Monday, February 28, 2011

I have been slacking really bad. So for that, you get to enjoy two days of my 30 Day Blog Journal today :)

First...Day 19 - A talent of yours

I have played the piano since I was 5, and the guitar since sometime in high school (ish). I was very fortunate to be taught by a phenomenal piano teacher growing up...her name is Kathy Kochheiser and I started taking lessons from her when I was in Kindergarten, and continued until my Senior year of high school.  I learned how to read music and did mostly classical pieces while I was taking lessons....I have never been all that great at playing by ear.  Not that I can't memorize stuff...I actually have a song or two still memorized from things I played back in junior high and high school...haha. But by playing by ear, I mean I can't just listen to a song on the radio and pick out the chords and play it. I WISH I could do that...I admire people that have that talent!

Once I got to college, however, I did start trying to learn to play the piano from in...just seeing the letters "A", "C#", "G", "Em", etc., I finally started to learn how to fill in from the chords and make it sound like an actual song. I think it helped that I had started to teach myself how to play the guitar as well, which I just learned how to play chords from the beginning. Unfortunately, I can't finger-pick at all, but again, WISH I could and admire those who do :)

I also love to sing. I never had any kind of vocal lessons of any sort...I have just always loved music, and even as a kid I can remember holding my hairbrush in my bedroom with the music up loud and I'd belt it out when nobody was home. As I got older, I started to actually sing in front of people...starting with singing with the band at my youth group on Wednesday nights. I also had the opportunity to sing/play for a children's camp one summer, a couple of different mission trips, and two of the churches I've been really involved in.

Anyways...I'd say probably my Junior year at NSU I started trying to write songs. Still to this day I have probably only written 5 or 6 total (lyrics and music)...and I wish I had more time to focus on it, because I really do enjoy it. I usually get inspired by a couple words I either hear or somehow formulate in my head. Then from there, I just try to expand on that thought and tell a story. Every song I've ever written has been either for, to or about someone I know. I've never been able to just come up with some random song...everything I've written has had some sort of inspiration.

Here are a two of the songs I am probably most proud of. They were self recorded in my apartment, so please excuse the pitchy vocals once in a while :)

This one is called Fearlessly.  I wrote it both for my Little Stevie, and for myself. We had very different stories for sure with different people, but in a way, they were similar. We are both the type of person who gives their all to a relationship...there is either in or out, no in between. But sometimes, you just have to come to the realization that if a person does not love you the same way you love them, you should cut your losses and get out. We both finally realized that we had much more to offer than what we were being treated like, and we owed it to ourselves to recognize that we deserved so much more. This song is a few years old now, and I can honestly say that now, we are both much happier, healthier people...and we are both with people that love us the way we deserve to be loved...maybe even more than we deserve. But hey, I think I can speak for both of us here...we'll take it! ;)

This song is called Loudly Unspoken. I wrote it back in like...2008...and it was inspired by my roommate at the time, Cortney. Cortney is an absolutely beautiful person, inside and out. But for some reason she is one of those girls that is a magnet for jerks. I just know that one day some cute boy is going to find her and be absolutely amazed at how lucky he is to have her...if he doesn't, this song goes to him, and he doesn't deserve to breathe :)

Anyways...that is a talent of mine, probably one I am most proud of. Now for Day 20!

Day 20 - A hobby of yours

As usual, I can't pick just one. So I'll do two...ish...the second one is just going to have sub-parts :D

1) I am a compulsive coupon cutter-outer. I try to buy the Sunday paper every week (sometimes I forget :( ...) just to cut out the coupons. Seriously, the Sunday paper here is $1.25, and by cutting out coupons I have saved anywhere for $3/week to $22/week just by using coupons on things I would buy ANYWAY! (That's the don't really save you money if you buy a bunch of crap you would never buy without the coupon...) I also subscribe to emails by Groupon, although I have yet to find a super amazing deal I just can't live without yet (It doesn't help that there is not a Fayetteville Groupon...the closest one to me is Tulsa...). I'm also trying to get more coupons online. I am new to this, so if you have any advice or really good website for it, let me know! I need to get some ink for my home printer so I can start printing online coupons! But anyways...this is definitely a hobby of mine. A dorky one, but a hobby nonetheless. I love being thrifty, and am always looking for new ways to be frugal and save a little cash!

2) The best way I can some up my second being active!
 I have played soccer since I was 7, and for the past few years have been playing on a city women's league and a couple of indoor leagues here and there. It is hard to stay in soccer shape, and I can definitely tell I'm getting older...but even if I'm not quite as good as I once was, I still have a blast playing! I miss being able to play on a more competitive level!

Another activity I have come to enjoy is running! I could never say it's "fun", because let's face it, running just for the sake of running is not "fun"...but I ran my first 5K exactly a year ago this coming weekend. I can honestly say I never thought I would pay money to run, but I do...and I just signed up for my first 2011 5K coming up next weekend, the St. Patrick's Day Run in Tulsa, to benefit the Special Olympics. THAT is how I justify spending money to run...I am helping out a good cause, and I usually get a free T-shirt ;) I don't always pay to run...sometimes I just do it for free. Fayetteville has these AWESOME bike trails everywhere...they go through almost the entire town, and they are perfect for running (or biking I suppose...haha)! I have had a hard time getting back into it because I hate running inside, but I also hate cold. But on days that the weather is nice, I am going to get my butt back in shape and get back into it! Time to put that fancy Garmin watch my awesome boyfriend bought me for Christmas to good use...I love that thing!

And last but not least...walking my precious Pit Bulls :) I will be honest, I have not been very good about walking them very often in the past, but I have just recently started trying to take them for more walks. They are both so strong that it is hard to take the on walks at first, because (my fault, because I didn't spend enough time with them on leashes as puppies) they are not very good on leashes for the first 5 minutes or so of the walk. I would really like to get to where I can run with them! They really love (and need) the exercise, but it is so hard with two of them, especially because my male likes to go fast, and my female runs a slower pace, about what I typically would for a you put that together, and you end up with me practically running sideways! haha. But this is a new hobby that I am hoping to be more intentional about! Especially because I will be moving to California this summer for about 12 weeks and will likely be living in an apartment, so if I get to take them (that's a whole other blog waiting to happen!) with me, they are definitely going to need the activity! 

This turned out to be really long...sorry about that! But hey, I had to get two days in...I am running behind! 
Have a wonderful day and enjoy the weather for the next few is supposed to be nice! :) :) :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 18 - How timely! :)

So I'm pretty excited about the topic for Day 18 of my 30 Day Blog Journal! But before I get into it, I wanted to share a little bit about this past weekend.

My car was in the shop all day on Friday and it seemed to take FOREVER because I was anxious to get it back and head to the airport! My soldier had been gone all week for a special training he and a few others in his unit had to go to and he was flying back Friday night and I couldn't wait to get there and pick him up. His plane didn't come in until 11pm, but I was just excited! I got my car back, went home and loaded up the car with my bag and dogs, stopped on my way out of town for a Firehouse sub and hit the road! I waited as long as I could stand it before heading to the airport. I got there about 30 minutes early and played Angry Birds to pass the time. As soon as his plane landed I started watching for him, and slowly people started coming through the hallway, and as soon as I saw him walking through the security checkpoint I was smiling from ear to ear and as giddy as a little school girl! He had only been gone for a week, but lately I have been so thankful for every single MOMENT that I get to spend with him.

We spent the day Saturday together and visiting as many of his family members as we could squeeze in. Brunch with his mom, sister, grandparents and a friend of ours. Daytime with his mom and little sis. Late afternoon with his other grandparents for a bit. Evening birthday dinner for his other little sister with his dad and stepmom, other grandparents and some family friends. And a late night Starbucks stop with his sister and her mom. I'm so glad we got to spend the whole day together and he was able to see most of his family before he left.

Sunday morning we got up way early and finished the last bit of packing he had to do and we headed to Camp to say goodbye. His parents and sisters were there and we got to spend about an hour together before he got on the bus. I cried nearly the whole time, of course. His unit was relocated to another post for the next 2 months before he deploys. I am already counting down the days until I see him again!

This is a picture his mom took of us right before he boarded. It is so precious to me. I absolutely cannot WAIT to be back in his arms, and for this to be a "welcome home" kiss rather than a "goodbye" kiss! I get to move onto Day 18, and as I mentioned in the title, it's very timely for me :) The topic is My Wedding/Future Wedding/Past Wedding. I obviously am not married yet, but over the past couple of months, my incredible boyfriend and I have been discussing our plans for our future wedding once he returns! We have a pretty solid date in mind, and a lot of the details thought out. Here is a glimpse of what to expect :)

Yep, that's right...BEACH WEDDING! For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to get married barefoot on the beach. I think it's the perfect setting...calm, peaceful, relaxing...and FUN! I hate how so many traditional weddings always turn into drama and chaos...mine will NOT! :)

I know it may seem premature to some people because we are not "officially" engaged yet, but he's kinda busy at the moment with the whole soldier thing, and we decided it was best to get an idea of what we really wanted, and to let some people know what we were planning and when...because we know it is going to cost a lot of money, and we wanted to give ourselves and our family and closest friends the opportunity to save up so they could come share in our special day if they wanted to! But anyways...premature or not, we have put a lot of thought into what we want and where we want it :)

I've looked up a lot of information about destination weddings and flights to different destinations. It is really expensive to fly most places in the U.S....St. Thomas, Bahamas, Hawaii, etc. So I definitely wanted to look into various destinations. Jamaica, Fiji, Domican Republic...all super expensive to fly there as well. Mexico, however...I can fly to Mexico for cheaper than I can fly to Florida or California! So that was our first decision...we picked a country! :) After that, it got a tiny bit more complicated.

We both pictured doing the ceremony at sunset...tell me that isn't BEAUTIFUL?! :) That being said...If we had a sunset ceremony, we knew we'd want the sun to set OVER the water, not over land. So that put us basically looking at places like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo, on the west side of Mexico. This is where I got bummed, because I just LOVE the Caribbean water. It is absolutely breathtaking. Pacific water...still pretty, but not the same :( Then it hit me....

Cozumel!!!! Cozumel is an island right off the coast from Playa del Carmen, which is south of Cancun. In the Caribbean! But also facing WEST so we can do the sunset wedding! :) :) :) We decided this would be the perfect place!

Next, we started looking at different resorts. I knew I definitely wanted to do something nice, but also affordable so that it was more reasonable for our guests. I also knew I wanted to do stay at an all-inclusive resort, where all your food is paid for with the cost of the room. That way, everyone knows exactly what their stay at the hotel is going to cost and they don't have to worry about the cost of food on top of everything else! So I started looking at as many resorts in Cozumel as I could find online.  One thing I did NOT like, was the idea of looking back from the beach toward the resort, and seeing some giant, 30-story hotel building. We wanted something more simple and quaint. With some help from my friend Nicki who is a travel agent out of Dallas the specializes in Mexico honeymoons and destination weddings, I think we finally found the perfect resort :)

This is an aerial view of the hotel from the beach. It is called the Iberostar Cozumel, and has these adorable bungalow-style huts for the hotel rooms! I think it is just the perfect, quaint little setting for what we want.

This is a photo from the porch of one of the rooms. How relaxing does this look?! :)

Aside from the resort, we have also picked out colors (okay...I picked them, he just agreed with me ;) 

We have chosen to do turquoise with a bright orange! I think it will be perfect for a tropical setting :) And I just think orange calla lilies are so pretty! 

I haven't gotten much further than this on the "planning"...but I still have PLENTY of time. I have quite a few other ideas in my head, just waiting until it gets closer to actually decide and start purchasing things :)

Hopefully it will be pretty simple to make all the choices and book trips when it is official and the day approaches! It is fun to think about it and a good distraction while the future hubby is away, so I'm enjoying myself! 

That's all for now...I'm sure that once my "future wedding" becomes my actual wedding, I will tell you all about it with plenty of pictures! :) What a good day to do this's so gloomy outside and this is way prettier weather to dream about :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Waiting on my's Day 17!

So Day 17 is not very exciting to me. The topic for today is: an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc.) I am not a really "artsy" person I guess you could say. Not that I don't like it, I'm just not very creative myself in that area, and I don't know much about it. So I had a hard time coming up with something to post. But here's what I've got...

For some reason the picture is really blurry, but it still have to do. This isn't really what I was looking for, but it was all I could find online. I think one of my favorite pieces of art that I've seen was at a little shop in Eureka Springs, and it was four separate paintings...they were all the same scene/ had a huge tree near either a pond or a river...I can't remember exactly. But each painting was a different season...Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Each one was unique and beautiful in it's own way. It caught my attention and made me appreciate it...I'm not the biggest fan of winter, but something about it struck me nonetheless. It makes me realize that I love changes. I like that things don't always stay stagnant and boring, but there is always a new season to look forward to.

Anyways...that's all I have for today! My car has been in the shop all day because the Service Engine Soon light and SRS light were lit up on my dash....apparently it needed a new oxygen sensor and my driver's side airbag is bad. I opted to not fix the airbag...but they finally called me and said the oxygen sensor has been replaced and the Silver Bullet is READY!! They are on their way to come get me, and I'm so excited....because once I get Bullet back, that means I'm off to Little Rock to pick up my soldier at the airport! :D Only 2 more days before he leaves... :(

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Days 16!

Day 16 - A song that makes you cry (or nearly)

If you know me at all, you probably know that, to say the least, I have a passion for music. I am one of those people that makes it a point to listen to the actual LYRICS the first time I hear a song, not just the music...and honestly, songs with pointless lyrics are never my favorites, and are rarely even something I like to listen to on a regular basis (although I will admit, some songs are just CATCHY, and even if I think they are stupid, I can't help myself..I just want to jam). But anyways...I said all that to say, that a lot of the music I like to listen to, I listen to it because there is something emotional about it for me. Some songs can just make me laugh because I think of the irony of how (scary) closely it relates to my life.  Some songs just make me smile because they are cute. Song songs just put me in this place of recognizing how thankful I am for the blessings in my life. Some songs are just good motivators. Some make me sad. But I'll be honest, very few make me least not recently.  It took me a long time to think of something really GOOD to post for this one. I guess I just have this thing with music, and any of my posts that have anything to do with music, I just can't bring myself to pull something out of nowhere; I'm going to put a lot of thought into it. I honestly think that the music a person listens to, or even more so, claims as their favorites...can speak volumes about them.

The song I have chosen is going to require a slight bit of candid explaining. I have honestly just never been much of a crier, and when I first saw the topic for today...nothing came to mind. NADDA. I couldn't think of a single song that makes me cry (although I'm sure there are a few that certainly could...just nothing that came to mind immediately). As I listen to this song now, it doesn't necessarily make me cry in this moment...but there was a time not too terribly long ago, that I would listen to this song so I COULD cry. Just let it out. I would say about a year and a half ago, was one of the most difficult times in my life. It's hard for me to even explain why...nothing particularly BAD was going on in my life at the time...I had definitely been through worse "experiences" so to speak. It was just a really hard time on me emotionally for some reason. I felt so disconnected in a lot of ways...and for me, typically being someone who can hold things together pretty well, even in the midst of a crisis, disconnect is a hard thing to learn how to cope with. I'm not particularly proud to admit this, but it was a time in my life where I, in a sense, had started to give up on God. My heart was completely broken...the details I won't go into here, but I had my reasons...and I honestly just couldn't see why God allowed certain things to happen the way they did. But I'll be honest, I was a bit of an emotional trainwreck during that time. I couldn't feel God anymore. I started to think I would never find someone that would truly love me the way I believe in love. And its was just one of those times where I felt like nobody could relate to or understand what I was feeling.

A little disclaimer here...I feel like I sound dramatic even just typing that...I was all of 23 years old, so sure, I had plenty of time to find "the one" or whatever you want to say. But it honestly wasn't about that. I knew that I would probably find someone eventually and could be happy with that person. But when I love someone, truly LOVE heart is ALL in. I fall hard and fast. That being also takes a long time for my heart to heal. I really can't put it into was just a season of life, that looking back now, I know God was taking me through on purpose....but I honestly felt like I would never find someone that would love me as much as I loved them. Someone that would let me in completely, and trust me with their whole heart without always holding something back.

Anyways, just to be clear...this song has nothing to do with a relationship, except for one with God. And there were a lot of other things I was dealing with at the time that I honestly I can't even remember them all now in enough detail to describe my emotions. The best thing I can say to describe it, was just that I felt hopeless. I could be in a room full of people, and be completely lonely. I felt like God had abandoned me.  Deep down, I knew all of that wasn't was just a rough season I was going through. This song was my prayer during that time, and on the "other side" of that season...I know for a fact that God was not only listening, but acting.  I am fully confident that he was holding my heart all along....

The song is called Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North

It's funny to me all of that heartache was just before I met the love of my life. God had a plan all along. He brought Walter to me. I have never felt so loved by anyone in my entire life, and I was just sitting on the couch last night thanking God for how he has blessed me so. I don't think there is a human being I could love more than I do that man. We may not be perfect, but there is not a doubt it my mind that we are perfect for each other.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Skipping a couple of days...

So the topics for the next two days of my 30 Day Blog Journal were Day 13 - A fictional Book and Day 14 - a nonfictional book.  I decided to skip those two, because if you refer back to Day 4 - my favorite book, I actually posted two that day: one fiction and one nonfiction. So I kinda figured it was a little mundane to repeat myself, or to pull something out of nowhere...because I really don't read that much outside of journal articles for school...and that's only because I have to :) So I'm just gonna move on to Days 15!

So here we go!

Day 15 - my dream house
This one is a little difficult for me, just because I've honestly never put that much thought into it. "Home" to me has always just become wherever I land and wherever the people I love are. The "house" itself, is not that important to me. But hey...that's why we're dreaming right?! ;) So I found a couple of pictures that I thought were neat, and I will just briefly describe to you what I would love to have in a future house if we (as in my future family) get the option!

First of all...I would absolutely LOVE to have a lake house. Even if it wasn't my "everyday" home...because let's face it, I am doomed to living in whatever city the government tells me to (either for my job or the fact that my boyfriend and future husband is in the military)! And I'm realistic enough to think I probably won't get so lucky to be stationed near a nice lake! But if I could have a house on a lake that is warm enough to swim in during the summer and within reasonable distance to go snowboarding in the winter (like Lake Tahoe for example), that would probably be the most beautiful thing my imagination could ever dream of.  When I envision the type of house that I would just LOVE to live in, a cabin of sorts always comes to mind. Here are a few pictures I found that let my imagination go a little wild! :)

Something about this house captivates me. I love the wooden, cabin like structure, and absolutely LOVE the huge windows everywhere!
Again, with the windows! :) I also really love the front balcony, that is really cute!

Slopes + lake = heaven on earth! :)
As for some other details...I want a big fireplace, complete with a mantle...and a real one, that burns wood. None of that gas log stuff. I would love to have an island in the kitchen and one of those big things to hang your pots and pans over the top. 1-story or 2-story doesn't really matter to me, but if I do ever have a 2-story house, I want to have both an upstairs and a downstairs thermostat. And wherever I end up living, I would prefer to have a "country" type setting...not necessarily way out in the boondocks, because I would like it to be a relatively short trip to the nearest grocery store and gas station. But I just want to have a little bit of land. I hate neighborhoods where you see all these beautiful houses, but they are all practically on top of each other. I know it all kinda depends on the location, but hey...that's why we're dreaming right?! :)

Anyways, those are just a few thoughts.  I am very open to different options and ideas, those are just some things I would really love to have in a house...whether it be an "everyday" house or a vacation home.

I think I will close today with a quote I read recently.  I have no idea who said it, but I think it fits well here :)

"Your dreams are worth your best efforts to achieve them." 

Not just in a house, but life in general. I'm a bit of a dreamer when it comes to certain areas of my life...and I will do whatever I can to see my dreams, and the dreams of those I love most, come true!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 12!

Today's topic for my 30 Day Blog Journal is "Thing(s) you are OCD about"

I will admit...I am kind of an odd person when it comes to OCD. Typically, the things I am OCD about, are really random and unusual. I rarely am OCD over the "common" locking the door, turning the coffee pot off, making the bed, etc. But hey, that's kinda the point right? You get to learn some of the odd quirks I have...and Lord knows I have a lot of quirks! So here we go...I am very OCD about:

1) My DVDs being alphabetized. And let me just say, that I love the Bourne series even more because they are in alphabetical order when they are in chronological order. The Ocean's movies on the other hand (Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen)...are not. When I first set up my DVD collection, it seriously took me a few minutes to decide what to do. I ended up putting them in chronological order...ugh. 
One other thing about DVDs, Wii games, etc...I really hate it when people leave discs laying out on a shelf or something and not putting them back in their appropriate cases...Unfortunately, I am no nearly as picky about CDs. I manage to scratch those up quite a bit. But I guess I always have the option to burn them again from iTunes, so that's probably why I don't care so much.

2) Saving receipts and balancing my checkbook. This is honestly a result of my Dave Ramsey class I have bragged about previously. I am such a budgeter and I usually balance my checkbook at least every 2 days. But I think this is a good habit :) By the way, if you have an iPad, or even an iPhone or iPod touch, I highly recommend the Pocket Money app. And as I was just looking up the website to include in that link, I just discovered it is also now available in the Android Market. The actual Pocket Money app is $4.99, but there is a Pocket Money Lite version in the apple store that is free, it just has a few adds and only let's you put in two accounts, but that is the one I use. It is really convenient. However, the Android Market doesn't have the Lite version, and from reading the reviews, it is good to balance your checkbook, but the budget feature is not yet included (I use the budget feature on my iPad all the time and it is FANTASTIC!) Anyways, give it a shot if budgeting/balancing is something you do or would like do start doing a better job of! I believe you can also sync it with your PC, I just haven't ever done that.

3) This next "list" is probably one of the has to do with my OCD tendencies regarding my car. Every time I get parked somewhere and am about to turn my car off...I first pull the emergency break (have to in most's a standard...but I did this when I drove an automatic too...probably because I secretly wished I had a standard during those times...), then turn the heater/air conditioner off (I was told once that it was better for your compressor to not start your car with it on, so I always turn it off before I get out), turn the volume DOWN and turn the radio/CD player OFF...I started doing this when I nearly blew my ear drums and speakers on multiple occasions because I just sometimes really like my music loud! And then I turn the car off.  Strange, right? I also reset my trip odometer every time I fill up my gas tank. That probably seems odd too, but I used to have a car (The Golfball...a little white Saturn with hail damage!) that the fuel gauge didn't work on, so I had to refer to my trip odometer to get an idea of how much gas I had. the habit just managed to stick. But hey, it's a good way to know what kind of gas mileage you're getting on average per tank! :)

I am sure I have plenty more things I am OCD about. But those are the first few that came to mind :)

Happy reading! Hope everyone is enjoying this amazing weather! Bring on SPRING! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

30 Day Blog Journal - Day 7-8-9-10-11

So...since I have been seriously slacking on my 30 Day Blog Journal, I am going to combine days 7-11.  Normally that would sound like a lot, but each day is a photo, so it's not going to be nearly as much as it sounds! :)

Day 7 - A photo that makes you happy!
This is a picture of my son when he was just a baby :) I fell in love the moment I saw him, and this is my favorite picture EVER of him. It just makes me smile every time I look at it! Isn't he precious? :)

Day 8 - A photo that makes you angry/sad...
I can honestly barely look at this picture without feeling just completely and utterly sick to my stomach. This is why I could NEVER live in Colorado, though it is beautiful there and I love the scenery. This is a picture of a Pit Bull slaughter that they had in Denver...the killed dogs just for resembling Pit Bulls. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes have been completely banned from the entire state of Denver. And I just don't think it's fair, and honestly, it infuriates me. Punish the stupid, irresponsible owners...not the breed.  You can expect a future post regarding my feelings on Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in a future post....I can assure you.  The idea of something like this happening to any dog, especially the breed that has stolen my heart...absolutely breaks my heart.

Day 9 - A photo you took!
I just love this photo...see that little girl in the middle smiling so big? I got to see her beautiful face almost every day for about a week when I was in Africa. She was ALWAYS smiling. She had the sweetest spirit about her...she was probably 5-6 years old, and was constantly caring for her two younger siblings. Literally, carrying them around and everything, as if she was their mother. To have such a hard life, but such a wonderful joy about was just incredible to be blessed with the opportunity to see her those few days!

Day 10 - A photo of you more than 10 years ago
This is my 4th grade school picture, so I would've been about 9 years old. I don't know which is the best (most dreadful) part....the giant glasses? The crazy hair/huge bangs? The flowery dress? The missing/crooked teeth? haha...My how far we've come! ;)

Day 11 - A photo of you recently!
This picture was taken around Halloween 2010. I told you, we've come a long way! ha! But I think the huge smile might have had something to do with the cute boy standing next to me ;) (notice the eyebrow/cheek/forehead in the picture with me...haha)

Well, that's it for now! Stay tuned for Day 12 - Things I am OCD about!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 6 of my 30 Day Blog Journal!

I know, I know...I already posted once today, but I figured I had the time from being all snowed in, and I had been slacking on my 30 here we are! Day 6 of my 30 Day Blog Journal - 20 of my favorite things!

1. Jesus

2. Boyfriend
Isn't he cute? :)
3. My Family
These are my beautiful sisters - Never a dull moment, for sure! :)
4. Pit Bulls - mine in particular! :)
How could you not love that face?! :)
Koda rockin' his football Halloween costume!
5. Good friends!
My best friend from college at NSU...our lives have taken us in different directions, but I still consider her the truest, best friend I have EVER had!
The other half of my heart! We met in Africa on a mission trip and we are just two kindred spirits!
The person who probably understands me best! She moved to Florida and I miss her like crazy :(
6. general

7. College Football
Particularly the Razorbacks! Woo Pig Sooie! And...Go Pokes! :)
8. Soccer (playing, not watching)

9. My Magic Bullet
I make a smoothie with this for breakfast every morning. It is fabulous!
10. The number 10. No seriously, it's my favorite number :)

11. No-Bake addicting!

12. My Apple iPad. Seriously, they are fantastic.
13. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University
One of the best things I have ever done for myself. Go to to locate a class near you! If you can't afford the kit, talk to me...don't let money be the reason you don't do it. It's worth every penny!
14. The color RED

15. Pictures. Especially candid, good ones!
16. Snowboarding

17. The Beach! And currently...coming up with ideas for a future destination wedding involving on of those... ;)

18. Laughing until my stomach hurts!

19. Manual transmission cars...I love my Silver Bullet because he is a much more fun! AND...I have never wrecked one! (knock on wood)

20. And last but definitely no least, my niece and nephew...they are adorable!

That's all for now! I will try to get caught up on my 30 Day Blog Journal!

My adventures in New York...

I have been MIA for a few days now...with good reason...but now it's time to update!

So...last week was, of course, when the blizzard hit. The University of Arkansas was closed Tuesday-Thursday, and I don't have the best luck driving in the wintry weather, so needless to say I stayed home for 3 days straight! Friday was a different story...I had a plane ticket to go to New York to visit my German friend who is doing an internship there right now. I had debated on whether or not I should go because of the weather, but she is not going to be there much longer and I wanted to be able to see her one last time before she goes back to Germany in early April. So I braved the roads...the main roads and the freeway were actually not too neighborhood was another story, specifically my driveway...

Solid ice from the neighborhood kids sledding down it for 3 days straight!
And just to give you an idea since it wasn't that obvious in the previous picture, here is my neighbor's driveway. I live in a duplex, so our driveway has the exact same slope as this. Giant slope + solid ice = scared Lauren
 So seriously, I was terrified. But I kinda figured if I could make it out of my garage and down the driveway in one piece, I could handle anything...

I made it down successfully, although it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life...and then loaded up the car with the bags and dogs (thought it would be best to not have the distraction of two raging pit bulls in the back seat while trying to control a vehicle down a slippery slope...) and got on my way.

I had to take the dogs to the vet to be boarded (which I hate doing, but I didn't really have any other options, and I wasn't going to ask anybody to risk their lives on the crazy roads to come to my house and puppysit for me), so I did that first.  A typically 6 minute drive, took me about 25 minutes. But we made it :) Then I headed to the airport...and let me just say, that if ever in my life I own a 4 wheel drive vehicle, I will use it for good and not evil. Those people are crazy and what makes these conditions most dangerous for the rest of us! Anyways...I made it to my flight in plenty of time, although it took me a little more than twice as much time as normal to get to the airport...if you've ever been to XNA, you'd understand why. Yes, the main roads and freeway were clear, but apparently in Northwest Arkansas we think it's fun to put our airport in the middle of nowhere, where the only way to get there is to drive on backroads with hills and twists and turns. It was fun...

Anyways, my flight that was supposed to land at 2:30 pm somehow managed to land at 1:45 pm. I've got to say I've never been on a plane that arrived 45 minutes EARLY to it's destination. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that there was a total of 13 people on the plane...including the two pilots and the flight attendant. haha. I had lots of time to kill, because Katie didn't get off work until that evening and wouldn't be able to meet up with me until about 6pm. So there was me, wandering around New York City with a duffle bag on one shoulder and my laptop on the other. When Katie finally arrived, I was relieved! She knew of a hotel that had lockers you could pay to store your luggage in, so we did that and got on with our evening! 

I had never been to New York, which also means I had never seen a Broadway we went to see Mamma Mia! It was a lot of fun...the movie is almost the exact same. The best part was, the show was not near sold out, and we were able to get student tickets for only $31 :)

After that, it was 10:30 at night and we were we went to Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. on Times Square.
Me with my and Katie's cocktails...they tasted like mostly fruit juice, but we got to keep the cups! haha
The drink and dessert menu was made from a ping pong paddle :)
This was for when you wanted to get your waiter's attention...
It was a little pricey, but that was to be expected on Times Square I suppose. We had fun and we were so hungry that it didn't matter at that point. After that we went to the hotel to pick up my bags, and went to Grand Central Station to get on a train to take us to Katie's house...which was about an hour ride, plus about a 10 minute walk (in the snow/ice I might add...haha). We got back to her house and got settled by about 3am...I was exhausted!

On to Day 2 of New York...

We got up fairly early, made our way to the train station and road back into the city. It was really rainy and foggy all day, so sightseeing was kinda a pain, but we did it anyways!

On the Brooklyn Bridge foot path! Katie said normally you can see the whole Manhattan skyline in the background, but not through the fog!
We went and saw Ground Zero and what they are currently working on for the 9/11 Memorial. This is what they are planning on building in it's place. It was so sad to see all of that :(
Wall Street
Madame Tussaud's Wax and Jerry Lee Lewis were rockin' out! :)
After a long day of walking around in the rain, I really wanted to go see Wicked on Broadway, but when we got to the ticket window, it was just way too expensive. So we opted to go grab a quick dinner and then see what we wanted to do next. We went to a little "fast" food Chinese-ish place. It did not sit too well with my stomach, so that along with being completely exhausted from going to bed at like 3:30am and walking around in the cold and rain all day, I was not feeling my best. We started walking around and decided to stop at a little pub that claimed they were having a stand-up comedy show that night. And let me just say...I have never been so humiliated to be an American than at that moment. First of all, I was irritated because I wasn't feeling well, then they practically attack us at the door and say, "Come in for a "free" comedy show!" The once we're in, the proceed to tell us that we have to order a minimum of $10/person to be able to go to the show. I wasn't to keen on the show anyways, just trying to find a place to sit and relax. So the idea of spending 10 bucks trying to stuff more food/drinks in my already upset stomach nearly made me nauseous. So after some explaining...they agreed to let us spend $10 total. So we sit down in this room of a whopping 9 people including the waiter and the "comedian"...and this loser gets on stage and basically starts ragging on me because I was texting and not paying attention to him. I then look up at him and say, "I'm a female, I can multi-task. Say something funny and maybe I'll pay attention to you." He made some nasty comment and then started asking the other 6 people in the room where they were from. Two were from South America, two from UK and the two girls I was with were from Germany. I was the only American in the room, and he asked me where I was from and I said Oklahoma. Then he goes on making comments insinuating that since I'm from Oklahoma I must be 1) completely unintelligent 2) incapable of knowing what a good time was and 3) in New York to get an understanding of what fun was.  He also told me that 1) it's no wonder I didn't have a man, and when I let him know that I did, and a very good one at that, 2) "He had to be the most miserable F*** alive to have to live with someone as miserable as you", and 3) when I let him know that we were actually very happy and have been together for nearly a year and a half, he proceeded to tell me he "guaranteed he had cheated on me at least 5 times by now." It took everything I had not to die laughing, but at the same time I was in complete and utter disgust. Here I am, the ONLY North American in a room full for foreigners, most of which were experiencing the United States for the first time, and another "American" is being utterly disrespectful to one of his "own" people. I was embarrassed for him, and felt so sorry for those people that THAT was the first thing they experienced about the U.S.  

Needless to say, I got a wonderful reminder that night that you should never judge a book by its cover, sometimes people just have bad days, and you should always have enough respect for humanity to get to know a person at least a little bit before you start telling them a bunch of ugly things about them that couldn't be further from the truth.  Just so everyone is aware, I called Walter laughing to tell him what had just happened...and his first response was, "He is lucky I wasn't there..." Me boyfriend might be in jail for murder. haha.  That experience also definitely made me appreciate how blessed I actually this "comedian" is, saying all these horrible things to me about the man I'm in love with...and I could completely shake ALL of it off because I knew it couldn't be more wrong. That makes me happy :)

Anyways...onto the Day 3 - My last day in New York!

More sightseeing - this is the Rockefeller Center
Central Park - It was probably my favorite part...I bet is gorgeous in the fall!
Some random guy in the subway station playing a steel drum. There were musicians/bands everywhere in the subway stations, but this guy was my favorite...he was so friendly and helped us figure out the right train to get on!
Last adventure - Chinatown for the Chinese New Year Parade...WAY too many people for my taste, but cool to say we went!
After that, we went to Little Italy (right by Chinatown) and had some Italian food for lunch. Then we rushed back to the subway station so I could go by the hotel locker and pick up my bags and head back to the airport. I had to take a subway to a bus stop, then a bus to the airport...I really hate the transportation system there. Half the stops for the subway are shut down for construction or just not stopping there for no reason, and somehow I managed to follow the signs EXACTLY and get on the "wrong bus"...which I STILL don't understand, I got on the Q33 bus as I was told, which ultimately took me back to the airport, it just took FOREVER. Sorry if that was confusing...I honestly can't explain it myself because I'm still confused. 

So in summary, I am glad I got the opportunity to go to New York, say I've been, see a few things and have that experience.  But I can wholeheartedly say I would NEVER want to live anywhere near there and have absolutely no desire to ever go back.  I love my car (not subways) and the southern hospitality way too much! I don't care what people think about us Oklahomans/ least we are friendly and know how to treat people....especially those that are "guests" to us!  I must say, I'm very proud and feel lucky to be where I'm from :)

I was going to do my Day 6 of my 30 day blog journal today, but this is already long enough, and I need to eat something for breakfast! Enjoy :)