My beautiful friend Booyah inspired me to review my year on the blog. I figured that is even more appropriate since, until very recently, I’ve been quiet most of the year. This will be a quick recap because my 2011 New Year’s Resolution will be complete soon! I said I would video-document the entire year and I have done just that. I just have a fair bit of editing before the masterpiece is complete.
Speaking of NYRs, I think I’ve decided on my resolution for 2012. More on that later.
This has truly been the best year of my life. 2011 has been one big adventure after another, with the most amazing husband. It’s going to be hard to top this one, 2012. Just letting you know.
January. We enjoyed our first New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Mobile with wonderful friends, Auburn won the national championship (and I made out with Cam Newton…in my dreams), I had my very first television interview for work, and we took over Washington, D.C. for a few fabulous days. I was even able to meet up with my best friend from middle school while I was there. And the Museum of Natural History? I could live there. Forever. My favorite memory from this month is the fact that we were the only tourists to brave the snow storm that shut down the capitol of our country…well, us and the Asians. I swear they were following us…
February. The month began with the worst birthday of my existence, followed mere hours by the first collision for my beloved Prius.We both took some hits that day. We’ll make up for it next year. The month of February continued to kick my ass when I got that nasty stomach flu that was going around. I remember calling loved ones, BEGGING them to come over, but they wouldn’t because it was too contagious. Therefore, I was left alone to cry in my own filth and sadness. February sucked. I try not to think about it when I make statements like, “2011 was the BEST YEAR EVER!!!”
March. This month totally redeemed the beginning of the year for me. Because we went to Disney. And Harry Potter World. That sums it up for me.
April. This was a very full month. I started running, Molly got very sick, and we began to fall in love with New Orleans thanks to Jazz Fest and the Morrisons. Since April, I quit running because I can’t even do it right without hurting myself, Molly is back to her crazy, spunky self, and we’ve been to New Orleans 3 more times. Thanks, April. I like you a lot.
May. To culminate the busiest work month for me, I worked the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, where we were lucky enough to get artist passes and, therefore, free beer, booze and band access. It was an amazing experience, to say the least. Paul Simon, will you marry me???
June. The beginning of June marked the beginning of summer camp season at the Exploreum, which was the true test for all of the hard work I put into those camps for 6 months. The work paid off, thank goodness, and the summer was a huge success. We didn’t go on any crazy adventures in June because I was working non-stop. But it was still one of the most fun summers ever. Oh, and Drew had a birthday this month. As well as an eye surgery or two. Good times.
July. My dad is lucky enough to share his birthday with our country, so we went up to Nashville to visit him for the occasion. Time spent bonding with my dad is always a pleasure for me, especially when I can see how well he and Drew get along. Love those two men. The last week in July brought 3 kids with it. My 8-yr-old sister, my 8-yr-old nephew and my 11-yr-old niece came to visit us for the last week of summer camps. I had the pleasure of seeing Drew act like a father with phrases like, “No hats at the table,” “Use a napkin,” and “Did you brush your teeth?” It was beautiful.
August. We went camping. It was glorious. I want to relive that weekend a thousand times.
September. We celebrated our 4 year anniversary, Drew had another eye surgery and we went to NOLA to see The Head and the Heart (who just happen to be the artists featured in our 2011 video). This entire month was amazing. I still can’t believe we’ve been married 4 years.
October. I got fired. It was dirty and wrong, and no matter how happy I am now that I left that place, I’m still deeply bitter about it. It is so hurtful to know that after working so hard, I can just be thrown out with the trash and treated like dirt. I know now that it was not simply a lay-off, but a personal attack against me. I always knew it. But you know what? I now work in a place where I am appreciated for my hard work. I am treated with respect. And I’m still doing what I love. What more could I ask for? Also, Drew had another eye surgery.
November. Thanksgiving totally happened. Twice. Once with family and once with Alida, the most beautiful spirit in Seattle. We also played with vampires and werewolves. They’re fun.
December. My blogging and crafting picked up major speed. I finally got my words back after that October fiasco. We became vegetarians/vegans and Drew got a new cornea from who I assume was a very caring individual. My niece is with us this week, which always puts a huge smile on my face. I can’t believe she is 11 years old. I remember the day she was born with such clarity. I remember the first words I spoke when she graced us with her presence for the first time: “Thanks, Doc!” Very profound stuff. Christmas Eve is only 4 days away but our plans are still up in the air. We normally visit my family in Montgomery for Christmas, but Drew may have another eye surgery as early as this Thursday, which will keep us home for Christmas and away from my family for the first time in my life. I’ve come to terms with it, though. As long as I’m with Drew, I’m with family.
I bet you just can’t wait to see the video version of all of this, can you? It’s on its way, I promise! Until then, have the happiest of holidays this year. You are loved.
Everyone has been asking how we’ve been doing with our new vegan/vegetarian diet, so I thought I’d keep you informed. Dinners have been great (with the exception of the corn and red pepper chowder I made last night…thanks anyway, Jim). I quit taking pictures after the first night (because I LOATHE taking pictures with artificial light), but I’ve found that any vegetable-based soup can be veganified, even the creamy ones with the right milk replacer, and anything that involves black beans and avocado is my bestest friend.
Lunches have been easy as well. Drew takes a hummus and veggie wrap and I fill up on a non-dairy frozen burrito topped with lettuce, salsa and avocado. Mmmmm…..
We’ve found that dairy replacers aren’t bad at all. I still can’t stomach almond milk, but I’m not a milk-drinker anyway. I can cook with it and have no problem. Drew actually enjoys drinking the stuff. Yuck. We’ve found vegan cream cheese, butter, coffee creamer and ice cream that we love. I won’t even venture into the realm of fake hard cheeses though. I’ve been a hard core cheese lover my entire life (I swear it’s in my genes), so I can’t even go there.
I have had one glitch…I lost 3 pounds fast. Like in the first week. After tracking my diet on My Fitness Pal, I realized that I’m not getting nearly enough protein, despite the fact that I’m eating tons of nuts and beans. So I starting eating eggs for breakfast and a cheese snack each day at work and my protein intake is under control. Drew is also losing a little weight, but he needs a low-protein diet, so it’s ok for now.
I’ve also pretty much quit looking at vegan-specific recipes. They are all full of weird and crazy ingredients. I would rather look at a regular vegetarian recipe and replace any dairy that might be there. I prefer to keep my chemically manufactured food intake to a minimum, thank you very much.
Thank you to everyone for your love and support! I’m really excited to try making a vegan cheese ball for an upcoming holiday party. I’ll be combining vegan cream cheese with a vegetable dip seasoning packet, then rolling it in chopped walnuts. I have high hopes, people. High hopes indeed.
This gift wrap is so rustic and simple, not to mention extremely inexpensive. All you need is brown postal paper, green raffia ribbon and homemade Wordle gift tags in the color scheme of your choice. I chose the “moss” color scheme and inserted all sorts of lovely Christmas words, making sure to insert the gift recipient’s name multiple times so that it shows up nice and large. Happy holidays!
While snapping gift photos, I took this one of my tree in manual focus. I love how it turned out!
I like to create memory art after we travel. Example A: Italy Memory Art. Our recent trip to Seattle coincided with me getting my hands on an iphone, which means I was able to document our vacation with vintage-looking square-shaped photos. Awesome. I immediately knew that I wanted to make coasters out of them! We’ve been needing some new coasters anyway.
- 4×4″ Square Tiles ($0.16 each at the Home Depot)
- 4″ Printed Instagram Photos
- Mod Podge (Michael’s)
- Paint Brush or Foam Brush (Michael’s)
- Felt Sheets (Michael’s)
- Acrylic Sealer (Michael’s)
Before we get started, there are three ways to print your Instagram photos. You could order them online from some fancy (a.k.a. expensive) specialty Instagram printing company. You could print them from your computer onto photo paper (not copy paper, as this will not hold up to the Mod Podge). Or, if you don’t have a nice printer with photo paper, you can print them from your favorite photo shop. This final option takes a little editing before you can send them off. I had to add a thick white border on Picnik (my favorite online photo editing software), then crop to a 4×6 so that the 4″ square Instagram photo could easily but cut to size after printing. Here is a quick screen shot of the editing process:
Ok, let’s get started!
1. Lay the tiles out on some newspaper and cover them in a light coat of Mod Podge.
2. Place pictures on the tiles. Let sit for about an hour.
3. Paint over the surface of the picture and tile edges with Mod Podge. Let dry and repeat this process at least 2 more times. As you can see, mine is streaky and imperfect because I used an old paint brush with issues, but I like it that way. If you want yours nice and smooth with minimal imperfections, you should use a brand new foam brush.
4. Apply an acrylic sealer to the finished surface. This step is crucial, as it makes the surface waterproof. If you skip this step, the Mod Podge will turn back into glue as soon as anything wet touches it.
5. Apply a coat of Mod Podge to the bottom of the coaster, then attach a square piece of felt. Let dry.
6. Apply MANY coats of acrylic sealer. When you think you have enough, test out one coaster for a little while. If you see any water marks, dry it off and keep applying that sealer. It’ll work eventually!
That’s it! Enjoy you’re new Instagram coasters!!!
I’ve never had major acne problems, just the little pimples every now and then. I have, however, always had large, unsightly pores and red splotchy skin. These two things have been getting worse and worse with age, so I decided to purchase this natural facial mask to help me out. I was skeptical, because I’ve learned that changing up my facial routine in any way causes a major breakout, but this stuff is amazing! I’ve been using it once per week for about a month now and I’ve noticed reduced redness and less pimples. Jury’s still out on the pores, though.
So what makes Yes to Tomatoes to special? Here’s a little excerpt from the website:
Organic Tomatoes contain Lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables. Its anti-inflammatory properties encourage a balanced and clearer complexion whilst the vitamins are useful in the control of sebum secretion.
Dead Sea Minerals from the world’s most ancient spa naturally exfoliate, detoxify and rejuvenate the skin.
Dead Sea Mud cleanses and hydrates the skin, to remove impurities and toxins.
If you are having similar problems, I highly recommend this stuff (let me know how it goes if you do). I plan on trying some of their other products in the very near future.
P.P.S. Is there another product you would like me to check out? Leave a comment and let me know!
I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you.
Thank you for reading the post about Drew’s condition.
Thank you for your kind words and for thinking of us.
Drew is having eye surgery #9 today, this time for a cornea transplant. We started our mostly vegan diet yesterday, after a weekend full of splurging on bacon cheeseburgers and chicken fingers. I’ll be blogging each week about our journey through the vegan/vegetarian world, including recipes that worked and tips and tricks (if we actually have any thus far).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go be an awesome hospital wife. I’m getting really good at that!
Disclaimer: This is going to be a very personal post. You’re going to learn more about my husband that you ever wanted to. The goal of this post is to fill you in on why we are about to become strict vegetarians with serious vegan tendencies. Soooo…here goes!
We love animals. I’ve worked with wild animals for years and think birds are the cutest things ever…even vultures (they’re so fluffy!). But animal welfare is not the reason Drew and I have decided to give up meat and a whole heck of a lot of dairy. We are making this choice for health reasons. I believe the term is “nutritional vegetarianism” as opposed to “ethical vegetarianism.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE critters, but a really cute cow is not going to make me want to give up Five Guys. Having a loving husband who could die because of animal protein? Yeah, that’ll make me give it up in a heartbeat.
Let me explain. Drew has a disease called homocystinuria. Big word. Most doctors have no idea what it means. The simplest answer is that it’s the reason Drew has had 8 eye surgeries in 10 years…and 2 gum grafts…and 2 back surgeries for scoliosis. And it is definitely the reason why Drew’s risk of heart attack or stroke is way too high to imagine.
Ready for the not-so-simple explanation? Homocystinuria is one type of amino acid disorder. People with this condition have problems breaking down amino acids called methionine and homocystine from the foods they eat. Enzymes are little molecules that are in our bodies to break up proteins (made up of amino acids) so that the body can use them. People with homocystinuria are either missing the enzyme that breaks down methionine and homocystine, or it is not functioning properly. Essentially, those two amino acids build up in the blood stream and cause all sorts of un-fun problems. The biggest risk to untreated individuals is suffering from a heart attack or stroke at a young age (like, 30-ish).
Can you guess what foods contain the most methionine? Yeah. Meats…and eggs and cheese and milk…pretty much all animal proteins contain the amino acid methionine. Unfortunately, a lot of vegetables, beans and nuts contain it too, but they exist in small amounts and, let’s face it, Drew has to eat something, right?
The only treatments for this condition are: 1) take vitamin b supplements and 2) eat a low-methionine diet. Drew’s doing both, and I’m totally doing it with him (except for the supplements, of course). I mean, I’m completely addicted to all things creamy and cheesy, but I’m not about to eat that stuff in front of him or even keep it in the house if he can’t have it.
So, we are starting this journey together. Because that’s what we were meant to do. Because I would rather live my life with him in it than eat cheeseburgers all by myself. Because I would do absolutely anything for that man. Because I love him.
We woke up super early after staying the night in La Push so that we could drive back to Seattle in time for the Iron Bowl (that’s the Auburn-Alabama game for you yankees). Alida hooked us up with the Seattle Auburn club, which is a group of die-hard Auburn alum and fans in Seattle. They were all so much fun! We even met a guy from Mobile that now lives there. Small, small world.
We spent our last evening in Seattle at Game Night at Keridwyn & BBoz’s place on Capital Hill. Check out their view!
If you have never played Quelf, give it your best shot…which is all you can really do because THERE ARE NO RULES! This game is insane and super fun.
After an incredibly confusing game of Quelf, the dance party began. I just remember thinking, “We don’t have these in Alabama!” and also loving every single second. Drew even busted out his Single Ladies dance. It was hot.
I want to thank so many people! Thank you, Kristi, for taking the ONLY picture of me and Alida from the entire trip. Thank you to all of Alida’s friends for being so welcoming, especially Erin and Paul for letting us stay at your place during our visit. And thank you, Alida, for being the best hostess and friend ever. You are a super shiny, sparkly star and I love you. The end.