Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Things You Should Know

  • The line-up for Memphis in May is out. Everybody scream. Needtobreathe and The Civil Wars will be there. I swoon. I have a feeling I will have a front row seat at both of those.
  • John Mayer is making a come back. New album is out May 22, and he's going on tour. Need I say more. 
  • I consumed an entire plate of roasted butternut squash and broccoli for dinner last night. Not a smart move. I still feel full. Not even kidding.
  • There is never enough coffee. Period. End of story.
  • My friend Casondra leave today for her new job in Illinois. Biggest bummer ever. I'm going to miss her so much.
  • The homework is still in the works...and by that I mean I'm working on it. 
  • I'm leaving for New Orleans in two days. So. Excited.
  • Today's high is 77 degrees. WTF? 
  • I'm not a graphic designer. When will my workplace realize this?
  • I had a dream last night about me becoming a college professor. I taught the introductory course in Journalism at UCA. I was a fun teacher, and every student wanted to be in my class. This is probably because my teaching methods were a little unorthodox.
  • Spring Break T-minus 17 days. Sweet baby Jesus that makes me happy. 
What things should I know about? Tell me, please. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running with a Cough

I seriously almost died yesterday while I was out running. And it wasn't from the psychical activity of running. It's because I have a cough.

I ran the first mile and coughed a little bit when I took my minute walk break. The second mile felt even better since it was 70 degrees and sunny. But the minute walk break had even more coughing, and this time it was serious. So I took an extra 30 seconds to get my breathing under control. Third mile was good. I felt good. Nothing too demanding of my body. But when I stopped and started to stretch, I absolutely could not breathe. Every breath I took in made me want to cough, but I couldn't because I had nothing to cough. So it was a lot like choking. Very scary stuff. But I did it.

Here are my stats:
Distance: 3.0 miles
Time: 36:29 (pretty good considering the coughing fits.)
Best Pace: 10:31
Average Pace: 12:10
Calories: 334

Once recovered from my near-death coughing fit, I took my sweaty, smelly self to the grocery store. (I'm sorry for those people who had to endure shopping in my general area.)

I decided to try a new recipe that I adapted from a few different recipes. I give you Butternut squash, kale and barley "risotto."
So so good. The squash was tender, the kale was wilted and the barley was slightly chewy. Just a good combination of textures and flavors. I'm not going to post an actual recipe because it took a lot longer than I wanted it to. So I'm going to experiment with the recipe a few times before I go give you the recipe to try at home.

In other news, grad school is kicking my booty pretty hardcore right about now. This having something huge due every single week is getting pretty old. I'm not a fan. I'm ready to not be judged on my knowledge of the subject.

In other more exciting news, I'm headed to New Orleans Friday morning. My mom and a few of her friends are running a half-marathon down there. I'm pretty excited. This will be my first time to experience the atmosphere of a big, legit race.

And I'm also thrilled to have authentic Cajun food, adult beverages and a latte and beignets from Cafe du Monde. So I should have some pretty exciting stories to tell from the weekend in Nola.

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

End of the Week Rants

1. Today's high is 77 degrees. In February. The month of the worst weather Arkansas ever gets.
Seriously. I don't understand it, but I love it.

2. I still feel like death. This dang cough won't go away. I'm pretty sure my chest is broken from coughing so much. I tried take a teaspoon of honey as a cough suppressant, and it worked pretty well. Good ole home remedies do the trick, although I fear nothing will get rid of this cough any time soon.

3. I went to bed at 9:30 last night. And I work up at midnight, 2 A.M. and 4 A.M. Then my alarm went off at 7 this morning, and I instantly wanted to pull the covers over my head and ignore it. All I wanted was a good night's sleep. Sigh. I'll try again tonight.

4. Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 11. Keep in mind that is three weeks away. Crazy how time flies. It seems like we were just falling back.

5. Grad school is stupid. And I'm trying really hard for it not to take over my whole life. These past few weeks has felt like I can't get caught up, even though everything gets done. Girl can't get ahead to save her life.

6. Easter candy is out. Dove dark chocolate eggs have won my heart. Need I say more.

7. I'm currently obsessing over these two songs by Ben Rector.
"White Dress"
I was actually there to hear this exact version.

"She Is"
And it's just piano. I swoon.

8. Reason 948279878797923429123 for why I love Needtobreathe.
And this.

And that's all I have to say about that.

I hope everyone has a safe and merry weekend. I'll be seeing you on the flip side. Now go outside and scream.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Chorus Sings. This is Home.

Y'all. I absolutely cannot handle Needtobreathe. Absolutely cannot handle it.

I know I've said this before, but I don't think you understand just how incredible they are. I mean the music, melodies, voices, drums, piano, lyrics. All of it is too good. But before I regale you with stories of the band's musical genius, I must tell you about my day yesterday and why Needtobreathe can cure whatever is ailing you.

Yesterday was all around weird. I felt bad, as in sickly. And to top it off, I was a bottomless pit. I could never get full. Salads just don't do it for me. After work, I met the roommate for coffee at the favorite Starbucks. I got a little pick-me-up with the coffee and because I asked them to put it in a mug. Look at me reducing waste.

The whole way to Searcy I was in a funk. I didn't feel good. I was coughing all the time, or it seemed like it. And I found out one of my favorite people of all times is moving to Illinois for her job.

But by the time I sat down in my seat in row W, I felt more like myself. Ben Rector played, and he was amazing. But we all know the real reason I went. Needtobreathe.
I started out in the back with the roommate, Chelsey and her sister. It was good. I was singing. But the crowd was just stiff. Not interactive. Quiet. So Bear told people who couldn't see to move up to the front...

So basically we moved from the back to the third row. So close I could see the sweat on their faces. So close I could see all Bear's facial expressions in detail.

He sang with all this heart and soul. It's truly something amazing to be in the presence of such an amazing talent. The music in itself was incredible. Just crazy good melodies. And they changed up the arrangements to make it just different enough to completely blow your mind.
I can't tell you exactly how I felt. It's not like any other feeling. It's like being overcome by complete sensory overload. I've seen Needtobreathe live four times now. And each time has been different and better than the last. That's how I know they are doing something outrageously awesome.

I truly wish everyone will have at least one experience where they are completely overcome by the music. If you've already had one, keep enjoying the music to its fullest.

If you haven't, I challenge you to let yourself be open to the opportunity to feel the music deep down in your soul.

If you're wondering how to even begin to do that, start with a song that catches your attention either by the melody, lyrics or both. Think about what caught your attention, and why it caught your attention. And then listen to the song again. And feel the music. Feel the beat. Let the lyrics roll through your head. And find a place in your life to put the words and sounds. And just let it be. Allow yourself to feel the musical genius. Just allow yourself to have that moment.

I hope you have that special moment. But if you don't, I'm just happy you'd allow yourself to try. It's a foreign concept to most people, but it's something so special it should be shared with everyone.

I leave you with this.
It gets me every time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Slow Pace Weekend

Happy Tuesday! After a weekend that was far too short (aren't they always), I'm back and ready to take on this week. The only bad news is I'm a tad bit sickly. I have a ridiculous cough I can't seem to shake.

I spent the weekend in the hometown visiting the parents. My cousin turned 13 on Sunday so I attended her birthday party. Crazy that she's already 13. A teenager. Wow. I'm getting old faster than I thought I was.

Friday when I got home, I went for a little run around town.
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 33:22
Best Pace: 9:11
Average Pace: N/A (I guess I didn't take a picture of it.)
Calories: 400

Overall it was a pretty good run, despite the fact that I ate Pei Wei two hours before it. By the way, don't do that. It was not a good idea. I did catch cramps and had major stomach pains during the entire run. But I definitely needed it to clear my head.

Good ole Katie Dog was happy to see me. The roommate is going to paint this picture of her sometime. I happen to think it will be a great addition to her growing animal art portfolio. If you want to see her work or commission a piece, check it out here.

As I said, I've been kinda sickly. Cough and cold type of thing. Not fun. I've been self medicating with Zrytec-D and cough medicine. Why does cough medicine taste so bad? I mean seriously. I'm already sick. Can't they at least make something that doesn't taste like dirty feet water?
I tried to cheer myself up with my "Life is good." mug I got in Destin this summer. But the cough prevailed and continues to do so.

On a different note, I get to see Needtobreathe tonight live in Searcy. So excited. So so excited.

How was your weekend?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue - Orange

Happy Thursday (which is my Friday) Friends!!!

I have a few things to share with you this morning. And I'm going to try to practice brevity with my writing today since I've written two extremely long posts this week. So on we go...

Got my new shoes yesterday. They are beautiful and fit like a glove. I have a feeling they will play a vital role in my upcoming outfit selection. Yay for neutrals.

Today marks the second day of me using my redneck coffee travel mug. Still not ashamed.

My Valentine's Day flowers are starting to open up and become even more beautiful. I need to say yet again that the man who got them for did an amazing job.

Scored a free lunch today. Nuff said.

I took the True Colors Personality test this morning. And I'm mystified that my colors were completely right now. BLUE-ORANGE and proud of it. If you haven't taken the true colors test and want to, please let me know. I took some extra copies of all the materials, and I have access to a fancy copier at my office. I would be more than happy to give you the test.

I find the color test completely fascinating. I can't wait to get more people I know to take it and see what colors they are. The first lucky victim with more than likely be the roommate since she lives with me. I have my predictions about what colors she will be, but I'm not gonna say until she completes the test.

I hope you guys have a fabulous weekend. Big things are happening for me this weekend. I will regale you with said story on Tuesday...or sooner if it's that horrendous.

Have you taken the True Colors Test? If so, what colors are you?

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flowers and Co-Ops

My sweet Valentine sent me beautiful flowers for Valentine's Day.

Can we just talk about the fact I told him tulips were my favorite flower in a random conversation a while ago, and he remembered it. Such a sweet man I have. I recently found a pin on Pinterest that sums up my Valentine.

"If he makes...makes you laugh, kisses your forehead, says he's sorry, makes an effort, holds your hand, works hard and attempts to understand you. Then, believe it or not, he's quite perfect."

And he does/has done all those things for me. I'm a lucky girl.

But enough of the mushy girl talk...Let's talk about how Redneck I am. (Is redneck a proper noun? I think not...But who's gonna stop me? Nobody.)

I may or may not have carried my coffee to work in a Tervis tumbler covered in Saran wrap.
And by that I meant I did do that this morning. And I'm totally not ashamed. To be completely honest with you, this Tervis tumbler kept my coffee warmer than any other coffee carrier I've ever used. Now that's big news. But to keep the Redneckness at bay, I'll need to get a special lid for my cup for next time.

On a completely different note, I've discovered something pretty amazing after writing yesterday's post. I've been seeing a lot of blogs promoting food co-ops for local farmers. After watching those two documentaries Monday night, I browsed one of the movies' Web sites to see what kind of resources it provided for people looking to support local farmers.

Little Rock has a local food co-op, meaning that anyone who signs up for a membership can get locally grown fruits and vegetables, among other things, each week. It's called the Little Rock Local Food Club. And I couldn't be more thrilled about it.

Unlike other food co-ops, Little Rock Local Food Club allows you to pick what goes in your box each week. Most co-ops just give you whatever, and you don't know what you get until you pick up your box each week.

Y'all this is seriously cool. And I feel like nobody knows about it. Now the Web site is not very fancy, but I feel like it's a start for Arkansas' move to sustainable living.

Our mission is to foster the local food economy and sustainable development by connecting Arkansas Farmers and Artisans with our membership. Our core values reflect that mission:
• We believe that small, diverse, family-owned farms contribute to a society’s overall health.
• We believe that Little Rock citizens should have access to local, responsibly-produced foods and artisanal products.
• We believe that it is important that farmers reestablish relationships with their customers and help them reconnect with their food supply.
• We believe that a community that respects its food sources is a community that is more connected to and caring for its environment.
• We believe that local, environmentally-friendly food systems help provide economic and environmental stability by keeping local dollars in the local economy and decreasing dependence on and consumption of non-renewable resources.
• We believe that agricultural practices should work with nature, not against it. Farming practices should rebuild topsoil and preserve fresh water.
• We believe in the humane treatment of livestock. Livestock should have access to fresh air, sunlight, and grass, with adequate space to move and interact with members of the herd/flock.
• We believe that farming practices should be transparent. Customers should know how the food they consume was produced.
• We believe that farmers should be able to earn a “living” wage and that local, responsibly produced food should be reasonably priced.


I am going to sign up for a membership. I want to help support local farmers. I want the freshest produce I can get. I want to know where my food comes from. So go follow the Arkansas Sustainability Network on Facebook and Twitter. See what they do. And it maybe something you want to get involved in.

What are your thoughts on supporting local farmers by joining a food co-op?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Number 200: Documentaries and Cookies

Today's a big day, and it's not because it's Valentine's Day, although that is important to some people. This day is blessed with being the day I wrote my 200th blog post. And brace yourselves. I have a lot to tell you.

So let's start with the obvious: Valentine's Day.

Not trying to toot my own horn, but one of the perks of dating me is the fact that I can bake. My Valentine was pretty excited because I baked him some cookies. And let me just say I got up at 6 A.M. to set out butter to soften, and I was baking cookies at 9 A.M. on Friday morning. Yep, I'm that girl. But it's definitely a perk that I can bake.
These are white chocolate pistachio cookies, and they are absolutely delicious. I found the recipe on Julie's blog when Ali submitted it for a holiday cookie link-up. At Christmas this year, I made a variation of these beauties by adding some dried cranberries. Nothing says Christmas better than red and green speckled cookies. So good. Make them today. As in right now. You won't be sorry.

Moving on. I watched two amazing documentaries on Netflix yesterday. "Forks Over Knives" and "Food, Inc." are absolute must-sees. I can't even begin to tell you how captivated I was, and still am, over these two movies.

We are what we eat. And it's even more true now that I've seen how food is made and what it can do to the body. Both documentaries had a huge impact on me and how I want to continue living my life. But "Forks Over Knives" really hit home for me, and it's sort of put me in a soul-searching place. Let me tell you why.

"Forks Over Knives" makes a grand claim that a whole foods, plant-based diet will prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, dementia, diabetes and many, many types of cancers. And with this grand claim, the documentary provides evidence of said diet working on patients with lots of health issues. There's a lot more to it than just that and I could talk about it all day because it's fascinating, but I won't do that to you.

Now I've said it before, I could easily be a vegetarian, but giving up the occasional cheeseburger, bacon and fried catfish filets would be pretty painful for me. And living the "Forks Over Knives" diet would mean I would have to become vegan, which means giving up not only all meats but also all dairy products.

Y'all I love cheese. Giving up cheese would be like a death. And not being able to put half and half in my coffee would make me very sad. And I don't really want to have to explain my choice of becoming vegan to everyone who isn't of like mind.

But if that means I could ward off Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and Alzheimer's, cheese and half and half seem like miniscule issues. I love all fruits and vegetables. I love rice and pasta. I love bread. I already limit the amount of meats I eat, so the only major jump I would make would be nixing the dairy.

I'm not saying it's something I'm going to do, but it's something I am considering. I'd love to talk with a nutritionist and a doctor before I make any significant changes. It's a big change. A lifestyle change. A HUGE lifestyle change. But it's something to think about.

Watch the documentaries, and tell me that they didn't plant some seeds.

What did you make your Valentine this year?

Do you think you could ever go vegetarian or vegan? Why or why not?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Never in a Million Years

First, I have a confession. I have only ran once this week, and I have done zero yoga. Sigh. In my defense (not that it really matters), I have been doing fridiculous amounts of homework in the evenings. With my birthday falling on a Monday and having something to do every night last weekend, homework took a serious backseat, which is not the norm. No worries. I'm caught up.

I'm unfortunately not caught up on grocery shopping, but I did find some good things to throw into a stir fry last night.
In this mix was short grain brown rice, steamed broccoli, corn, edamame and one egg. I threw the egg in on a whim (trying to be like my mom), and it was pretty tasty. And it gave me some added protein.

On a different note, I've been feeling pretty stressed this week. With the birthday, extreme amounts of homework and stressful projects at work, I feel like I've spread myself pretty thin the past few weeks. I'm finding myself with tense shoulders, a furrowed brow and more frequent break-outs. Why does the face always break out when stress sets in? Makes me more stressed, which fuels the vicious cycle of tension, forehead wrinkles and break-outs.

As I was perusing the World Wide Web, I came across this verse from the Message Bible.
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Philippians 4:6-7

I'm thinking it should be my new mantra whenever I feel stressed, or just all the time.

Switching gears: We all know my least favorite Holiday is approaching *ahem Valentine's Day.* Even though I'll actually have a Valentine this year, I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole required-to-show-affection day. My heart is with the single people of the world, I guess.

I am going to make a little something special for my Valentine, and we will be seeing each other this weekend. But as a little treat, I thought we could all look back to last year's Valentine's Day post to see exactly what I think about it.

I'm still have no idea what to get a guy for Valentine's Day. And I still loathe conversation hearts and creepy stuffed animals. And I still really dislike the idea of feeling forced to conform to society's "love day." And I still think the actual story of St. Valentine is better than any modern day love story.

But maybe my Valentine can help sway my train of thought away from such pessimism. Like I said a year ago, I am a hopeless romantic, and I do like to be wooed. But wooing shouldn't take place on a designated day.

More on this Valentine's thing later. For all I know, I could be completely wooed and made to love Valentine's Day....We shall see. Whatever happens, I know this Valentine's Day will be different than all previous Valentine's Days, which I'm most excited about.

I am handcrafting a little something, and I may or may not be flexing my baking skills (which I never in a million years thought I would do around Valentine's Day..and by that I mean crafting something for a special someone.) Who am I?

Tell me about your Valentine's history. Good or bad, I want to know.

What does one get a boy for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Swoon Over...

Yesterday was a big day. The reason behind that is The Fray's new album "Scars and Stories" came out.
Before yesterday, the band released to singles "Heartbeat" and "The Fighter." And let me just say I've worn both those songs out (but still absolutely love them).

But something happened on my drive to work this morning. I had a musical epiphany when I heard the song "Rainy Zurich." Not kidding. A musical epiphany. It is the most beautiful song. And I love how it makes me feel. I can't even begin to explain it. Just listen.
"I'll keep you warm dancing in downpour. And I will hold your body slowly turning. I'll keep you warm dancing in a downpour. Breathe it in, take it off and soak our skin."

I am in love with this song. So deeply in love with it.

Basically I'm telling you to go buy this. And listen to it on repeat. Forever.

Before the musical epiphany in the car this morning, I had a moment while getting ready for work when listening to Dave Matthews Band. "All Along the Watchtower" is definitely something to swoon over. Cannot. Handle. It. Ever. Not. One. Time.

Music is something I love. And awhile back, I updated my Facebook profile's "About Me" section to being about music and melodies. Sometimes melodies say more about me than I could ever say about myself. It's hard to explain. But if you get it, you get it. And I feel sorry for the people who don't get gooey feelings in their stomachs over an amazing lyric or a musical riff.

Does anyone else feel this way about music?

What lyrics or melodies define you?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


All birthdays should include:
Chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

A hand-picked outfit and awesome accessories.

Boom Kinetic. BTW, I got on the stage, and they sang Happy Birthday to me. It was pretty much the most amazing thing ever. And I'm now BFFs with the band. Love it.

My new running shoes are too legit to quit. Cannot even handle how bad ass they are. I swoon.

The roommate got me the most awesome card, and she finally found a place to make the t-shirts she designed a long time ago. So very cool.

That having been said, I guess now is as good a time as ever to tell you I've been seeing a very, handsome gentleman for almost a month. Things are still very new and exciting, and I'm having a grand ole time getting to know him. I'm pleased to tell you the whole thing seems very promising, and I'm excited about the potential. More on that as it unfolds.

I had a wonderful birthday. I think 2012 and my 24th year are shaping up to be absolutely beautiful. I'm so excited to share it all with you as it happens. Yay for birthdays and new beginnings.

Have a great week!

How was your weekend?

What is one of the most memorable birthday gifts you've ever received?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Short, Sweet and to the Point

  • Birthday: T-minus 4 days.
  • Birthday Party with Boom Kinetic: T-minus 1 day.
  • Needtobreathe: T-minus 20 days.
  • New shoes: T-minus 7-9 business days.
That's my list, and I'm sticking to it. But in order to make this post worth your time, let's do a little recap of things I like about the past, which you may have forgotten about. You can thank me later.

Dudes, we be growing. Growing and changing. And lovin' every minute of it.

I'll try to check in over the weekend and give you deets about the weekend's festivities, but I won't make any promises. I will promise a full recap of said festivities on Tuesday.

Happy Thursday peeps! Next time we talk I'll be one year older. Yee Haw!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The End All Be All Birthday

We've officially made it to February. Yay yay hip hooray! It's officially 3 days until my birthday party, 6 days until my birthday and 21 days until I get to see Needtobreathe live for the fourth time. Holy crap I'm excited.

But before I can celebrate properly, I have to finish the homework.
Tell me what that means, and I will gladly do it. Until then, I'll just stare at the blank Word document on my computer. Got to get it done by Thursday. GOT TO.

My Sole Society February shoe picks are in.

Could they BE any cuter? I think not. I loved the blue ones, but I couldn't think of anything to wear them with. Luckily, they come in other colors.
These lovelies will be arriving at my door in seven to 10 business days. I love how work appropriate they are and how chic they are. Plus I love a wedge.

(But this whole shoe club thing reminds me that I need to clean out my closet. Maybe I will host a giveaway with my lightly worn clothes and shoes, if anyone is interested. Just a thought.)

If I hosted a lightly worn clothes and shoes giveaway, would you be interested?

What kinds of items would you like to see?