Thursday, December 10, 2009

What do my eyes say?

I have recently joined a networking group through work. So far, I am enjoying our monthly lunch meetings at The Jefferson Club and have been able to hear two wonderful speakers. Yesterday, at the monthly luncheon, the guest speaker was Pat Gallagher, a local artist. Something he said really struck me. He was talking about painting/drawing women and how he will sit down with them, listen to their life story, find out about their passions, and then go paint something. He said that he can look in someone's eyes and see a lot about who they are (not in a creepy way, but just in the course of the conversation, he can pick up on what someone is saying through their eyes). His story was fascinating and I was excited to share it with others in my office, but more than anything, he got me thinking about what my eyes, my life story and experiences, my passions - what would that look like on a blank canvas? How would he depict the life that I've led...and the bigger question, would I really want to see it? I have many things to be proud of in my life. I like to believe that I am a good person. I give to others, I try not to be selfish. But sometimes, I get really mad about stupid things. Sometimes, I get jealous at the things other people have. If I had the money, I sure would like to know what Pat's interpretation of me would be. Maybe I'll find a starving artist to paint me, and see what happens...

So, I am trying to figure out...what do my eyes say about me? (Other than, "You have on a lot of mascara in this picture!") What do others see when they look in my eyes? Interesting to think about...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Holidays...

I just have to put this out there...I am so excited for the holidays this year!! Not only is it a time to share with family and friends, but Danny and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary this weekend. When we first set the date for November 22, I was not super excited about it. I was so worried that it would be too cold and I would be miserable. Of course, it was cold, but it was a beautiful day and I was able to spend it with all of the ones that I love so dearly. I am excited that each year, our wedding anniversary will really "kick-off" the holidays for us. This year for Thanksgiving, we are heading to Churchill Downs with Danny's family (I still have to say, I cannot believe that Danny is off a rookie police officer, everyone said he would get the worst shifts, far, we've been really lucky!) and then celebrating with my family the Saturday following Thanksgiving. I think we are going to host the Hamilton (mom's family) at our new house (even though Danny isn't fully aware of all that this might entail, and actually doesn't know that I've said we'd do it for sure). I am so excited to have the family over. We have so much to be thankful for this year and it will be wonderful to share our home with the wilder side of the family!

I am also really looking forward to Christmas! I have already started on some Christmas crafts and have committed to myself that I am not just going to buy things for people so I can check their name off a list. I have been trying to be more thoughtful about what to do for others during this season, realizing that the gifts with the biggest price tags really aren't always the most appreciated or valued. Don't worry...not all of you will receive some Mod Podge'd gift from me (but some of you very well may). I've always said it's the thought that counts, and this year, I'm thinking a lot!

There are only like 36 days til Christmas....oh, it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's been a while....

Life has of course been busy! Work consumes so much of my time that at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is get on a computer and type about my day. But, here I am on a Sunday night, reflecting a little over the past year. A year ago this weekend, I was celebrating my last "single girl" weekend with my best girlfriends. It's hard to believe that a year has passed already! Our first wedding anniversary is one week from today. Again, I cannot believe that it's already been a year. I have to say, I am definitely the luckiest girl in the world. I have such a wonderful husband that has stood by my side, not just for the past year, but for nearly 8 years, through thick and thin. We have been incredibly blessed, and while I know that deep in my soul, I think there are still moments when I look at others and long for more.

I don't know what it is. We have a wonderful house (but I sure would love a dishwasher). We are surrounded by our family and friends (though I could do with a little less drama). We both have great jobs (but they definitely impede on quality time for the two of us). I am trying to move past these "buts" and to really learn to be happy with what we have and where we are. We have made a nice life for ourselves. I don't know what it is about me that sometimes, I struggle to see all the good without a little complaining. So all that being said, my new goal is to live in the moment, appreciate all of the good things in life, and learn to be content. It may take time, but it will come.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A much needed break...

This past week, I spent three wonderful days in Nashville. I had such a wonderful time with my sisters, Ashley and Melissa, and friend, Kristin. Ashley, Kristin and I drove down on Tuesday and had lunch with an old friend, Monica. She and I met when I was in school at Trevecca. It was so great to see her and spend some time catching up! After lunch, I took Ashley and Kristin on a journey back in time...we went to see how much Trevecca had changed in the past five years. I was amazed at all of the differences, but still very much felt at home on campus again. After checking in to the hotel, we decided to hit the town! We went to the Wildhorse Saloon for dinner (had tons of fun laughing at people learning to line dance...I just wasn't brave enough to get out there), had a quick stop at Coyote Ugly (which was unfortunately NOT like the movie...very disappointing) and ended up at the Beer Sellar! I love that's very laid back and we had a wonderful bartender. I tried root beer vodka for the first time, and let me tell you, it tastes like root beer! Delicious!

Wednesday morning, we met Melissa for brunch at the Pancake Pantry, an old staple of my college days. The food was just as delicious as I remembered! Then, it was time to get ready for the Allman Brothers Band/Widespread Panic concert. Ashley, Kristin and I went back to our hotel to indulge in a few beverages, while Melissa went to check-in to her hotel. We met up later, just in time to get to the venue and snag some great seats!

The concert was fabulous! There were several moments when I was just so deep in thought that I felt like I was in my own little world. While the Allman Brothers Band was playing, I thought a lot about my dad. He had several ABB albums in the box we got from my mom, and as I was listening to them live, I couldn't help but feel my dad all around me. In my own little way, the show was another chance for me to feel close to him once again. Something about hearing those old songs and knowing how much my dad enjoyed the music struck me as something incredibly special. I just felt so happy in that moment. I wish that I could have bottled it like a perfume to put on if I'm feeling down...

The show continued and was wonderful, of course! After the show, the girls and I decided that we were too tired to go out on the town again. We ended up back in the hotel room with pizza and a Dr. Pepper and couldn't have been happier! Before heading home on Thursday, we all had lunch together at the Rain Forest Cafe and walked around Opry Mills Mall for a bit. The trip was wonderful, and just what the doctor ordered!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hard times come again no more...

No real reason for this picture, it's just one of my faves! :) I love him...

As I was driving to Paducah today, I was listening to my iPod (which is truly a lifesaver on these long drives!), and listened to a song that I downloaded quite a while ago. I can't remember if it was a free download, or if I listened to a clip of the song and liked it, but I don't think I'd ever really listened to the lyrics. The song is called "Hard Times" and the recording that I have is by a group called Eastmountainsouth. I'm not sure if they are still recording music (it appears that their website has been shut down), but I am very drawn to their music. I researched a little, and it's described as "folk rock," which I enjoy! I didn't realize, but the song was actually written by Stephen Foster, who is of course near and dear to the hearts of many Kentuckians.

I just really related to the lyrics of this song. It's been a tough year, and I've said several times recently "This has to be it....this is the last bad thing that will happen and things are going to turn around." Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to throw a pity party, but it just seems like everytime something good happens, a new challenge is thrown my way. After my dad died, I just felt like nothing else could happen to top that devastation. Things were looking up...we bought a house and life just seemed to fall into place. Then, my grandfather passed away. We weren't particularly close during the past several years, but it always hurts to lose someone that you love. In addition, we've had multiple family issues to deal with and just the after effects of losing someone so close. I am of course eternally grateful for the wonderful friends and family that have made life worth living, and given me reasons to get out of bed each morning. I couldn't ask for a better support system. I know that I am blessed, and try to remember that whenever I'm feeling down. There are so many things to be thankful for in this life and that's where I'm trying to keep my focus. I definitely have dealt with and will continue to deal with my fair share of anger, sadness and hurt. As the song says: "'tis a song… a sigh of the weary hard times... hard times come again no more."

I hope that you find some inspiration from words that were penned over 150 years ago:

let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears

while we all sup sorrow with the poor
there's a song that will linger forever in our ears
oh, hard times come again no more

'tis a song… a sigh of the weary
hard times… hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered around my cabin door
oh… hard times come again no more

while we seek mirth and beauty
and music light and gay
there are frail ones fainting at the door
though their voices are silent
their pleading looks will say
oh, hard times come again no more

'tis a song… a sigh of the weary hard times...
hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered around my cabin door
oh, hard times come again no more

'tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave
'tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
'tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
oh, hard times come again no more

'tis a song…a sigh of the weary
hard times… hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered around my cabin door
oh, hard times come again no more
oh, hard times come again no more

Foster, "Hard Times Come Again No More"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moving on up

It's been a crazy couple of weeks! I feel like I've been working non-stop (which, really, I have) and just haven't had much time to just breathe. Case in point, the DVR is 82% full!! I have so many shows to catch up on and so little time to just sit and watch! I am hoping that in the next few weeks, work will calm down a bit and I will be able to enjoy the lovely fall weather (my favorite season of all!). I'm looking forward to having this whole weekend off work, but it looks like I'll be helping my mom and sister move into their new place.

After this weekend, all of my closest family members will have found new homes/apartments. Melissa and her family moved into a beautiful new home just after Danny and I moved into our first home. Ashley is moving out on her own again, and I know she's looking forward to a fresh start! Her apartment is so cute and she and her boyfriend have already done a lot of work! Mom and Vannah are moving this weekend into a new place as well. I am so excited for them to have a new beginning. I know that it's been difficult for them (and Ashley) to live in the home that they shared with my dad, and I think it will just be great for them to start over. The apartment is just beautiful (I'm insanely jealous of her kitchen!!) and has so much potential.

I must say, change is good. Danny and I have had several heart-to-hearts with Vannah over the past few days (the teenage years are just great, right?) and sharing with her how much we've both changed since we were 13. Looking back over the past 10 years of my life, I know that I have evolved in many ways. I have different fears, doubts, motivations, interests, and dreams than I did 10 years ago. I have had to face situations that I never dreamed I would have, and had to make difficult choices along the way. I hold to my belief that I will not have regrets...each choice that I've made in my life, I made for a reason that made sense at that time.

All that being said, I am so excited about the changing of the seasons. I love watching the leaves change colors, the crisp air, and bonfires! Here's to fall, and more changes to come!

Some new pictures...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My "Golden" Birthday (or longest post ever!)

I love that one of my best friends (Rebecca) has deemed this year my "golden birthday." She says this is because I'm turning 27 on August 27th...profound, right? Anyways, but it does make me think about a lot of things in life and what I might do differently over the next year, what I've learned over the past year, and so many other things. I was reading through another friend's blog (my dear friend Jackie, who I feel like I've known forever and really probably have....Jackie's Blog is here) and saw that on her last birthday, she made a list of 27 things about the past year of her life and things she hopes for in the future. I decided to steal the idea (and hope I can actually come up with 27!!!).

It's really hard for me to believe that I'm 27. I know I don't feel it. I hope I don't look it. Don't get me wrong...I don't think 27 is old at all. I'm not having a "quarter life crisis" or anything ridiculous like that, I just can't believe that I am 27! In so many ways, I've always felt wise beyond my years and maybe I'm finally starting to feel like my "emotional" age is catching up with my biological age. Anyways, thanks Jackie for the great idea on making a list...hopefully it will be something I can look back on a year from now and smile! :)

1. Most days, I am so thankful to be a wife, sister, daughter and friend, but there is sometimes a little piece of me that just wants to be unavailable for a few hours and just focus on me.

2. In response to that, I've already decided that I'm taking a couple of days off work in October to see two of my favorite bands (Widespread Panic and The Allman Brothers Band w/Warren Haynes!!!!) in Nashville. I don't know who else is going, I don't have a ticket, but darnit - I'm going. I am already excited!

3. I want to succeed in my career so badly that I think it imposes on other areas of my life. I hope to have better boundaries with my job and my home.

4. I want to grow our family. This is the first time I've really said it publicly, but Danny and I really have such a wonderful life, we really do want to have children of our own! We got a kitten about 6 months ago and he really has brought us a lot of joy (and scratches, and vet bills, but I digress), but as much as I love him, we do want to have children. We love our nieces and nephews and cherish the times that we have with them, but are both really ready to have our own.

5. Back to number 2, I hope to learn to spend more time with myself. I know that I have changed so much over the past several years and I feel like it's time to get to know me again.

6. Not to be a buzzkill, but I want to gather the strength to go see my dad. He passed away three months ago, and I still haven't been to the cemetary to visit him. I miss so many things about it, and I think that if I go back to that cemetary, it will all be too real. Currently, I can pretend like he's just gone away for a little bit.

7. That being said, I am so thankful that I was able to dance with my daddy at my wedding this past year. The song that we danced to speaks volumes to me now. Dad chose the song - "A Song for You" by Leon Russell. The line that runs through my head over and over says "And when my life is over, remember when we were together, we were alone and I was singing this song for you." He was such a sweet man, and I'll never forget him singing to me on my wedding day.

8. Now that my eyes are dry again, I shall continue. I hope to be a better friend. This goes back to number 3....I feel like I work so hard and so much that I sacrifice other areas of my life. If I don't come home and work, I'm too tired to really be much company to anyone. I have the best friends in the world, who have listened to me whine and complain, and I want to be a better friend in return.

9. I want to stop complaining in general. Taking a dose of your own medicine is tough, but after complaining about one person in particular in my life, Danny told me the other night that I shouldn't let that person have so much control over me. I was not happy by this statement, considering I've said it to him in the past. But it did pull me back to reality and remind me that I am responsible for myself. I cannot change another person, but I can change how I react to them.

10. I hope to be honest about my feelings. When my feelings get hurt, I want to tell the person that hurt them instead of letting it happen time and again. I need to learn how to stand up for myself, be more assertive, and stop being a doormat in certain relationships.

11. I hope to continue to work on my marriage. Danny and I have been together for over 7 years, and I love him very much. We've grown a lot together over the past 7 years, and are both so excited to see what the future holds for us. However, I want to also remember what was taught to us during our Pre-Cana classes....getting married isn't about a wonderful wedding, but about the actual marriage. We sure did have a great wedding, but I am so thankful that we also have a strong foundation to build love and respect for one another.

12. I hope to focus on more professional development before we have kids. I always knew that I wanted to finish school before Danny and I got married, and I did. Now, I hope to earn my CSW (certified social worker) before we have children....I plan on getting as many letters behind my name as I can!

13. Just to throw this out there, I know that even though we do not have any biological children, I love and care for my younger sisters as if they were my own. I do love taking my lunch to work everyday and making sure that there's enough for Ashley to eat, too. I love taking Vannah shopping for school clothes and talking with her about the drama that all 13-year olds must experience. I know that I have lots of practice for the future!

14. In this next year, I want my mom to realize that she is able. That's all I'm gonna say...I just want her to find her strength.

15. I am looking forward to making more improvements on our first home. I know that the renovations will never really be complete and am really okay with that. I love our home more and more everyday and just want to improve on the good things.

16. I would love to take more trips, have more girl's nights, just something to look forward to.

17. I will continue to try my hand at new recipes in the kitchen. So far, I'm loving it (though I haven't been so great about blogging about them...)!

18. I want to tap into my creative side more. I used to scrapbook and make homemade gifts for my friends/family all the time. I've really gotten away from that, but miss it so much.

19. I am realizing more and more the little things that really make me feel "old:" the fact that after two margaritas, I find it difficult to walk a straight line; my shoulders, knees, ankles, back....all crack and pop in the morning; I like coffee more and more everyday, and I love talk radio and reading the newspaper. Not on-line, like holding an actual newspaper in your hand and reading it cover to cover.

20. I need to spend more time with my grandmothers. If I've learned anything over the past year, I've learned that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. My grandmothers are both very wise women in their own right and I really believe that I have much to learn from them.

21. I want to get into a routine....not like the one I'm in where I sleep until the last possible minute during the week and stay in bed as long as I possibly can on the weekends, but one where I wake up at a decent time and don't have to rush out the door.

22. I'd love to learn how to sew, but preferably with a sewing machine. Is that lazy?

23. I learned this year that it does pay to take chances. I applied for a job that I really didn't think I would get, got it and love it. I love the people I work with (although I do miss my friends from my old job) and laugh a lot at work everyday.

24. I'm learning to be proud of my accomplishments instead of sweeping them under the rug and acting all sheepish when they come up in conversation. I've worked hard to be where I am and I should be proud of it!

25. I'd like to come up with a gentle way to remind people that you never know who you're talking to. You never know another person's life experiences, so it's always best to be sensitive in conversations/discussions that could be hurtful.

26. In the same breath, it's also important not to take yourself too seriously. If you screw up, say you screwed up! Tell someone you're sorry when you're sincere.

27. Ahh. #27. Here's to hoping this is the best year, yet!

Summer Memories

I’ve been tagged by A Place to Dwell (my SIL's blog) on favorite summer memories. So, here it goes:

Favorite Summer Movie – I just love "Steel Magnolias" - it's not really a "summer" movie, but it's really one of my all-time favorites!

Favorite Summer Cocktail – I love a good, fruity cocktail! I really love Mai Tais and Hurricanes especially.

Favorite Summer Song – I'd have to say "Down" by Widespread Panic...I just love it! "Take along some of your favorite things, cause you're gonna need 'em. Wait right here, wait 'til I come back around. You and I will go, we'll just sit and watch it all go down..."

Favorite Summer Outfit – Anything with my black Nike flip flops is perfect for me! Being able to wear my flip flops always signals the beginnging of summer, and I really struggle with putting them away at the end of the season! I especially love khaki shorts and a nice tank top with the flip flops!

Favorite Summer Reading – Hard to say what would qualify as "summer" reading, however so far this summer, I have enjoyed a wide array of books! The tops being: "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory, "sTori Telling" (by Tori Spelling - LOVED IT!), "The 8th Confession" (by James Patterson), and am currently reading "The Time Traveler's Wife." I like so many books in so many different genres, it's hard to pick just one!

Favorite Summer Moment – I have many memories of my childhood when we would go to Delaware to visit our cousins. To this day, our cousins remind us of how we loved to eat the sand! Otherwise, I think my favorite summer moments of my childhood were spent on the softball field - I was never the greatest player, but God, I had a blast! I probably took it more seriously than I should have, but I have so many wonderful memories of playing softball AND of attening Louisville Redbirds baseball games with my grandparents.

I'm so new to blogging that I don't follow enough people to "tag" them to do the same, but leave a comment! Let me know some of your favorite summer memories!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I was talking with a dear friend yesterday and a lot of our discussion centered around "happiness" and things that make us happy. I think it's so easy to look at our lives and think of all the things that could make us happy (like, if the bathroom would just remodel itself) instead of focusing on the things in our life that bring us happiness regularly. So, I've been thinking of all the things in my life that make me happy: My husband - I just love him...he makes me laugh when I'm sad or upset and loves me in spite of my faults. My family - they are crazy, but I don't know what I would do without sisters show me so much love and inspire me to keep going every day (whether they know it or not, many times they are the reason that I get out of bed - just the hope that I'll get to see them each day) mom, who despite her many weaknesses, wants so desperately to be strong and I pray that she will find that strength. My friends - I must say, I have the best friends in the world - whether I need to vent, cry, laugh or go for a ride to get ice cream, they have been there right next to me. I am so blessed, and I hope that I will continue to find the things in my life that bring me such joy.

Other sources of happiness: Hazelnut coffee, a good book, holding a new baby, my kitty, a new recipe that turns out just "perfect," a job well done, a pat on the back, a good deal, catching up with old friends, learning, the French language, a bed time story, snuggling, a good joke.
Speaking of new recipes, I tried two new ones today! One was Bisquick's Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie - not the most "gourmet" meal I've ever made, but we did enjoy it very much! For dinner, I marinated chicken breasts in balsamic vinaigrette, then baked it and melted feta cheese on top. I served it (to myself) with peas (my favorite!) and parmesan garlic couscous! Delicious - and lunch is already made for tomorrow!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Here we go!

Danny and I have been talking for a while about starting our own blog (you know, catching up with the trend), but we've struggled with what exactly we would share on our blog. While trying out a new recipe in my new kitchen tonight, I had an epiphany! I decided that we can use this blog as a place to share favorite recipes and all of the wonderful and exciting things that happen in our lives (not that there are that many, but what the heck!). So - here goes! :)

Tonight for dinner, I wanted to make some kind of grilled chicken (we're doing the "Biggest Loser" at work - I'm not winning), but get so sick of the same old bland grilled chicken. So, I made a marinade with lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. I marinaded the chicken and a sliced onion for about 30 minutes and put it on the George Foreman Grill. The chicken was quite delicious if I must say so myself - very moist! The onions would be better grilled a bit more, but all in all, a very healthy meal! And, to top it off - Banana Nut Fiber One muffins!

I put a picture of my dad up in my kitchen this weekend (who passed away in April). My dad was my inspiration in many areas of my life. He taught me a lot about the world of music, the value of education, and the joy of cooking. My father had many faults, but I know that he loved me deeply and his wish for his family would be that we always remember the good things about him. His smile. His laugh. His stories that would drag on forever, but always had a great punch line. His love for awful horror movies. The many meals that he so lovingly prepared for his family at the drop of a dime. He was truly a man that could make a gourmet meal from an empty pantry. So I've brought dad into my kitchen to serve as a source of inspiration - just when I think that there's nothing to make and it would just be easier to grab take-out, I can look up at dad and draw some inspiration from him. Tonight's meal was one of those. Love you dad. You still inspire me everyday....hope I'm making you proud.