Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year in Review

Last year, I enjoyed recapping my year and reminiscing on all of the fun things we did.  So, as this year draws to a close, 2010 is certainly worthy of a reprise.

January - spent New Years Day with fellow Gators watching the boys whoop up on Cincinnati and Tebow set Sugar Bowl records; SNOW DAY!; painted the dining room

February - Matt sent me flowers for the first.time.ever; more snow!; nothing says love like a little motocross action on Valentine's Day; failed in giving up the snooze button for Lent

March - joined CrossFit; headed down to the DAB for the Durrance-Young nuptials; brunched with Spurrier (NBD); painted the front door and shutters; booked our flights to Greece and Turkey!; found out I had excess fat... duh (thanks BodPod); turned the big 2-8 in which my mom did not forget my birthday ;)

April - partially got over my irrational fear of worms by digging in the dirt (aka: gardening); made the awesome decision of hiring an interior designer to help with our master bedroom; celebrated Madelyn's first birthday; headed to Louisville for the Derby!

May - Derby Day!; all day rain but still had a damn good time and won a few bucks; saw some crazy flooding on the way home in Nashville; attended Miss USA in Vegas and ended up on national TV; got 17 stitches in my shin thanks to a mountain biking incident (let me tell you, the scar is nice)

June - John Thomas is born; began master bedroom makeover; 10 year HS reunion; found out Matt would be in Tifton even longer than we thought (after the third or fourth extension of how long we thought he'd be there); Matt wins the third annual Rib Off; finished the master bedroom (and love love love it)

July - celebrated the Fourth of July with some of my most favorite people; joined the 21st century and got an iPhone 4; got a serious poison ivy rash... nasty stuff; took my baby (21?  is that still baby) sister to NYC for her first time; went to South Dakota for a family reunion; celebrated the births of Charlotte Ann and William Oliver

August - attended "To Live and Dine in Atlanta"; identical twins Ryann Janelle and Reese Leigh are born premature (Reese Leigh goes to heaven shortly after birth); headed down to the DAB to spend some time with our favorite Volusia County residents; Matt turns 31; Morgan Lorraine is born; geared up to head to Greece and Turkey

September - took the best vacation yet to Athens, Milos, and Santorini, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey!!!

October - went to Gainesville for Homecoming (loss to Miss St if you must know); I went to California to visit one of my bestest friends, Kelly (aka:KellBell, Kellybear, skinnyb*tch); spent Halloween at home and had trick-or-treaters; Matt came home from Tifton for good!!!!

November - volunteered at a bereavement camp; thought about adopting a dog; went to Gainesville for the South Carolina game (we lost, if you must know); almost got arrested by a cop for riding the Cruzin' Cooler on the street (that might  be a big of an exaggeration but Dai was sure to let him know it was street legal, dagumit!); adopted Max and Maddie!; found out Maddie was in heat (yikes); Maddie goes to the vet for a little operation; Max comes with us to Florida for Thanksgiving; Reagan Grace and Anna Kathrin (Anna Kate) are born

December - renovated the upstairs bathroom; decorated the house for Christmas; Luke Parker is born; celebrated Christmas at home with Matt's parents; cooked a ridiculous amount of food but it was awesome; felt very thankful for all the fun we had this year!

I don't know how 2011 could top 2010, but we'll sure have to try.  Some things on the agenda: possible ski trip in February, stateside trip TBD (thinking Chicago, Boston, Portland or Seattle), and a kitchen renovation (yikes!).  We're both praying that we stay gainfully employed so that these things can happen... say a little prayer that Matt's company gets the project he is now working on (it goes to bid mid-2011), and he'll have a job for a nice, long time with that one.  :)  Also, while we're on the praying subject, please pray for our family member who is fighting cancer.  God will know who you're talking about.  She has two young boys (3 and 1) and is expected to beat it, but it's been a longer and tougher battle than anyone thought.

Cheers to a great year behind us and to the one ahead... may you all have good health and good fortune in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I still cannot believe we got a white Christmas.  In Georgia.  Snow, real snow.  On Christmas.  Which is in December.  Boggles my mind!  I loved every second of it, and I may have gone outside during the middle of the snow and performed a wine induced jig.  However, since there is no pictorial or video evidence, this cannot be proved one way or another.

Christmas was great.  Matt's parents came to spend the holiday with us, and we both thoroughly enjoyed having them and not having to travel and spending Christmas at home for the first time.  We decked the halls and prepared lots of food.  Altogether, it was a lot of merriment.  I was spoiled on all fronts, and I am happy to report that I got the steamer mop I've been coveting.  Funny part of it is that mom bought it for me before she even knew I wanted one and was worried that I would think it was totally lame.  Little did she know at the time, I could NOT wait to get my hands on one.  And, I must report that it worked splendidly and made cleaning all of my hardwoods and tile almost fun.

I can't believe it's almost 2011!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jack and Jill

...went up a hill to fetch a pail of water.  Okay, wrong Jack and Jill... this is of the bathroom variety.  Boy, did we Matt bust our his butts on this project.  Okay, so he did most of the work, but it's not like I just stood around and looked pretty.  In fact, I can assure you that for the last few days of this project, I was anything but pretty.  Going to bed with wet hair, no makeup, and paint covered clothes = hot mess.  I did important things like picking out granite, tile, sinks, faucets, mirrors and paint... and painting and cleaning.  He did the easy stuff like demo, laying tile, grouting (I grouted too... kinda like icing a cake), installing faucets, switching out light switches and outlets, reinstalling toe board, changing out door knobs and hinges and helping to paint.  You know, just a few things here and there.  (Speaking of door knobs, if you remember this post, you can see we decided on antique bronze.)

Overall, the project went well and came in right at budget (okay, I don't think we had a budget but we were happy with the cost).  We kept the cabinets and shower insert, even though I hate those things.  At some point (maybe when we have our kitchen done), we'd like to get new cabinet doors and drawer fronts to spruce it up, but the boxes are fine.  We'll probably just leave the shower insert since it's an upstairs bathroom and it's functional.  We did replace the shower head and faucet handles and soaked everything else in CLR to remove the lime and rust, and it looks good as new!  The light fixtures also remained since they looked good.  They aren't necessarily what I would have picked, but I'll take the cost savings.  Matt pulled out the medicine cabinets and patched the dry wall and everything else was cosmetic... like putting lipstick on a pig... and maybe a little botox.  We got the granite and tile at Home Depot, and I can't remember the styles/colors but if you want to know, just leave me a comment and I'll look at the receipt.  The paint is Behr Silver Drop in satin (never again will I paint with anything higher than eggshell sheen... I know they say satin or higher for bathrooms but  Faucets were from  Mirrors, TP holder and towel rings from Home Goods.  Replacement handles and showerhead in bath from Home Depot.  I still need to add a little bit of decor, but without further ado.  (Please pardon the price tag on the mirror... they're a bit smaller than I wanted so I wasn't sure if I was going to keep them but decided just to go with it, i.e. I didn't want to take them down, return them, find new ones and then have Matt hang them again).

Both sides of the bathroom are identical, so only one is pictured.

We laid the tile in a brick pattern since our bathroom is looooong and narrow.  We didn't want a straight line going all the way down the bathroom.  (Plus, a brick pattern makes it a lot easier to hide mistakes.)

Edited to add: duh, before pictures!  These aren't that telling but you can get an idea of what we were working with - stained laminate countertops, cheap (leaky) faucets, stained linoleum floors that were peeling up at the edges, builder grade plain mirrors, etc.  Not horrible by any means, but I must say that the below pictures make it look better than it was "IRL".

Monday, December 27, 2010


Of the thirteen people on my team (including me), I am the only one in the office today.  It's D-E-A-D here.  Which means I'm leaving early.  And I got here late.  I love surfing the interwebs working when no one else is around.  I actually was very productive up until now...

To come later - recap and pictures of our WHITE Christmas, Christmas decorations, food, and the pièce de résistance  - the remodeled bathroom.  Woohoo!  Hold on tight, we're getting cr-a-zy up in here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

VERY Important Announcement

I am leaving the office in about 10 minutes and not coming back for 10 days.  [insert evil laugh here]  Bring on the remaining tasks in the bathroom renovation, picture hanging, baking, cleaning, last minute Christmas shopping (thankfully, this only involves an item or two), inlaws and Christmas!  I'm good and ready.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cute Pillows

I'm on the hunt for bedding for our guest room that has some hints of tangerine orange (preferably in some sort of floral pattern) and came across the PB Teen website in my google search.  They have some really cute pillows for only $20 that would make a statement (literally) anywhere in your home.  They would also make a good gift for the right person.

Being a born and bred beach girl, I love this one.

Love Your Ocean Organic Pillow Cover

This one is also really cute and would be good in a reading nook or office.

Branch Out Organic Pillow Cover

This one is just adorable.  How can you not love that owl?

Give A Hoot! Organic Pillow Cover

Finally, being the pageant girl I am... world peace.

Peace Dove Organic Pillow Cover

The best part is that a portion of the proceeds benefits a charitable organization.  I am not being compensated in any way by PB (PB, call me), but I can't say I've ever even looked at the PB Teen website, what with not being a teen nor having a teen and all.  Admittedly, some of them are a bit juvenile for my refined tastes (cough cough), but they are just too cute not to share.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You know you have dogs when...

You know you have large, slobbery, furry dogs when...
  • the #1 item on your Christmas list is a steamer mop
  • you keep lint rollers in various locations
  • you buy 40lb bags of food that only last a month or so (and you only feed them 2.5 and 3 cups of food per day)
  • you wake up to wet noses and licks nudging you from bed
  • it's worth all of it for the unconditional love they give!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Say what now?

If you know me or have read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I am a fiscal conservative.  I'm very middle of the road, dare I say, even liberal (gulp), on certain things (human rights), but monetary policy is not one of them.  I am very happy that Congress is working to extend the tax cuts, because I think raising taxes at this time would be a terrible idea.  I was just reading this article (yes, I know... Fox News but it's not an opinion piece) and came across this little nugget from President Obama, "It is a substantial victory for middle-class families across the country who would no longer have to worry about a massive tax hike come Jan. 1."  I thought the tax hike was only supposed to affect the wealthy, those couples making over $250,000 per year (or individuals making over $200,000).  But, now he's saying that it's the middle class.  Don't get me wrong, I think $250,000 per year is an awful lot of money, but I also wouldn't really call that wealthy.  You're probably not amassing a ton of liquid net worth at that income level, assuming both parents are working (investing in 401K, other investment, child care expenses, other expenses associated with two career-minded parents like possibly paying a house cleaner, etc.).  I digress, but you see where I'm going.

I'd like to go back to the word "massive" in President Obama's quote, as in massive tax hike.  So, now we're admitting that not only does said tax hike affect the middle class, it is massive.  I'm not coming down on our President; in fact, I applaud him for going against many in his party to do what I believe is the right thing for our economy at this juncture.  It's just funny how it was no big deal before... the wealthy were going to pay a little more in taxes... but now the middle class is being saved from a massive tax hike.

On a related note, don't even get me started on the estate tax!!!!  It is the most asinine thing to me.  Hey, let's tax someone who (more than likely) worked hard to amass wealth, and already paid taxes on that wealth.  Let's not only tax that money again, let's tax it at as much as 55%!!!!  The day we are paying our government more than half of our income in one fell swoop, I'm sending all of my money to offshore accounts in the Caymans.  I'm sure once I calculate federal and state income taxes, property tax, sales tax, gas tax, vehicle tax, etc. we're paying more than 50% of our income to the government, but all at once?  Makes me want to vomit.

And, now I'm off my political platform...  back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Edited to add: this

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Card 3

Cool Blue Holly Christmas Card
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This is one of three different Christmas cards I made on  I finally did narrow it down to the winner, which I'm not sharing because some of you will be getting it in the mail.  I heart Shutterfly...

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This is a completely random post, but I recently ordered several things from Pottery Barn, all of which were monogrammed.  Well, two of the items came in and the monogramming was terrible... off center on both the linen hemstitch tissue box cover and guest towels and on the wrong side of one of the guest towels.  Thankfully, Pottery Barn has terrific customer service and is replacing the items with no questions asked.  That said, does anyone have a need for a linen hemstitch tissue cover and two guest towels with the monogram KOM, all of which are a little wonky?  ;)  I can definitely use one of the guest towels, so I guess I'll have three now!  Thanks, PB.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Istanbul, Not Constantinople


If you don't know this song, go look it up on iTunes, but not without the warning that YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD!

Our last stop on our magnificent Aegean Adventure was Istanbul - Europe's 2010 Capital of Culture (or something like that... the signs were everywhere). And, it was quite cultural. Unfortunately, we really didn't have the best timing as we arrived on the night that Muslims break their month long Ramadaan fast, and the next two days were a national holiday. We still had a great time, but a lot of businesses were closed and practically everyone from all around Istanbul came into the city to celebrate. The first day we were there, two major sites didn't open until 1pm and the Grand Bazaar was closed the entire time. Bummer. Oh well, we definitely made the best of it and still saw quite a bit.

We arrived at night and were very tired, so we had some baklava and a drink at a little cafe and went to bed. Our hotel was in the Sultanahmet District, so the next morning we enjoyed our breakfast from the rooftop restaurant in our hotel overlooking Istanbul and then set out to see some sights. This is when we realized pretty much everything we wanted to see was closed until 1pm except the Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), which was so incredibly crowded, we didn't even try to go in. It was also pretty warm that day, and I did not have appropriate attire with me (legs covered and scarf to cover head and shoulders). Matt was wearing shorts, as well, so we decided against waiting in line forever, because we didn't want to be disrespectful by entering a holy place in our western attire. Instead, we just started walking and ended up walking along the Bosphorus outside the walls of the old city, and then walked through a pretty park back to Hagia Sophia. Let me just say that besides the fact that I have blonde hair and blue eyes, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was wearing a dress that I wouldn't call extremely modest but I certainly wasn't letting my goods hang out. Holy looks from men, Batman. I had every intention of keeping my shoulders covered when we were there, but it was just too warm that day. Between the heat, the looks, the crowds and just being tired, I was pretty sassy. Not to mention, the entire time we were there, I couldn't get over how little regard people had for your space or for the concept of waiting your turn. Pushing, shoving, cutting in line, etc. seemed to be totally acceptable. I ended up getting pretty pushy just to hold our ground. It was crazy.

Anyway, so we had to wait in line for a bit (and try to keep people from pushing their way to the front), but we finally made in into Hagia Sophia, and it was really neat. It was a Byzantine church that was converted to a mosque during the Ottoman era, and then when Turkey became Turkey in the 1920s, the government converted it to a museum. It was really neat to see the Christian and Islamic religions coexisting in a beautiful building. (As a side note: if you don't know much about Islam, I highly recommend looking up the 20/20 program that aired recently. I felt like I knew a lot about the religion, but I learned a lot from that program. With all of the tension toward Muslims in America today, I think everyone should watch it.)

After lunch and a quick nap, we walked around a bit more and decided to take a ferry to Asia. I was obsessed with stepping foot on another continent, since we were so close. Earlier in the day, Matt asked me if we were going to China. LOL literally. For being so smart, he sometimes says some funny things. He was serious. He was none too thrilled about getting on this ferry, but we made it to Asia and back with no problems, but a lot of stares. That night we grabbed a yummy dinner and then walked around the Sultanahmet District enjoying the nice weather, pretty fountains and the sites all lit up.

The next day we visited the Topkapi Palace, which was awesome. I was just in awe of the history, the riches, the tiles, the architecture... everything. It was amazing. Honestly, the pictures do not do it justice. It amazed me how well preserved everything was. We did the audio tour, which was pretty good but I would have liked even more information. I honestly wish I would have read a book on the history of Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire before we went. Yes, I am a dork and I love PBS documentaries. And, I am okay with that. After we saw all we wanted to see, including the Harem, we walked through the park and found some yummy street food for lunch. Since we couldn't go to the Bazaar (TOTAL bummer), we relaxed for a bit and made appointments for the Turkish Bath. That was a really fun experience. Matt had never even had a massage before, so I wasn't quite sure how he was going to feel about half naked men scrubbing him down and massaging him while he was also half naked, but he enjoyed it. He did note that his guy did not say a word to him but my guy wanted to talk to me the whole time. I will save you from the picture of one possible reason... my amazing outfit. Let's just say it consised of a plaid flannel like fabric "bikini top" and shorts and was a tight squeeze for the girls. After the bath, we once again dined al fresco (besides airports, we never ate a meal inside during the entire trip) on the same street as the night before. After dinner, I figured, "when in Rome Istanbul," so we smoked a hookah. Mind you, I've never even smoked a cigarette, not even a puff, but surprise... I didn't die! It's not something I would seek out to do, but I guess I kind of enjoyed it, and I did feel a little light headed. Whoa... Kristin's getting crazy up in here!  After that, we packed up and got ready to depart back to the good ol' USA. We had an amazing trip, but we were ready to be home... unfortunately, our flight was majorly delayed, so we hung in the airport for about 8 hours and missed our connecting flight. Oh well, 'tis life. We made it home safe and sound, happy for our experience abroad!

Hagia Sophia

Istanbul from our rooftop

The Golden Horn

The Bosphorus beyond the Topkapi Palace

Hagia Sophia

Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque

Blue Mosque

Inside the courtyard at the Blue Mosque

peeking in through a window


one of the entrances (not open to public)

View from the east side of the mosque

old city walls

inside Hagia Sophia


Fun street where we dined two nights

Blue Mosque

This means "May your Bayram be blessed" - Bayram is the three day holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan.

Topkapi Palace

obsessed with the tile work

I'll take this in my bath, thanks.


I'm kind of obsessed with quatrefoils, therefore I must have these windows!

Part of the bath in the queen mother's apartment... I'd also like this in my master bath, thanks.

Bathhouse!  We look hawt.

Istanbul at night!