Monday, June 30, 2014


That's the best way to describe our weekend. Lovely, lovely. We spent the weekend at the lake house with my dad and brother (my mom was out of town for the weekend--we didn't exclude her!). It's nice just to lay around, soak up the sun, and do nothing for a few hours and that's what we do when we are at the lake!

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Boys on the boat!

We only stayed one night because we had the Serendipity ball on Saturday night. The band was particularly awesome and so many of our friends were there that it was a really really fun evening!!

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On Sunday we got to work--in the house that is. The painter had been there the whole week before so I think he motivated us to finish up some loose ends. I set up my gift wrap center in the laundry room, which resulted in me finally unpacking the final boxes. Hooray! We also got other odds and ends accomplished, like decorating the kitchen, having the TV people come and install our service (yes, I've been minus real tv since we moved in April) and we hung several pictures. That doesn't sound like a lot but it took all day! We took a break to go to the Baileys and pick some blueberries.

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 I can't wait to start baking with these guys!! I've got lots of blueberry recipes on my PINTEREST dessert board if you want to check them out!

Sometimes the simple things in life are the best, and our lovely weekend proved that. Hope yours was just as nice!
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Friday, June 27, 2014

I'm Loving It

This week I'm loving the #surfsupvoxbox! I was pumped when I got the notification that I was one of the lucky recipients of this particular box because it's full of things to keep me going this summer! Let's take a peek, shall we?

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I was so glad that I got the Covergirl Bombshell Curvaceous mascara, especially because my other mascara was running dangerously low. I'm really picky about mascara and am never satisfied with mine because they either clump or run. So far, this hasn't run under my eyes, but I've only run it during the day and I don't wear mascara on my bottom lashes during the day because it always runs. We will see how it holds up at a party this weekend when I go all out on my eyes.

Next, I got these coupons for Jamba Juice Smoothies. I haven't picked them up yet but I definitely will because they are fat free and gluten free. I always have a snack during the day at work so I think these would be healthy and a change from my regular snacks.

The Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun was a life saver that came at the perfect time--right when I got home from the beach. I had gotten a little red and this lotion really feels great and takes out the sting. The best part? It absorbs quickly and doesn't leave you sticky, PLUS it smells great! I will definitely be purchasing this soon!

I'm really excited about the Sinful Colors Nail Polish. Who doesn't love a free size polish, really. I don't have this color but it reminds me of a dark blue that I painted on my nails in 7th grade at a friends house and my mom freaked out. Too dark, she said. I love any kind of wild polish, dark or light. This seems like a pretty versatile color to me--perfect for summer and winter! I'll definitely be using this for my next pedicure.

The First Aid Shot Therapy is not exactly up my alley. I am weird about taking medicine so I probably won't be taking this. Aside from being a weirdo, this is full of caffeine and I don't drink any so this would probably make me feel pretty bad instead of good. Forrest may like to use it so it will not go to waste.

Did anyone else get this voxbox? What did you love??
Happy Friday!!

**I got the voxbox free from Influenster, but the opinions are all my own!
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

A new favorite

I really like to cook when I have the time. Maybe even more than cooking, I like to read recipes and look at pictures of food. Of course, more than anything, I like eating. With everything going on lately, cooking has been on the back burner and I've honestly missed it. I really believe that when we cook for ourselves we eat better because we control the ingredients and thus we control what goes into our bodies. I'm a LOT healthier when I have to cook for myself. Otherwise, when food's easy to come by, I'll eat whatever. That's a reason we don't keep many snacks in our house--no will power. Anyway, I was determined to change my slacking and get back into the kitchen and nothing motivates me to do that more than a new recipe. I chose something simple, quick and relatively healthy and was not disappointed. This "mac n cheese" is going to be a "do again" at our house for sure! Hope you enjoy!

Mac n Goat Cheese

3/4 lb macaroni pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1/4 c evoo
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 9oz bag of spinach
salt and pepper
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled (mine had Mediterranean spices in it)
3/4 cup toasted walnuts (I didn't use these but I wish I had--maybe almonds though)
I also added kalamata olives and think that mushrooms would have been a great addition too

In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, but reserve 1/4 cup of the water. Keep pasta warm.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the garlic until golden brown. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, and spinach. Pour in the pasta water and cook until spinach is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir the vegetables and their juices into the warm pasta and add the goat cheese. Combine until all cheese is melted and top with the walnuts.

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Since Forrest wasn't home, I ended up eating most of this, but it's healthy, right???
Hope you guys enjoy this one!

I found this recipe on pinterest. You can follow me HERE to see what else I'll be cooking up soon!
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Life Lately

It's been wild around here lately. Summer fun, work, getting things done around the house--we have been running wild! You know we love it though! Here is a look at our fun life of late!
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On Father's day, not only did we celebrate our dads, but we also went to the Calandra family reunion. My great grandmother was a Calandra and had 3 sisters. We got that whole side of the family for a fun Italian lunch (that side of my family is Italian--Sicilian to be exact). It was super exciting because our cousins from Chicago got to come! My mom made the name tags above--you picked your Calandra "sister" and then put your name and relationship to the sister so everyone could figure out how they were related to each other. I thought that was cute!
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That night we celebrated Father's day with Mr. Bailey at Davis and Megumi's and I got to finally meet Mikan and Knight, their new kitties! (Sorry Knight's pic is blurry--she wouldn't stay still!)

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Since it's summer, that means I get to have lunch with my mom A LOT (she's a teacher). Here we are with Jennifer and Rayna, 2 of our little sorority sisters. We like to get together with them and their moms while they are home!

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Forrest has taken full advantage of the hot yet stormy summer and has turned our courtyard into a flower paradise! I LOVE this hibiscus!

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This is sad news, but my assistant and friend Rachel has left me and moved to Ohio to be closer to family. I'm so excited for her but I don't know what I'm going to do without her! She handled by business so seamlessly and she knew what I needed before I even told her. I will miss laughing with her more than working with her though!!

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We spent a long weekend at the beach with the Hayes and Hedgspeths. They are so easy to travel with so we always get along great. There was much laying around and even more eating!!

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June 24th is a day full of birthdays! I was lucky enough to be with Julie (Dr. Smith) and Rachel on their big days, but I missed getting to see Deborah, Linda, and my Aunt Sandra to celebrate with them! There is still time for cake, girls, if you want me to eat it with you!!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Flying Fundamentals

Airports really don't bring out the best in people--let's be honest. The thought of going to the airport always stresses me out, even though I have the system down pat, because people are so rude and hateful in airports and on planes. I guess everyone gets stressed when it comes to air travel, but there is no rude to make the experience miserable for everyone around you. In my travel experience, I've tried to take a few rules of thumb to heart so that the people around me aren't stressed out in any way due to my behavior. (This is simply called being courteous and thoughtful, truth be told). Here are some suggestions to help you survive air travel with grace and poise!

 photo 5BBF8506-4254-4326-9C34-0BEB8A00B80A_zpshlxss3ek.jpg All smiles on the way to Peru!

1. Be on time
This probably goes without saying, but you will be less of a burden on others and yourself if you budget enough time to get to the airport and through security. Why people insist on being late is beyond me. Yes, the security line is going to be long, and NO I will not let you break in line because you are running late. You are going to make ME late because you couldn't wake up early enough to get to the airport.

2. Be ready
I can't reiterate this enough. Decide where you are going to park before you get in the car. It's quite easy to search available parking locations and costs on line, so do this ahead of time. Heck, a passenger can even google it from their phone in the car. Have your boarding passes printed and your ID handy. Don't be digging through your giant purse looking for your license while standing in front of the TSA worker--do this BEFORE so you aren't holding people up. When you get in the security line LOOK ALIVE. Take off any jewelry, belts, coats, bulky shoes while you are in line, not when you get up to the table, or else you are holding up the line. Actually, it's much better to dress so that you don't have to deal with all of the taking off when you are in security. I like to wear leggings and a dress with sandals or ballet flats so I don't have to take anything off. Six necklaces, tie up boots, and a belt are not appropriate plane attire.

3. When you get through security, get out of the way! Don't lolly gag in front of the metal detector--take your crap and move. If you are dressed appropriately all you have to do is slide on your shoes and pick up your bags. Most airports have an area just for people to get themselves together in--I don't know why people refuse to use them. If you do have adjusting to do, make sure you are not hindering anyone else.

4. Airports are not the place to stand still and wonder--you need to move. When you print that boarding pass, memorize the gate number so you know where you are going. You always have to double check that the gate hasn't changed but do this in the designated area. If you need to stop and check something, move over to the wall--do not just stop wherever you are walking because people behind you are going to run into you. People are hurrying in airports so stopping just makes people mad.

5. When you get to the gate, do not take up 5 seats with all of your paraphernalia--you are one person and you get one seat. Also, please keep phone conversations quite and keep your music in your ear buds soft.

6. Boarding the plane
If you are boarding zone 5, why are you standing up, blocking way for everyone else, if they have just called for first class passengers? Just sit down and wait your turn--seats are assigned. And, when you board, go straight to your seat and stay there. Do not decide to use the bathroom, do not try to talk to your friends in different rows, just get out of the way and let people board the plane.

7. Ahhh, plane time. Your goal is to be courteous to those around you. That means keeping your voice down, all sounds on your phone/devices off, and your "plane footprint" to a minimum. Remember that there is a person in the seat in front of you, so every time you let down your tray table or fidget with the seat pocket in front of you, they feel it. Don't kick their seat or push your knees into it. And don't, under any circumstances, walk down the plane grabbing onto the seat headrests like a handrail--people are in those seats and you are pulling at their heads!

8. When getting off the plane, again be ready. When it's your turn, don't hold everyone else up--just get off the plane. This means you should start packing up your stuff when the plane starts descending or once the wheels touch down. Don't wait for people who are behind you in the tunnel--get out of there and wait for them at the gate.

9. Baggage claim is not the Hunger Games. Everyone will get there turn so there is no need to be violent. It's really a good idea to designate one person as baggage grabber and one as baggage keeper--the grabber stands by the carousel and waits for the bag to arrive while the keeper stands out of the way. Then when a bag comes, the keeper goes and takes it from the grabber and then brings it back to the baggage stash, or the grabber can take it to the stash. This way all of your family isn't in the way and neither are your bags.

10. Chill. My husband's favorite thing to say to me because I need to hear it so often. Yes air travel typically is a nightmare but if you remain calm and have a plan and don't let others stress you out, you will have a much more enjoyable experience. Just act the way you would hope others would act and all will go smoothly! You can only control yourself and your behavior!
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A fond farewell

Yesterday we closed on our house!! Hip hip hooray!! We have been trying to sell our house for just over a year and it was the MOST stressful process. At first it was all fun and games and then after a while it was such a burden. Despite all of my good tips and tricks, which you can read about HERE, I got burned out when it came to showing the house. It was hard to deal with the animals, the cleaning, work, and the schedule of the potential buyers all by myself. Forrest can't stop a procedure to go pick up the cats, so most of the showing fell on me. Of course, he did all that he could. He would be outside in the dark mowing the grass many a night and sometimes he would get up at the crack of dawn to trim the bushes or edge the driveway. It was just a never ending process. We showed the house, in my estimation, about 40-50 times. That is not an over exaggeration, mind you. Our house showed constantly but no one ever took the bait. We were SO discouraged. Our house was truly lovely--decorated to a T, clean, well maintained, updated. It was just waiting on the perfect person to come along. When we got frustrated we would pray. We simply asked not just that our house would sell, but that it would be a blessing to someone, just like it was for us. I truly think our house was waiting for its rightful new owner. We signed the papers today and now it's all hers. I really couldn't be happier for her.
Am I a little sad? Yes. That was our first house. The place we spent our wedding night; came home from our honeymoon to as a real married couple; brought our pets into; celebrated our first Christmas together, among all of the other holidays. It's where I really learned to cook, where Forrest studied for his boards, and where we simply lived out our lives as "us". It was the perfect house for us and I do miss it. I'll always have a special place in my heart for that house and will probably look back on our time as "the good old days". However, everything has a season, and our season in that house is over. I wish the best of luck to Cheryl as she makes her home within its walls.
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Good bye old friend!!!
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Monday, June 16, 2014

One Year Ago

One year ago today, I was gearing up to watch this girl compete in the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.

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It doesn't seem real that my baby sister was that girl just a year ago. I don't think I will ever forget how I felt that day. I hope that I never have to have that feeling ever again, actually. It wasn't like there were butterflies in my belly--it was more like pterodactyls. I cried...a LOT. I cried when we went to Mass. I cried when we ate lunch with our family. I cried in the shower. I cried as I heard family and friends gathering in my parents' room to start the pre-pageant celebration while I curled my hair in the next room. I cried when I saw my mom all decked out in her pageant dress. I cried when Forrest pulled me back to my room, hugged me, and told me to breathe. I cried after I stood up on the coffee table in my parents' suite and rallied our troops with instructions to scream like they'd never screamed before. Just like that, tears turned to screams. I screamed when we got into that overwhelming theater. I REALLY screamed when she walked out on stage FIRST. MARY MARGARET MCCORD---MISS ALABAMA. I straight lost my mind when she was called for top 15. When she rocked the stage in her swimsuit, I cheered like no body's business. When they called her NINTH for the top 10, we went back to tears (and a few shouted cuss words). When she came out in her stunning gown, walking like a princess, like she owned the night and the room, the tears were back. Then, TOP 5. That was OUR girl--MY sister. She would go down in history as placing in Miss USA. The nerves kicked in when it was her turn to answer. Forrest asked me "Does she know it???" Well, she did know it, and she eloquently delivered her answer in front of millions watching on TV. No crying, just sighing. The moment came and the moment went. 1st runner up. Did I cry? No...I cheered. I cheered like my life depended on it. That girl, my sister was walking away as the first runner up in the Miss USA pageant, a journey that she started just a few years before. There was no reason to cry.

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(My brother, sister and I after the pageant--we've come a long way from the days when we used to hog tie her to the bed so she would leave us alone.)

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Friday, June 13, 2014

I'm Loving It--Peruvian Beach

I'm Loving it--Peru style. I hate to admit it, but I loved the beach day of our trip the most. Read on to see why!

After hiking for 3 days, I thought I'd never leave the hotel room once we got to Cuzco. Of course that wasn't an option---we had to check out and head back to Lima. We did have an amazing lunch first, which was a far cry from what we had been used to on the trail. Then we flew back to Lima and said a tearful goodbye to the majority of our group. Jay, Claire, Akiko, and Forrest and I were staying an extra day at the beach. The others had come a few days early and enjoyed the beach and had told us great things so we were beyond excited. The way to the beach was cluttered in the largest, wildest billboards I had ever seen. Then we went Akiko's beach house---my oh my. The house was in a quaint beach community complete with tennis courts, play grounds, market, outdoor church, and just about anything else you could think of. We crashed pretty hard that night but in the morning we were awoken by the sounds of the surf and the sights of nannies pushing babies in strollers, people riding bikes, and kids in bright swimsuits running towards the sand. It was a FAR CRY from what we were used on on the hike.
Even though I thought I'd never walk for the heck of it ever again, we took a stroll through the community and down to the beach. These are some things we stumbled upon:

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 Setting up for a beach wedding. You know nothing gets me like a wedding and I thought this was beautiful.
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A seal!! A for real live seal just chilling on the beach!!

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Jay enjoyed the seal and vice versa
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Now THIS is how one should vacation...

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Claire and I sucked every minute of the beach out that day while the boys played tennis. Again, that was unnecessary physical exertion in my opinion.

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I loved this beach house, especially the see through pool on the top.

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This was a gender reveal party. I really wish I had been invited--it looked awesome.

We ate and ate and ate some more while we were there. Akiko's mom, Chony, filled our tummies with delicious authentic Peruvian food and we were happy to oblige and eat every bit. Jenny made sure we had whatever we needed while we were at the beach--we just hollered "Jeeeeeeeennnnnnnnyyyyyyyy!!" and she would hook us up. I was much different than having to carry your own stuff and drink water that was boiled....
Forrest and I went to the outdoor Mass service before heading back to the airport (not without first sampling Chony's crepes...)

The ride to the airport was pretty scary--they don't really care about lanes and blinkers in Peru. I am pretty sure the only reason the 4 of us are alive is because I stayed awake and willed us not to crash. I'm convinced!! We boarded the red eye flight and snoozed all the way Atlanta. I don't ever think I've been more excited to be in America. We had a great time on the trip--learned a lot about each other and ourselves---experienced new things, new challenges, new cultures. However, I think I'm set in the whole hiking, camping, backpacking department, maybe for the rest of my life.

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My new motto!
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Thursday, June 12, 2014


Today, Forrest and I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. It doesn't seem quite right! 5 seems like a LONG time to me and in my opinion, we are still newly weds! However, if I stop and think about it, so much has happened in the past 5 years. We got dogs, Forrest graduated from dental school, we've traveled the country and the world, we built a dental practice, we got new cars, we bought a new house. That's a lot to do in 5 years! It's been perfect because I got to experience all of those things with my best friends. I think that's the key to a successful marriage--being friends with your spouse. Whenever anything funny or bad or exciting or sad happens, Forrest is the first person I want to tell. He appreciates me for who I am, crazy and all, and somehow, because of that, I feel more like myself around him. I don't have to be guarded; I can just be me! I know that the future holds so much for us but today is about celebrating the past 5 years! Happy Anniversary!

Leaving our wedding reception...June 12, 2009

First Anniversary in ATL (the valet wrecked our car)

California Road trip 2010 

San Francisco 2010

Road Trip to Bama v. Duke 2010

Intro Scuba Lessons

Meeting Angie Harmon at the UT game


Santa Claus Dance

Christmas Day 2010

New Years at Hogwarts!

Mardi Gras Ball 2011

San Diego, 2011

Philadelphia for Frankie and Becka's wedding 2011

Justin and Farrah's wedding, 2011

Penn State, 2011

Rome, 2012

 Carthage, 2012

Eze, France 2012

Boat ride to Cinque Terre, Italy 2012

Forrest's graduation, 2012

Jay and Claire's wedding, 2012

Vegas for Ben and Julianne's wedding, 2012

Dallas Cowboys Stadium, 2012

Halloween 2012

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National Championship, Miami,  2013

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4th Anniversary, Las Vegas 2013

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Keeneland, KY, 2013

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Supper Club 2013

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Chattanooga, 2013

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Ashley's wedding, 2013

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                          My surprise 30th birthday, 2014

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 Colorado 2014
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Machu Picchu, 2014

Looking forward to more laughs and adventures in the years to come!!

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