Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Work and Sleep

(via)

This is my mantra for the next several days, as I'm on my way to Miami this morning to work a big event my company holds every winter. I'm sure it will be exhausting, but worth it in the end!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Schmidt


Join me in welcoming sweet little Schmidt to our home... he's our new schnorkie (schnauzer/yorkie mix)! His arrival coincides with my departure to work in Miami for a week! I'm sure he and Brandon are going to become best friends while I'm gone! ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kudos

Let me start by saying that I have some great co-workers. I've written before about how much I love them, in fact. One of my co-workers gets major kudos right now because yesterday I returned to my desk after a meeting to find this:


That is a guitar. A guitar signed by the Avett Brothers. This guitar is ALL MINE. If there was ever a point in my life where I really needed something to smile about, yesterday was it. And my "new Avett Brothers guitar," as I call it, definitely did the job. Thanks, Andrew!

While you're fuming with jealousy, listen to one of my favorite Avett Brothers songs HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

When You're On Edge

Contrary to what may be your popular belief, I haven't died. I haven't moved to Africa (tempting), I haven't destroyed my laptop. I haven't abandoned this blog. I've just been busy. It happens.

During the last 7 days I've worked a lot, attended my first two grad classes of the semester, been incredibly stressed out about my capstone project (aka thesis), celebrated two family birthdays, had dinner with my best friend, spent time with my husband, and tried to keep up with my household tasks. Writing a blog post was far from the last thing on my mind, but it just didn't happen.

But I'm back now! Hello to all of the new faces I see over on my GFC followers! I'm hoping that this week I'll get back to some sort of regular posting. Wish I could promise that, but I'm gearing up for a work trip and for a very long semester of research. Guess we'll see what happens, eh?

This song has been stuck in my head all week long. I listen to it a lot when i'm super stressed out and worried about things. Do you have a song like that? The lyrics go: "swim for the music that saves you when you're not so sure you'll survive." Couldn't be more true. They also go like this:


When you're on edge, try to remember this: you're not the only one who has ever felt this way. If they can do it, so can you. I'm reminding myself of that today.

I also have a great reason not to stress today. This day marks 2 years to the day that I met brandon and 1 year to the day that we got engaged. We both have the day off of work, so I think we'll go find something fun to do together. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cruisin'

Nope, not in a car. But on a boat. Four months from today Brandon and I set sail from Charleston, SC to the Bahamas! I've always wanted to go on a cruise, so I figured that my graduation from grad school was the perfect excuse... not to mention I'm graduating on our one-year wedding anniversary.


We're looking forward to visiting two ports on our trip: Nassau and Freeport. Since neither of us have ever been on a cruise, this is a call for tips- What should we do? What should we avoid? What will be expensive? What will save us money? I haven't started doing much research yet, but I'm excited for our next big vacation!

Leave me a comment with your Carnival cruise insights. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life's a Song

So, so many sad things are happening around me to people that I love. This morning I sat on my couch and finally cried about it all and guess what- it didn't make me feel any better.

I wish that life wasn't so difficult for everyone so much of the time. Where's the joy in that kind of life? From family to co-workers to friends to people that I barely know- I see so much pain already during this new year.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, other than to say that I suppose I'll just keep trudging along, trying to live a life that makes me happy and trying to share happiness with others whenever possible. How do you get through 'dark and storming' days?

LIFE'S A SONG | PATRICK PARK

You say life is a dream where we can't say what we mean
Maybe just some roadside scene that we're driving past
There's no telling where we'll be in a day or in a week
And there's no promises of peace or of happiness

Well is this why you cling to every little thing
And polverize and derrange all your senses
Maybe life is a song but you're scared to song along
Until the very ending

Oh, it's time to let go of everything we used to know
Ideas that strengthen who we've been
It's time to cut ties that won't ever free our minds
From the chains and shackles that they're in

Oh, tell me what good is saying that you're free
In a dark and storming sea
You're chained to your history, you're surely sinking fast
You say that you know that the good Lord's in control
He's gonna bless and keep your tired and oh so restless soul
But at the end of the day when every price has been paid
You're gonna rise and sit beside him on some old seat of gold
And won't you tell me why you live like you're afraid to die
You'll die like you're afraid to go

Oh, it's time to let go of everything we used to know
Ideas that strengthen who we've been
It's time to cut ties that won't ever free our minds
From chains and shackles that they're in
From the chains and shackles that they're in

Well life is a dream 'cause we're all walking in our sleep
You could see us stand in lines like we're dead upon our feet
And we build our house of cards and then we wait for it to fall
Always forget how strange it is just to be alive at all

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Facebook Fail: Girls Our Age



This just showed up in my Facebook ads.

I AM ONLY 24. I have been married for less than a year. This is extremely offensive and depressing! However, I'm laughing too hard not to share this ad with the rest of the world. Next thing I know they'll be advertising retirement homes for me.

i refreshed my page a few times and also was shown ads for Dish Network, blackpeoplemeet.com, a maid service, Barbie, and create-your-own anime. Facebook, DO YOU KNOW ME AT ALL?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

RECIPE: Turtle Cheesecake

After all the cookies I made at the end of 2012, I can't believe that I'm starting 2013 with sweet recipes! Aaah! This one is simple and definitely a crowd-pleaser. I got the recipe from a college friend of mine, Julia, and have made it time and time again. Once you make it you''ll start doing the same!

Don't be fooled by the pic, there's a hidden layer of all the "good stuff" on the bottom. You may also be wondering about the pie crust... not typical for cheesecake, but it's GOOD. Promise!


TURTLE CHEESECAKE (serves 8)
1 frozen pie crust
1/3 c caramel ice cream topping
1/4 c pecan pieces
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 c sugar

Preheat baking sheet in oven at 400 degrees. Mix caramel, pecans, and chocolate chips in bottom of the pie crust. Beat cream cheese, egg, and sugar until smooth and carefully spread over caramel mix in crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it begins to brown. Cool completely in the fridge.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 20 of 2012

Every December I like to recap my favorite songs of the year. To see 2011's list, click here. I was a bit behind making my list for 2012, so forgive me. It will be easy to forgive me once you hear these great songs!

The songs are in order as the year progressed and the ones marked with a * are my top 5 favorites.

1. HEY MAMA Mat Kearney
2. ALL I NEED Mat Kearney
3. US AGAINST THE WORLD Coldplay
4. WE ARE YOUNG Fun.
5. A THOUSAND YEARS Christina Perri
*6. WHERE THE WEST WIND BLOWS Green River Ordinance
7. HALF MOON Blind Pilot
8. COUGH SYRUP Glee Cast
9. NOW THAT I'VE FOUND YOU Paul McDonald & Nikki Reed
*10. HAND GRENADE The Almost
11. SHAKE IT OUT Glee Cast
*12. SOME NIGHTS Fun.
13. DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN Bruce Springsteen
14. LITTLE TALKS Of Monsters and Men
*15. THE RECKONING NEEDTOBREATHE
16. LIFE The Avett Brothers
*17. BELOW MY FEET Mumford & Sons
18. GHOSTS THAT WE KNEW Mumford & Sons
19. LIVE FOREVER Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
20. IT'S TIME Imagine Dragons

Mat Kearney started off the year because we saw him in concert in January. What a great show! I also saw Coldplay in concert this year... one of the best live performances I've seen in my entire life!

My two favorite albums of the year were Fun.'s Some Nights and Mumford & Sons' Babel, the latter of which is still playing in my car about 80% of the time. Some nights is incredibly up beat and, for lack of a better word, fun! Babel is simply the most amazing album I've ever heard. Can you tell I'm a pretty big fan?

What were your favorite songs of the year? I'm sure I'm missing a few good ones! ;)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day Trip to the Triangle

Brandon had last Sunday off of work, so we decided to take a little day trip to the east. I really wanted to visit A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, so Brandon blindly agreed to go. I used to visit A Southern Season with my mom and Grandmere when I was a kid. I described it to Brandon as a specialty gourmet foods store, but it is so much more than that now!


We arrived in Chapel Hill a little after 11 am and planned to have lunch at Weathervane, a restaurant attached to the store. The food was delicious, but very expensive. Take a guess at how much this appetizer of four delicious pimento cheese fritters was:


$8!!! Or, to make it really sound bad, $2 each! After lunch we went into the store, which was massive! They had tons of fresh coffee and a coffee bar... a bakery, deli, soda shoppe bar, candy/chocolate bar, wine bar, and even an entire wall of chocolate. Yes, a whole wall. I took a picture:


I wanted to buy everything in sight... and we didn't even look at any of the kitchen wares, fine soaps & lotions, toys, or accessories. The entire aisle of hot sauces was pretty impressive, though:


In the end, we bought some white cheddar cheese, scrabble mugs, a birthday card, and a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser for Emma. The entire store was having a 25% off sale so, in retrospect, we should have bought more! I think we were just too overwhelmed at the sheer volume of merchandise.


Our next stop was the UNC Chapel Hill campus, less than 10 minutes away. We walked around for a little while, but it was very, very cold!


So we hopped back in the car and drove to Durham to visit Duke University- I had never been there before!


OH it was such a gorgeous campus! I really wanted to visit the chapel and was happy to find that it was open to visitors.


Our last stop of the day was to visit Maggie Moo's in Raleigh. Maggie Moo's was my first job when I was 16, so I'm pretty partial to their ice cream. Driving to Raleigh to get a Maggie Moo's milkshake is totally worth it.

We were back in Greensboro in time for dinner and we both agreed that our day trip was a great success. Can't wait for our next one! Where should we go?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

When You're Alone on a Friday Night

Brandon had to work last night, so it was only fitting that I have a crazy night out on the town. I took off my wedding rings and drove to the nearest bar as fast as I could.

NOT. If you believed that for even a fraction of a second you do not know me at all. Here's what really happened while I was hanging out with me, myself, and I. Straight from work I began my evening at the pet store:

5:30 pm, I WANT IT!

5:45 pm, I WANT IT!

6:00 pm, Sale at LOFT

6:30 pm, Qdoba noms

6:44 pm, I made a discovery! Brandon is in trouble!

7:00 pm, Phoebe is getting maaaarried

7:20 pm, Delivery to Brandon's car at work. I am the sweetest, basically.

7:25 pm, Guess what's across the street from Brandon's work

7:40 pm, My donuts MUST come with an ice water

7:45 pm, Nothing like work on a Friday night

8:30 pm, Maybe I should take down the Christmas tree... nah

8:31 pm, Bloggin'

9:15 pm, Words with Friends

Big night, huh? Brandon works again tonight, but my mom is coming to keep me company. We're seeing Les Miserables and then going out to dinner! How do you spend your evenings alone?

Friday, January 4, 2013

No Blogging Today

Got this in an email from one of my co-workers today. I guess I must follow orders!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Real Conversations // Co-workers and Memes

I've written 'real conversations' before here and here. This one is better because it has PHOTOS!

I sent an email with the following subject to two of my co-workers yesterday: "ma blog posts YES!!!!!" It included blog posts for each of them to write over the next several days. An email chain began...

Laura: no
L: jaykay
Hannah: maybe?
Courtney:
H:
C:
H:
C:
L: you know what guys...

The end! We make the workplace fun.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

RECIPE: Bride's Cake

The "Bride's Cake" is really an early version of a wedding cake: simple, with white icing. It's one of the best cakes I've ever made so I suggest (obviously) that you go make it yourself right now!


BRIDE'S CAKE (serves 16)
Crisco (for greasing the pan)
flour (for dusting the pan)
1 pkg white cake mix
1 c whole milk
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 c raspberry jam
1 c fresh raspberries, rinsed & drained

WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 T butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
2.5 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans. Beat cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes, until well blended. Divide batter between cake pans and bake for 27-29 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger.

Remove pans from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake and gently shake it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.

Place white chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let chocolate cool. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until well combined. Add chocolate and continue to blend. Add vanilla, then add powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is fluffy.

Dirty ice the bottom layer of the cake. Gently spread the raspberry jam over the top with a spatula, up to one inch from the edge. Place the other cake layer on top and dirty ice the remainder of the cake. Refrigerate for at hour. Remove from refrigerator and completely ice the cake. Garnish the top with raspberries.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cheers


"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."