Monday, July 19, 2010

Frozen Biscuits are Awesome.

I wish my job was to write blogs. Because, which is obvious based on my lack of blogging for the past two months, there clearly isn’t enough time in the day to work, do laundry, go to the gym, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, watch my favorite TV shows, cuddle with Bob, Char and Justin, sleep, AND have time to write a fabulous blog. Today I’m lucky to have a few minutes to spare so I thought I’d write another quick life update. And my goal is to try to start writing again at least once or twice a week. We’ll see how that works out.

I am a fan of bulleted lists (duh- have you read the rest of my blog?), and they always seem like the perfect way to sum up three months of life.

• We had the best weekend in New Orleans! We spent time with fabulous friends and saw parts of the city we’d never had the chance to explore before. A ride on the street car, drinks at Margaritaville and a delicious seafood dinner made for a fun-filled weekend. I am in love with the culture, food and lifestyle of New Orleans, and I can’t wait for our next trip back.

• We went camping. Yep, camping. We packed up the car and headed North to Arkansas for a nice night at Lake DeGray State Park. After a quick 2.5 hour drive we arrived at the park and picked out our perfect campsite in the woods. On the way there I asked Justin if he thought we would fight while trying to put up the tent. His answer was simple: yes. Well, shock of shocks, we didn’t fight once. Our tent was up in no time, which meant time to play in the water and grill down on the beach! That was until we realized a big part of the tent was missing- the rain cover. So, it was back in the car to Walmart where we found a giant blue tarp and made our own rain cover. Problem solved. After a delicious dinner on the grill, we spent the night listening to music, eating s’mores and trying to stay warm. I slept like a baby in our comfy tent, and to finish off the weekend Justin took me to Cracker Barrel. And I loved him for it. Camping trip = success!

• I went down to South (and I mean SOUTH) Texas to work on a project, and Justin came down to spend the weekend with me. We met in San Antonio and had the best night on the Riverwalk, complete with delicious Mexican food, cups full of Cactus Juice and lots of singing at our favorite piano bar. The next day we met up with our friend Anne and floated down the Comal River- a blast! The water was freezing, but the fun day was totally worth it. After a delicious dinner at another friend’s house and a quick trip to the Alamo the next morning, the weekend was complete.

• We road-tripped it to South Florida for Memorial Day weekend, and it was fantabulous. We got to spend time with my family, celebrate one of my best friends birthdays (yay Kat!), and spend lots of time with the Future Mr. and Mrs. Andrews! Lizzie’s bridal shower was a huge success, and the 34 wine glasses that I hand-painted (yes, hand-painted) as favors were a hit…I think. We made a quick stop in Niceville on the way home to see Justin’s parents, and ended up spending time with friends that he hadn’t seen in many, many years. All in all a GREAT weekend!

• I proceeded to keep working in South Texas (seven weeks total!) and doing lots of traveling on the weekends. I flew in town the day before Justin’s birthday with just enough time to re-pack my bags for our fun weekend in Houston and to give him his birthday present, which was being stored by our wonderful friends Donny and Lea. Justin saw a globe bar in the SkyMall magazine on our flight to England in 2009 and has been talking about one ever since. So, I decided this was the year to get it for him. Stocked with his favorite liquors and two glasses engraved with his monogram I think he loved his gift.

Then we were off to Houston to spend the weekend with our friends Patty and Travis in their brand new townhome. We did a little shopping, ate a LOT of great food, stopped by the aquarium and finished the weekend off with Justin’s last birthday surprise- the Tool concert. I’m not going to lie- I was a litttttle nervous about my first Tool concert. But despite my ringing ears, I had a great time and the look on Justin’s face while watching his favorite band made the experience totally worth it.

• Lizzie and Ryan tied the knot!! What a perfect weekend. Well, almost perfect. I spent HOURS upon HOURS working on the slideshow for their rehearsal dinner. Being the perfectionist that I am, there were many late nights and frustrated moments, but eventually I had the ideal slideshow. We made it Florida around 11:30 p.m. the night before the rehearsal and it was time to put my creation on a DVD since I had a busy day ahead and wanted to be prepared. Well, in a moment that I still can’t explain and have just chocked it up to pure idiocy, I delete the ENTIRE thing. There were tears. Hysterical, the-end-of-the-world-has-come tears. My lovely, kind, patient boyfriend finally calmed me down and told me to focus. So I did. And by 4:00 a.m. I had recreated my masterpiece (which was great until I realized that I had to be up at 6:30 to be ready for our spa day…mizzy). But the slideshow was a hit, and from our girl’s spa day at the Breakers, the fantastic rehearsal dinner and the gorgeous ceremony, everything was beautiful and fun. I felt lucky to be part of the wedding party and even more blessed when I got to play the piano during the ceremony. I think it went pretty darn well, and that little moment when I caught Lizzie’s eyes while playing her song will stay with me forever. It was amazing to watch my friend who I have known since 1993 marry the boy she met in 3rd grade. It was a true fairytale weekend, and despite the few hiccups, it was, in every sense of the word, perfect. Congratulations L & R!!!

• We hit the road again for a fun 4th of July visiting Justin’s grandparents in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The weather was gorgeous, and I was as happy as a pig in mud with all the scrumptious home cooking and local eateries. We spent lots of time relaxing at the lake, visiting with family, and, of course, EATING! My perfect weekend :)

• We bought the best vacuum the world has ever seen. It’s true. I never thought that spending so much money on a vacuum would make us so happy. But alas, our new Dyson Ball Animal is possibly the best thing we have EVER purchased. After just one time around our apartment we filled that thing up THREE times. And then we vacuumed again. And once more the next day. Our carpets and rugs look amazing, and I now love vacuuming just to see what it will pick up that day. I wish there was a market out there for cat hair because we could have clothed a small country in Bob and Charlotte hair sweaters just after day one…

• We celebrated our two-year anniversary!! I still can’t believe it has been two years since we saw each other at that wedding in New Jersey and never looked back. Our relationship has been wonderful, fun and incredibly exciting every step of the way. It brought us to Shreveport, sent us on trips around the world and made us best friends. I can’t wait to see where the next two years take us.

• I discovered the best biscuits ever. We always have a big breakfast on Saturday and Sunday if we’re at home. It’s fun to cook and it’s even more fun to eat the final product. Well, we were standing in the biscuit isle at the grocery store debating, as we usually do, whether this week we should by flaky layers or homestyle. A nice man offered his opinion of buying a bag of frozen biscuits and just popping them in the oven. Frozen?? I wasn’t so sure. But, we decided to step outside our comfort zone and try them. HOLY CRAP. They are amazing. You take them out of the bag and they look like stupid little crap biscuits- I was so disappointed. But then, miraculously, 26 minutes later you have the most amazing, fluffy, giant biscuits ever. Thank you random man at the grocery store. We are forever indebted to you.

• It got really, really hot in Shreveport. Ungodly hot. The heat index has been between 105-110 degrees every day this past week…insane! The good thing is that we’ve spent some quality time at the pool and I’m starting to get my tan back. Phew.

2010 has already blessed us with so much fun, friends and traveling, and I can’t wait for all the adventures we still have in store for this year. I got a fantastic birthday present from my friend Tracey that included (as well as fab gold sandals, the best inappropriate postcards ever and an awesome CD) an adorable book of quotes. I super love it and thought I would share one of my favorites: “I have always wanted an adventurous life. It took a long time to realize that I was the only one who could make an adventurous life happen to me. “- Richard Bach

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Emerald Belle!

Today kicks off the birthday weekend of one of my favorite new friends from this chapter of my life. I was blessed and fortunate to land a position with a great company out of Fort Worth when I first made the big move to Shreveport, and despite the ups and downs it has been the perfect fit for me.  I’m thankful to this job for many reasons (i.e. I get to work from home, I’m learning lots of new things and I get to buy fun things with the money I make), but I’m mostly thankful because I met Taylor. They say that you meet people in life at certain times for certain reasons, and I am SO glad Taylor came into my life when she did. I’m pretty sure she’s my long lost kindred spirit, and there might be a slight chance that we were separated at birth (which would be cool because then it would also be my birthday weekend too!). In no particular order, here is why Taylor is awesome:

1) She makes my job MUCH more fun that it should be. I’m very happy she told me to sign up for Gchat.

2) We have the BEST conversations. It’s hard to find people that can keep up witty banter as well as Taylor can, and I think I’ve become wittier just by talking to her every day. One time we had a 2-hour conversation about all the words and phrases in the English language that we liked and hated, making up some of our own words in the process, and I think that was the best conversation ever. Eggs benny are ab fab and Ding Dong is a great name for an Asian baby.

3) She can quote the entire movie of Elf back and forth with me. And the fact that her favorite part is about the baby asparagus who is self-conscious about his pee smelling funny is super.

4) She has fabulous fashion sense, and she always gives me outfit advice. Plus, she showed me my new Steve Madden boots, and I love her for that.

5) She loves cake just as much as I do.

6) Actually, she loves all food as much as I do. A trillion brownie points there.

7) She understands my sarcasm and funny jokes through a computer. THAT is impressive.

8) She is super sweet and sent me ghost books for my birthday.

9) She sent me wigs when I didn’t have any.

10) She lets me vent about things like work, boys and when I’m having a fat day.

11) She is SO motivating. And she’s going to run a 5K with me, which is the most exciting news ever.

12) She is really pretty and has pretty hair…but not too long that it looks like she has extensions. Oh, and she is the smartest person I know. Taylor, I hope you’re getting the funny joke here.

13) We read fun blogs together. And without her I wouldn’t even have this blog.

14) We discuss dinner plans every night and help each other decide what recipes to make.

15) She still likes me even after that day when I knew about a picture of her on facebook before she did. I’m sorry that I’m such a good stalker.

16) She knows I understand why she got upset when she accidentally dropped her strawberry plant before work and it shattered everywhere. I totally would have cried too.

17) She loves books, and I LOVE books.

18) She loves quotes, and I REALLY LOVE quotes.

19) She is one of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met, and she always makes me smile when I’m having a crap day.

So, Mrs. Taylor Green, I hope you have the best birthday weekend ever!! I hope you get lots of fun presents (including a certain purse), eat lots of red velvet cake (and maybe even a cake ball!) and are showered with love alllllll weekend, because you definitely deserve it. Happy birthday!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I am not entirely sure where the last four weeks of my life have gone.  Some days I wish I could go to the land where my days go...must be a fabulous place.  I plan to write an excellent blog in the next couple of days, but in the meantime here is a brief update on my quickly fleeting life:

  • For all of you that I'm sure have been wondering, my cruise luggage was 49.5 pounds.  I have truly got that weight limit down to a science.  Justin waited until they put it on the belt because even he was skeptical of my fantastic packing skills.  I wore maybe 4 things that I brought, but everything in there was absolutely necessary.
  • The cruise was an amazing, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I will cherish every memory for the rest of my life.  I truly have some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  That cruise is a post in itself.
  • We have...scratch that, HAD....two baby birds on our balcony who have the smartest mother bird I have ever seen.  Not that I've seen many mama birds up close and personal, but when a bird lays her eggs in a comfy hanging flower basket, she wins smartest bird in the world.  A pre-made nest?  I wish I was that smart.  Anyways, our adorable new bird friends were happily chirping away and cuddling with each other until SOMEBODY tilted the basket a little too far and the frantic birds flew away. Although I don't think they were quite ready to fly away considering one of them sort of fell out of the basket and the other flew into a light on the side of the building and fell to the ground.  It was a terrible, awful moment, and I kept hoping they would have the strength to get themselves back up to the nest.  Alas, Lloyd and Harry (named lovingly by me after 'Dumb and Dumber,' despite our friend Ben's suggestion of Bob's Breakfast and Charlotte's Lunch) have not returned and I no longer have two pet birds.
  • One of my very best friends Kristin came to visit me from Tampa, and we had a fantabulous time.  You don't realize just how different life is without your best friends around until they come to visit you and then they leave. We played lots of beer pong, watched plenty of Sex and the City and ate an entire funfetti cake.  Perfect weekend.
  • We went to Gainesville and had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Justin's dad, Colonel Griffin, retire from the US Air Force.  It was a touching, impressive and emotional ceremony, and one that I'm sure will not be forgotten quickly by any.  It was wonderful being back on our old stomping grounds and visiting with friends and family, and I got my fill of cheap college drink specials and my favorite Mexican restaurant.  What more could I ask for? 
  • I found out that my parents and little sister are moving back to England in October.  It was a shock at first and a little difficult to grasp, but I am excited for them and glad that they are moving back closer to family and for a new start.  Now we have an excuse to make a trip over that giant pond a little more often.
  • I cleaned out my closet and you can actually walk inside it now.  GINORMOUS accomplishment.
  • I ate a 3 lb bag of gummy candy in 2 days.  Sort of disgusting, I know, but I just couldn't stop.  Have you ever seen a bag that included gummy bottles, frogs, worms, fruit shapes, ribbons, bears AND sharks??? Me neither- I had to have it.
  • I discovered and fell slightly in love with Absolut Acai Berry Vodka. 
Stay tuned for more posts in the very near future, and enjoy this quote...I think it describes me pretty perfectly.

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

50 lb weight limit? Who are they kidding.

In an attempt to actually be organized ahead of time for a trip, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. to complete my dreaded task of packing. I am, without a doubt, the worst packer in the world. In fact, I’m probably the reason why there is now a 50lb weight limit and a ridiculous fee to check baggage. I am terrible at making decisions and even worse at only taking one of something. With one of my very best friend’s bacherlorette parties this weekend, I am obviously going to need everything in my closet that I might possibly even consider wearing. Plus two back-up possibilities for each day and night. Oh, and extras in case anyone hates what they brought themselves. Needless to say, this is why I’m up so early.

Anyways, as I start packing I thought back to a conversation I had yesterday where I realized that the title of my blog “A Perfect Ride” may be a little presumptuous and misleading. My life isn’t necessarily perfect. Not by any means. There are days when I want to scream and pull my hair out, and there are times when I wish I could just sleep the day away to not deal with things. I have worries and sadness, arguments and bad days- we all do. Even millionaire celebrities hate their lives sometimes (and it’s way worse for them because their bad days end up in front of us in line at the grocery store). But I’ve learned through my life that I have to find and focus on the positives, because we all have SO much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my loving family around the world. I am blessed to have a truly great boyfriend (who seems to love me even when I accidentally turn all of his white shirts pink. Oops.) and his wonderful family that has started to feel like part of my own. I am beyond grateful for the friends in my life; those that saw me in my roller figure skating days and are still friends with me (I really love them) and those that I’ve met along the way. Some days I really just feel lucky to be living “The American Dream,” with a good job, sunny blue skies and my two lovable (one fat and one fluffy) cats.

Could it get better? Absolutely. Would I change a thing? Absolutely not.

I equate my “perfect ride” to a roller coaster (and I LOVE roller coasters). Who would want to ride a roller coaster that was always on its way up? There would be no thrill, no excitement, no momentary panic when you’re convinced that your head is going to smash into the ground. It’s the ups and downs during the ride that make it so exhilarating and so much fun. I’m living my own personal roller coaster. I have days when I feel on top of the world and days when I’m pretty sure I should be wearing a helmet. Things speed up and I find myself trying to catch my breath, and other times things slow down and I spend a quiet night on the couch with my best friend. I laugh on the ups, I want to scream on the downs, and sometimes life just sucks all the breath (and sometimes the spit- ew, gross) out of me.

But to me, that is perfect. I’m not perfect, life isn’t perfect, but the ride is.

I hope that everyone is able to realize that no matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing or who you’re doing it with, your ride is perfect too. Without making it through the drops, enjoying the rises and sometimes losing your sunglasses, life just wouldn’t make sense. So find happiness in something every day. We are all surrounded by it, but sometimes we just need to look for it in new places. Eat a cookie (or 12), read a good book (I totally recommend Chelsea Handler if you need a good laugh), watch your favorite movie (Elf is great any time of year), call your parents- there is happiness ALL AROUND YOU!

Even tomorrow when I’m standing at the airport at 5 a.m. and the man tells me my bag is overweight, I’m still going to smile and try to be happy because a) my bag is full of very cute and important things- of course they weigh a lot! (oh, and I have an extra emergency carry-on to shove things in) b) I’m on my way to see some of my best friends in the world for what is sure to be an epic and unforgettable weekend, and c) frowns are ugly and in the infamous words of Jimmy Buffett, “wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring is in the the Form of Snowflakes

I am, apparently, a terrible blogger. Every day I wake up thinking about what I want to write about and then before I know it the entire day is gone and all I have are three lines. I have a head full of ideas and some witty lines in the works, but there just never seem to be enough hours in the day to post them.

In the meantime, I’d just like to say that I am SO excited about spring. Although, I can’t even express my disappointment when I woke up on the first day of spring to 40 degree weather and on the second day to I woke up to snow. Snow. Seriously? Unless I can practice my new-found love of snowboarding or throw a snowball at Justin's head, I’d rather not have it. Especially when it ruins fun barbeque and outside concert plans. Thank goodness that the next day was full of sunny blue skies and not a single drop of rain…or snow. I’m ready to pack up all of my coats, my ridiculous amount of sweaters, my cute collection of scarves and, yes, even my boots, which I am slightly in love with. I’m ready for sundresses and white pants, gold flip flops and brightly-colored tops. I’m ready for green trees, waterskiing on the lake and Saturdays wasted away at the pool. Winter, I loved you, but it’s time for you to go.

I actually love the change of seasons because it’s like opening a whole new closet of clothes you forgot you had. There are few things better in life (after cake, of course) than finding a fabulous dress or pair of peep-toe heels that you forgot you had because it has been so long since you wore them. Living in Florida, I could pretty much wear my wardrobe year round. Even the nights when it was a “cold” 50 degrees we’d still put on our cute party dresses (no tights necessary) and run as quickly as possible from the car until we were inside. Living in Louisiana has given me a chance to have a “winter” wardrobe, and this season I really had fun with it, but I literally can’t wait to break out my Rainbows and my favorite denim mini.

So, welcome Spring! I can’t wait to see what fun we’re going to have together (and all the fabulous blogs I'm going to write about you). Let’s hope the snow stays away and the blue skies make a daily appearance. Here’s to longer, sunnier days and warmer, brighter outfits. And Steve Madden boots, even though I love you, it’s time to go away until at least October.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Here's to you, Mr. Jameson

I’m feeling nostalgic today as I think back to where we were this time last year. During a random conversation on a drive home from Arlington, TX, Justin brought up the fact that among his many interesting and diverse life goals, one was to be in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day. Our genius minds quickly pulled together an ingenious plan. We would go on a trip to England to see my family and make a quick stop in Ireland while we there. Within two weeks our tickets were booked and our two-day trip to Dublin was in the works, with my brother and two other friends along for the ride. We arrived in Dublin on March 16th, and could already see the celebration that was about to ensue.

Justin has, how should I say, a strong affection for Jameson Irish Whiskey. And when I say strong affection I really mean that he once told me he wished he could marry it. Needless to say, the first stop on our whirlwind trip was to the Jameson Distillery, and you can imagine how excited Justin was. After a trip to the gift shop, a drink in the bar and learning that he could have his very own bottle of Jameson engraved with his name, I think he was in heaven. Another feat crossed off his bucket list. After leaving the distillery, and after a quick run-in with a very affectionate leprechaun, we made our way to the Guinness Factory, another one of Justin’s favorite creations.

I can’t say that we saw the inside of the factory, because we didn’t. I can’t even say we had a drink in the bar because it didn’t happen. Due to our lack of a foreign cell phone and our terrible planning skills, we became well-accustomed with the sidewalk and the front door as we waited outside the factory for two hours for our friends Tim and Jon-Erik. Craving a pint and some good Irish food, we gave up and headed to a local pub, only to find out that they had also been waiting for us the whole time. Inside the factory. At the bar. Maybe next time, Guinness Factory. We finished our first night with a trip to the Hard Rock and the purchase of a sparkly, rhinestone-studded green cowboy hat, ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

We heard rumors and had numerous people warn us that “they don’t really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.” Let me just tell you that whoever thinks that is beyond confused. With more than a million people in the green sea that was the streets of Dublin, I’d say that they celebrate it better than anywhere else in the world. We purchased our leprechaun top hats and our Ireland scarves and headed to the parade, which was, in itself, a unique and unforgettable experience. We spent the day journeying through the Temple Bar district with countless pints of green beer, an endless desire for Irish stew and kisses for everyone, Irish or not.

This was a trip that so many will never have the opportunity to make and something that I would have never done by myself. I will always be thankful to Justin for making it happen. I feel extremely fortunate to have found someone who also has a strong sense of adventure and a serious case of the travel bug. Although, it’s also slightly frightening because we’re both full of ideas and up for anything, and before you know it we’ll be stuck in our car at the top of a mountain in the middle of a blizzard because we thought it was a good idea at the time. Justin does come prepared though. You’ll never find him without his camping toilet paper and fire-starter sticks (which come in handy more than you would think).

So, today I am going to live vicariously through my pictures from last year, put on my Ireland scarf and hope that Louisiana knows a thing or two about green beer. And while we can’t be there in person, I’ll make sure to have Jameson and Guinness in stock when Justin gets home so my lover of Irish drinks will be well-equipped to make his infamous Car Bombs and feel like he’s right back in Temple Bar.

I believe in luck, and the engraved ring that I wear on my right hand is a constant reminder of that. I bought it when I first decided to move to Louisiana, and while it’s now a little bent out of shape and scratched all over, it has brought me nothing but the best. I’ve been blessed with all the luck and all the love in the world...what better day to celebrate it than today!

Monday, March 15, 2010

That Takes the Cake!

I’ve been hard at work on a fantastic travel post for the past three days, but a terrible realization I had on a recent trip to the refrigerator stopped me in my tracks. Everyone knows I love food. I love eating, and I typically eat more than most people would deem acceptable. Adam Richman from Man vs. Food would probably become my best friend if I ever get to meet him, which I plan to, because among my dreams is a strong desire to start my own show, Woman vs. Food.

On my birthday, which was exactly nine days ago, Justin brought home an incredible double-layered chocolatey, dreamy concoction from a local bakery. We sang happy birthday and I devoured my first slice, proclaiming it was the best cake I’d ever had (which I’m pretty sure I say after every piece of cake I eat). Justin, unlike myself, does not really eat cake, so I figured I would just eat a little then reluctantly throw the rest away so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the whole thing. Especially considering the fact that I still have Valentine’s Day red velvet cake in the freezer waiting for me. About five days later, Justin opened the refrigerator and said “Oh my God, you’ve eaten half a cake.” Ummmm I have? I guess a little slice here and there can really add up quickly. I took that as a bad sign and decided that day to throw away my cake.

But who can throw away a perfectly delicious cake? If that is what will power is made of, then I have none, clearly. Because when I opened the refrigerator today and looked at the cake box, this is what I saw:

I’ve done it. I’ve had my cake and eaten it too. After today’s breakfast and minus two small pieces eaten by friends, I will have eaten an entire cake in nine days, foregoing the nicely cut slices I was making last week for a fork straight into the box. I think Adam would be proud, and I think a cake challenge will be the first episode of my new Travel Channel show.