Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Davis!

So Forrest's brother Davis turned the big 3-0 on Feb 27 and you better believe we wanted to celebrate. We started on Sunday at my parents' house. Davis and Megumi just bought a house up the street from Mom and Dad and in honor of that and the big day they came with us for our weekly Sunday dinner. We had steak kabobs, baked rice, green bean casserole, garlic bread, and a salad. Delish I tell you! Mom even went all out and made him a chocolate cake, which of course Forrest and I were unable to eat (but we did smell it). It was torture but we really did have a lot of fun!!

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 Get ready...
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Get set...

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GO!!!

On his actual birthday Forrest and I picked up some pizza and took it to Davis' for a birthday party fit for 5 year olds.Who doesn't love a pizza party? It was great, low key birthday fun!!

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 Davis wants a pizza party for his birthday: we deliver (literally).

 photo F3BA39C1-5F51-4F9F-91D9-C83A5CEE7188-5263-000001FB35F2B715_zpsa20300eb.jpg Megumi did a little birthday decorating to really give the evening that pizza birthday party vibe. 


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Megumi gave Davis a set of cookbooks, but he already had one volume of the set. What does that mean? Happy Birthday to ME!!

ALSO I need to give a shout out to 2 very important people who are having birthdays today!


First is my sister! She is 23! Hooray and happy birthday!!!

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In case you forgot, this is my sister. Yep, I have to go to the beach and wear a swimsuit at the same time as her. It's super fun.


Today my cousin Stevie also turns 30! Stevie is my oldest cousin (I'm 2nd oldest of 10 on my mom's side) and he is super fun, although he got me into lots of trouble when we were little! Good times!


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This is Stevie on his wedding day. He got married 8 days after me! 

Happy happy birthday to all of my loves!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Springing Up the Place

After I called out Mother Nature here, she punished us with more days of rain and cold, but surprised me over the weekend with some SUN!! We took advantage of the opportunity on Sunday to totally revel in it. Forrest played tennis and I ran downtown with Kelly. I'm really loving our Sunday runs together and the fact that she doesn't mind following my couch to 5k program. I'm going to finish week 3 today! Go me!!
Afterwards Forrest did lots of work in the yard and I got some much needed things accomplished inside before parking myself in the sun with the dogs. Check out our springy-ness!


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 First I need to say that I backed over this rake with my car. Forrest was cringing as he pulled it out from under my tire but it remained unscathed. It came with a lifetime guarantee that the handle wouldn't break...clearly I was just testing it out. Also bonus shot of the van in this pic.


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My floating arrangement!

   photo 799C3C7A-0AB2-4751-AEFE-44D4E8237A56-1127-00000056CD0B7704_zps998eb86d.jpgSo excited about spring fruit! It always brightens up the kitchen.

   photo 7895BC87-1445-4818-8896-150E2088CD22-1127-00000056D1E8A308_zpsfc7f4f78.jpgForrest added these snap dragons to our hanging boxes on the deck. They are so pretty! I love the soft colors.

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Crazy looking moth. I'm pretty sure I just discovered a new species, as I've never seen this particular kind of moth before. Since I discovered it I get to name it: Mint Chocolate Chip

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  My Valentine's tulips are looking great in the pot by the front door! 


 What are your favorite things about Spring? Do you have any projects planned??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Legally Blogging

There really is nothing like the blogging community. I have met so many "friends" who are quick to include, offer encouragement, or give advice. That is exactly what I found in Jackie and Allison. We found each other out in the great big blog world because we all share something in common: we are attorneys (or at least, Allison will be one day soon). We celebrate our new found friendship, we are going to start the Legally Blogging series. We'll feature one of us each Tuesday for the next three weeks. Hopefully, we will connect with other women lawyer bloggers out there who want to be a part of the series. SO, all of you lady lawyers out there, if you would like to be featured in our series, shoot one of us an email and we will get you on the schedule. The point is not only to connect with other similarly situated bloggers, but to enlighten the blog world on just exactly what it is we do!

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Lucky for me, I am up first!!



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This is my excited face


Hey Y'ALL! I'm Catherine from Bailey Dailies. I'm super excited to be doing this series with Jackie and Allison. First of all, a little about myself. I live in a small town in Northern Alabama with my husband, Forrest, who is a dentist, and our 4 furry babies (2 cats and 2 dogs). Forrest and I were high school sweethearts and we were married nearly 4 years ago! We both went to the University of Alabama for undergraduate school (I was a Political Science and American Studies double major) and I continued there for law school. I LOVE to cook and try out new recipes, so it follows that I also love to eat just about anything. Forrest and I also love to travel and explore new places, whether it is a big trip to someplace far away, or on a football trip to see Alabama play (ROLL TIDE). I also enjoy reading and of course, writing!
My blog is simply about our lives together in general. I post about 4 to 5 times a week about the fun things we do or things I'm thinking about at the time. I find writing to be a great outlet and an easy way to clear your mind and spill your guts. It's always nice to roll an idea around on paper and try it out before actually saying out loud. I LOVE putting up pics, even though they are usually just from my iPhone. The fur babies make it on to the blog occasionally as well! My sister is the reigning Miss Alabama USA and will be competing in the Miss USA pageant on tv this summer, so currently I have lots of fun posts about her! Catch up here!
My law practice is what I would term a "small town general practice" because I do a little bit of anything: criminal, civil, domestic (divorce, custody, etc) probate (wills, estates, deeds, commitments), immigration (which is super interesting in Alabama right now), Chapter 7 bankruptcies, and just about anything else that walks in the door. I don't do much transactional or corporate work but I can always point you in the direction of someone who does! I probably like the criminal cases the most because they change so much and are the most interesting, but I really enjoy all of the genres of my practice. I'm always on my toes! Each day is different--sometimes in the office the whole time seeing clients, other times I have a "paper work day" and sometimes I never see the office because I'm in court the entire day. Usually it is a mash up of the three! I enjoy having a different schedule every day and most of all I enjoy my clients. Most are not happy about having to see an attorney and I am honored and humbled that they would choose me to help them out. I take my job very seriously and never take for granted that the clients are the reason I have a job in the first place! The MOST fun thing about my practice is who I work with: my dad and my uncle! Our firm was started over 100 years ago and has been in the family ever since. I'm the first woman from the family to take part in it, which is pretty cool if you ask me! I am honored to carry on the family tradition and hope I can continue the firm's good name and reputation for many many years to come!

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This is me getting sworn into the Alabama State Bar

Here are some questions that my fellow lawyer bloggers have posed as a way for you to get to know us. Enjoy!

1) Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging as a way to document my life with my husband. I always loved doing scrapbooks but never really had time to do them so they'd end up being thrown together and terrible-looking. When I found out about blogs, I was hooked! It has been the perfect way to chronicle the fun and sometimes crazy things we do! My earlier posts were mostly about what we did on the weekends but lately I've really gotten into the blogging community and have been posting more and more! I love new followers and comments, as they make me feel like I'm not alone in this little cyber world. I'd love to take you along on our

2) What do you like to do when you're not blogging?
OMG I am such a busy person and I love it. I'm in a book club, a blog cooking club, the Gadsden Service Guild, and I'm the municipal judge for a little town close to where we live. I love to cook and try out new recipes and I especially like to try out new restaurants (although we have to travel to do that). I am a die hard Alabama football fan so that takes up most of our weekends in the fall. We love to travel anywhere and are always up for a road trip! I also just love hanging out with the fam or my girlfriends and catching up. Sometimes the simplest things are best!

3) What do you find is the biggest misconception about lawyers?
There are MANY misconceptions about lawyers. The worst one to me is that we are all liars and snakes. Actually, lawyers have to adhere to a strict code of ethics and if we violate them we can lose our licenses. Most lawyers are hard working, honest people who fight hard for their clients. I'm sure that there are dishonest members of the bar, but there are dishonest members of every profession. 
Another one that makes me so upset is when people thing that lawyers are bad people for representing people that they deem unworthy. Everyone should have the advantage of having an attorney in court with them, and our Constitution even requires that anyone charged with a criminal offense that could result in jail time be granted an attorney, even if it is at the cost of the state. People do wrong things, whether it is criminally, civilly, and domestically, but that doesn't mean that the lawyer condones their behavior by representing them. Do unto others, right?
Finally, another terrible misconception women lawyers specifically is that we don't have time for our families. This may be true of some, but almost all of the women attorneys in my town have children and they all seem to have excellent family lives. I know having a family and a full time career will be challenging, but also fulfilling. 

4) What's your favorite vacation you've been on?
Yay! No more heavy questions with deep answers! It is SO hard to choose a favorite trip because we have been on so many fun ones! Our honeymoon in Antigua was amazing, we had a blast on our California Road Trip; Costa Rica was beautiful; Oregon spectacular; and all of our football trips have been a blast, especially the last one to the National Championship in Miami! If I am forced to choose, I would say our cruise last spring in the Mediterranean. We saw so many breathtaking places in just one week! We went from Rome to Siciliy to Tunisia, Barcelona, Monte Carlo (and Eze and Nice in France) and Cinque Terra (Italy). The entire experience was fantastic, so much so that I'm trying to convince Forrest that we need to do another cruise this year! I'm thinking Alaska? 


5) What's your best and worst home reno project?

Our house was updated when we bought it so we actually did NO work to our house when we moved it, other than painting our bedroom to match our bedding. That all changed YESTERDAY actually. The tile in the hall bath was painted by previous owners because it was pink. Wear and tear over time has caused it to peel and it got to the point where we couldn't over look it any longer. The tile guy is still at my house as we speak busting up the old stuff and getting ready to lay the new. When I went home to check on him yesterday, I nearly had a panic attack. All of my animals were totally freaked, the house was so dusty, and I just couldn't take all of the disorganization! Hopefully we won't have to do anything like this EVER again!! 

Ok well that is enough about me! Hope that those of you who are attorneys are excited to join us and those of you who aren't still think we are pretty cool and fun! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Selling the Car in the McDonald's Parking Lot

So, how was everyone's weekend? Did you do anything as sketchy as I did?? Let me set the stage for you. As you know (or you might not know if you are new!) Forrest was still in dental school when we got married so he drove an hour each way every day to get to class (a SAINT I tell you). He had a little accident one day which totalled his car so we had to get a new one. Some family friends were selling a Honda Accord with very few miles for the right price so we snatched it up. You can check it out here. The Honda was a great car because it was safe and got fantastic gas mileage. However, it was NOT so great because it was a value edition meaning it had NO extras whatsoever. No power mirrors, seats made of basically velcro that LOVED dog hair, no tint on the windows, etc. That was fine and all but once he started working he decided it was time for a new ride. Over the last weekend he showed me several cars online, did endless hours of research, and listed his car on Craig's List "just to see if he got any bites". He asked me to get his car title and draw up a bill of sale "just in case". On Friday night I'm getting the house ready to have Rachel and Isaac over for pizza and Forrest calls saying he has made a sale and can I bring him the documents to make it official. "Um, ok?? Where are you?" To which he replies "The McDonald's parking lot". Ok so here I go with my house half way ready, to bring legal documents to my husband in the McDonald's parking lot. I brought Ruffles for good measure just in case I needed any reinforcements (what I thought she was going to do is still beyond me). I pull up and there he was with a man looking at the car. They were even sipping soft drinks that they had apparently gone inside together and purchased. They are new best friends. Before I know it they are signing the bill of sale, transferring the title, and taking off the car tag. I kept waiting for the Feds to come rolling out of the building and the SWAT team to repel off of the roof. I mean, I know people do this kind of stuff all the time and that our transaction was totally legal, but still, selling your car in the McDonald's parking lot? Not my style. I keep waiting for the car to turn up in the news somewhere after have been used in a crime or something with my name (which was on the title)  splashed all over the headlines. If that happens please use this as my statement. Forrest and the buyer threw all of his junk into the back of my car and within minutes we are pulling out of the parking lot and heading home.
"Did that just happen?"
Uh yeah, it did.
What is Forrest driving today? After a very lovely evening of delivery pizza, salad, and red wine, we drove out to Duck Springs (where his family lives, like 25 minutes from our house) to pick up a car since they have an extra. I thought he would be driving their cute little SUV but no, they had the VAN all ready for him! I have to admit that van offers plenty of leg room and quite a smooth ride!

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Now we are on the hunt for the perfect car for Forrest. Any suggestions? He's thinking maybe an SUV or even a truck since gas mileage isn't as big of a deal any more. We've looked at Jeep Grand Cherokees, Avalanches, Ridgelines, and gracious so many other things I'm losing track. Any help would be appreciated! Until then, we'll be the ones in the gold mini van sans children!

I'm linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans! Check it out!
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm Loving It!

What's up y'all its Friday! TGIF!!! Who has a fun weekend planned? Well I want to kick it off right by sharing some of my loves as of late.

First, we will start off with my supper club! I'm loving it! We have a great group of friends that meets once a month for dinner. The LeBlancs hosted us on Tuesday night and had a Mardi Gras theme. Love!


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This cake was SO tempting, but Forrest and I stood strong in the face of temptation! Luckily we didn't have to say no to any of the meat pies or other food!  photo A5BDD1D0-B2C9-48D4-B0E9-7AC542645335-3211-00000214E7D3F73C_zpsbfd4b763.jpg 

 Loved this centerpiece! Perfect for Mardi Gras.

   photo 147C25DD-2AC0-4F60-9D32-D4FD5EF08C64-3211-00000214E48A2152_zpsd4f1f1ea.jpgAnother great centerpiece! Simple yet perfect for the theme. 



 My next love was sent to me via text by Shannon:  photo 8DAF3689-4FC5-4533-977F-53D7D2741FFB-3211-00000214DA3F96EB_zpsc6ed73af.jpg

OMG are you dying yet? She saw this on Instagram so I can't give proper credit but this doggie flower arrangement made my day. It looks like my little Ruffles! Anyone want to send me this? You are welcome to! 

 And my last "loves" of the week are my new planner, pens, and Sharpies! I used to LOVE getting a new planner but haven't been using one lately since I have my work schedule on my Google Calendar (which I also love). I need a way to easily plan out my runs, our menu, and my cleaning rotation and the digital calendar just wasn't cutting it. I tried using printable calendars for a while but I hated flipping back and forth and didn't like carrying the ginormous binder around with me, so I opted for a half sheet sized planner that has a month view plus a week view where you can write in more detail on each day. I agonized over the purchase in Office Max--which thrilled the staff members who were trying to close up--and rewarded myself with a new pack of colored pens (so each calendar entry can be in a different color--there is a plan in the works for color coding--its about to get real) and at the register I was tempted into buying 3 fine tipped Sharpies. (They were on sale--it would be a crime not to get them.) You can't really use Sharpies in a planner because they bleed through so I'm not sure what they are for but I will think of something!

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Entering everything in the planner made me VERY happy. It made me feel like I was back in college during syllabus week when I would take each one and carefully enter all of the important tests and papers and other projects into my calendar. Ahhhhh, Type A heaven!!


Well that's a wrap on what I'm loving this week! Anything that you loved this week that you want to share???? Do tell!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter is Not a Victim-less Crime

Ok so I am sure everyone that that is in a much colder place than I will be mad at me for this post, but OMG I am so over winter. It keeps raining and on the days it doesn't rain, it is SO cold. Today actually is about 58 so hopefully the warming trend will continue right on up into the 80's--the only temperature at which I know I will be perfectly comfortable. Unfortunately, the weather forecast suggests that I am merely wishfully thinking--more rain and cold over the weekend! Lately down here we have had tons of rain and cold and wind, but we would have an occasional warm day like today. These warm days not only teased me into thinking I could get by with wearing pants with no "extras" underneath (tights, cuddle duds, fleece leggings) but they also tricked the early blooming trees and flowers into thinking it was spring and that they could start their flowery shows. Well, that trickery has resulted in many a death and I'm not too thrilled with it. The beautiful daffodils at my parents' home started erupting one warm day and since it was going down in the 20's that night, my dad had to scurry around picking all of them. They look lovely in the house but still--had the flowers not been tricked by the warm days, Mom and Dad might be able to enjoy the veritable sea of daffodils they usually have outside during March. Allow me to present more evidence:

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This is the tulip tree at my parents' house. It started blooming unnecessarily around Valentines because of the sneaky weather throwing in some days of 60 degree weather.

Here is said tree today:


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Dead Dead Dead.


Alas........


Any of you experiencing crazy weather out there? I know us Southerners cry and complain about the cold during winter, but we love our summers, so hopefully no more weather related blog posts out of me for a while! Hope you are all toasty and warm where ever you are! I leave you with this:

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The reason we can't have plants in our house---the cats eat them. Needless to say, Forrest had to plant my Valentine's beauties outside over the weekend to protect them from being terrorized by 2 hungry (although I'm not sure why--I over feed) felines. If winter gets to these purple lovelies, I will get him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

But Ya Gotta Have Friends

Good morning lovelies! Let me start off this morning by revealing my 2 truths and a lie from yesterday.
1. I was president of my sorority: FALSE!!! I was actually the VP of Recruitment (aka "Rush Chair") for two years in a row.
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One of the wreaths I had designed for recruitment one year. I was really proud!
2. I was the sweetheart of Forrest's fraternity. True! I got a plaque which is in my office, a tiara, and a place in history--meaning my picture is on their composite photo, which remains in the fraternity house.
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Being honored as the Sweetheart, Circa 2005
3. I was a debutante. Yes, we still do that in Alabama. I was presented in 2004 at the Bal d' Or.

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Me and my dad at my debutante ball
Ok, now on to the real post. Forrest got the mail yesterday and I never saw it until this morning before I left for work. There was a bright pink envelope waiting for me on the counter and I knew instantly who it was from: Alana. Alana is from my hometown and was actually one of the girls that I "rushed" during my reign as Rush Chair. We got to be really close and I've enjoyed being friends with her ever since. She is talented, quirky, funny, artistic, and best of all, a wonderful friend. She sent me a home made Valentine--who doesn't love mail that isn't asking you for money???  photo 7c1b0123-42e2-4c6f-8f9f-890854388bd0_zps00954204.jpg She has sent me a Valentine (and a home made Christmas card) every year since she's been out of school. Seeing the pink envelope made me think about friends and friendships. I am TRULY blessed to have a magnificent group of friends. Gals, guys, couples, older people, younger people, you name a category, I can tell you a friend I have that fits into it. I have friends that I see every week and talk to every couple of days and then I have those that I may not see very often but I know that they are out there, still being my friend. I hope that none of my friends ever think that I take them for granted, because I feel like to have and keep friends, you have to cherish them--put in some effort. It's one thing to be able to say you have a lot of friends and it is quite another for those "friends" to consider you to be one of theirs. I hope my friends think that I am a loyal person who is more of a "giver" than a "taker" and that they can say that they know how much I care about them because I make being their friend a priority.
Over the years, friends come and go--there is a natural ebb and flow to friendship that happens--it's just life, nothing to get upset over. I don't think that happens, though, when both people are committed to keep the friendship going and put time and effort into it. You can't really say that you are "friends" with some one from college when you haven't seen or heard from them in 10 years, can you? I guess I put more stock in the word "friend" than that definition would suggest. However, in our busy world of social media, it is easier and easier to stay connected with far away friends and to let them know that you are thinking of them from time to time. I know some people say that social media has actually "de-socialized" friendship, but I want to keep up with people, so to me, its wonderful. I'd hate to lose a friend or drift out of their lives because I couldn't find the time to look them up on facebook now and again or to send them a friendly "hello" text here and there. Do any of you agree? Have you ever drifted away from a friend? What fun ways do you keep in touch with your friends who live far away?
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Susan (moving to CO), Me (staying put), Paige (moving to NOLA), Alana (living in NY)
Always friends, no matter where we live.
While we are on the subject of friends, I want to say a big thank you to my blog friends out there and all of you that take the time to read about little old me. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Perks of Being a Wall Flower

Anyone seen that movie or read the book? I read the book a few months ago and Forrest and I rented the movie on Saturday night after a yummy impromptu dinner out with my parents. I honestly liked the movie better than the book but only because it seemed happier and less intense than the book. If you haven't seen or read it, please do! I highly recommend. The story is told by Charlie, a boy in his first year of high school. He is told that he is a "wall flower" and that he doesn't "participate". Now, no one could EVER accuse me of being a wall flower. I'm not shy, I will talk to anyone, and I'm ALWAYS participating. I have to remind myself sometimes not to over participate, to tell you the truth. That's just me--I'm outgoing and I want to get into and be a part of and experience as much as I possibly can. However, the movie made me start to think about the actual perks of being a wall flower. When you take a step back and really take in your surroundings, you probably get more out of them then when you simply dive in head first and plow through your day without stopping to enjoy it. Sometimes on trips I get so into our schedule and being on time and rushing through everything so we can make it to the next stop that I lose sight of the real point of being there. It's not about checking things off of your list (even though a completed check list thrills me to no end) but making the experience a part of you. Just like in groups, its not about how many stories you can tell or anecdotes you can share, but rather about having a good time with the people you love and getting to know them, even if it means letting someone else have the floor. Give and take, give and take. Stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Otherwise, you may as well just look at a photo of roses if you aren't going to take the time appreciate them fully, right? I mean what's the point? Take a breath, and take it all in. Maybe these wall flowers have it all figured out!

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AND, in keeping with my non wall flower personality, I'm participating in the 2 truths and a lie link up with Southern Living, Our Way and others!



Ok, so I'm going to list 3 facts, 2 truths and 1 lie, all related to "participating". Guess the lie and leave a comment. I'll reveal the truths tomorrow!

1. I was the president of my sorority. 
2. I was the "sweetheart" of Forrest's fraternity. 
3. I was a debutante.

Weekend Round UP

I don't really think that I need a post about our weekend because I did some separate stand out posts regarding the highlights. BUT, it just reals WRONG for me not to give a weekend recap so as a creature of habit, here we are. You already know about our blind date on Friday night, but you don't know that we attended St. Vincent's Heart Day on Saturday. Yep, after our fun Friday in Birmingham we went home, slept, and were back in Birmingham the next day for our tests. In February, St. Vincent offers 4 heart tests for $40, and since I'm working on my heart health, we thought it would be a good investment. First stop was the blood taking room. I thought I would be alone but alas, Jorge was to take my blood in a room full of people. I couldn't cry or act a fool so it actually wasn't that bad. Next it was time to wobble down the hall to have my blood pressure checked and an EKG done. Easy enough. The RN that read my tests said my blood pressure was "beautiful" and my EKG was "text book". Woohoo! Then he asked why I thought I had high cholesterol and I told him what my last blood test showed and he said "Oh, well girl you need to RUN". Good thing I had just started Couch to 5k last week!! Forrest of course checked out perfectly, as he is the picture of health. Afterward we were devastated to find our chosen restaurant didn't serve lunch on Saturdays (BOO to them) but we ended up getting lots of errands accomplished while we were in town. The traffic was TERRIBLE that day and every restaurant we picked had a 45 minute wait at 1:45, so we decided to just get something off of the interstate and call it a day. That evening we did church, Mexican with my parents, and then a DVD at home.
On Sunday I started running with Kelly! We completed day 1 week 2 of couch to 5k outside. It was chilly but it felt nice to run. Even though I was huffing and puffing sometimes, it was GREAT to run with a friend! How efficient! We got all of our chattering done while exercising! Who would have thought? Forrest played tennis with Kelly's husband Ben so the Baileys and the Carrs get an A+ in exercise for Sunday. For extra credit, Forrest and I took the dogs on a quick walk before dark since the weather was nice. Unfortunately our lovely walk ended in total disaster! Ruffles was chased by some big dogs that rolled her twice. I was screaming and she was screaming and Forrest and Sonny had to chase them away! Actually Sonny was such a brave brother as he growled and barked at the big dogs! Poor little Ruffles ran to me and I carried her the rest of the way home as she wailed. She wasn't hurt at all and I think the dogs were trying to play with her since she was running, but it was really scary! She perked right up when treats were offered so I'm pretty sure she will live. If that was any indication of what it's like to be a parent and see your child get hurt, I'm probably going to need to start preparing now. Wow--too scary!


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How could anything want to hurt this precious angel???
We ended the night with shrimp creole (my request) at Mom and Dad's. Then I stayed up WAY too late reading Gone Girl. Anyone read that yet? I think I'm pretty late in starting it but I tell you it is addictive!!  photo gonegirl_zpsbc323849.jpg

Monday, February 18, 2013

My First Blind Date...

...was this past Friday! Yes! I had a blind date on Friday night! Actually, Forrest and I both had our first blind dates this weekend. Strange? Not really. I set one of my best friends (Randi--shout out girl!) with one of the new doctors in town.When Randi and I had lunch in January she was joking that I should fix her up and after I laughed, I thought "HEY! I actually know a guy!" I had met Mark once when he came with the Yother's to our supper club one night. He seemed nice and cool and Forrest liked him and so I took a chance. I mean hey, the last people I set up got married (you're welcome Jay and Claire!) so I figured I could take a stab at it again. I thought Forrest might think I was being silly but he really liked the idea of them meeting so I jumped right into making it happen when I got home from lunch that day. Claire (not the one I set up with Jay) and I worked it all out and picked out a date and we waited. Honestly Forrest and I were kind of giddy about it, if that is the right word. Every day we would say "3 more days til the date" or "OMG the date is tomorrow!" I think we were so excited about it because it sort of felt like WE were going on a blind date, even though that makes no sense. We were tagging along on this date so we would get to experience all of those first date nerves and jitters. Since we started dating in high school, it has been a LONG time since we had a first date and the whole thing just seemed really exciting! Randi lives in Tuscaloosa and we are all 2 hours away so we met in Birmingham. Our group all rode down together which made it even more fun--a road trip on top of a blind date? I almost couldn't handle the excitement! As we waited in Randi to meet us at the restaurant, I was literally freaking out--I think all of us were! Every time the door opened we'd turn and look and gasp. Nope, not her yet. Thanks to Facebook everyone knew what she looked like so there were no surprises. When she did arrive the group had actually been seated so I waited at the front door for her and then brought her to the table and introduced everyone. We really did all have a great "date" together and there was really nothing to be nervous about. The food was delicious, the wine was excellent (and freely flowing) and the conversation was always fun and jovial. I don't think we ever had a dreaded lull! We even got to witness a proposal, which was pretty sweet. The night went off without a hitch and I thought I could rest easily knowing I had made a good match and they would at least be friends if nothing else. Well, that is until I got home and was like "OMG, what's next? Will he call? Should I text him?" Yeah, I went all "girl" and it wasn't even my date. I guess some things never change, even when you've been out of the game for 11 years. Will sparks fly? That remains to be seen, but I guess I won't be "seeing" them, considering I'll probably not be invited on any future dates.
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Me and my sweet Randi. The restaurant was giving out roses, so we happily accepted. The wine bottle was left in this pic because well, I thought it added some interest, especially since this is not the best pic of Randi and me!
Anyone have any amazing and/or horrible blind dates to share? Email me and I'd LOVE to post them!!


I'm liking up this post with Sami's Shenanigan's--go check her out!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lent

This week we kicked off the liturgical season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. I LOVE Ash Wednesday service, as it gets me all fired up and ready for Easter. This year, Father suggested we use the 111 method when we are planning our Lenten sacrifice (something we do to prepare ourselves for Easter). He suggested working on 1 personality flaw, giving up 1 thing that hurts, and doing one thing to help ourselves spiritually. This year, as we have done for the passed 2 years, Forrest and I are giving up sweets. This is HARD. It isn't so hard at home, because we don't really keep desserts in the house, but it is hard at work and when we go out. I can think of so many dinners out and parties that are coming up this month and next and we will have to say "no thanks" when it is dessert time. However, the point is to give up something that is in fact a sacrifice so that we can learn and grow from it. When a client brings us a big plate of "thank you" chocolate chip cookies, I'll have to think about my sacrifice and maybe say a little prayer thanking Jesus for His. That's the whole point--to get into the Easter mindset--not to take pride in ignoring desserts for 40 days. It is being able to overcome yourself and personal desires and give yourself to God a little more rather than being attached to material (or in our case sugary) things. For the other 1's, I personally am going to work on my "flaw" every day, and we are both going to exercise at least 3 times a week for our "doing", and our exercise is going to remind us to pray, so that makes it spiritual. (My couch to 5k program fits perfectly into this plan!). We hope to not only get ourselves healthier physically but also spiritually during this time of preparation. Please pray for us and everyone else who is observing Lent!! If you have any questions please leave a comment or send me an email. I'll do my best to answer!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's 2013

Forrest and I have never really been too into Valentine's Day. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those who bashes the day or anything, I mean come on, who can have a problem with a day of giving gifts and candy??? However, since our birthdays are right before (Forrest) and right after (Me) Christmas, Valentine's kind of sneaks up on us and by that time we are over buying gifts and the whole 9 yards.
We did decide that we would spend our Valentine's Day evening at the movies. We had both been wanting to check Silver Linings Playbook off of our Oscar's movie list so Valentine's day sort of gave us a reason to go during the week. I secretly had Forrest a little present and didn't think he would get me anything, but he showed up after work with the most beautiful pot of live purple tulips!

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Aren't they lovely??? I hope I can keep them alive!
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Forrest LOVED this print from Kari at Pop Doggie. She can personalize your print with your breed and dog's name! She rocks--please go check her out!!!

After present time we went to the movies. I REALLY liked SLP! I am a big fan of both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence and they were really excellent in this movie. It included 2 of my favorite things, football and dancing, so I really got into that part, and I honestly thought it did a good job of showing the challenges that families face when they are dealing with mental health. Overall, great movie experience with my Valentine!


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LOVE these actors--aren't they versatile? I'll be cheering them on at the Oscar's at the end of the month!



Once we got home, we cleaned! Hooray--doesn't that sound like Valentine's fun? When we are busy we just come home and drop stuff where ever and it sits there until we find time to put it away, and yesterday we just happened to have some time! Nothing makes me calmer than a clean house--seriously.


I do need to admit that the only time I freaked or got worked up about Valentine's day at all this year, or any year for that matter, was this week at book club. The moms of the group were talking about how they were hard at work making all of these impressive sounding Valentine's and I literally started hyperventilating. These mommas don't play! I'm talking individually dipped marshmallow pops, candy grams, printed tags, OMG. Whatever happened to the good old days of going to Walmart and picking out your favorite licensed character Valentine's?? I had no idea that people were so in to this now! I mean, I see cute valentine's pinterest and everything but I guess I didn't really think it through. Welcome to 2013 Catherine! I'm glad to know that these mom's will be there telling me what I need to do if I have children that have to bring fancy Valentines to school! Is it wrong to hire someone to do your kids Valentine's??? Hmmmmm.

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My friend Natalie sent her kids to school with these as Valentine's gifts. I'm super impressed. 

I leave you with the following picture representing our Valentine's day in 2008, which, if you are doing the math, was 5 years ago! Whoa--time flies.
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Love at first bite!!!
(Not really--we had already been dating for 6 years at this point, we just both really love pizza!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Riding the Train

I have decided to start calling my posts about following around Miss Alabama USA (my sister) "Riding the Train" instead of "Riding the Coat Tails" since she does in fact wear a train but never coat tails. Plus, who doesn't love that song? Quad City DJs? Anyone? Love it! Plus, I actually did carry her train around after she won the pageant so no one would step on it at the after party. My mother in law has therefore been calling me "Pippa" as in Middleton which is pretty cute. (Hey, didn't she get a reality show??? Eh hem...).
Anyway, recently Mom, Dad, and I had the privilege of spending the day with her as she was honored by the Alabama State House of Representatives. I actually set it up myself with my representative, Craig Ford. He was SUCH a gracious host! We met at the State House and then were whisked away to the Capitol Club for lunch. Then we had a private tour of the State Capitol, during which another visitor went up to my dad and asked him if he was the governor--seriously! (In all fairness, the guy was from out of state). Then, we were allowed to go on to the house floor during session and talk to and meet the representatives. There was even a debate going on! They had to table debate so that Representative Ford could introduce Mary Margaret. She was given a lovely proclamation and even got to speak! It is very rare that people other than representatives are allowed to speak on the House Floor so it was really a big deal. Afterwards she posed for pictures with the representatives and then we all headed home in the driving rain. It was a one of a kind type of day and I was thrilled to be a part of it! Stay tuned! She's got so much on her plate in the next few months and you know I'll be there snapping pics in the back ground! (OMG have I turned into a stage mom?)


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At the Capitol Club with Dad, Mom, Miss Al, and Representative Craig Ford
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Yes, when you are Miss AL USA you get to wear your crown when you eat!
Only complaint was that they brought out the huge dessert cart and left it behind me, only for us to run out of time to have any!
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With the Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Healthy Heart Update

After my last post about getting heart healthy, I really have made an effort to put my plan into action! Here is my progress so far:

Wednesday: 
Blog post about getting heart healthy! 
Made plans with Kelly to start running together. Yay!
 Downloaded couch to 5k app.
 Ate dinner with Denise: salmon salad and la crema Pinot noir. (The Mediterranean diet, recommended for heart health, suggests eating lots of leafy greens(check) and fish(check) and red wine (check) and enjoying meals with friends (check). 
I totally rocked Wednesday!!

Thursday
 Peanut butter crackers for breakfast (peanut butter is ok in the med diet because it has the "good" oils and fats in it. 
Lean cuisine without cholesterol for lunch with olives as a side (I LOVE olives and would eat them even if they were not "Mediterranean"). 
Cup of tea without sugar for snack (my body requires a mid afternoon snack--without it I will either faint or try to hit people). 
Dinner out with the girls for sushi. Had soup, salad, and roll ride roll (yes, I went there) along with more Pinot noir! 
Another triumphant day if heart health eating! 
I used this web site to know what to order when eating out.

Friday
Apple with peanut butter for breakfast.
 Lean cuisine without cholesterol and side of left over green beans for lunch. 
Snack of carrots, celery, and a baby bell cheese. 
Dinner with the parents at Los Arcos. The website suggested ordering chicken fajitas which I ate without the tortillas. I did sneak in some rice and beans which was not that bad (but not recommended), but I didn't eat the chips or any sour cream!
Dessert: Caramel rice cakes(I actually have always loved these)

Saturday
Baked hearth healthy muffins and cookies for next week's breakfasts and snacks. 
Started day 1 of couch to 5K and did not pass out or die. 
Researched lulu lemon workout wear so I will look cute when Kelly and I start running. 
 Vegetable taco soup for lunch. 
Cheated at dinner with cheese burger and tots at Mom and Dads. The tots were bad (but oh so good). Red meat is frowned upon but so long as you eat it sparingly it is ok. I'm trying to only eat it when it is cooked for me, so tonight falls into that category.

Sunday
Heart Healthy Cookie and muffin for breakfast
Completed Day 2 of Couch to 5k!
Won LuLu Lemon top on eBay! Now I'll look awesome when I run!
Vegetable taco soup for lunch
Bought fish oil vitamins--still haven't taken them because they freak me out 
Grilled chicken, salad, and strawberries for dinner

Monday
Heart Healthy cookies and muffin for breakfast
Lunch on the go! Chick fil A Chargrilled and Fruit Salad
NO SNACK (not good)
Dinner meeting at Mexican restaurant: chicken enchilada (again had some rice and beans but no chips!)

Tuesday
Peanut butter crackers for breakfast
spinach salad with olives and feta with grilled chicken for lunch
FAILURE of a snack: McDonald's apple pie and hot fudge sundae (in my defense, it was Fat Tuesday and I was giving up sweets for 40 days the following day--I think I get a pass? Maybe?)
Book club for dinner: another epic failure as I ate chips, several dips with meat, and other various treats. I let it all hang out for Fat Tuesday. I did have red wine so that helped some, AND dark chocolate!

Wednesday
(Ash Wednesday, and so I abstain from meat this day and all Fridays until Easter)
Muffin for breakfast
Veggie plate for lunch: mashed potatoes and green beans and a bite of fried green tomato (I blame the restaurant for this one--really, this is a veggie plate?)
100 Calorie pack snack (boo)
Ravioli with organic tomato basil sauce with white wine, mushrooms, and tomatoes (redemption)
Finished week 1 of Couch to 5k (wearing my LULU shirt I might add)

Ok so that was probably boring to you all but I was happy to be able to chart my progress and have you as my accountability helpers! I probably won't continue to update you in such detail again. I can definitely see where I have room for improvement, but I think I did great my first week!!

I also need to add that I am NOT a doctor, nor have I discussed any of this with a doctor so don't take this as the end all be all of what to do if you have high cholesterol. My bdff (best doctor friend forever) Mamatha says this should work for me, but not necessarily everyone. Before starting any diet or exercise plan please consult your own doctor, not me!

All By Myself

So Forrest left me on Wednesday morning to I skiing in Colorado so I have been bacheloretting it up for the past few days. What did I do all by my lonesome? Well, exactly what I would have done if my life was a predictable rom com: I ate dinner with the girls, baked, did a peeling mask on my face, painted my nails, watched movies Forrest didn't want to see, hung with the fam, danced around the house in my pjs, etc. While it was really nice to have some time to myself and be super girly, I hate when he leaves because I get so lonely!
He had an awesome time skiing and Uncle Tommy and Aunt Karen were the BEST hosts! They had a fridge stocked full of snacks and beverages for the guys, had treats for them when they came in from skiing, got them super deals on passes, and let them crash there for free--I'm talking EXCELLENT hosts! I am kind of jealous that I didn't go because it was beautiful out there as always and I would have loved hanging with Uncle Tommy and Aunt Karen and partaking in some outlet shopping, since I'm not a huge skiing fan. I could have worn my cute Kate Spade snow boots (I have been wearing around despite the fact that there isn't any snow here) and my new furry black ear muffs (which incidentally match said snow boots) but I didn't figure that my dad would consider outlet shopping in a cute outfit a good enough reason to miss 3 days of work (I disagree, obviously) so I stayed home and maintained the fort. Forrest is already working on me for next year so I just may have to go!

What are your favorite girly things to do when you are by yourself???


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Forrest and Uncle Tommy having a blast skiing. Isn't it lovely in Colorado?
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It was a good thing that I was home because my crystal water goblets arrived! Remember when I got hooked on
eBay-ing china and crystal here? Well, here is exhibit A. 
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I took Ruffles to get groomed on Friday. She needed it SO badly but I put it off as long as possible because she HATES it and acts like a diva and stresses me out. Clearly she is NOT happy with me. 
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But she looks so pretty!!!

OH so remember when I said I baked? I did! I decided to try some heart healthy recipes for breakfasts on the go. They are super delicious and easy to make, so much so that I had to limit myself because I was eating them all throughout the day! Of course, I found them on pinterest.


Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed until smooth & creamy
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter ~ creamy or chunky (I used creamy but MAN chunky would have been great)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder ** (can be made without, cookie will just be lower in protein) ( I didn't use this--where do you even buy this? GNC?)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp butter flavor extract ** (optional) (Didn't know this was a thing!!!)
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal  ~ uncooked  (or use old fashioned oats for more oatmeal texture)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (peanut, walnut, or your favorite) (I used walnuts--yummy_
  • 1/4 cup carob or chocolate chips (**optional) (duh, I added chocolate chips)

Preheat heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix mashed banana & peanut butter until completely combined then add in the applesauce, vanilla protein powder & the extract(s) ~ mix again until all are completely combined. 

Add in the oatmeal & nuts to the banana mixture & combine.  (** add the optional carob / chocolate chips at this time if you want them mixed throughout)

Let dough rest for 10 minutes. ( I didn't do this and mine turned out fine)

Drop cookie dough, by spoonfuls, onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet & flatten cookies into circles. (** if you just want the carob / chocolate chips on the top of the cookies, add now). Bake for 30 minutes. 


I also made some amazing chocolate oatmeal muffins, but I can't find the recipe online! Once I find it I promise I'll share!


 
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