Thursday, April 28, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 25

Day 25: Most-played Song on Your iTunes

My favorite part about today's challenge? The fact it took no thinking. All I had to do was open iTunes and take a look. My #1 most-played song on iTunes - clocking in at 37 plays - is "Looking for a Love," a duet with Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave fame) and Jon Bon Jovi. Sadly, this does not appear to be a very popular tune, so I had a limited choice of videos to embed here. And by limited, I mean just one. I highly recommend this song - I could listen to it over and over (obviously)!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kitchen Update

I posted this on facebook a while ago, but I neglected to mention it on the blog. Bill and I are finally fixing the kitchen. And by fixing, I mean painting over that hideous wallpaper. Red, white and blue plaid, with a black border that has country houses on it. Yes, it's as ugly as it sounds. Yes, my mother loves it. Yes, we tried to tear it down, gave up in a fit of tears (well, at least one of us was), painted over it with two coats of primer and then did nothing for several months.

The horror. This is before we moved in, so none of that stuff is ours.

However, as part of my birthday present, Bill decided to kick it in high gear and start the project. It has been going on for two weeks, and we still are not close to being done. Granted, we've been out of town for five days in those two weeks, and the end of the semester is nuts, but a lot of progress has still been made. We painted on two coats of Valspar's Silver Leaf (the same glorious color seen here in our dining room, back in August. With the kitchen's black/white/gray flooring, and the fact it leads into the dining room, we felt going with the same color was a good match - both visually and in terms of flow between rooms), stood back, and realized we had some problems.


 The seams were pretty visible in some places, as were some weird indentations in the walls. Maybe that's why the previous owners picked such a chaotic wallpaper - to hide imperfections in the walls' surfaces. So out came the drywall compound, sandpaper, and Bill's knife - is it a putty knife? taping knife? drywall knife? I don't know the official name, so here's a picture of one:

 
That took a couple of days - it's a pretty time consuming process, since you have to let the joint compound dry before you sand it. Then we painted another coat of gray, this time painting above the cabinets.

Which is pain in the butt. Especially that one in the picture above. This is how I finally figured out how to reach up there:


Also, please ignore the mess you see around my feet. Everything has been pulled off the open shelves and away from the wall. This is what our dining room looks like right now.


Needless to say, there's been a lot of eating on TV trays lately. Anyways, after this last coat of paint, we realized another layer of joint compound was desparately needed. After debating - do we give in, fix the walls and then start painting again? Which is such a pain? Or do we keep painting, and learn to ignore the dents? We decided we better just bite the bullet and mud/sand the walls again. And by we, I mean Bill. Bill does all the mudding and sanding, and trim work, while I roll the walls and risk my life painting above the cabinets and behind the refrigerator. Here's a little timeline in photos of where we're at now:

Primer.
Two coats of paint.
First time mudding.
Close-up.
Second round of paint, including the trim. No pictures of the second time mudding, as it really looks the same as the first.
So Bill completed that yesterday, and we will paint again either tonight or this weekend. It depends on how productive we feel, but that's how it stands right now. I hope you've enjoyed this little house update!

And now, because no good update is complete without a doggie story or two, I'd like to tell you about the Sunday Preston had. The dogs have these treats called Bully Sticks (this stuff is like CRACK for them, seriously), which we really only give them when we desperately want them to leave us alone, like when we're eating, or when they're being especially good. Those things are expensive! Anyways, Preston came into my office Sunday while I was doing homework and he was chewing one of these. It turns out he had gotten it off the top of Sensei's crate (no big deal, it's next to the couch, where he easily could have climbed to and gotten it). I later took a shower, and he was laying on my spot on the bed chewing it, when I came out of the bathroom. This may seem random, but I promise that fact comes into play later on in the story.

Later that afternoon, Bill and I were ignoring the dogs, and we eventually found Preston chewing on one of these things in the living room. (We had recently bought a two-pack.) Funny thing is, we did not give it to him - he had gotten it off the kitchen counter. Let me remind you, Preston is the chunky monkey with short little legs. What the heck?! We searched the house high and low for the second bully stick, and guess where we finally found it? In Preston's crate, under his bed. Really, the only term that comes to mind is "that little rascal." We laughed it off, called him crazy, and put the bully stick away. Sadly though, we later realized he had a little mishap with the bully stick on the bed earlier that day, that ended with us throwing away a sheet. See?




So that's my crazy dog story for the week. It didn't include any pictures of the pooches, which I know you're all disappointed about, so I'll leave you with a few of our exciting afternoon with the sprinkler hose and a storage container/makeshift puppy pool. Enjoy!







Song Challenge, Day 24

Day 24: A Song You Want Played at Your Funeral

Today's choice is a little morbid, maybe, but I knew immediately what my answer would be - "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. This video should explain it all:



And in case my family is totally against that, I would be happy with "Livin' On A Prayer." That seems appropriate, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 23

Day 23: A Song You Want Played At Your Wedding

Well, seeing as how our wedding has happened already, I'll tell you a little story about a song that was played at the wedding.

Growing up, I listened to a lot of music. It was such a big part of my family's life, despite the fact that none of us were musically inclined. At all. Really. One certain member of my family - who shall remain unnamed - can't even clap on beat. And it was a pretty wide range of music: my mom played Elvis, the Supremes, beach and shag music, a lot of fun tunes from the 50s and 60s, and even some of that 80s pop I so love, like Hall and Oates.

Dad, on the other hand, made sure my favorite song at the age of 6 was by Everclear ("Santa Monica" is so good!) He also shared with me U2, the Who, Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses, Led Zeppelin - the classics. And then there was the music Paul and I discovered on our own, or got from our friends and pop radio. I learned to love (almost) everything, and one fateful day in 2000, I bought my first Bon Jovi CD and never looked back.

As Bill and I dated, we shared our tastes with each other. I had to listen to nerd music (MC Frontalot or Jonathan Coulton, anyone?) and some hardcore stuff I didn't really enjoy (Rage Against the Machine), and I was introduced to some bands I had previously never paid attention to, but now I love (Dispatch, Guster, Ben Harper). In return, I forced Bon Jovi down his throat (but to no avail - he can't stand Jon's beautiful voice) and enlightened him as to the joys of all the music I love. The list really goes on forever. And some music he didn't really like (He heard "Stairway to Heaven" on Pandora and called it crap until he realized it was Zeppelin) and some he really got into - the Format, the 88, Kaiser Chiefs. And of course, there's the music we discovered together - Dr. Horrible, Jason Mraz, Lifehouse. But one band that we both love is the Beatles. They've always been one of my favorites, and now Bill loves them, too!

We knew that for our wedding, we didn't want traditional music. No Canon in D for us. After a lot of debate, we decided that a Beatles song certainly needed to be included in the mix. We chose "I Will" because it is so sweet, and I wanted to walk down the aisle to it. Luckily for us, my amazing friend Mallorie agreed to sing it, and it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. And then on our honeymoon, we saw "LOVE," which is the Beatles' Cirque du Soleil show, which solidified the connection between our marriage and the Beatles, at least in my mind. (And it's Bill's ringtone in my phone, so I'm reminded of it almost everyday!)

And if anyone is wondering, we are obsessed with "Octopus' Garden." If you watch 500 Days of Summer, you'll notice that Summer says it is the Beatles' best song, and Bill and I were so excited someone agreed with us!

This post is making me sappy, so here's a little wrap-up: I love music. I love the Beatles. I love Bill.



Who knows how long I've loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime?
If you want me to I will

For if I ever saw you
I didn't catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we're together
Love you when we're apart

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
Oh, you know I will, I will

Monday, April 25, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 22

Day 22: A Song You Listen to When You're Sad

Well, this one came to me pretty quickly. It's based on a sad day I had back in the 4th grade, when I turned off the lights in my room, laid on my bed and listened to the Titanic soundtrack. I know, I was so pitiful. So of course, today I had to choose "My Heart Will Go On."

Anyways, I am slightly obsessed with the film Titanic. I love it. I cry every time, but it never gets old. Also - and this is something I don't share often - I am a huge Celine Dion fan. She is one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. I love to turn up my radio and belt out her lyrics as if I am as amazing a diva as she is - regardless of whether or not I am in the car alone. I was once in the car with some girl friends, and we were all singing our hearts out to this song, and Tiffany says "Don't you always think you sound just like her when you're singing along? Like you're actually really good?" And it's true. Does this happen to anyone else? I know that when I sing along to music, I think I actually sound pretty good. And then I turn down the volume and my mind is quickly changed.

I hope you enjoy today's video  - please don't be sad!

Update: This was Romeo's guilty pleasure song on DWTS tonight!



Friday, April 22, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 21

Day 21: A Song You Listen to When You're Happy

There are two things that can always make me feel better when I am down: 1. My puppies. 2. Mika. (okay, there are more than two things, but these are two of the most effective!) Mika is a phenomenal artist. I could really go on about him all day, and how I love his flamboyancy, and how he doesn't care what anyone things, and how his music makes me want to move my booty, and how we played this particular song at the our wedding reception when the bridal party was walking in. I won't, though. Instead, I'll leave you with two things: 1. This video to "Love Today." 2. The command to go listen to Mika all day long - you won't be sorry!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 20

Day 20: A Song You Listen to When You're Angry

I don't really get angry. I get upset more often than angry. And then when I do get angry, I don't really listen to angry music. So I just tried to think of an angry song I like. One that I like to turn up loud, yell out the lyrics, and pretend that I am telling off some jerk who cut me off on I-40. And here's what I came up with:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 19

Day 19: A Song From Your Favorite Album

Surprise! Today, I'm picking a Bon Jovi song. You can pretty much assume that if the day's challenge has "favorite" in the title, I'll probably pick a Bon Jovi song. My favorite album of all time is Bon Jovi's Keep The Faith, released in 1992. I love just about every song on it (and I mean love). It's even the album where my favorite song from all time comes from, so you know it's good.


I was having some trouble choosing a song from the album, so I had Bill pick a number between 1-12. But then I didn't want to use that song, so I decided to go with the last song on the record - "Little Bit of Soul." Sadly, no music video was made, so this is just a link to the music.



If you're like me, though, and need to see Jon's beautiful face to get the full effect, you can find some live versions on youtube. I hope you love his early 90s haircut as much as I do...

I love him, but thank goodness this fashion era is over.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bragging Rights

I'm going to take a minute to brag on the world's best husband.

That would be mine.

Look what he got me for my birthday:

A charm necklace from Lisa Leonard designs. I love her stuff, and Bill picked this one out just for me! How great is it? And how sweet is he? And (last question, I promise!) how well does he know me? A camera, a heart, our initials, jewelry - all of my favorite things!

Song Challenge, Day 18

Day 18: A Song You Wished You Heard on the Radio

Actually, on the original song challenge, today was "your romantic/sex song" but I thought that was a bit too awkward. But then the alternate song challenge listed "a song you wished you heard on the radio," so here we are. This question seemed a little silly to me, because obviously I wish every radio station would play all my favorite music all the time. Which means there are hundreds of songs I wish I heard on the radio. And in that perfect world, there would be no Nickelback, Taylor Swift, or Nirvana. But that's another post.

In order to narrow down today's answer, I decided to pick a song I hear on the television (thank you, Target and Sears commercials), but never the radio. What song is this? "Coming Home" by The 88. You will probably recognize this song from those commercials, but they also sing the theme song for NBC's "Community." (Don't watch this show? You should.) I have loved these guys for several years now, but they just haven't made it big quite yet. If you like this song, then I really encourage you to go buy their CDs, or download some of their songs.

The video is really cute, and I love this song! I hope you do, too!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 17

Day 17: A Song You Hear on the Radio That You Love

Firstly, I would like to ask for your forgiveness for the little hiatus I just took. I was out of town for the weekend (Thunder Over Louisville!) and I was both computer-less and internet-less. But I am back, and I want to tell you a song I hear on the radio that I love.

Typically, I listen to older radio stations, that play mostly 70s/80s rock. But I do occasionally flip to the pop stations, and consequently, I fell in love several months ago with Bruno Mars. So today, I choose "Grenade." I literally cannot get enough of this song. And this man's voice.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 16

Day 16: A Song You Used to Love but Now Hate

I'll jump right into it today - "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" by Kenny Chesney. I went through a weird country phase in middle school, and for some reason, this was one of my favorites. Now I gag a little whenever I hear Kenny Chesney's voice coming through my car speakers while flipping stations. I can handle country music (I even like some of it!), but this is one song that I probably won't ever be able to listen to again...



I won't be watching this video, but I know some of you country fans love it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 15

Day 15 - A Song That Describes You

This was really difficult for me. There are songs I can identify with, and songs I like, but none that I would say really describe me. So, instead, I am going to pick one that someone else has said reminds them of me. That song is "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N Roses.
My dad has always said this song makes him think of me - it came out right around the time I was born and let's be honest, I'm the sweetest child he has. (love ya, bro!) We even danced to an acoustic version of the song for our Daddy-Daughter dance at my wedding. I've included the original rockin' version of the song, as well as the one from the wedding below. This post makes me want to hang out with my parents, now!









Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A post with a lot of pictures

Excuse my lack of a creative title. I thought this one was honest, and well, I hoped it might pull you in since I know everyone loves pictures!

First up is a little trip back to last Tuesday, when I tried out a second recipe from my new cupcake book. I decided on the Sticky Buns cupcakes, mainly because Bill said I should. And who am I to say no to a mix of brown sugar, maple syrup and pecans? I tried to be better about taking pictures during the process, and I am happy to say I succeeded. Of course, last time I only took a picture of the finished project, so anything would have been an improvement. Here we go!

A shot of the recipe. I decided to make large cupcakes, rather than minis, for a number of reasons. Including the fact that I did not want, yet again, 96 mini cupcakes, and I was out of mini-liners.

Ingredients! Creme fraiche (this stuff rocks!), 3 eggs, ground almonds, brown sugar, flower, salt, and cinnamon.

Butter was an ingredient, too, but I always let it soften in the bowl, so I couldn't include it in the shot above.

My favorite thing about this recipe? Besides eating it, you mean? It only dirtied two measuring cups!

Since I made the standard size cupcakes, I wasn't really sure of the ratio in terms of how many pecans/how much syrup to put into each cup. So I guessed. Most tasted great, one or two were way too syrupy. Also, see those silicone liners? (The bottom two rows...) Those. are. awesome. I only have six, but I am in love!

The finished product. They were more like bread than cake (though I expected that - the batter was pretty thick!), but they were delicious, nonetheless.
Next up, some gratuitous shots of my pups!

Okay, so I'm in this one. Aren't my babies so cute, though? And yes, this is how Sensei sits. He does it on the steps inside the house, as well.
Being attacked by Preston.

Obviously, this is the calm, sweet one.

Muddy Preston, sleeping in the car.
Finally, a little update on our flowers. I don't have any pictures of this, though. Don't be upset! The poppies and wallflowers are doing great! There are so many blooms on them - one poppy plant has NINE flowers right now! And, I am happy to report that the daisies appear to be alive. The leaves are all green, and I think some new buds have appeared. So I'll have to keep my eye on that one...

I may not have pictures of those plants, but I did take some shots in the backyard. I am slowly learning the names of all these cool trees we have!

Can someone tell me what this is? It smells so good!

Wisteria. Bill says it smells like licorice. I am still undecided on that issue, but the sprig we have in our kitchen smells like heaven!

It's a little odd-looking from far away. Apparently it will grow like crazy, all over everything if we let it. And we might, it makes our whole backyard smell great when the wind blows.

Red bud tree. Excuse the weird bird house - we recently pulled that out from next to the fence, and have yet to decide what we are going to do with it. (AKA, it won't fit in our trash can.) Can you spot a doggy in the background?
In other news, my birthday is in three days, and I have already been shown some major love from family members! My parents got me a zoom lens for my DSLR and it is SO COOL. If you sit under the window in our living room, you can see all the way down through the house to the wall in our bedroom that is the end of the house. And, obviously, I've been taking pictures with both my lens to compare. And this 200mm is awesome. Seriously, I cannot convey my excitement. It's going to be perfect for this weekend! (And, a little shoutout to my bro, who gave me my new favorite purse! Yippee!) I did not mean for this last paragraph to come across as bragging. I am just so grateful to my family for being so good to me!

Finally, a little note about books. I (finally) finished The Codex Alera last week. All six books. I've been reading this series since Christmas break! (They're all  500 - 800 pages long.) It was really good. I don't know what genre it is exactly - maybe fantasy? But more than that. There's mystery, fantasy, romance, war, betrayal,  and so much more. Bill received the first book as a Christmas gift, read it, loved it, and bugged me to read it. I read it, loved it, and over the next three months, bought, read and loved the other five! (Please note, Bill has yet to read another one - silly Star Wars books getting in the way.) Anyways, I was really sad about the series ending. For three months, I lived and breathed Tavi and his world in Alera.

My sadness soon ended, though, when I realized that I had a new series to start - The Hunger Games! My sister-in-law Sonja has been telling me about these books, and how much I would enjoy them, and I downloaded the first one onto my Kobo recently, when I noticed it was only $5 on borders.com. I thought it would be nice to have a book ready when I finally finished First Lord's Fury - that particular book took almost a month to read. The books are really dense, and sometimes I could read for two hours without stopping, and sometimes just a couple chapters was enough for one day. Wow, nice tangent. Back to The Hunger Games. I read the first one in just 24 hours. I had the day off Friday, and I spent all afternoon on the back deck reading. Thank you, self, for having a productive morning, and thank you, sunshine, for being so warm on Friday! The book was great, and I am about a third of the way through the second one. I already read the Wikipedia entries about all the books, so I know what happens, but I do that with most books. I still can't wait to read them, though!

Oddly enough, when I logged on to check Michelle's blog today, she had read the entire series - this weekend! Could we be any more similar? Seriously. It's a little freaky sometimes.

Song Challenge, Day 14

Day 14: A Song No One Would Expect You to Love


"Soul Survivor" by Young Jeezy.

Yeah, I know who that is.

Surprised? I thought today's would be a hard one to answer, because I really do like most types of music. But then it hit me: Akon and Young Jeezy. So thank you, Jennifer Cardwell, senior year of high school. I can't tell you how many days we jammed to this, driving to Biscuitville for lunch, thinking we were cool in her dad's Ford Explorer.

Young Jeezy - Soul Survivor ft. Akon Video - ARTISTdirect Music

(Don't worry - the lyrics of this are CLEAN! It took some digging, but I found a completely edited version. The video's a little graphic in terms of violence though.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 13

Day 13: A Song That Is A Guilty Pleasure

Any Celine Dion song. And the following:



Justin Timberlake. Enough said.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 12

Day 12: Favorite Song From A Movie

My obsession with Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is no small thing. It's only fitting that my favorite song from a movie come from my favorite musical movie! And of course, as my love for (aka unbridled obsession with) Nathan Fillion grows by the day, I had to pick a song that he sings. "A Man's Gotta Do," also featuring NPH, is one of the best parts of the film, as it's the first time Captain Hammer makes his appearance. And he's my favorite part about the film. Bill and I love to watch this movie and quote/sing the entire thing together. We're a talented duo.



If you have not seen this movie (although, if you are reading this and are remotely associated with Bill or I in any fashion, chances are we've made you watch it), I highly suggest you go do it. Now. It's less than an hour long, and it's online for free. Legally. So you really have no excuse. But if you don't have time for that, may I suggest freezing the above video at 34 seconds? You'll thank me when you do. (I'm talking to you, Michelle).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 11

Day 11: A Song By Your Favorite Band

I have no choice but to pick a Bon Jovi song today! This was actually a stressful decision, because there are literally hundreds to choose from. I wanted to pick "Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars" (another of my favorites) but there's no music video, and I just couldn't find a live video on youtube that I loved. And then I had to decide - slow song, fast song, serious song, fun song. I'm tellin' ya, this song challenge is harder than any homework I've had to do this semester.

I decided to ultimately go with "These Days." It's my second favorite song by them, so of course I wanted to share it. It also is an older song, so I don't think it's as popular. I like to think that I may be exposing all you readers to some music you may have never heard before. And this song is also the reason I knew how to spell "vagabond" in a seventh grade class spelling bee. Thank you, Bon Jovi!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 10

Day 10: Favorite Music Video

Most of my favorite music videos are funny. I don't like them because of the artistry, or the costumes, or the backgrounds, or the creativity, or the dancing, or the connection between the story and the lyrics and the video or anything like that. I usually watch them for one of two reasons: They make me laugh. Or Jon Bon Jovi's in them. It's as easy as that. 

And with that said, I bring you (one of) my favorite music video(s). Warning: Not safe for work. A little offensive. But still hilarious.



Matt Damon's dancing is my favorite part. Don't worry, though. Jimmy Kimmel makes a comeback, seen here...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 9

Day 9: A Song You Can Dance To

When I was growing up, my mom used to make us listen to Elvis Presley in her car all the time. And as I matured, I learned to love the man and his music. You have to admit, he was really talented. And really good looking. But I digress.

A few months ago, I played Just Dance on the Wii for the first time (with Ruby), and we chose the song "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis. It's one of my favorite songs by him (at least in the Top 10). IT WAS SO FUN. Everyone who dances that one loves it. I may or may not have even broken 10,000 points on that particular song. Anyways, Christmas quickly rolled around after that night, and after one long conversation about Elvis, I decided to give Ruby his greatest hits as her gift. And wouldn't you know it, Ruby gifted me Elvis Presley's Christmas CD? Are we soul sisters, or what?

I was also lucky enough to receive Just Dance for Christmas, and have spent a lot of time since then getting my dance on to "Viva Las Vegas." It also makes me a little reminiscent of our honeymoon - let's go back, Bill!

Being serenaded by the King on our trip...
The point of this whole post is that "Viva Las Vegas" is definitely a song you can shake your booty to. And I do. So here's a little clip of Elvis doing his thing... (love him!)...



But if you want a little workout, just follow this guy while you listen to the song!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 8

Day 8: A Song You Know All The Words To

It's been a long day, and I'm tired. Not a bad day, just long. And instead of sitting at a computer, like I did at work most of this long day, I think I'm going to go play with my doggies outside. Maybe read. Maybe nap. Maybe eat some of the delicious sticky bun cupcakes I made last night. So I'm just going to leave you with today's song. No fun story to go along, just a song I know all the words to. It's a good one, promise!



Note: this is just the song, not the music video. The actual music video is not really work-appropriate! You should still give it a listen, though.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 7

Day 7: A Song That Reminds You (Me) of a Certain Event

Today, I'm picking James Taylor's "Carolina in my Mind." It makes me think of UNC and commencement last May, specifically. That was such an emotionally-charged day, packed into Kenan Stadium with all my friends and family, and several thousand strangers, under that beautiful Carolina Blue sky. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we yelled, we took lots of pictures (see below), we threw our caps in the air, we listened to John Grisham's words of wisdom, we said goodbye to Carolina and hello to the real world. Eek!

Although James Taylor sings it, today's video is from last May's commencement, sang by the Clefhangers. You wouldn't believe how many youtube videos say "Cliffhangers."



I'll never forget standing under that hot sun, swaying and singing with Mallorie (you know, the world's greatest singer) and tearing up a bit. Or a lot. Such a bittersweet memory. (Made better by the fact that thinking about this reminds me I'll be reunited with lots and lots of my friends this Saturday - woohoo!) So as you listen to this song, I'll leave you with some photos of graduation. I imagine most of you were there that day, so feel free to revel in the memories, too!









Challenge

I have really been struggling lately with the amount of school work I have. None of it is difficult - so far, this masters' program isn't any harder than UNC was - but there's just a lot of it, and I really find myself lacking motivation. I sit down at the computer and waste SO much time. I tell myself I'll work on papers, but then this is what really happens...










 It's especially frustrating, because I feel as though this is what my life has become lately: Get up at 6:40. Eat, dress, pack lunch, drive to work. Work until 2:30, drive home, let the dogs out, sit at my computer in class from 4 to 7 (2 or 3 nights a week).

By the time class is over, I do not want to sit at the computer any longer doing homework! Or anything productive for that matter. Do you know, I didn't make dinner a single weeknight for two weeks in a row? And that is actually something I enjoy doing. I was just lacking the energy to do anything. Now that the semester is winding up, I have a lot to do. I feel like I am constantly doing homework for each class meeting, but that doesn't leave me any time to do my major, end-of-the-semester papers and presentations. So I am challenging myself in front of all you readers, in order to keep me accountable. I am going to work on each of my term papers at least 30 minutes a day. Hear that, self? And if I am not working on papers, I am not allowed to sit at the computer doing nothing. I can check my email and blog list, and update this thing, but that's it! No more surfing the web as an avoidance mechanism. And if I'm not on the computer, I'm not allowed to sit and watch the TV. (Unless it is one of my shows that I watch regularly, or whatever series Bill and I are going through on Netflix. What I mean is, no channel flipping or watching crap.) Instead, I am again challenging myself to be proactive! I need to be working on the house, trying out new recipes, or generally doing something to take care of myself. Today, I took Preston on a run, and we made it almost a mile before he decided to take more interest in looking backwards at me, rather than running forward. It's a little difficult to run when there is 30 pounds of chunky monkey furball trying to jump on you. And now, I'm going to try a new cupcake recipe - I'll try to document this one! So see? If I have to keep myself accountable to you readers, I am certainly going to do more than simply avoid homework.

And if you're wondering, I did work on both of my term papers while at work today, so I can put a big check next to that on today's to-do list!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Song Challenge, Day 6

Day 6: A Song That Reminds You of Someone

There are a lot of songs that fit this category, but one that really jumps to mind is "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora, and the fond memories it brings back of my dear friend Colleen. I'm sure you all know her, but just in case, here's her cute face.

She's the one that's not me. :)
Colleen and I have been friends a really really long time. I'm talking since 6 years old. We've been through a lot - that time we colored our faces with lipstick, and when we won the ACE award in the 2nd grade and they switched our last names on the plaques, and that time I watched her get attacked in the law school parking lot at UNC during a particularly ruthless game of assassins.

Many of our memories include music, though. Once we made Romeo and Juliet a musical video for our 9th grade English class. We actually used music a lot in our projects we did together - and there were a lot. And we used to practice duets (including "A Whole New World") together in the car when we carpooled (in elementary school, with our moms, and in high school when we could finally drive!). And once she was in a water ballet, and Melissa and I were two of the small elite group in attendance. And one time at trivia, she stood up and sang "Father Figure" for the bar.

At some point during our 3,489,020,139 years of friendship, I began to associate this particular song with her. It's rare I hear it on the radio (of course it's on my iPod, though!), but when I do, I always think of this girl, one of my favorite people in the world. And this video is out-of-control 80s, so I hope you all enjoy!

Progress Reports

 Hi everyone! I figured it was about time to give a little update on all the goings-on at our home. First up, our flowers...

Here's the view of our new plantings from the other week!
Things are looking good. Nothing's dead! We had to cover the plants several nights in a row, and the plastic was too heavy for our poor daisies. They ended up folding over, so we trimmed the flowers off and are hoping for some new blooms. The poppies and wallflowers are doing great, though!
There are several blooms on each of our three poppy plants, and they are very widely opened! I think poppies may close up at night (can anyone corroborate that?), but ours look so cheery during the day!
We also discovered what that tree by the road is, in the far left of the first picture - it's a pink dogwood! We also found out that we have a traditional white dogwood, albeit a baby one, in our front yard too. I was just telling Bill the other day about how I want to plant some dogwoods eventually, because they really remind me of my childhood. There was one at my parents' house, as well as my grandparents. I can remember my grandmother always telling me the story of the dogwood tree... Needless to say, I was very pleased to find out we actually already have two! They are beautiful.


The ugly bushes in the front of our house also just started blooming these pretty red flowers over the weekend (thank you, gorgeous sunny weather!) so they are not as bad-looking as before. And that's the front yard beautification update!

Next up, the bruise. I took a picture Saturday to show off - it's currently a giant yellow splotch on my leg. Lovely.


I know I haven't updated anything lately food-related. It's not because I want to leave yall out, it's because I really haven't done much cooking or baking! Depressing, I know. I carved out some time this weekend though... I made some poppyseed salad dressing (a FANTASTIC recipe from a friend - I've given it out to many people!). I also tried my hand at creme fraiche, and made-from-scratch cupcakes, both of which turned out really well. I got this great cupcake cookbook, and I made Snickers cupcakes. Talk about delicious. The recipe said it would make 48 mini cupcakes... but it made 96. Luckily, I was able to pass a lot of on Bill's friends who were over Saturday, as well as take some to work today. You know the girls loved them!

Homemade heaven.
Finally, here's an update on the doggies! They're still cute as ever, and out-of-control.



Please note, this is the deck off the second story of our house.
 There you have it... I'll be back in just a bit to complete today's song challenge!