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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Books in Review

Back in 2010 I made a resolution to read more. I was still in college and found every excuse in the book not to read, even though I'm a huge bookworm. That year I made a goal to read 12 books, 1 book a month. At the end of year I had read 23, almost double my goal. 
{if you want to see my post of what I read last year, click here!}

Since I blew last years goal out of the water, I made a heftier one this year - 36, 3 a month. I'm proud to say, I also beat that goal. I know it's a little odd to be that excited about beating a reading goal, but there are just too many good books out there to not be reading, ya know?

So here's how it's gonna go:
If the title is bolded it's a MUST read.
If the title is italicized it was okay, but nothing spectacular.
If it's just plain type, either I didn't remember or didn't really enjoy it.

"Somebody Else's Daughter" Elizabeth Brundage
"Definitely Dead" Charlaine Harris
"All Together Dead" Charlaine Harris
"The Lucky One" Nicholas Sparks
"Something Borrowed" Emily Giffin
"Something Blue" Emily Giffin
"From Dead to Worse" Charlaine Harris
"She's Out of Control" Kristin Billerbeck
"Dead and Gone" Charlaine Harris
"Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" Beth Hoffman
"Sweet Little Lies" Lauren Conrad
"Sugar and Spice" Lauren Conrad
"The Bridge of Peace" Cindy Woodsmall
"With This Ring I'm Confused" Kristin Billerbeck
"Water for Elephants" Sara Gruen
"Mini Shopaholic" Sophie Kinsella
"In her Shoes" Jennifer Weiner
"American Wife" Curtis Sittenfeld
"Twenties Girl" Sophie Kinsella
"Dead in the Family" Charlaine Harris
"The Harvey Girls" Lesley Poling-Kempes
"Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" Rhoda Janzen
"The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes" Diane Chamberlain
"Vision in White" Nora Roberts
"Bed of Roses" Nora Roberts
"Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" David Sedaris
"Savor the Moment" Nora Roberts
"Happy Ever After" Nora Roberts
"Sweet Valley Confidential" Francine Pascal
"Baby Proof" Emily Giffin
"One Day" David Nicholls
"Love the One Your With" Emily Giffin
"How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World" Jordan Christy 
"Hot Commodities" Jim Rogers (NOTE: this is a Finance book, NOT light reading - nerd right here!)
"When you go Away" Jessica Barksdale Inclan
"Heart of the Matter" Emily Giffin
"A Sister's Secret" Wanda Brunstetter
"A Sister's Test" Wanda Brunstetter
"A Sister's Hope" Wanda Brunstetter
"Maid to Match" DeAnne Gist
"Safe Haven" Nicholas Sparks
"The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide"
"Can you Keep a Secret?" Sophie Kinsella
"I don't Know How She Does it" Allison Pearson (I'm actually still reading this book but will finish by year-end)

From the looks of all the bolded and italicized books on this list, it seems I've had a lucky year in the reading department!

Have you done a lot of reading this year? What was your favorite book for the year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas Recap

I'mmmmm bbbaaaaccckkkk...
...and sharing my favorite Christmas gifts I received this year!

I'm going with my top 3 this year, if not, we'd be here a while. I'm blessed beyond belief with a family that spoils me rotten.

1. Tory Burch Reva's
I have the most amazing boyfriend ever. Enough said.

2. Cricut
Oh how easy this will make scrapbooking now. I've already made a monogram for my mama's coasters. I loved this gift.

3. Arthur Court
Arthur Court is a set of serving dishes. I'm very big into dishes, antique dishes, serving ware...I just don't have a house to put it in, but that's soon to come. I think I literally squealed when I opened this. Mama did good. She didn't even know what design I wanted. It will match my grape/wine theme for my kitchen perfectly!

I told you, I'm spoiled. I also received numerous Amazon gift cards, my Holiday Barbie (I collect), workout gear - really too much stuff to mention.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday! What wonderful things did you get this year?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A letter to my sister

To my 9-year old (almost 10!) sister, Hannah...

As your big sister, by 13 1/2 years, I feel that I should spread some worldly wisdom your way. Since, in your words, I'm "old" now...

Never let anyone bully you. I'm pretty sure they don't, because let's be honest, you talk everyone's head off, but that just makes you a people person...and that's ok. I think there is enough people person for you and me both in that little body of yours. But remember, bullies are people who deep down hate themselves and are putting you down to make themselves feel better. Just tell them you have a 23 year old sister that you're pretty sure could make them cry, that should do the trick.

Don't let anyone talk you into doing something you don't want to do. I've spent my entire life doing what everyone thinks I should be doing, not what I want to be doing. If you won't stick up for yourself, I will.

Continue to do good in school. I know you're bored out of your mind, but continue to excel. The one regret I have from my childhood is not applying myself more in school. It would have better prepared me for college. Remember, you want to be a Vet...so learning to study will be useful for you.

Keep playing basketball to your heart's content. Never let anyone make you feel like you have to play ball, because you don't. As long as you enjoy it, keep playing the game. You'll never know how much I enjoy seeing you get on that court and play. I teared up when you made your first shots this year because I know how determined you were to make them.

And last but not least, know that I'll always love you. Even though I get mad at you for back-talking me, leaving the house a wreck, and for not shutting up that mouth of yours...you still feel like my child (even though, thank God, I didn't birth you). You came into my life in the most unexpected of times but you've made my life better.

Love,
Sissy

Monday, November 7, 2011

Workout clothes woes...

This past Friday, Nate and I had some time to kill before our dinner reservations. So being the genius I am, I decided I needed new running clothes for the Turkey Trot I'm running on Thanksgiving. This is when the madness ensued.

When did freakin' workout clothes get so expensive?!?! 

We started off at a new sports gear store in C'Ville. I was sorely disappointed. They were so overpriced on everything. Just to prove it, I got a running shirt almost identical to the one there right across the street for almost $20 less, it was ridiculous. I won't be going back.

So then I hauled my butt to Old Navy. Seriously, I shouldn't be allowed in that store. I find too much that I want. Lucky me found a pair of compression pants that I liked, and after Nathan told me to quit being whiney and that I in fact wouldn't look stupid in them, I bought them. 
{via}
They are very similar to this pair, not exactly, but you get the drift...and I do in fact love them. Somehow Nathan is always right.

THEN I got the bright idea that I need a shirt and maybe a pair of shorts. Why? Why do I get such thoughts?! We drove across the street to Hibbett's and found an Under Armour shirt (that I'm pretty sure I want in every color) and a pair of Tempo shorts. 

I must say I'm highly satisfied with my purchases. However, I'm not satisfied with the freakin price tag. The compression pants, shorts, and long-sleeved running shirt were around $100 all together. Really?! I about choked up a lung. Am I the only one who finds this ridiculous? I don't pay that for most outfits. 

Oh the things that agitate me...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is it alright to cry??

Saturday I had an episode, an all-out crying extravaganza.

The day before marked the year anniversary of my sweet Brody's venture up to doggie heaven. I didn't cry that day because I was so busy at work I didn't think about it. But Saturday it hit me, hard (and yes, I'm crying as I write this).

As I was driving out to Nathan's Saturday afternoon I had to pass by where I got Brody groomed and the tears started flowing...and the waterworks started.

I miss my little guy.



He was taken way too quickly.

I miss you little guy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Road Trip - Days 12, 14, 15

We've finally made it to my last recap of my roadtrip. It's somewhat bittersweet as was the ending to my actual trip. You travel for all those miles, see all those sights, then BAM you're done. I will never forget the memories I made with my nana and papa during that trip. It's something I will cherish for the rest of my days. I hope they understand how lucky I felt to go on that trip with them.

The last leg of our trip we went through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Oof that's a lot of states.

Welcome to Utah! During the entire ride through the state I kept wondering, how many polygamists I'm seeing and I don't even realize it? Odd I know.

Driving through some beautiful rock formations. 

More Red Rock... 

Welcome to Colorado!!  

We were getting up to higher elevations in Colorado and we kept inching closer and closer to the "s" word, snow. 

Tunnels!!! 

Ski Slopes, I really think I'd like to take a trip back here one winter to attempt skiing and spend some cuddle time with Nathan :).

More snow... 

And now it's on the roads. It wasn't slick or anything, but there was a lot of snow. When we got to the highest elevation in Vail I swear there was atleast 5-10 foot of snow on the ground. It was nuts. 

Denver. 

Welcome to Kansas, a flippin' windy state! Seriously, the entire time we were there it took me forever to catch my breath outside because of the wind. It was horrible...and cold. 

The last picture from my trip, the St. Louis arch. This is another city I'd think I would like to visit and explore. It was huge, but I think it would be fun. 

...and we're done! Thank you one and all for allowing me to share my road trip with you all. It's been a blast!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Road Trip - Day 11

Day 11 of my road trip was a lloonngg day.

We ventured to Hoover Dam and then had another night seeing the sights of Vegas.
We had originally went to Hoover Dam the day before, but it was raining, and this girl was not about to get wet. So my papa and nana graciously said they would take me the next day. I thought the dam was very interesting, but honestly I was sorta freaked out the entire time I was there. Because of you know, terrorists, but I'm overly weird about that kind of stuff. The Dam is something you have to put on your bucket list, it's part of American History that should be seen by all.

This is the new bridge over the dam, and I am not a fan of bridges, at.all. I did suck it up and walk across even though this thing wobbled every time a car or semi went across.

View of the Dam from atop the new bridge. 

Me on top of the Dam. 

That's the bridge we walked across, see...nutso.

Lake Mead. Isn't it a gorgeous color?! 

After we sightseed at the Dam we went back to the Condo and relaxed before we headed out onto the Strip.

We ate dinner at the Forum Shoppes again, but in a different section. I've never seen a circular escalator but they had one.  

The Treasure Island Hotel. We watched the Pirate show they had, it was neat to see. 

During the Pirate show. 

At the Mirage watching the "Volcano" erupt. 

Now onto my favorite hotel, The Venetian. It was sooo gorgeous. I have an obsession with Venice, Italy so there is no wonder why I loved this hotel so much.  

That wraps up my trip to Vegas. I was really sad to leave. Nathan better be prepared to go with me on another trip :).

Next up - HOME!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Road Trip - Day 10

This was the day I was most excited for during my trip, the day we went to Vegas!!! And honestly, it was so hard to choose what pictures to post on here when I wanted to share them all. I am breaking it down into two posts for the two days I was there, and for your reference...two days is not enough to see it all. I needed more time, but I sense a trip in my future. It's going to be a must.

We bypassed part of I-40 on the way to Vegas to venture off onto Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona. It was neat but it was a major tourist trap. I enjoyed seeing the old signs but it was like we were a foreigner in our own land, and foreign people are rude...or it could be we're from the South and don't act like that. Anyways...I took a lot of Route 66 sign pictures out there, I find them fascinating.



Now on to the main part of the day. We didn't stay in a hotel on the strip, we were about a block off, but we ventured out every night onto the Shuttle that transported us to Harrah's, which is basically the heart of it all (you like that run on sentence don't ya?!).

I got the pleasure of choosing the restaurants we ate at each night and when I saw that Cesaer's Forum Shoppes has a Cheesecake Factory I was all in. Nathan better be prepared to take me back.

This was taken from my seat at Cheesecake Factory, it's so unbelievable that you're inside when it feels like you're outside.  

Still inside Cesaer's Forum Shoppes.

Yet again... 

Outside Ceasar's, it was much prettier lit up at night, but for some reason I didn't get a picture. 

This is from the Bellagio, oh it was soooo gorgeous!! 

The lobby of the Bellagio. 

Outside of the Bellagio waiting on the fountain to start. 

Here we go... 

The show was absolutely breathtaking, yet again, nothing you can explain. You HAVE to see this for yourself. 

The fake Eiffel Tower, I still think it's beautiful. 

One of the older hotels, The Flamingo...love the colors!! 

I'm not going to sum up my Vegas trip just yet since I'm not finished, but I will say one word about it. LOVE.

Can't wait to share more with you next week!

Up next, Hoover Dam & more Vegas!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Road Trip - Days 8 & 9

The last couple of days we were in Sedona we just took in the local sights, which ranged from Antique shopping in Cottonwood and Prescott to just riding around. Thankfully, the grandparents let me have a "rest" day the day before we left for Vegas. I lounged around the pool, caught myself on shows and just had a little me time.

The last night in Sedona we walked around the Condo to look at all the rock one last time...and of course my camera had to come out and play.







Sedona was a beautiful, scenic place to visit and I'm glad to say I went. If I ever go back I'm going to mark hiking on my agenda, but aside from that, my trip there was wonderful.

Next up, Route 66 and Viva Las Vegas!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Road Trip - Day 7

Happy Monday  errrr....Tuesday morning. It is just me, but do these long weekends sorta mess up your week? It's like Tuesday is Monday and on and on. Oh well, I had Monday off and that's all that counts. I hope you all had a great Memorial Day and truly celebrated the reason for the Holiday. As Americans we should all be thankful, if it weren't for the people serving in our Armed Forces we wouldn't have the freedoms we do today.

I'm continuing the recap of my big, long road trip for this week (except Friday, because of the Book Club that I'm loving!). We're almost at the end of my road trip recaps and I'm a little sad. I've enjoyed revisiting these places through pictures and recalling all the memories I made with my grandparents.

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On Day 7 of our journey we visited The Grand Canyon. I don't think I've ever seen anything so massive and I really don't think I have the words to describe it. It's one of those places you have to see for yourself to believe.

The Canyon is out in the middle of nowhere. You're just driving along, then boom you're there. There are sights to see on the road there and we stopped at a few of them.

This was the most impressive sight on the road before the Canyon...these are the San Francisco Peaks. They are the highest elevation in Arizona.

Our first stop at the Canyon, The Watch Tower. You could get a really good view from the top section. 

Me at the Eastern-most point of the Rim. 

Another view of The Watchtower. 

Inside of The Watchtower. My vertigo was messing with me so bad in here and at the Canyon in general.  

Pretty views! 


These are Indian ruins. I'm a huge history buff so I found this really interesting.

Different views, any direction you stand you get a different view. 


The Colorado River. The rapids looks so small up at the top but they are really massive when you are actually on the river. Oh what I wouldn't of give to of rafted it! 

The views become different as the sun sets. So beautiful! 

The Canyon was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I won't forget!

Next up, a final look at Sedona!