Sunday Special - Ashley J

I know, I know, it was about time I did a special on "my twin," aka, my soul-mate! ;)  I waited this long for a reason...HALLOWEEN!  Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to spend Halloween together this year, but we did the past two years.  Loving this holiday is just one of the many things we have in common.  Ashley and I met while working together at a bank in Ames.  She was actually the lead teller, so she was my boss!  It didn't take too long for us to realize that we were a lot alike and have a lot of the same interests.  We started hanging out...a lot, and it didn't take long for her to become on of my best friends.

It was so hard to graduate from ISU and leave all of our friends.  Ashley was still in Ames, and other friends of ours moved to different cities.  But a couple of months ago, Ashley got a job at the bank I work at and moved to Davenport!  It's been a big move for Ashley, but I am hoping that, along with her boyfriend, I have made the transition easier and been there for her the way she has always been there for me.

Ashley, you have been a blessing in my life.  I love the honesty we share to each other, it's so important to me that we can tell each other everything.  Thank you for being so great...it's because, "you're awwwwesome" :) I love you honey.

One of our first pics together :)
Wilma found out Betty slept with Fred!
At the Kelly Clarkson concert
Ashley and Ashley visiting last fall
Hippies in Madison. Halloween 2009
At the Paramore concert
My wedding day :)
Love you twin


Fill in the Blank Friday!

Thanks for sharing Lauren.  If you want to join the fun, visit her blog and post this to yours!

1.   My Halloween plans this year will include       visiting Emily and Nick in Des Moines tonight for scary movies and good food!  Then we are heading to Omaha tomorrow to visit Ashley and Andy.  We'll be making chili, shopping, dressing up in costume, going out, enjoying football, etc. Can't wait!

2.  My most memorable Halloween costume was   I feel like I have always had pretty generic costumes.  And as generic as it is, I enjoyed being a devil a few years back.  I even dyed my hair RED which was really fun  .

3.  For Halloween this year I'm going to be      from the 50's.  I can't wait to post pics.  I got the cutest glasses for my costume    .

4.  I've always wanted to dress up as   Thing 1 and Thing 2 with a friend.  Or, I have always wanted to be Mickey Mouse. Yes, Mickey, not Minnie  .

5.  Halloween free association!      spiders, candy corn, horror movies, carving pumpkins .

6.  The worst thing about Halloween is        it's cold!    .

7.  The best thing about Halloween is      the atmosphere.  Scary movies, pumpkin beer, jack-o-lanterns, costumes, "Thriller", it's just all so fun!      .

What are your Halloween plans?! I hope you plan to have fun this weekend!



Maybe I just don't have enough time or patience to learn...but is there any easy way to make my blog cuter?! I am jealous of Emily and Kellie and Kam because their blogs are so cute and creative!  I don't want to sound like a total idiot, but I don't even know how to post those buttons along the side.  Anyone have any advice as to where I can go to learn more about creating/designing a blog?!

Thank you for your help!


Time to Reflect

Here are some quotes I've stumbled upon lately...good stuff:

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I know of very few things I would take seriously.
I would take more trips. I would be crazier.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.
I would do more walking and looking.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles, and fewer imaginary ones.”
-written by a Friar in a Nebraska monastery
from this blog

"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day has passed. How precious are your thoughts ABOUT ME, O God. They cannot be numbered!" Psalms 139: 16
-Due to some recent struggles in my life, my good friend Lindsey has reminded me how God loves me the way I am and created me to look and feel the way I do.  Thank you Lindsey, I will try to remind myself each day.


Sunday Special - Scheetzy-baby

Today's special is brought to you by the letter "S" ;)  For two reasons: Sunday and nicknames!  Laura Scheetz and I have been friends for almost ten years now! Can you believe it?! She's one of my oldest friends and definitely one with many MANY memories.  Laura and I became friends when I was a freshman and she was a sophomore.  There was a senior who wanted to go to the Bachelor Capture (when the girls as the guys) with Laura, but of course, she needed to ask him.  So he asked me to drop some hints to get her to ask him to the dance.  Of course it worked...and we ended up going in a group together and have been friends ever since!

We have so many good memories, it's hard to even know which ones to share.  One we still laugh about involves my many sleepovers at her house and her mother's many reminders to keep it down!  I have always looked up to Laura in a way, because she was always such a good friend.  She was an "angel" and I was a "princess" and we reminded each other every day! LoL.  We still use our more creative nicknames to this day...and to be honest, I don't think I can remember how it started.  But she is my Scheetzy-baby and I am her Sarah-lee.

Laura, I love that we are still friends.  And I love that we always have such a good time together.  Thank you for being there for me when I needed it and I hope that I can always be there for you when you need it.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for our friendship!
Oh high school dance :)
Car wash!! 
My loves, their senior prom
Halloween 2008
We love when Shorty comes to visit <3
Definitely a favorite! Visit Scheetzy-baby in Omaha
Enjoying Omaha!
Hawkeye fan and Cyclone fan making nice ;)

My favorite picture!!

Sunday Tunes

I really wanted to make a mix CD this morning.  I honestly think all of you will love these songs as much as I do.  Enjoy!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Five Question Friday

Just like last time, feel free to answer these as a comment or post to your own blog!  As the weather cools off, I am reminded of the fact that winter is right around the corner...so I guess that's where the questions stem from today:

1. Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
2. How would you rather spend your snow day; bundled up inside with the hot drink of your choice and a good movie? Or bundled up outside sledding and making snow angels?
3. When it's the middle of winter, where do you like to (or wish to) vacation?
4. Do you like snow on Christmas?
5. What is the number one item on your Christmas list this year?

1. Coffee
2. Kinda of a combination of both I guess.  I'd like to go sledding and then come home and cozy up with Ryan and watch a movie.
3. Florida has been our January destination several times...this year it will be Vegas!
4. I LOVE snow on Christmas, I love snow in general.  Don't hate me, but I'm already excited to see the first flake!
5. Sewing machine


Chasing Tails

I know dogs chase their tails, but do cats?  Simple answer, you bet they do!  Here are some pictures of my awesome cats, as requested by one of my pen pals, Kam!

Meet Peter, a totally chill cat; let's say, a gentle giant. :) Peter is not full-bred, but mostly Maine Coon.  He can jump really high, but despite his large stature, he is surprisingly agile. He has an odd little habit of sucking on the top of his paw when he's happy, the vets say it's because he was weened too soon as a kitten.  I never got to meet Peter as a kitten, we adopted him grown up!  But my guess is that he was probably the cutest kitten ever!  We didn't pick his name, he was Peter Pan at his old house.  We tried to change it, to Sawyer, even just to Petey, but as odd as it sounds, he's just Peter.  Peter is the type of cat everybody wants, we get offers for him all the time.  Sorry! He's mine :)

Just chillin' on the kitchen table, as per usual

Being purdy

See Cali in the background?
 Meet Cali, an ornery little creature.  She is, as you can see, a tortoise/calico.  If you don't know a lot about cats, tori-calicoes are bipolar and sometimes you don't know why you keep them, but then they turn around and do something so cute you remember why you love them.  LoL.  Cali will be enjoying a lovely lap session and then turn around and bite you for no reason and run (and I mean RUN) down the hall and hide.  She always thinks she's in trouble, so when you walk towards her, she usually runs away.  That being said, she almost is always in trouble...she's always knocking over stuff, chewing on things (like carpet and cords!), or attacking Peter.  But she makes me smile and trust me, she is the softest cat you will ever pet.
Always trying to get to the highest point, this is on top of our hutch

Chasing her tail

Aw, she got it!


Sunday Special - Brooke D

Brooke is my newest friend, and I am so glad to have met her!  We met while working at "the bank which must not be named" last summer.  We started on the same day and became fast friends!  I was, and still am, so grateful for that dreadful bank because I wouldn't have met Brooke if it wasn't for that job.  However, something tells me we would have found each other...haha.  I know that's cheesy, but that's totally how we talk about each other. :)

When I got my new job, at a much better bank, I helped Brooke get an interview there too and of course she blew them away, so I get to work with Brooke again! Unfortunately, we are at different locations, but we get to email occasionally and sit together at meetings.  But of course, more fun than work, we do FUN stuff when we have time to get together outside of work!  For example, one random night out led to a night of bar hopping in a limo!  We started a book club, yes just the two of us, and have read some wonderful books...though we really need to start that up again, with Ashley!  Also, we have attended a couple concerts together, most recently Carrie Underwood (which was AWESOME).

It has been so fun hanging out with you Brooke.  Whether it's Panera date night, a movie, a concert, or a limo, I always have a great night when we're together.  Thank you for the good times, let's have some more of them soon!
Playing Rock Band at RIBCO
Hanging out at 11th Street
When we were sooo in love with my new camera
Being goofy
Brooke did my awesome hair!
At the Paramore concert
At the Carrie Underwood concert!


Five Question Friday

One of the blogs I'm following (from my pen pal list!) does a simple series every Friday called Five Question Friday.  I figure I'd join in because I need more inspiration to write more often.  So here's how it works, I post 5 questions, and I answer them for myself, and then you put your answers in the comments OR post it to your own blog.  Happy Friday and happy blogging!

1. What is your favorite Halloween candy?
2. Do you fold your socks?
3. What is something that you wish you had been warned about?
4. What is the most significant difference between you and your significant other?
5. What are three words you would use to describe yourself? (And, just for fun...if your significant other is around, ask him/her what 3 words they would use to describe you!!)

1. Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins!
2. Yes...well I roll one inside the other
3. We all look forward to the "real world" after college, but no one tells you how much you'll miss the college world because, even though it was hard and you spent way too much money, you'll never have all of your friends in one place like that again...and that's really hard.
4. He is way more responsible with money. :)
5. Caring, outgoing, a planner (meaning I plan way too far in advance!) Yes, Ryan gave me these three words.


Enjoy Every Moment

As we kick off this Monday, I am reminded (as I try to be every morning) to enjoy every moment and appreciate everything I have.  As of yesterday, I have been married to my husband for six months, and next month, I'll have been with him for 6 and a half years!  We didn't do anything special yesterday to celebrate, but I love that when I let myself actually feel how much I love him, I still get butterflies...and all it takes is a glance, a smile, a brushed touch against my arm.  The little things; those are the things we need to remember to be grateful for.

I got this story off of another blog, but I wanted to share it with you all too.  This blog is also where I found the pen pal project I started this month!  Here's the story; I hope you take as much away from it as I did:
Washington Post Experiment In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later: 
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes: 
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by Gene Weingarten from the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his article on the experiment.

This experiment raised several questions:
*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made … How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

you can read the article here
you can watch the video here


Fantasy Football - Week 5

The match-up:

Glitter Kitten vs. Ridiculously Swagger
It's a tough call this week...they both have 1-3 records, which makes them the perfect match-up!  G.K. has a pretty solid line up with Frank Gore as his leading running back, as well as Austin Collie and Chad Ochocinco, "child pleez"!  But fans of G.K. beware, R.S. has all the tools she needs to win this match-up.  Obviously, Drew Brees will lead the team as quarter-back, and R.S. has the best tight end in the league, Antonio Gates.  She is taking a gamble playing LeSean McCoy, who has a projected 0, but trusted sources believe McCoy will be back and better than ever at Sunday night's game against the 49ers.

It's a tough call, Glitter Kitten could have a secret weapon up his sleeve.  Perhaps a rockin' trade, or maybe a star on his bench.  You'll just have to tune in Sunday to see where this match-up goes.  When it's all said an done, one of these teams will be 2-3 and one will be 1-4, just above Team Crap...and that's not the end result G.K or R.S. wants or deserves.  The competition is hot, the anticipation is building...it's on!


My tattoo

Today marks the 3 month anniversary of losing TJ and I realized I never posted or explained the tattoo that I got.  I think I kind of want to clarify how I feel about TJ and losing him first.  I know that TJ was not my best friend and that I hadn't seen him in a year, nor talked to him in a few weeks prior to his death...but TJ was the nicest, kindest, funniest, most amazing person I have ever known.  I sometimes confuse myself as to why it hurts me so much, why it hurts almost as much as I imagine it would feel to lose a true best friend.  I think what hurts the most is that not only did I lose a friend, but the world lost one of the true good people.  We lost a person who didn't pass judgment, worked hard, liked everyone, and made the most of every day.  That is what makes losing TJ the hardest, and it makes me regret not having talked to him more often.  I hope he knows how I really feel and that he's watching over all of us right now.

OK, so my tattoo.  About six years ago, our group of friends did a Christmas gift exchange...I think it was supposed to be a secret santa exchange.  Well, I drew TJ's name and I totally blew the secret and let him know I had him, but that I'd like to get him exactly what he wanted for Christmas.  So TJ came over one night after school and took me to a website where he picked out a belt buckle.  It was pretty sweet, so I ordered it for him.  From then on, TJ wore that belt buckle almost daily.  Throughout college, we'd always crack jokes about it, we even took a picture with it.  
That buckle is one thing that will always remind me of TJ and make me smile.  I know it is little, but it means a lot to me because I know how much he loved it.  So I know that TJ's favorite flower is a carnation, but for me, I always think of a rose when I think of TJ.  That is how I decided what I was going to get for my tattoo.

I already had a tattoo I got a few years back with my sister and I truly could not think of any other place on my body for a new tattoo, so I added on to it.  The cross I had with the original tattoo had a little "L" inside of it for my childhood best friend Lindsey, who passed away when we were in high school.
 I kind of came up with the design, but I'm no artist.  Once I saw what the tattoo artist drew up, I was very happy with the look.
The design
It actually didn't hurt too bad, and it was well worth it.
Halfway through...outline only
Filling it all in
 When I got home, I was pretty emotional...this is forever...TJ is gone forever.  I will never forget  him, or our memories, or that belt buckle.  But with the knowledge that TJ is in our hearts and would want us to be happy, I can remember him with a smile on my face. 

I miss you TJ, thank you for all of the good times.  You are so loved <3


What a glorious fall weekend

Friday marked the first day of October, so Ashley J and I kicked it off with a scary movie night!  We both had to work Saturday morning, so we couldn't really go out with all of of our friends from out of town.  For dinner, we began with a delicious $5.99 pizza from domino's.  Yes I recommend it, and yes I sent my pic in to domino's :)
Mmm pizza
 We rented Paranormal Activity and Halloween.  I had never seen Paranormal Activity before and heard a lot of good things!  I had also heard a lot of people couldn't sleep through the night after watching it, so I'll admit it, I was a little nervous to watch it.
Movie night!
Make that Scary Movie  night! :)
 I actually really liked the movie and want to go see the second one in theaters, but I definitely had a hard time falling asleep that night.

The next day was a lot of fun, minus working.  Ashely M and I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Azteca and then we picked up Emily and went thrifting!  Ashley & Emily were both looking for different kinds of vases for their weddings and let's just say we hit the jackpot!  It was a lot of fun, even though I didn't buy anything.  I love helping my friends plan and shop :)

Then it was time to get ready for the main event of the day, Amber and Steve were getting married!  It was brisk, outdoor extravaganza, but it was so much fun!  It was kinda "old-timey," vintage themed, so it was great seeing all the guys with their ridiculous facial hair and awesome clothing choices.
Ashley, Andy, Nick, and Emily
 At the reception, the food was great!  Hot dogs, hamburgers, cheesy potatoes, and green beans...yum!  They had several tents set up for seating, one which had a TV tuned in to the Iowa game.  They also had a photo booth, which ended up being VERY entertaining!  And we all had a lot of fun playing BINGO!
One of the prizes we won playing BINGO
 We watched Amber and Steve enjoy their first dance as a couple and we all enjoyed a little dancing ourselves!
Steve & Amber
 Once the reception was over, a lot of us headed out to Al & Gerry's in Eldridge.  We got some looks, that's definitely a townie bar.  But we had a lot of fun :)
REUNION! Tammy, Laura B, Laura S, and me
Ryan & Me
I drove us home at the end of the night, did I mention I was the DD?  I had tons of fun and nothing to drink...so keep that in mind all your calorie counters :)

On Sunday, I unfortunately did not take my camera out, but we had both of our families come over for a chili dinner and Sunday night football!  I always have a lot of fun hosting and I think we all had a great time.  The disappointing  part was seeing the bears lose horribly!  That's OK, they are only my SECOND team, mostly because their Ryan's team.  I'm ready to watch the Vikings tear it up this weekend =) hehe....