Friday, April 22, 2011

Savannah/Hilton Head via Friends

My 30th birthday fell on a Monday which happened to be our travel day back home from Savannah/Hilton Head/Atlanta. We got home in the early afternoon and after opening cards and gifts and reading facebook messages I couldn't help but feel anything but overwhelmingly blessed. And as I lay on the couch responding to facebook emails I thought, "30?! This is great... I don't feel a day over 24!" It is then that I realized I had just taken 3 ibuprofen and was wrapped up in my body-size heating pad! Whatever works, right?

My friends and Justin offered to celebrate with me in Savannah this year. Justin and I had never been to Savannah, so we were excited to visit the southern city. Our 4 hour ride from Atlanta to Savannah turned in to a 6 hour ride, so we took advantage and visited the sites along the way. Oh, you didn't know Dairy Queen of Macon in the Exxon gas station was a must see? Surprisingly, our little southern town doesn't have a Dairy Queen, so the mini blizzards are a big time treat!

Our hotel was amazing, as was the weather, as was the downtown. The first night we were there we ventured out to experience the night life and at 11:30 Christina said, "It's YOUR birthday, what do YOU want to do?" But of course... what any true 30 year old party girl past her prime would say... "Go to bed." Maybe it was because our husbands were there or maybe because we are getting older, but it didn't go unnoticed that went on birthday vacation, had cocktails and never got drunk. Never even stayed out past 12:30, but we were staying in the Westin and they do have those heavenly beds. Best.Sleep.In.A.Long.Time.

Saturday we ventured over to Hilton Head Island to enjoy the HHI Westin and their beach! The weather was perfect... sunny and beautiful, but not hot and the beach wasn't overly crowded. Truly, we had the best of both worlds experiencing the southern charm of Savannah and the beach! What more could a birthday girl as for?

As with any vacation, it was over MUCH too soon, but I am so grateful and humbled to be surrounding by such kind-loving people. Thank you, Justin, Christina and Ken for making sure I felt celebrated and loved. I've never felt more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Savannah via Instagram

Allison has been talking about instagram for months and months and due to my twitter/facebook hiatus encouraged me to join so I could share my pictures during my trip. Usually, I just text them to her, but I'm glad she talked me into this. I love the idea of being able to edit them into art immediately.

Paula Deen's restaurant.

No, we did not eat there. We heard it wasn't worth the wait. I do love the tilt-shift feature that makes one thing in focus and everything else blurry.

Chandelier in the lobby of our hotel.
I'm thinking this one might need to go in a frame, but which room. A house is never really finished is it?
Tupelo is a type of honey, not made in Tupelo. Too bad. Have you heard the Van Morrison song? It's beautiful.

Savannah Bee Company

The Andrew Low House

Downtown Church.

I will say, I am super impressed with the iPhone 4. I took several of these while we were driving around and they aren't the least bit blurry. Amazing. I have about 30 more pictures that I snapped Sunday afternoon around the city, but I didn't run them through Instagram, so you'll have to check my facebook. After Easter, of course.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wild Garlic

{This is what I look like at 7pm on Sunday night after waking up at 6:30am for a 7.5 mile run, Church, laying out, watching Tiger lose the masters, grocery shopping & preping and cooking dinner. eeekkk... sorry!}
Maybe it's because I just finished reading Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, but I've felt so inspired to blog and blog about FOOD! I do not, however, feel inspired enough to cook through an entire cookbook in any amount of time. I loved the movie and I really loved the book, but I couldn't help but think about how expensive the project probably was, especially if you factor in cooking things you don't end up liking? But it would have been fun to have been her friend and invited to dinner at her house. Ok, so pictured above is me with the Wild Garlic! Crazy wild, huh? I had never really heard of it and in my online research I gathered that it was more popular outside of the USA, so measurements were tricky. I decided my first cooking attempt with Wild Garlic would be Wild Garlic Pesto, because as fate would have it...I already had the other ingredients. Most importantly I had a container of raw pine nuts that I've threatened to throw out for a while, but never did. I learned that you don't use the white bulb part of the wild garlic, instead you chop the leaves. The Wild Garlic has a pungent garlic smell {which i love}, and the websites said the taste was mild, but I disagree. Maybe I've been eating jar garlic for too long, but it was strong! {which I also love} I thought it chopped up gorgeously and was just begging for a photo. I bought a little 3-cup food processor that I believe will probably change my chopping life... or at least my salsa life. {made that too, Sunday night} For the Pesto I processed ~ wild garlic, olive oil, toasted pine nuts & Parmesan cheese slivers. I added salt, because the recipe suggested, but I think I probably should have laid off. It is so fresh and delicious tasting. So far so good and I'm very pleased with out FIRST CSA recipe! Stay tuned for the Mediterranean Turkey Burgers I made by incorporating the pesto. Original recipe found here...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Putting my money where my mouth is

As you well know, I made a BLOG with my friends two years ago and decided to make the change to a healthier lifestyle. When I started that journey I was overweight, unhealthy, unhappy, but determined. However, I had NO idea what healthy meant. Two years later, I am NO EXPERT, but my thinking has evolved in many ways.

My health journey progression...

1. Weight Watchers ~ count your points and eat less fat. This totally worked for me! I think in total I lost about 14lbs! Nice jump start!

2. Saw Micheal Pollan on Oprah and she said, "All our food became fat free and we all got fatter!" Considered the idea, what if Fat-Free isn't real food?

3. Read Pollan's book Food Rules to understand what real food was. It's a book that will challenge your thinking & help you learn more about what you're putting in your mouth. Plus you can read it in a day!

4. Evolved to ~ making the best health choices for me and my family at the risk of eating fat & real food!

I think there is much misunderstanding behind food, organics, processed, etc. and even I don't understand all of it all the time. I want to tell you what works for me, and I will on FFC, but please hear me now... I think Weight Watchers is a FABULOUS life changing concept. It changed my life and has changed the life of many others. Case and point... J.Hud! I do live in a world (life & business) where I like to re-invent continuously, so that's what I expanded beyond my original route.

Ok so now that we've chased that rabbit for a while I should probably get back to telling you what I'm really talking about. We joined our local CSA & picked up our first share yesterday!

{Cute market tote courtesy of Allie & monogramming courtesy of Sam}

CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture" which is a very fancy acronym for "I pay local farmers to grow my veggies/produce/herbs so I don't have to buy them at the store." I would have taken pictures at the farm, but at the risk of being that weirdo, I refrained.

First share includes...


~Wild Garlic




~Swiss Chard


~Lettuce (can't remember the proper name but it looks kind of like romaine)

I also bought my eggs there, which brings up another story all together, but I'll save that for another time.

In my life, I have never cooked with wild garlic (which is VERY different looking from tame garlic), Swiss chard or radishes. So, one of the most exciting things about being involved in my local CSA to me is to be able to get creative in the kitchen and share with my friends. I am hoping to make some wild garlic pesto this weekend, because I have all ingredients on hand! (How often does that happen without planning?)

Go to this website {Local Harvest} to find out if your community has a CSA. This is a trial run for us and it might make more sense for us to share a share with our friends next season, but we will see! It is a little pricey up front, but as Michael Pollan taught us ~ You can either give your money to local farmers now, or give your money to doctors later. I'm happy to help my farmers.

Will hopefully post recipes soon!

Monday, March 28, 2011

the last week in my 20s

This time next week I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday! It is insane to me that my 20s are almost over. Part of me wishes I had made a big 30 for 30 list or something like that, but alas I didn't. I'm ready for 30! I feel happy and settled like I'm on the right path and I know for sure that the last thing I feel is old. Granted, I have a heating pad wrapped around my neck and back at the moment. Maybe I have a jacked up neck and back, but that doesn't make me OLD! I can remember my 20th birthday like I celebrated it last night. It fell the same night of the Sigma Chi/SAE party, Manmouth, (was that what it was called?) and I dressed to the nines in a black tube top and black skirt. Wonder what shoes I was wearing? Shoes are always a tell tale sign of the times... 2001. Too bad there aren't any pictures. So... here we are, 10 years later and a lot has happened, so I figured I ought to give my 20s a proper reflection.

  1. Turned 21. Wasn't the best present of your 20th birthday was that you were 1 year closer to 21? Maybe it was just me, but I couldn't wait to be able to get into Schooners.

  2. Graduated from Baylor. I still look back and think about my study habits to social habits and have no idea how I did it. In 4 years.

  3. Moved to Austin. People ask me now why I moved to Austin and it was because my BFF was moving there, so why not? Such a wise decision and I'd move back to Austin tomorrow if given the chance.

  4. Lived on my own~ish. Enjoyed all my roommate experiences, some more than other, and some I wish I could form a compound with now. But my single girl studio apartment that I lived in in Chicago is my happy place. I go back there in my mind when I've just got to get away.

  5. Changed my hair ~ In the past 10 years I've been red, brown, black, blond, purple. Short hair, long hair, messy hair, angled bob, The Rachel, straight, "curly", teased, flat, frizzy nappy. Of all those, I think I want to revisit blond.

  6. Watched every single episode of Sex and the City. Saw both of the movies and then watched it over and over and over again. How is it that the episodes are still relevant and their clothes don't look out of date?

  7. I started my career, but at the time I had no idea that it was my career or how it would all pan out.

  8. Met my good friend, the stiletto. In 2004, I wore 4-5inch stilettos I thought there would never be a time when I wouldn't feel more comfortable in stilettos. Now I can't wear them for more than a couple of hours at a time.

  9. Tried sushi. Gagged my fool head off at first bite and now I love it. Spicy tuna, y'all!

  10. Traveled from coast to coast, but not out of the country. If I had to pick between NYC or California... I'd pick California. Obviously, not the city, but such a great place.

  11. Moved to Chicago. God closed a door, opened another one and that move changed my life.

  12. I met my best friends in my 20s. I lost some best friends too. Martha Stewart once said, "Sometimes best friends are not, and that's too bad." Couldn't agree more. Losing friends, I believe, has shaped me into a better friend. I'm so thankful for the best friends I have. Truly, they are the best.

  13. I lost all of my Grandparents. It is so weird to think that they are all gone, but I am very lucky that I had all the years I had and made the memories I made.

  14. Friends ended. "I didn't get on the plane." I bet a week doesn't go by that I don't drop a quote from "Friends" in a conversation. Still so funny, but unlike Sex and the City... their clothes DO look out of date!

  15. Started a blog. Well, a xanga, then a blog and here we are. Wish I had known then that the internet is written in ink, but I do love looking back and seeing how I've changed.

  16. Met my husband at an Avis Car Rental in San Diego, California. When he introduced himself, I immediately looked for a ring. I was pretty sure that he was way too conservative for me. He's made me want to be a better person. I think I've made him a little less conservative.

  17. Got healthy and lost 20lbs. To look back on where I was it boggles my mind to realize I'm at a place where I like to exercise. I had a couple of glasses of wine the other night and confessed that to Christina. I guess it's no secret... I enjoy working out. It takes a long time to get to THAT place!

  18. Taught myself how to cook with the help of my good friends at the Food Network. Now it's one of my favorite hobbies and I get to do it all day every day and most nights at home.

  19. Moved to the South. I NEVER thought I'd move back to Texarkana because it was so small and now I live in a town that is half the size of Texarkana. Welcome to Mayberry my friends... a far cry from Austin and Chicago, but charming all the same.

  20. Got 2 babies... Lola & Stella. Good grief I love those angels. Not sure if I would treat my kids as good as I treat my fur babies.

  21. Bought a house. Basically by myself, because Justin was out of town. I adore our little cottage, but wish that it had of come with endless funds to make it fully my own.

  22. Started drinking wine. Wine got a bad rap in college... it was just so snotty and pretentious. What was I thinking? Give me a glass, a bottle or a box... I love it all!

  23. Got an iPhone. Think back to your first car phone/cell phone. Now, how great is the iPhone? I've had 3 now and I can never go back!

  24. Didn't learn how to not put my foot in my mouth. My Stupid Mouth by John Mayer is still one of my most played. Maybe I learn how to shut the heck up in my 30s. Here's hoping!

  25. Didn't learn how to arrive early or on time. I'm still late everywhere. STILL! My internal time clock is just 10 minutes behind the world clock. My weakness will always be my weakness.

  26. Ran a half marathon! It felt amazing to push myself to new levels, and now 2 years later I'm thinking about doing it again this year. Running isn't an addiction for me, but I do enjoy setting and reaching goals.

  27. My feet got smaller and my hair got thicker. Is that a getting closer to 30 thing?

  28. Got Facebook. Deleted Facebook. Got Facebook again. How different would life be without Facebook? It's taught me how to be a better internet stalker and that nothing is ever truly private!

  29. My real body age, which was tested a month ago, is 24. The truth is, I feel far better now than I ever did at 24. If the 20s were any indication of what's to come... my 30s will be fab.u.lous!

  30. Finally, that no matter where I am, God is always faithful to provide. Even when I scan this list, I can't help but think how undeservedly blessed I am. For that, I am so grateful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

America's Next Great Restaurant

Who's watching America's Next Great Restaurant? I was interested in watching for several reasons.

1. Love Bobby & Curtis. (sorry, Lorena...I'm sure I'd love you if I knew you)

2. LOVE, LOVE everything about Chipotle.

3. I own one of America's Current Great Restaurants.

Justin, however, was not as excited to watch because there is something about boys watching reality tv that completely unnerves them or threatens the revocation of their man card! Are y'alls boys like this?

I was hooked after the first show, because I agreed 100% with the top 10 that the investors settled on. But when they had them run an actual restaurant during an actual busy lunch hour... genius way to separate the men from the boys! Also, made me feel validated in my feelings that the restaurant business is HARD work!

When the operation was burning down around them (by the way... we've all been there) I said to Justin, "I will have so much respect for Steve Ells if he takes his jacket off, rolls up his sleeves & gets to work." Totally forgot to have him put on a half apron! It was a tad ironic, because the exact same scenario happened to us on Saturday night. We could literally feel his blood pressure and his pain! After that, Justin was hooked!

So, these are my favorites... I like their concept, but I also think the "get" it!

1. Sandra ~ Limbo. I think she changed her restaurant name last week, but we were both fans of the name Limbo. Great concept, great experience, will totally work in the fast casual setting!

2.Eric ~ MeltWorks. I like his concept and it seems like it could be a hip new thing. With the right people on the bus, I think he could be a successful business operator.

3. Greg & Krystal~ GrillBillies/Hick's. Their concept is one of my favorites, but they have GOT to rein in their ideas. I think the judges want theirs to work out too, but they really need a chef with solid food knowledge to help them create a well rounded menu.

Is it totally weird that I wish I was competing on the show to see if I could get the investors to invest in me? It's probably best I just stay where I am!

Friday, March 18, 2011

almost forgot.

{Shopping for Seminar...this was not a keeper}

I have a new friend here in Tupelo that found out I live in Tupelo because she saw my blog and asked a mutual friend to introduce us! While eating lunch this week, she mentioned me having a blog and I had to stop and think for a minute.... I do? OH YEAH!

{Lunch at Ajax in Oxford, MS...southern comfort}

Perhaps I should neglect no longer. I read blogs and occasionally comment, but when it comes to maintaining my own, I'm dropping the ball! I allowed twitter and facebook to rule my social media life, and I finally reached the point where I had to stop cold turkey. Let me blanket this in an enormous {ME PERSONALLY ~ NOT JUDGING YOU} I felt like there was something wrong with me if I knew what your best friend's cousin's mom was up to the second I woke up every morning but hadn't so much as cracked my bible. So, for me, something had to give. Something being facebook & twitter. Not sure if it's a Lent thing, or if I just need to step away long enough to get my priorities back in line and my addiction subsided. Again, this is my thing... I do not judge you. How could I? You can't judge other people when you're addicted to freaking twitter and 29.

{Snuggling on the couch with Lola}

It's been 2 weeks... I miss twitter the most. Besides keeping up with my friends, I kept up with the news on twitter as well, so I feel out of the loop at times. Thankfully, Justin is a news junkie so he keeps me posted on all things Kardashian. Just kidding...kind of. It does crack me up that after 3 years of marriage he still tries to break Pop-Culture news to me. Guiliana is my homegirl... you can not get anything past me!

Speaking of JF... these pictures have been all about me. Which, I suppose it's my blog and it is a lifeLESordinary and not alifeJUSTINordinary, but I'll share some web space with him.

I was tempted to not share this, because I didn't want every desperate housewife to harbor jealousy in their heart over my husband. Really, if he knew I posted this picture to the blog he might start alifeJUSTINordinary for the soul purpose of getting me back! We love face-time on our phones and when you pause it, it freezes your face and I'm savvy enough to snap a picture to remember that face forever!

Alright, alright... here's normal Justin by the Christmas tree with Stella. It's funny that I posted a picture of me with Lola & Jf with Stella, because usually Stella is my baby and Lola is Jf's baby. Now I feel a little bad, so I'll leave you with an incriminating picture of me. I have no shame...


and I'm really pretty when I get finished with my workout.