Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Girls Night, Guests, and Tubing

We have been busy lately!! It started last Wednesday when several of my girlfriends and I went to "Chow Down Around Town" which is when we get together each month for dinner at a different restaurant. This was our first month and we went to the
restaurant 26. We had some great food and drinks and ended up going to the Blue Monkey Martini Bar. We had a blast.

Friday my best friend from Atlanta, Amanda and her husband Bobby came into town for the weekend. I have known Amanda since I was 14 and she was in my wedding, and I in hers many years ago. She is the only person I have been able to keep a close relationship with long distance and that alone speaks of how much I love her! So Friday night the four of us went to eat at at Jackson's restaurant in Homewood. The weather was perfect and we sat outside and enjoyed one another's company. We weren't quite ready to head home so we walked to Oak Hill Bar and had a few more drinks.

Saturday was the big day we have been looking forward to for a long time-tubing! We ended up having around 20-25 people meet up and drive to this place in the middle of nowhere. It's very difficult to find if you don't know where you are going, as we have learned in years past. I got directions this time so we all made it pretty easily. For $10 a tube, you are driven in the back of a truck to a drop off site where you walk down a ravine and hop in the Cahaba River. Then you will float along the river while being able to ride the rope swing, go down a few rapids, jump off some cliffs, and just pull over on the side to relax, eat, and enjoy the scenery. I had a few run ins with some rocks, and have the bruises and cuts to prove it, but it was a well worth it! We ended up having beautiful weather and a great time! Click here for more pics of our adventure. They are very cute!

Surprisingly, after we ate dinner and returned home from our day in the sun and in the water, I got a second wind. Bobby and Amanda were able to stay an extra night thanks to her sister who was watching their kids, so Amanda and I put on our pj's and had a few glasses of wine while singing our hearts out to karaoke at our house. Though we may not be the best singers, we had a blast and tried our hardest to match up to Cindi Lauper and Madonna and the other artists we sang.

Sadly, Bobby and Amanda had to head back on Sunday and I already am missing them! Sunday I didn't feel too hot (imagine that) so I was pretty much worthless. We did end up having dinner at our friends' Phoenix and Oj's house which was nice, so I can't count the whole day as a wash.

Since the new week has begun I am still recovering from the last week and our many adventures. We had a great time and I am so glad we got to spend lots of time with Bobby and Amanda and several other of our great friends. It's times like this that makes me feel so happy that I live here and am so close to such amazing people.

We have another big weekend coming up this weekend-Friday we, along with several of our friends are throwing my brother in law Nick and his fiance a wedding shower. Saturday if the weather is nice I am hoping to try to go check out Birmingham's Saturday Farmers Market Pepper Place. That evening we have an engagement shower to attend. Whew! It will be busy but fun!
Here are a few Pics from this past week:
Mere and Ang B. being silly at The Blue Monkey
Amanda, Phoenix, and Erica at the Blue MonkeyMatt and I at dinner Friday night
Amanda and I on the way to go tubingAnother one of me and Amanda

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Versatile Blogger

Truthfully, I didn't actually receive this "award" but I still wanna play the game and pass it on to my friends. This is the Versatile Blogger Award. There are rules that come with receiving this award that you follow and then you pass on the award to other bloggers you like and/or think are versatile. Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who gave you this award. In my case, I will send you here to a blog that I enjoy reading.
2. Post 7 random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to bloggers who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know they have received the award.
So, 7 random facts about me.
1. I don't have a favorite food. I like food so much that I just can't pick one, or two, or three, or ten. I just can't decide! Actually I'm pretty indecisive with most things.
2. I love to travel, over the past few years I have been to Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, New Orleans, Nashville, Gatlinburg, Florida, Key West, and Memphis. My heart belongs to New Orleans though Jamaica is a very, very close runner up.
3. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I run for an hour at least 4 times a week and sometimes hate to start but always feel great once I've finished.
4. I chew my nails and don't think I'll ever be able to stop. It's mostly when I'm bored.
5. I am super sensitive about offending people. I always doubt myself and worry that if I say something it may offend or hurt someone else's feelings. I will re-read emails tons of times and sometimes call others for reassurance that it sounds okay-and this is something as insignificant as an email inviting people to dinner.
6. I wish I had a more southern accent. Stupid, I know.
7. I have in the past few years a secret desire to be a police officer/detective but know I'm a wuss and would be scared on the job. Plus, those hours are terrible. (and the uniforms!)
Okay, so the people I am sending this to are:

Monday, August 16, 2010

For the Witches, Wicans, Magicians, or just for a good laugh

My co-workers and I stumbled upon this gem of a magazine a previous nurse had left behind after working her shift this morning and still haven't been able to stop looking and laughing at it since. The magazine is called "The Pyramid Collection: Myth, Magick (that's how its spelled), Fantasy & Romance". I first saw one of my co-workers reading it and became excited. "Oh is that a Halloween magazine!? I love Halloween!". She laughed and replied that she at first believed it to be a Halloween magazine but with further reading realized it is a serious magazine that specializes in--you guessed it: Myth, Magic, Fantasy & Romance. After reading it several times and getting MANY good laughs, I thought I would share this with others for a few good laughs on a Monday morning. I took these pics with my iphone so some are fuzzy, but I will try to translate what the picture is.

Let us begin with the necklace of the top left of this pictures. It is named "love bites" and is a choker with red jewels dangling from the necklace to appear as if blood is dripping down one's neck. Lovely. Then as we look to the middle right side of the page there is a glass that says "Friends don't let friends drink friends". I feel this makes a perfect Christmas or birthday present for a loved one-- very appropriate.

Okay, I am totally skipping the glasses that look like spider webs to focus on the more serious item here. These stockings look like spider webs. They even glow in the dark! The best part is the caption next to them that says "Spider Woman. Only got two legs? These will make up for 'em". Okay, wow, are there people who are wanting more than two legs?! Whaa? For the low price of only $12.95 these can be yours, and don't forget they do glow in the dark.

On to a much more serious item. These are lovely crystal earrings. The best part of this item is that it is an "energy amplifier" and can "heal, energize, and (best of all) has the power to enhance psychic ability".

Next up is the velvet cloak. Or the cane with the red crystal ball. So appropriate for all occasions.

And I will end with my personal favorite, the purple and black cape. The title says "Dress to Impress" and I'm sure that's exactly what will happen if you go out in public wearing a cape on any day other than Halloween. The description says (with my added comments in parenthesis) "momentous occasions call for raiment, dignified and appropriate(when is a cape NOT appropriate?!). To that end we present our formal cape: fully hooded (cause you gotta have one of those) and reversible (because you don't want to be seen in the same cape color 2xs in a row)...tailored with convenient arm openings (oh thank god)...generously cut for graceful drape "(graceful and cape should never be in the same sentence or paragraph).

Be sure to let me know if you want me to order you and one of these items which are so useful I'm sure you'll get your money's worth.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Adventures of the Birmingham ladies and the impromptu pub crawl

All week long I had been so excited for Saturday. I had made plans with a couple of my best girl friends to go early morning to the Pepper Place in Birmingham, which is the Saturday Farmer's Market. After the Farmer's Market we were going to go eat brunch and then head to the pool. To my dismay, as I woke up Saturday morning it was raining and thunder storming. So we, being the laid-back go-with-the-flow kinda girls that we are decided not to let the rain stand in the way of a day of fun and we decided to skip the Farmer's Market and head directly to brunch.

We decided to meet at Jackson's Restaurant in SoHo, a part of Birmingham around 10:00 am. We were very excited to be informed that Jackson's had a special on Mimosa's for the day. Well, we do not need to be persuaded to have a Mimosa or two (or three or four) especially when they are on special and we would not be rude enough to turn this offer down. So we had a great brunch and shared a lot of laughs and good fun (i.e. Meredith rapping). A few hours later (you know how when girls get together time can just fly by) we decided to leave but didn't want to end the fun.

We tried to check out a new bar nearby called WXYZ but for some reason it wasn't open at noon on Saturday. Geez what were they thinking!? We then walked across the street and took a pit stop after Amanda and Mere spotted a kitty in the sewer. Laying on the ground and actually convincing a complete stranger to do the same with them they tried to coerce the kitty out of the gutter. After several attempts to "save" the kitty and to their dismay, they were unsuccessful and we left the kitty in the gutter. Bethany and I then decided we needed to check out the new yogurt bar called Tutti Fruiti. Apparently yogurt bars are huge right now and I certainly won't be complaining about this. They are amazing! And so was Tutti Fruiti.

After leaving Tutti Fruiti we walked down the street to go to Oak Hill Bar. Mere decided it didn't smell good so we moved on to Mama Goldberg's, aka Mama G's. We got a few pitchers of beer and sat outside for a little bit (it had stopped raining). We later moved into the restaurant after it got extremely hot and we needed refills for our drinks. Of course we had to have Mama G's famous nachos and I got my favorite sandwich Turkey Delight. I'm pretty sure we scared the young men who worked at Mama G's after trying to quiz them about the original Mama G's which is located in Auburn. It really bothers me that Mama G's has become a franchise and there are people working for them that are not Auburn fans, nor have visited the original hole in the wall location which holds a special place in mine and all other true Auburn fans' hearts. One guy said he had been to the original but the line was too long to wait. What a load of crap! Duh, everyone knows you have to wait in the long line at Mama G's, its a rite of passage and should be demanded for all workers of any Mama G's, regardless of the location of their store. I thought it was necessary for me to stress this to the Mama G's workers as well, I'm not sure if they understood the seriousness of this..... Okay, focus Jessica. So we had a blast at Mama G's and decided it was time to move on again.

Next stop was at Fuego, a Mexican bar/restaurant. By this point it was around 4 pm or so and we were all having a great time. I wore my sunglasses in the restaurant. Hey, don't judge, it was bright in there! We all had a few margaritas (definitely try the Watermelon Margarita if you go there made with real watermelon juice) and then a lot of water before calling it a night.

I ended up getting home to see Matt who had been playing golf all day with the guys. They ended up having to come home early after it began to rain again. I gave him the advice that he should have received a rain check to play again but he said that since they already played 27 holes of golf they wouldn't qualify for a rain check. Well, darn Matt.

After catching up on Jersey Shore (a MUST) I passed out at 8pm. For the night. I was tired. It's a tough life here in Birmingham but some one's gotta do it.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well as I did.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chuy's Review

Last night my dad came into town for business. Usually when he comes Matt and I try to think of great restaurants to take him to which we hope he will love. We decided last night to recommend a new restaurant here in Birmingham called Chuy's. It's a Tex-Mex restaurant that is located at the Summit. The location is fantastic and it sits on the top of a hill overlooking Birmingham and Highway 280. We tried to eat here a few weeks ago after hearing great reviews, but the wait was 2 1/2 hours long at 8pm on a Friday night so we ended up going elsewhere. I have heard strangers as well as people I know talking about how this is by far the best Mexican in Birmingham so that must be why they are so busy! We thought a Tuesday night would be a slower night to try it, so we made plans to go there last night. We got there early hoping to beat the crowds, and at 6pm there was a 35-40 minute wait. We arrived a little earlier than dad, so we decided to wait it out. The great part is that while you are waiting, there are tables outside you can sit at that are specifically for people waiting for their tables. They have servers who bring you drinks to these tables, but do not serve any food to them. Its a good idea on one hand because you can sit and get some cold beverages while you wait, but on the other hand there are a lot of these tables and if they were used as regular, full service tables wouldn't the wait time be shorter? So anyways, they have this car (literally, it's a car) inside the bar that is a serve yourself chip and dip station. The have fresh, warm chips, 2 different types of salsa, ground beef, cheese dip, and re fried beans you can eat for free. This was a great deal! You could make nachos have a few drinks and be full! The cheese dip was great and so were the chips and salsa. The salsa was very fresh, and had chunks of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, etc. You could tell it was very fresh. They give you baskets to put all the stuff if so you can take it outside or eat it anywhere you want.

We finally got a table after about 35 minutes waiting, which wasn't bad thanks to the free chips and dips and getting a few house margaritas (on special for $4). Our server was great and was very friendly and accommodating. Everything on the menu looks great and is reasonably priced, most entrees around $7-9. They have burritos they claim are "bigger than yo face". I got the chicken quesadillas and both dad and Matt went with the enchiladas. They have numerous sauces they make in house, and you can pick and choose if you want any on your meal. They also have different types of beans and rice you can choose from, so your not just stuck with the refried beans and Mexican rice served at most restaurants. Our food came quickly and was just as tasty. We all enjoyed it. The amount of food is huge so I would definitely recommend sharing something with someone else unless your starved.

All in all it is a great restaurant, with a great view, and a great atmosphere. The only down side is how busy it gets and the wait but they do try to compensate for that with the free chips and dip and drink service. I would definitely recommend going to Chuy's, just go early!

Here's a couple pics I took from my iphone of the outside. The tables with the umbrellas are the tables you can sit and wait at with service for drinks from the bar.

Did I mention the view??!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You are what you eat

So I enjoy junk food as much as the next person, but lately I have been educating myself on how terrible this kind of food is for our bodies. The truth is, most of the junk food we eat is not even real food. Most of the food we eat that we believe to be healthy is not real food. Now I know you have flipped that cookie or snack box over and looked at the nutrition facts. Wander down to the ingredient list next time you're looking and check out whats in the food you are eating. Can't understand or even pronounce some of the ingredients? Yep, its probably processed, fake food. Even though we may believe we are eating healthy food based on the calorie and fat information the truth is, our bodies don't really recognize and understand how to process this fake food. It can cause you to feel a lack of energy, to gain weight, have digestion problems, headaches, and even more. That's scary to me! I first hand know how maintaining a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle can affect your emotional and mental health based on the patients that I see and from my own experiences. What we put into our bodies truly affects all aspects of our lives.

Pay attention to what you put into your mouth and how it affects you. I will suggest that you eat foods that are healthy and give your body and mind the nutrition it needs. Fruits and vegetables are always a great snack or addition to a meal, and can really taste good. Why eat strawberry flavored candy instead of a real, juicy, cold strawberry? Mmmm- so good! I personally feel that organic foods have a lot of benefits-- including not containing toxic chemicals that many farmers use and they just taste better (to me). Eating protein is great for your body and fills you up quicker. Notice how you can eat something processed and fattening like a doughnut and are still hungry shortly after? That's because it's probably not real food that your body can benefit from. Pay attention to when you eat something with protein, such as peanut butter or nuts, and how quickly it fills you up. When eating meat choose lean meats that do not contain as much fat. We all know what happens if we eat too much fat. We get fat. Same with sugar, sugar can turn into fat.

It's easy to give advice on how to eat and live your life, but I know how difficult it can be. It is not possible to always eat organic food or lean meat, but by being aware of the difference and making the choice to eat these healthier foods when available can over time benefit you in great ways. I don't advocate for ever cutting something out of your life completely, because it will only make you want it more. Moderation is key here. I just want to make others aware of how America is turning into this unhealthy society based on the huge amount of terrible foods that we are eating. We all know the scary statistics about overweight Americans. As a society, we are getting bigger and bigger. The food we eat directly affects this. Change your diet for one week and I promise you will be able to tell a huge difference. You will probably end up eating less because what you are eating fills you up, and you may have other health benefits like an increase in energy because of the vitamins you are taking in. I want to live a long and healthy life and I really think diet is a huge factor in this happening for me. I want the same for you-- my friends and family, so I want you to do the same and take care of yourself by eating wisely!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Great Weekend

Matt and I went to Atlanta this past weekend to visit my family and had a great time. We headed to Atlanta Friday afternoon after we both got off work. Friday night we went to eat at this neat restaurant in Vinings, Ga, called The Burger Club. They have great burgers and are known for their drinks (alcoholic milkshake anyone?!). I tried a Bubble 07 drink which was bubble gum flavored vodka (yes, apparently there is now bubble gum flavored vodka) mixed with Red Bull. Wasn't until I tasted the drink when I realized I don't really like Red Bull. Reminds me of Yager Bombs-- which I will not delve into that topic this post.....So anyways, I got over my mild apprehension towards Red Bull and the drink was actually pretty good! After dinner we headed back to my mom's house to hang out for a little bit and hit the sack.

Saturday was beautiful so we headed out to mom's pool for a few hours. My mom currently lives in this awesome condo in Vinings, which is a really neat town in Atlanta. Well, as all good things must come to an end, she is moving out in October. So late Saturday afternoon we went with mom to look at some other places where she may move to. It was nice to be able to help her with deciding where she wants to be and I think she was glad to have our opinion in the process. We planned on seeing our good friends Bobby and Amanda Saturday evening but unfortunately weren't able to see them. :( Saturday night we went to eat with my dad and step mother and had a blast. We went to this restaurant called Provino's and they have the best Italian food! There was one in Auburn we loved to eat at but since moving to Birmingham we haven't really found an Italian restaurant that compares (okay, Olive Garden is pretty good-but its a different type of Italian, you know, not really real Italian). So we ended up having a blast hanging out with my dad and step mom and spending time with them. Dad recently purchased a new flat screen plasma tv which is huge and made Matt instantly want a bigger television. What's with men and the tv's anyways?! I mean, are you ever satisfied? Can a tv ever be too big for you!?!

Sunday we headed back early after eating lunch with my mom. Matt was eager to get back, as we both dread the drive and want to get it over as soon as possible. We got back to Birmingham and cleaned house and later went to see the movie "The Other Guys". I was so excited to see the movie and was pretty disappointed in it. I thought it was funny but it was not near as good as I had hoped. I think its a good rental movie, but I'm not sure I would pay around $20 to see it in the theatres. Why do they always show the best parts on the trailers!? Ahh!

So overall we had a great weekend and I was so glad to be able to see my family and spend time with them, which is never enough. And I'm still very sad we didn't get to see Bobby and Amanda-- but they are planning to visit us in a couple weeks which will be great. Now its back to the daily grind here at Hill Crest, but at least I'm not too busy at work today.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Guidelines and Suggestions for Facebook Users

Having been on Facebook since it first began years ago, when it was only for college students, I've seen how much the website has changed and grown. I feel that there are perhaps a few things that I may suggest for all Facebook users, you know, just as a suggestion or recommendation. Some of these things I have learned the hard way, from making the mistakes myself, or seeing close friends and family do the same-- so I felt it may be helpful to compile a few lists of do's and don't's for all Facebook users. Please bear in my this is only MY opinion, which really doesn't really mean much. But read away if you're interested. Of course there are exceptions to every rule as always.

1. True friends don't post ugly pictures of one another. (or scandalous, risque, or embarrassing ones)
2. Just because you may curse in real life doesn't mean you should on Facebook. Some people's parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. are on this website now. Though it may not be offensive to you, it may be to others.
3. Please keep your daily status updates to a few sentences. If you write a paragraph or novel as your daily status, I will not read it.
4. Just because we have the exact same first and last name doesn't mean I want to be friends with you (unless I actually know you).
5. I love my pets just as much as the next person (perhaps even more) but if you make an album of pictures labeled something like "my babies" and it consists only of pictures of your cats or dogs, I will not look at them. Put a few pictures of them here or there but not excessively and not in their own album.
6. If you get into an argument or fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend or (even worse) wife or husband don't change your marital status to "single" because you are mad.
7. Even if someone has hurt or wronged you please don't slander them on Facebook. Even if you are an innocent victim it makes your credibility and integrity doubted when you post all the juicy details all on Facebook.
8. No I do not play Farmville. Please quit asking me to buy or give you a cow.
9. Please no doom and gloom and/or vague status updates such as "FML" or "Can't believe what just happened" or "excited about the future...". We're need more details please, don't just leave us all hanging here...
10. This isn't really a rule, but more of a personal request, please tag yourself in the pictures you post. I am too lazy to go through every album, its easier to just click on "pictures of ____" and see them all right there.
11. If I don't know you, please don't ask to be my friend random sketchy guy who lives in Idaho.

And, on a side note, perhaps a personal complaint to Facebook creators--I often don't post or "like" friends comments or status updates as much as I want to, because I don't want an email and notification every single time others comment or like the same thing. Its a pain in the butt because my phone goes off every single time. I usually only want to know if that person comments back, not others. 15 notifications is a little excessive just because I "liked" someones status.

Okay, that's all I got for now. Please take no offense to this, I am only half serious (or not). Feel free to post any comments or suggestions you may have for other Facebook users.