Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tis the Season...

First snow of the season? Check. And what a snow it was!
Cousin's wedding? Check.
Decorated tree? Check.
Wrapped presents? Check.
Baking started? Check.
My mom's homemade sourdough bread? Check and check and check. (One check for each piece I've eaten so far!)
Richard Castle? Check.

And now a few - well, a lot, actually - of pictures from the past 3 days.

First up is the amazing snow we had! I came home from school just in time to enjoy the biggest snowfall in recent years. I am happy to say Sensei LOVES the snow!



My cousin got married yesterday, and it was beautiful. The snow threw some of the plans off, but it was still a very sweet ceremony and fun reception. Anna and Randy had a great first dance - involving snippets of songs from "Everything" by Michael Buble to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce to "Fire Burning" by Pitbull. Hilarious, and very them. And a little craft idea - the centerpieces at the rehearsal dinner was so pretty, and so easy to make! One was gifted to my mom, so it's sitting in our living room where I can see it as I type this. An oversized wine glass that's filled with small red and silver ornaments, and ribbon candy, finished off with a large Christmas bow around the stem. So simple and still really festive!

Next up: Christmas. First off, I did steal this idea from Michelle - some of my favorite ornaments! Now, this is the Christmas tree at my parent's house, and it is full of ornaments from the past 25 + years. Each one on the tree holds some sort of memory for me, so I had to pare it down, sadly. So while you may not see a picture of them, please know that my Southern Season Cupcake, the awful Snowflake one made by my brother and I, my 2 Bon Jovi ornaments, and the rest all hold as much a place in my heart as the following...




The left is our tree, pre-trimming. We have a live one every year, which may be a little impractical to some. While it can be messy, sticky (sap, anyone?) and expensive over the years, it is a tradition in all of my family, My grandfather and my uncle go to the mountains every year and buy several, for all of my extended family... it's such a joy to come home one day and find it on our front porch, just waiting to put up in our living room! The top ornaments are by this wonderful artist named Nola Watkins... I got my Carolina one last year, and my mom gave Bill and Paul their NCSU and UNCC ones, respectively, this Christmas! And the bottom one was given to my parents the year I was born :)



So for the life of me, I can't get this picture to rotate... but if you just tilt your head to left, you'll see a UNC Nutcracker ornament given to me by Bill's mom last year, our NFL ones (as it's the Panthers and the Raiders, they are hidden on the back of our tree this year due to the current season), Rudolph (it belongs to a set of ornaments that also includes Hermey, Sam Snowman and Bumble), my newest ornament - a Sensei miniature!, and in the center is this cheap plastic sax ornament. My brother and I have fought over this saxophone every year for as long as I can remember. When you blow in it, it makes this horrible horn sound, but it is the privilege of whomever hangs it to blow in it at least once!

Next is a little peek into how my afternoon was spent - making gift tags, wrapping presents, and watching Castle. AC Moore always has a little kiosk of $1 clear stamps, and I was able to snag some really cute Christmas ones this year. Added to my collection of Christmas stickers and rub-ons from a frame-making adventure last year and my ever-growing collection of cardstock, and I was able to make enough tags for my family and Bill's (and that is A LOT of family!) in no time at all. AND I found the cutest little jingle bells that I tied onto several gifts I wrapped - it dresses them up and makes them really fun to deliver!



The rest of the evening has been spent baking cookies, gorging myself on my mom's famous sourdough bread (completely homemade, from the starter to the dough to the finished product) and making Christmas chocolates!

That's all for now, this post has taken me almost an hour to write up! (Although I have been distracted quite a lot by all the Christmas movies I come across when flipping channels!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two more things for my list...

9. Go to a baseball game. UNC recently completed a new baseball stadium, and I have yet to attend a game in it! And our baseball team is pretty good.
10. See a movie at the newly-renovated Varsity Theater. At only 3 dollars a showing, its prime location on Franklin Street, and its fun selection of off-beat movies, there is no reason I shouldn't be going every weekend! It's probably the cheapest entertainment available in Chapel Hill!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Procrastination

Yes, it's that time of year again. EXAMS. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily, as it were) I have a full week between the end of classes and my first exam. That's right. My last class was at 10 am last Wednesday, and I don't have a final until 8 am this Wednesday. I did have a group presentation during an exam period on Saturday, but involved very little preparation, and no actual studying.

So how have I been passing the time? The same way any good, normal college student would. Watching movies, sleeping, Christmas parties, and crossing things off my to-do list. For example: Piercing my nose. That screeching sound you just heard was my mother and my best friend yelling "WHAT?!" but I'll tell you this, I may be a bit biased, but it looks good.

Now, as I sit here in Davis Library, staring at my geography study guide, which is sadly still half empty, I am faced with a terrible decision... to do work or create a tangible list of things I have to do next semester.

I think we all know the right choice.
1. Eat at Mama Dip's. I hear so much about this traditional Southern restaurant, that I just need to eat there once before I move away.
2. Get a kvetch published in the DTH. My picture has been in there, and a few quotes, but I have yet to get a kvetch published.
3. Climb the Bell Tower. Okay, I know that is something the university actually encourages seniors to do, but I need to make certain I participate!
4. Cat's Cradle. Enough said.
5. Drink out of the Old Well on the first day of class. I have never done it before, and I've never made straight As before, so perhaps the myth is true. And it's my last first day of classes here at UNC next month, so I might as well do it!
6. Go inside Morehead Planetarium. I love planetariums, and laser shows, and museums, and this place offers it all! It's right next to campus, why have I never been?
7. Attend as many basketball games as possible, regardless of tests/homework/time. It's my last season here, after all.
8. Eat at every restaurant on mine and Sara Phifer's hit list. We have a list of restaurants in Chapel Hill that we both want to go to in our last semester - we've already crossed off Artichoke Basil, Top of the Hill (well, we'd both been there once, but during our first year and never for lunch), and I hit the R&R Grill with my dad about 2 months ago.

Okay, that's all I've got for right now. I supposed I should actually buckle down and get to work in the time I have left before dinner!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I did it!





I am proud to say that I successfully hung up my Christmas window shutter decoration...

That's right. Using my handy dandy pink toolkit (a gift from my father, actually), I was able to nail hooks into the wall, in a straight line, and hang up my snowman! Finally. And I must say, it looks really cute.

I'm also proud to say that most of my Christmas shopping is complete. I can't give anything away right now; although, the only person who reads this already knows what I am giving her... Hello, Richard Castle. My heart beats faster just thinking of him!

But I digress. I successfully have gifts for my parents, Bill's family, and part of Bill's (the rest is on its way!). And of course, I have gifts for all the Secret Santa parties in the next couple of weeks, as well as Michelle's. I am about done! And thank goodness, because I don't have much money left. I did get my dress for my cousin's wedding today though... for more than 50% off. Boy, do I love when Macy's has sales. I can't wait to break it down in just 13 days... especially after seeing my mom and her sisters dance last night at our little girls' night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beating Michigan...

So nice, we did it twice!

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, UNC men's basketball soundly defeated Michigan State yet again. For those of you a little lost right now, that's the team we beat to win the NCAA championship last April! I may have had phase 5 tickets, I may have sat (well, stood in) the second to last row from the very top, I may not have gotten home until after midnight, abut boy was it worth it!

I was thinking last night, there is absolutely nothing like being in the Dean Dome at such a high-energy game, surrounded by 20,000 of your closest friends (we're all Tarheels, after all) singing UNC cheers and dancing to "Jump Around." It makes me a little sad for all those college students who don't go to schools with such an intense experience!

And this week, I have successfully done something every night that is one of those things I feel every college senior needs to do (at least at UNC). Sunday, I went out for drinks with my friends - mind you, this is not something that really every happens, as I am poor.
-Monday, I went to the GAA Holiday concert, saw all my favorite a cappella groups perform, yelled for Mallorie, and performed the 12 Days of Christmas (a little tradition at the holiday concert every year!)
-Last night was the Michigan game, and it was of course INCREDIBLE.
-Tonight, I spent several hours in the library writing a 12 page paper and studying for an art final exam. That's right, I actually have work to do besides dream about home decor, Christmas cookies and Carolina basketball.

It's all so bittersweet.

PS - A little shout out to ELISE RICH, my amazing friend who was accepted into the UNC Dental School today!! I'm so proud of you!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ideas

Thanksgiving Break has been such a blessing. I was able to spend a lot of time with a lot of people, especially my family. I didn't have much homework (for a change), so my focus these past 5 days has been relaxation and enjoyment. Between all the eating, cooking, shopping, movie-watching and talking, I was able to come up with a few things to do over Christmas break. It's approaching quickly and I am so behind on my Christmas shopping. (Also, speaking of Christmas shopping... Bill and I found the best time to knock some of this out! The night of Black Friday! There is no way you will ever find either of us out in the masses during the day on Black Friday, as we both value our limbs and our sanity. But that night, no one is out shopping, and all of the deals are still in effect at most stores. Granted, many things will be sold out, but we were still able to find some great deals and get gifts for several people. And I may or may not have bought Elf for only 4 dollars!)

Now on to the Christmas Break goals/ideas...

1). Make cinnamon ornaments and attempt potpourri.
2). Make some kind of Christmas decoration with my own painted pine cones. They are everywhere this year, but no way am I paying for pine cones!
3). Hang up my snowman window shutter decoration. I realize this may make no sense to most of you, but I have owned this thing for 2 years and have never had my own place to hang it yet!
4). Find some way to puppy-fy Bill's living room enough to have at least some Christmas decorations.
5). Apply to graduate school. And jobs. (These aren't fun, but they have to be done!)
6). I hate to be too ambitious, as I only have three and a half weeks off for the holidays, but I want to make gifts this year. I say that every December, and I never do, but perhaps this will finally be my year.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A quick little update...

Before I write anything else, let me say that I went to the midnight showing of New Moon last Thursday night and it was INCREDIBLE. Yes, I am one of those girls - the "twi-hards," "fanpires" or whatever else you call those of us with OECD (Obsessive Edward Cullen Disorder). Mind you, my best friend Michelle is a Jacob fan, and well, it hasn't been the easiest thing to deal with. But keep in mind, folks, if the two of us can make it work, so can you! (and at the mention of Michelle, I would just like to say to her - your blog is hilarious. I'd like to link to your newest post, just to show off and give a shameless plug for the CMFRC.)

Now, on to the real focus of this blog - growing up and growing old! Nothing too exciting going on here today... this has been a fairly calm (yet sadly Bill-free) weekend. My mom came to visit Friday and we made a trip to Southern Season and Southpoint Mall. If I could buy everything in Southern Season, I probably would. For my birthday last year, my soon-to-be sister-in-law and her husband gave me this gorgeous pitcher and glasses from Crate & Barrel. And at Southern Season, my mom found some matching bowls! I guess I will just have to act surprised come Christmas morning...

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I have found that most of what I want this year is very domestic. Maybe that means I am finally mature enough to get married and have a home? Whatever the reason, I seem to be drawn to the IKEA and ZGallerie websites more and more these days. I even ventured into a Restoration Hardware store with my mom Friday! It's a little out of mine and Bill's price range, but it's fun to pretend. Bill and I are planning a trip out to the Habitat Restore and Cook's flea market over Christmas. Can I just point out that he went to the flea market on his own will yesterday? He was buying something for his boss, and a new collapsible baton (not for twirling, but to fend off bad guys?? who knows why he wants one), but he said they have a lot of furniture we should take a look at. It seems like our future house is going to be quite a mix - we'll have cheap furniture that we'll pick up at secondhand places and such for the CMFRC (with a little help from the Karate Kid) to take a crack at, some IKEA pieces, furniture that we have both accumulated over the years and then nicer stuff that we will take from my grandparents'. I'm just ready to get started!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...



Only 37 days until my favorite day of the year… Christmas! I’ve been thinking about decorating the apartment for the last several days, and the opportunity finally presented itself tonight. Homework-free, I headed to Target with a few of my friends, and was able to transform our kitchen table for pretty cheap! Target has all the best Christmas accessories, and for really reasonable prices. The pictures above are pretty not the best quality, but I just took them on my phone to document the finished product for myself. I used two dark green glass bowls that I got on clearance a few weeks ago for 98 cents each. (I have a third, but it’s in my room, full of Christmas peppermint Andes mints!) I filled them with silver ornaments (which I got for only $6 for all of them) and then decorated the bowls with a crystal pick I broke apart. I really love the picks from http://jamaligarden.com/index.asp, but they’re more expensive than the $1.99 I spent at Target! The tablecloth was cheap, and the placemats we already had – they have a pretty summer pattern on one side, but they’re plain red on the other side – perfect for my favorite holiday!

Next up will be my house back home (I am so excited to decorate with my mom… and she’s coming up here Friday!) and then Bill’s house… it’ll be interesting trying to decorate his house while keeping it puppy-proof. Especially a puppy with as much energy as Sensei!

And now that I am completely in the Christmas spirit, I am proud to say that I bought a ticket with my friend Sara to see the Carolina Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker! It’s something I think all UNC students should do, since you can get student tickets for only $10, while ones for the general public are anywhere from $38 to $75. I am really excited about this! I haven’t seen the production since I was in elementary school, but I think it’s kind of a tradition around here, and I am proud to say I am taking full advantage of being a Carolina senior right now ☺

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whose house? Heels house!
























In the past week, I was able to go to two basketball games, and an amazing football game. Luckily, or perhaps due to talent and athleticism, the Tar Heels pulled out three victories!

I've posted a couple of pictures of the highlights from the past week - #1 is of myself, posing with UNC basketball senior Marcus Ginyard in the background. This is before the first home game of the season, against Florida International University, in my beloved Dean Dome. #2 is of my friends Jon Kersting, Mallorie Price, Robert Dawson, and I posing next to the beloved court in our beloved Dean Dome after the NCCU game last Wednesday. That was a really fun night, because I really do have some great friends at this school.


I tried to add two more, but our internet here in my apartment is silly, and it's not letting me. Maybe next time! #3 was going to be of my friends Lisa Meyer and Amanda Evans and I at a bar called Four Corners last weekend. The two of them go to Furman, and were nice enough to come visit me for a weekend. (We missed you, E!) Friday night was a lot of fun, despite the bar's repeated playing of a select few songs. and finally, #4 was to be from the Miami game in Kenan Stadium. As Travis was so kind to point out (or so mean? this is bittersweet), it was the last time we'll all sing the Alma Mater together in that stadium until May 9, 2010. And if it rains on commencement day, then that truly was the last time we'd all be together there singing "Hark The Sound." Ah I might cry.

However, speaking of commencement - they've announced our speaker! John Grisham! Last year was Desmond Tutu (who was great! Sadly, the link I had bookmarked to the transcript no longer works, but you can watch it here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3F4QU_PaQM&feature=channel_page). I'm sure Grisham will be just as good, it should be especially inspiring to all those English majors!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another day down

Another long day in the life of a college senior. Class, lunch, lab, homework, bus ride home (where a little kid used me as a hand rail! The bus rides never cease to be full of surprises), dinner, homework, Best Buy trip to buy the NEW BON JOVI CD, Kohls to help Elise buy her suit for her dental school interview, and then back to the apartment to begin a paper on the geography of dating at UNC and drink hot chocolate with my friend Robert.

Whew. This has nothing to do with grad school/wedding stuff/being a student/home owning, but I just want to say that the new Bon Jovi cd, The Circle, is really great. I was a little nervous, but I love it. Sometimes with new albums, by any band, I have to let the songs grow on me, but this one is fantastic the first time through. It's no Keep The Faith or These Days, but a lot of it just speaks to me where I am in my life right now. Everything's kind of uncertain and scary, but that's just the way life goes sometimes.

I'm going to another basketball game tomorrow night! Two in one week - that is a record for me. Maybe that should be on my list of things to do before I graduate... I can cross it off tomorrow, if so!

I know no one reads this (no one knows this blog exists, as of right now), but I just want to pose this question, in case anyone ever see this. I ordered my wedding dress (Yahoo!!!! So exciting!!) and I didn't take a single picture of it, and I can't find it anywhere online... it's not supposed to be shipped in until MARCH. What should I do?!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beginning of the end

Tonight was my last first basketball game of the UNC season. I hope that sentence made sense! I had Phase 1 (so exciting!), went with a few friends, cheered Roy's Boys onto an 88-62 victory, and even made it onto the Jumbotron once or twice.

It was kind of a bittersweet night, since I know I'll never have enough money as an alumni to attend games, but it was fun nonetheless. I am so ready for basketball season!

New blog, first post!

So basically this blog is for myself. And anyone else who reads it obviously. I sit here at my computer, after midnight, with so many thoughts running through my mind that I can't go to sleep! The real world is fast approaching, and it's kind of freaking me out. But in a good way. (That is what I meant by "the countdown..." - life after college. The real world. Marriage. A house. A job. Grad school.)

This is my second blog, and I am really hoping to do something different with this one. This isn't just for me to spill out all my thoughts and rants - I really want to document my last 6 months here at UNC and all the changes that are happening. In less than a year from now, so many things will be different, and I want to document the process! And, of course, what happens after May 9, 2010 is important, too.

Between now and next May, I have to finish school, find a job, apply to graduate school, and somehow find a way to say goodbye to my friends. I want to do everything that a UNC student should have done by the time s/he has graduated - luckily, I can check "winning a national championship" off my list - go Heels!

And by September 18, I will have had to plan a wedding! And somewhere in all that, my fiance Bill and I are hoping to buy a house. I'm excited to say we made an offer last week, but due to some complicated things with the seller, it's all in the hands of the bank (which bank, I am not sure), not the seller (he accepted our offer!) and it could be MONTHS before we find out if our bid is accepted. Does anyone else thing this is highly unfair? Who knew such things happened. But the house is amazing, so please keep your fingers crossed for us. It needs a lot of TLC, and a lot of work, but that's what we want! And it's how we're able to afford a house - we don't mind painting, cleaning, tiling, caulking, crown-molding... Okay. Let me be honest - I don't mind painting and cleaning - I don't know how to do the others! So actually, Bill doesn't mind all of that! It'll be a fun process to go through together, and it'll be a way for us to make a house our home.

And as for wedding planning, things are going well. Slowly, but surely. We still have a while (I need to actually figure this countdown thing out!)