Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

I can't believe it is already time for another year in review post! I think if I had to come up with one word to describe this year it would be unexpected. So many good things happened during this year that involved little planning or no planning at all.

At the beginning of this year, we had no plans whatsoever to move back home. We literally decided that, and made a plan of action while we were eating lunch at a Subway. I graduated from college (totally expected), and got a job during my first post graduation interview (totally unexpected). I convinced Adam that we needed to take our trip to Amsterdam in the manor of an hour. And we survived a few months living apart, while I worked and he prepared the house for our move.

And those were just the main highlights of the year, we did so many other fun things such as: spent a weekend in Manhatten Beach, toured the Ronald Reagan Presidential library, had a surprise Valentine's Day breakfast, tried a whole bunch on new recipes, went wine tasting in Temecula Valley, celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, turned 26 and 28, visited my alma mater,  went to Disneyland, roadtriped through Tombstone, Arizona & San Antonio, Texas, ran a 5k and walked a 10k, decorated our new apartment, threw a Southern Homecoming Party, showed off my new office, handed out candy to trick or treaters, visited the galaxy of lights and Jack Daniel's Distillery (as part of our failed 12 dates of Christmas), decorated our home for Christmas, built a gingerbread train, visited Lambeau Field, spent Christmas in Wisconsin, and got trapped in a blizzard.

Just reading that, I'm exhausted.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh, December 25

This Christmas was the first year Adam and I got to spend together with one of our families since the year we got engaged. And only the 2nd time I've been to Wisconsin. Adam's family lives in a little farm house in the middle of nowhere.  It is lovely. And every time I've been there, it has been a winter wonderland, and this trip was no exception. There are few things prettier than undisturbed snow.

Adam's family has different traditions than mine. They open up all their gifts on Christmas eve, and then just do dinner on Christmas day. My family always opened up their gifts Christmas morning. So to me, it is odd to wake up Christmas morning, and have no gifts to unwrap, but hey it is a lot of fun to tear into all those gifts a day early. So I'll take it!

I think my favorite part of this Christmas was the hours spent playing Mario Party on the Wii with the family. Oh, all the smack talk and all the things Adam's grandma said during game play had us all rolling on the floor laughing. And how badly we all sucked at the snow mobile racing game was a riot.

So basically we had a perfect Christmas. Snow on the ground and time spent with family is basically all you can ask for.

A Pilgrimage of Sorts

When Adam and I figured out that our road trip would take us through Green Bay, Wisconsin, there was no ifs, ands, or butt about it, we knew we would be going to see the stadium of our beloved Packers. And I'm so glad we did, not only was it just an all around great day, it was surprisingly really touching to learn the LONG history of the Packers.  The only team located in a small town, the only team owned by the fans, and the only team that is older than every other team in the NFL (other than the Chicago bears, by one month, darn you BEARS).

We took a tour of the stadium which lead us up to a private suite, where we had the best seats in the house, to learn the history. And then they took us down to field level. Unfortunately, the field was covered because of all the snow from the day before. We then spent some time in the hall of fame, trying our hand at the lambeau leap (no dice, that wall is HIGH) and posing next to all four Superbowl trophies. Before eating dinner at Curly's Pub, sampling the traditional Wisconsin fair, brats with sauerkraut and cheese curds.

Next year, we hope to finally go to a Green Bay Game, which just might make 2013 our favorite year ever. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh, Euclid. You Were So Unlovely.

Did you know that they are naming blizzards now? Just like they do hurricanes? I sure didn't. But I learned this yesterday. You see, we spent the holidays with Adam's side of the family up in Wisconsin. And we had a great road trip up (I got to visit a new state Indiana, and at our hotel in Indiana we got to watch a prostitute go through the trash in the continental breakfast area, before taking the bag up to the hotel room, after her "boyfriend" stuffed her money in the trashcan, BREAKFAST AND A SHOW). And we had a great time in Wisconsin (more to come on that later).

But yesterday, my mother informed us a blizzard was about to blow in. Winter storm Euclid to get technical. But my mother can be a little over-reactive, so I mostly ignored her, which sometimes works out for me, but most of the time she ends up being right, and she is not afraid to rub that in my face .

Adam and I did glance at the weather, but it didn't look too bad, although I did hope Adam would say we should wait an extra day, so we could sneak off into town and see Les Miserables. But we had to get to work on Thursday and blah, blah, blah he said. So we set off at 5:00 a.m. this morning with high hopes of getting to Alabama tonight.

But once we hit Indiana it got a little snowy. No big deal we thought. But then it started snowing sideways, and the snow was building up on the roads LIKE CRAZY. And the highway was like a slip and slide, and it was taking 20 minutes to drive 200 feet. And I was convinced we were going to die.  And my feet were way cold, and I hate when my feet get cold.  So I admitted defeat, and my mom found us a hotel room 20 miles down the road, which took 2 and a half hours to get to because of all the cars stuck in ditches (but no one seemed hurt).

So now we sit in a hotel room with a bed that is not our bed, and we are kind of wishing we were home instead. But we will get home tomorrow, where it will be semi-warm and welcoming.  But I guess this is the perils of winter weather traveling. And something crazy with the weather almost always happens when we go to Wisconsin. Better luck next year?

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Our Fifth Date of Christmas: We Mailed a Southern Care Package

Last week, our old neighbor in California posted some Christmas photos of the outside of the duplex we used to share, and looking at the pictures I thought, "Our California life seems like a million lifetimes ago." It was an odd feeling because I mostly live my life in a state of perpetual nostalgia, and I swear it feels like yesterday I was a little middle schooler with out of control curls. But yet, the life I was living just 5 months ago almost feels like I dreamed it.

I guess we have just settled into our new life in Alabama so seamlessly, without any of those growing pains we had in California.  But yet, California has such a wonderful place in my heart because those were our first years of marriage, when times were lean and money was tight. and we really had to depend on and trust each other.

Alabama is wonderful, but we do really miss some things about California. Like being a stone throws away from Hollywood & Disneyland, those delicious pretzel sticks from Claim jumpers, the beach, and of course our wonderful friends.

We really wanted to share a little bit of our new life with our California friends, so we put together a Southern Care Package including:

1. Fresh Picked Cotton (That's right I pulled over to the side of an Alabama road, and picked it on a seriously cold, fall morning).

2.A Lynchburg Whiskey Cake (made with Jack Daniel's)

3. Teaberry Chewing Gum

4.  A Pecan Log Roll

5. Cow Tails Candies

6. Jack Daniel's Mustard & BBQ Sauce

7. Corn Muffin Mix

8. Southern Pecan Coffees

9. Handcocked Virginia Peanuts

10. Cherry Cola and other Various Flavored Swizzle Sticks

11. Moon Pies

12. Goo Goo Clusters

Our friends were so excited when they got it, and I loved bringing our two lives together, even in just a small way.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Our Fourth Date of Christmas: We Built a Gingerbread Train!

I think it is becoming some what of a tradition in our household to build a gingerbread house err stuff every Christmas. So this year, we decided to mix it up a little, and I bought a gingerbread train. The train was surprisingly easier to build than the house, the house took some balancing logistics that a therapist and an accountant just aren't cut out for.

In the words of Honey Boo Boo's mom, our gingerbread train is beautomous. I honestly don't know whose idea it was to decorate Adam's face afterwards though. I would almost swear on my life that the thought occurred to each of us simultaneously. Which is what makes us such a good couple, we are just SO in sync when it comes to goofiness. And that was the best part of the evening!

Who knows what we will build next year, a gingerbread rocket ship? I feel like we have to keep raising the bar!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Alabama Bucket List

Since my California bucket list was so much fun, I thought it was about time I posted an Alabama One! You know, now that we are living here and all.

1. Shop at Unclaimed Baggage, Scottsboro, Alabama
2. See the Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama
3. Hike the Walls of Jericho, Jackson County, Alabama
.4. Tour the U.S.S. Alabama, Mobile Bay, Alabama
5. Visit Helen Keller's Birth Place, Tuscumbia, AL
6. Tour the Civil Rights Museum, Birmingham, AL
7. Explore the Mcwane Science Center, Birmingham, AL
8. Attend The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery, AL
9. Visit the First White House of the Confederacy and Alabama State Capital Building Montgomery, AL
10. Go to Noccalua Falls, Gadsden, AL
11. Attend the Fiddler's Convention, Athens, AL
12. Attend Alabama Frontier Days, Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson, AL
13. Go to the Iron Bowl (An Always Epic Alabama vs. Auburn Match up), Tuscaloosa, AL or Auburn, AL
14. Spend a day at the National Peanut Festival, Dothan, AL
15. Tour the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Tuscumbia, AL
16. Shop at the Limestone Flea Market, Madison, AL
17. Attend the Alabama Jubilee Hot-Air Balloon Classic, Decatur, AL
18. Eat at Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q, Decatur, AL
19. Go to the Nascar Race at Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL
20. Pick berries at the Barber Berry Farm U-Pick,  Millbrook, AL
21. Visit Alligator Alley, Summerdale, AL
22. Walk/Drive the Galaxy of Lights (Christmas) at the Botanical Gardens, Huntsville, AL
23. Attend the Renaissance Festival, Florence, AL
24. Eat at Irondale Cafe (Restaurant the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was based off Of), Irondale, CA
25. Tour Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, CA
26. Attend Bay Fest Music Fest, Mobile, AL
27. See the Ava Maria Grotto in Cullman, AL
28. Drink Toomer's Lemonade at Toomer's Drugs, Auburn, Alabama
29. Visit Confederate Memorial Park, Marbury, AL
30. Eat at Cotton Row, Huntsville, AL
31. Visit Abbeville Historic Old Pioneer Cementery, Abbeville, AL
32. See a Civil War Reenactment, Anywhere, AL
33. Stay the the Anchorlight Bed and Breakfast, Crest Line, AL

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Online Link Love Book Vol. VII

Growing up my best friend had a barbie dream house with a working elevator, and I thought that was the coolest thing that could ever be associated with Barbie. I was soo wrong, this photo shoot done of Barbie's and Ken's "wedding day" takes the cake.

Being that I'm totally fashioned challenge, I thought this list of 21 essential fashion items for your twenties was helpful.

The Gilmore Girls is my ultimate favorite show, and I think that it is so cool that there is a list out there with every book Rory Gilmore ever mentioned or was seen reading during the show!

These pictures of a Six Flags Theme Park that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina are hauntingly beautiful.

I love this article about predicted baby naming trends for 2013! I wonder how accurate this will be. And will we see a lot of copy cat naming once Princess Kate has her baby?

Here are 40 copy cat recipes for delicious, famous restaurant/fast foods! Krispee Kreme donuts and Outback's Bushman's Bread? Yes, please.

I've been obsessed with this tumblr for months. Her GIFs and captions seriously crack me up.

This website tells you what time you should get up in the morning to feel the most rested, depending on what time you go to bed! It is based on sleep cycles. Wonder if it works?

Blame it on the psych nerd in me, but I've always been fascinated by the psychology of color. And this graphic really breaks it down.

Just a collection of the prettiest iPhone wallpapers on the Internet.

Monday, December 3, 2012

On Our Third Date of Christmas: We Decorated Our Tree!

We finally got our tree up this weekend and decorated our little apartment. And I was so glad because I was getting uber jealous of all my friends on facebook with their fab trees.  Saturday night my mother and stepfather came over, even bringing their lab, Carlee, and we ordered pizza, watched the always classic Christmas vacation, and trimmed the tree.

Some people do their trees all fancy with color coordinated ornaments and  tons of tinsel and garland. But I love the beauty and simplicity of a mismatched tree with different ornaments collected over the years. Leave the perfectly matched stuff for the department stores! And finally it is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Little Less Traditional Christmas Playlist (and New Years too)!

I'm all about some Christmas music, and the day after Thanksgiving, I made myself a playlist of some of my Christmas favorites, and it has been on nonstop repeat in my car. This year I'm finally doing the grown up thing, and Adam and I are sending out Christmas cards! I'm also going to burn these songs onto a CD to include in the Christmas cards. Cause who doesn't need a little Christmas music to bring a little extra Christmas cheer?
1. Sleigh Ride by The Oceanauts
2. Jesus Christ Was Born by Waving Flags
3. Do You Hear What I Hear? by Ben White
4. Unwed Mother by Hoyle
5. All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love
6. The Friendly Beasts by Eutopian Accident
7. Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
8. December 25 by Francesca Battistelli
9. All My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka
10. Merry Christmas Baby (ft. Brad Paisley) by Colbie Caillat
11. River by Joni Mitchell
12. Christmas Vacation by Katie Campbell & Domink Hauser
13. We Need a Little Christmas by The Glee Cast
14. This Time of Year by Melissa Ferrick
15. White Christmas (Ft. Shania Twain) by Michael Buble
16. All Year Long by Kyle Cox & Rachel Smith
17. Little Drummer Boy by Rags 'n Goff
18. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Michael Buble
19. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella by Cole NeSmith
20. Christmas in the Sand by Colbie Caillat
21. My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year) by Regina Spektor

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On Our Second Date of Christmas: Jack Daniel's Distillery & Miss. Mary Bobo's Boarding House

We decided to use the long holiday weekend to get out of town for the day, and we took a day trip to the little town, with an unfortunate name, Lynchburg, Tennessee.  Lynchburg is where the one and only Jack Daniel's Distillery is located.  I had toured the distillery years and years ago, when I was under 21, and couldn't take part in the sampling. So I decided it was about time I took Adam up there. The tour is always a lot of fun and you really learn how much time and effort goes into making the perfect whiskey.

Oh, and did you know the distillery is located in a dry county? And that it will never be a wet county because the town needs a passing vote of 2500 to allow the sale of liqueur, and the town only has a population of about 600? And you can't even purchase liqueur there, except for a loophole in the law, that allows for the purchase of one "commemorative bottle." I just find that amusing and charmingly backwards, as so much in the South is.

After the tour, we walked down to Miss. Mary Bobo's Boarding House for lunch. Miss. Mary Bobo's used to be an actual boarding house in the 1800's. But now it is a restaurant, and all the bedrooms have been turned into dining areas. You eat family style around a kitchen table. I love it that way, you really get to know the people at your table, and it is just some homey and inviting. The food is always very Southern and one dish always features the famous local product (Jack Daniel's Drunkin' Apples in this case).  We had fried chicken, meat loaf, broccoli & cheese casserole, pinto beans ,corn bread, cranberries, and fried okra.

Our last stop in Lynchburg was the Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company. I had read about it online and it is famous for its Whiskey Cakes (featured on food network). This cake shop is a really small operation, run by the most fabulous man. He took us around the business, even showing us the kitchen, and telling us all about how he makes the cakes, and how his business got started. We bought a few cakes and some pralines for our families, and I bought some whiskey balls for myself. Those whiskey balls were one of the most amazing candies I have ever had. In fact, I'm pretty sure they are the best candy in the history of ever. I'm sooo sad I only bought one package.  I could have eaten a million. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Simplicity

Adam and I had a very simple holiday this year, celebrating with only each other. After sleeping in a little bit, I got up, laced up my sneakers, and went for a morning jog. I always forget how good it can feel just to get out there and get moving. Afterwards, we put on our Sunday best and broke tradition by going to a restaurant for thanksgiving. Something I have never done before because it always seemed blasphemous. But Adam only likes a handful of Thanksgiving dishes, so it seemed silly and wasteful to put out a whole feast just for myself. And then have to do dishes, and since I'm such a messy cook, I'm sure I would end up with sweet potato casserole on the ceiling. So no thank you.

But dinner was delicious, and we both got more than our fair share of our favorites topped off with a piece of pumpkin pie.  We went home and took long turkey induced naps. When we woke up, somehow Adam talked me into going out for some Black Friday shopping. I have never done this and for good reason! Crowds make me a little nervous, and I hate going into Wal-Mart on a normal day.  And this was almost too much for me to handle, and at one point Adam accidentally snuck up on me without me noticing, and I about jumped out of my skin! I snuck out of there as soon as I could. It was something I was happy to experience ONCE.

We ended the day watching The Five Year Engagement. All in all it was a good holiday, maybe not one for the record books, but one good enough for us.

Monday, November 19, 2012

On our First Date of Christmas: The Galaxy of Lights

Ok, so it's not quite the Christmas season. And usually I'm so against celebrating or doing anything Christmasey until the day after Thanksgiving.  But here in Huntsville, every holiday season you can drive through the galaxy of lights at the botanical gardens, and I've done that a couple of times over the years, and it is always fun. But this year I found out that during the week before Thanksgiving you can walk through it! And I really wanted to experience walking it this time around.

So Saturday night, we drove to the gardens and did just that. It was so pretty and Adam and I had such a good time strolling through. Mostly cracking jokes, as we tend to do. However, this year's trip to the Galaxy of Lights just left me with the same unanswered question I've been wondering about for years now. Why a dinosaur display and what in the world does that have to do with Christmas? Can anyone explain that to me? Because once I have that answer, I can finally put this Christmas mystery to rest.

The trip to the Galaxy of Lights officially kicks off our holiday challenge, which is to have 12 little dates before Christmas! I just thought it would be a sweet way to celebrate Christmas together this year in our new hometown (an idea I stole from Marci).  Anyone else is free to join in on this challenge, I would love to read about your holiday dates!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What I Love About Sundays

On Sunday mornings, I wake up a few hours before Adam.  I get up and lazily stroll the internet for a bit, start my laundry, and go for a walk in the woods by the apartment complex.  Sometimes I wander a little farther down the road to the Starbucks for a peppermint frappichino. I really value this alone time because before we moved to Alabama, and I didn't work, I had hours upon hours of alone time. Not so much anymore. I am an introvert, who just happens to love and care a lot about people.  So I took a job in a people helping profession, and I adore helping people, I really do. But it can drain my batteries, and that alone time gets me recharged for the work week ahead.

But after about two and a half hours, I get a little ancy and decide it is time for Adam to get up. So I go and wake him up, which I always find a lot more amusing than he does (gee, I wonder why).  If it's a game day, we put on our Green Bay Packer's jerseys and our cheese heads and head down to Knucklehead's sports bar and grill to catch the game.  We love Knucklehead's because the people are friendly, even if they are on opposites side of the playing field. Plus, everyone always gets a kick out of the cheese heads. They are constantly walking by and asking to try them on.

After the game, I go home and put away my laundry, which makes me disproportionately happy. I just like to know all my clothes are put away and ready for the week.  I read and sometimes take a nap before watching some of my back log of DVR shows, Three different episodes of Real Housewives for three different cities sprinkled with a little bit of Sister Wives? Don't mind if I do.

And that my friends, makes for my perfect Sunday.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Favorite Things

Just a few things I'm enjoying right now:

1. PJ Pants
I got these pink fleece pj pants with the little Scottish dogs a few days ago, and they are soooooooooooo comfy. There are few things I love more in life than pjs. When I'm at home, whether it's daytime or nighttime I'm going to to in my pjs. So I'm constantly buying new ones but I think these are going to be a favorite. They are so warm!

2. My Life in Wax
Recently, I finished the book Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran. It is a historical fiction book about the life of Madame Tussaud (yes, that is the name of those famous wax museums) and her involvement in the French revolution. Although I've never been overly interested in the French Revolution, Madame Tussaud's life was fascinating! I mean she was a wax tutor to the King's Sister, was forced to make death masks for famous revolution victims, a prisoner of war, and one of the first women ever to force her husband to sign a pre-nup. So I had to pick up a Life of Wax to read an historically accurate account of this interesting woman.

3. Scentsy!
I've been hearing about scentsy for years now, but I didn't know quite what it was. Recently, my mom ordered me some supplies from a scentsy party and I got addicted! I'm so obsessed with these wickless/flameless candles. The scents are so strong and smell so good (my faves are coconut lemongrass & my dear watson). I love turning on my warmer after I get home from work, it helps me relax. And I love how easy it is to change the scents. I have about 10 scents right now and I am getting more (just don't tell the consultants that I get mine off amazon).

4. My Custom Iphone Case
I finally was able to upgrade my phone to the iphone 4, and thank goodness because my other one was really just on its last legs. I knew I wanted a really great case for my new phone because I left my last iphone out of the case, and I dropped it and the glass shattered. And I had to deal with the broken screen for over a year. So I decided I wanted an otter box this time,  and I found a site where you can design a custom one! And this is the one I designed. How cute, right?