Sunday, June 27, 2010


A friend sent this link to me and it's too good to keep to myself. It's a fabulous story about accepting and embracing whatever God has planned for your life. I'm not a huge crier, but I very nearly sobbed reading this. Go grab a handful (heck, a roll) of toilet paper and get to readin'. You won't be sorry!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Kate and I went on a delightfully random adventure Monday. We drove to teeny tiny Lynchburg, TN to tour the Jack Daniel's distillery. It was such a fun day! Kate managed to get us reservations at Miss Mary Bobo's for lunch; if you ever find yourself in Lynchburg, this is a must-do. But call ahead; I think we were lucky to get in at the last minute.
Our group ate in one of the cellar rooms, and I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture. The room was very rustic...fireplace, exposed brick, all that good stuff. There was an older couple at our table from Seattle. It was kind of funny to see their culture shock; the sweet lady had lots of questions about the food and the "breathtaking humidity" (her words). The food was amazing (and low-calorie, I'm sure): fried chicken, meatloaf, creamed corn, cornbread, fried okra, butter beans, squash casserole, and "Jack apples". Oh, those apples. They were baked apples with Jack Daniel's poured on top. I think Kate got in two bites, while I managed about three. To get the same effect at home, take a bite of a baked apple and wash it down with a mouthful of whiskey. It was literally painful to eat them...ick. A lady at the end of our table (a teetotaler, she reminded us several times) might as well have licked the bowl. Homegirl LOVED her some Jack apples. She told us that the alcohol doesn't count as long as you chew it. Sure. Dessert was fudge pie with whiskey whipped cream. Definitely worth a stop if you're ever nearby!

Next up was the distillery tour. We were excited, and even more so when we found out the tour was free. As in, zero dollars...woohoo! I hate that I didn't take more pictures, but it was so dadgum hot I spent most of my energy trying to stay alive. When we got to the natural springs, you could literally feel the temperature drop. It was so nice and cool and shady.
Kate and I had a hard time peeling ourselves off of the wonderfully cool rocks to go into the non-AC room where they boil giant vats of mash. But suck it up we did! It was interesting to get to see (and smell!) the whiskey at different stages of production. The smell after the first stage literally brought tears to our eyes. Our tour guide told us that "the product" at that point was pretty much moonshine. My hat's off to anyone willing to swallow that! Kate and I agreed that the smell during the later parts of the process reminded us of the student section at a football game :) This was such a fun little day trip...we're trying to figure out where to go next!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:
  • my family and friends, and an opportunity to chat with/visit with a number of them lately
  • my health
  • sweet summertime, though I wish I could tap the brakes because it's going by a liiiiitttle too quickly
  • a beach trip possibly in the works...besides Auburn, the beach is one of my favorite places on the planet
  • our kickball game tonight...hopefully this one will be less of a "moral victory" and more of a true-blue, on-paper victory :)
  • the peaches Denny J picked out at Durbin Farms on our way through Chilton County Sunday...they might be the best peaches I've ever eaten
  • the victory that Team USA pulled out yesterday in overtime...I was doubtful but they got it!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A very Bugg-y wedding

Mom, Denny J, and I journeyed to Auburn this past weekend to see Katy Bugg get hitched. Hers was hands-down one of the best weddings I've been to. It was beautiful and well-planned, but so laidback and low-key...very Katy Bugg. It rained (um, absolutely poured) most of the afternoon, but the rain stopped long enough for the outdoor ceremony. The wedding and reception were held at Oak Bowery in Lafayette. The house was so gorgeous...I wanted to go get my stuff from the hotel and take up residence there. Congratulations, Katy and Josh!

It was a little surreal seeing Katy get married. I've been trying to figure out exactly how long we've known the Buggs, and I know it's at least 20 years, probably more. Katy was like my sister growing up. We played dress up, made spice soup, had dance parties and spend-the-night parties for 2 (well, 3 if you count Cokie Bear), rode our bikes, and worked to perfect our Mario Kart techniques. I still smile when I think about the summer we dug ourselves a giant hole we called our "dirt house". We were convinced that our moms were going to let us live there. If my memory serves correctly, we even drew a blueprint for our little dirt house. Then the Buggs moved and my heart broke. We've kept in touch and even if months (or years!) pass without seeing them, we always manage to pick right up where we left off. I love them and can't wait to see them again during football season!

PS-Is there a more perfect place on Earth than Auburn? It's a little ridiculous how excited I get when I'm able to make a trip to the Loveliest Village. I'm already counting down the days until my next trip "home"!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

  • family and friends
  • the opportunity to spend Father's Day weekend with Denny J...he's too awesome for words and I adore him
  • my health
  • the chance to go to Auburn and see Katy Bugg get hitched...can't wait!!!
  • summertime...I'm really, really good at not working :)
  • getting to visit with a few old friends last weekend and reminisce about the glory days
  • kickball season starting tonight...excited to meet my teammates and show off my considerable athletic prowess (or complete lack thereof!)
  • a little surprise cash flow this week...always a good thing!...I can add it to my everything-on-my-car-needs-to-be-fixed-I've-got-wedding-presents-to-buy-grad-school-won't-pay-for-itself-and-I-really-want-those-sandals-at-Target fund
  • the happy news AL Power gave me this week
  • getting to catch up with Kira last night...she's doing such a great job with Elizabeth and I'm so proud of her
  • lunch plans with Byrne and Laura today


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I want to guard and protect your heart.

I've been debating whether I need to devote a post to this, and I've decided yes...yes I do. I've been watching "The Bachelorette" and I'm no longer ashamed. It's just too good to not watch. I'm sure it's edited, scripted, whatever to make it more entertaining...that doesn't bother me. Last night's episode was a glorious, cringe-worthy train wreck. I loved it! Some highlights:
  • Weatherman: Homeboy needs some serious self-esteem work. All I kept thinking while he called himself a schmuck, more than once, and cried (wept!) on camera was, "You're going to want someone to date you in the future. She's probably watching right now. Stop this. Stop this immediately." He was also giddy about getting to audition for "The Lion King" on Broadway. It was sweet...very sweet. Get my drift?
  • Kasey: Oh wow. Kasey really hopped onboard the crazy train last night. Ali is a better woman than I am. She kept a straight face through not one, not two, but three impromptu serenades by Krazy Kasey and his Kermit the Frog voice. (At the beginning of the season I was hesitant to think unkindly about his voice because I thought he might be kinda deaf. Not so much. That's just his actual, real, non-deaf voice.) If that had been me, you would have seen a Julie-shaped cloud of dust as I vacated the premises. I don't do crazy. Ali doubted his sincerity, so Krazy Kasey decided to get a tattoo to prove her wrong. Because, you know, what's more sincere than a tattoo you got to impress a girl you've known for like 2 weeks? He got a shield in front of a heart because, as he mentioned about 37 times last night, he wants to guard and protect Ali's heart. He also got 11 studs in the shield to represent the 11 guys left standing; they're all like brothers to Krazy Kasey. That was news to all of them since none of them like him, but whatever. The funny part: Krazy Kasey never got to show Ali his sweet tat. She gave him a rose because, after he took her advice and finally stopped singing, she appreciated that he was more normal and less over-the-top. Yeeaaah. Surely she'll send him home upon seeing his shield of love and protection, and Krazy Kasey will be walking amongst us again. Watch out, ladies!

I'm glad to get this off my chest. Now I can gather my few remaining brain cells and (maybe) accomplish something productive today! No promises, though.

Yeah, I'd kick that

Byrne recently told me that Guy had convinced her to join a summer kickball league, and she wanted me to sign up, too. I'm kind of like their Project Uplift kid, and I'm okay with that. I dug back in my memory files trying to recall the last time I played kickball; I think my age had just crossed over into the double digits. So yeah, it's been a while. But sign up I did! Team "Yeah, I'd Kick That" has our first game on Thursday. If you can find something more entertaining than a bunch of 20-and-30-somethings playing kickball, please let me know. Until then, I'm off to brush up on my skillz.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday, Friday-style

I'm a slacker. Thursday snuck right by me this week. If my slip-up has totally ruined your chances of enjoying your weekend, I apologize.

Today I am thankful for:

  • family and friends
  • sweet's already going by too fast!
  • the opportunity to attend Laura's wedding happy for her and Jason
  • Katy Bugg's wedding next Saturday...I'm so excited to see the Buggs that I just about can't stand it! Love them!
  • good friends coming back where they belong
  • a chance to get my soccer on...with a soccer-loving dad and brother, I don't really have a choice about following the World Cup :)
  • plans to look forward to
  • my health...I've been thinking lately about how grateful I should be for all the things my body and mind can do...many others are not so fortunate
  • fresh fruit and veggies from the farmers market...have I mentioned I love summertime?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

'Slap yo mama' good

When I was younger, the fam made occasional journeys to Sam's to stock up on staple items. Daniel and I liked to tag along so we could hit up the sweet old ladies with the "try me's". Once, a lady had meatballs at her little table and boy was she excited about those meatballs! We tried them, gave the obligatory "Mmm!", and then she told us we should try them with some pineapple. "It's so good, it'll make you wanna slap yo mama!", she told us. Eh, they weren't quite that good. However, I have discovered a recipe that will indeed make you want to "slap yo mama". It's a Pioneer Woman recipe; she's absolutely delightful and I think we're destined to be friends. Make this at your earliest convenience; it's stellar. Throw in some chicken (or shrimp, if you're into that sort of thing...I'm most certainly not) and a giant salad and you're all set!

Garlic-Lemon Pasta
1 lb. thin spaghetti or angel hair (I used whole wheat)
4 tbsp. salted butter (1/2 stick)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3 cloves because that's how I roll)
1 whole lemon, juiced and zested (I zested 2 lemons because, as with the garlic, if some is good, more is better)
2 cups sour cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste (I used just a sprinkle...I don't like a lot of salt in this)
grated parmesan cheese
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
extra lemon juice

Boil pasta. While pasta is boiling, melt butter with olive oil over LOW heat. When butter is melted, add garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into pan. Turn off heat. (In the name of all that is good and kind, turn. off. the. heat. I didn't do this once and the resulting texture was quite...curdled. Ick.)

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and a bit of the salt; taste as you go. Pour the sauce over the [drained] pasta. Squeeze on more lemon juice, and sprinkle on the parsley and parmesan cheese. Go slap yo mama.

*PW bakes her pasta, and I have done this in the past. It's still really good, but the sauce kind of vanishes in the baking process. It becomes more of a "noodle dish" instead of pasta and sauce, which is what I prefer. Here is the link to her recipe: If you're not familiar with PW, plan to devote the rest of your week to looking around on her website. I dare you not to fall in love.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6th

Today is the 66th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and I'm surprised that there was almost no mention of this on the TV or radio today (at least not that I noticed). I found a link to something and decided it was worth putting up here. It's the late, great Mr. Reagan giving a speech in Normandy on June 6, 1984; definitely worth watching and reading.

Today is also this fella's 26th birthday.
This is my new favorite picture of Oliver; he's such a sweet daddy already to Elizabeth. I love Oliver because he loves Kira...that's a must if you're going to marry one of my friends! I also love him because, whenever I'm with just him and Kira, he automatically makes himself the third wheel so that I don't have to be. I don't know if he even notices that he does that, but I do. And I adore him for it. Happy birthday, Oliver!

Friday, June 4, 2010

this morning

I went for a jalk (jog-walk) this morning (at 7:00! woohoo me!) and noticed a precious little robin trying to pick up a worm off the road to take home to her hungry babies. I stopped to watch and thought, "My, that sure is a large worm! What a good mama she is." I moved a little closer...not a worm! Not a worm at all! Nope. Baby snake. A. Baby. Snake. I don't do snakes. I know they eat rodents, and that this is indeed a good thing. I'm actually fine with them being in nature. I just don't everevereverever want to see them. And I did today. And I'm done talking about it.

A while after my jalk, I needed to take care of a few chores. I put my iTunes on shuffle to keep me company and this song came on: Heart, "Alone" Little known fact: for as long as I can remember, I've dreamed about singing this song karaoke-style. As long as it's playing really loudly, I sound exactly like Ann Wilson when I sing along. Well, in my head I do. Since the song was already playing, I decided to practice for my karaoke debut while unloading the dishwasher. I was sounding especially good today when I heard a knocking coming from my downstairs neighbor. I hit "pause" and realized he was knocking on his ceiling to get me to hush. Yikes. He apparently doesn't share my love for Heart and obviously has no karaoke dreams of his own. I hope I get a much different reaction from the crowd when I take the stage someday.

PS--If you've never seen this music video, take a few minutes to watch it. It's 80s gold.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

  • my family and friends
  • lazy, glorious, wonderful summertime!
  • the delightful nap I just woke up from
  • being done with the $160 (yes, $160!) GRE, even though I can't find a straight answer on whether my scores are good enough...if they want my combined score, I'm fine...if they want individual scores, I may be retaking this bad boy since my math score was kinda, bless-her-heart-she-had-to-guess-on-all-but-five-of-them, ugly
    (*update: The UAB lady just called me back and said my combined score is good enough to get in! Such a relief! I'm glad I don't have to pay to take that mess again.*)
  • my health
  • time to read! There aren't many things that make me happier than my weekly library visits during the summer. Nerd? Most likely. Do I care? Not a bit.
  • the fact that Joran Van Der Sloot is finally (hopefully) getting what he deserves...I just hate that another girl had to die in order to get him locked up...all the officials in Aruba who dropped the ball with Natalee Holloway now have blood on their hands, in my very humble opinion
  • getting to visit with Ms. Juanita at the fabric store today...she helped me pick out my first sewing machine last summer and always asks me to bring my projects in for her to see...she fussed at me today for not having something to show her, so I'll have to get on it!
  • Rue McClanahan...I'm not ashamed to admit that I adore "The Golden Girls" and have seen almost every episode...when I heard that Rue died today, I felt like I'd lost a family member :( She'll be missed very much!