Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

We had such a great weekend!  For some reason, it almost feels like we had a vacation - much more than other 3-day weekends.  The weather was fantastic, which added to the loveliness of the whole thing.

Friday night we cooked dinner and stayed in, spending a lot of late afternoon/early evening time in the backyard with Hanker.  I finished the book I was reading, Divergent, which some people are calling the new Hunger Games.  I'd recommend it if you like dystopian young adult fiction like I do (or if you were a fan of the HG trilogy).

I should back up before I move on by saying something about our Hank: he's a little skittish.  He seems to get along really well with other dogs, but he's a little hesitant around new people.  Jonathan even freaks him out sometimes (because I'm pretty sure he had almost no male interaction when he lived with his foster mom).  So, all this to say, when I asked the vet about it, she said one of the best things we could do for him right now would be to introduce him to all kinds of new experiences.  So there was a lot of that this weekend.

Saturday morning we went to the downtown farmer's market.  Then we went to a BBQ in the afternoon, and followed that with lunch at Cafe Eclectic.  We brought poochie to all these places.  He freaked out a little at the farmer's market, but was fine when we took him over to the dogsitting area.  He was pretty nervous at the BBQ, he actually hid under the table for awhile, but then he was great at Cafe Eclectic (he sat calmly under our chairs).  Saturday night we went to the Levitt Shell.  It was pretty funny because the artist was a black gospel band.  The show definitely ended with the song "When the Saints Go Marching In" and the female lead singer was like, "I'm gonna come down and march, and I want y'all to march behind me like we're gonna do when Jesus comes back."  Classic.

After church on Sunday, Jonathan worked while Hank and I went out to Shelby Farms to walk the 3 mile trail.  It was maybe pushing his energy a little bit (especially since it was full sun and probably 90 degrees), but he did alright.  Then Sunday night we went to the Redbirds (our minor league baseball team) game with Anna & Kevin.  The weather was gorgeous!  Once the sun set it was comfortable and breezy.  There were fireworks at the end, which was fun and Memorial Day-like.

And then there was a whole other day to the weekend!  How lovely!  We did a bit of work and relaxing on Monday, and then we took Hank to the midtown dog park.  There weren't all that many dogs around, so we didn't stay too long.  So afterwards we went over to Overton Park and walked one of the trails.

We ended the weekend cooking out on our deck and dining al fresco.  I feel so relaxed and ready to face the week.  (My week might or might not be three days because of a trip next weekend - whatev.)

Hope you guys had a good Memorial Day, as well!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our Family is Growing!

Internet - meet the newest member of our family, Hank.

My week has been filled with puppy-goodness, but I didn't want to write about it on the blog until it was 100% official.  Well, last night we finalized the adoption and this little guy became ours!

Jonathan and I have envisioned a dog in our life for awhile.  If you recall, we had to put sweet Bencat to sleep about a year ago, and we had to put Jonathan's sweet dog Mingo to sleep a few months ago - so we've been pet-less for a couple months.  Well on Friday of last week, we decided we would spend Saturday looking at available dogs to adopt in Memphis.  We weren't 100% "we're coming home with a dog today no matter what," but at the same time, we said if we saw a cool pup that we really liked, we'd go for it.

Our first stop on Saturday was at the local pet supply store, Hollywood Feed, that was hosting an adoption event with a rescue group called Real Good Dog Rescue.  It was here we first met Hank.  We walked him around on his leash and played with him a little.  We really liked him, but were somewhat hesitant that: a) he's a puppy - 5 months - and we were envisioning a slightly older dog; and b) he's a black lab/rottweiler mix, which means that he could become a big dog (and we were thinking more of a mid-sized).  But we really liked him!  We also knew, though, that we should probably not just take the first dog we liked, so we decided to go on to some other adoption places in Memphis.

Long story short, we went to 3 places - the humane society, the pound, and a rescue group's facility.  As you can imagine, some of those places (the pound specifically) are freaking heartbreaking!  In the end, there was a black lab puppy at the pound we really liked.  And there was a black lab at the rescue group's place who's temperament we really liked, but they told us he was only 3 years old, and we just didn't believe it - he acted like a 10-year-old dog and I'm pretty sure he was.  All that to say, our minds kept wandering back to Hank.  So we called Hollywood Feed to see if the adoption was still going on (and while our fingers were crossed), asked if Hank had been adopted.  He hadn't!

So we went back and walked him/played with him some more.  This rescue group is very cool in that they rescue dogs who are about to be euthanized from animal shelters, and then put the dogs with foster families until they can be adopted.  So Hanker was rescued from a shelter when he was teeny tiny and has been living with Lisa, the rescue group's founder, for most of his life.  We liked this because he's already crate trained and is used to being in a house (not in a cage like so many of the sweet dogs who've only ever known that at the humane society).  We asked Lisa if we could potentially schedule a playdate with him before we 100% adopted him - and she said, "why don't you take him home for the weekend & see if you guys get along."  So we did!

He had a sort of tough first 24 hours.  He was nervous to be in our house and he probably missed his other "friends" at Lisa's house (I think she has 6 dogs or something crazy).  But even in his nervousness, he was sweet as can be and would just come and lay on us and snuggle.  Around Sunday night, we was still being super sweet, but he really started to pep up more!  He was more interested in being playful and exploring.  We were smitten with him.

I wanted to run by our vet's office to have him checked before we officially adopted.  We went Monday night and all things checked out well.  The vet also mentioned that judging by his paw/joints, he would probably be around 60 pounds when grown (which was good news, because we were a little apprehensive he might be 100+).  So we called Lisa, agreed to meet her last night to finalize the adoption, and came home with our very own dog!

So yeah - we now have a puppy!  Expect about 3,000,000 annoying, my-puppy's-adorable, look-at-him blog posts/texts/facebook posts starting......NOW.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sort of Strange

Something a little strange has happened in these parts...  Remember how devastated I was to give up my good friend coffee awhile back?  And how awful those headaches were as I went cold turkey off caffeine?  I used to smell a fresh-brewed cup of coffee and feel desire - a small watering of my mouth - to have a cup.

But here's the weird thing now: I'm starting to fall in love with tea.

I know!  I've never been a huge tea fan - iced or hot.  But in these few months as I've tried tons of different caffeine-free teas, I've learned that not all tea is of the boring, flavorless variety.  In fact, some teas are delicious!  And there's something about having a warm mug of tea that can both energize me in the morning and relax me at night before bed.

I try to stick to decaf green tea in the mornings (because "they say" a mug of green tea per day is good for you).  But then for my nighttime tea - because I now have a mug every night after dinner - I like to go a little more exotic.  I already wrote about the delicious pina colada-flavored one.  Then my mom also bought me a couple blends from Teavana.  Have you guys ever been there?  My mom swears by it, and I must admit, the tea she got me is pretty darn good!

Another fun part about drinking tea is going to coffee shops, particularly non-chain coffee shops, where the selection of herbal teas is fab!  I've had lovely teas while visiting Vicksburg, MS; Lexington, VA; and Charlottesville, VA.  I like to add a little sweetener to my mug, and then have the barista top it off with a splash of soy milk.

I'm not ready to declare myself converted yet - but I have to say, the thought of going back to coffee, with its mostly-similar flavor no matter where you're getting it, seems strangely dull

(I can see you, my tea-drinking friends, rolling your eyes saying, "we told you so!"  And you did.  So let's share a mug of tea next time we see each other!)

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Part

The title of this blog post could be so mysterious...  New part to what?  What kind of part?  Part of what?

But lucky for you, were talking about a "part" in the most lame, superficial way possible: my hair.  That is, the part of my hair.

So I'd been noticing for awhile that at the crown of my head, where my part was, I was getting a lot of flyaway hairs.  It was really noticeable after my last haircut and was driving me crazy!  So, when I was at my hair appointment this past Thursday, my hair dresser and I decided I should probably switch the side on which I part my hair.

I know I haven't changed the side of my part since I originally had side-swept bangs cut in, which was about 5 years ago.  But potentially it's been quite a bit longer that I've parted it on that side.

So we did it - we switched it.  And oh my gosh.  It's driving me crazy!  Absolutely crazy!

My bangs want nothing to do with the switch.  So that's been a daily battle.  And there's this weird mental element to it where I feel like I have a five-pound weight on the right side of my head - especially on my forehead - because I'm just not used to having more hair on that side.

One nice element to the whole thing is that I have tons of body to my hair.  So I guess there's that.

Just thought I'd share with you guys...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lex Vegas

Pretty sure no one calls it "Lex Vegas" - but come on, that's a great nickname!

Anyway, as I've alluded to about 3 times here on the blog we spent a long weekend in Lexington, VA for Jonathan's 15-year college reunion from Washington & Lee.  Note that Jonathan also went to W&L for law school, so going to this place where my husband spent 7 years of his life was exciting for me.  And really, the whole weekend was exciting and fun, watching Jonathan re-live "the glory days" with his college buddies.

We rented out a B&B with what would have been 5 other couples (except 2 spouses weren't able to come).  This was an awesome move and made it really easy to keep up with people and go to the different events.  And the events?  That was a pretty cool aspect of the whole reunion weekend.  Unlike Rhodes reunions, the fee to attend the whole thing was quite a bit higher, but there were basically events every day/night and you could have all your meals (and cocktails) included in the weekend package.

The boys (and their 24 oz beers) outside the B&B:


So we got in Thursday and immediately went to campus.  We did a walking tour and a driving tour.  The campus is really pretty - all the buildings are uniform (as they are at Rhodes), but the architectural style is sort of Georgian (I think that's what we'd call it, right art history kids?): brick buildings with big white columns.  It's pretty small and set on a hill with huge, old trees.  On our walking tour we went through Lee Chapel because it was raining which was pretty intense with a life-size marble statue of Robert E. Lee.  And we also saw the incredible new student life center.  It wasn't around back in Jonathan's day and he definitely felt it would've been an awesome addition to his college life.  Thursday night we went to one (of two) bars in town for some pre-dinner drinks, and then headed to a cool restaurant (called the Red Hen [I think]) for dinner with all of our group that was in town.  We ended the night at the other bar in town, The Palms, which comes up in many a law school story, so it was fun to experience it.
Some of the guys at The Palms:

Jonathan and me on the hill in front of the academic buildings:

Us and Jonathan's friend Kippie & her husband Alex in front of Lee Chapel:

Every morning we had awesome breakfasts at the B&B.  After that on Friday, we headed over to campus to walk around some more and have a campus-sponsored lunch.  (Note that all of these meals we had on campus had awesome vegetarian options, so, go W&L!)  Jonathan and I then put on workout clothes and walked around on a little trail (I think called the Chessie Trail) that went through the woods and by a river that runs through town.  Friday night was the official Class of '96 event at a guy's house who lives in Lexington.  It was fun and we got to see a bunch of other people who were in town for the weekend.  We followed that with an all-alumni party on campus, and then back at one of the town's bars.

One sort of different thing about W&L to Rhodes is that everyone lives off campus all years except freshman.  So the boys live in the fraternity houses sophomore year, and then they all live in little houses around campus the others.  All the houses have nicknames that everyone on campus is familiar with - stuff like "Stucco," "Vegas," "Windfall," etc.  Kippie and her husband for the weekend happened to rent out the house Jonathan lived in for 2nd and 3rd year law school, so we got to see that.

Saturday our whole group had lunch together at a cute little restaurant in town.  Then we headed out to a joint class of '96 / '91 party at a place called Zollman's.  In college, the W&L kids would have parties out there and would bring bands to play at the pavilion.  "Pavilion" is a strong word, as the building itself is basically a metal barn with port-a-potties outside.  But it's out on some pretty property that's right on the river, so it was nice to be out there.

Jonathan's friend Preston lost a bet to their friend Jason, so he had to wear this Generals jersey to the party at Zollman's:


One of the highlights of the weekend came after Zollmans, when the boys, who had been drinking for most of the day, decided they wanted to break into the SAE house.  The SAE's are currently on probation (and not living in the house) until next school year.  Fortunately, one of the guys in our group has some connections $$$ with W&L, so he was able to have a campus safety officer meet us there to let us in.  It was wild to see the house and see their old bedrooms.  Also, they found their book of meeting "minutes" and were reading some of the absurd/hilarious stuff they wrote back in the day.  They might or might not have found some ceremonial robing, but since I most definitely witnessed far more SAE secrets than a non-member is supposed to, I'm not at liberty to discuss that.  But it was so funny!  You can take a group of successful 37 year olds, get them out of work clothes, into their old fraternity house with some beer, and watch as their age dramatically regresses.  But in a good way.

In the library of the house reading the minutes:
Jonathan & Preston's old room (we'll not think about how nasty those mattresses are):

Saturday night we went to a dinner/drinks/band event on campus for the alums.  But then left early so we could go to a fraternity party.  Just like back in the day...

All in all, it was a fun weekend!  I wish I hadn't gotten sick on the 2nd day we were there, but luckily I was still 100% functioning.  I loved hanging out with both the people I already knew, and the new ones.  And I enjoyed all the other wives.  I enjoyed Lexington, too.  I had such a different college experience since Rhodes is in an actual city.  Lexington is a tiny town that basically has one little "downtown" area of shops and restaurants, and the rest is residential houses out in the country.  I'm sure when going to school there, the size of the town has nothing to do with anything.  But as an adult now, seeing the town just reminded me that I probably wouldn't ever do well in such a small place.

Anyway - it was fun - I look forward to the next reunion!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Walking Zomb

I'll tell you what...  Two days off work last week, a packed weekend in Lexington, the first cold I've had in 2+ years, little-to-no sleep all weekend, the awful flying experience on Sunday, getting home in the wee hours of the morning and waking up for work the next day - all of it - it's left me drained!  This whole week I've been a walking zombie, essentially.  I didn't really unpack until yesterday.  We had 3000 DVRed tv shows to watch.  Our house was a mess.  We had no groceries.  And to top it all off, I was still sick and hadn't really had the chance to get a ton of sleep and heal.

I took a sick day from work yesterday and was finally able to chill out and sleep.  I also did four loads of laundry, cleaned our bathroom, cleaned our kitchen, vacuumed the whole house, procured food, cooked food for the next couple of days, and changed our sheets.  Ahhh.  It feels good to be back to normal.

I was hoping to load our pictures from the weekend onto the computer so I could do a blog post about Lexington with pics.  But that never happened.  I think I might just recap without the pictures and whatever, that's that.  We'll see.  Stay tuned...

Monday, May 16, 2011

US Airways: NOT Winning

More to come later on our fun weekend in Lexington, VA.  But, I thought I'd share our interesting travel adventures from yesterday...

We flew into Charlottesville, VA for the weekend (it's about an hour drive to Lex).  Our original flight out of Charlottesville (to Charlotte) was scheduled for 5:45 last night.  When we got to the airport, we realized the flight to Charlotte before ours, the 2:30, had been really delayed and was still there.  So we switched onto that one (assuming that getting to the connection city earlier is always better than sitting around the first airport for a few hours).

We arrived in Charlotte around 6:15 and had a lovely voicemail from US Airways saying: "your flight to Memphis has been cancelled, please call this 1-800 number to speak with a representative."  No problem, they said, they had taken care of it and re-booked us on another flight to Memphis...that leaves Charlotte at 6pm on MONDAY.

No dice.

So after exploring all options (we were willing to fly anywhere first so we could get home to Memphis), we decided the best option was to fly to Little Rock.  The flight was supposed to leave at 7.  It left at 8.  We got to Little Rock around 10 and Jonathan's bag didn't show up.  So we had to talk with the late-night counter agent at US Air to try to locate the bag (to no avail).  And then had a lovely 2 hour drive in our $150 rental car that, apparently, US Airway won't reimburse us for.

We're both so, so tired; we both have colds; Jonathan has no bag; we're out $150; and we're desperately trying not to think about how much money we would've saved on the plane tickets to begin with had we just booked on Southwest from Little Rock and parked our car.

Not winning.  And I won't really get into anymore - but as I've said time and again, flying is no longer a reliable way to travel and that sucks.  The end.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Umm...

Anyone have any thoughts on why my blog post from yesterday about the river flooding is gone? It's not on the blog and it's not in my queue of posted entries...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Mighty Mississip

I guess it would be sort of inappropriate not to mention the floods on my blog - especially since it's been headline national news for the past week (and most of my family [and some friends from out of town] have called/emailed to see if we're alright).

So - in a word - yes.  We're fine.

The flooding is ridiculous and crazy and vast, but it in no ways affects us.  The city of Memphis is situated on top of a huge bluff.  So, most parts of the city are fine.  Along the river are some parks (which are completely flooded), a road, and a neighborhood called Mud Island.  These places are experiencing flooding.  Mud Island is having a tough time on the back side because the Wolf River has flooded as well.  Here are some pics.  This first one is the backside of houses on Mud Island that face the Wolf River.  And I don't really know where on Mud Island the second one was taken...?  (Both of these were sent to me in an email and I can't cite their source either - sorry!)

Our office is situated in a good spot to see all the flooding.  So here are a couple pics I took on my iPhone.  This first one shows how much flooding there actually is.  They say the river is 3 miles wide in certain places.
And then on this one, I've put some handy arrows for reference:
The purple arrow pointing at those little shrub things?  Those are the tops of full-sized trees that normally line the river on the Arkansas side (and you see how far past the normal bank of the river the water flows).  The pink arrow is pointing to that Mud Island museum that has the walk-through Mississippi river exhibit - not sure if any of you have done that before.  And then the yellow arrow first points to some flags on the far left that are usually connected to that whole area with the museum - so the other yellow arrow is pointing out what is completely under water, thus isolating the flags.

Here's a picture of the amphitheatre on Mud Island (also from that un-citeable email sent to me).

And here's where Beale Street hits the river at Riverside Drive.  Again, as I said earlier, this is nowhere near where the bars are on Beale Street - it's just that the road runs East-West all the way to the river.
Source: blog
That guy clearly hasn't heard the mantra that's been ingrained into our brains for the past two weeks: Turn Around, Don't Drown (in reference to driving on a road that's flooded).

Anyway - thanks for all the concern.  We're doing fine.  But it's been really crazy to see.  I think the river got up to 48 feet, they said, just barely missing the record of 48.7 or something like that.  Jonathan had to do a training class at our church because we were set up to house flood victims in the gym.  Thankfully, he wasn't called to "duty" (since many shifts were overnight!).  The lot I park in for work has been insane because tons of gawkers have been coming downtown everyday to see the water.

Crazy stuff, crazy times.  El nino, man...

Amazing Revelation!

When I was driving to St. Louis, I had a good 4+ hours to be alone in the car with my thoughts (especially since my awful At&T service was scant in southern Missouri, cutting off Pandora and NPR on demand).  When I wasn't reflecting on World peace or ways to cut the federal deficit, I thought about my favorite topic, ME! 

And then...I had a revelation!

I'll backtrack a little, because after searching my blog archives, I can't find another place where I've posted about this before...  So, it's about my allergies.  I have this sort of weird thing that happens to me everyday.  Everyday, no matter where I am (home, vacation, my mom/dad's houses, etc.) I wake up and have to blow my nose first thing.  And then for the next 3-ish hours, I blow my nose and sneeze.  And then I stop and don't do it again until the next morning.  (Warning: GROSSNESS AHEAD!)  Now this nose blowing, it's not just a small, minor amount of normal snot.  It's a large amount of super watery snot.  Such that (this is really gross - not kidding around) it will start to drip out of my nose if I don't blow it every few minutes.  But it's just so strange, because it's almost like, right when I wake up, I'm turning on a faucet or something and letting it run for a few hours, and then turning it off.  Because it stops.

And the sneezing is abundant.  In fact, the guy who works in the office next to me also has bad allergies, and all morning we yell "bless you" across the hall probably 10 times.  But another super weird thing about it all: it's completely unrelated to the weather outside.  So, I could see if this happened every year around Spring and Fall - then I would probably just assume my mold/pollen/dust allergies are really bad (I haven't been to an allergist since I was a kid).  But it's all year.  And it's also all locations - so again, if this only happened at my house, I might think I have an allergy to something specific to our house.  But no.

Now come back into the present.  I was alone with my thoughts on the 4-hour drive to St. Louis and something dawned on me: I haven't had the drippy nose/sneezing for probably 2-3 weeks!  What an incredible revelation!  So I thought long and hard.  What have I been doing different in the past 2-3 weeks.

And the revelation (simultaneously sad and happy): I've not eaten dairy.

We switched awhile ago to drinking soy milk for Jonathan's cholesterol.  And once we did that, I realized how much easier it was to buy soy milk/almond milk/coconut milk at the store than cow's milk (because it doesn't have to be refrigerated until it's open).  And I also realized how delicious all these milk alternatives are and how lovely they make the texture of my oatmeal!  So we haven't had cow's milk in the fridge in months. 

But then, I was still eating cheese and Greek yogurt and frozen yogurt in quite some abundance.  Well, I decided a few weeks ago to drop the dairy and see if anything happened to my body.  I always had trouble with portion control when it came to cheese, so I thought it might be a good thing to cut it out.  I still ate it a little (like mixing parmesan in with veggies or having some cheese samples at Whole Foods or YoLo every now and then), but nothing like I used to.  I used to have a big glass of milk a day, a lot of cheese, and potentially some yogurt, too.

Well, the dairy is the only thing I could think of that would cause the allergy reaction in the mornings (because, by process of elimination, it's the only thing that's changed).  And once I looked into it more, apparently dairy causes a lot of phlegm in the body (which can react with different bodies in different ways).

SO...will I give up on my cheese and frozen yogurt for life?  No way.  But I'll definitely try to keep my consumption minimal.  I just couldn't believe the revelation - craziness!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Dresses!

When I was in St. Louis this past weekend, as always, my mom and I hit up the mall for a little shopping.  And...lucky me, I got three new dresses!  I thought I'd share...

Dress #1
And a close up of the detail:
I'm excited about this one.  It's from Old Navy.  If you can't tell, it's a cotton eyelet material.  Mainly, I think this will be super versatile - I could easily wear it to the farmer's market or out to a nice-ish dinner.  And I like that it's black, because in the middle of Summer when it's 90 degrees at nighttime, it's good to have black and white dresses to wear to outdoor events (so no one can see how much you're sweating).

Dress #2
And an up-close of the detail at the top:

I like this one a lot, as well.  It's from Banana Republic and was tucked onto a sale rack.  I like how low cut it is (without being scandalous), and I like how the knots at the shoulder make it a little fancier than a standard cotton dress.  The material is a little crinkly, as well, which is cool.  The color isn't my absolute favorite, but it will do.

And finally, Dress #3
And a side-ish view:

I think this one photos the worst, but it's my favorite of the three.  It's from Ann Taylor Loft* and was also tucked back on a sale rack.  It's this lovely, luxurious cotton jersey - really thick/high quality, but super soft (and it has a layer underneath so it's not see through).  And the color is gorgeous - a perfect coral.  The one thing I'm worried about is laundering - do any of you guys have luxe cotton jersey dresses?  If so, do you dry clean them or do they wash & dry fine?

Oh yeah - and the greatest thing about the new dresses?  They were all on sale (each for less than $35) - score!

*Not sure if you guys like Ann Taylor Loft, but when I was in there Saturday, all dresses in the store were 30% off (even the sale ones) - and some of them were really cute, just fyi.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

True 4am Blues

***Please note, this has been edited since it's original posting at 4:03am Sunday morning.  I wrote the original on my cell phone, which is a really crappy way to blog, I learned.  The screen is weird and doesn't let you see everything you've typed, and I couldn't do stuff like crossing out or spell check.***
------------------------------------------------------
So, what do you get when a person who hasn't had caffeine in 4 months has an enormous cup of caffeinated tea at 9:30 pm?

Maybe I should backtrack...

I'm in St. Louis visiting my mom for Mother's Day. It's been a fun (super busy) trip. I got in Friday around 7:30 and my mom & I had dinner and watched the movie version of Never Let Me Go (a book we both read). Then Saturday, we went for long exercise walks in the morning. In the afternoon, we went to the art show in Laumeier Park, which was really fun (& the weather was absolutely gorgeous!). We did a little shopping afterwards (where I bought 3 dresses for under $35 each). And then Saturday night, my mom, sister, and I went to see Water for Elephants and went to dinner at Table Three (a cool [yes I just said that] restaurant in Wildwood). All in all, a fun day! And brunch is on the agenda at Cardwell's tomorrow.

But why am I awake right now?

Well, when we got home from the restaurant, I wanted to fix a cup of decaf tea to sip while we watched tv before bed. My mom spoke the praises of her favorite tea from Teavana. She assured me it's decaf. Famous last words. It's 4am and I haven't been to sleep yet. I'm wired. I've already packed my bag for tomorrow, followed up on some emails, and read a magazine. Awesome.

I hope you all are sleeping soundly...Im a little jealous.

(And some follow up, brunch at Cardwell's was great.  We sat on their lovely patio and enjoyed the weather.  I left St. Louis from Plaza Frontenac, so I definitely swung by St. Louis Smoothie on my way out and got the still-delicious Tropical Temptation and wrote down all the ingredients listed so I can try to make it at home.  So last night I finally ended up falling asleep around 4:30.  Then, I woke up at 6 [stupid internal alarm clock], went back to sleep until 8:30, and was up for good.  Oddly enough, it's around 9ish as I type this, and I don't feel too awful.  I'm hoping to get in bed soon and catch up on what I missed last night.  Hope you guys had good weekends, too - and I'm sorry that I didn't get to see any stl friends - my mom had a ton planned, and I wanted to be able to devote all my time to her.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

What A Girl Wants

Of course, since my birthday was in March and at the time I couldn't think of what people should get me, now that it's May I'm seriously wanting a ton of stuff.  Honestly, I think I could spend $500 right now on stuff I want without even second guessing any of it.  (Lucky for my husband, I won't do that.)

1) Makeup
I don't know what the deal is, but I'm feeling obsessed with makeup lately.  Things I want:
-the Sephora makeup brush bag that has every makeup brush you could ever want
-NARS primer with spf 30
-LORAC luminizing powder to put on with a big fluffy brush after I've put on my makeup
-non-drugstore brand liquid foundation
-one of these machines that apparently super sonic-ly cleans your skin
-a lipstick that I really, genuinely like (that doesn't require me blotting the color down by rubbing it in with my finger) that moisturizes, too

2) Shoes
I'm not usually a shoe person.  But, I've noticed lately that as I get older, my tried & true leather flip flops from JCrew aren't offering me the support I need.  In fact, when I walk around in them for a long time, my feet hurt, my ankles hurt, and I feel pressure in my knees.  BUT - I can't imagine giving up flip flops!  They're too easy!  So...I think these two pairs of shoes might help:
-Rainbow flip flops (which have some serious arch support and a thick-ish strap)
-Dr. Scholl's original exercise sandals.  I love these things.  And I love how they come in & go out of style every few years (I had a pair when I was in middle school, I think).  But the wood base, even though it seems insane, offers arch support and cushioning for your body (and after you go through that awful phase of unimaginable blister hell breaking them in, they become so, so comfortable).

3) A new summer purse - my yellow one from last year (that I adore) is looking a little rough around the edges.

4) Clothes!  I just want new clothes.  I'm sick of mine.

Ha.  Is there anything you guys have your eye on?  Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

RR: Cosmic Coconut and Cortona Contemporary Italian

I'd like to start a new feature on my blog called "RR" - short for "restaurant review."  I know these posts won't be all that interesting to non-Memphians.  And I apologize for that.  But since Jonathan and I love to go to restaurants (even though we don't do it too often anymore), this seems like a fun thing to write about.

So - lucky for you guys, this past weekend we tried two new (to us) restaurants!

Cosmic Coconut
This just opened in the same shopping center as Muddys Bake Shop.  It's an all-vegan juice and smoothie bar.  Ever since moving to Memphis, one of the places I miss most is my beloved St. Louis Smoothie (I love you, Tropical Temptation).  So when I heard this place had opened last week, I was intrigued.

Jonathan and I decided to cruise out there Saturday after I finished my volunteer work at the Hope House.  One initial thought is that it's a liiiiiittle too far from our house, which is a good thing when it comes to Muddys (because then I can't eat there all the time), but isn't that great for a healthy smoothie place I'd like to visit a lot.  The restaurant itself was cute-ish.  They have a cosmic theme going on (obv.).  There's not a ton of seating (don't know if that will change), and there's a ton of wheatgrass growing in planters all around the place, which was fun.

My smoothie was awesome!  I got the Chocolate Covered Almond and it was so good!  It tasted like a healthy chocolate milkshake.  Jonathan got the Peachy Cling On and it was a good peach smoothie, but nothing absolutely incredible.  So our food was overall pretty good.

On the other hand, I'm seriously doubting this place is going to last.  1) It took for-ev-er!  There were 4 people in front of us and it probably took 20 minutes to get our smoothies.  2) The hours are weird - they're only open from 7-1.  3) They aren't open Sunday or Monday, which, I mean, I understand an established restaurant doing that, but not a place that just opened.  4) They don't serve any food.  Now, I've heard this might change, but honestly, if it took that long for 2 smoothies, I can only imagine how long food would take.

We'll give them the benefit of the doubt, though.  They just opened, they're still working out kinks.  So, overall verdict: I will definitely go back.

Cortona Contemporary Italian
This opened a few months ago in the can-never-keep-a-restaurant-for-long spot in Cooper Young at the corner of Cooper and Young.  (It was formerly Melange and Dish.)

First impression: the space is nice.  They've made it sort of trendy-upscale looking.  The whole bar area is very cool and welcoming, and they've added some great outdoor seating in the front.  We happened to run into some friends in the bar area while waiting for our table.  And then some more friends came in who were coming to have a drink with the friends at the bar.  We invited the latter to have dinner with us after their drink (because the other two had already eaten), and the restaurant was very accommodating of switching us from a two-top to a four.

The menu was pretty cool.  It's nice-ish Italian food, at reasonable prices.  In fact, I'm not sure anything on the menu is over $20.  While waiting for our friends, Jonathan and I split potato-encrusted mozzarella sticks (which were a nicer version of the classic) and an arugula salad (which was basic, but good).  Then for our entrees, I built my own pizza (with pesto sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese, mushrooms, sun dried tomato, and arugula) and Jonathan had linguine with red sauce and chicken.  Our friends split a pizza.  I was happy with my pizza - the toppings were good and the crust was nice (probably cooked in a wood-burning oven).  It was also enormous, so I took half home.  Jonathan liked his pasta as well.

I will definitely go back - it's nice to have a budget-friendly place that actually feels sort of upscale.  Unfortunately, as has been the case with all the previous restaurants there, it's impossible to hear in the dining room.  For whatever reason, the acoustics are awful (as they've always been).  But that's not enough to keep me away - so it will definitely be on the "go again" list.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The 3am Blues

If I were a songwriter (or if I was still a poet), I'd write something about 3 o'clock in the morning -ie, the worst hour of the day.

3am falls right in the middle of my night of sleeping.  And for whatever reason, I often wake up around this time and am unable to roll over and go back to sleep.  Instead, I feel wide awake - more so than when my alarm goes off 4 hours later - and I toss and turn for at least 45 minutes before I eventually nod off again.

But during this hour of sleeplessness?  I lay in bed and worry.  I worry in an all-consuming, uncomfortable, out-of-my-mind sort of way.  I first worry about the immediate threat:  that I'll not be able to fall back asleep and I'll be super tired the next day.  But then I start worrying more generally.  About everything, really, in my life that could possibly cause worry.  My health.  My husband's health.  Getting pregnant.  My job/career path.  My husband's.  Money.  Marriage.  The leak in the ceiling in our bathroom.  Yardwork.  My mom.  Gaining weight.  Writing the Great American Novel.  Failure.  Unhappiness.  Life's mistakes.  Selling our house someday.  It goes on and on and on...

Additionally, during this time, I feel quite a bit of self-pity and loneliness.  And it's odd.  It's almost like one hour of the day, I have a glimpse of the darkness people see who suffer with depression.  It clouds all rational thought and consumes my brain.

But then?  I eventually fall back asleep.  And when I wake up at 7, I feel fine.  Normal.  And when I think back to what was causing all that anxiety, it seems almost laughable.  Insignificant.  Wasteful of brain space.  It feels like the thing on which I fixated for an hour is merely a little dot on the giant canvas of my whole life.  And I guess that's a good thing.  But I wonder, does anyone else suffer from the 3am blues?

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Wedding, A Funeral, and a Win!

A lot has happened here in the past few days...

First, of course, there was a wedding!

I have to say, I loved all the coverage of the royal wedding.  Loved.  I woke up around 6 and started watching the coverage from the beginning (oh how I love thee, DVR).  I went to work a little late so I could see the whole ceremony.  I think everything about it was classy and beautiful.  I loved her dress - she looked gorgeous.  I loved the whole ceremony - I thought it seemed sacred and nicely worshipful and personal.  The little hints towards Princess Diana were lovely as well.  And of course, the double kiss on the balcony warmed my heart as I'm sure it did millions of other people.

I was so surprised by the crowds!  They were massive!  I thought it was cool to see all the people march from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace; and then there was the enormous group of people watching on big screens and toasting the couple in Hyde Park (I think it's called Hyde Park).  Overall, I thought NBC's news coverage was great.  I enjoyed all the Today Show people in the morning, Oprah in the afternoon, and Dateline at night.  All in all, exactly what I was hoping for in a royal wedding!

Following a wedding, on the opposite end of pivotal life events, was the funeral of Osama bin Laden.

(I guess we didn't really have anything to do with his "funeral" - but come on, "a wedding and a funeral" is much more catchy than "a wedding and a murder.")

So, I'm definitely in the minority when I say I'm not as jazzed about this as everyone else seems to be.  In fact, I'm a little sickened by the people dancing in the streets celebrating his murder.  Because it's just that - a murder - no matter who he is.  Do we all remember when the Twin Towers went down and we saw footage of people in Al Qaeda celebrating?  Remember how disgusted we were by that?  Um....

But yes - I think it's symbolic for the American people.  That is, we are a strong nation - so much so that we've taken down Public Enemy #1.  And I'm glad that it's proved to be unifying (even if I feel personally opposed to celebrating a murder, no matter who it is).  But I guess my main lackluster attitude towards the whole thing is this: nothing is going to change now.  We're still going to be fighting "the war on terror" (although I think American opinions about the war might become slightly more optimistic).  I would imagine that pretty soon there will be another name who we all consider Public Enemy #1.  And if anything, I think we need to be freaked out about the potential of another large-scale attack against our country.

Let's eradicate our dependence on foreign oil.  All of it.  Then, let's take to the streets in celebration.

Phew.

Ok - so one more (much less depressing) thing in the past few days of monumental events - a win!  Actually, two wins!

Go Grizz!  Friday night at the Fed Ex Forum was in-cred-i-ble!  It was so much fun to be with the other thousands of people celebrating our home team.  The atmosphere was out the roof!  Everyone was on their feet and waving their "Believe Memphis" towels that were handed at the door.  We had really good seats and enjoyed making "game friends" all around us to cheer with and slap high fives.  And we won!  Beale Street afterwards was insane!  We spent a little time in Silkys but then decided to head down Main Street to Local and Bar None.  On the street on the way to Bar None, we ran in Haddadi.  Jonathan got a picture with him (it's his new profile pic on facebook if you want to check it out).  And then at Bar None, we saw Shane Battier.  What fun!  It made us appreciate our small, but cool city even more.

And then.  And then!  We won the first game against the Thunder on Sunday!  It was an awesome way to start this next round!

I have to say - I believe, Memphis!!

I hope you guys enjoyed the past few days, as well.  Go Grizz!