Thursday, April 28, 2011

We are okay!

Thank God with all the terrible tornadoes and storms that hit Alabama yesterday we were lucky enough to make it through with no damage.

Yesterday morning we woke to sirens and rain beating down on our windows. Going to work that same morning I saw tons of trees and power lines that had fallen along with lots of places that power was off. We received a phone call from Matt's mother that her home had some damage to her roof and it was leaking. The fence in her backyard had been knocked over and some of her bushes were pulled out by the strong winds.  Matt, his uncle, and brother went to help his mother, Debbie, put a tarp over her roof in anticipation that there were worse storms to come.  I made the mistake of calling her while they were on the roof putting up the tarp. The wind had begun to blow and I was worried that Matt should finish up and head home before the next storms hit. As I was talking to her, Debbie kept yelling to the boys.

"Be careful!" "Oh my gosh Matt watch out!" "Oh my!.." "oh gosh!"

Let's just say it wasn't very comforting to hear her cries of worry as I was talking to her while my husband was on her roof. Note to self: don't talk to Matt's mom when he is doing something dangerous. He anxiety levels don't help mine.

Matt finally got home and thankfully they were able to fix her roof and it held up through the other storms. It was mysteriously sunny all afternoon and my dumb self said (enter southern redneck voice here)

"well I don't guess we are gonna get any bad weather". Yeah. So I jinxed that. I can see the headlines now "Jessica Coleman jinxes the state of Alabama causing catastrophic tornadoes". Okay, 99% of Birmingham would be like, Jessica who?

Around 6pm we started to hear the sirens go off again and turned on the news. Thankfully our power never went out. We saw that there were several tornadoes that had hit, and one that was headed our way. My husband is the one that when the weatherman says "Do NOT go outside!" he runs outside to look. "Hey Jess! Look at this!".  We later joked about his potential death saying "his last words were 'woah it sure is windy out here!'. *please know I am in no way trying to minimize or laugh at the severity of the devastation*

After convincing him I loved him and wanted him around longer we got in our safe spot with the laptop and watched the news while we waited with the dogs. There is nothing scarier than watching devastation heading straight to your house. We prayed and thank God he heard us. The tornadoes missed us. When it was all over we went outside and saw so much debris in our yard. Insulation, shingles, wood, toys, and even a artificial Christmas tree branch was in our yard. And the sad thing is that none of it was from anywhere near us. It very well could be from Tuscaloosa, where a horrendous tornado hit. The crazy thing is, Tuscaloosa is over an hour West of us.

Some of the debris in our yard, some roof shingles, a page out of a nursing book, a toy some wood

Luckily Gracie wasn't too worried.

Matt and the dogs in our "safe area"
Seeing the news this morning I couldn't help but feel thankful that we are fine-- along with our family and friends, but also saddened and shocked at the extent to the damage. It looks as if bombs have gone off. Hundreds of thousands of people have no power, many no homes. Many lives have been lost. It makes my heart hurt. Please keep our state in your prayers during this difficult time--we need all the help and prayers we can get. Visit the Red Cross website for more information on how you can help.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wedding, I mean Race Day Jitters

So race day is just a few days away. Actually less than a few days away. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago when I started researching the Country Music Marathon and became more and more excited with the thought of running a half marathon. The truth is that was over 4 months ago. I would be lying if I didn't admit I have some jitters and nerves about running the race now that it is so close.

It feels like a wedding. You make this huge commitment and put all this hard work into something that will only last a few hours.  My mom will be walking me down the aisle, I mean cheering me on. And instead of a few hundred guests I will have a few thousand. My bridesmaids are my fellow runners, some of which I know: Mere, Megan, Ashley, Paige, Kelly, Liz; plus another 25,000 or so. And with all this planning and training comes anticipation. Will the day go as I planned? Will I feel okay? Will I make it?! Having my injury has really set me back some, which makes me have more doubts about my ability. Kind of like a big fight with the "fiance" would a wedding.  But I have made this commitment. I am stronger than I know. 13.1 will not be the death of me. I have put endless hours of training and am ready. I can not have any doubts and must be 100% sure of my decision and commitment. I am. And the jubilation and pride I will have when it is done will be worth all the sweat and hard work.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"-Philippians 4:13
Bring it on.
I got this.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Reads and Recommendations

As per the book nerd that I am-- I have recently read a few good books I would like to share. Now that it is summer time, there is no excuse not to grab a great book and enjoy while soaking up the warm rays.  Or sitting at your desk at work hiding from your boss. Whatever works for you. Last time I recommended books I think a few of you may have actually taken my recommendations and to which I hope you enjoyed!
So, here are some more!

 Saving CeeCee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman-
I really liked this book! It is about a young girl who is raised in the north by mostly her mother who is mentally ill. Her mother is often delusional, believing she is back to the time when she was the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. Her mother dies  in a traumatic accident and CeeCee is brought to Savannah, Ga to live with her great aunt. I am partly biased because it tells about the wonderful south and it's charming people but also about CeeCee and her journey to cope with the loss of her mother and learning to be happy with who she is including where she comes from. A heartfelt book that is funny and sweet all in one!

 Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay-
I waffled back and forth about recommending this book but ultimately I enjoyed it. It was not a sweet-perfect ending-everything is resolved-kind of book. It is set in both 1942 and present time and follows a young girl who's family becomes victims of the Hollocaust.  In the present day story it follows a 45 year old married woman who ends up moving into the young girls familys' old apartment (prior to Hollocaust).  The story goes back and forth between the times and stories and ends up weaving together in the end. It was good, touching, and still left me thinking about it. Warning: not a beach, easy read; think deep, difficult, and sad at times, but worth the read.

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah-
I really like Kristin Hannah and her writing style. Summer island is a great summer beach read about a mother's relationship with her daughters. The mother in the story, Nora, left her family when he daughters were teenagers and went on to become a famous talk-show advice/type host. The story follows Nora's journey to repair her relationship with her now grown daughters. It is a sweet book and will make you appreciate your family and own mother.

Can You Keep a Secret- by Sophie Kinsella-
If you are ever looking for an easy, funny read get anything by Sophie Kinsella. She is hilarious! In Can You Keep a Secret the book follows a young woman named Emma who on a flight confesses all of her secrets (think TMI times 10!!!) on a flight to a stranger. As luck would have it, the stranger presents at her work the following week as the CEO of her company. It is hilarious to see how Emma deals with her embarrassment while trying to keep her job at the same time. Sophie Kinsella has never disappointed me, and I am about to begin the Shopaholic Series soon. I am sure I will not be disappointed!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I heart NOLA

In 2006, post Hurricane Katrina, I went on a trip with a few girl friends to New Orleans for a bachelorette party. I immediately fell in love with the city, it's rich history, it's eccentric culture, it's pride, and their determination to rebuild after Katrina. I have made a point to go back as frequently as I can, which ends up usually being about once a year or so. I hadn't been in a couple years and desperately wanted to return when Matt surprised me with this birthday trip. We left on Friday, which was my actual birthday. We arrived around lunchtime and were told we couldn't check in our hotel just yet. We were just fine with that and decided to walk around and enjoy the city.

We always stay at the Bourbon Orleans which is at the heart of the French Quarter. It's great because you can walk around and be close to everything without needing a car. While waiting for our hotel room to be ready, we walked around the French Quarter enjoying all the sights and street performers. We even took a horse and buggy tour which I highly recommend. It is so fun!
**Forewarning: I am not an alcoholic. When in Rome......

Chillin by the water

Great thing about NOLA- no open container laws. Which means it is totally normal to walk around with a 24 ounce beer. And no, I am not 4 months pregnant, I have poor posture. I know mom, I need to stand up straight.

Matt and I attempt (seriously) number 4 to get a picture with of ourselves and Jackson Square in the background. Fail. Perhaps the beer was part of the reason why we couldn't get the angle right. Or the fact that I was too stubborn to ask anyone to take it for us.

Then we said forget it, let's just take individual ones. Isn't Jackson Square pretty??
When we finally checked into the hotel, I had a great surprise waiting for me. My in-laws ordered us a bottle of wine with a sweet birthday note.

Later that night, we went and ate at K-Joe's restaurant which we randomly stumbled upon. It turns out, it was featured on TLC's the Food Guru Show. It may not be official, but I consider myself a "Food Guru" and I give this restaurant 2 thumbs up! It was delish. After we grabbed a "Huge Ass Beer" (see picture below) and walked around Bourbon Street.
This picture does not even do this Huge Ass Beer justice. It was huge!

 We then thought, well we had a Huge Ass Beer, now we better have the famous Hand Grenade Drink. Poor decision. I look happy and excited at the time of this picture, however, the night went downhill from there. And downhill meant Jess had to go to bed cause she couldn't walk straight.

Saturday morning we headed to Cafe Du Monde and ordered some Beignets. If you haven't had them you are missing out. And they are fantastic. Think funnel cake for breakfast.  
 After breakfast we laid out by the pool for awhile. 
Keeping with the good food theme, for lunch we headed over to Central Grocery which is a little store that doesn't look like much, however, the line down the block tells you it it something special. Luckily, Matt was a champ and patiently waited in the line with me to try the famous Muffaletta. I have been told that Central Grocery is where the Muffaletta started and you must get one from there. Neither of us had even tried one before. I really enjoyed it, but Matt tried one bite and thought it was terrible. No Muffaletta's for Matty.
The famous Central Grocery Muffaletta

We walked around the French Quarter and shopped later that day. Okay, I shopped while Matt was a good sport and let me. For dinner, we headed to Port of Call, another awesome restaurant which is a small shack that is known for their burgers. They were hands down the best burgers I have ever eaten. I apologize I didn't even take a picture because I pretty much scarfed mine down without even looking back!

We were real ambitious and thought we would go out again Saturday after dinner, but after a so-called "pit stop" by our hotel we were sucked into the big comfy bed and didn't make it out. It's okay though, because that is what vacation is for right? To relax....Ahhh....

We made it home Sunday pretty early for a beautiful Easter day. We had a great Easter dinner with family and are now resting up getting ready for the daily grind to begin tomorrow.

Have you been to New Orleans? Love it? Hate it?

Holy Cow I'm Famous and pre-birthday bash

A few months ago, I began reading Skinny Runner's blog pretty regularly. In case you haven't heard of her, she is a girl who lives in California and blogs about her life, which consists of a lot of running, traveling and other fun adventures.  She sometimes features other bloggers which she calls "Cat Lady Blogs". I'm not sure why she calls it that, but I always enjoy reading new bloggers' blogs and wanted to become a Cat Lady Blogger myself. To my great surprise, Friday morning, on my birthday (which I'm pretty positive SR did not know that it was) I got a text from my friend Amanda which went a little like this
 "OMG you are the Cat Lady Blog today!! Wow!!"
and I did a little "Whaaaa?!!?! Are you SERIOUS!?!". 
I was so excited to get on my blog and see how many new followers and posts I had! So I want to give a big Thank You Skinny Runner and to all of the people who checked out my blog and left me a post or even followed me! Ya'll are so sweet! It was such a wonderful birthday gift! I feel famous (okay, maybe I'm totally exaggerating here but still!).  I will try my best to be entertaining and witty and whatever it takes to keep you coming back for more! :)

So, for my birthday, my hubs Matt surprised me with a trip to New Orleans (which he told me about a few months ago).Thursday night, prior to our trip, we met up with a few good friends to celebrate (early) my birthday as well as my good friend Bethany's birthday, before we headed to the Big Easy.  We went to this neat restaurant in Birmingham called J.Clyde.  They have a huge back porch and great drink specials which we took advantage of. Afterwards, our friends Mitch and Amanda decided to keep the party going with us and we all headed next door to The Blue Monkey, a martini bar for a nightcap. Here are a few pictures from that night.

Up close and personal of me and Matt

The birthday girls-Bethany and I

Amanda, Ashley, and Ang B.


  • Amanda and I later taking advantage of the $2 champagne specials at The Blue Monkey--yes, we are corny.
    He's a keeper
Awwww...Amanda and Mitch

Some hotties! Matt and his twin Nick, their younger brother Ryan (yep you read that right), and Mitch

All in all it was a great night and I had tons of fun celebrating my old age birthday with great friends and family. Also, I hope everyone had a great Easter and weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to the 21st Century

So, I did not mention what we specifically went shopping for this weekend when I mentioned we went shopping. When we purchased our new treadmill, we did not expect it to be as large as it was. And hey, I am not complaining, it rocks! However, our dinosaur television which I enjoyed watching Oprah on during my runs was being blocked by the screen of the treadmill. Well, no Oprah makes me sad so we had to figure out a plan B. The room itself is just not large enough to make due with the dinosaur television, so we decided to enter the 21st century and purchase a small flat screen which we could mount on the wall. After numerous trips to Home Depot and other various stores, we found a TV we liked and were able to get at a decent price along with a shelf and some cord covers (not really sure if they are called that) which we Matt painted to match the wall. I think it turned out great. My hubby rocks for putting up with me and my crazy Oprah loving-running ways. And by the way, Oprah was a good one today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweets here I come!

This past weekend was nice, as we were super lazy again. Well, not as bad as last weekend though. Friday it stormed really bad and we ended up staying in and watching a movie. Saturday we did a little shopping and just hung out at the house that evening. Luckily, we have cool neighbors so they came over for a few games of Mexican Domino's. Lately I have been off my game on Mexican Domino's (yeah, yeah I've been off a lot of things lately haven't I?) so I did not win one time. Maybe I need a trip to Mexico to help my game? Anyone wanna go to Cozumel? Cabo? Sunday we went to church, ate lunch with the in-laws, and I went to a good friend's baby shower. Here are a few pictures from Saturday:

Matt playing hide and seek from the camera

Amanda and I

What a cute couple!

Running again....slowly.

So I have slowly began running again...slowly. Literally I have been slowly easing into running again and I am literally slow. At this point I am just so happy that I am healthy enough to be running again that I know I can't complain, but it feels like all my hard work has been pointless. My injury has set me back and I feel like I am starting at the beginning again as I did in January.  With less than 2 weeks to go for the big race. 

Truthfully I know that is not the case, because my stamina is much greater and I can still handle the long runs (well, 5 miles is the farthest I have run post-injury) without becoming out of breath and it feels good. Maybe that is because I am not pushing myself to my pre-injury speed. I think that with the injury I have learned that it matters more to finish the race instead of racing the race. I kept putting these expectations on myself that may or may not have been achievable but the truth is is that this is my first half marathon. I haven't run a lot of races. I think I just jumped in and set these high standards for myself which was never really fair for a first time half-marathoner.

Though the injury sucked I think it was a great lesson for me. I should be proud of how far I have come and that I am still able to run (or walk) the race. I should feel blessed that I am physically healthy enough to be able to participate in a half marathon. I have great family and friends who have supported me through this journey, some of which are going through the same thing as me by running the CMM--and for their love and support I am so thankful for. And worse case scenario, if I couldn't run the race, it is not the end of the world. There are much bigger and greater things in life. There will always be other races I can run. Just as in life, the race itself is not the important part, it is the journey that matters most.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wine Not.

Last night I hosted a Wine Tasting Party for some of my friends and co-workers. I have had one in the past and it was so much fun! This year was just as great as the last one. We had lots of good snacks and good wines to drink and try.  My wine tasting skills are about as good as William Hung is at singing, considering in the taste test I got 2 out of 8 correct. I was so sure of my choices at the time, clearly maybe the wine is to blame for my poor judgement.  They do say alcohol impairs your judgement. I did get some cute pics though.

A group shot of the girls minus Jenn and Maria who had left at this time, and minus the bottom half of Jessica's head! Jane, Me, Phoenix, Megan, Grelier, Mere, Laura, Jessica, and Bethany

Can you see Mere's spot where she was supposed to be? She was in charge of the camera timer...clearly missed this shot

Some of my awesome co-workers, plus 2 of our interns, whom we will miss greatly! I love having someone to do my job teach and guide to help further their education. ;)

The Taste Test:  Group 2: Mere, Megan, Laura, and Bethany our winner. Look at how Bethany still appears to be pondering what wine it was. Her strategy worked as she got 7 out of 8 correct!

Here's group number one: Phoenix, me, Grelier, and Jane. Please note we are all guessing a different choice.  Wonder who was correct?? Odds are not me.

Gracie had a blast attacking all the guests with her tongue. She just wanted a little wine taste.

Phoenix likes her wine

Phoenix and Jenn. Jenn was a great sport coming 5 months preggers and helping to run the taste test contest.

Cute pic of Megan and Bethany
It was a sucessful night! I hope to continue to have these wine tastings in the future because it is a great reason to get the girls together. Maybe one day I will actually win. Yeah, proabably not.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jamaica Me Crazy

After much talk and anticipation, Matt and I have booked a trip this June to return to Jamaica! We were married in Negril, Jamaica in May 2009 at Couples Negril Resort. It was amazing, wonderful, fantastic,  and beautiful, a trip we will never forget. Not only was Jamaica a beautiful place, but we were able to share the most wonderful day of our lives there with some of our close family and friends who came with us. Since our return we have longed to go back and visit the gorgeous island that shares this special memory with us. Even last year we booked a trip to return, but later cancelled and decided to go on a cruise with some of our best friends (which was a blast!). Though the cruise was awesome, it still didn't satisfy the urge to return to Jamaica that we still felt. So we are officially booked--leaving June 8 to spend a marvelous 6 days in paradise. We decided to visit Ocho Rios which is a different part of Jamaica than we have previously been to. We will stay at another Couples Resort, Coupes Tower Isle which has amazing reviews. We can not wait and are so excited to spend a 'second honeymoon' together just the two of us! Here are some pictures of the resort that we will be staying at:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Picture Overload!!

Yesterday was wonderful. I spent my whole day in heaven here.....

 My awesome mother-in-law (Matt's step-mom) Debbie treated my sister-in-law Megan and I to a whole day at the spa. We went to Ross Bridge, a local resort that has a spa, restaurant, golf, and pool. In between spa treatments (think facial and massage....) we laid by the pool and sipped Miami Vice's (Strawberry Daquiri's mixed with Pina Colodas=delishhhhh). It was wonderful and it felt like I was on vacation. A much needed vacation.

Saturday started with a bang as I along with Ang and Phoenix went to eat lunch and to see "A Chorus Line". Angela's boss has season tickets to the Birmingham Broadway shows and he gave Angela the tickets to "A Chorus Line" as he was out of town and couldn't go. I hadn't see "A Chorus Line" and ended up really liking it! It was pretty funny!

That night, we had a get together for Matt B. and Ang to celebrate their recent nuptials in Jamaica. They said seeyalata and headed to the big island eloping to avoid stressful traditional wedding planning. I personally believe getting married in Jamaica is a great idea. Oh wait, I did that. And it was. So we celebrated this past Saturday night and of course had tons of fun. Here is picture overload from that night:
From left to right: Our beautiful newlywed, Amanda, Megan, Mere, and I

Amanda, Mere, and I

Yeah, I am a dork. At least I can admit it. Thats the first step right?

Did I mention we tried to have a hula hoop contest? We didn't do so well... Here's Mitch trying...

Now Bethany....

And Mere...

The beautiful bride and I

I have hot friends! Phoenix, Ansley, Ang, Rachel, Bethany, Mere, and I

The newlyweds

Friday night Matt and I went to eat some Mexican and did a lil' shoppin. Matt is a typical guy. And therefore doesn't like to shop, which at times causes neglect to his wardrobe leaving shorts that don't fit or shirts that have tears. I swear we aren't that poor. So after I noticed he had cut slits in a pair of shorts around the rim to fit him I realized it may be time to update his wardrobe (this is unfortunately a true story). Of course mine needed updating, too (a woman's wardrobe can always be added to) so we headed to the mall Friday night and got some great stuff. Matt picked out clothes in like 2.2 seconds so we finished pretty early and decided to meet up with a few friends to enjoy the beautiful weather and some live music on the patio of a local bar/restaurant.
Matt and Mitch

Phoenix and I

Matt, Mitch, and OJ

Amanda and Kara