Friday, July 31, 2009

Wedding Party and Flowers!

Greetings from Atlanta!  Lisa and I are having a great time on our road trip.  We're headed to Nashville in a few hours for the conclusion of our trip, and then it's back home on Sunday.  Don't worry, I have taken lots and lots of photos for you!  Someday, I will organize them all and hopefully next week will have some fun road trip photos and stories for you.  To sum up our week so far, Charleston was lovely, I want to move to Savannah, and we had some killer chicken and waffles in Atlanta!

In the meantime, I was scrolling through my Reader this morning when I saw that today is
 Show Us Your Life Day to show off my wedding party and wedding flowers!!!  So exciting.  I had my four beautiful bridesmaids pick out their own J. Crew bridesmaid dresses in chocolate or espresso brown.  Our groomsmen wore black or charcoal suits, and Matt purchased them all a matching burnt orange striped tie.  I thought that they looked absolutely lovely.  

And here are the youngest members of our wedding party!  I made the flower girl basket with silk flowers from Hobby Lobby.  I had the florist do her little floral wreath, which I am totally in love with.  So cute!

As for flowers, I had a really difficult time picking those out.  So, so hard.  And at the end, I really didn't have any idea what they were going to look like - but I was so pleased!  My bouquet was lovely, filled with cymbidium orchids (I have no idea how to actually spell that) and, you know, some other stuff too.  Matt's boutonniere was a big cymbidium orchid - so pretty.  The bridesmaids and groomsmen had cream colored flowers.  Here are some shots of my bouquet - I had my florist add my grandfather's tie pin to the top of my bouquet, and it looked so great.  He also added a necklace of my grandmother's to the stem of the bouquet.  

The flowers at the reception were also gorgeous!  I wanted a different vibe for the reception - happy and sunny, full of sunflowers.  Once again, I wasn't really sure how it would all come together, but I couldn't be happier.  

Friday, July 24, 2009

We're Off!

As I speak (write?), Lisa is on a bus on her way to Indianapolis.  I'm leaving in a bit to pick her up, and we're taking off early tomorrow morning for our Southern adventure!  I'm taking my computer, but not sure yet if I'll be blogging or not.  

SO!  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  I know that Lisa and I will have the best time exploring Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, Atlanta, and Nashville, all while enjoying shrimp and grits, sweet tea, and Southern hospitality.  Cannot wait!

My Wedding Dress

So, it looks like today is the day that everyone is showing off their wedding dresses!  I am clearly jumping on the bandwagon.

Matt and I were married almost nine months ago, and I was - and still am - absolutely in love with my wedding dress.  When we got engaged in March of 2008, we were still living in DC.  My parents made the drive out from Michigan about two weeks later to celebrate, and we went dress shopping.  And on the first day of shopping, at the first shop we went to...I fell in love.  With the second dress, not the first.  The first was a little crazy - I remember thinking that I would fit right in at a flamenco dance competition of some sort.

I really didn't know what I wanted in a wedding dress, besides sleeves.  I didn't want a strapless dress - it seemed like they were overly-popular, and I really wanted something different.  I loved lace, but didn't end up loving lace on me.  I ended up with a Marisa dress called...well, I don't remember.  Sorry.  It was simple and elegant, and I felt amazing the second I put it on.  It had very little detail - just some subtle embroidery and beading below the bust - but a really amazing, incredible train.  At least, I think so.  But I'm kind of biased, then, aren't I?

BBC Book List

I stole this from Lisa, who stole it from someone else. You know, the usual. I have bolded the books I have read.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy–
47. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
68. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
71. Dracula - Bram Stoker
72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
74. Ulysses - James Joyce
75. The Inferno – Dante
76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
77. Germinal - Emile Zola
78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
79. Possession - AS Byatt
80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
84. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93. Watership Down - Richard Adams
94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
97. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
98. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
99. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Let's grand total comes to...54. it just me, or does this list seem totally and completely random to you?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Office Space

I may or may not have mentioned that I lost my office at the close of the school year.  The high school got a new administrator, who took over another counselor's office, who got booted back into the guidance office area into my office, naturally.  They spent all summer knocking down the wall between my office and another office, creating a big nice roomy office for the counselor who got booted out of her other bit nice roomy office in the administrative wing.  

The two people who became homeless in this process, myself and the regular school social worker, were due to move into one of two storage closets in the guidance office.  One was a bona fide office that had been used as a storage space.  The other was an honest to goodness storage closet.  I did my part and attempted to request the actual office office, seeing as how I'm there every day and the social worker covers several schools in the district, and therefore only pops in here and there - maybe once or twice a week.  

Of course, I'm not the school social worker.  I'm the social worker attached to the school on a grant program.  So, I guess I wasn't too surprised when I ended up with the storage closet.

My friend Becky and I went over to check it out today,  I thought my last office was small!  The new one appears to be about half the size.  Of course, it's not.  But it's extra skinny (thin?  narrow?) and it feels a bit claustrophobic. 

Oh, but wait, my friends.  There's more.  Imagine my surprise when we saw that the school's electrical fuse box is now located in my office???!  Which makes it really difficult for my furniture placement, since I have been strictly informed to not place any furniture within three feet of the box.  

But the fun doesn't stop there!  There is a small box plugged into an outlet in my office.  I have been instructed that absolutely under no circumstances can I unplug this little box.  Why?  Well, naturally, because it's attached to the school's alarm system.  What I'm not quite sure of is whether the alarm goes off if I unplug it, or if unplugging it disables the alarm.  Hmmm.  Only one way to find out...

So.  That's my new office, friends.  I will officially "move in" in a couple of weeks, after I return from my southern roadtrip with Lisa.  I plan on decorating the crap out of it to try and forget the fact that I now work in a closet.  To be honest, I'm surprised there aren't mops and a laundry sink in the corner!!!  And, don't worry, I'll take photos.  

Any good tiny office decorating tips?  Please keep in mind that I have absolutely no windows, either. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Open Letter to my Blog Friends

Dear Blog Friends,

Thank you!  Thanks for all of your wonderful, supportive, encouraging comments to my post from last night.  I feel oh so warm and fuzzy inside.  To be honest, I think I felt so much better just writing that post, let alone getting all the fantastic support from you.  

I woke up this morning feeling really positive.  I mean, yeah, this whole deployment thing screws up our "plans" for school and life and whatever, but - plans can change.  Nothing is set in stone.  Whatever happens, I know that we will grow and mature and our marriage will only get stronger.  We can deal with the time apart - I mean, clearly it's not ideal, but it's not insurmountable.  And do I wish that Matt would be here for our first anniversary, the holidays, our birthdays, and our second anniversary?  Sure, of course I do.  But we have a gazillion more birthdays and anniversaries and holidays to celebrate when he gets home.  

I was a military girlfriend and then a military fiancee for years - no reason why I can't be a supportive wife as well, right?  It seems like now that we're getting into the details, it seems completely manageable.  And I refuse to be upset and unhappy for the next few months.  Instead, Matt and I will have a great time together!  Today, he met me at work and we went out to lunch and just walked around town for a bit.  I loved that we had a mid-day date - it seemed so special and fun.  

So.  I refuse to let the Army get the best of me!  I will not let them completely disrupt our lives, despite the fact that, you know, they are completely disrupting our lives!  :)  Instead, we will truly enjoy the time we have before Matt leaves.  And when he does leave, I will keep myself busy.  In fact, I'm already making a mental list of some projects/things to do!  Such as....
1. Organize the scary closet in the guest room (Matt joked that this will likely take 99% of the time he's gone)
2. Join the community orchestra
3. Take a yoga class
4. Learn how to cook lots of good stuff (and remember how to cook for one again)
5. Hang some photos in the apartment
6. Visit lots of friends - especially those in Chicago.  I have lots of friends there!
Well, there are some other things too, I just can't think of everything right now.  Matt and I also plan on going on a Mediterranean cruise when he gets home - we want to go to Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, at minimum.  So, I'm sure I'll busy myself by planning that trip, too.

Anyway,  just wanted to let you know that I think things will be okay.  And, I also wanted to let you know that Matt is okay with the deployment.  While he was active duty, he tried to transfer to a deployable unit three different times, all to no avail.  He originally enlisted in the Army so that he could deploy.  When it didn't happen, well...obviously, that was a disappointment.

Now that he has been recalled from IRR, he really feels that he would have rather been stoplossed.  It would have been much less disruptive - he would have deployed first, BEFORE applying to grad school, BEFORE moving to Indiana.  Yadda yadda.  But, overall, now that it is here, he is ready for the deployment and feels okay about the whole thing.  The main thing he is unhappy with is the length - he is fine with a deployment but just doesn't want to be gone for a year.  

SO, there's the rest of the info, I guess!  Some other, random, unrelated news:  I had to add word verification back to my comments.  I'm sorry.  But over the last couple of weeks, I have gotten a gazillion spam comments in...Japanese.  Blah.  Also, my "wedding ring dermatitis" is almost gone!  So, that's good.  My mom called it "ring rot."  Gross!

Well, I guess that's all for now.  Time to relax in front of the TV!  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Breaking News

Happy Monday, bloggie friends!  I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend.  Matt and I have returned from our weekend in Michigan, which was lovely.  Sadly, everyone forgot their cameras, and I have absolutely no photos of my cousin's beautiful wedding.  So sorry!  
It feels so good to be home again, even though we have been a bit stressed out over the past few days.  On Wednesday evening, Matt and I got some rather unsettling news (is that even the right way to describe this?) that seems to have turned our little world upside down.

I know I have told you before that when we were in DC, Matt was in the Army.  He got out at the end of September 2008;  we moved here so that he could start graduate school.  For those of you who may not speak Army, Matt's contract was really eight years long - four years of active duty, and four years of Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).  IRR was initially started so that, in case of an extreme emergency, soldiers could be recalled to assist.  Then, Iraq started, and Bush decided that soldiers could be recalled to active duty from IRR just for, you know, whatever.

Fast forward to Wednesday.  Matt received orders recalling him from IRR to active duty; his orders are for Iraq.  The shock of all of this has started to pass, I think, so I'll get right down to the details.  

As of now, he has a report date of November 1 to Fort Benning.  He will be deploying with a National Guard EOD unit out of New York, and while his orders say Iraq, there is a chance they are actually heading to Kuwait.  Of course, that could also turn into Afghanistan, too.  We have to remain open to all possibilities at this time.  The deployment is "not to exceed 400 days" so he will likely be gone for around a year.  

Since Matt is supposed to be starting graduate school in just a few weeks, he is applying for an educational deferment in hopes that he'll be able to complete the semester and then go in December.  To be honest, I'm not super hopeful that this will happen, but...who knows.  If he can't get the deferment, then obviously he can't start school and will have three more months of sitting around and waiting.  

Okay.  Now that the details are out of the way...I guess I'll go ahead and tell you that I am having a really hard time with this.  I am trying to put a positive spin on the whole situation, mostly because there's absolutely nothing we can do about it, so why waste time complaining?  I don't want to complain.  But - I am scared, worried, nervous, and I feel very alone.  I went from zero to Army wife overnight, something I was never expecting.  And - I don't know what I'm doing.  We weren't married when Matt was active duty.  I came to the realization over the past few days that I just don't know anything about all of this.  I feel so...out of the loop.  I think that it's even harder that Matt is an IRR soldier...basically meaning that we're nowhere near a military base or establishment, at all.  There's no community here.  Nobody here is even IN the military.  Ahh, I don't think much of this is making sense, and I'm sorry.  To be honest, I just thought I'd lay all of my fears and discomforts out on the table here.  

After doing some internet research (thanks, Google!), I did learn that there is an FRG-type group specifically for families of mobilized IRR soldiers.  Whew.  What a relief.  I didn't realize how nice it would feel to know that someone will be calling me to check up and just keep me informed.  And I am so thankful that my wonderful friend Jenn has been through this twice.  And thanks so much to d.a.r., who I emailed frantically the night Matt got his orders.  She was so quick to respond with a calm note and some advice.  

Well, this has got to be one of the most poorly-organized blog posts I've ever written!  Many, many apologies.  Just had to get this out there.  It seems like all Matt and I can talk about is IRAQ IRAQ IRAQ and DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYMENT.  Isn't it strange how something seemingly so foreign becomes the new normal?  All of a sudden, we are making pre-deployment to-do lists ranging from downgrading his car insurance to canceling his cell phone to eating at our fave sushi restaurant to driving an hour out to the nearest military installation to get me a military dependent ID card.  Whew.  It all seems a little bit crazy to me.  

So.  That's that.  Oh, and did I mention that I have over 800 unread posts on my Reader?  Sheesh.  Talk about stressful.  

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Packing up! Again!

Happy almost-weekend, bloggy friends!

This probably will come as no huge surprise to you, but Matt and I are packing up yet again for a weekend away from home.  This time, we're headed back up to Michigan for my wonderful cousin Julie's wedding on Saturday - can't wait!  Not really looking forward to the packing (NO I haven't done it yet!!!) or the drive (meh).  Oh well, what can you do.  I'll probably be away from your wonderful blogs all weekend, but I will resurface on Tuesday.  

I hope you all have a wonderful, happy, fun, safe weekend!  xoxo

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today Throws a Wedding

Did anyone else watch the wedding this morning on the Today show?  I didn't even realize that it was today until I flipped on the TV this morning as I was getting ready for work.  It was lovely, as always, but...what is up with the bride's hair??!!  It looks like she is wearing a giant hair-helmet.  You know, a helmet made out of hair.  :)

Anyway, just had to throw that out there.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bathtub blogging, 3rd edition

Hello, my friends! It's been awhile since I've blogged from the bathtub...and to be honest, I'm not sure if this is really the third edition. I'm just too lazy to check into it.

I'm currently soaking in the tub because I am in some serious pain! Don't worry, it's good pain. My thighs and butt are extremely sore, to the point where I can barely get up off the couch. But somehow I managed, and headed straight to the tub.

Some updates: my fab new Saucony running shoes turned out to be, in fact, not so fab for me. I ran on the treadmill Thursday and Sunday, and my left foot was really bothering me. So, I went back to the running store yesterday after work and ended up with a pair of Brooks shoes - the Ravenna, which is brand spanking new and is replacing the Axiom. I would include a photo, but let's face it...the Blackberry is not the iPhone. And I don't think I can even begin to figure out how to add a photo to this post.

I took them for a spin on the treadmill last night and was pretty happy with them. My left foot is still not 100% comfortable, but I have decided that I will likely never find the perfect foot is just too damn picky! :)

Tonight, I headed to the cross country course and - I don't know if it was the shoes or what, but I had an awesome run! I ran 4 x 1000 meters, and I totally kicked ass. And to be honest, I really needed a good run.

I have really felt lately that my running hasn't improved - at all. And it has really made me question whether or not I'll ever really be a runner. And I've gotten pretty bummed out about it. Tonight, I ran the same area of the course that I ran the first night my group went out - and the difference was staggering.

I felt completely in control of everything - my pace, my breathing, everything. My running partner even remarked that I had really improved - because the first time we ran together, I had to stop for quite a few walk breaks. But not tonight!

So, I feel good. And proud of myself. And, thanks to the killer squats I did yesterday morning along with three straight days of running...I am totally exhausted.

Thankfully, tomorrow is my day off! I plan on waking up, doing a few pushups, and going on a long walk with Oscar...but that's it. Time for some rest and recovery!

That being said...time to set the bberry aside and enjoy my soak. Oh, and I've noticed lots of new people commenting and following in the last few days. Welcome! Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to introduce yourself - I'd love to meet you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rock and Republic TODAY at Rue La La!

I've always wanted a pair of Rock and Republic jeans...but, I don't have any. Alas, I'm not going to buy any today at Rue La La, even though they are priced really reasonably for a great pair of designer jeans! Must save my money for vacation in a couple of weeks!

But, if YOU want to check it out and AREN'T already a member of Rue La La, click here to sign up!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Also, I'm allergic to marriage

Okay, just kidding.  It actually seems like I'm allergic to my wedding rings.  Yesterday, I realized that the skin under my wedding rings was a little itchy, so I gave it a quick scratch.  Something felt weird, so I looked at my finger...and the skin under my rings - especially my wedding band - was all red, itchy, and peely.  Yes, peely is a word.  There are peely pieces of dried skin all over in a little red band on my finger.  It literally looks like I have a little wedding band burned into my skin.
Um, ick.

I took off my rings and have kept them off, moisturizing and hand-washing regularly.  Tonight, I decided to seek the help of my trusty Google friends.  So, I googled "itchy skin under wedding ring" and discovered that I likely have what's called "Wedding Ring Dermatitis."  Which apparently is all my fault, because I wear my rings all the bed, in the shower, everywhere.  I rarely take them off, ever.  Which has caused the skin under my rings to get all...ick.  

This totally grosses me out.  Plus, I hate that my rings are uncomfortable right now...and for some reason, the ring finger on my right hand is slightly bigger, so I can't just wear them over there.

My instructions (from Google, naturally) are to leave the rings off especially at night and in the shower, wash and moisturize well, and use some hydrocortisone cream if the itching gets too terrible.  

Have any of you had this happen?  Apparently, it's quite common.  I had never heard of this before!  It makes me feel a know, dirty.  And I don't like it.

My "summer" reading list is out of control.

Tonight, Matt and I went to Border's to wander around, which is always fun.  We almost never buy books...instead, I just keep adding books to my must-read list.  As you know, the list started out as a summer reading list.  But...I seem to add books constantly.  I put them in my Blackberry as "Tasks," and then I can check them off as "completed" after I read them.
Yes, I know I'm a nerd.  Whatever.  Like you don't add things to your lists just so you can cross them off.

Anyway!  I added about a million more books to my reading list, and that's when I summer reading list is out of control.  And I'm pretty sure that it's no longer a "summer" reading list...I think it's just a reading list.  Because I only have a couple more weeks left of summer until school starts back up, and there's no way I'll be reading all of these books in time.

Instead, I thought I would repost my no-longer-summer reading list for you to see.  Clearly, I've barely made a dent.  Books are in alphabetical order by title, because that's how they're listed in my trusty Blackberry.

1. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey
2. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown (read)
3. April and Oliver, by Tess Callahan (just added this looked cute)
4. Baby Proof, by Emily Giffin
5. Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson (wait a minute...Matt had me take this one down for him.  It's a complete Civil War history, I believe)
6. Belong to Me, by Maria De Los Santos
7. Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster
8. Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall
9. Breaking Dawn, by HELLO you already know who wrote this one
10. Bright Lights, Big Ass, by Jen Lancaster
11. Can You Keep a Secret?, by Sophie Kinsella
12. City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt
13. City of Thieves, by David Benioff
14. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon
15. Eclipse (READ!)
16. Escape, by Carolyn Jessop
17. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (just started this one)
18. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
19. Master Your Metabolism, by Jillian Michaels (ahhhh)
20. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards
21. Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote
22. Mommywood, by Tori Spelling (don't judge me)
23. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
24. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
25. Nudge, by Somebody Thaler and Somebody Sunstein (I guess I skipped first names with this one)
26. Outtakes From a Marriage, by Ann Leary
27. Perfection, by Julie Metz
28. Please Stop Laughing at Me, by Jodee Blanco
29. Pretty in Plaid, by Jen Lancaster
30. Remember Me?, by Sophie Kinsella
31. Rhett Butler's People, by Donald McCaig (currently reading...slowly but surely)
32. Scarlett, by...I don't remember because it's not in front of me (READ!)
33. Shopaholic and Baby, by Sophie Kinsella (READ!)
34. Shopaholic and Sister (READ)
35. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (READ)
36. Shopaholic Ties the Knot (READ)
37. Something Blue, by Emily Giffin
38. Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin
39. Stori Telling, by Tori Spelling (listened to the audio book on the way to Charlotte...LOVED was like listening to US Weekly for 6 hours!)
40. Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster
41. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
42. The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold (listened to the audio book on the way home from Charlotte.  Wow, that was a dark one.  Seriously.  If you want to read a book about a woman who kills her elderly mother, this one's for you!)
43. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
44. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson (don't know anything about this, but Matt pointed it out at Border's and said it's supposed to be great)
45. The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan
46. The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson
47. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
48. The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink
49. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
50. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
51. When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris (I LOVE him!!!)

Um, wow.  51 books.  I didn't realize there were so many.  So, clearly, I have a lot of reading to do!  If you think I should add any books to my list, let me know!  I am always eager for suggestions.  

So, a question.  What are your top five favorite books of all time?  This is a really hard question for me to answer...I love books and reading so much that I'm not sure I can choose a favorite.  But I'd love to hear yours.  In the meantime, I'll try to figure out what my favorite books are.  

And on that note...I have GOT to finish Rhett Butler's People!  

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Does anyone else get really bummed out when they finish a great book?  
I tend to get so wrapped up in the story and the characters, that I just can't bear to part with them when it's over.  I have spent the last three days reading four of the Shopaholic books - I checked out Confessions of a Shopaholic a few months ago, and since then had been on the waiting list for Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.  I finally got that on Thursday, and devoured it.  So, Friday I went back to the library to check out Shopaholic Ties the Knot.  Which I read in exactly two hours.  So this morning, I decided to play it safe, and I checked out the remaining two Shopaholic books - Shopaholic and Sister, and Shopaholic and Baby, thinking that would last me at least through the weekend.

Sadly, I read both books this afternoon/evening.  Now, the entire series is over, and my time with Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood is over.  Sniffle.  

Anyone out there know what I'm talking about?  Kind of like when Matt and I rented every season of the Sopranos.  And when it was over, it was so sad.  No more Sopranos.  And then, we rented every season of the West Wing.  And then, that was over, too.  

But, anyway.  I absolutely LOVED the Shopaholic books (if you don't know what I'm talking about, they are written by Sophie Kinsella and I highly recommend that you head to the library immediately and start reading), and I can't wait to see the movie!  It's in our Blockbuster queue, and it should be coming to us next, which I know will please Matt quite a bit.  Okay, maybe not.

But after reading those books, a large part of me wished that we lived in London, hopping on trains to places like Cumbria, meeting lovely British people and having tea.  Oh, and it wouldn't be so bad if I had a best friend who had a castle in Scotland, either.  Sigh.

Okay, enough is enough.  I have been consistently setting Rhett Butler's People aside every time I check out another Shopaholic book, so I guess it's time to finish this one up.  

On a not-so-surprising note, I am making almost no headway whatsoever with my summer reading list.  Mostly because I keep reading books that aren't on it.  But then, of course, I add them to the list, just so I can check them off.  :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


This morning, on the way to work, I heard a commercial for an opthamologist (am I spelling that right?) offering "Lasik parties" at his office.  Bring a friend with you, and you both get a discount on Lasik surgery.  Bring MULTIPLE friends, and everyone gets a HUGE discount on Lasik!  Plus, they promise to make it a fun-filled "party," complete with privacy.  

As someone who has had Lasik (and who did not find it especially fun), I don't really feel that the words "surgery," "party," and "discount" should necessarily be in the same sentence.  


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Post Script

My dog just came over and shoved his face and his favorite tennis ball all over my keyboard, which somehow resulted in him clicking "Mark all as read" on my Google Reader.  So, thanks to Oscar, I probably didn't read your blog today.

Did you write about something really interesting?  Funny?  Embarrassing?  Did you post about a giveaway?  Did you see somewhere that I won a giveaway?!  :)  

If so, let me know.  I hate missing stuff.  

New Shoes! annoyance.

I am happy to announce that I am the proud new owner of the above pair of running shoes...the Saucony Progrid Omni 7 Moderate.  Yes, I know they sound super fancy.  No, that's not why I bought them.  

My friend Becky and I went to the IN Running Company to hang out with my trainer, Derek, around lunchtime.  We both walked out with new running shoes!  Derek watched me run again in the store today, and then brought lots of shoes out for me to try.  As soon as I tried the first pair of shoes on, I felt a HUGE difference.  In everything, not just while running.  I felt great just standing around in the store!  It felt so great to have that support in my arch.  All I can say is - WOW.  

I'm supposed to take it easy for a few days with the new shoes, so I plan to run on the treadmill tomorrow and Saturday for just a short time.  The Running Co has a 10-day return policy, so I thought I'd run indoors a couple of times just to make sure they are completely right for me.  Excitement!

In other news...I had to run over to Macy's the other day to pick up a new bottle of my Clinique cleanser.  You know how I feel about Clinique - I am a loyal customer for life.  I love their products, and my skin has never felt or looked better.  

But why, oh why, must the Clinique ladies constantly try to push other products on me??  Without fail, every time I need to pick something up at the Clinique counter, they ask me "what other concerns" I have about my skin.  Please, lady.  My bathroom cabinet is filled to the brim with Clinique products.  You have already covered all of my concerns!  Ugh.  For some reason I get really annoyed with those nice ladies.  Sigh.  

Also...I have lost one follower for the last three days.  Oh dear.  Am I getting boring?  Sniffle.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Running Fail

Man oh man.  After months and months of pain while running, I finally talked to my running-group-trainer-guy, Derek, about what on earth is causing this.  The verdict:  I am an over-pronater.  And yeah, I'm really not sure how to spell that, but you get the general idea.  When I run, my feet are turning in and collapsing my arch, causing all sorts of leg issues.  The more I run with these shoes, the worse it will get (and don't worry, it's gotten pretty bad already!).  It can also start to affect other areas of my body - especially my bad.  

I started into the run tonight, and I don't know if it was primarily physical, psychological, or both, but...I just didn't make it.  I ran the warm-up mile and then called it quits.  In addition to my legs hurting in that weird spot, I apparently strained (?) the tendon that runs through the arch of my right foot.  This happened a couple of days ago somehow, and I have been trying to stretch it out and massage it regularly...but it still feels all crappy.  So, after running the warm-up mile, I said my goodbyes and headed to the car.  

When I got in the car, I sat there for a few minutes and drank my water before noticing a nasty, green, slimy bug going into some sort of convulsions on my finger.  Gross.  I quickly opened the car door and flung it out into the grass (don't worry, I was still parked!).  Suddenly, I felt something cold and wet in my lap.  I looked down and realized that my water bottle was open and pouring out all over my crotchal area, which then proceeded to drip down into a pool in my seat.  

That's right.  It looked like I massively wet myself.  I then noticed that something (possible the other half of the nasty green slimy bug???) had died all over my leg.  AHHHHHH.

I gave up and drove home immediately.  Matt and I took a walk, and now we're watching Jeopardy.  We watch Jeopardy every night these days.  I just looked down and realized that I still have nasty brown and green bug guts all over my leg.  LOVELY.  On that note...Happy Tuesday!!!  I'm headed to the bathroom to wash whatever this is off my leg.  

Oh, and tomorrow, I have a date with Derek, my trainer, at the running store so that he can find me some new shoes.  He promised to find something on sale, PLUS I get 10% off of anything in the running store while my training group is ongoing.  I'll let you know what happens!  

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On Geography

I have spent the majority of today studying world geography.  What, that's not normal?  Doesn't everyone do that over the weekend?  No?  Is this why I lost a follower today?  Hmmm...

Seriously, though.  Geography is good to know, and Matt and I always talk about  how we wish we want to know more about the world and,  you know, specifically where everything is.  And I don't mean the big stuff.  I KNOW where Russia is.  I mean...every country in Africa.  And, by the way, after studying the African countries today, I can say with certainty that there are way too many countries in Africa.  For real.  Try to start memorizing them, and then tell me if I'm right or wrong.

Matt and I started playing around on this website.  It's a geography game - the name of a country will come up on the screen, and you have to click what country it is on the world map.  It's tough!  After working all day, I finally got 100% and now can thankfully stop freaking playing.  Holy crap.  Thank goodness.

So, if you need something to do - and especially something to help better your education - check it out.  It will be awesome, trust me.  :)

In other was everyone's 4th of July?  Matt and I had a great time!  We went to my new friend Alyssa's house, and had a great cookout with her, her fiance, and another couple.  Sadly, it poured all day long, so we assumed the fireworks were off.  Sadly, this morning, we woke up and saw that they still had the fireworks despite the rain.  And we missed them.  Bummer!

Well, I'm off to read.  I made a major dent in Scarlett today (in between world map quizzes, of course) and I really want to finish it by tomorrow!  Good night!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I haven't blogged since Wednesday.  Ugh.  And I don't feel like I have anything interesting to say even three days I won't really say anything!  

Besides...Happy 4th of July!  And, happy birthday to my best friend of many years, Catherine.  She is spending the next six months in Mexico.  She will be spending two months at a Spanish immersion school, and then she has an internship with the Associated Press in Mexico City (she is a journalist).  I miss you already, Catherine!  Stay safe and have a great time in Mexico!

And to all of you, have a wonderful, safe, and fun-filled holiday weekend!  

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time to start planning!

Hello there!  I have returned from my quick trip to Michigan.  To say it was a difficult couple of days would be a gross understatement.  However, I am so happy that I was able to see my dear friend J and attempt to provide some support.  

Now that I'm back in town, it's time to start planning!  Today is July 1st (can you believe it??!), and in 25 short days, I will be back on the road again for a Southern road trip!  Lisa (of Like a Valentine and Fantabulously Frugal) and I are headed into the South at the end of July (??!) to explore Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, and Atlanta.  We will finish up with a day or so in Nashville, visiting my good friend Jenn and her husband, Ryan.  And, of course, eating at the Pancake Pantry.

SO.  I need your help.  I have never been to any of these places.  We will only be in Charleston and Savannah for 2-3 days, and HH and Atlanta for about a day and a half.  Things we plan on doing:

-eating Southern food
-going to a plantation
-eating Southern food
-going to the Margaret Mitchell museum in Atlanta
-going to the beach
-eating Southern food at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah

So far, we have only made one hotel reservation, at the Planters Inn in Savannah.  We got a great deal and booked early.  

Here is what I would love some help with:

Where should we stay?  Please note, we are looking for something as cheap as possible that isn't disgusting, and we're planning on turning to Priceline for much of our reservations.  Where should we eat?  I have made a couple of notes for restaurants (Magnolia in Charleston, The Lady and Sons in Savannah) but I want to make sure that every meal is yum yum yum.  So, any cheap holes that have amazing food that you know about?  Please share!

What, in your opinion, is the best plantation to tour in either Charleston or Savannah?  

Is there something in any of these cities that we absolutely CANNOT miss?  A restaurant?  A shop?  A landmark?  A certain tour?  I've heard a lot about the ghost tours around Savannah.  Are these worth it?  And if so, which is the best one?

Okay, ladies.  I'm relying on you to help plan our Southern road trip.  Any help/advice/commentary you have is much appreciated!