Friday, December 25, 2009

Welcome Back! and Merry Christmas :)

Wow's kind of like I went out for my post-Thanksgiving shopping spree and disappeared amongst the aisles of Target for an entire month...only to reappear just in time for a Christmas greeting!

It has been a while, and I offer up my apologies. I'd hand out some excuses as well, but they would be a lie, because basically I've just been lazy. Life has been rather crazy this past month, though. Lots and lots of stuff has happened, in fact! Let's see, since the last time we spoke I have...

...purchased and entirely finished Gossip Girl Season 2. Thought you might want an update since I was so excited in the last post. And yes, in case you were wondering, I do attribute much of my recent laziness to this feat...there were like 40 some odd episodes.

...called it quits with classes for the Fall 2009 semester. Thank goodness.

...somehow gotten it together enough to study for and take on my finals.

...totally stuck it to the man, and by man I mean my seriously frustrating history teacher who gave a completely off-the-wall essay question for our final that was super difficult and impossible to study for. However, by "stuck it," I mean I got an A. So take that and bring it on.

...celebrated my 4-year anniversary with the Benjamin. Happy times :)

...gotten a hair cut! Its dire necessity merits sharing.

...moved back to my for real home for break, which is always a welcome experience.

...had a big girl birthday! I'm officially 21!! Although I've yet to do anything exciting, not that I ever really will.

...taken my first trip to the Big Apple! And survived...without looking like a complete Southern idiot.

And now here I am, enjoying the last minutes of yet another wonderful Christmas with my beautiful family. Last night mom's side came over for our annual Christmas Eve festivities, and today we headed over to the grandparents' to spend Christmas day with dad's side.

As lame as it sounds, I think the gift I'm most excited for is the sweet food processor mom and dad gave me. I've always wanted one, and I can't wait to make yummies like hummus and pesto and pastry dough and anything else I can whip up. Oh, and I'm also stoked for the union suit I received. In case you don't know, that's a onesie pajama suit with a butt flap. Ridiculous but still somehow cute.

Well I should probably go to bed so I can get up tomorrow and well, do nothing pretty much. That's what break is best for! I hope everyone had a Christmas as sweet and wonderful as mine, and may you not forget the true meaning of the season!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

-Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Coming...

I love Black Friday. Although I don't even really know why. More times than not I end up sleeping in on that morning, and on the occasion that I do make it out super early, I rarely even buy anything. After all, the lines are always ridiculously long, and in the end, I really don't need anything, even if it is a $3 toaster.

Target has those this year by the way...along with a $3 coffee maker, sandwich press, and slow cooker. I realize they are all probably bogus and burn everything, but still, throw anything at me with a $3 price tag, and I don't care if I despise coffee and already own 2 types of slow cookers, it gets me excited.

As you can see, I've spent a fair amount of time on the Black Friday websites the past couple of days. I've mainly been using It has ad scans for all the major stores, as well as product listings and a shopping list creator. Pretty cool, huh? Yep.

The only thing I'm really interested in is the $12.99 Gossip Girl Season 2 offer at Target. That's legit people. It's normally around 40 bucks, which I'm totally willing to pay for hours upon hours of overly dramatic upper East side entertainment, but $12.99?! That's worth waking up early with the masses. Although I'm sure they will be gone within 7.38 minutes, and I am not one to push and shove, but if I manage to roll out of bed on time, that just might be the first goal.

I wish I had more of a need to hit up the sales, but I really have no desire for cheap towels, discount board games, and value luggage. Still, though, it's just a fun thing to look forward to. People go crazy, and I like watching them stress over filling their carts with as much junk as they can. And the stores sure are allowing plenty of time for cart-filling to take place. Kohl's opens at 3:00 am. That. is. ridiculous. I mean like potentially not going to sleep the night before ridiculous. You will not find me out that early, but, I wish happy shopping and lots of caffeine to those of you who do plan to brave those hours. And maybe, just maybe, I'll see ya a couple hours after...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ouch. Ick. Mmm.

It's Sunday morning. I wish I could be at church. But I've got a loong day ahead, so I am here. And I should be writing a paper, but instead I am writing a blog post. Typical.

So my original goal of multiple posts this week somehow failed miserably. Nothing really to blame, just life I suppose. Go fig. Oh well, here's at least on an update on the past few days, which have been pretty eventful, so gear up...

Friday morning I trekked way out west (of K-town, that is) to see the doctor about my frustratingly intense leg pain I've been experiencing the last couple of weeks. Although by Friday morning the hurt was really next to nothing, and I feared the doc would think I was crazy, making things up, and wasting her time. Not the case, however. Turns out I have a left tibial stress fracture. Ugggghhh. This means no running or impactful exercise for 4-6 weeks...which kills. Now I have to rely on swimming and stationary biking to burn calories, and in my experience, this does not always work out for me...especially when the temperature begins to drop (which it like just did...). It's ok, though. I'll give up running until the new year, but I just hope when that time rolls around everything will be totally well and I can go at it with no interruptions!

Friday night meant Fall Formal! I went back and forth on whether I was actually going to go all day, especially since my throat was killing me and my lymph nodes were super swollen and tender. Not the most comfortable experience. In the end, I took enough drugs to ease the pain and showed up. Was it fun? At times. Like the point on the bus where the dude across from me puked all over my feet and dress? Not fun. And the really smart decision to only have one bus to transport our entire sorority halfway across the country and back? Also not fun. But the band was good, and the Benjamin and I got some good dance time in before the masses arrived later. Here are me, Gav, and Mel at Gettysvue where it was held:

PS: Gettysvue makes some bangin' chicken fingers in case you ever happen to be dining at the Country Club. That was another perk of the evening.

Ok. Cue Saturday night. Unfortunately I spent all morning and afternoon in bed trying to overcome the sickness so that I could enjoy the football game later that night. It worked, and I got to go with the fam to the Club Seats at Neyland to watch the game. Soooo wonderful up there. There is food everywhere, and we all know that's all it takes to make Emily happy. I'm pretty sure I consumed five thousand calories, but hey, I figured I'm only up here once, so what the heck. And I got to venture up to the skyboxes where I saw Geouque and Erin and Dave. It was overall super fun and I wish I had a money tree so I could sit there every game. Here are me, Benjamin, and Maddie in the sweet leather chairs out above the field:

Alright. I'm really going to write my paper now. It's gotta happen or it isn't gonna happen. Come 1:00 the day is devoted to slating and an early Thanksgiving dinner at the grandparents. It will all be great and grand, but neither involve writing a paper. So here goes...4 days of classes left!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week in Review

Hello friends! It has been far too long, and I apologize for the lengthy delay. I could blame the absence on the test and homework craze that was last week, but really I think the reason for lack of posting is, well...lack of anything to post. Sometimes I think I live a pretty darn boring life, and since I don't have any precious little children running around to spice up my blog posts, I usually just resort to not sharing anything as opposed to sharing the mundane happenings that are actually going on.

Still, though, I have to post something. So here's my attempt to at least try to entertain you folks...a glimpse at a view of the more exciting moments that marked my week:

Monday, as in the Monday that happened a whole week ago...oops, I finally addressed my long-time goal of conquering homemade gnocchi. See, I've become a bit overly obsessed with food blogs over the past month or so, and when all you do in your spare time is peruse through recipe after recipe, it's likely that you'll get quite a hankering to cook. That definitely has happened to me lately, and look what it produced:

Fresh little potato dumplings made with my own two hands. I definitely have a long way to go before I can ever compare my gnocchi to that of the classic Italian grandmothers out there, or even the pre-packaged version available at the store for that matter, but these were at least edible. I'm not even really sure what recipe I used, if I even followed one. I really just read as many posts and recipes concerning gnocchi that I could and then tried to combine all the useful advice into my own creation. But like I said, it needs some work. When I perfect it, I'll let ya know.

Let's see...Wednesday mom booked our trip to New York City for my b-day! That was definitely a highlight of the week! We have a great looking hotel reserved in Time Square, and we also already have Wicked tickets! I've been trying all week to locate restaurants for us to hit up, seeing as how food is my number one priority when traveling, but I haven't had much luck. It's ridiculously overwhelming, so we might be questioning the concierge upon arrival in order to decide on eateries. No worries, though, I have tracked down a few must-go dessert joints, so at least we'll be good in the sugar department.

Moving on to the weekend, Sunday the Benjamin and I headed to Nashville for the Titans-Bills game. We had a wonderful day together, and I'm glad I finally got to see some NFL in action! It was surprisingly warm considering it's mid-November, and I did encounter a bit of a sweat fest on the endlessly long walk to the stadium. I'll admit...the Benjamin had to purchase a dumbly-overpriced $28 t-shirt for me to change into because my nice blue button-down was a wet mess from the blazing sun. I felt bad for him, bit he insisted, and I was disgusting...and miserable. The overall experience was great, though, and the boys even pulled out their 3rd win in a row! Woo hoo!

Fun times, fun times. Well that's about all I can really remember from last's start to this week has been a super long one, so everything else has started fading away. I'm really going to try to post more this week...interesting or not, so get ready!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holy Smokes, Folks!

Well, I did it. For the first time in my two and a half years as a student, I finally completed an entire crossword puzzle in the Daily Beacon! And I'm pretty stoked...

I attempt it every day...well, except Fridays that is. See, they get more and more difficult as the week progresses, so I figure it's a lost cause by then. But still, yay!

I guess I'll go to class now...but come on, I figure if I've got enough stuff up there to fill in answers for 78 random clues, then I've got plenty and anything more is just excess.

Hah. Take that college. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Recap and Some Suggestions

You know that oh-so-wonderous and delightful feeling of having absolutely nothing to do? The type where you crawl into bed in the middle of the day, lay your head down on the pillow and just think to yourself, wow...I am totally caught up on everything...there is nothing I need to do right now, or all day...I can just lie here without a care in the world for as long as I want...

Psych. That never happens in college, are you kidding me? But, sometimes, despite the to-do list that will exist for eternity, I still get in bed in the middle of the day, think all of the above thoughts, and pretend like they're true. This Saturday was a perfect example of one of those times. I really didn't have much to do, little enough actually to totally justify my everlasting afternoon rest, as it was direly needed. After waking up at 7 a.m. for like the 17th day in a row (literally, y'all...) to run in the Race for the Cure, I returned home, stayed vertical long enough to shower and fold laundry, and then cozied up in bed...from about 10 until about 6. Coooool. It really was though.

Then I managed to reveal myself to the world in order to share dinner with the Benjamin and then head to the Ice Chalet for some skating shenanigans with him, Nat, and our friend Will. It was crazy fun. A little cold, yes, but crazy fun. I mean I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time, and it was so wonderful to be able to let loose and be goofy. After all, anyone who can honestly take themself seriously when ice skating is...well, taking themself too seriously.

There's those silly boys trying to skate backwards...apparently "it's all in the hips" (according to the expert dude making his rounds). Telling a boy that something is "all in the hips" just results in a series of hilarious failed trials where the only accomplishment is looking quite ridiculous. Good times, though. Good times.

Now, before I go, there are two suggestions I just have to share. Firstly, for all you Knoxville folk, the Benjamin and I ate at Hard Knox Pizzeria in Western Plaza on Friday night, and it was delicious. Incredibly authentic pizza (but better than any I had in Italy) and a really relaxed local atmosphere. I was so impressed by my simple, fresh mozzerella with red sauce pizza, and the Benjamin's caramelized garlic and salami with white sauce choice was incredible as well. I will definitely be back, and hope others will give it a shot too!

Secondly, for all you It's a Wonderful Life lovers out there, I watched a movie in history class today that was very similar and almost as good. We watched American Madness, a film also by Frank Capra (the director of It's a Wonderful Life), who I'm thinking could be my new favorite film-maker...not that I've ever really considered who that would be anyway. Regardless, if you're ever in the mood for an old black and white film that will totally lift your spirits and just make you smile from ear to ear, try to get your hands on American Madness. It's basically a story similar to It's a Wonderful Life but set about a decade earlier, at the onset of the depression. I know how we love our color these days, but I'm telling you, this is one of my new favorites!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hold Up.

Hey Alabama. Congratulations. You barely squeaked out a win over a non-ranked team. Please continue your celebrations and revel in your glory. And enjoy falling out of the number one spot come Monday. Because I love my team...but if we almost beat you, we who were 3 and 3, there is no way you are deserving of a national title.

And you cheated. But what's new?

Roll tide, huh? Psh...

That is all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'd probably have to label fall as my favorite season for several reasons: brisk temperatures, beautiful leaves, the resurrection of football season, a parade of pumpkin-inspired baked goods, that tinkling that the holidays are just around the corner...and oh yes, we must not forget the glorious collegiate invention of fall break. Sure it's only an extra two days off from classes...and sure the vacation always seems to fall right smack in the middle of mid-terms, but sometimes just a short leave is all you need, and a nice long weekend as such certainly lends itself to the opportunity for one of my all-time favorite activities: the weekend trip.

I live in a fairly fortunate location, surrounded by many an interesting city, all less than three hours away. Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta...I enjoy them all, and I only wish I had the time and money to visit each of them more often. This fall break the fam, the Benjamin, and I finally made it to one of my favorite mountain towns, Asheville. I'm not really a fan of the intense hippie scene frolicking through the streets of the city, but the mountains, the shopping, and oh yes, the food provide plenty of reason enough to wander across the North Carolina border every couple of years.

We departed on our journey with only a few goals: take in some mountain scenery with a leisurely hike, stroll through downtown Asheville and its many local shops, and let's not forget the Beal family's continuous commitment to stuffing ourselves silly with delicious delicacies whenever we travel. Despite the dreary, drizzly drive on Friday and the sudden onset of frigid temperatures come Saturday, I'd say our little outing was quite successful...especially in the eating department...I may never need to do it again.

We somehow stumbled upon an absolutely perfect hike for Friday, suitable for all parties involved. It was a triple-waterfall-wonder in Dupont State Forest...and it was only about 3 miles roundtrip...which was good for my mom and my own ADD when it comes to endless mountain treks.

There's somewhat dinky waterfall number one...Hooker Falls I believe? We saw better, no worries, but I also enjoyed the struggling "Hey Ben, let me on your back" picture, so I thought I'd share.

That's more like it, eh? Triple Falls, it's called, and I was so not expecting such a was huge! Even my poor little outdated and so not-up-to-par camera got a postcard-worthy shot. I was thrilled...

And last but not least came the big daddy of the three: appropriately named, High Falls. You can't really tell from the picture but it was giant. We trekked down to the bottom of the falls and had to put our hoods up because there was so much mist. Not gonna lie...kinda felt like I was at Niagara...

So yeah...hiking is great and gorgeous and the rest, but let's get to the real deal: the food. I am a die-hard travel foodie. I choose cities for the restaurants and spend countless hours perusing menus in the weeks leading up to departure. My devout devotion to and love of Disney World has firm foundations in the Dining Plan option and all the delicious food the parks have to offer. Asheville definitely did not disappoint when it came to the dining department. Here's a look into where we ate...I highly recommend all of them:

Corner Kitchen...So homey, so cute, so good! Tucked away into a sweet old house in Biltmore Village, I thought this place was so authentic. The dinner menu changes weekly, so there's bound to be a new tasty option every time you go. We sat at a big table right across from the open kitchen, and it just felt like I was at home with a gourmet chef cooking for me. I had wahoo (fish) with a macadamia nut pesto and grilled pineapple salsa. Then for dessert the Benjamin and I split some white chocolate bread pudding...all of it was delish!

Tupelo Honey Cafe...We had lunch here Saturday, and needless to say I stuffed my face. This place is located in the heart of downtown Asheville, and it is quite popular, so expect a wait. We started with fried green tomatoes and fried cheese grit cakes...Southern cooking at its best. I ordered a grilled cheese with tomato soup...classic flavors but super good. No dessert this time...we found a yummy cookie shop instead.

Rezaz...Ok. Y'all. This place is to die for. I mean probably one of the best meals I've ever had. First we had a round of bread and olive oil that totally reminded me of Greece. Then I had a trio of dips as an appetizer: hummus, babaganoush, and muhamara (a red pepper dip with walnut and pomegranate juice). Sounds weird, but soo good. Next up it was sweet potato gnocchi with a parmesan cream sauce and balsamic reduction. And finally, a dark chocolate torte with vanilla ice cream. It was all amazing. I wanna go back. Tomorrow.

Sorry this post is an eternal one. Just had a lot I wanted to share! It was a wonderful weekend and I was not excited about starting back up to school this week...but I got through it somehow. The plan for this weekend? Catch up on sleep! It's a necessity folks...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wouldn't It Be Nice...

If I was only allowed to watch one television show for the rest of my would without a doubt be Friends. I was never a big fan when the series actually aired on NBC, but since my roomie introduced me to the wonders of TV on DVD freshman year, I have been hooked. Freshman year in the dorms, little Geouque had all the seasons, so I had free access to any and every episode. Last year in Laurel, little Mims had all the seasons, so again I could borrow any disc any time I wanted. This year, I was not so fortunate to have a fellow Friends fanatic to offer me complete reign over the entire series. Don't worry though, leave it to the Benjamin to come to my rescue. After only a week or two of complaining, he presents me with an early birthday gift: yes, it's true, all ten seasons of Friends. Life is good.

Well, we've been watching Season 5 recently (one of my favorites...I love watching the Monica-Chandler relationship unfold in all its secrecy and scandal). Last night, the Benjamin came over and we watched "The One With the Ball." It's pretty great, as are all of the episodes in my opinion, but this one kind of got me thinking...wouldn't it be nice to live like they do on Friends? I mean think about it...somehow you have enough time to spend several hours a day just sitting around the cutest coffee shop I've ever seen...and somehow all your friends have the time to do just the same alongside you. I guess you do go to work, but let's review your career options: you could be a chef (like Monica), you could work for freaking Ralph Lauren (like Rachel), you could be a television actor (like Joey), or you could be a masseuse (like Phoebe)...and let's be honest, none of them seem to be doing much in the way of working anyway.

You would live in a sweet apartment in the middle of New York City, and all of your best friends live either in your same apartment or the one across the hall. And don't worry, rent never seems to be a problem, so money must be good.

But back to this endless amount of time deal...yeah, if you're familiar with the episode I mentioned above, you would know that the whole storyline revolves around a game of catch begun by Ross and Joey, which continues for an entire day. I only wish I had enough time in life to just stop everything and try to set a record for throwing and catching a ball without it hitting the ground. It'd be nice, huh? Yep...

So that's my enticing thought of the day for everyone. Now I must get back to the pile of reading and studying sitting next to me on my desk. Perhaps in about 7 years I'll get to that whole ball-throwing thing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday! Love, The Dragon...

Happy 21st to the Benjamin! He's all grown up now...kind of scary I must admit. Mainly on account of the fact that I myself will be hitting real-life adulthood in only two months from now. Weird. Strange. I don't like it.

Regardless of my fear of growing up however, I still had to help the Benjamin celebrate his special day! We had a nice line-up of events planned...some of which worked out great, others...well, not so much. There's still more to come, though! Allow me to explain...

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day, unless you count dessert as a meal that is, in which case breakfast would definitely round in at a close second. But still, a big, yummy, calorie-filled morning meal is my favorite. Thankfully, the Benjamin agrees, so I thought I'd make him a nice breakfast for his b-day this morning. It was quite delicious, too. As a tribute to manlihood in general, I chose a Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole to start. It was almost too manly for myself, but he loved it, and that's all that matters. Came out looking tasty, though...

And I always find it necessary to address the fact that completely dessert-esque sweets are totally acceptable when it comes to breakfast food, which is where these super-easy and super-delicious canned biscuit donuts come in...

Just fry them up, toss in some powdered sugar, and add to a heaping plate of pure greasy protein, and you have one happy camper...

I made him do the cheesy thumbs-up deal...don't judge. So, wonderful, part one of birthday celebration festivities complete. Part two? Well, it was supposed to be a lovely fall hike through the mountains of western North Carolina. That is, until we encountered The Dragon...

Ok, so I've heard of this...The Dragon...a.k.a. the most deathly stretch of road in like the entire United States. It is indeed 318 curves in 11 miles...though it seems like so much more than 11 miles, my goodness. Well, we were just cruising along, following the Mapquest directions, looking forward to our leisurely stroll through brisk temperatures and gorgeous leaves, when bam, vomit-fest in the rain begins. And then continues to proceed for like half an hour. Wow, I have never been so carsick in my life, and I'm not sure the Benjamin's sweet little Civic has ever been so nervous and exhausted in his life either. It was quite intense.

We did survive, thank goodness (which the Benjamin really wanted to commemorate with a tourist-trap t-shirt, but I was too nauseas to agree). Unfortunately, though, at this point we were both kind of dreading hiking 6.8 miles and then having to re-visit The Dragon. Add that lack of enthusiasm to our terribly difficult time finding the trail head, and well, you can guess what hike in the cards for today.

We did suck it up and keep going long enough to at least run into Fontana Dam, the second largest dam in the country, behind Hoover of course. We both donned our most positive (and nerdy) faces and actually had a great time just exploring the dam and surrounding lake area. We took some fun pictures, ooed and ahhed over the beautiful views, and even had some spitting contests off the side of the dam before calling it a day.

You know what? I'm pretty sure 6.8 miles would have put me in a bad mood anyway. Especially since I so ingeniously left my packed lunch sitting on the counter this morning. Oops! We conquered the dragon a second time, avoiding all of these whipping around the switchbacks...

...and now here I am about to go meet the Benjamin for a birthday dinner at Naples! And we can't forget cake time creation is turning out to be pretty ridiculous. More pics of that to come!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Did Someone Push Fast Forward?

I was just talking with my roomie about how quickly this semester was flying by. I mean seriously, next week is midterms. We are already halfway done. Y'all. I feel like I'm still getting used to my routine! I truly believe I'm moving in fast forward mode.

I haven't shared any of my own pictures lately, mainly because I'm lazy and don't want to wait for them to upload. But, seeing as how this semester will be over before I even know it, I thought it necessary to show some real life evidence of what's been going on...
**Warning: these go way back...or at least that's how it seems...

There's a look at my bed and sweet cross collage hanging above. I've been meaning to post some pics of my room...unfortunately that didn't happen until two months after I started living in it...

That's me and Geouque over Labor Day weekend in Charleston! We're atop a cannon replica out on the Battery. It was such a wonderful trip...primarily thanks to the food I inhaled on a daily basis.

Thursday nights in apartment 307 have been officially designated "Office Nights." We invite some friends over to watch the show, pick a food theme, and get cooking...which usually results in an amount of food tremendously too large for the number of people present. This is my pesto pizza I made the first Thursday of the season...whole wheat crust, basil pesto, fresh tomato, and fresh mozzarella...yum yum!

I've started doing some morning swim routines at the indoor pool before class this semester. I try to make it once a week, and surprisingly, despite the 6 a.m. wake-up time, I've held to it thus far. It's really quite peaceful and so nice to get my work-out done so early in the day. I also love the gift of seeing the sunrise over campus as I walk out to my car when I'm finished. I took this one morning because it was so calming and beautiful I just couldn't resist!

Last weekend the fam was in Kingsport for a soccer tournament and I volunteered to stay at home and watch Lucky to save boarding money. The Benjamin came to keep me company and even got in a little spooning time with the Luckster himself. I'm just obsessed with this picture...aren't they both precious? :)

There's the Benjamin and me at the Tennessee-Auburn game last night! We had terrific seats...section D, row 4! Unfortunately, the game was a blow and the surrounding fans were annoyingly distracting and obnoxious...for a variety of reasons. This was before the game started though, so we were still all smiles.

Lawhead and Haley made a sweet sign for Nick Reveiz, an injured player who used to play at Farragut, so we felt the need to show some recognition. Fortunately, this sign + good seats up close + ESPN cameras nearby = an ESPN appearance for ME!! I haven't actually seen the recorded show yet, but Lawhead watched it last night and took a picture of the tv when we were on. I saw it on his twitpic this morning and could totally make out my face, despite the distortion. It was pretty exciting!

So there you have it...a little tour of life so far this semester. I hope to have lots of fun fall pictures and stories to share very soon! If only this constant rain and huge to-do list for school would stop preventing that from happening...happy weeks to everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Once upon a time I competed in a Fantasy Football league with a group of about 12 guys...and I came in second. It's definitely up there on my list of astonishing feats in life. I was pretty proud.

Those were the days when football came before a lot of things in my life. I knew the leagues. I knew the players. I knew the coaches. I even aspired to have the Monday Night Football theme song somehow incorporated into my wedding. Oh, and once, I totally predicted the Superbowl match-up in like Week 5 or something ridiculous like that. Yep, as far as the general female population goes, I was definitely considered a pigskin nerd.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned here, that football flame died somewhere along the way, and up until a few weeks ago, football's only role in my life was a possible producer of background noise to be played while I wrote papers during late-night babysitting. Well my friends, I think it's back. And I'm pumped. Check it:

This is where you can find me Saturday night, at 7:45 pm, in the perfectly brisk fall air that screams, "are you ready for some football?" Oh, and if you can't make it to field to see me, you might just turn on the tube and watch you some ESPN...I'll be the one on the FOURTH ROW, just off the 50-yard line. I'm hoping to find some sweet orange overalls to's that for spirit, eh? Be jealous, UT students, be veeery jealous.

And this is where I'll be come November 15th! The Benjamin's totally not-a-surprise birthday present is a ticket to the Titans-Bills game on that Sunday afternoon. I've never before experienced an NFL game should be quite exhilarating I'm thinking. Especially considering the fact that I will be seeing T.O. in person...well, from the nosebleeds that is.

And now I shall be off to continue pretending to do my homework while devoting way more attention to Monday Night Football and the peanut-butter-chocolate-chip banana bread my neighbors just made...hello deliciousness! :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blame it on the Rain...

When this is the forecast...

This is what I put on...

And this is where I set up camp...
That's pretty much been the story on this super-soaked Saturday. I'm not sure I knew so much rain could fall from the sky. I'm not really complaining, though. Since I've been sentenced to staying at home with Lucky all weekend, I was sort of banking on a fairly uneventful and lazy couple of days. I've done a great job carrying out that plan. Check it out, though. This picture was taken today only like two miles from my house...

Scary, yes? I think so. Needless to say, the Benjamin and I did at least venture out from under the roof today though, in order to run a little errand known as dinner. Now, had the sun been shining and the birds chirping, you just might have seen something the likes of this on my kitchen table this evening:

Yummm. That would be Emeril's Shrimp with Linguine in a Pesto Cream Sauce, and my oh my does it look tasty. However, with the rain comes the laziness, and with the laziness comes the indecisiveness. So even though we had a Target buggy full of all the ingredients needed to create this delicious feast, a second analysis of what we really wanted to do tonight produced this replacement in our cart:

Yep. Classy, huh? It was perfect, though. The only prep required was turning on the oven, and the only clean-up required was tossing plates in the dishwasher. It doesn't get much better than that. Especially on a lazy, rainy day when the only productive activity I accomplished was washing my sheets because I had been in them for so long this morning. Yikes.

Well, here's to continued couch time and hopes of sunny skies for tomorrow. I don't really think I can sit any longer...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Story of My Life

Leave it to Maddie Beal to speak the most insightful and true statement I've heard in a while...

In her words, "The paragraphs in my chemistry book are like food for the brain...and my brain just isn't hungry."

The family determined it the quote of the day. I'd like to designate it the quote of my semester. Except extend "the paragraphs in my chemistry book" to everything I hear in every single class on each and every day, blah blah blah.

Thanks, sis. Here, I'll even put up a picture of you since you so often complain of blog neglect. Sorry it's from like four years ago. And that you still have braces.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I Learned This Week

Longest week ever. Well, actually it seemed like the shortest week ever, but my to-do list sure needed the longest week ever. Tests, research meetings, documentary proposals, history readings...the list goes on, and now all I'm left with is a mind full of mush. Tired mush. But I can manage to remember a few things I learned this week. I thought I'd share...

1.) From Jeopardy. Apparently on the Forbes list of the Top Billionaires of 2009, positions 11-14 are held by Walton family members. Well I've helped that cause out a few times this week...oops.

2.) From a history reading. When Mickey Mouse first came onto the scene back in the day, he starred in nine movies before he actually talked. His first word? "Hot dogs!" Classic Disney. Always memorable.

3.) From my research lab training. I got hired as a research lab assistant last week and learned about the task I'm working with on Wednesday. The really cool part? The Navy actually wrote the experiment, and they are actually counting on the results to improve their system.

4.) From the sky in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sometimes it rains everyday. But it is possible to still have a joyous day despite that.

5.) From Ben & Jerry's. This is absolute, no-joke, for-real best all-time flavor Ben & Jerry's offers. I had never seen it before, but I picked it up yesterday at Walmart as an end-of-crazy-week treat. Now I can't stop eating it.

6.) From The Office. Pam and Jim are having a baby. I think that's weird. The Office is not a baby kind of show.

7.) Again from history. Also back in the day, when the U.S. decided showing movies on Sundays was a bad idea, Knoxville was apparently the last to put the rule into effect. Way to go K-town. Way to be the heathen city.

8.) From my life and the Lord. No matter how defeated you might feel by your day, your week, or your life, God will never give you anything you can't handle. He definitely revealed that to me this week, and I am so incredibly grateful.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Good News and Bad News...

Oh the Neyland Stadium student you love to make me so exhausted and unhappy. So much so in fact that in recent years I have come to avoid you at all costs...that is if I can do so without committing social suicide. Why UT students, why must you be so numerous and ant-like on game days? And why must you create such crowds amongst those oh so uncomfortable bleachers? Why must you insist on standing the entire game? And why the whiskey-spiked Cokes? They just never end in good times...

I have become very good at rattling off this ranting list when it comes time to present my excuse for not attending each and every home game during football season. It breaks my heart, too, because it was not long ago that college football was one of my favorite things in life. I used to love going to games with my family, tailgating at our usual spot, experiencing the overwhelming rush of excitement that is Neyland Stadium. For some reason, though, as soon as I actually became a Tennessee Vol myself, it was suddenly so much harder to mean it when I cheered how "great" it was to be one.

I must admit, I didn't even really care about the newness and excitement surrounding the new coach this year. The most interesting aspect to me was the cool fact that Lane's oldest daughter attends the pre-school where I work, meaning I kind of have a long and strange but totally valid connection to someone somewhat famous, or at least well-known. Still, though, in keeping with the general trend of what college students are "supposed" to do, I bought a ticket for today's game and tried my best to not completely dread it. And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there were moments of utter exhaustion. Yes, my legs currently feel like I might have just run a half-marathon. And yes, at times I probably looked like I had just jumped in a pool thanks to the sweat pouring from my body. But those things are to be expected at these things, and overall I still had a really good time.

So that is what I'm calling the good news: the fact that there is still hope for me and my dying love of America's game. I yelled and screamed and cared (which is big), and it made for a great day and a definite thrill. Unfortunately, though, as you can see by the second part of this post's title, there was a bit of bad news on this day as well. And if you turn on SportsCenter right now you could probably hear about Crompton's multitude of interceptions (I lost exact count) and soon after the sad score of UCLA-19, Tennessee-15 will flash across the screen, and there you will find the bad news. We were so close...I mean just one more yard kind of close...but aren't we always, right?

At least I felt a negative emotion as a result of the outcome, however. I'll confess to secretly pulling for a loss on game days during my freshman year, as a win meant people would be crazy happy, which would lead to crazy parties, which would thus make me feel more like a loser and probably have a harder time sleeping in a peaceful environment. But it was still a bummer that we couldn't capitalize on our blowout victory last week. I just hope Kiffin is hot on the trails of many a mind-blowing high school quarterback, because good grief we need a good one. Maybe by next year we'll find one...hopefully I'll still be interested in attending a game by then.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sometimes it's the Little Things...

It's official. I am a terrible blogger. It appears when I start to add graded items to my to-do list, my favorite summer activity gets kicked to the curb. And I can't even really commit to a full post here. Although in this case it's not the homework that's beckoning as much as the pillow. I knew the daily 8 a.m. class decision would catch up with me eventually.

Regardless of my need for sleep, however, I just wanted to share the ingredients of my one moment of solace on this crazy day...the pumpkin spice latte has returned to Starbucks, indicating not only the promise of many happy helpings for myself, but also the coming of everyone's beloved favorite: fall. So take heart in knowing the option is out there, and please make a point to go try one. I'm not even a coffee fan, but this little treat probably brought me more joy than anything else today. It's true what they say: sometimes it really is all about the little things.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Look Up.

Consider for a moment, the tree. Remember back in those preschool aftercare days when you would produce the classic child rendition of the grass+sun+tree with black hole+possible wandering fluffy cloud? We all did it, and we all thought afterward we had created the perfect picturesque scene. In a way we had, because we were four, and to our parents, anything on paper that was recognizable was considered perfect. But in reality, this is not a perfect picture...

Let me tell you why.

A tree's trunk is far more detailed than the skinny brown rectangles portrayed in the classic tree drawing. There are hundreds, no thousands, of branches intricately intertwined, climbing to the sky. And the leaves of a tree do not magically form into a clean-edged ball of green fluff atop its trunk. No, the leaves of a tree are possibly the most fascinating. They are indeed magical, but this beauty is found in their wildness, in their paradoxical perfect patterns that also bring a unique identity to each and every leaf. If you only take the time to look, you will easily realize the intense and unbelievable construction of a tree. It is the work of God's hand, and only God's hand, and a second glance at wonders such as these make me stand in awe of His glory...

I was taking some quiet time on my back deck this evening when I simply looked up. And the beauty I saw, the detail I appreciated, the Creator I admired...brought me peace. Moments like this heighten my desire for thoughtful background music, and I was tempted to go inside and get my ipod...but I didn't. Because it was also in this moment that I realized if I only look up (in my backyard at least) , everything I see is purely God. There are no manmade fences, no harsh iron chairs, no noisy lawnmowers, no electronic mp3 players...just beautiful blue skies, wispy white clouds, and the intricate outlines of tree tops. Things that are merely the result of a Maker who loves us, who wanted to spread His glory throughout His creation. This, too, brought me peace.

My experience tonight has inspired me to strive to find places that are purely God. As a human on this earth, it is nearly impossible to not be at least somewhat materialistic. I can't imagine life without my cell phone, computer, microwave, tv...without my tennis shoes, car, cups to drink from, comfy chairs to sit in...they are all unfortunate necessities to me, and they are all from the hands of man. I encourage you also to seek such peace that is only possible when you surround yourself with pure God. Slow down, sit down, and be in awe of His power and His gift of creation. Words cannot describe.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Just Some Updates

It's funny to me how you can have nothing really going on and yet have no time to do anything. That seems to pretty much sum up these virtually disappearing last couple of weeks of my summer. The only event on my calendar has been the morning babysitting routine, but I feel like I've been running all over the place and never have a chance to do things like post on my blog. Hence the hiatus. Well, how about I play catch up?

1.) This would be an example of my wonderful new toy so generously given to me by the Benjamin earlier this week. I've been saving up all summer (well, I intended to at least) to buy my own ipod Touch (since I'm obsessed with the iphones but sadly Verizon still doesn't carry them), but let's just say I'm the luckiest gal in the world and had a surprise waiting for me when I came home Tuesday evening. Advice: If you're interested in purchasing your own ipod Touch or any other ipod product for that matter, get on'll be glad you did!

2.) Part of my frantic traveling around K-town has been thanks to the never ending process of gathering items for my new room in my new apartment (that I will be inhabiting exactly one week from tomorrow). And unfortunately I still feel like there's so much left to get! Go figure, right? My solid brown duvet and textured brown shower curtain are currently being monogrammed, for which I am so pumped, but I still need to purchase sheets. I can't decide if I want a nice, crisp set that would probably look nicer or if I want to go for the can't-beat t-shirt sheets that guarantee the best night's sleep of your life. Cute or's the age old question.

These are the pillows I've acquired thus far. The orange one is your classic Pottery Barn, the giraffe print is from Pier 1, and the green is made by my grandmother and matches my curtains. I have another green one on the way, and that should be good enough, I'd say! I'm excited to get it all together and see the final product!

I also just wanted to share these towels I found at World Market a few weeks ago, on sale for like, 7 bucks! They were a steal and I love them!

3.) Have I mentioned I have a heavy obsession with all things Walt Disney World? Well, I do. And I think I've decided I want to go for a spot in their College Internship Program sometime in the next 2 years. I had the thought this past spring and for some reason let it slide away...but don't worry, it's back in full force. :) We'll see if it stays.

4.) Don't you love it when you start thinking about the weeks and weekends ahead and can pretty much say what you'll be doing at every minute for the next month? That's kind of how my life is looking, but I'm okay with it. Tonight I'm going with Benjamin to dinner at Lakeside Tavern, for what will probably be our last date for some time. Then tomorrow it's off to see the munchkins for the rest of the weekend. I've never done an overnight babysitting job before, but I think it will go well. Next week? House Party? Next weekend? Move-in and recruitment. Week after next? Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment. Oh, and class-can't forget that gem! And the list continues after that. It's alright, though. I enjoy schedules, and I get to see long lost friends very very soon! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wait, Aren't You Like...20 Years Old?

Last week, the Benjamin and I journeyed up to Pigeon Forge (in the pouring rain) to do a little outlet shopping. It was friends and family weekend at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic, and I was fortunate enough to receive one of the prized 30% off coupons, meaning a trip to the already discounted factory stores was a must. Well I regret to report my only find was a belt at Banana, and I probably could have gone without it but I just felt the need to use my coupon at least once. Too bad it didn't work at J. Crew...that didn't stop me, though. Oops.

My number of discount uses would likely have risen significantly, however, if I was still able to fit into the little girls' clothes at the Gap. I was on my way back to the dressing rooms in the store, my hands full of nothing but unneeded basic tees and black stretchy pants, when I stumbled upon Gap's little gem of a girls' section. Gosh, it was precious. I mean really tempting. Well, except that I don't believe a girls size 6 dress would fit over my, ahem, chest, but oh how I wish it would!

I've always been a fan of the children's clothing. In fact, even now that I can in no way wear any of the little girls' stuff, I still strive to make my outfits from the women's section look as childish as possible. Maybe it's my ever-present goal of prohibiting myself from growing up. Maybe it's my being constantly surrounded by munchkins at work. Or maybe it's just one of those things that goes hand-in-hand with my eternal obsession with all things Disney. My dream job is still to marry the prince of Monaco...just so I could know what it feels like to be a true princess. Regardless, I can't hide nor relinquish my love for pint-sized clothes. And I've accepted that. The other day when the Benjamin asked me to describe what I thought to be my style, I made sure to include, "Oh, ya know, I enjoy clothes made for a young adult but that make me look a 5-year-old" in my answer.

Seriously, though, just indulge me for a minute here. Today we received a crewcuts catalog in the mail. And yes, my first response when flipping through it was, "Good grief what kind of mother would dress their mud-loving, dirt-attracting, food-spilling toddlers in this stuff?!" However, on second thought, I realized that I was actually quite envious of these children, because I wanted to purchase everything for myself! I mean, look...

Jealous, yes? I know I am...oh well, I suppose I'll just have to continue my own search for bright tights, frilly tops, and baby doll jackets in the women's department. Should be fun...