I thought I would share my excitement about participating in a blog Ornament Exchange!
Shannon from Webbisodes and Karen at Home are hosting this event, and I thought y'all might want to join in the fun! Just go to either of theirs blogs for info on how to register. The deadline is Wednesday night at 9:00 EST. Happy Shopping!
I have had quite the break from blogging! It was nice, but I'm glad to be back :)
Doug and I spent Thanksgiving in Clinton, Mississippi with his huge, wonderful family! (Haha...that sounds like they are huge people, which they are not...there are just a lot of them! :)
We had a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving meal, of which I ate entirely too much. And I continued to eat too much every meal throughout the weekend. And now I can't stop! His Granny had at least 5 desserts at their house, so I took full advantage of those :)
We bowled a couple times, hung out with lots of cousins, played some poker with Papaw (he whooped us), and just had a really great time. I am so thankful that when I go to Mississippi, I really feel like they are my family, instead of just visiting someone else's relatives. But of course I missed my family!
Unfortunately, Doug and I are sick. First, my father-in-law had it, then my SIL, then MIL, then BIL, then us! I guess we have an upper respiratory infection, but it is no fun. We look and sound pretty pitiful, but that did not stop me from decorating today. I was determined to get it all done so I could enjoy it for as long as possible. I just about passed out while putting the tree together, but now our apartment looks lovely and I could just stare at the tree for hours. I want to put up a few pictures, but first I need to vacuum, and neither of us have the strength to do it yet! Ha!
Also- PINK LADIES ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!! I won my fantasy league! I was so excited, because this has definitely been the hardest season yet. Next year, I want to play for money! Let me know if you know of one!
Y'all need to take advantage of the great deals of Cyber Monday! I just bought myself a few Christmas presents from New York and Co, my absolute favorite store. They are offering 50% off EVERYTHING and FREE shipping on all online orders! So go shop!
My mom and I have this wonderful tradition. Every year, we treat ourselves to an overnight trip to Chateau Elan, a gorgeous winery/inn/spa in Braselton, Georgia. Since it is super fancy and a bit pricey, we make sure to take advantage of the $99 nights they offer a few times each month.
And their spa is incredible. If you get any spa service, you have full access to the entire spa! They have a lovely hot tub with a beautiful view, a sauna, reading rooms, an indoor pool, a quiet room (AMAZING), a gym (who goes to the spa to work out?!), and the best showers you will ever experience. I could spend hours in there...and sometimes I have.
We relaxed in the quiet room and read until our appointments. The quiet room is filled with comfy reclining chair-things, but it's only lit by candles and has calming spa music playing. My mom had a facial and I had a massage. We tried the mini versions this year because it's half the price, but it's also half the length. It may be worth the extra money to have a full hour of pure bliss.
After our treatments, we relaxed, read, and eventually made our way upstairs to their little restaurant for afternoon tea. My mom always loves saying and attending this, even though neither of us drink tea. Nevertheless, we feel fancy at afternoon tea. We sampled fruits and different kinds of delicious pound cakes.
Then, we regretfully changed out of our luxuriously soft robe and slippers and made our way back to our room to watch Oprah's Favorite Things. Is it pathetic that I choke up during this episode? I can answer that. Yes, it is. But when I see everyone crying in happiness, it just gets to me! I like to see giving people on the receiving end every once in a while. It was a good one, and I really will miss it every year!
Anyways! After Oprah, we went to dinner at Paddy's Irish Pub. We love going here for the fun atmosphere and delicious food, and it actually feels like some of the pubs I went to in Ireland. This is one of the reasons why Chateau Elan is so cool. They have 7 restaurants on their property, and it feels like going to an all-inclusive place because you just put everything on "your tab." The pub is right across the street from the inn, so we made the quick walk to a delicious dinner. We split one of the best cheeseburger and fries meals I've ever had.
After dinner, I was sooo excited to take a piping hot bubble bath. I draw the water so hot that I usually black out just a little after I get out...yeah, probably not so smart! Our bathtub is pretty tiny in our apartment, so I couldn't wait to have this huge tub to relax in. Sadly, they didn't have bubblebath so I used their body wash, which didn't make any bubbles but it smelled amazing! I had a good book, a glass of wine, and sweet John Mayer songs playing in the background. Perfection.
For the rest of the night, we read and watched Dancing with the Stars. I haven't really watched this season but it was really fun to watch. Especially Kyle's freestyle dance (LOVED this!!) and Jennifer's Dirty Dancing dance. It is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I loved that they chose that song. When they did the tribute dance right after Patrick Swayze died on the show (Time of My Life), I sobbed. Literally sobbed. I might be pathetic.
So we watched that and then had a little midnight snack of Cokes and Snickers. The vending machine was out of Diet Coke so we were forced to get regular. It was the first time we'd had it in years, and we were surprised to find that we hated it now! Weird, right? (I feel that my absence from blogging has resulted in me now telling random stuff that no one really cares to read about...sorry about that!)
This year, we added something to our tradition. Mayfield Dairy is right down the road from the Chateau, so we ventured over there after checkout. It was a cute little gift store with an ice cream shop, so we enjoyed Peppermint Stick and Moose Tracks (my absolute favorite!)
For the rest of the day, we drove home and continued our Christmas shopping. We spent about 2 hours at the Dollar Store picking out wrapping paper (and we ended up getting the same 7 rolls for each of us), Target-hopping for an adorable leather jacket I finally snagged, and searching for perfect Christmas gifts.
It was a wonderful trip with lots of much-needed girl time. We look forward to this splurge every year, and we are already talking about how we will do it next year!
Doug and I are headed later today to Clinton, Mississippi to enjoy Thanksgiving with his huge, wonderful family. It is difficult to be apart from your family on holidays, but I am so lucky that I really love my new family, too. I always have a great time there, so we are both ready to enjoy the long weekend with everyone!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
*Oh! And tonight's Glee episode was so wonderful!!! The wedding (the 1st one, not the 2nd) made me cry (surprise, surprise) and I just loved the entrance....why didn't we think of that!?
Last week, Doug and I had another round of wedding pictures taken in Athens! Becca, of Studio B Photography, was sweet enough to offer us an after-the-wedding shoot at our alma mater. I was excited for many reasons. Since we did our engagement pictures at the beach, I was really looking forward to have some on gorgeous north campus. It also gave me an excuse to wear my wedding dress again. And Becca is one fabulous photographer, so I knew it would be great!
I will post more pictures on here as soon as I get the disc (we took the pictures a week ago and Becca already has them edited...she is AMAZING!)
For the past few years, I haven't really wanted anything in particular for Christmas or my birthday. But that changed this year. I have a rather huge (and expensive) Christmas list this year. I am definitely not wanting all of it any time soon, because it's a looooot of money, but it is my List for the next several years I guess!
A dog (or a kitten) Pepper needs a friend!!
A DVR (I don't know anything about these...should I get a specific kind?)
Iphone (only when Verizon gets it...which is supposed to be around January!)
Canon Rebel Xsi
Adobe Lightroom 3
Woozie (a koozie for wine glasses...brilliant! I can't ever finish it before it gets warm)
Bubble bath (I haven't decided on a brand...suggestions?)
(Can you tell I love bubble baths?)
Eclipse DVD (this needs to be sooner than later...)
Doug's boss is having a baby, so I had a great excuse to make my 1st diaper cake! I have always thought they were so adorable and I was excited to finally make one. They aren't finding out the sex of the baby, so I went with a gender neutral theme, Rubber Duckies!
I even found rubber duckie ribbon- so cute!
His company was sweet enough to invite me to the shower they planned for him. They also tried to convince me to start selling diaper cakes :)
Pepper liked my cake, too....especially the ribbon!
Brandi Nell the Southern Belle is giving away a $25 gift card to Hobby Lobby, one of my favorite stores! Her blog is all about great DIY ideas and home projects. You can check out her blog to be included in the drawing!
For the most part, we had a pretty relaxing weekend. On Friday, we headed to Corn Dawgs for their corn maze. We were in there for a while, but I think we made pretty good time! The cold weather got to my nose, and I ended up sneezing the entire time. One of their employees came to check on me because he could hear my incessant sneezing from across the maze. Embarassing!
So we came home, watched some football, and I treated myself to some delicious hot chocolate. I am so happy Christmas is finally here!
The rest of the weekend was very relaxing, which was a much needed change! We took advantage of some sales at Kohl's and almost completed our Christmas shopping! (And I got a new Christmas candle....YUM!)
I can't promise that our apartment won't be fully decorated by the end of the week ;)
Picture of Your Family
This is both of our immediate families
And this is my entire family! Yes, there are 13 of us. I have a pretty tiny family, but I love it!
And I get to experience having a big family now, since this is only part of Doug's extended family!
And I can't forget our favorite little family member :)
Oh and one last adorable picture. I went home last week to go to the ENT. While I was there, our precious dog, Deuce, had a little cut on his elbow so I was his nurse. Here is my good little patient...how pitiful is this face!?
1. Young at Heart- Frank Sinatra
2. Spice Up Your Life- Spice Girls
3. Hard Knock Life- Jay Z
4. Comfort Me- Tim McGraw
5. Open Your Eyes- Snow Patrol
6. Dry County Girl- Rascal Flatts
7. Somedays- Matt Wertz
8. Less- Ben Harper
9. Crazy Little Thing Called Love- Michael Buble
10. I Don't Trust Myself- John Mayer
I learned something very important this week. As I have mentioned before, I have a messed up nose. It has never really worked as it should, I am always congested, and I constantly have "sneeze attacks," where I sneeze anywhere from 5 to 40 times. I kid you not. It's miserable. It happens a lot when I am in the shower, when I swim, or when I wash my face, so I have always just said that I am allergic to water...it's just an easier explanation.
I had surgery last December to fix a slightly deviated septum, which the ENT said might be the cause of all my nasal problems. He was also supposed to reduce my turbinates, which were enlarged. In the past year, my symptoms have gotten even worse, and everyone is sick of my sneezing, especially Pep.
So I made an appointment with a different ENT, who actually performed my Pawpaw's surgery a few months ago. I knew that if anyone could figure out what was wrong with me, it was Dr. Parks. I went on Tuesday and told him all of the symptoms, and he instantly knew what I had!
Doesn't that sound terrible? That's because it is. But I was SO RELIEVED to finally know what was wrong with me. Sadly, there is no cure for it, but he gave me a nasal spray that might help. He also looked in my nose and told me that I have a severely deviated septum, and that my turbinates were huge. Yes, the surgery that I had less than a year ago did the total opposite of what was supposed to happen. I went in with a slightly deviated septum, and now it's severely deviated. So my first reaction was..."Can I sue him!?" But apparently I signed stuff saying I couldn't. Dang it. I want my money back!!
So anyways, I am having surgery December 23rd (yay!) that will hopefully allow me to breathe much better. I'm a little sad about the fact that I will be heavily drugged on Christmas, but at least I'll be able to breathe!
I have had so many amazing vacations, but I think I have to talk about my trip around Europe. It was just a once in a lifetime opportunity (but I'm hoping to make it a twice in a lifetime trip!) I told y'all a little bit of the story here, but in case you missed that post, I'll fill you in.
It was finals week at the end of my freshman year of college, and my brother called me. He asked me to join him on his 3 week backpacking trip across Europe. I thought he was kidding. He called me on a Monday night. 2 finals and 2 days later, I was on a plane to England. Luckily, I was able to get my shifts covered at the golf course, and I already had my passport from my first trip to Europe in high school.
I met Matt in a park in London, and we started our trip! I guess I will do the highlights from each city. This post could get pretty long, so prepare yourself! Our trip was definitely "speed traveling," as we went to as many places as we could. It was the most exhausted I have ever been but it was amazing!
London, England: I really like London, but it's not my favorite. I'm not a big fan of the weather. It's cold and rainy a lot, but there are some cool things to see there. We went to:
Piccadilly Circus, which is like a British Times Square
A comedy show (which is way funnier when they have British accents!)
The London Eye, a HUGE ferris wheel, where the rooms fit about 20 people in each. They told us some people get married in there!
Our hostel: Palmer's Lodge in Swiss Cottage
Barcelona, Spain: This was my first time in Barcelona, and I loooved it! We had a mix-up with our flights, so our time in Barcelona was cut short.
Segrada Familia, a historic church that is still being built (from 100 years ago!)
La Rambla, which is a busy street where people are selling things from flowers to turtles and roosters.
Paris, France: Paris is gorgeous, and I always feel fancy when I'm there :)
Versailles, my favorite thing in Paris. It's a STUNNING palace that Louis XIV built. The gardens are the best part.
Eiffel Tower (Side Note: This was my 2nd time to go up the Eiffel Tower. The first trip, we were there the DAY BEFORE Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes! Ah!)
The pastries. Oh. My. Gosh.
Our hostel: Hotel Le Quercie
Amsterdam, Holland: Amsterdam is really fun and surprisingly beautiful.
Flower Market. Simply stunning.
Red Light District. This is from my journal, "Part of Amsterdam is really beautiful, pretty canals and amazing buildings and towers. But the other part is just like walking through an adult film!" Yikes!
Brussels, Belgium: We stayed with some of Matt's friends from Clemson who were studying abroad here. Oh how I loved them!
Museum of Musical Instruments
CHOCOLATE. Enough said.
Bruges, Belgium: We took a day trip with a bunch of the Clemson people.
BELGIAN WAFFLES. It is worth a trip to Europe just to get a Belgian waffle. You can get any kind of toppings, my favorite was chocolate and whipped cream. To die for.
Berlin, Germany: SO much to see here!
Memoral to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Berlinder Dom Cathedral
Berlin Wall & East Side Gallery, where the Wall has paintings and murals
Tier Gardens, my favorite place here.
Our hostel: Bax Pax Hostel
Prague, Czech Republic: One of my favorite cities from this trip!
Museum of Chocolate Paintings. Delicious and decorative!
Our hostel: Old Prague Hostel
Lucerne, Switzerland: My FAVORITE city in the world! It is just breathtaking! And somehow, all of the people there are ridiculously nice. It's like a country full of Chick-fil-a and Wachovia employees.
Dying Lion of Lucerne
Glacier Garden, a museum with a house of mirrors :)
Mt. Pilatus (go to the top...so cool!)
Grand Casino Luzern
Our hostel: Youth Hostelling Luzern
Cinque Terre: My 2nd favorite city! It's a gorgeous part of Italy on the coast. It's made up of 5 tiny towns, and you can hike from the 1st to the 5th. You have to do at least part of the hike if you come here, although the never-ending stairs can be killer!
Gelati. Lots and lots of gelati.
The hike. It's 11 miles. You start at the first town, go up the cliffs, and go back down to the next town. So it's a lot of steep stairs, and it takes about 5 hours to complete. But it's so worth it! On part of the hike, there are wild flowers surrounding you, and the heat brings out the oils and natural scents. It was incredible!
I also met a hilarious traveler along the way, Javier Lopez Sanchez. He was from Spain and he just went wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He had been sleeping on the beach in Cinque Terre, and he was very entertaining.
Rome, Italy: Rome is beautiful, but it can be a little sketchy at night!
Note: Make sure you have the correct Metro ticket here. We didn't and were almost arrested in the Metro station! Luckily, 2 Italian guys helped us out and gave us the rest of the money for the fine!
St. Peter's Basilica
The Forum, which is their old trading markets in ruins.
The Colliseum, SO COOL! We were able to walk around inside of it.
Our hostel: Litus Roma (probably the best hostel we stayed in...it was right on the beach!)
Dublin, Ireland: I love Ireland. We met up with a group of the Clemson folks, rented 2 cars, and drove around Ireland for a few days!
Temple Bar, a busy street with shops and pubs
Kilkenny & Cork, Ireland: We ate dinner in Kilkenny on our way to Cork.
Blarney Castle (yes, we kissed the Blarney Stone :)
Amy and I also found a blow-up doll in the mote of another castle in Kilkenny. We named him Pat, and he traveled along with the group. Pat frightened lots of people when he was using the women's restroom.
Cliffs of Moher, one of the coolest things I saw all trip. And also the windiest place I have ever been!
It doesn't really have a name, but we found this incredible beach where there were huge rocks everywhere. It's hard to explain!
If you ever do a trip like this, I have a few pieces of advice. First, pay a little extra for a nice hostel. There are some sketchy ones out there, but we made sure to read reviews and get a place where our stuff wouldn't be stolen! Second, I kept a journal of the whole trip and I am so glad I did! A lot of the details start to fade, so I just go back and read everything we did, everyone we met. I also got a postcard from each city we visited to put at the beginning of each entry. It's just a great keepsake to remind me of the incredible trip!
If you are still reading this, I'm impressed. Apparently, I get pretty chatty when I talk about Europe :)