Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Year in Review

Well, with only about two hours left in 2009, I thought I would reflect on all of the things that have happened in our life this year. (Note: this is purely for my reflection and I do not recommend for a minute that you read all of this... lol.)

January - rang in 2009 for the first time as husband and wife; Matt tossed me my Blackberry and it landed right in my glass of red wine (this still makes me laugh when I think about it); the Florida Gators won the BCS Championship; Jenn and I got to hang out with Eddie Ross; Matt found out he was "moving" to Tifton
February - Matt "moved" to Tifton; we took a trip to NYC and had a blast; went to a Robert Earl Keen concert for Valentine's Day; Wedding #1 - Sean & Elisa; Girls Weekend in Atlanta
March - snow in Atlanta; Britney's back and we felt too old and too classy to be at her concert but loved it anyway (good people watching, my friends); Memere's health problems really started getting bad; I celebrated by 27th birthday; our nephew Brody Shane was born the next day and was immediately sent to a NICU at another hospital
April - Matt and I head to Jacksonville to see our nephew and find out that we are also Godparents; Brody gets better and goes home (PRAISE GOD!); Weddings #2 & #3 - Holli & Spencer and Jessica & Matt; our "niece" Madelyn Grace makes a surprise entrance into the world less than 12 hours before she was supposed to
May - we went to prom; we went to Jacksonville to attend the TPC Sawgrass and baptize Brody; we decided to buy a house!!!!; head back to Florida for Wedding #4 - Allison & Brian and Memorial Weekend; spend what I think might be my last time with Memere
June - put an offer on a house and begin negotiations; head to St. Pete to really spend my last time with Memere; head back to Atlanta; turn around two days later and head back to St. Pete for Memere's services; Wedding #5 - Jen & Jason; we went under contract on our home!!!
July - this entire month was pretty much consumed with house stuff... packing, closing, making some improvements, and moving!
August - get settled into our first home; paint... a lot; realize that my husband is extremely handy and am extremely thankful for that; take a wonderful 8 day vacation to the San Francisco Bay Area and Wedding #6 - Brad & Mariah; more painting; Matt turns 30 and we throw a bash at our new home
September - celebrate our one year anniversary; go to Gainesville to see Tebow for the last time in the Swamp (our last time seeing him play in the Swamp, that is); Atlanta floods (this was a quiet month compared to most)
October - crazy work travel at the beginning of the month; went to the Florida Georgia game in Jacksonville at the end of the month and watched the Gators kick some butt
November - family time in Brevard, NC; ate an amazing dinner at Woodfire Grill and got to meet Chef Gillespie; bought a new 4Runner; spent Thanksgiving in KCMO with Matt's family
December - threw the Tailgate of all Tailgates Part Deux; had amazing seat at the SEC Championship to watch our Gators lose; went on my first new business pitch with my company; Wedding #7 - Liz & Andy; celebrated Christmas in Jacksonville with my family; and now we're here with only an hour and 15 minutes left in 2009...

If you read all of this, God bless you. It's been a great year, and in addition to all of this, I am thankful that Matt and I have been blessed beyond measure to have each other, loving family and friends, our health, and good jobs. Happy New Year! I hope 2010 brings even more excitement!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 2009 Recap in Pictures

The first weekend of December, we tailgated and attended the SEC Championship game. Well, we all know how that turned out for my team, the Florida Gators. But, here are some pictures anyway.

Yeah, we were that close. This is my "crappy" camera that doesn't zoom far.

And, yes, I wore eye blacks that say I ♥ Tebow.

Bad picture but it was straight on so you can get an idea of our seats. Sweet. The game? Not so sweet.

A bunch of Gators... notably, next year's starting QB Johnny Brantley.

This pretty much sums it up.

The next weekend, I attended my cousin's wedding in Sarasota, sans husband. The theme was peacocks and I loved it. The cake was fantastic!

Beautiful sister, beautiful cousin, me

Being silly... I paid to dance with the bride during the money dance. Her husband is nice and all, but being only 5 months apart, I've known her as long as I can remember.

My brother, sister and uncle doing their "hey scully" faces... you'd have to be there/know them. lol

Sissy and me with our Mich Lights on the dance floor. Like father, like daughters... well, the beer part... I don't recall my dad being much of a dancer... in public, at least. ;)

And now with the madre.

Love this... bubba and Liz!

And, the last part of the 2009 picture review... my nephews. These were the only pictures I took during Christmas. I didn't even take any pictures of our decor. It's nothing major anyway, but still... I am getting really bad at documenting things pictorally in my "old" age.

Always putting EVERYTHING in his mouth.

My ham of a nephew, James.

Caught him rearranging the nativity.



Loving those blue eyes on my Brody Bear.

B-Man loves that Pooh... every time he saw it, he was all smiles. Then he would eat the nose and the antennae.

Seriously, is it just me or do you want to eat him too!?

So, that's it for pictures. Christmas was great, albeit hectic. I was exhausted! I cooked Christmas Eve dinner and it turned out nicely - an antipasti tray and bruschetta for apps; prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, brussell sprouts, broccoli and cheese (for the picky eaters) and homemade Italian bread for dinner; and pecan pie and tiramisu for dessert. Only, no one really ate dessert! Santa was good to me... I got the Tory Burch flats (yeah!), two very nice crystal vases, a Canon photo printer/scanner/copier, LL Bean slippers, a Sonicare toothbrush, photo albums, a Home Goods gift card (already used most of it for a picture I found for our dining room), Bill O'Reilly's A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, a new Gator t-shirt exactly like my favorite one that looks vintage even though it's only around six years old (it's my favorite Gator t-shirt), a shirt from the Limited and two pretty necklaces, along with some other small things. I was spoiled and certainly don't deserve (or need) all of the lovely things, but I will enjoy them all anyway. I got Matt a Nintendo Wii, which was really a gift for both of us (as the printer and toothbrush from him were sort of for both of us, as well), and we've been having fun playing it but we need some games. We brought it to Jacksonville so we could play while we were there. I'm pretty good at bowling, but not so much at tennis. I want to get the Wii Fit... anyone out there have it and actually use it? One of my co-workers is going to let me borrow his so I can try it out, because his wife doesn't use it. Any other Wii game recommendations? Rock Band or Band Hero? Which is the better version?

Anyway, this is a long enough post. I can't believe 2009 is almost over... I'm sure I'll have some sort of reflective post on that in the next two days. :) Hope you all had a very, Merry Christmas with your loved ones.

Must Read

If you don't like Dave Barry, you won't like this. I personally find his sarcasm awesome. Click here to read Dave Barry's Year in Review.

I finally uploaded pictures to our new laptop and to Kodak Gallery, so a post chock full of pictures coming your way soon. Get excited because my nephews are pretty darn cute.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Where has the time gone? I can't believe we're just a few short days away from another Christmas. Every year that passes, they seem to sneak up on me quicker and come around sooner. Remember when you were little and it used to seem like FOR.EV.ER between each Christmas!? The anticipation was amazing. Now, I look forward to Christmas for very different reasons. My parents were sure to emphasize why we celebrate Christmas, and I was always a huge fan of Baby Jesus, but let's be real... at 7, it was Christmas morning that I looked forward to the most. Now, my favorite part about Christmas is reflecting on the miracle of Jesus' birth, attending Christmas Eve Mass (I just love Christmas music, especially religious Christmas music), and spending time with my loved ones.

We're on the rotating holiday schedule for now (HI PARENTS, YOU'RE MORE THAN WELCOME TO COME SPEND A HOLIDAY WITH US) :) so this year it's Christmas with my family. We do Christmas Eve celebrations at mom's house, so we'll all gather early for church and then come home for a feast and presents. We have two nephews - James (almost 4) and Brody (9 months), so Christmas has taken on new meaning! It's always fun to see it through children's eyes. On Christmas Day, Matt and I are heading a few hours south to visit his grandma for the day. She's precious, and I'm looking forward to spending the day with her! We almost never see her, so this will be a nice treat for both of us.

Since we don't wake up in our own home for Christmas, we're doing "our Christmas" tonight. We did Mexican last year, and I think it might be a recurring theme, as we're having fajitas, black beans and homemade guac tonight. I love our little Christmas together. I will torture Matt with Christmas music (and me singing along... now that's torture, especially after being sick), we'll eat and drink (and be merry, of course), and open gifts... then clean up and pack (good times).

I'm going to try to take a computer break, so I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. Don't forget the reason for the season! Luke 2:14

On a side note to my above comment, I think my family is going to come up to have Thanksgiving in Atlanta next year, and I'm so excited! Hopefully by then, we'll have our kitchen remodeled and a new dining room set to accommodate more people. It makes me really excited to think about hosting Thanksgiving, because I'm a dork! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Sinus pressure, that is. So, I sucked it up and went on the trip, and I actually felt mostly well the whole time. Today, not so much. I don't feel even close to as bad as I would need to feel to call in to work, but holy sinus pressure, Batman. But, you know what, I'm sure this would have happened anyway, and since I went on my little trip to Gotham (are you noticing a Batman theme, here?), I got to see this...

Yeah, so it may have been from my cab on the way to the airport and not at nighttime, but still. YAY! We stayed right by the NYSE, so I also got to see their pretty tree all lit up at night.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh No

Just in time for a big meeting in NYC Wednesday (I'm leaving tomorrow), I'm coming down with the funk. And, this may be the flu funk, because I'm not congested or anything... just a dry cough here and there, a slightly sore throat, and now I feel a fever coming on. I'm going to leave a bit early to go home and eat vitamin C like it's going out of style (broccoli, OJ, Emergen-C) and get some sleep and hope and pray I feel better in the morning.

What do I do if I don't feel better? Suck it up and go or call-in sick? Thankfully, the meeting will still go on without me, as I'm one of eight people from my company going up to represent us, but it's really quite an honor that I was invited, so I don't know what to do! Positive thoughts... I will be better in the morning! Please...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SYTYCD Spoiler Alert

If you watch So You Think You Can Dance and you haven't seen the results show yet, DO NOT READ ON unless you want to know who's in and who's out.

What the crap!? Seriously. Don't get me wrong, I like Ashleigh and Ryan, but seriously. Seriously!?! Mollee and Legacy aren't in the finals!?!? I cannot accept this. I should've known Mollee wasn't going to make it, because I was a dork and called in for her MANY times last night and got through every.single.time. That was not the case with Jakob, Russell (never got through with him), or Kathryn. Boo hiss. Okay, I'm over it now. But, not really. As long as Kevin wins Top Chef tonight, I'm good. If he doesn't and you don't hear from me for a while, send the police to my house. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some Sugar

Oh, it was a tough game day for my Florida Gators. Alabama kicked our butts! Tebow cried. He wears his heart on his sleeve, what can I say? But, other than the loss, we had a great time celebrating being in our THIRD SEC Championship in four years. You really can't complain about that plus TWO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS and a HE15MAN TROPHY. :) We live to fight another day. Hope Bama kicks butt in the National Championship game, and we'll see Cincinnati at the Sugar Bowl on January 1. It's GREAT to be a Florida Gator... no matter what!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In all kinds of weather...

Saturday's forecast... high of 41, low of 29 and rain/snow. Why does that matter, you ask? (Oh, you didn't ask... well, you'll get an explanation anyway.) It's the SEC Championship Game (in the Georgia Dome), but with the SEC Championship comes the Tailgate of all Tailgates Part Deux! So, our tailgate is going to involve warm clothes, ponchos, handwarmers, and more bourbon and whiskey than we thought, but we are still tailgating. All of that plus thoughts of a scantily clad Tim Tebow will keep me warm... and hopefully plenty of celebration after the game. Afterall, you know how the song goes...

We are the boys from old Florida,
Where the girls are the fairest,
the boys are the squarest,
of any old state down our way, HEY!
We are all strong for old Florida,
down where the old Gators play, GO GATORS!
In all kinds of weather,
we'll all stick togetherrrrrr...
for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Don't get me wrong, I'm no stooge or grinch (though, I was called grinch in high school, because when I get a big smile, the outsides of my mouth turn up and I get really squinty eyes... nice). I'm all about getting into the Christmas spirit... our house is almost fully decorated; my XM radio is stuck on the Holly channel that plays all holiday music; I love the smell of cinnamon, balsam and pine; and I love seeing houses all lit up. However, I could live without driving down the street and seing a vehicle with a wreath on the front grill... or worse, a car with a red ball on the grill and antlers attached to the front windows. Can you say TACKY!? I give them props for their enthusiasm, but it's just so silly to me. But hey, to each his own. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl this year. These are some of the items I'd enjoy seeing under the Christmas tree.

*Tori Burch Reva flats - size 6

*Quilted jacket similar to the Burberry jacket in khaki/tan (or if you strike it rich, the Burberry jacket would be fantastic) - size small (here's one from Eddie Bauer to help you out)

*Cute slippers such as these from J.Crew or L.L. Bean

*Photo albums (leather or suede, no crazy colors, something very classic and simple)

I'm a pretty simple gal. Of course, if you want to drop a hint to my husband that I'd like a pair of diamond sparklers for my ears, feel free. I think those will have to wait a few years considering we bought a house and a car this year. And, if the above list isn't enticing to you, gift cards to home improvement stores or home decor stores (Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel) are always much appreciated, as we are still doing plenty of work on our little home. Oh, and if you're going to put anything from Bath & Body Works in my stocking, I'd appreciate travel size Coconut Lime Verbena body splash and/or Aromatherapy Sleep lavender/vanilla dream bath and pillow mist.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Random Monday Thoughts

  • We had NO intentions of buying a car on Saturday, but we did. May I introduce our new baby, the 2010 4Runner Limited. Her name is yet to be determined. Pardon the rainy cell phone picture.

  • two day work week. Two Day Work Week. TWO DAY WORK WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!
  • My "niece" Madelyn makes me very happy. I got to play with her for a bit on Saturday evening. She's just a joy. I kind of like her mom too.
  • I was gifted with two FOURTH ROW seats on the 10-yard line for the SEC Championship. I really don't know where this streak of luck on the football tickets front has come from, but I'll take it. Look for us on TV. I think I will make a sign, but I'm not yet sure what it will say. The game is on CBS, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. Some early thoughts were "Can't Beat Spikes" and "[CBS logo - the eye] [heart] T[bow]." That's sort of hard to understand, but it would all be symbols... eye heart T-bow (a bow).
  • This article was in the NY Times today. All of this stuff is right around our house. Fun!
  • We're heading to KCMO for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, and in addition to spending FIVE WHOLE DAYS in a row with Matt, I'm very excited to see his family. We haven't seen his parents since Christmas... that's way too long.
  • I made a pre-Thanksgiving feast for two of our friends last night. Butternut squash soup with maple croutons, turkey meatloaf, sweet potatoe puree, and sage stuffing. It was good, but I should have made some gravy for the meatloaf. Next time...
  • Speaking of food, I really like it. I like just about all of it. But, I could stand to lose a few lbs, which means I might have to put my love affair with food on hold for a while (after the holidays, of course!). Actually, I think if I put my love affair with wine on hold, I'd see results. Hmmmm... either way, something's gotta give.
  • That's all for now! If for some reason I do not blog again before Thanksgiving, I hope each of you have a blessed holiday with family and friends and find plenty of things to be thankful for this year. I know I have plenty of reasons to give thanks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woodfire Grill - A Review

Matt and I give the Woodfire Grill a solid A. The restaurant has a very laid back vibe and does not have a trendy feel or really any wow-factor in the decor. The wow-factor comes from the solid service and great food. Upon arrival, we checked in with the hostess who told us they'd be seating the 8:00pm reservations shortly and to feel free to have a drink at the bar while we waited. The restaurant has a great bar area, as far as size, with a lot of high-top table seating. Very shortly after we sat, a bar waiter appeared to take our drink order. Just as we got our drinks, our table was ready so they transferred our tab over. First impressions as far as service are key, and the front of house understands how to deal with the customer and make you feel welcome.

You walk right by the open kitchen with a wood burning oven to the dining area, and I was beyond pleasantly surprised (okay, let's be real, I was downright giddy) to be seated at a table RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE KITCHEN. I mean, I could have reached up and slapped high five with Chef Gillespie. Since Matt and I are (obviously) really into food and cooking, it was quite a treat to be able to watch the kitchen work.

Now, I want to get back to the service. It was truly impeccable. I'm really not sure what they could have done better. Each person who visited our table, whether our server, food runner, or busser, was warm and professional. Our waiter was fantastic, but I really enjoyed our food runner, because he was the one who explained the dishes to me. I decided to order the chef's tasting, which is a blind tasting... meaning I have no idea what I'm getting. I will try just about anything, so this was a great option. Plus, Matt ordered off the menu, so we were able to get some things we knew we both wanted to try.

Shortly after we placed our order, the food runner brought us an amuse bouche of deconstructed Waldorf salad over a blue cheese aioli. After that little bite, I knew we were in for something good. The sweetness of the apple and tanginess of the aioli were perfect together. Matt ordered veal sweetbreads for his first course, and they were unreal. I've only had sweetbreads one other time, and Woodfire's sweetbreads ran circles around the ones we had in California. They were served with their natural juice over a potato emulsion, roasted chanterelle mushrooms and an herb salad. My first course was a pan seared diver scallop served over sauteed lima beans with lamb jus and pureed black olive olive oil. You have to be a pretty bad chef to do a scallop wrong, so I wasn't surprised that it was absolutely delicious. For the main course, Matt got the wood grilled Sonoma artisan duck breast over smoked collards with braised pistachios and candied garlic. I am not a huge duck fan, but OHMYGOSH! It was divine. Ohhhhhh, sooooooooo goooooooooood. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. My main course was grilled quail with pears, turnips and apples. (I have the luxury of having the menu in front of me for Matt's dishes, but my descriptions are from memory or little notes I took since they were off-menu items). I don't think I would have ever ordered quail in my lifetime (though I would definitely try someone else's), so I am so glad I got to try something new. The quail was a light meat bird with a slightly gamey flavor and the juices from the apple, pear and turnip side really complimented it well. I probably won't order quail again, but not because I didn't like it, there are just other things I like more. Oh, and I almost forgot... in between the first and main course, the chef sent me an oyster from the coast of Washington (some sort of sustainable oyster) over a fennel pepper jelly in the shell and sitting on a mound of rock salt and cloves. Oysters are one of my favorite indulgences, so that was quite a treat and it was so tasty and fresh. Matt didn't order dessert, so we shared mine, which was a banana layer cake with banana BACON buttercream and fried banana ice cream with a garnish of banana chips. That's right, I said there was BACON in the buttercream. Matt said he couldn't taste it, but I most definitely tasted the saltiness and smokiness and it really cut through the sweetness of the cake, ice cream and frosting.

As I'm sure you can tell, we really enjoyed our evening and are saving our pennies for our next trip. Even though we brought our own wine, we still spent a pretty penny but it was well worth it. I definitely recommend Woodfire Grill for a wonderful dining experience.

Sorry these pictures stink... we took them using Matt's iPhone without the flash.

scallop appetizer


quail (after I'd already started eating and forgot to take a picture... I really shouldn't even include this but at least you can see what quail looks like if you haven't had it before)

banana cake

P.S. Holler! Chef Gillespie won the elimination challenge last night on Top Chef and won $30,000!!!!! and a chance to compete to represent the US in Bocuse d'Or. Crazy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chef love ♥

Until I have time for a real review, I will leave you with this.

And let you know that I'm in love with a cute, chubby chef with red hair. ;) The food was fantastic. I took a few pics with Matt's iPhone that are admittedly pretty bad, but I need him to send them to me. Too bad you can't taste via a picture, because the meal was divine.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Top Chef

Not to make any of you non-Atlantan foodies out there who watch Top Chef jealous or anything, but I am eating at Kevin Gillespie's restaurant, Woodfire Grill, tonight and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!! I might even bring my camera and take food pictures, and I will try my darndest to get him to take a picture with me. I'm sort of obsessed. He's my favorite Top Chef contestant EVER.

P.S. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm trying to make you jealous! ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

North Cackalacky

First, OH.EM.GEE! I figured out how to edit pictures! Well... sort of. I don't have photoshop, but I figured out how to spruce them up in my Canon software. Okay, it's ridiculously easy, but I just had never played with it before. I haven't figured out yet if I can save actions... I don't think so, but that would be awesome.

Now on to the matter at hand - the beautiful North Carolina mountains. We had a great time this weekend, and it was awesome to get away and spend some time with family. Aunt Luanne's home is very nice and cozy and has a great view, so if any of you want a getaway in Brevard, let me know and I can put you in touch with her rental agency (it's a 2/2 + loft and sleeps 6 very comfortably... we had 9 this weekend - little ones on air mattresses in one of the bedrooms and one on the couch).

We got up after dark on Friday evening, but we got to see some beautiful scenery on the drive before the sun set. There really is nothing like the sun setting on fiery red, bright orange and golden yellow trees. Unfortunately, we missed the peak foliage, but it was still beautiful. We had a lovely dinner Friday evening, plenty of wine, and after the girls went to bed, we engaged in a game called Apples to Apples. I recommend. It was very easy and fun to play. On Saturday, we were up early (hard not to be with a 2 and 4 year old that are up with the sun), had breakfast, and then headed out for a lovely hike through part of the DuPont Forest. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and got a bit of exercise to burn off some of the calories we ate and drank the night before. :) After the hike, we headed into town and had burritos at a great little place that I can't remember the name of. After a trip to a really neat toy store, it was home where Matt and I took a nap. The women all headed into town to shop, but I just really hadn't slept well the night before and was pooped. It was the perfect nap and I woke up rejuvenated and ready to watch football. We just hung out and watched the LSU vs Alabama and Vandy vs Florida games and the beautiful sunset. We put our game on mute since it was during dinner and the birthday celebration, and I'm kind of glad I wasn't paying too much attention, because we didn't look so hot on offense... again. (DEAR STEVE ADDAZIO, GET YOUR BUTT INTO THE BOOTH SO YOU CAN REALLY SEE THE GAME. THANKS IN ADVANCE, KRISTIN). And, of course, we had a wonderful dinner and yummy cake in honor of Tony's birthday. After more wine and games, it was off to bed for a good night's sleep so we could get back to Atlanta at a good time.

So, that's it in a nutshell. :) Now for the pictorial evidence. I'm sure you can tell which pictures I edited.

Sarah Ruth decided to put her hat on herself... and this is what she looked like. So cute.

Miriam, the little model.

The gang besides Luanne and me.

A different perspective.

That may be the first (and possibly last) time I've gotten a piggy back ride from Matt!

Okay, now that I see these uploaded, they don't look that great. :( Well, I promise they look better full sized on my computer... they get fuzzy when I upload them to blogger for some reason. Oh well.