Monday, August 31, 2009

California Recap - Part 1

We had such a wonderful time on our vacation. We were in the Bay Area - Alamo, Sonoma, and San Francisco. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and headed to Alamo for Matt's aunt's wedding celebration. She and her now husband were married at their beautiful home in Alamo, which is in the Oakland Hills. They have an absolutely amazing property and they were able to house 12 of us for the festivities.

One of the cutest flower girl fairies I've ever seen.

The other cutest flower girl fairy I've ever seen.

Beautiful bride, Mariah, and handsome groom, Brad.

This one has her Uncle Matt wrapped around her little finger.

belly dance performance


The funny thing about having this nice camera is I never get any pictures of Matt and me on it! Oh well. The wedding was amazing. They had a fortune teller, caricature artist, belly dance performance, and absolutely amazing food. Oh my, the food was good. And dessert consisted of cupcakes from a local bakery that Brad built (he's a contractor) and an ice cream sundae bar. Yum.

We spent Sunday and Monday in the Sonoma Valley enjoying some good wine and great weather. On Sunday, we hit up Cline, known for their zinfandel, and Lynmar, which had great Russian River pinot noir (all of the scenery pictures are from Lynmar... it was so pretty).


We stayed in Sonoma Sunday night with Matt's cousin Aaron while the rest of the crew headed back to Alamo. We went to a great dinner at a place in Healdsburg called Ravenous and ended up staying at the bar drinking afterward. I haven't had a ton of opportunities to get to know Aaron, even though I see him a lot. It's always around a lot of people, so it was nice to hang out with him on a more personal level and really get to know him a lot better. We had a good time and maybe too much to drink. :)

On Monday, Aaron had some meetings so he dropped Matt and me off in charming downtown Healdsburg, and we got Flying Goat organic coffee and doughnut muffins from a local bakery, both of which we were told were must haves. They didn't disappoint. At lunchtime, the rest of the crew met us in Healdsburg and we picked up lunch and headed to the Teira vineyards. One of Aaron's partners owns the vineyard and has a summer house in the middle of it. The house was awesome, and we were able to eat lunch in their courtyard just feet away from vineyards.

This tree (or one just like it) is on their bottles.

very old head pruned vine

Most of the gang - see how close we were to the grapes!?


After lunch, and I can ensure you we did NOT want to leave that house, we went to A. Rafanelli for some delicious zins. Their vineyard was gorgeous, and we got a tour of their cave, which was completely spontaneous. I guess we impressed the owner/wine maker. :) While we were down there, they lost power so things went completely black, but thank God for modern technology, we all used the light of our cellphones to make our way out!

Not pregnant, just trying to keep the wind from blowing my dress open! :)

After that, we headed to Armida for Saxon Brown tastings straight from the barrels. We got to taste a wine that won't be in production for a few more months and won't even be available until probably February. It was delicious, and I will be having Aaron get us a few bottles when it becomes available. So yummy.

The barrels were stacked about 2o feet high.

We ate dinner at Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg and headed back to Alamo that night. We spent the rest of our trip in San Francisco. More on that next time! Way too long of a trip for one post. :) But, if you make your way to wine country, I highly recommend Sonoma. Matt has been to Napa, and he thought Sonoma was better, but we like the more laid back vibe. Napa's wineries are closer together and fancier, if you will, where Sonoma is more spread out and more agriculture based, according to Matt.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I am a day early, but tomorrow is my man's THIRTIETH birthday. I seem to find it a lot more amusing than he does. I really don't think it's a big deal, but he says just wait until I turn 30. :) So, in honor of his birthday, here are 30 reasons I love Matt... not inclusive and not in order.

1. He's handsome.
2. I love his laugh when he really gets going.
3. He makes me laugh.
4. He's a softy deep down.
5. He has amazing eyes and eyelashes.
6. He's thoughtful in ways that sometimes surprise me.
7. He's smart.
8. He's handy... oh boy is he handy (we'd be in trouble if not!).
9. He's a loyal friend.
10. He has really nice nails for a guy (more of a fact than I reason I love him, but whatev).
11. He loves his family.
12. He's good with kids and adores our nephews and nieces.
13. He's helpful.
14. He knows when to let things go.
15. He knows when to put me in my place.
16. During our wedding, he said it was the best wedding he'd ever been to. (love that)
17. He appreciates good food.
18. He loves the Gators almost as much as I do.
19. He knows when to splurge and when to be frugal.
20. He almost always massages my back when I ask.
21. He lets me sleep in and makes breakfast almost every weekend.
22. He isn't the most romantic or expressive person, but when he says or does something sweet out of the blue, it makes it all that much better.
23. He loves my family (even if he calls my mom crazy lady). haha
24. He is supportive of me and my goals.
25. He doesn't let little things bother him.
26. He's driven.
27. We have great conversations, mostly and especially when we're at a good dinner.
28. He knows when I want to be independent and when I want him to take care of me.
29. He's my one and only.
and last but not least...
30. He loves me despite my faults.

Happy 30th Babe! I love you so and am so happy to be your wife!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DIY is not all it's cracked up to be...

After slaving away on the stairs, I finally finished on Monday... or so I thought. I got a second coat on all of the banisters and finished the risers. I probably need some touch-ups on the spindles, but that is for another day. Tuesday night after I got home at 9:00 from work and a ULI (real estate group I am involved with) event and a trip to Target during which I only purchased two cards (miraculous, I tell you), I pulled the tape off the stairs. You see, we just paid a whole heck of a lotta money to have these stairs converted to hardwood, and I didn't want to chance getting paint on them. Normally, I'd just use an angled brush and not tape, but being confined to painting such a small space, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. Well, boy am I sorry! Scotch blue painters tape is the DEVIL, I tell you. I about had a nervous breakdown as I was removing the tape. Not only did tape seep through on the edges THAT I PRESSED DOWN WITH MY FINGERNAILS TO SEAL but there were areas FAR FROM THE EDGE that paint seeped through. Seriously!? Yes, seriously. And yes, that deserved caps. Not to mention, the tape WAS NOT easy to get off and I had to use tweezers to remove little shreds of tape that remained. It took me an hour to do this. Absolutely ridiculous.

So, that pretty much stinks and I'm not entirely sure what to do. From afar, it's fine... but walking up the stairs, it looks like a version of my pre-K self painted it. Actually, maybe my 2 year old self, because I was damn good at coloring inside the lines. And, I don't have any pictures because I have had literally no time to do anything but work, run errands, do stuff around the house and sleep (less than 6 hours per night... that is no good... I love to sleep). I think a straight razor and some dark walnut stain or brown paint and a small artist paintbrush are in order... oh and less I forget, about 5 more hours of work. Doesn't that sound like a good time?

Lessons learned: 1) have the risers painted BEFORE the stairs are installed, 2) NEVER use Scotch painters tape ever again, 3) estimate the amount of time you think it will take to complete a project and multiply by 2.75, 4) hire professionals (maybe).

On a bright and cheery note, I found a fabulous rug at Pottery Barn on sale! It still cost a pretty penny, but not compared to some of the other options I was looking at and it's exactly the color I wanted.

This is the picture from the PB website, and I must say, the colors are much richer on my living room floor. I promise pictures of the good, bad and ugly next week. I still haven't gotten anything up on the walls and we have a lot of decorating to do, but it's coming together. I'm hoping to hang some pictures tonight after I clean the entire house for the very first time (there's been no point in doing it before now).

If you're wondering why I'm having such a busy week, it's because work has been bananas (I love that term) and my handsome husband's 30th birthday is this weekend, and I had the genius idea to throw him a big bash a week after returning from an 8 day vacation, all while moving, unpacking, DIY projects (painting, painting, light switches (from gold and cream to white and white), light fixture, etc.) and working full-time plus! Oh, and this big bash includes he and I making all the food ourselves (mostly me but he's manning the grills) save a red velvet cake from Piece of Cake, but I am making cupcakes (from a box with store bought icing... gasp) since the cake isn't big enough to feed everyone. If you weren't wondering why my week is ca-ray-zay, sorry you had to read all of that.

So, next week I promise a recap of San Fran with pictures (it was fab), some house pictures, and some party pictures! And, I have to squeeze in some time tomorrow for a reprisal of my birthday post for Matt from last year. I promise not to cheat and look at what I wrote last time. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009


I somehow managed to catch up on most of my blogs in between my 500+ work e-mails awaiting my arrival this morning and the normal work day. I had several conference calls, which I basically ignored while reading blogs instead. :)

Vacation was great... this week is crazy! I probably won't upload pictures until next week, because I have WAY.TOO.MUCH going on. Matt asked how I was going to get it all done. Good question.

About to head home to... you guessed it... FINISH painting the stairs (except I need a second coat, and it's just going to have to wait).

Until I have time for a meaningful blog, I leave you with this to swoon over... unless you're a Gator hater, in which case, I feel sorry for you. ;) CANNOT WAIT FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL TO BEGIN!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random thoughts... in bullet points

  • I was in Phoenix Monday and Tuesday for work. I throw a bunch of stuff in my purse when I travel, but it felt heavier than normal. I got to my hotel and was getting ready to meet some brokers for dinner. I began to empty my purse and found a boxcutter. Yes, I made it through security in Atlanta with a boxcutter in my purse. Go TSA! Needless to say, I left it in Phoenix. Maybe their TSA is more observant.
  • Of course I was stuck in a middle seat on the way there... next to a large man who couldn't put the armrest down. He was so nice though and obviously aware that he was impeding my space, so he spent the 4 hour flight with his arms crossed and tried his darndest to keep his legs in "his" area. Bless his heart. It wasn't that bad... I read gossip rags, tried to use Go-Go to connect to the internet, failed, did Sudoku and crosswords.
  • All I do is work and paint (so it seems). The stairs are 60% complete. I vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take to paint them. Thankfully, painting is going much faster than priming.
  • Thank God I am indecisive about paint colors. I picked up two more colors from Lowe's Friday night... and we ended up picking one of them! It's Olympic's Dusty Trail. I was inspired by Bower Power's wall color. Thank God I happened over to their blog on Friday, which I hadn't been on in months. I would NOT have been happy with the other color I picked once it went up on all the walls. It looks SO.MUCH.BETTER than the peachy tone that was there. (Notice that I give all credit to God? His design sense must have invaded my brain that day.)
  • Although we did nothing but house work all weekend, we didn't have time to paint the kitchen, so we're hiring our friend's brother to do it. YAY for that. It will be done while we're on vacay.
  • YAY for vacay. Heading to San Francisco tomorrow... I can't believe I get to spend 10 whole days IN A ROW with my husband. How amazing.
  • I love the show True Blood. I did not get it until two weeks ago, but I am addicted and so happy it comes on on Sunday nights so Matt and I can enjoy it together. When I had some time to kill before my flight back Tuesday, I perused the B&N in Tempe and found that the show is based on a series of books called the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I am currently reading the first one, Dead Until Dark. I refuse to get addicted to Twilight, so this is my vampire replacement.
  • I got a silver Nissan 350Z convertible rental car when I was out there. I'm so not a sports car girl... or so I thought! If I could have two cars, I would definitely get a little, fast, sporty vehicle. SO FUN to drive. But, it would have to be a manual, which this was not. I may have headed to Mexico if it was.
  • I hopefully won't be on the computer while I'm gone, but I'll look forward to catching up with everyone when I return. Look for house pictures and vacation pictures to come!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Momma

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
-Abraham Lincoln

Today is my Momma's birthday. I can't say her age, because a lady never tells, but she turned 50 two years ago. ;) haha

I love my madre (or, modge... said like madre with out the "ray" sound at the end). I can't even imagine (and never want to experience) what it was like for her to lose her husband when she was only 36 and with three young children to raise. We became very close, because I became her husband... the best I could do at it, anyway. Although she was always my mom and I *mostly* listened to her and followed her wishes, we became more of equals that most parents and children. We have a very strong friendship, and I tell my mom almost everything. It's an odd few days if we don't talk. When we go longer than 2 days without speaking, it feels very weird to me.

I often said I didn't want to be like my mom when I grew up. Not that I don't admire her, but I don't know... I guess it's that rebellion thing. Well, I am my mother in so many ways. I definitely got her common sense, a lot of her looks, facial expressions, hand gestures, the ability to turn a 2 minute story into a 10 minute story (you really MUST have every detail), confidence, and the list goes on. And, you know, it's not so bad to be like her, after all. We're definitely two different people, but it really is amazing to see how much you are shaped by those who raise you.

Just some random memories I have of my mom... when I was 14 or 15, I had my heart broken for the first time. And, man, I was a mess over it (seems so silly now, doesn't it!?). My mom was working full time and raising us kids. But, I'll never forget one night when she came home from work, and I'm sure she just wanted to eat dinner and relax, but she swept me up and took me shopping. It didn't mend my broken heart, but what high school freshman doesn't love the mall? And, we didn't shop together much at all, so I just remember it being just what I needed at that time to distract me. I also remember being a kid and getting sick in the middle of the night... even though her room was down the hall, it amazed me how she always heard us and got up to sit with us by the toilet. Also, when I made Varsity Cheerleading as a sophomore and won our high school pageant, I just remember her joy for me and how good it felt for her to be so proud.

Anyway, I am blessed to have a mother who is also one of my best friends. I love you, Mom! xoxo

Friday, August 7, 2009


Y'all, head on over to Magnolias, Marriage & Manhattan's blog and enter her give away for a $40 gift certificate to Dining Rooms Direct. If you win, you better share! Momma needs a new rug... and a new dining room table/chairs/buffet... and... :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Please don't let me be in a middle seat...

Had to book a last minute work trip today to Phoenix. There are currently only middle seats available... both ways. It's a four hour flight. God, intervene... PLEASE. :)

It will sure make me appreciate my exit row seat next to only my handsome hubby on our flight to San Fran next Friday. Yippee!

P.S. After two night of painting until midnight, I am STILL priming the stairs. Man, I completely underestimated how long this would take. I have half the risers left to prime tonight, and then I will start painting and hopefully finish at least one section of the railing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


First, thank you for your sweet comments. I was having a pity party of one yesterday (well, maybe more than one...). :)

This is what happens when you can't pick a paint color...

Yeah, I'm not even sure what color is the one we're using in this picture... I think it's the one toward the top and in the middle that looks wet. It's also the same color as the one at the bottom above the white/greyish looking color, but I muted it with a little white paint there.

What, you don't love the lace curtains?

My problem is definitely that I had a certain image of what paint color I wanted... more of a greyish tan. But, with some light in our house, that greyish tan looks more purple or blue (see third picture). So, I've had to go with a slightly warmer color than planned, but I think it will still be good with the decor and look I'm going for.

I painted until almost midnight last night, and got about half way through priming the banisters. Holy heck that takes a long time. I hope to finish priming tonight and get half of the painting done tomorrow and hopefully wrap it up Friday evening. Then it's on to the major painting this weekend. Good times.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

15 years

Pretty crazy. Today is 15 years since my dad passed away. I've spent over half my life without him. My little sister has spent 3/4 of her life without him. She was only five. At this time fifteen years ago today, I was saying goodbye to my daddy. I was about to go babysit, and I went in to sit with him before I left. Looking back, I know my dad knew he wasn't going to be there when I got back... he was definitely saying goodbye for real, not just for a few hours.

A lot has happened in 15 years... a lot more happens in life between 12 and 27 than birth and 12. It's weird to think about how our lives would have been different if he hadn't passed away. I know we probably wouldn't have stayed in Jacksonville... I may not have gone to UF... I probably wouldn't have met Matt. I'm a firm believer in three things: God will never give you more than you can handle, what does not kill you makes you stronger, and everything happens for a reason. I sure do hope God thinks I've reached my strength quota though.

I brought a picture to work today I was going to scan, but our scanners are all document scanners and I couldn't get it to work. I only have one picture in my possession of me and my dad. It was in the summer of 1993 after he'd finished building the Bayside Bridge (49th Street Bridge) in St. Petersburg. We're standing in front of the bridge and I'm grinning and he's holding Brandi (my little sister). I remember we went to Hooters (the original one) for the opening of the bridge celebration. My sister was wearing this dress I loved on her, but it was way too big. It was a good day. I remember it vividly. It's funny how certain memories stick out. It's really the last good picture I have of both of us. My mom framed it for Christmas 1994 and it went with me everywhere. At some point in college, it must've gotten wet because now the picture is stuck to the glass, and that's how I've kept it. Just a piece of glass with a picture attached to it. Next time I'm home (Mom's house... still home to me... I wonder when I'll stop calling it that) I'm going to snag a few pictures to frame around our house.

One of my co-workers saw the picture I brought in, and he said, "Gah, that's definitely your dad." I like it when people think we look alike. Most people say my brother looks more like my dad and my sister and I look like our mom. There's no denying that, but we definitely all have a resemblance to both parents. I have my dad's head. In fact, if you look at a baby picture of my dad and a baby picture of me, we look identical (I must've been mistaken for a boy a lot). It's funny, because my sister and I are often asked if we're twins (I'm seven years older... makes me feel good), but she looked so much more like my mom as a baby.

Anyway, fifteen years. I'm not sure what's so different about these milestone anniversaries. This definitely feels different than fourteen years. I wish I could say it doesn't feel like it's been that long, but it does. I remember so much more of life without a dad than with one. And, now I'm going to cry at work. Good thing my door is closed. It's definitely gotten easier, but I still think of him often.

Monday, August 3, 2009


We made it! I admit, I was cursing Matt all day long while I was handling the move by myself on Thursday, but it was very unfair of me, because he'd obviously much rather be here than in the booming metropolis of Tifton. I did call him at one point and told him, in a not very happy tone, that I was going on vacation the next time we moved and he was doing it himself. He said, very sweetly, "okay." No backtalk. I knew then how bad he felt that I was doing it alone. Plus, like my type-A personality would ever leave the packing and moving of our stuff to him... not that he couldn't do it, but I NEED to be in control over how it all gets packed! :)

We had a broken vase that I was able to glue back together, a broken wine glass, and the glass of a picture frame cracked. We still have two or three boxes to unpack (mostly picture frames), so hopefully nothing else broke!

And, Matt amazed me again with his handy skills by making the dryer fit! Hallelujah! He cut into the drywall and used a "telescope" dryer vent thing, and voila! The bifold door kind of hits the dryer door a bit so the door will be scratched, but whatever. It's a dryer... it fits and it works.

Speaking of it working, so I guess we're just entering the realm of modern, "higher end" appliances. We have a GE stainless french door fridge and an LG front loading washer and Samsung dryer. What the heck is the deal with the noises these things make? The beeping sound when you change the cubed ice to crushed ice to water on the fridge and the beeping on the washer and dryer are this high pitched futuristic sounding beeps. It cracks me up. When our washer finishes a load, it literally plays a song... I'd say a full 10 seconds of this chiming in different notes that is a very cheerful little song. I guess most people don't enjoy doing laundry, so they're trying to make you happier in the process!? Does anyone else have appliances that do this?

After 20 paint color samples (no lie... I could've bought a few gallons of paint by now), I found one. It's Benjamin Moore "truffle", but it's their high end paint (read: $46/gallon!!!). I tried to have it matched elsewhere with no luck and finally called them this morning to find out they can mix the color in one of their lower end paints. Picking paint is stressful, so thank you Lord for that! Our walls look ridiculous with all of these different paint colors everywhere. I'm hoping to get the stairs painted this week, and we're painting the living room, kitchen, and hallways this weekend (hopefully).

No pictures of the house yet. But, I do have these gems to share with you. Really, could he have been ANY cuter!? I think not.

I hope our children get those big eyes and long eye lashes! And, bless their hearts (and mine), they are going to have such huge heads. I need to have my mom scan some baby pictures of me. You'll understand why I already KNOW I will have to have c-sections!!! Big heads + narrow pelvis = no way. Plus, both of our moms had to have us via c-section! Matt was a chubber at 9+lbs I think, but I was only 6 lbs 6 oz... ALL HEAD! :)