Friday, January 29, 2010

The One About Rings - both kinds

Recently I have been drawn to all things gold, and chunky with the potential to be wrapped around my finger. I really love the natural look of ring lately - not quite smooth, not quick perfect. Aren't these all just gorgeous? Chunk neutrals, bright colors, pretty bands just waiting to be stacked on top of each other...does anyone have good ideas for similar, inexpensive pieces?

And speaking of rings...this weekend I'll be watching the THREE ring circus downtown. (haha, aren't I funny?) A few very good friends and I are going to watch clowns ride in small cars and trapeze artists fly in the air and 7-year-olds eat too much candy on Saturday and I CANNOT WAIT.

Tonight we're planning a trip downtown to Rogue Tavern for a concert benefiting Haiti relief, and tomorrow I'm having lunch with one of my very favorite people from TCU (which might have a bit to do with the fact that he's the person who decided to live in Alabama, but not much) and his puppy, Paisley. Then we'll both head to the circus for $25 light sabers and glow sticks. WOOO HOOO. I'm just hoping that they're going to have a really fabulous, bedazzled Ringmaster hat. Ringling? Can you hear me?

I'm going to be attempted to make daily trips to the "Y" this weekend - for exercise, and to try out a few of their classes. It's so difficult to make it to the 6:00ish classes after work (although EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER manages to do it), so I've just been running or cycling this week. This weekend is my opportunity! Oh the excitement...

My other goal? Stay toasty warm. It's looking like a nice little layer of nasty sleet is going to rain down on us tonight and tomorrow so I've broken out the down Northface and I plan on trading out my work clothes for Uggs, long sleeve t-shirts, heavy socks and sweatshirts.

Oh...and read some. I've got a lot to do. The first book I tried, Miss O'Dell, has been SO great. It's probably not (and by probably I mean absolutely, definitely not) the most well written book I've ever read - but it's definitely entertaining, and she has tons of interesting stories! So, hopefully I'll have some good lounging around time to fit into my weekend.

What are y'all up to?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The One About The State of The Union

This might be the funniest thing I have EVER seen. A million thank you's to Jamie at ISuwannee for the seriously entertaining blog post on this very long afternoon. You've made my day.

The One For Winter

by Toshio
I'm over you. Bring on the flowers and the sunshine. Many thanks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The One About The Jersey Shore

I know you're all slightly depressed that I don't look like this in real life, and I know I am personally depressed that in order to have on this slut-tastic hoodie - I had to cover up my fake tattoo. The only one I could really even comprehend was the lovely little bracelet. Lovely? In comparison to the scorpion MTV wanted me to permanently stain on my inner thigh.

I do not understand this show, but it was kind of fun to look at all the horrific hair and the absolutely mortifying (for all human beings in the entire world) clothing options.
Link here.

The One With Too Many Books

Remember when I said I was going to try to read more as a New Year's resolution? Well...first step is definitely down. I started reading Dreaming in Hindi and BOY was it slow. It has pretty much zero, goose-egg, nada to do with India, Indian culture, fun things this woman is doing in India and EVERYTHING to do with learning a foreign language as an adult. Good grief. I'm hanging on to it, and I'm going to try to finish it...eventually, but for now I've picked up a few six new books at the library. Remember when I also told you I was going to start using the library? So now the table in our living room is covered in new books for me to sink my teeth into.

I finally got The Story of Edgar Sawtelle from the library. I wanted it this summer but it was NEVER in stock. The woman commented on what a great book it was at the check out desk. Score. Those are always the very best recommendations.

I also picked up That Old Magic Cape with I think I accidentally stole from someone. The librarian also commented that I was only able to check it out because it was accidentally put back on the shelf instead of held for someone. OOPS. If you're the person who thinks they should have this book, I'm very sorry. I'll let you know when I finish it.

I had reserved Miss O'Dell, which was recommended to me by as a result of my reading Wonderful Tonight. Wonderful Tonight tops my all-time favorites list, so we'll see how I feel about this one. Sometimes I think the people that write these books about the '60s might have fried their brains so badly that forming a coherent sentence is too difficult and should really be left to the professionals.

I also found City of Silver, Rebel Yell, and Sacred Hearts (the same author who wrote Birth of Venus, another favorite).

The librarian informed me last night that I have six weeks to read all of these books. That "after three weeks you can call us back and go ahead and renew those." Nice. Six weeks, six books. We'll see how this goes...

The one thing I can say for the library, is that according to Amazon, they saved me $96.67. Thanks library.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The One About Parties

Do you ever just want to get all dolled up and go out for no apparent reason? Or even if there is a reason, isn't getting dressed up the best part!? Putting on a long dress and going to a fancy party is one of my all-time favorite things. Aren't these dresses gorgeous? Polyvore might be my favorite website to play on. LOVE. Along those same lines...this lady and this blog do a lot of creating gorgeous outfits. I have the iPhone app and I've taken to checking that in the morning instead of the weather. It just makes so much more sense. I don't know why someone hasn't already done this.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

The One About The Wedding

When I get married, remind me that I want it to look like this. Aren't they gorgeous? Also, remind me to hire their photographer.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The One About Matthew Mayfield

I have been tweeting about this (in one form or another) for a obnoxious hunk of today. Yes, I tweet (@mfmcdougald). But last night Matthew Mayfield, a fellow Birminghamian and very good family friend found his music playing during those last - very dramatic - moments of Grey's Anatomy. It was wonderful. Might be one of my favorite songs he's ever done. It's definitely him (I was 95% asleep on the couch, trying to stay up until his song played and was promptly awake at the first few words) but one of the more easily understood vocals. It's really wonderful. You can check out the video here.

Or run to iTunes and look it up.

Also, he's playing at Workplay tonight as a part of a benefit for Haiti. If you're in the Birmingham area I STRONGLY suggest you come! Workplay is such a fun venue, and who can turn down something like this for such a good cause! Tickets are $10, or about $13 is you're buying online.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The One About My Week

This week I've been very productive...

I went to the grocery store which resulted in a huge amount of stuff to carry up my apartment steps, and some very delicious gumbo. See? I really did make it. It was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. A few of my friends came over to partake and I still have leftovers. I think it would be equally delicious with shrimp too, but you might need to add that later in the cooking process.

Also, a girl who works with my mom offered us FREE tickets to the circus, so that's a good $13 I didn't have to spend on seeing the elephants. Wow, $13 is almost $15, which is how much I spent on this guy. Coincidence?

This weekend my to-do list is already growing.

I have frames that I found on clearance at Target for this project. They were $8.50 and my roommate is going to go grab some fun fabric. The frames are very very simple, and a dark wood color. I've been contemplating how much I want them to be silver - a little spray paint might be in order.

I'm also signing up at the YMCA this weekend, and I'm going to start my exercising resolution. I don't want to hear about how it's almost February. I know. I figure as long as I get it down pat before bathing suit season rolls around I'm good to go. By the way...bathing suits are already out at Target. PUT THEM BACK.

I'm also going to try to cook something else in the crock-pot. I want to try something a little less soup-like, so I'm thinking one of these. Any votes?

Beer Beef Fajitas sound delicious. Slow Cooked Potatoes with Butter and Thyme which would be yummy with a piece of grilled chicken. I have frozen chicken breasts in my freezer, so it would be nice to eat one of those this weekend. I could also do dessert, which would be pretty interesting. Slow Cooked Winter Bread Pudding with Dried Pears. Or I could try a simple chicken dish that might result in leftovers. I LOVE leftovers. Garlic-Rosemary Chicken Breast, Spicy Shredded Beef, Pulled Pork Tacos, and Sweet-n-Sour Turkey Meatballs all sound good too.

What are y'alls thoughts?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The One About Haiti

It is impossible to understand or even imagine what the people of Haiti are going through. Especially today. A tremendous earthquake destroyed their tiny island just a few days ago - and now the aftershocks have created even larger and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

There are numerous organizations working in Haiti to clean up the wreckage - physically, mentally and spiritually. One of these organizations has been in Haiti for over 20 years, and was working to provide medical care in this area long before last week. They have individuals working with their organization who live in Haiti and understand the deep ramifications of a disaster like this. Partners in Health works to "
bring modern medical care to poor communities in nine countries around the world. The work of PIH has three goals: to care for our patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in their communities, and to share lessons learned around the world."

The organization's Stand with Haiti campaign is focused on raising funds to alleviate the traumatic effects of this natural disaster and they are desperate for your help. Even the smallest donation - $15 - can make a huge difference in this effort ... and how big a difference can you honestly say $15 is going to make in your bank account?

To that end, Merchline and Fretto Prints have partnered to create a shirt that's proceeds will all go to PIH's Stand with Haiti campaign.

Not only is it adorable, but you'll be sending your money directly to an organization who is doing incredible work in this area of the world (and others). Click on the image to be directed to the website.

There are also numerous other ways to send love and support to Haiti. This shirt supports the Red Cross, my mom went and gave blood (again) today - she's got a habit of doing that, donations can be made to UNICEF, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Doctors Without Borders, CARE, Feed the Children, Oxfam and many many more.

If you want to go the high-tech route, try texting to one of these numbers:

Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts
Text “YELE” to 501501 to Donate $5 to Yele Haiti’s Earthquake Relief efforts
Text "GIVE10" to 20222 to donate $10 to Direct Relief

There are also local schools and churches collecting supplies to be sent to Haiti, so watch out for those types of donation opportunities.

Either way, I would encourage you to do something. Help Haiti Rise.

The One About Clowns

Ringling Bros. is coming to Birmingham and I want to go! I haven't been to the circus in a million years, and I think it would so much fun with a big group of friends this go-around.

PLUS, I saw a commercial recently that offered $13 tickets on opening night? Um. I'm in. I haven't exactly relocated that offer - but I'm going to.

Somehow I've escaped the fear of clowns situation, and I think elephants are seriously ridiculous. Plus, this same commercial showed all sorts of high-flying acrobat type stunts, and I secretly wish I wasn't terrified of heights and could swing around on a trapeze wear sequins.

Doesn't this sound like an awesome Friday night in the making?

Monday, January 18, 2010

The One With Wishful Thinking

Don't you wish today...instead of being a little too chilly to go without a coat, and still just cold enough to put tights under everything...was a little bit more like this? I'm so looking forward to those first few days of spring, when you always end up being a little bit chilly at night, but it's totally worth it because when you stand in the sun it feel positively warm. Today has been a little bit of a teaser around here...


Me too.

And on a related note...I actually wear the perfume everyday. It's from here. It is easily the most delicious, best bargain, most amazing perfume on the planet. I adore it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The One About 2010

So we're 15 days into this new year and I have yet to address resolutions of any kind. I'm absolutely horrible at keeping resolutions, breaking bad habits just isn't my thing...but I think this year I might work on picking up some good habits. So here is my list...

1. Take my lunch to work. I'm pretty sure I've already promised to do this about six times, but I figured I would give it another shot. Just thinking about all of the money I will save, and all of the time I will save, and all of the hassle and gas and stress I will save...that will be worth it. I think.

2. I want to try to read more. I absolutely love to read, but it takes me a little while to get into a book and I have a nasty habit of putting books down before I've actually finished them. The worst part of this habit though, is the fact that I have a hard time picking anything else up before I've completed book A. I have a massive list accumulating of books I want to read, and if I don't get on it right now - the list is going to overwhelm me. I just read Water For Elephants in three days, so I think I should be able to manage two books a month. Right? As long as they're really good ones? I might have to plan a few road trips for some much needed sit-and-read time...

3. Exercise, exercise, exercise. That is all.

4. I want to be a better saver of money. I'm horrible at it. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I should just transfer money into my savings on the very day I receive a paycheck, but then it just stares at me from that little "savings account" line in my online banking, and I think of all of the wonderful things I could be using that money for. Like this, see resolution #2.

5. And last but not least...I want to be better about this whole blogging thing. I've kind of slacked off in the last few weeks, huh? Y'all are going to have to remind me of this one.

Now I'm off to nurse an illness. Some of my absolute favorite people are coming in town this weekend to celebrate the wedding of a good friend and I'm going to need to not be sniffling, coughing and sneezing all over them...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The One About My Crock-Pot

Santa brought me a long list of wonderful things for Christmas this year, not the least of which were a crock-pot and a set of sheets. Apparently I'm a big kid now.

So - in an effort to put my crock-pot to its best use, I have discovered that recipes on the subject run rampant around the internet (and in books).

Doesn't this look delicious?

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (10-ounce) package frozen okra, thawed
2 links andouille sausage, diced
1 cup chopped onions
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups reduced-sodium tomato juice
2 cups cooked rice

...and check out these BEYOND easy instructions...

In a slow-cooker, combine the chicken and all remaining ingredients except the rice. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Serve over rice.

The hardest part of this sounds like the chopping...I am the world's worst chopper. Good thing my roommate got me one of these little gadgets for Christmas. Do you think she's noticed?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The One With The Pictures

Just in case you were wondering...this is where I have been the last few days. It's possible Phoeniz, AZ is the most ridiculous place on earth. A little bit old people, a little bit Jersey Shore, and a little bit hippie-chic.

Riding home from a bar in a bicycle taxi...

...drinking the largest beers that ever graced the planet...

we moved on from that to the world's best 80's bar...but I didn't find the time to document that with any reasonable pictures....

...tailgating with awesomely dressed individuals...

...and celebrating birthdays with awesome people...

...Fiesta Bowl...

...obviously the best place to find people you're looking to see is the bathroom, good thing Cal's coming to see me in 6 days... all-time favorite sign...
"my fiance left me but Coach Patterson never will..."

...finally made it to our seats, and our new BFF (false) the 75-year-old man sitting next to us. Don't worry, Fiesta Bowl = chips and salsa on each and every seat, between that, a cup of beer, and the stadium dogs - I was a very happy camper (until we lost...)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The One With The Weather

I spent the end of last week and the beginning of this in gorgeous, sunny, happy Phoenix, AZ.

I came home to the COLDEST WEATHER EVER. It is (I'm not exaggerating) in the single digits here in Alabama and I can't even come up with clothes that work with that type of weather. And when I can't figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be wearing (I'm trying to avoid long-johns at work) I turn to Polyvore - where life is fake and I have an endless supply of "the perfect thing." Wouldn't I look just freaking fabulous treking around snowless Alabama with those adorable gloves??


And I'm pretty sure, that come Saturday I'll want to be snuggled up in this (rather than the cocktail attire a friend's wedding is requiring). What are you bundled up in this season?


The One About Our Kitchen

The roommate and I are trying to figure out something fun to do (inexpensively) that would liven up our kitchen a little bit. We've run through everything from painting (thank you to me for choosing the most time-consuming, least practical idea), to blowing up photographs, to buying one of those giant pieces of "art" from Home Goods and hanging it on the wall.

Our problem is really many-fold. Our walls are plaster and therefore IMPOSSIBLE to hang things on. It can happen, but it involves a strong guy, an even stronger drill and a little prayer that pieces of my wall aren't going to come crumbling off. Also, our kitchen is really dark - so we're definitely looking for something fun, but not too overpowering. And our kitchen is also our laundry room...which means the wall in question is a really large blank space that spans over the toaster oven/island situation, the stove and the dryer. We're not looking for anything that we'd be upset if it happened to get steamy, or rattled right off the wall.

I want to do something really simple and graphic - probably in a group. I've seen a few things I like around the internet, but I think I have a better idea. And no...I'm not going to try to paint something myself.

I absolutely LOVE these, but at almost $60 a pop, that's a little more than I wanted to spend.

So...I think my roommate and I both like something like this.

It's definitely basic, and costs a LOT more than we're really thinking we're going to spend...but don't you think I could recreate this? Not only do I think I could paint these pretty easily with some good brushes and a roll of painters tape...but - my roommate had an even better, and simpler idea. How about simple frames (black, silver, etc.) with mats, and using some spray mount...woudn't it be so simple to paste pieces of fabric inside the frames? It would probably take all of an hour (if I'm slow) and we'd wind up with something pretty, useful, simple and not so pricey.
I think I'm going to give it a shot this weekend and see how it goes. I guess the first stop is the fabric store...if I can't find anything I like, I'll be hard pressed to make it look good in the end. What are your thoughts?

Doesn't this look so simple and happy!? We need a little happy in our kitchen. Our kitchen is dull and white.

Also, on a totally different note. I'm looking for some antique bottles. Does anyone know where you go to pick those up?

And click on that first image to go purchase these for yourself...if you lucky enough to have a great place to put them and a few extra dollar bills y'all lying around.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The One About My Trip

I flew in from Phoenix (via Vegas) very late last night. After leaving 70 degree sunshine and arriving in 12 degree darkness - accompanied by three hundred 6-year-olds who all wanted to let me know how uncomfortable they were in the plane - I was exhausted to say the very least. After a night full of zero sleep (thank you crazy radiator-induced noise) I got ready for a half-day back at work. I've been a little bit out of the loop. Thursday, Friday, Monday off for Christmas. Thursday, Friday off for New Year's. Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday off for bowl game festivities. Maybe out of the loop was an understatement. Lucky for me my job is completely wrapped up in the internet, and being able to check email is a HUGE plus for me on vacation. This way I don't feel like I'm totally out of it.

I'm sticking around Birmingham for awhile - gearing up for weddings galore, and attempting to not spend anymore money for awhile. Luckily my parents (at least pretend to) enjoy my company and don't hesitate to let me eat with them.

But back to my trip...we lost. It was sad. But in the process of seeing TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, I got to hang out with a few of my very favorite people in the whole universe.

I also got to...

dance in the MOST FUN bar in Phoenix (Sunday night for 80's cover band) called Martini Ranch
experience the most ridiculous group of Arizonian's in Dirty Pretty (if you have on a cardigan of any kind, or are uncomfortable with PDA...STEER CLEAR)
eat at Pei Wei
experience the skillet cornbread at Bandera's (DELICIOUS)
foster my new hatred for Idaho, with the exception of potatoes
drink a VERY sweet drink from a massive clam shell bowl (don't worry - I had help)
and be wonderfully warm for a few days

all in all it was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY worth the money. Next year when we're back at the Fiesta Bowl for the National Championship, I'll be much more prepared regarding Scottsdale's night life.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The One About Vacation

I'm taking the next few days off from work to go see these guys play in Phoenix (any good ideas for things to do in the desert?)And hang out with some of these people...

And I will be back soon. I hope you have had an amazing holiday! I'll fill you in on my week when I get home from Arizona.