Friday, October 30, 2009


** Photos courtesty of Sara Beth Raab at Southern Design Studio**
I'm going to be getting my wedding album soon from our wedding photographer and so I've been thinking a lot about pictures. I was browsing through my mom's picture albums from us growing up and thought about how much I loved going back and looking at pictures. I try to take a lot of pictures but lately have been bad about printing them. Last year, my hard drive died and I lost a lot of my music, files, and photos. I had a CD of photos I'd printed (about 170) to make into picture albums - luckily, I had decided to do this about 2 months before I lost my hard drive. Yet, I lost a lot of great pictures. If I lost my hard drive again right now, I'd be depressed because I have a lot of wedding photos taken with my camera on there. They aren't great since they are just candid ones that my friend took while we were running around but they are so fun to look at.
That's the problem with digital cameras - you take the pictures, they sit in your computer and you don't print them. I have a friend who is so amazing about sharing her pictures - she will print and snail mail photos from events to us. It makes me so happy to get them in the mail! I have another friend who is an amazing photographer and does it just for fun, taking pictures whereever she goes. She gave us a picture of the Camp Gailor Maxon tree for Christmas last year and it is one of my favorite things in the house.
I'm thinking about getting some pictures taken with Jake and our dogs but don't exactly want to fork out the money. Maybe instead I'll print the pictures I have taken over the past two years since I printed last time and will make an album.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween!

For the first time in a long time, I'm celebrating Halloween big this year. We've been doing this "secret ghost buddy" thing at work this week and my secret ghost buddy has been rocking it. Usually people think of freshman teachers as the peons of the school world but at my school, the teachers in the freshman academy are awesome... we do all sorts of "special" things including this secret buddy deal. We have a Halloween party on Friday as well. All of that got me in the spirit!

Tonight was our church's Halloween thing for the kids - "the Best Halloween Ever" event. A lot of people found it odd that we'd do a Halloween thing at church but there is actually a liturgy for Halloween - the All Hallows Eve service. I'm in the bell choir and we sponsored a door for the kids trick or treating and so I dressed up with some of my friends - Wicked themed. Ellen was Galinda (before she dropped the GUH), Heather was the Cowardly Lion, Dave was the tin man, and Rachel was Dorothy. I dressed as Elphaba, my favorite character in Wicked:

For those of you who don't know about Wicked (and you all should because it is my favorite modern musical), it is the back story to the Wizard of Oz. It started as a book but is now a Broadway musical. It starts with the Wicked Witch dying and Glinda the Good Witch bubbling over Oz (a scene from the Wizard of Oz) but quickly goes into a story by Glinda - "she wasn't always wicked..." telling the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West came to be. Elphaba (a name taken from the initials of the Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum) was born green and was always a bit different and misunderstood. She shows up at Shizz, the school in Oz, and ends up being roomates with Galinda, a ditzy blond popular kid. They clearly clash and the story that ensues trails their budding friendship. I won't go on from there because I don't want to ruin it but it is a really thought out story that really does a creative job of creating a backstory.

I'm reprising my Elphaba role on Friday and Saturday - Friday at school when the teachers all dress up and Saturday at a costume party. Additionally tomorrow I borrowed a halloween vest from my mom and am going to wear it with cowboy boots and a skirt to school. I'll try to post a picture of that too!!

House Update

We've been in our house for almost two weeks now. We've gotten some stuff done but still have a long way to go. A few things that have gotten done:

1) We had our plumber come and put in a water line for a washer/dryer in the hall closet. Currently the w/d is in the pantry and one of the big things we wanted in a house was a pantry since we cook a lot. The hall closet was huge and we already have an entry closet so we decided to convert it. We got a front loading w/d off Craig's list (for 600 for the pair, only used less than a year!) and are going to put them in there. I say "are going to" because we still have to get our contractor to come bust out the door and make a new frame for our bifold doors (taken from a closet in the house that will get real doors) so that we can access the laundry area.

2) We've painted the living room and dining room. This was sort of a hiccup in the journey of life because we wanted to paint it the same color as our old lr/dr since all our stuff matched that. It is called Bees Wax from Sherwin Williams and I love the color - it is one of the things that made me happy about our old place. So we go to SW, I walk to the counter and say I want two gallons of beeswax. Get it home, paint the room. Our living room and dining room is very dark (another project for another day) and so I didn't notice that the paint color was off. Well I did a bit but I thought "oh it dries darker like they always say." Yeah, not so much. Sunday morning I woke up and realized the room was butter yellow, not a nice rich goldy yellow. Off to SW again, where they told us that oh in fact there are two colors of Bees Wax - one is Beeswax and one is Bees Wax. Who does that? They gave us the right paint for free, and off we were to paint some more. It is finally right and I am happy, but it was frustrating.

My next paint project is small: the entry closet. I've picked a very radical color, following the advice of Real Simple. I'll post more later:) We've got to paint the whole house since the last owners simply painted every room white when they prepped to sell (which I appreciate so we don't have to prime). Our den is a priority because it is fugly fake wood panelling from a 1970's era addition.

3) We finally have a queen bed. See two posts down for that story - talk about stress!

Well and that is about all we've accomplished... we still have to paint the rest of the house, unpack, finish moving all of our stuff, clean and organize the kitchen, fix up the pantry once the laundry room is complete, tear out the carpet in the living room/dining room and refinish the hardwood to match the rest of the hardwood, fence the back yard, get closet organizers, strip and stain our bedside tables to match the dresser, frame and hang out art/photos, get the internet situation fixed,... I could go on. It is just exhausting to think about! But the good news is we love our home, we love our street, and we're very happy!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekend trip to Baton Rouge

Life in the midst of moving is hectic and stressful. We've had to deal with Comcast ripping us off (surprised? no), continuing to move our massive amount of stuff from our old place to our new place, our first plumber bill (which we instigated - we're making a closet into a laundry room... more on that later), the dogs and cat acclimating, a soggy mattress, the wrong paint colors, cleaning, organizing, and so on. We deserved a bit of a break and Jake's parents provided us with the perfect opportunity.

Jake's brother Josh plays football for LSU - that is him kicking in the picture above. We wish we could get down to see him more than we do, but for the past two years we've seen him play a fair amount - we went to Kentucky and the SEC Championship in '07. Jake got to go with his family to the National Championship as well that year to see Josh. Last year, we went to the LSU-Tulane game. That was a really fun trip because it was Halloween that Friday and we went to New Orleans first.

We hadn't been able to go yet this year so we were glad when Jake's parents wanted us to come see them play Auburn. Jake's cousins were coming up from Dothan and we hardly get to see them so it was sure to be a great family weekend.

We drove down Friday night with Jake's parents and sister. We got in pretty late so we ate at a local food place (I can't remember the name - Sammy's?) and got our first bites of Cajun food for the weekend. Jake and his dad both had a plate of jambalaya and Jake's sister and mom had shrimp. I stuck with the hamburger - if you know me, you know I don't like seafood. We went back to the hotel (a very nice Drury Inn just a short drive from campus) and crashed.

Saturday was all about tailgating and the game. The Jaspers are serious tailgaters now - they have a tent, a tv with a satellite dish, catered food, and a whole slew of Memphis friends to party with. We picked the food up from this grocery store called Tony's and they had live catfish in a pool where you picked out your fish, they got it, laid it out on the floor for you to approve, then hung it on a rope for you at the counter. They also had frog leg meat in the meat deli - not your typical grocery store.

On to our tailgate - we got started about noon. The food was amazing:
My personal favorite as usual were the boudain balls - they are pork and rice mixtures fried in breading. I absolutely love them and they are a staple of an LSU tailgate.

In addition to boudain balls, Jake's mom got gumbo and made a corn dip that was perfect. It had corn, cheese, jalepenos, and more. It was infectiously good. Clearly from the picture above, I wasn't the only one that loved it - Jake's sister Colby is modelling the dip for us.

After a few hours of tailgating, people watching, and hanging out with Jake's cousins, we headed in to the stadium. Jake's parents got me a #30 jersey for my birthday and I had been waiting for an opportunity to wear it. We were all decked out in LSU gear.

I know I'm a VOLs fan through and through but Death Valley at LSU comes a close second to Neyland for atmosphere. The stadium got so loud during the game and it was very exciting. LSU ended up winning by a lot - it wasn't close at all. It was all because I was there;)

After the game, we waited for Josh to get out of the locker room. We stood with all the groupies and autograph seekers and eventually Josh ventured out. I hadn't seen him since this summer and so it was great to hang out with him. He hung out with us for a bit before we headed back to the hotel.

Sunday we hit the road after a lunch with the family. All in all, it was a great trip. I love Jake's immediate and extended family and weekend getaways are always appreciated.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I love local businesses

I know I promised to update on the house and all that madness and I will - but first, a brief bit on why I like to support local businesses:

*this picture is taken from Muddy's website

The picture above is of a red velvet cupacke from Muddy's Bake Shop. Red velvet is one of Jake's favorites and is one of my top three. I happen to LOVE Muddy's and it is owned by someone that went to high school a few years ahead of two of my bestest friends. There was a rumor going around that Muddy's was opening a Midtown location, which made me happy. They posted on their blog that this wasn't true and I commented that I was bummed. Can you believe that Kat (the owner) emailed me and apologized? How is that for customer service? I was so impressed. She is so thankful for her success and always is doing things for the community - enriching the area around her.

That is simply one example of a local business owner doing their part for the community. I was recently very frustrated (as I posted in my photo weekend review) with Macy's customer service. I usually love Macy's - there is always a sale, I like their products, I even registered for my wedding there. However when I ordered my mattress from them, I found myself very disappointed. Dennis, the mattress guy at Macy's, was so helpful - he even took a little more off the sale price for us. Yet, when the mattress was delivered, the guys set it up, dropped it off, and peaced out. After they left, I was putting on the mattress cover and found that the mattress was wet (soaking wet - all the way from top to bottom) at the head end of the mattress and had brown and black stains on the side there. Now, I know I should have noticed this when they were setting it up but like I said they zipped in and out.

So, naturally after paying a large sum for a mattress that now sat wet and moldy in my new house I was upset. I called customer service and they were pretty nonchalant about the whole deal. They monotonely apologized with little feeling and said they could get us a new mattress - in two weeks. October 31st. That would have been two weeks we would have gone without a mattress. Not only that, but they wouldn't pick up the old one until they dropped off the new one. At that point, I asked if there was any way they could get it there sooner, to which she simply said no. I asked for the delivery fee to be refunded and she agreed (note: you'd think they would have volunteered that on their own but no...)

I called Jake, we talked it over, and decided simply to return it for a full refund. Jake called back and they told him they'd refund the money but it would be a week before they could come pick up the mattress. Unacceptable. Finally, after being put on hold multiple times totalling a little under an hour, they agreed that they could probably call the guys on their delivery route to come get it at the end of the day.

This is frustrating to me because it shows the complete lack of customer service in many national corporations. I was talking to my mom about this - how businesses blame the economy when they go down but sometimes it simply is a lack of customer service - people have forgotten that in a true business model, they are there to serve the customer. The customer has the money. I'm not advocating being a priss or pain as a customer but you are entitled to good service. And Macy's certainly did not come through.

To bring this back around to the local business topic, Jake and I ended up getting a mattress at a local business for 200$ less and they delivered it the same day. We're very pleased with our mattress and have slept well for multiple nights. Support local businesses!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A photo-based catch up.

A lot has happened in the past few days. Eventually I will get around to blogging about it all, which will include but not be limited to:

1) my thoughts on two Midtown eating establishments - Fresh Slices and Little Italy
2) my experience getting a flu shot and H1N1 mist (picture below is me on Thursday showing my bandaged arm proudly - this was before the nausea kicked in...more about that in my review of flu shots)

3) I voted in Thursday's Memphis Mayoral election. I don't know who else did though because the winning candidate had 64,000 votes.
4) Our story about closing on the house - also known as why it is important to make sure your name is right on your license. To spoil the surprise, yes we got the house. Here's me with the house and our sign right after closing.
5) Friday we packed up and, with the help of my brothers, my mom, and Jake's mom, moved. Friday night was our first night at the new house. We took the animals over. Tyson was hesitant about the move but did eventually warm up to the new place.
Beamer, however, instantly loved the new house because it had more room for him to run laps around the house. He has already claimed his spot on the ottoman and is fitting in well.
6) Also this weekend my brothers came in town. This was their fall break. Don't they look so collegiate?
7) The theme of this weekend was nothing going according to plan. It started on Saturday when Macy's delivered our mattress WET AND MOLDY - I will be blogging later about Macy's customer service and home delivery.. believe me. Also, we spent all day Saturday painting the living room and dining room in a lovely shade called Beeswax by Sherwin Williams that is the same color as our old living room/dining room. Sunday morning, I woke up to look at our final product only to notice that this was not a nice beeswax-y yellow but instead a lemon butter yellow. It turns out that SW paint store has TWO beeswax paint colors. The woman mixed us the wrong beeswax. Monday was spent re-painting. Here's where we are now with it:

And that is your photo preview of the fun we've been having!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Fail Whale

*This is the Twitter Fail Whale. I do not own this image.

A lot of people are using the phrase "FML" lately.. and while I think it is catchy and funny, I don't really want to F my life because I do, in fact, like my life.

With that being said, I do have some FML-ish days. And for those days, the Fail Whale is very applicable.

The last three days have been Fail Whale days. But nothing is going to bring me down because tonight is GLEE, tomorrow is closing, and is moving day!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Moving isn't all its cracked up to be!

OK I know I'm very excited about our new place but right now all I'm thinking about is leaving this place and everything it entails. We've spent my whole fall break packing and cleaning. We move Friday - this week is so crazy. We've got a long way to go on the packing, plus my mom is showing the place to rent while our stuff is still in it (she's looking to rent Nov 1st), and we have a walk through of the house Wednesday and close Thursday. Oh did I mention I'm working on top of that and have parent conferences Monday until 7?

Part of moving that is a pain is packing up all our stuff. We have a lot of stuff. Especially me - I have a lot of clothes. Another part that makes me sad is leaving this place. This was our first place and it was especially special since my parents put so much effort into making it nice for us. If it wasn't the right time to buy, we'd stay here for at least 5 years...

Since I care about this place so much, I want to find someone to rent from my parents that won't trash it the way some rentals get. If you know anyone looking to rent, please pass my mom's CraigsList post onto them:

We've loved living here and are a bit nervous about our next step!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dappled Daschunds and Harlequin Danes

We love our dogs - Beamer and Sebastian. I have a thing for short fat dogs. And big dogs. Opposites, I know. Really, I just love dogs.

Always thinking to the future, I already know what our next two dogs will be. I don't want to think about when that will be because then it means that we won't have Beams or Sebastian with us, but I must be realistic. Dogs are dogs. They have limited life spans.

So in the distant future when we do need to get new dogs, here is what I want:

(FYI: this is a picture off Google Search and I do not own the picture.)

This is a dappled Daschund. I want one SO BAD. I love the ticking, as well as the combination of grey, black, and tan.

In addition, Jake and I also very much want to get a Harlequin Great Dane. We will need to be fully established as grown ups because great danes eat a lot. We'll need a lot of money in the Pet portion of our budget.
taken from istock photo

For now, though, we are in love with our boys and are as happy as can be.

Its getting closer (and more real)...

This weekend potentially marks Jake and my's last weekend as renters. On Thursday of next week, if everything goes according to plan, we'll be homeowners. First, let me tell you - I watch A LOT of HGTV and still had no idea what all went into a closing. For example, who knew you had to get home owners insurance before closing? Not me! Good thing I asked because we called and got that done today. Our agent has been amazing though. Anytime I email her a question, she gets back to me ASAP with an answer. She is very experienced and has continued to get us good deals even after the contract - through the inspection, closing, etc. If anyone is in the market for a realtor, let me know and I'll give you her number. She is very well known in Memphis.

So since this is the last weekend before we move (knock on wood), we had to get a few things for the house that we'll need ASAP. We currently have a double bed that I had in college. Since both dogs sleep with us, things get very crowded. I saw a commercial for Macy's Columbus Day sale and so we went to Macy's when Jake got off work today. We ended up getting a 1700$ Sealy Plush mattress for $699. It is SO comfortable.

Since we got the mattress, we needed to get bedding for it. I'm notoriously cheap and won't buy much full price. Thus, we went in search of a bargain. Enter Stein Mart. Went to Stein Mart, they were having a "12 hour sale" (who knew those existed? What if you come 12 hours and one minute after the sale started?) and so we scored some 350 thread count sheets (2 sets) for 35.99$. One set is giraffe print and one is chocolate colored. If you know me, you know I have an odd obsession for giraffe print - it is my only true tacky chic decoration in the house (see this post about our giraffe chair). I am going to put my giraffe chair in our master bedroom and have the giraffe sheets. Our comforter is a deep red that is the same color as the shades going in that room (that are in the living room, pictured in the post I linked above) and we're debating between tan and a dusty turqouise for the walls.

On the way out of Target (where we got our red comforter cover), we spotted this chair: I remembered that Target has a 15% off sale online for their furniture PLUS free shipping on orders over 125$, so I went online when I got home and ordered them. We got two chairs, which we'll put in the living room with the loveseat from our sofa set we currently have. We saved $100 by ordering online and the free shipping. What a deal!

After going to 6 stores in 4 hours, Jake said that we'd been shopping too much for his liking and so we decided to go home. He couldn't keep up with a pro shopper, I guess.

So my question to you is - after reading about our bedroom idea for the giraffe with red comforter and shades, should we get risky and try to paint the walls a muted turquoise or go safe with a coffee color? I need your help! Comment away.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Just in case you thought I might have joined a religious sect after seeing the picture of me standing in Teton Trek last post, I would like to announce that I got my hair cut today.

I've been known to grow it long and then get it cut chin length on a whim. Today was not one of those days. In fact, the last time I got my hair cut was January, a few days before the wedding, and I've hesitated getting it cut because it is so cliche' to get your hair cut short after the wedding. Plus, I've been digging the Blake Lively 'do:

When I woke up and realized that a) I don't have people I pay to blow out my hair like that and b) I have so many split ends that my split ends have split ends, I decided it was time to get it cut. Today, I drove past Dabbles and said "that's it - I'm doing it." I'm not impulsive about much but I am impulsive about haircuts. And so here we are...
Just so you know, this is two inches. Yet, when I got home and asked Jake what he thought, he said "it doesn't look any shorter." Awesome - I'm glad I made the effort! But seriously, it is much shorter to me and now I don't have to use three hair bands to pull it back. I don't think the hair stylist had ever seen so much hair since mine was a doozy - long AND thick.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Teton Trek

As you may have read before, Jake and I are members of the Memphis Zoo and we love going there after work. Last Saturday the new exhibit, Teton Trek, opened for member preview week. We were out of town (on the church retreat) but wanted to get in before the "regular people" got their turn. We went today and it was the perfect day for it. We prefer week days to weekends because of the crowds (we've got a very popular zoo, not that I'm complaining!). In addition, the weather was beautiful today.

We started by trekking (pun intended) to the Teton Trek. It is modeled after Yellowstone and the Grand Teton Park - the first picture is the Great Lodge, the entrance to the exhibit. Once you go in the Great Lodge (which is beautiful), you can go up to a viewing area or through to the rest of the exhibit.

The grizzlies are ahead. Today, the grizzly cubs were out and playing (second picture) in the water. They are little cubs that were rescued after their mom died in Wyoming. There are two other bears from Alaksa - they alternate these three cubs and those two grizzlies. There are live fish in the water that they can eat! You can see the grizzlies from many different views so it didn't seem crowded at all.

In addition, there are swans, cranes and grey wolves. There will soon be elk. Some of the exhibit isn't actually finished. The wolves were playing with the freshly laid sod! On the way out we stopped at the Old Faithful Entry Plaza, the first thing you see on the way in (which we avoided coming in due to the overflow of children). It replicates Old Faithful and provides a nice fountain area. I'm sure there will be plenty of kids continuing to play in it - today even there were and it was a bit chilly.

After we went to the new exhibit, we wandered through the rest of the zoo. Everyone seemed to be at the Teton Trek exhibit so we got most of the zoo to ourselves. In fact, the animals seemed to be wondering where everyone was - this monkey was standing at the bars in Primate Canyon begging for attention...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Parish Retreat

This past weekend, my parents, Jake and I went to Camp McDowell in Alabama for Calvary's Parish Retreat. I'd been to Camp McDowell for Vocare before but this time we stayed in family cabins, which was a very cool concept. I absolutely love Dubose Conference Center and CGM dearly but Camp McDowell offers a lot that we can't when it comes to a parish retreat - on site hiking, family cabins, a beautiful chapel:

The retreat was overall a success. I absolutely love these type of retreats for many reasons. Mainly it is because it reminds me of camp and I love camp. Yet a dominant reason I love the parish retreat is because it is a time for our church family to truly co-exist as a family and become one unit over the course of a weekend. We were all in it together - on the hike, at the meals, when our water went out. Families took care of other families. Older parishoners bonded with younger parishoners. Everyone was looking for a time to reflect, relax, and enjoy themselves and this did indeed occur.

For Jake and me, it was a much needed break. We haven't taken much of a vacation since our honeymoon in March. While I was at camp, Jake came up and visited. We spent some time in Chatanooga. I took a river trip in August but other than that, we haven't really gone anywhere. With school for Jake and teaching for me, we don't get a lot of breaks at home. Even when we're just hanging out at home, there is this guilt that we should be doing something for our respective jobs. To get away to a place where there wasn't a TV, wasn't internet luring us apart from each other, meant that we could really rest and relax. I loved just sitting on the porch of our cabin talking. One reason I didn't want to have a TV in our bedroom is so we wouldn't be consumed by the television. That has helped but our main issue is using the internet. I'm so bad about getting on the computer and not talking to Jake.

Reflecting on the retreat, I'd like to live a little less "attached" in the coming months. When we move, we're not getting cable. I'll really miss my DVR but know that it is a healthy break-up. I want to restrict the laptops from the bedroom and make sure that we cook together (now that our kitchen is big enough for two people). I know for Jake studying is a priority but maybe we can get some activities in like walking the dogs in our new neighborhood.

*images taken from Camp McDowell's website since I did not remember my camera*


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Site Design By Designer Blogs