Friday, May 29, 2009

A Brand New Tradiiton

This post is going out there to all my blog readers because I am in desperate need of help! I'll fill you in on the details first, and then comes the tricky part...
OK, so my boyfriend and I were talking a few weeks ago about how we wanted to start having a weekly night that is strictly reserved for "us" time - not being bothered by work or going out as a group (as much as we love that) or having to rush to get our daily chores completed, but a REAL date night. With that being said, we laid some ground rules... in other words, we wanted to make it fun and original so we thought we'd set monetary limits on how much we could spend. Last night, we drew the different increments and (lucky me or so I think), I drew the $25 and the $10 dates (poor Jeff drew the $50 and $75 and he already planned the $100 date for tonight- I told him he probably shouldn't waste his money on the lottery anytime soon).

With that being said, next Friday it's my turn and I am choosing the $25 date first - I have some ideas that I am throwing around in my head, but I definitely want my date to be really out-of-the-box and creative and I want it to be special even though I can't spend a lot.

So here's the second part of the post... WHO HAS ANY IDEAS?? Have any of you done this type of thing before? I am really wanting to surprise him and do something that truly speaks to Nashviille and hopefully make it something neither of us have done before. Let me know your thoughts PLEASE!!
And yes, I have no idea where we are going tonight... it's a complete surprise and I can't wait to find out- the only clue I was given is to wear a dress and heels- hmmm, rather specific aren't we??

Go Big Or Go Home...

It's already Friday, and after an important friend (i.e. Meg) told me that I needed to get on the ball today about blogging (obviously she is slammed at work-haha), I thought I'd finally take the opportunity to post a few pictures from our trip last week to San Francisco and Napa. First of all, what an incredible vacation - Jeff and I planned this trip almost 2 months ago and were so excited as neither of us had ever been to wine coutnry before... boy did we learn a lot. I am hoping to get my friends together in the coming weeks and host a wine and cheese party so we can "teach" them a little bit more about wine and food. For me, it's always been rather intimidating going to restaurants and attempting to order a bottle of wine, so normally I usually: 1) go with a familiar name, or 2) go with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, or Shiraz as those are my favorites. But after our educational classes and tastings, I feel confident in being able to ask the right questions and know what it is I'm smelling and tasting. Hope you enjoy the pics- now all I need is another vacation to relax after my action-packed trip... hmmm, wonder where we'll be traveling to next??
Our Awesome Rental Car for the Trip- I WANT THIS CAR!!
Driving Around Downtown San Francisco- See the Cable Car!!
A Beautiful Morning at the Golden Gate Bridge!! So Incredible To See...
As If You Didn't Know =)
Brunch in Sausalito- A Small Town Right Near the Bay= BEAUTIFUL!!
Jeff Driving in Napa!! Yay- We're Finally Made It!!
The View Outside Our Room at Napa Valley Lodge- Jeff Did GREAT!!
Our Room -The Most Comfy Bed EVER!
Outside on the Terrace - Blue Skies All Around
We Even Had Time for Pool and Bocce!
Our Very First Winery- Domaine Chandon (Famous for Sparkling Wine AKA Champagne)
Enjoying Our Tastings on the Terrace
Isn't He Cute?? The Best Traveling Partner =)
Yummy Cheese and Salami to Compliment the Wine
A Gorgeous Friday Night Sunset in Napa!!
Saturday's 1st Tour- Pine Ridge (Famous for Chardonnay and Cab)
A Tour of the Winery- The Process is INCREDIBLE
Inside the Caves- Each Barrel is Around $1000 = Very Expensive!!
Outside After Our Tour and Tasting
Driving into Robert Mondavi!!
Their Beautiful Vineyard and Lawn
Relaxing with Sweet Dessert Wine!!
Our Last Stop on Saturday- Silver Oak (these are Magnum bottles in a cellar)
Silver Oak's Winery and Tasting Center
In the Car After Dinner at Terra!!
Our Favorite Winery HANDS DOWN- If You Go to Napa, GO TO JARVIS!!
Walking into the Caves- They Wouldn't Let us Take Pics Inside =(
They Have More than 1300 Acres and Only Use 37 for Their Wine= VERY EXPENSIVE!!
Our Last Class/Tasting on Sunday- Joseph Phelps
Jeffrey and I Outside Doing Our Last Wine Tasting (Notice our Red Teeth!!)
Our Favorite Restaurant in Napa (Press Steakhouse)... Again With the Red Teeth!! That's What a Bottle Will Do To You =)
Visiting Fisherman's Wharf for Lunch
All the Sea Lions on Pier 39- They were SO CUTE!!
The Bridge Overlooking Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf
Jeff with his Aunt and Cousin - Such Wonderful Hosts in San Francisco

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken Poppyseed Casserole

I don't know about you, but after I get home from a vacation, the first thing I like to do (after getting lots of sleep) is to make a home-cooked dinner... don't get me wrong, I love eating out, but since we were out in California for 5 days this past weekend and ate NON-STOP out at restaurants, there is something about eating at home that I almost crave- also an excuse to get comfortable clothes on and relax.
Last night, I made one of my very favorite dishes... chicken poppyseed casserole. This recipe was given to me by my good friend Julie - it's very simple with not-too-many ingredients, doesn't take too long, and is great for lunch the next day! Enjoy =)

3 to 4 chicken breasts (I use the tenderloins because they take less time to cook)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup (I use the reduced fat- hey, it helps!!)
8 oz can of sour cream
1 sleeve of ritz crackers
1 cup of white rice

Cooking Directions
Cook chicken on stovetop and then cut into small pieces (make sure to use cooking spray)
Mix into a bowl the cooked chicken pieces with cream of chicken soup and sour cream
Pour into 13 x 9 baking dish
Crush the sleeve of crackers and pour over mixture
Sprinkle poppyseeds on top (not sure about amount, but I use about 3 or 4 tablespoons)
Bake at 350 degrees for 23-27 minutes
**make rice in separate saucepan and then serve casserole over rice

P.S. For those of you wondering about our San Francisco and Napa trip, I promise to post the pictures as soon as I can...Lots of downloading and editing to do- we had an incredible time and I can't wait to tell you all about the fabulous time we had!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Confucius Say... Have Fun!!

I wanted to go ahead and post a little something today for one of my best friends, Candice, who will be leaving tomorrow to make begin her long journey to China - for her very 1st time overseas, she is venturing to Asia as a part of her MBA program at David Lipscomb. Believe it or not, she is getting credit for one of her classes for taking this 17-day trip (just imagine trying to pack 1 single bag for 17 days- oh it makes me crazy because with my poor packing abilities, it seems impossible). Last night, we all met for her going-away dinner at SATCO - we thought we'd partake in a little Tex Mex action since she's bound to get loads of rice while she's gone =)
And in even better news, she decided to start a blog for her family and friends so we can keep up with all her exciting adventures while she's gone... you can visit her site here! She said her bags are packed and she's ready to go - she even purchased a spiffy new professional camera so I can only imagine how incredible her pictures will be! Good luck on this exciting trip Candice- I love you and will be thinking about you (and for my friends out there, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers while she's gone) Love you beesh!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Fraternity Bonaroo... AKA Steeplechase

This post will most definitely be more or less a picture-post, but I wanted to put up (since I promised) a few pics from our Steeplechase celebration last weekend here in Nashville... oh what fun we had! The mud was ALL around us (to say the least), but we made the best of it and the rain decided to leave the Nashville area early in the morning so we could enjoy some much-needed sunshine (since we've had nonstop rain in TN the past 2 weeks-grrr!). Another year down in the books - and note to self, my boyfriend's last minute decision to pick up astro turf was the best decision he's ever made... definitely a clutch idea and saved our tailgating spot from looking like a mud pit like everyone else's!! Can't wait til next year to do it all over again- countdown is on!!

Me and Jeffrey at Steeplechase- His Very 1st Time!!
Me and Candice- Ready for DRUNK PINEAPPLE!

Ladies Looking Good... Candice, Bev, Me, and Rachel

Jello Shots All Around- Burke, Me, and Johnson
Good Looking Boys... Jeff, Ryan, and Christian

Power Couple!! =)
The Rain Won't Keep Us Away!!
A Bunch of TYPICALS Running Around!!

Me and My Auburn Friends!!

My Dad (the greatest) for Coming to Pick Us Up- Yay for SOBER DRIVERS!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Completely Happy

Over the past few weeks, I've been having feelings I have wanted to share, and I am just now having enough courage to share them on here - like I have mentioned before, my blog is a creative outlet that I occasionally use to write about things I am going through with regard to my personal life... this is specifically one of those times.
My good friends know I went through a very bad breakup with my ex-boyfriend about 5 months ago... with that being said, not even once have I looked back and thought about "what-if" because with God, everything happens for a reason and I knew something better was in store for me, even though at the time, I had no idea what was coming in my direction.
With that being said, I am at a point in my life where I am unbelievably and undeniably 100% content and happy. I almost feel guilty sometimes because I feel like I'm not worthy of having this much happiness in my life- like almost as if I feel like I never thought love like this would happen for me. You know the feeling, when you're completely crazy in love and get the butterflies in your stomach and you can't wait to see that person again. I'm a sucker for love and yes, I wear my heart on my sleeve, but this time, it's different in every way imagineable and I think this is it.
Now let me spill the beans... my situation isn't exactly one I'd call ideal by any means so no judgments because of what I'm about to say, but like I said before, some things fall apart so better things come together and that's just what happened to me. My now boyfriend and I have been friends for years, all throughout college but each of us had serious relationships with other people (so serious for him that he actually got married to one of my former good friends). I NEVER thought of him romantically, but always knew we had a lot in common and got along extremely well. After they got married, we stayed in touch, but things were never the same between my old friend and I... she distanced herself from our group of friends, never returned calls, and really wanted nothing to do with us (or so it seemed at the time). Slowly their relationship fell apart, and they decided to get a divorce.
Fast forward almost a year, and here I am with a completely different life... to make a long story short, my now-boyfriend (Jeff) and I stayed in contact and remained closer than he did to most of our other mutual friends, and after I broke up with my ex we started hanging out with one another since we both lived in Nashville and were both single again- first as friends, and then somehow it developed into something more. I tried to deny it for quite some time (as a few of my closest friends know very well), but finally he told me his true feelings and I not only followed my gut instinct, but for the first time in my life, I followed my heart and did what was right for me (with regards to relationships).
With all that being said, I want to say thank you to all my close friends out there who have stood by me as I made a very difficult decision about dating Jeff... it was one of the hardest things I have had to do, but I've always been a people-pleaser and now I am being a bit selfish and thinking of myself. One of my best friends told me this past weekend that for so long all she has wanted for me was to be happy and she knows I am now and that's all she needs to know to support my decision. Things finally feel right and I know I am finally with someone where our relationship is a true partnership, with each of us contributing equally and giving unconditionally. We're building on our faith and attend church together every week, spend quality time with each other and our families, and are taking each step very cautiously as we both know what it feels like to get hurt... but in any sense, I'm a very positive person and only see blue skies ahead - I'm a very lucky girl and I have a feelings things will only get better from here, especially with us taking our 1st trip together this coming weekend to NAPA! Can't wait- Happy Monday friends!

Wild Wild West

As I mentioned in a previous post, this week I am visiting the gorgeous city of Denver, CO for work... they brought me out a few days earlier than the rest of the marketing team so I could train and work with a few of the newer coordinators on staff, which I was very excited about!! After being here for only 2 days, I can honestly say Denver is one of the best cities I have visited in the U.S. The people are friendly (obviously not as much as the south, though), it's clean and fun, and they've got plenty of local attractions to keep travelers entertained.
Last night, my friend Mac (who I went to college with at UT) took me to a Rockies baseball game. Talk about fun!! We actually drank at his downtown loft before the game and walked over to Coors Field where I most definitely had my fair share of hot dogs and Coors Lite, but it was well worth it... we even got to see a beautiful sunset from our 1st base seats- definitely a night to remember
And obviously since it's almost summer, there won't be any snowboarding taking place this trip, but I'm hoping to come back in the fall so I can partake in the snow bunny fun =) For you who have never ventured out west, I highly recommend it- I've gone out to the mountains before and it is something everyone should see- its truly breathtaking... Even better, Southwest offers a nonstop flight from Nashville so it only took me 2 hours to get here!! And the absolute best part- there's no humidity and I've been told by several people that Denver has more sun per year than Honolulu...300 days a year to be exact!!Save your money and get out here ASAP

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