA and experience makes me an ideal candidate though so I am attempting to remain optimistic until I have a reason to feel otherwise. I have to believe in the things that led me to go into education and work with kids in the first place.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bugs are evil and my dog is awesome

We interrupt this really long blog silence to bring you a story about me, my dog, and a bug attack.

It seems that I have inadvertantly trained Finn to alert me to bugs in the house and then protect me against them.

For the record: I keep my house clean. Bugs come in because we have gross neighbors and it is summer in the south. You would be hard pressed to find a house without bugs around here.

Anyway, I went to use the bathroom downstairs and Finn blocked me. I'm thinking he just wants to play, but no. He actively blocks me from the bathroom and barks when I keep walking. Then I notice he's also pointing his nose at something under the cabinet. I look down there and there is a HUGE BUG just chillin like it's his house.

My rule for bugs is like this: bugs live outside. I won't kill them if they are outside. The minute they invade my house though, they are going to die.

After screaming and hiding for a minute... because that sucker was big and ugly... I took action. I put on my tennis shoes (to prevent the bug from going rouge and getting on my foot), grabbed the roll of paper towels and went in search of the Raid can.

Turns out, the only Raid we have is for wasps and other flying insects. This was not ideal, but I figured it would at least maim the ugly jerk enough that I could squash him without any last chance escape efforts.

I headed into the bathroom again with my supplies in hand and Finn by my side, ready to battle it out. I was still really grossed out because I HATE bugs with a firey passion, but I sucked it up since nobody else was there to kill it. I was too proud to wait until the cable technician showed up to get him to do it either.

Finn guarded the door to the bathroom after I went in to make sure the bug didn't escape (I didn't even have to tell him to, he's just an awesome battle wingman). I started out shooting Mr. Bug with a few shots of Raid to get him out from under the cabinet and when he did come scurrying out Finn blocked him from going into the hallway while I squashed him with my shoe.

There was a super gross popping sound when the bug finally crushed too. Ew.

He was buried at sea (ok, I flushed him) and I may or may not have done a victory dance. Finn got a treat for helping too.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

check out this voodoo

Starbucks has figured out a way to make coffee taste like a Mounds bar.

You know, the coconut and sweetened milk logs covered in dark chocolate? A.K.A the best candy bar in the history if candy bars?

Starbucks has managed to take this deliciousness and make it better by adding coffee and making it dairy free. My day seriously just got about 4 times better.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

While I was in the store getting my chocolatey, summery, coffee fix I found something else that is awesome. I think I've mentioned how my beloved green mug is severely cracked an on it's last leg handle, right? I've been looking for a stand in to help me out on late night study sessions when I'm too tired to remember to compensate for the fragile handle... and today I found it.

Also green and white with some gold accents, also a cheesy souvenir, also full of win for no real reason.... my new mug is like the long lost cousin of my old mug. It is slightly bigger though which means more coffee with less breaks to refill. Overall, very pleased with my random stop at the buck.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic  Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!

Whoo! Party!

Or, well.... sort of.

As far as birthdays go, this one is pretty mellow. My day has been just a regular day outside of the texts, calls, and facebook messages full of birthday wishes. I love knowing that people are thinking about me today, but none of it changes the fact that I still had class and work.

Case-in-point: being the birthday girl is not a valid excuse for missing my 3 hour math lecture today... so I went. All part of being a responsible adult.

There will be a cookout/gathering/party type event this weekend though when I visit my parents.

I'm also throwing myself a bit of a celebration tonight. In fact, a recent discovery of mine has ensured that my own little solo celebration is going to be epic.

As I was browsing whole foods yesterday for some sort of non-dairy, low sugar, nut free treat for my birthday I discovered that the stories on the internet are true... vegan chocolate does in fact exist! As if that weren't good enough, I also found vegan pizza!

That's right friends... I am having pizza and chocolate tonight for the first time in almost a month! If grocery shopping was like Scrabble those finds would have been the equivalent of a triple word score using the letters Q and Z.

So happy Birthday to me and thank you again to all of myfamily/ friends who have made me feel so loved today, and thanks to the scientists/food engineers who have given me "safe" treats to indulge in on my special day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

my new phone = awesome

One of the perks of having a husband working in the wireless communications industry is that I get a pretty sweet discount on new phones. I also get to upgrade more often then everyone else.

For the last four-ish years I've been on the hubs' account, this set of perks has been pretty meh. I really couldn't care less. Phones are phones... as long as I can call people and get text messages I don't really care what else it can do or what it looks like.

Then came the Droid Charge... aka: my new favorite piece of technology in the world.

Why is this phone so awesome you ask? Simple, It's cute, it's easy to use, and I CAN WATCH MOVIES AND TV ON IT!!!!

This may not seem like a big deal to others, but anyone who has had to entertain a cranky three year old in a waiting room for an hour can completely understand why free access to Diego and Spongebob anytime, anywhere, is a godsend. Anyone who has sat in their doctor's office waiting room for an hour with nothing but last year's backyard poultry magazine to pass the time will understand the joy of being able to watch HBO instead.

And the part that makes this phone better than pink glitter cupcakes is a little app called Cozi. It's basically a big hub of organized happiness where Steve and I can sync schedules, to do lists, grocery lists and everything else that I call him a million times a day to verify.

I've never seen the need to purchase phone cases before... but a phone this awesome simply can NOT remain plain and naked from the factory. It needs something just as fabulous on the outside as it is on the inside. It needs THIS:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes, It's rainbow zebra print rhinestones. Yes, I'm absolutely in love with it. Yes, you should be jealous.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

green monsters and a bum foot

Last week, during the Blogger fail, I hurt my foot while I was out running. Funny story actually.... Finn went to chase a squirrell and I planted my foot poorly, then got dragged a bit. Now the arch of my foot is strongly protesting any physical activity more difficult than a casual walk.

No big deal, I like walking. Finn likes walking. We just have even more reason to hate squirrells now. :)

I'm going to wait a couple of weeks until around my birthday when I get fitted for new running shoes to start back training. It just doesn't make sense to me to start back in after an injury when I'm due for new shoes so soon anyway. I don't want to risk reinjury.

The break from running doesn't mean I'm slacking off though! I'm sticking to the plan of being good to my body and giving it the things that help it work best. Probably the most important thing for a body to be strong and healthy, besides TONS of water, is fruits and veggies.... on that note:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
[image from Google... I'm too lazy to take one of my own]

Allow me to introduce the green monster smoothie. I think I've mentioned it before. This sucker is full of fruit and veggies to fill you up and give you tons of energy during the day... not to mention essential vitamins. There are many variations of this smoothie, an entire website in fact, but my favorite is simple:
1 cup loosely packed spinach leaves
1 banana cut into pieces
1/2 cup cantaloupe pieces
1 cup almond milk

Blend all ingredients in your blender or food processor, pour it into your favorite drinking glass and you are good to go! You could also add a drink umbrella if you're feeling frisky... or if you're off alcohol for some reason and you want a fun fruity drink by the pool. It could work, just sayin'.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trial Separation... another Music Monday post

Don't worry, Steve and I are going strong. The trial separation is between us and dairy products. I'm well aware that my digestion is not a topic everyone wants to hear a lot of details about, but suffice it to say that dairy and I have a love/hate relationship that may not be worth it anymore.

Saying goodbye to cheese is going to be difficult, but I'm really excited about the new recipes I'm trying this week! There are a lot of fresh veggies (some that I've never eaten before) and fresh seafood. Or, as fresh as you can get in Atlanta.

I'm also going out of the cookbook and food blog box and winging it one night with a recipe that's been bumping around in my head for a little while. Stay tuned for the results of that adventure.

Steve is a bit hesitant to try all of this new, non dairy, cheese-less menu of awesome, but I've assured him that we have plenty of plain pasta and pb&j to help him through if necessary. :)

Be prepared for some food posts with pictures if this experiment turns out well. It's been a while since I did a dinner post and this blog could use some eye candy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

mind over matter

Some days running is a chore. I wake up and the idea of going out and pushing myself physically like that is the absolute LAST thing I am interested in doing. The idea of curling up with my nook, or watching my favorite shows on DVR, or watching Sex and the City the movie for the millionth time.... those activities sound much more enjoyable to me than putting on workout clothes, harnessing the pupster, and hitting the pavement.

Even my cute running skirt and pink running top don't help on these days. My kick-ass running playlist is no help either.

Other days I'm totally up for the challenge mentally, but my body says "umm... yeah, I don't think so babe".

In both situations it ends up being a question of mind over matter. Sometimes it takes a half hour of reading through journal entries about successful runs and inspirational quotes to get my tush off the couch... others it takes a mile of "I think I can" running through my head to keep me putting one foot in front of the other.

I'm proud of the fact that I'm at a point where I care about myself enough to push through whatever barriers come up and stick to my routine. I'm proud of the fact that I'm internally motivated enough to keep at it. I'm proud that I'm able to run 6-9 miles per week.

For some people this may not be anything major. I am well aware that plenty of people run more than that in a day... but for me this is huge. I'm proud of myself because a year ago I never thought in a million years that I could run like this.

Of course, there are some sweet perks to a runnign routine like this, such as weight loss and looking more toned. I can't discount how happy I am about that. The sense of accomplishment I have after finishing a long run though beats vanity every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Music Monday

Some of the blogs I visit from time to time have done "music Monday" in the past and I really liked the idea... stat the week out on a positive note and all. This may be a one time thing, or it could be weekly... who knows?

Anyway, this week's musical selection is a song that has recently made its way onto my running playlist and become a bit of a theme song for me. The lyrics are completely on point with how I feel a lot of the time and the beat is so catchy and fun. I promise, you'll love it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A blessing and a curse

Ever since I was very young I have been cooking and baking. Before I was tall enough to reach the countertops I had a stool or chair to stand on so that I could help my mom with anything and everything. One of my favorite pictures is of me in an old apron, standing on a chair, covered in flour, putting cookies on a cookie sheet.

Seriously, I think I was capable of making chocolate chip cookies by myself from scratch before I started Kindergarten.

I have always loved cooking and baking especially. My friends called me "Martha Stewart" and "Betty Crocker" throughout school. One year even my teachers called me that because for Christmas I made them all cinnimon bread and home made jam as gifts.

Now that I'm an adult, the love of cooking and baking has been both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because: OMG! Cupcakes and italian food whenever I want without leaving the house!

A curse because: OMG! Cupcakes and italian food whenever I want without leaving the house!

For example, today I made a new cupcake recipe from one of my friends that I was given in our weekly recipe swap. I now have 24 canoli cupcakes on my counter topped with home made buttercream frosting and chocolate chips.

You can imagine how this is a willpower nightmare: canoli + cupcake = heaven.

I will either a) eat way too many and die running them off, or b) make lots of new friends to get rid of them.

Then again, I could always give them to the neighbors as "make sure the creepy maintenance guy doesn't take my stuff" incentive. Hmmm....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

my dog thinks he's my running coach

Since getting back into running I've been taking our dog, Finn, with me. He's a shepherd breed and he needs a lot of exercise, so it really works out. Especially since he's a year old now and the vet gave us the go ahead for bringing the pup out for a run... apparently the risks of joint problems for him is much lower now than when he was a puppy.

Finn is thrilled about this. You know how I can tell? He has two harnesses, one for regular walks to go potty and etc. and another one specifically for when we go running (one of the no-pull harnesses that goes under his front legs). Since we started running he will immediately go for his running harness if it looks like I'm going outside... for any reason. When I take him to go potty he always turns toward the path we run on and looks at me with this super excited face that makes me feel so bad when I have to tell him no... like at 11pm when it's time for bed.

The days when we do run you would think I was showering him with treats or something. He just trots along in front of me with a huge puppy grin on his face the whole time. Heaven forbid I take a walk break too. If we slow down to the point that he has to walk instead of his little trot, he pouts. For those who were not aware that dogs could pout, I am here to tell you... they can... really well. Finn has also been known to whine at me when I slow my pace or walk.

It's atually a good thing though. Seeing him have so much fun makes me push myself so I don't have to see the puppy pout or hear the whining. Today we did three miles straight running. A HUGE personal victory for me.

Now I just need to get fitted for new running shoes so that the little twinges I'm feeling in my knees and ankles near the end of my runs don't turn into anything more painful.

On a completely different note... a public service announcement from me to you:

For the love of all that is holy... FLOSS!

I admit that I slacked off and just brushed my teeth at bedtime.. no flossing, no mouthwash... nothing but Crest for quite a while. Gross, I know. I'm paying for it now though! Quite literally. I shelled out a decent chunk of change this morning for a deep cleaning at the dentist because I had developed periodontal disease. It wasn't pretty. Just imagine a regular cleaning, but with boiling water being injected underneath your gums for a full hour while someone is stabbing every part of yoru mouth with sharp sticks. Ouch!

The dentist said it can all be prevented with proper daily care. From now on I will be a faithful flosser... you should be too!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

do not adjust your monitor

I made some changes around the blog... clearly. They're pretty black and white (sorry, I couldn't resist lol).

As much as I liked the way things were before, I felt like the black background was a bit depressing. And let's all admit that it was a bit hard on the eyes. Now the text should be a bit easier to read and the whole bloggy experience should be a bit brighter... a bit more positive... while also remaining true to who I am and what the blog has always been.

As a side note, how about this crazy weather around the country? I am currently in a tornado watch and I know a lot of my friends have been dealing with some insane weather conditions this week. Please stay safe everyone and pray that these spring weather systems will cut it out soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter... the good, the bad and the ugly

Happy Easter! I hope everyone was able to celebrate in a way that was special and meaningful to them.

Steve and I spent this Easter doing our own thing for the first time since we started dating. We always go to his family's reunion/Easter celebration in Savannah, but this year we chose to stay home for various reasons. Mostly because I have finals next week and didn't want to chance being exhausted from the drive.

Since it was just us, we decided to start a tradition of getting a Honey Baked Ham for Easter dinner. Well, we got a mini ham and a turkey breast since I was wary of the ham. I caved at dinner however and went for the ham anyway.

Bad idea.

I have been so sick all evening! In all possible ways one can be sick regarding food. Not exactly the fun and relaxing Easter night I had planned.

The whole thing has got me thinking though... it may be time to just cut out meat again completely. Red meat is already out (except when I cave and grab some lamb, but that is a different story. I'll happily endure the sick feeling for some lamb) and I really don't see myself having any pork products again any time soon. That leaves chicken and fish, which are fine and haven't given me any issues yet, but it's not like I'm super attached to them.

I guess I'm just tired of my food launching counter attacks and making me sick. I'll leave the cute little pigs and cows alone and only eat things that don't have central nervous systems.

Friday, April 22, 2011

GLITTER (not the Mariah Carey movie)

I finally tried out the lotion I got in my perfume gift set back in February and guess what? It's full of big fat pieces of glitter. By the time I finished rubbing it in I looked like I was thirteen all over again.

Who decided it was a good idea to put that kind of glitter in grown up perfume lotion? This wasn't some cheap crap from Claire's. This was Marc Jacobs perfume from Macy's.

It didn't really matter. I actually like glitter (as long as it's not a suprise glitter attack like this morning) and I needed to get to school so I just went with it.

However, I did go for a run after I got back home from class and I think the glitter acted like my own personal version of popeye's spinach. I'm usually a run/walker, but today I pretty much killed those 2.5 miles of hills. I walked maybe 1/8 of a mile. Finn had a hard time keeping up, which is saying a lot since he's a 1 year old shepherd breed.

Maybe Mr. Jacobs knows something I don't about magical fitness powers of glitter. If so, I may need to find me some glitter running shoes for my next 5K.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the best weekend ever

This weekend was the best one I've had in a very long time.

It started with Steve and I both having Friday off together. We got a blue ray player and the new Harry Potter movie to watch then headed to Columbus for a bridal shower and a formal. But, we ended up forgetting our formalwear at home and not remembering until it was too late to turn around and get it. So we spent the evening with our old college crew hanging out and catching up Saturday night instead.

Steve met our friends' new baby, we had a couple beers, and we made plans to all go on a cruise together for Steve's 30th birthday next summer.

Sunday we came home and went into downtown for a Braves game! It was Steve's first one ever and my first one since about middle school. We had incredible seats:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

See? Closest I have ever been to the field for a game. It was awesome!

The Braves lost, but we really didn't care. The experience itself was pure win... except for Steve's crazy sunburn. How a person gets burned while sitting in the shade wearing a hat, I have no idea.

We picked Finn up from hs new daycare where he got to play with friends all weekend and spent the rest of the night relaxing with chinese food. YUM!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

They're going to take away my membership card

I finished my paper for Women's Studies this afternoon. It's pretty good if I do say so myself.

However, the fact that I finished the paper Sunday when it isn't due until 9:30am on Thursday is a clear violation of the college kid rule book. It feels so strange knowing that, if I wanted to, I could revise and edit a few more times over a couple of days and still turn it in on time.

This situation is a drastic departure from my previous method of completing final papers which involved pulling an honest to god all-nighter and cranking out twenty pages of poetry criticisms and research at 3am.

I may even turn this paper in early. *gasp*

Just because I can.

This is not to say I'm done for the semester... or even with this particular class. I've still got to present my paper to the class and there are other things due in other classes. Still, I feel incredibly accomplished for being on top of this paper and ahead of the game.

Two weeks and I am done with the semester!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

you should see my bed right now

It's a hot mess. I wish I were kidding.

I do my best paper writing when I am in pajamas and cuddled up on my bed. Considering I have two papers due tomorrow and another two major ones due next Thursday, it's no great mystery why my bed is covered in research and notes.

The biggest flaw in all of this is that there is no option of leaving everything spread out to work on late. I also can't work super late because Steve and Finn get cranky when they can't get to sleep because my reading lamp is on.

Eh... they'll survive two more weeks.

That's right, only two weeks left in the semester! I'm in the home stretch and then it's a month off from classes before summer session starts.

If any of you readers think of it between now and then, please send up some prayers that Georgia State decides to add the last class I need before teacher education to the schedule for fall. I REALLY woudl appreciate it. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sometimes things don't work out at all

Especially when I have to do math.

Last night for dinner I was really excited to try a new roast chicken recipe. It was from a food blog I stumbled upon while making the weekly menu and both Steve and I thought it sounded delicious. So I decided to make it as a celebration of Steve being home from his business trip.

Long story short, I got a 5 pound bird instead of a 3 pound bird and didn't convert the cooking times.

If you have ever made a mistake and messed up a dinner that you were super excited about, then you can relate to the huge disappointment I felt when we cut into that beautiful bird to find the breast still pink and raw.

We stuck the bird back in the oven covered in foil to finish cooking and ate a bag of steamed peas to hold us over. By the time the chicken finished we were both too tired to really eat much. Most of it was saved and will be used in a chicken pot pie later this week.

Stay tuned though... in a tribute to my stubbornness and how much Steve was looking forward to this meal, I will be attempting to make thie recipe again on Friday. This time with the correct cooking time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

This week was awesome

This week the grandparents of the kids I take care of came to visit. Now, this family is fascinating in that the dad is Italian, literally from Italy, and the mom is Portugese, literally from Portugal, but they both spent most of their lives in South Africa. Because of this they have such an interesting perspective on life.

If I thought they were interesting before, then meeting the Italian grandparents was the home made marinara on top of the pasta.

First of all, they were incredibly warm and welcoming with me. Secondly, the grandpa showed me how to make risotto his way.

In case you didn't know, I adore food. Making it, eating it, giving it to anyone who ends up inside my house... I love food. Authentic food is the best to me though. When I go on vacation to new places I try to take some sort of cooking class so I can sample local cuisine and learn to recreate it correctly when I come home. So, the fact that this sweet little old man showed me how to make the most delicious risotto I have ever tasted completely made my day. Probably my entire month.

Sadly, they left today to spend time with other family that live in the states, but I hope to see them again soon. They made me feel like part of the family, just as my bosses do on a daily basis, and gave me more insight to the kiddos I help take care of during the week.

I wonder if I can convice the Portugese grandparents to teach me to make something if they visit?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

a lovely Fat Tuesday

In my 8am class this morning someone had a white chocolate mocha latte from starbucks and ever since I have been craving one. It's been quite a while since I've had Starbucks and longer still since I had anything other than decaf. So, on my way home I stopped in a got myself one as a treat along with a cinnimon chip scone.

What the hell, it's fat Tuesday anyway. It's a day for treats.

As I got to our townhouse and walked in the door it hit me... I'm happy again.

I've been telling everyone for the last two months that I'm happier here in Atlanta than I was in Savannah. I've said how much better it is here and that I like various aspects better. All of that is true. However, until this afternoon I hadn't realized that I am once again feeling genuinely happy with life again. The simple circumstances of getting a coffee and coming home to spend the afternoon with my dog just highlighted the massive amount of small blessings I've experienced recently and I am truly thankful.

Depression is a serious issue and a devastating problem to have to deal with... something I never thought I would ever have to handle. Today I feel like I have finally slayed that dragon and can move on with my life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

clothing WIN

Steve and I recently did a wardrobe overhaul. I mean a complete closet clear out and restock. We had a bit left over from our tax refund and decided that we deserved to spend some money on something just for us... something fun that would help up with our fresh start here in Atlanta.

Yes, my husband considers shopping fun. Be jealous.

So we cleared everything out that we either hadn't worn in over a year, didn't fit, had some sort of physical defect (rips, drastic fading, really worn, etc.) or just really didn't like anymore. Then, we went to our favorite stores and bought things that we truly love.

I stuck to Tim Gunn's wardrobe basics list for the most part, but with the left over cash I got some fun extras too. Taregt actually suprised me with some nineties-ish dresses that reminded me of things I wore when I was a little girl but fit and flattered my figure now. Here are some of the cute stuf I got while on my shopping spree. :)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic   Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday, February 27, 2011

a drastic change for a great cause

I have always gotten a lot of compliments on my hair. Not trying to brag, but really, perfect strangers have come up to me just to say how much they liked the color, thickness, etc. I know it's pretty hair.

For this reason I have always thought it would be cool to make a donation to locks of love, an organization that makes hair prosthetics for financially disadvantaged children with medical hair loss. The only reason I never did was because I'm impatient and didn't want to have to stick with a certain style for so long. Even if your hair grows quickly you're looking at six months at a minumim of trying to keep your hair strong and healthy while it grows out.

Needless to say, the task seemed really daunting. So much so that I chickened out a couple times.

Then, back in late November/early December I got a call from my best friend. She told me she had throat cancer and had to have surgery to remove malignant cells in her tongue and the lymph nodes in her throat. I've never been more scared in my life and so at a loss of how to both be there for a friend and cope with such big news.

Growing my hair out ended up being a solution to both. My friend would express her fear of losing her hair in treatment and I would joke that I would give her mine. It was something positive to focus on for me instead of the negative. It made me feel like I was doing something tangible, even if it really had no bearing on the situation's outcome.

Now that my friend is cancer free and going through radiation to make sure it doesn't come back, I felt it was time to go ahead and make my donation. I hadn't cut my hair since about September and it was time. I made an appointment and today a little over 10 inches was cut off! Below are pictures of my new 'do which is a stacked bob with some side bangs. I love it! And now I can also check one more item off my 101 in 1001 list.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hey you!

Yes, you, the "pastor" that yells about eternal damnation outside of the MARTA station. Does telling other people they are going to hell make you feel better about your own sin? Does spreading hateful words about those who don't believe exactly as you do make you feel more secure in your own faith? Last time I checked, Christ said to love your neighbor as yourself. That means showing compassion and understanding to EVERYONE you meet and treating faith as the gift it is, not some "get out of jail free" card. Threatening and scaring people just makes it that much more difficult for them to find their path to God. If you want to be of service to your religion and spread the word of God, try educating yourself about it first and presenting it in a way that doesn't make people automatically write you off as a cruel, closed-minded asshole.

note: This particular post was inspired by a real "pastor" who stands outside the MARTA station near my school and yells at everyone within earshot about how they are all heathens who are going to hell. I've seen this person several times this semester and each time his actions make me more angry. Mostly because he represents an actual church in downtown atlanta and I knwo for a fact eh is not the only person claiming to be a Christian and spreading such a hateful message. This post is simply a vent of that anger and frustration because I knwo I'll never be able to discuss this with him personally.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

small update

I just realized that I never posted an update after my colonoscopy. Maybe most of you are glad for this.... I don't know. I'm sure the wellness of my colon is not exactly a topic everyone is anxious to discuss. However, for those sweet people who have been there for me through all of my issues and would like to know what is going on, this blog entry is for you.

Last friday I went in for my colonoscopy with my new gastroenterologist. This hospital was much nicer than the last one, but the nurses and doctors and other staff were just as friendly. (special note: when I say this hospital was nicer I mean WAY nicer... there was complimentary valet parking and a concierge. Not to mention registration did not take place in a trailer.)

They had the awesome new hospital gowns that completely cover your bum and open with snaps on your shoulders when you go into the OR. They also gave me another pair of super cool hospital socks for my collection. Everythign during prep went swimmingly except for getting the IV in. Colonoscopy prep, for those who don't know, essentially drains you of all fluids. I drank about three times my body weight in water the day before and it still wasn't enough to keep me hydrated. (Not really a suprise when you have to take 32 laxatives in the course of an evening). They ended up putting the IV in my wrist so I looked a bit sketch once I left the hospital later in the day with a bandaged wrist. 

I was put under with IV sedation during the proceedure so I wouldn't feel anything. All I remember was the anesthesiologist putting in the meds and then I was off in zen happy land for a bit.

Steve keeps reminding me that once I was brought back to my room to recover I was acting like some drunk hippy talking about my happy place in the mountains. I liek to remind him that it's not my fault the drugs they gave me worked so well.

The doctor came in once I was coherant again and let us knwo that my colon is really inflamed. There were pictures (which I have decided not to post this time... lucky you) and you could clearly see that the tissue, which should be pink and healthy looking were actually really red and looked incredibly irritated. The doctor said they didn't find polyps or anythign, but the inflamation is something to look into some more. He took some biopsies and I will be going to see him next week to hear the results of those and do my follow up visit.

At this point I have no idea how serious the problem is. I've done some googling about "inflammed colon" but stopped when the information started making me uncomfortable. It seems liek I finally have some answers about what is causing my problems... now I just have to work with my doctor to determine how we fix it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

tomato basil sauce

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

For Christmas this year my family seemed to go with the theme of "Bekkah can eat again" with my gifts. I received some cool kitchen gadgets and a couple cookbooks as well to help me celebrate the fact that after my surgery most of my dietary restrictions were lifted.

One of the cookbooks was a book of sauce recipes from my older brother.  That is where the recipe for this sauce came from and I have to say, I'm very excited to try some more recipes like this. It was a bit time consuming due to the fact that I had to peel and seed 5 pounds of tomatoes (something I had no idea how to do until I read the tutorial in the beginning of the book), but it was also completely worth the effort.

tomato basil sauce
from The Complete Book of Sauces by Sallie Y. Williams

1/4 c. olive oil
3 large onions, sliced (Steve isn't big on onions so I only used one extra large)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
5 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
3/4 c. chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft and golden. Stir in the tomatoes and basil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot over your favorite pasta.

This recipe makes about 3 cups.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

blackberry brandy cupcakes

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'll admit, I spent a good amount of time editing this picture so it would look really yummy when I blogged about it. These cupcakes aren't as pretty as others I've made, but they tasted great! Various food blogs I read and love have done boozy cupcakes before and the day before the super bowl I got the idea to try the recipes I saw with brandy instead of whisky/Bailey's/etc.

You see, my grandpa Neff was a big fan of blackberry brandy. Since the summer he passed away my dad and uncle will have a bit of brandy to remember and honor him and all of us in the family associate that particular drink with my grandpa. At my wedding reception my dad actually pulled Steve aside to have some brandy as a sort of "welcome to the family" kind of thing. So you can see that having a dessert that incorporates the brandy seemed like a nice idea.

I ended up using recipes from a couple places to make these cupcakes:

Perfect Yellow Cake - found via google search the day before Christmas after I packed up all my cookbooks and needed a from scratch cake recipe for Christmas day lunch at my in-laws' house. It truly is the best cake recipe I've ever made.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (do not sift the flour)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Vegetable oil
1 stick butter (not margarine), softened
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and prep the cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.
Measure the 1-1/4 cups of milk in a 2 cup measuring cup….then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1-1/3 cups.

Add the milk/vegetable oil mixture, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
Add the eggs and continue beating an additional 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Simple Syrup - adapted from Annie's Eats 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 water
2 tbsp brandy
combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, heat until the mixture is warm and the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in brandy then brush onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes.
Frosting - Also adapted from Annie's Eats... just a different recipe than the one the syrup came from.
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I used about 3)
4-8 tbsp. Brandy (I used about 7)

Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. You'll want to be sure and scrape not only the sides, but the bottom of the bowl as well to get all of the butter/sugar mixture loose prior to adding the brandy. Once everything is incorporated, add the brandy and mix well. Add more brandy as needed until the frosting reaches the desired consistancy and frost as desired.

After making margarita cupcakes and now these, I have to say I am a fan of boozy cupcakes. Next up will possibly be the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes for St. Patrick's day. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

date night = awesome

Steve is the kind of guy who likes to be out doing stuff. He likes to have places to go and things to see... to be up on the latest trends. If it is new or exciting, he wants to try it out. This is true mostly for technology, but works for date night as well.

Tonight he found a place called Studio Movie Grill which is essentially a movie theatre where they serve dinner and cocktails.

That's right... booze and a meal during the movie. It's a genius concept.

We went to go see the move The Rite with Sir Anthony Hopkins and really all I can say is GO SEE THIS MOVIE! It is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time.

Even if the movie had been a dud though, this theatre would have been more than enough to make up for it. The whole building was incredibly clean and well staffed. The food was great and had a suprising variety of food. Everything from gluten free to vegetarian were options on the menu and the portions were huge. Steve and I got two appetizers and an entree and we could not finish the food.

The drinks from the bar were good too, and different than what is typically offered. You could certainly order a classic drink, but the specialties were interesting enough to lure me away from my typical order and I wasn't disappointed.

Overall, we had a great night out and spent less than we would have if we had gone to dinner and a movie seperately. We are looking forward to going back to the Studio Movie Grill almost as much as we are looking forward to The Rite coming out on DVD. :)

**side note: this isn't a sponsored post. All of this is just my opinion based on a great night out with my husband. Studio Movie Grill has not compensated me in any way. I'm just sharing my experiences and satisfaction with a new place in town.

Friday, January 28, 2011

lunch meet-ups and other things that make me smile

Back when Steve and I set the date for our wedding I stumbled upon the wedding date message boards on a popular wedding planning website. There was a whole board just for people who were planning to get married in July of 2009. These women helped me plan our wedding and quickly became my friends. I've known them for three years now and today I got to meet up with one of them!

Rebecca was in town for a conference for her job and we met up for lunch before she had to be at the airport for her flight home. We ended up talking for hours at Quiznos. It was awesome! She's just as fun as she is when we chat online and it was great to finally meet her in person.

When I got home from lunch, I discovered that my free Zoya nail polish had arrived! I'm so excited! This means that after getting our taxes done tomorrow Steve and I can go get mani/pedis and I can rock the adorable new colors I chose. The only question is, do I do the same color for both the toes and fingers, or do I rock the yellow on my toes and the green on my fingers?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

a new normal

This week has been insane. It's my first week of classes since the regularly scheduled first week was cancelled due to snow. It's also my first week of work and my first experience trying to juggle school, work, and some semblance of a life at home. It isn't even over yet and I am super tired. Last night Steve and I started getting ready for bed at 9:00pm and still overslept! (mind you, the alarm was set for 5:00am so it was a flawed plan to begin with.)

By the way, I got a job as a nanny for those who didn't hear about it on facebook. I get to take care of a three year old and a five year old after school each day. I take them to their activities, get dinner going, and help with things like unloading the dish washer until their mom and dad get home. Nothing too crazy.

When I list out the things I'm doing or try to map out my day I am astounded by the sheer amount I am getting done. I compare it to what I did on a daily basis in Savannah and am shocked at the difference in how I feel. All of these committments and tasks that I do now seem to energize me and make me feel productive, while my job and committments in Savannah weighed me down like a cement kimono.

Granted, it's been a week and I have been living in Atlanta for less than a month. This is still the honeymoon phase. In 6 months I could be ready to pull my hair out and require more internal organ removals.

For right now though, I'm enjoying the differences and thankful for the opportunity to experience them.

Proof that this change of location and circumstance is awesome:
- this morning I watched the sun rise while riding the train and walking from the station to class.
- the discussions in my classes today made me laugh so hard I cried. (a guy in my women's studies class didn't realize that we were discussing the medical proceedure called an embroidery and thought we were talking about the hobby of needlepoint)
- the most exciting part of my day is no longer passing a starbucks or other widely known chain store.
- I have time to take Finn out for a walk or run each day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

new adventures

Today was my frist day of class for the spring semester and it felt so good to be back!

I actually took MARTA (Atlanta's public transit system) to class which was an interesting experience in and of itself. Although I knew where the train station was, I have never ridden it before and was essentially lost from the get go. I got a round trip pass and hopped on the train bound for downtown.

Once I got there I ended up having to walk a few blocks to get to the building my class was in and ended up being really late to class. It was okay though because I talked with my professor and got it all straightened out. Today was my spanish class and I think it is going to be really fun! The entire class is conducted in Spanish although it is an entry level class so one way or another, I'm going to learn something. :)

After class I stopped by the student center and got my student ID, my monthly student pass for MARTA, and checked to see if my book order was ready at the book store. Then headed back to the train to head home.

It made me really happy to get back into school and get the semester started, not to mention the fact that the whole experience made me feel super cool. I've never really lived in a real city before and just the idea of taking a train downtown, and measuring distances in blocks, and going to class in buildings surrounded by corporate high rises really drove in the point that I'm not in Kansas Savannah anymore. I love it!

The more experiences I have here in Atlanta, the more I'm convinced that this is where I was meant to be. Steve and I are already millions of times happier here than we ever were in Savannah. With any luck, my job interview today will go well and the last piece of the puzzle will be complete. We'll be able to really settle in and enjoy what we have.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow days and Mexican Hot Chocolate

Today is day two of crazy winter weather in Atlanta. There is still about 3 inches of snow on the ground in some places and all of the roads are covered in at least an inch of ice.

At first it was pretty and fun. We ran around outside and even made a snowman!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
This is Paco. He sort of looks like a cyborg/ robot with his beady red eyes, but we still like him.

Shortly after bringing Paco into our back yard and letting Finn run around a bit it started sleeting. Then, later that night, there was freezing rain sleet and flurries. We woke up this morning to ice everywhere and another snow day. So far it hasn't been fixed or cleaned up and Georgia State has closed campus for another day.

One of these days I'll actually get to start the semester. :)

To battle the cold, I decided to test out a new hot cocoa recipe called Mexican Hot Chocolate. I'm seriously in love with it! It is kind of rich, but much more flavorful than regular hot chocolate. I'll never drink regular again. Here is the recipe:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
(photo courtesy of Google images)

2 packets milk chocolate hot cocoa mix
enough milk to fill your mug
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnimon
1/4 tsp chilli powder

place the milk in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add the vanilla extract and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place the hot cocoa mix, cinnimon, and chilli powder into your mug and combine.

When milk boils allow the foam on top to boil up (this is why you need a medium sauce pan for such a tiny amount of liquid. It boils up quite a bit) and continue to stir. Once the foam settles down again, skim the top of the hot milk to remove the thin layer that has formed on top. Once the top layer is gone pour the milk into your mug and mix together. At this point you can top it with whipped cream or drink it plain.

I know the chilli powder sounds crazy, but I promise, it really just adds a tiny kick to the drink and you will love it!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A-L-P-H-A-O-M-I-C-R-O-N Pi!

About a week ago I got an email from the alum relations chair of my sorority inviting me to this year's Founder's Day celebration. This celebration takes place the first Sunday of the new semester and as close to our actual founding date, January 2nd, as possible. It is an opportunity to celebrate the four women who founded our organization and what the organization has become.

I've been unable to attend for the last two years due to being in Savannah and being broke.

This year I finally had the opportunity and resources to go and I jumped at it!

The fact that I wasn't sure if I would actually know any of the current members was a little daunting and had me a bit nervous, but there was no way I was missing an opportunity to meet my new sisters and see what the chapter I helped found had grown into during my absence.

I was not disappointed. The new members are wonderful and incredibly welcoming. There were a few familiar faces as well and the whole thing turned out to be completely worth the two hour drive.

Now I'm home, relaxing with a beer and waiting for *snowmageddon 2011* to start. The Atlanta area, our area specifically, is expected to get between 3 and 6 inches tonight. The jury is still out on whether or not I'll have class tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I like free stuff... especially when it sparkles

Thanks to my wonderful friends and the discount code they passed along, I managed to score three bottles of Zoya nail polish for FREE!

I admit, I still had to pay shipping. However, each bottle is usually $7 and I got three for only $6.95. That is a steal my friends!

Check out my loot:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
described by one reviewer as "pink with an edge". I need a less frilly pink in my collection.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
described as mossy with some shimmer. This will be great for St. Patty's Day! I love green.

and finally...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
because it's spelled with two "K"s like me and combines two of my favorite colors with glitter. This is going to be awesome on my toes this summer!

I'm so excited about these colors! Check out the Zoya facebook page for all the details and then go browse their site. These are just a tiny sample of the colors they have available and I garauntee you will find at least three you want to try (or maybe 20 if you're like me).

The promotion is good through tomorrow so you've got plenty of time! 

goodbye Savannah... hello Atlanta!

After weeks of preparation, stress, and a not so tiny bit of faith that we were making the right choice, Steve and I are finally settled in Atlanta!

We hired movers to get all of our stuff from the third floor walk up apartment we had to our beautiful townhome in the city. It was definitely money well spent, even if they did take forever to load and unload.

The actual move was a bit crazy. The morning of the 28th we took Finn down to daycare so he wouldn't be in the way of the movers and confined Mimi to the bathroom (which she was NOT happy about) so she wouldn't run out the door. We packed my car and Steve's trunk full of the things we woudl need immediate access to like our clothes, toiletries, and the pet bag. We also put our firesafe box and other valuables in my car just because I'm paranoid like that.

The movers got to the apartment at 10am and started moving everything down to the truck. This was a very long process due to the stairs and the fact that it was just the two guys.

While they took things down, we did last minute cleaning (oven, bathroom, etc.).

At least, we did until we got a call from our new leasing company saying the townhouse we were supposed to move into had an electrical problem that they couldn't fix in time for us to move in so they were going to have us move in to another unit instead. This would have been fine if it didn't mean we had a new address and had already set up the utilities and maol to go to the other address!

Poor Steve spent about 5 hours on the phone that day with each utility company explaining the situation and pleading with the technicians to still come out on Wednesday to turn things on.

Around 5pm the movers finished loading the truck and took off. That gave us about 45 minutes to do the last of the cleaning, get the cat to take the tranquilizers from the vet for the 5 hour car ride, do our final sweep, and turn in all keys to the leasing office.

My car ended up also holding the cleaning supplies (including mop and broom), Finn's crate, some artwork, and a garbage bag of random things we forgot about. It was a tight squeeze, but my car earned a name! The little orange car is now lovingly known as mighty mouse for the sheer amount of stuff we were able to fit in the back. I swear, a family of four could live in there if necessary. It also managed to still get 34 MPG on the highway even toting all that crap. I will forever be loyal to Toyota for that reason. This car is insane!

After five and a half hours on the road, me with no heat because SUPRISE! Mr. Clean magic erasers and bleach heat up and release bad fumes in a warm car, we arrived at my parent's house. It was seriously after midnight and we had to be across town at the new place by 8am. Not suprisingly, we grabbed dinner and crashed for the night.

The epic adventure isn't over yet! I'll post part 2 of the craziness soon.