Sunday, December 26, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

Now I realize that Christmas is not about receiving but about giving. With that being said, I wanted to share some awesome gifts that I did receive this year that I am super excited about. Thank you to all my friends and family for giving me such awesome and thoughtful gifts. I love them all!

-InStyler Rotater Hair Iron. Okay, so I once laughed at the funny infomercials thinking of how there is no way this thing works. But, if you know me well, you realize I like to research things before buying, eating, etc. So I did for this item-and the reviews were great. And I agree! I LOVE this thing. It has cut down my hair styling time and is so easy and makes my hair look great. I don't have to style it at all other than using this Iron. It rocks! I can straighten it or curl my hair in just a few minutes. Goodbye straightening iron!

-A fossil watch from Matt's dad and step-mom. I used to wear a watch all the time and for some reason I haven't in a few years. I am so excited to use my new watch and I love this classic and stylish design.

-New grey suede "booties" (or short boots) from my father and some skinny jeans from GAP (from Matt) with stirrups. Yes, you have heard that right! Jeans with stirrups. And yes, I realize that is so 80s and laughable, but, my friends, you will not see the stirrups because I will wear them with one of the several pairs of boots I own. If you have ever worn your skinny jeans tucked into your boots you will may realize what a pain in the you-know-what it can be when your jeans bunch up around the ankles or rise up out of the jeans (bunch at the knees). So this should be an instant fix without giving away that my jeans are actually stirrups. And the booties are super cute and stylish and I can't wait to wear them soon!

-A gift certificate to the spa from Matt's dad and step-mom-Thankyouthankyouthankyou!! Wohoo! My aching back and neck also thankyou.

-Sharper Image Stainless Steel Stick Blender from Matts mom. This thing blends, chops, and mixes so easily. You can just stick in it a bowl or glass to mix or blend. So easy! No need to get out tons of pieces to put together in order to make a smoothie or to mix anything. Just stick this item in the mix and hit power!

-A new Brighton charm bracelet from Nick and Megan. I have never had a charm bracelet and am excited to start collecting charms. To start the bracelet off they got me a Georgia peach charm. How thoughtful!

-A BUNCH of new clothes from Matt, my dad and step-mom. Thanks to them I will be lookin' good in 2011.

-An awesome embroidered beach towel from my mom. This thing rocks! It has a pocket to hold it onto the top of the beach chair to prevent it from sliding down. It also has two small pockets on the sides by where your arms will be to put in your suntan lotion, phone, etc. And it's pink!

-An embroidered wine carrier from Phoenix. I have been eying these things forever and am so glad to have one. And its orange and navy! War Eagle!

Okay, I have to draw the line here because I could keep going on and on and on. I was so blessed to receive so many amazing gifts. I hope the ones we gave made people as happy as I am! The biggest gift I probably received though I haven't mentioned yet. It is....(drum roll please)....

A trip to New Orleans for my birthday in April from my sweet and wonderful husband! He knows just how much I love New Orleans and what an awesome surprise that was! I can not wait!!

Merry Christmas!

Sorry I have been MIA lately--we have been so busy with the Christmas holidays! Two weeks ago, we went home to spend the weekend with my family for the holidays. This was the first year I was away from my family for Christmas, but luckily I was able to go home and have a "mock" Christmas with them all. Friday, December 17th was my brother Jason's 30th birthday so we met up with him at my mothers' and went to eat. My cousin Emily and her friend Regina also came into town and visited us, along with her twin Liz who lives in Atlanta. So we had a good time catching up with them while spending time with my brother for his birthday. We always do breakfast with my family on Christmas day so we did this that Saturday in Atlanta. We then opened gifts together as if it were Christmas day. That night, we went to my fathers house and had a big dinner with my dad, step mom, brothers, and wives. We were able to open presents and spend some good time with them.

*This is a new tradition the guys started this year at my dads house on Christmas. Shots of tequila! This past week was a blur because I only worked Monday through Wednesday, so I had to rush around all day trying to get a weeks worth of work done in 3 days. I did enjoy being lazy and staying home Thursday and Friday though, so the hard work was worth it! Friday night was Christmas Eve and we spent it with Matt's step-mothers' family. This was the first year they had a talent/skit contest. Matt's dad came up with the idea of dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". We got together during the week and practiced the dance. It ended up turning out great- we were all in sync and all the other family members seemed to get a big kick out of it. Too bad we didn't win though!
*Matt and I before leaving for the party on Christmas Eve

Christmas morning started off with a large breakfast at Matt's dad and step-mom's house. I brought one of my family traditions "Nana Bread" to share with his family. We later shared presents and enjoyed time together. This year we were blessed with a wonderful surprise of SNOW!! It was beautiful! What a true blessing for us on the most special day of the year--I feel we received a blessing from the big man himself yesterday! After breakfast and presents, we headed to Matt's mothers home. We opened gifts with her and ate a late lunch/early dinner. It was great! We were exhausted by 4pm and headed back to the house to relax and spend some time alone on Christmas night.

*All of us "kids" at Matts dad and step-mom's

*Us with Matts mom on Christmas day

*Megan and I enjoying the snow

We had a very wonderful Christmas with many great surprises, but I truly think the most fantastic part is being able to spend time with loved ones and letting them know how much they mean to you. To think of what Jesus has done for us and how we are blessed is such a wonderful and powerful gift in itself. I hope everyone had a great Christmas as well!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

We had a great and busy weekend! We started it off Friday at Matt's work party in Mountain Brook at a doctor that he works withs home. It was a beautiful house and we had a lot of fun. I was glad to finally be able to put faces with names from the co-workers I have often heard about. Afterwards, we went to my work party which was at WorkPlay, a really nice venue here in Birmingham. It was interesting to see co-workers let loose and have a good time outside of work. We didn't stay long there though, because we had another big day the following day.

Saturday we went to Matt's mothers house for a family Christmas party. It was great to see family members who we often don't get to see. After the family party, we headed to our friends Meredith and Ben's house for their annual Christmas party. Every year we have a different theme and this years was pajamas. It was hilarious to see everyone in their pj's and it was comfortable!! Here are some pics from the evening:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Books to read for even non-readers

I am a bookworm. Nerd. There, I have said it. It took me a long time to admit it but I can now be proud and say I love to read. A lot. Ever since I was very young, since elementary school I have read. I had bookshelves in my room growing up that were overflowing with Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitters Club and Ghosebumps books. I remember staying up late on New Years Eve as a child reading a book. During college I was too busy with school and you know, partying, to read often, but after graduating I found myself itching to start reading again. So here I am as an adult being an avid reader, again. I am the proud owner of a Nook, Barnes and Nobles version of a ebook reader (like Kindle). I also like to frequent the thrift stores to find cheap good books as well. And for Christmas, there is nothing more than I love to give than a book. I think there is nothing more personal than picking out a book you think would inspire/entertain/educate/etc. and giving it to a loved one. The problem is that a lot of people say they don't like to read. I say to that you "non-readers" must not have read a good book. Because once you have begun a good book, you can't put it down and often find your mind wandering back to the story. You feel sadness when you reach the last page because you will no longer spend time with the characters that you have grown to love. With that being said, I would like to give some "non-readers" and fellow bookworms some great book recommendations. I have read probably hundreds of books in the last year or two so I feel I have pretty good say when I say these books are amazing.

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. -I thought this book sounded weird being about a young adult joining the circus in the early 1900's. It ended up being amazing. Great. Funny. Romantic. Ironic. And, apparently the folks in Hollywood loved it too because they are making a movie based on it. Don't wait until the movie comes out, read the book. I promise you'll love it.

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett-Again, I thought this book didn't sound great. It's based on women in the south during the 60's who have African American "help" working in their homes. I LOVED it. It is touching, hilarious, and really gives you insight as to how life was like during this time for those who were working in the homes during and after the civil rights era.

3. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton-Great mystery about a young girl during the early 1900's who was separated from her family and later tries to find them. It's not only about this woman, but her ancestors, children, and grandchildren. It has romance and mystery and I had a hard time putting it down. A must read.

4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer- Kind of weird that this whole book is composed of letters based around an author living in Europe during and after WWII and the German invasion. She begins corresponding and eventually visiting the people on the island of Guernsey and learning of how they lived during the German Occupation. It's funny, cute, easy to read, and educating.

5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hoseeini-This book is not for the faint of heart or beginners. This is a very deep, touching book based on two young boys living in Afghanistan and their lives being affected by the change in political power and the Taliban. It even sounds boring as I type this but it is not at all and I just could not leave this off my list. It is a great, powerful, and sad story and is definitely a great read. Be prepared with your Kleenex's while reading though.

AUsome weekend

We had a wonderful weekend! We started off Friday by both Matt and I getting off early and going to lunch and then off to complete our Christmas shopping. We are actually about done with Christmas shopping now! After shopping, we picked out our Christmas tree and took it home to decorate. It was such a great Friday night, we both had our pajamas on by 7pm, had the Christmas movie "Love Actually" playing while we decorated the tree and the house, and wrapped presents. It was just the perfect day/night to put us in the Christmas spirit.

Saturday was a big day for us. Our Auburn Tigers played the University of South Carolina's Gamecocks in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. If we won this game, we would be headed to Glendale, Arizona for the National Championship. I felt pretty confident going into the game but by the end of the first half I felt very confident! It ended up being a great game for the Auburn family, as we won 56-17. War Eagle! This will be the first time Auburn has gone to the National Championship since 1957. We watched the game at our friends' Allen and Amanda's house and had a great time watching with many of our Auburn friends.

After the game we headed to the Grayson Valley Country Club to celebrate our friend Daniel's 30th birthday. They rented out the Country Club and had a DJ, a catered buffet, and a bar-all you need for a good time! We had a lot of fun!

Sunday we went Christmas shopping with Matt's dad and step-mom Debbie at the Galleria and later went to dinner. I love Christmas and I love to shop so obviously shopping at Christmastime is so much fun to me. We had a great day and evening with Bob and Debbie and were so grateful for all they did and have done for us!

We've got another big weekend coming up with 4, yes you read that right--4, Christmas parties. Stay tuned for pictures and updates!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours was. It started out Wed. afternoon we left Birmingham and headed to Atlanta. We spent Wednesday evening in with my mom in our pj's watching movies (note to my 4 readers-Sex and the City 2 is looonnnggg and not so great). Here is a picture of ALL 4 dogs that were at my mom's house, from left to right-- our dogs Max and Gracie, my mom's dog Aubie, and my cousin's dog Vinnie. They had a blast hanging out together all weekend!

Thursday was the big day and we first headed to my aunt Luannes house. Now, you don't get the name Luanne and not be an amazing cook. Same goes with my aunt Cheryl and cousin Tina. We had so much food it was exciting and overwhelming at the same time! It was great to eat and see all of my family, since last Thanksgiving we were in Birmingham and I wasn't able to see them. After leaving Luanne's we headed to my momite's (grandmothers) house. We were so stuffed we weren't able to eat there but did sit at the table and enjoyed the company while they ate. It was great to see my aunt Brenda, Uncle Mike, and cousin Kathleen, who had come in from West Palm Beach, Florida. I missed them last year also. We had a great day visiting everyone and once again I realized how much we have to be thankful for!

Friday was the other big day, better known as the Iron Bowl. My Auburn Tigers sure gave me a scare during the first half but I kept the faith and sure enough we pulled out a win! We had a lot of fun watching the game with my Georgia Bulldog dad and step-mother, but they were good sports and rooted for Auburn. Now we have the SEC championship game and hopefully we will be headed to Glendale, Arizona to WIN the national championship!

Saturday Matt, mom, and I went shopping. Later that night we went and stayed with our good friends Bobby and Amanda who I have known forever. It was great to stay with them and spend time not only with them, but their little ones as well. They have 2 beautiful kids, Reece and Avery and I hate that we don't get to see them often.

We headed back Sunday early and were able to get up some of the Christmas decorations. I've included a picture of our table all decorated. We are planning to get our tree this upcoming weekend so the house will be complete. Oh, how I love the holidays!