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?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weagle Weagle War Eagle & The Veteren's Day 10k

This weekend I roadtriped 4 hours south to Auburn, Alabama, with Adam and my college friend, Jana, to do a 10k we signed up for months and months ago. But when I woke up Saturday morning, I just wasn't feeling it. I didn't want to pack, I hadn't been training like I should have been, and I didn't want to sit in the car all day, when I could be at home spending some quality time with my DVR. But when I was doing my daily internet checking, I saw this on facebook:

It is amazing what a few, kind words can do for your outlook because after that I was super gung ho to go.  The trip down was super beautiful, and it took us through some of the prettiest fall colored trees.  And when we got to Auburn I was so freakin' excited.

In the state of Alabama, college football is everything. And from the minute you set foot on Alabama soil, you must declare whether you are an Alabama (University of Alabama) or an Auburn (Auburn University) fan. Alabama is home of the crimson tide and Auburn is home of the War Eagle Battle Cry. I've always been an Alabama fan, but I was still excited to check out this college town. I just decided to keep my Alabama fandom my best kept secret for the weekend, just like I do with my love of  Britney Spears & Taylor Swift  before you know me well.

On game day, we carbo loaded on Ihop pancakes (Pumpkin, yum) and spent the morning, walking around the campus and snapping pictures. And believe me, that campus is beautiful (although not as beautiful as my Alma mater, if I do say so myself). We then did a little shopping before having the best lemonade of our lives at the famous Toomer's Drug store.

When it was race time, I was as nervous as nervous could be. I felt less prepared this time around, and yet I just knew I had to cross that finish line. Plus, Adam went the whole way with me, which made the race so much better. There was one true moment of panic I had after mile 3 where I thought I wasn't going to make it. But I had my mini freak out, and then just kept putting one foot in front on the other. I crossed that finish line in a little over two hours. I'm still as slow as Christmas, but I am uber proud of myself. And I'm sooooooo sore today, but it was all worth it.

I'm not sure if I will do anymore races but I might. I'm kind of getting addicted to that, "just finished the race" feeling I get.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One by One

Just a few months ago, I shared a beautiful picture of my niece Cassie heading off to her Junior Prom. And now it is my niece Kayla's turn to head off to her sophomore homecoming dance with her boyfriend Andrew, and I just had to share some of these pictures! Isn't she gorgeous?

There are no words for how proud I am of these two girls, and how blessed we are as an Uncle & Aunt to get to watch them grow into the beautiful, smart, and hilarious young women they are turning out to be. Our family has gone through a lot of hardships over the last couple of years, and no one has been through more than our nieces and baby nephew. For a long time, no one was sure what was going to happen or if things would ever be OK again. But they are better than OK and possibly better than they ever were before. And I am so grateful, so very grateful.

And I just have to say that God provides, fixes, and heals in ways that can be totally unexpected and nothing short of a miracle.