Friday, January 30, 2009

A Tad Bit Overwhelmed...

This may come as a surprise to some of you (or maybe not at all), but it seems that lately I have been overextending myself personally AND professionally. Not that I don't love a jam-packed highly exciting life, but sometimes I just want to step into a padded, sound proof room and scream my lungs out even though no one can hear me... maybe that's exactly what I need now that I think of it - definitely something to ponder for the future. Back to the heart of the matter, I think I am just a little stressed from everything going on right now and how the time is running out:

Let's see, first of all, the BIG MOVE to Green Hills has finally arrived and starting this afternoon, we'll be making the transition to the downtown way-of-life. I couldn't be more excited... ready for it to be over with 100%, but excited about this new journey Meg and I get to embark on together, yet again. What's even more exciting is that our friends have called and emailed and told us just how happy they are we're moving closer so weekly Happy Hour nights and social events are surely to add themselves back into our already-crammed lives.

Then there's the other big one: WORK! I know I really shouldn't be complaining about work because I am extremely thankful to even have a job with security right now, but I feel like I am at my breaking point already. Work is continuously piling up on my desk with multiple submittals to clients going out everyday and there is absolutely no end in sight. What's worse is that our marketing department is "downsizing" which means more work for me... literally I can't handle anymore. When I'm at the office I bust my butt and give my all, but you have to draw the line somewhere. And I haven't been getting any sleep at night just because I'm thinking about what all I have to get accomplished the next day. Well, I have made myself a promise that from now on I will separate work from my personal life in order to stay partially sane =)

Now that I got the pessimism out of my system for the day, I'd also like to focus on the GOOD things I have going on right now...

Something I am really excited to report is that my best friend Bev who is getting married in April asked me to do her wedding invitation calligraphy for her... yes I know, this is a huge deal! My friends have always made fun of me for my carefree doodling I am notorious for (even in college this was how I passed the time in class), but it's become more like a hobby- I have painted canvases I have in my bedroom and now I'm trying out the world of calligraphy... I figure this has to come naturally because I have people tell me how good my penmenship is all the time... we'll see, but keep your fingers crossed for me - I'm hoping the 200 invites (yikes!) turn out to look something like this...


**image taken from A Lucky Orchd Wedding blog you can visit here
I just have to keep telling myself I'll be relaxing in Seaside on the beach with all my best friends in a mere 56 days... we'll be venturing down to celebrate Bev's Bachelorette Weekend, and trust me, the countdown has already begun- Have a great weekend friends!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

In the simplest words possible, I'm a die-hard meatatarian (if that word even exists). Since I was little, I have pretty much despised all things that had to do with veggies other than corn and a few others- mushrooms, cucumbers, and carrots, and when I did eat them I only ate them fresh, meaning I hate cooked carrots and cooked broccoli- I'm weird, I know.

Even now, I find it hard to eat certain meals that center around vegetables even though most of my family and friends have grown accustomed to my picky food preferences. One night when cooking dinner with our friends Ryan and Rachel, Ryan prepared the absolute BEST green beans I have ever tasted so a few weeks ago when Rory and I decided to cook a gourmet dinner for my parents, we decided to include these as one of our delectable sides. The recipe is easy and OH SO GOOD!

Ingredients
4 servings of fresh green beans from your local produce area at the market (usually about 3 or 4 beans per bunch per person)
Minced garlic (the kind in the can is what I used)
1 bottle of Catalina French dressing
1 package of bacon (any kind will do- if you're dieting, try turkey bacon as a substitute)
Salt and pepper
Directions
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees
*Wash the green beans and drain excess water using a colander
*Mix 1/2 of the bottle of french dressing, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, and toss green beans in a mixing bowl as a marinade
*Individually wrap 1 piece of bacon around 3 green beans creating little "bunches of beans"
*Place bunches on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt/pepper and then drizzle each bunch with French dressing
*Bake at 350 degrees for 11-14 minutes and then serve warm

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Lord T & Eloise

This past Saturday night, Rory and I (along with some of our friends), got to experience quite a show when we ventured downtown to Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom for the Lord T and Eloise Concert. One of my good friends, Ashley G, dates one of the lead rappers in the trio, and she has always told me whenever they came to town I just had to see them and promised I wouldn't be let down. Well, she was right... we all LOVED their show and I will definitely be joining them again the next time they decide to visit Nashville. You can visit their website here and I've also attached a video I found from You Tube just so you can see how much fun they have on-stage.... doesn't hurt they pour out free champagne to audience members too!

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009 Update...

For my friends that actually read my blog on a regular basis, you'll remember I posted about a month ago just what I intended to strive to accomplish in 2009- for those of you who don't, you can read the post here. With that being said, I wanted to post an update about my progress and just what I am working on.

#1 - Become Debt Free: Weighing heavily on my heart for some time now, I have to toot my own horn a little bit because I have done surprisingly well in this department- not only have I sworn off from swiping my oh-so-convenient credit card, I am actually living on a budget and putting more money into my savings each week. It's amazing just how much money you can save without eating out all the time or buying a new outfit every time I venture out on the weekends with friends. Don't get me wrong, I am still having fun and getting to do those things I enjoy, but on a more limited basis. I figure with the current state of the economy and with no real end in sight, I need to plan for more the future because you never know what's right around the corner. I'm being positive and hoping for the best, but I'd rather be prepared just in case. Obviously, I didn't learn all this by myself- thanks Mom and Dad- your financial planning for me has started paying off, one step at a time.
#2 - Read my Bible: Another accomplishment of mine is the fact that I have stuck to the promise I made to myself - by no means am I anywhere near completing my read, but I am happy to report that I have finished the first 3 gospels- Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and am currently reading John. It's crazy just how much I have learned in these past 3 weeks of reading and I'm actually comprehending just how important His words are. I've found it extremely helpful to set a time each night to read, so at 9 PM during the week, I turn off my TV and crawl into bed and get to reading for about 30 minutes. Hey, it's not a sprint - it's a marathon, but I am getting there and to me, the Bible has turned into quite a good read- it's like a good book you can't seem to put down because you want to know what happens. Keep me in your prayers for this one- I need all the help I can get!
#3 - Get Healthy! On a more somber note, and I'm going to be completely honest here: I haven't done so well with this one. Granted, I'm not binging on anything really bad, but I am still allowing myself to have these everyday or every other day indulgences and I'm not going to get anywhere at this pace. I am still writing down EVERYTHING I eat on a daily basis and am tracking my workouts online and in my workout diary, as well. I am keeping track with working out 3 to 4 times a week, which is good, but I need to eliminate Papa John's and Taco Bell from my vocabulary, especially before I hit the beach in Florida for my best friend's bachelorette weekend in March. I did throw out A LOT of food in my pantry to eliminate my thirst for anything sweet and chocolate, but when my grandmother made my favorite yellow cake with chocolate icing, how could I resist??

Hope your 2009 Commitments are going well! If you have any helpful hints as to how I can get better, any suggestions are greatly appreciated... Happy Friday Friends!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

And the Nominees Are...

FINALLY! I've been waiting weeks to see who all would be nominated for the 81st Annual Oscars on Sunday, February 22nd... and to my surprise, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" received the most nominations with 13, including Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture- this was by far my favorite movie I saw this past year and I was crossing my fingers it would get some nods by the critics.
Other nominations for the big categories include:
Best Picture: "Frost/Nixon", "Milk", "The Reader", "Benjamin Button", and the Golden Globe favorite "Slumdog Millionaire".
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams for "Doubt", Penelope Cruz for "Vicki Christina Barcelona", Viola Davis in "Doubt", Taraji P. Henson for "Benjamin Button", and Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler".
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (I know everyone has hoping for this one), Michael Shannon "Revolutionary Road", Josh Brolin in "Milk", Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder", and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt".
Best Actress: Kate Winslet in "The Reader", Melissa Leo for "Frozen River", Anjelina Jolie for "Changeling", Anne Hathaway for "Rachel Getting Married", and Meryl Streep for "Doubt".
Best Actor: Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor", Frank Lengella for "Frost/Nixon", Sean Penn in "Milk", and Mickey Rourke "The Wrestler".

Hosted by Hugh Jackman, the celebration will take place at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre live at 7 PM on Sunday, February 22nd. I've also highlighted my picks in GOLD just so I can reassure myself I am by no means a Hollywood movie critic =)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

#44

OK, I'll admit it, I along with everyone in America, delayed working A LOT yesterday so that I could watch the inauguration festivities on TV - to be honest, I have never watched former president take their oath of office, deliver their inaugural speech, or sign the documents to officially become the President, so I was pretty interested to see what all the fuss is about.
This was actually my very first presidential election to vote - the last time we re-elected Bush, I was in college and didn't really bother sending in an absentee ballot and in 2000, I was only 17 so I couldn't cast my vote. To me, this is what America is all about- everyone has a say in our political system and I think we all should take advantage of that opportunity, which is why in the past few years I have become more and more interested in politics.
Now being the optimist that I ALWAYS try to be, I went in with a positive attitude about Barack Obama yesterday (even though I didn't vote for him). Our country has elected him and I made a promise to myself back in November that I would support and pray for him as he has QUITE a few tasks laid out for him to achieve, and I hope whole-heartedly that he serves our people well. With that, I was surprised at how much I agreed with MOST of what he said during his address. My favorite part of his speech was when he talked about how some former US Presidents took office during times of peace and prosperity, but for him, that just isn't so- he didn't try to sugarcoat our situation and make it sound better than what it really is - we're in trouble and he is well aware of just how much help we need to get out of an economic recession, and end the wars we've been in for so long. He painted a picture that said we all need to be accountable for our actions, and we all need to join together to help get our country back on track. I thought he was eloquent, and yet easy to relate to, and I think he has realistic goals for the next 4 years.
Of course, what inauguration would be complete without 10 balls? Yes 10 all throughout the Washington D.C. area! I was shocked there were so many, and even more surprised to see just how many celebs were out celebrating with President Obama - I watched the Neighborhood Ball on ABC quite a bit with A-list performances by Mariah Carey, Sting, Maroon 5, and Beyonce singing "At Last" as the President and First Lady shared their first dance together... p.s. how cute were they??? I also loved how Michelle was sporting some very fashionable attire throughout the 3-day inaugural events - sets the bar pretty high for what all she'll be sporting the next 4 years and I'm glad someone with that much style has made her way into the White House once again- never know, she could be the next Jackie-O

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Free Makeup!

Yes, I did say FREE! As part of the $175 million class action lawsuit against major cosmetic companies, retailers including Macy's, Dillard's, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, and numerous others will join together to give out 1 free item of makeup to customers, while supplies last, for up to 7 days, beginning today- January 20, 2009.

A little background on the filing: The 2003 lawsuit accuses department stores and cosmetics companies of collaborating together to "fix" prices and sell them at the manufacturer's suggested retail price and never offering discounts. It also alleges that promotions were coordinated so that stores wouldn't compete with each other.

Additional details can be found at the settlement website here (this site also shows what items will be given away). All that is required for you to claim your free item is to sign a form, guaranteeing you purchased makeup between the dates of May 29, 1994 and July 16, 2003. Most major costmetic companies are participating in the giveaway promotion, including: Chanel, Christian Dior, Clarins, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Guerlain, and Lancome.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Every month at work, we have a designated "Birthday Breakfast/Lunch" and usually we try to come up with creative ideas so we aren't constantly eating the same things... for example, last year for July we did ice cream sundaes, in October we have a chili cook-off and have prizes for winners, and for December we make ANY entree you won't see on a holiday dinner table (Mexican and Italian are always a hit this day!). So today we are having our January b-day celebration, which just so happens to be "Soup and Sandwiches". We plan these events weeks in advance, but today seems like the PERFECT day to have this for lunch seeing as it is a frigid 7 degrees outside... by the way, I am anxiously anticipating Spring to pop up at any moment because I despise the cold. I found this recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup from my trusted recipe keeper, Kraft and after making it last night, decided this is a soup I will be making again and again... it's easy and oh so yummy!
Here's the Recipe (but keep in mind I doubled everything because I was making a large enought batch to use in my handy dandy Crock Pot- thanks Mom!)



What You Need.. The Ingredients
6 corn tortillas (6 inch), divided
1-1/2 tsp. oil, divided
1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces ( I would use 1 lb- more meat is ALWAYS better!)
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth
1 cup TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Medium Salsa (I didn't use chunky salsa, but restaurant style because I like mine a little thinner)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese

How to Make It
1. Heat oven to 400- Cut 2 tortillas into strips (I used a pizza cutter which works VERY well); toss with 1/2 tsp oil; spread in single layer on baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until crisp, stirring occassionally
2. Finely chop remaining tortillas- heat remaining oil in large saucepan on medium-high heat; add chicken and cook for 5 minutes while stirring; add chopped tortillas, broth, salsa, and corn; bring to boil and then simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes
3. Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla strips (you can also add guacamole, sour cream, etc.)

Hope this keeps you as warm as it did me!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Classic, Couture, Casual

As a self-proclaimed online quiz addict, I routinely find myself escaping the daily obstacles of work by giving myself a bit of free-time to indulge in these tests to categorize myself, whether it be to understand my home decor taste on Pottery Barn, how much I know about our favorite celebrities on People, saving money and paying off debt quizzes on MSN, or the one I found today about fashion at MyStyle.

After taking a step-by-step quiz about what hairstyles I like most, my 1 beauty trend I can't live without, the perfume I can't wait to spritz, my favorite shoes for a night of dancing, my ideal jeans, and my purse I carry daily essentials in, I was delivered my sentence... Classic Style

This is what it says about me: "You love timeless, elegant styles...a flat-front trouser, a well-cut suit jacket, a luxurious cashmere sweater, a frame purse, a mid-heeled black pump. When you try on a garment, you are interested in how it feels on my body as I am in how it looks. Your favorite pieces were handed down to you by your grandmother or discovered at your favorite vintage store; you wear them year-in and year-out. After all, good taste never goes out of style"


A few celebrities it says I resemble when it comes to fashion include: Reese Witherspoon, Katie Holmes, and Nicole Kidman... I think I can live with that =)




If you're interested, you can take the quiz here

A New Day


So I must take back everything I have ever said about being unlucky when it comes to perks and getting things for free.... as of this morning, my friend Candice's mom got us FREE, yes I said FREE tickets to the Celine Dion concert tonight at the Sommet Center! I remember when Mrs. Dion announced she was coming to Nashville more than a year-and-a-half ago and me thinking -wow, I'd give anything to see her perform since I missed her show in Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace, but when I looked online at Ticketmaster, Stubhub, and Craigslist and saw tickets going for $200+, I knew it was only a dream because I just couldn't see myself paying that much for a concert ticket... well actually that's a lie because I will pay that much for Britney, but you all know how I feel about her =)

So I have to give a big shout-out to Mrs. Pam Wesley on here- thank you SO MUCH for making us girls feel like we're in high school all over again... I can't wait to hear some of my favorite Celine songs... Because You Loved Me, The Prayer, Fly, and Beauty and the Beast- I just hope she doesn't beat her chest too hard when she sings "My Heart Will Go On" because that always looks so painful. And I promise to make sure Candice takes LOTS of pictures since I am Canon-less until I buy yet ANOTHER CAMERA... have a great night friends!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Golden Globes Are Back

After last year's writers strike shut down the broadcast of the Golden Globes, this year they were back and better than ever! I didn't get to watch the entire show, as Rory insisted we watch a movie rather than tune-in to watch the same-old awards extravaganza, but I did get to watch a bit and I have to say I was impressed with the fashion and the award winners.
First and foremost, I have to say THANK HEAVEN for the Hollywood Foreign Press finally giving Kate Winslet not 1, but 2 awards last night (one for supporting actress in "The Reader" and for lead actress in "Revolutionary Road") - she has to be one of my absolute favorite actresses and I most definitely think she deserved her wins! She looked just as beautiful as ever and I couldn't help but think back to Titanic-mania as Leo looked so genuinely happy for her as she took the stage to accept her statues- love it!

Looks like I am also going to have to watch "Slumdog Millionaire"- the underdog independent film took hom top honors for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Musical Score. Mickey Rourke also made a dramatic comeback in "The Wrestler" and won for best lead actor - apparntly his adaptation of a tanned-wrestling superstar was too good to turn down for critics, and Bruce Springsteen also won Best Song for the picture, as well.
And then as expected, the late Heath Ledger won for "Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Dark Knight". I was so happy to see him being recognized for his achievements in film, even after his untimely death- I think he will most definitely take home an Oscar for this one, too- as it really is incredible and a role that truly took its toll on him, personally and professionally.
Now back to the real issue, the FASHION- the ladies out in true form last night- for the most part, I think they all looked incredible... muted solids were definitely a trend last night, and so was messy hair, though I wasn't a big fan to say the least. Here are a few of my favorites from the night...
(from left to right)- Demi Moore, Eva Mendes, Kate Beckinsale, and Sandra Bullock

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A New Job for a New Year

Since Rory graduated last month, he has been trying to figure out this next step in his life and just what he wants to do... and it seems like all my hoping and praying has paid off- today he landed an internship with D1 Sports Training in Cool Springs. He has been talking about doing something like this for quite some time and a few months ago I mentioned I had heard about this training facility in Nashville and he should check it out. So him being the outgoing person that he is, started emailing and interviewed with the Advertising/Marketing Manager and will start working there next week.

A little background: D1 provides sports training and physical therapy for athletes and members by offering intensive sessions and programs for them to succeed in sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, and pretty much every other sport, as well). The trainers (which is what Rory will be doing) help to increase speed, strength, agility, and help to maximize each individual's ability and potential. They have facilities all throughout the southeat and it just so happens that Mr. Peyton Manning himself is a co-owner so you know it has to be one heck of a program. They have trained more than 75 NFL stars, over 300 Division 1 collegiate athletes, 10,000+ Scholastic athletes, and more than 1000 executive men and women seeking better physical fitness within their busy lifestyles.

I can't wait for him to get started... congrats on this exciting new adventure Rory!!

You can also visit D1's blog here

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We're Moving On Up

Since Meg and I have decided to move out of The Preserve, we've been checking every possible website on a daily basis trying to find our new home... and what a journey it has been. I checked out a condo that was too cute for words, but only had 1 bath= just couldn't condense THAT much space since we've been spoiled for the past 2 years, and then we looked at another apartment complex, but thought we were settling for 2nd best. All of our hard work has paid off because this past Saturday we FINALLY found a great place in the heart of Green Hills right on Hillsboro Road at the intersection off Woodmont Blvd. We are so happy we found a place we are both happy with and it has pretty much everything we were hoping for, not to mention the location is 100% PERFECT!
We will be living at Blythewood, which is close to Starbuck's, Green Hills Mall, The Hill Center, La Paz, the YMCA, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and not to mention a MUCH shorter drive to downtown and work in Hendersonville everyday!! I am so excited I can hardly stand it- January 31st isn't too far away and we've got our movers (A.K.A. Rory, Meg's boyfriend, and my parents) lined up- they didn't actually volunteer per say, but we were very persistent and they are going to help us out tremendously... I just can't wait to get all settled in and then start enjoying our new neighborhood!
Here is our new place's layout!

Monday Night... TV

The Bachelor
As much as I promised myself I wouldn't watch another season, I gave in to my temptations last night and tuned in to watch the premiere just like I always do. Don't get me wrong, I love the whole idea of the show, but what's their record- like 2 and 10. I think Trista/Ryan and Byron/Mary are the only ones still together (I could be wrong, but I know they're not batting .300). Anyways, I did like Jason when he was on The Bachelorette last year with Deanna and I was 100% certain she was going to pick him= wrong again, but from the previews last night, it looks as though she is coming back for more saying "she made a mistake". Obviously that peeked my interest and I do like the fact they are trying to promote family on the show by bringing on other bachelorettes who are single moms- it shows they are looking for love and obviously they are ready for commitment. On the other hand, you could tell this is going to be another knock-out fight to win his attention and it looks like he is getting love from LOTS of ladies by what they show is to come this time around... I always like to make predictions to see if I'm right and I did notice that at the end it is a brunette so I am either hoping for Jillian (a restaurant designer from Canada- she is absolutely adorable!) or Melissa (a former Cowboys cheerleader from Dallas, TX)- guess I'll have to stay tuned to find out


The City
Just released last week (like I haven't been waiting for what seems like FOREVER for this series) I hate to say it, but I'm already addicted... not that I don't miss Whitney on The Hills, but I think her new show is actually better than Lauren's. From the day we met Whitney oh-so-long-ago at Teen Vogue, she has been my favorite- she just seems so down to earth and friendly and that's hard to come by on reality TV these days. So now she has moved to New York City (sigh... I am jealous!) and has started her career in high-end fashion with Diane von Furstenberg- are you as envious as me??? She's finally got her own high-rise apartment, her love life is starting to take shape after her and Aussie-rocker Jay had a deep conversation last night, and it seems like everything is just as it should be... but you know there has to be drama thrown into the mix SOMEHOW! Looks like social-Olivia is trying to make sure Whitney makes "mature decisions for herself", but I think she's only trying to meddle in her business (is it me or does she look IDENTICAL to Heidi with brown hair?? kinda scary if you ask me). Even though MTV will play rerun after rerun I'm watching Monday nights just so I don't miss out on an ounce of all the action going down in my dreamland, NYC

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Bird's Nest

As much as I am a true "nester" when it comes to my living quarters, I am overly-obsessed with The Nest website. Now I may not be logged on The Knot (soon-to-be brides) or The Bump (soon-to-be-mothers), but for single (not engaged or married) girls like me, this is just as addictive. The Nest is the best place to look for decorating tips, essential buying guides, easy recipes for dinners, real estate advice, expert money tips for saving and living on a budget, beauty and how to look your best, and relationship and love advice, too. I find myself checking the articles on a weekly basis and they give you step-by-step instructions for how to juggle life's little inconveniences including how-to-install crown molding, how to cook the perfect gourmet meal, and other ways to help you make your house into a home. They also have a comprehensive list of great websites for buying furniture and other accessories for your humble abode!

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