Monday, January 31, 2011

Can't. Wake. Up.

Ever have one of those mornings where it seems there's not enough coffee in the world to wake you up? Yeah, that's where I am today. I'm worn out from the weekend's events. It was great fun - going back to campus on Saturday and watching my Cats beat Georgia made for a wonderful Saturday.

But, now we're back at work, the sky is gray and there's more snow in this week's forecast. So, I'm going to my happy place in my head - a warm beach, the sun on my face and long afternoon naps. Okay, back to more coffee.

How was your weekend?
Image from Google

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bring on the Weekend!

How happy am I that it's Friday? This week has kicked my tail. But, the weekend will more than make up for it.

Tonight, we're gathering with friends at a wonderful restaurant for a special "Big Game" dinner. Yes, I will dine like a carnivore on the savannah. I'll definitely need to run an extra mile or two the next morning!

Then, tomorrow is the big game, Kentucky vs. Georgia, which we've been planning for a while now. We'll be Lexington-bound to Rupp Arena to watch my Cats take on the Dawgs. Can't wait!!

Image from University of Kentucky

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Modern Family and The New Temp

Have I ever said how much I love "Modern Family?" This show has become my all-time favorite. Even though last night was a rerun, Hubby and I still laughed throughout the episode. It was much appreciated after yet another snow day. (Yes, that's right, the schools were out again yesterday. I'm beginning to feel like I'm living the movie "Groundhog Day.")

In other TV news, the creators of NBC's "The Office" could not have found a better temp to replace Michael Scott for the remainder of the season. Can't wait to see how this plays out. For the full story, read the latest from MSNBC.
Images from and ABC 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 'Run Run' Sisterhood

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of my goals for 2011 is to gradually build my exercise routine from fast-paced walking to running. I’m making more progress on the treadmill and while I haven’t set my sights on a 5k or mini-marathon yet, I feel good about what I’ve achieved so far.

Like many bloggers, I look for inspiration from my girlfriends, as well as from other bloggers and blogs. I began searching Blogland for who’s out there running, living healthy lives and offering advice on how to do so. One of the more popular bloggers of this genre is Skinny Runner. An avid marathon and recreational runner, she offers helpful advice on running gear, races to join and healthy eating. And for additional inspiration, she provides links to other other female runner blogs – a “Run Run Sisterhood,” if you will. Best of all, her posts are fun and upbeat.

In one of her posts, she answered many questions readers had posed about the gear she wears; everything from the shoes to her headband. I totally agree with her advice on finding the right shoe for your foot and not just going with what the running magazines are touting as the “it” shoe for 2011. For instance, last week I went to purchase new running shoes at my favorite locally-owned running store, Footworks. (Yeah, I just bought a pair of trail shoes over the holidays, but I also need a running shoe. Let’s analyze my spending habits another day, shall we?) They measured and analyzed my feet. My right foot pronates (rolls inward), so they took that into consideration when searching for the right shoe for me. Keep this in mind when shopping for gear - find a running store that will be willing to do this. At most smaller, locally-owned running stores, this is standard practice.

In addition to walking and running, my friends and I are always look for new, affordable fitness opportunities to help "shake up" our exercise routines, which is really helpful during the dreary winter months. We e-mail each other suggestions, such as Pure Barre, Zumba or cycling classes. It's a great way to stay motivated and socialize with your friends.

If fitness is one of your goals for 2011, what are you doing? What motivates you? Any great fitness/health blogs you'd like to recommend?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Images from Title 9 and Skinny Runner

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cruise - Yay or Nay?

Okay, blogger friends, I am seeking your input. Have you ever been on a cruise and if so, did you like it? Would you recommend it to others or not? Have you ever been on a Disney cruise? Like, dislike? Why?

As I mentioned, I'm already planning our summer vacation. We're likely going to the Outer Banks, which we adore, but are also toying with some other ideas. I've never been on a cruise, so I thought I would do some research. Thanks in advance for your input!

Have a great weekend!
Image from Disney Cruise Line

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a Snow Day...Again

Our front yard, before the kids make their marks in the snow.

Another snow day in the ''s hoping that we can avoid going to school into June. Hubby wanted to take the kids sledding, but it's 9 degrees outside, with a wind chill well below zero. I think we'll all be huddled inside today.

Just brewed another pot of coffee as I work from home. The kids are enjoying the day off, lounging in their PJs and watching episodes of "Curious George" and "Martha Speaks," while every now and then spouting "Don't touch me!," "Mom, he kicked me!," or "Mom, she shoved me!" Ah, snow days.

I seriously need to book our beach vacation now, because if I don't have an actual date on the calendar with a visual in my head in which to retreat during moments like this, I may go ape-sh*! crazy.

Happy Friday, all!

P.S. - Remember when I made a plea to Trader Joe's last year to bring one of their stores to my neck of the woods? Well, looks like it's going to happen. Woo hoo!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Valentine's Day - Got Gifts?

The big red, heart-filled day is approaching. This can be a much anticipated event or a day you're dreading, depending on your relationship status. If you are a fan of Valentine's Day, and perhaps want to purchase a sweet gift for that special someone in your life, I found a great site you should check out, It's a British retail site featuring jewelry, clothing, housewares and much more, with a cool background story:

Seeking out the people who create the unusual, the inspired and just plain ‘out there.’ That’s what is all about. So how did it all begin?
Hunting out the great and the original is second nature to founders Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish, and it led them to have a sparkly idea back in 2006: to create a place where you could find all those charming, unique and carefully-made things that you sometimes stumble across in cool urban markets, village fairs and tucked-away boutiques. A place that was quick and easy to get to, where shopping was simple and fun, and where you could always find the most inspirational and wonderful things.
But that’s not all. Every single one of them would be designed, made or selected by an independent small business. A creative and wonderfully talented small business whose passion for quality, innovation and style shone through in every little detail. And so, for all the style seekers out there, was born.
The prices seem pretty reasonable (if I'm converting pounds to dollars correctly), but I'm not sure about shipping costs from England. Hopefully it's not too outrageous. The site is worth visiting, especially if you're in the market for a unique Valentine's gift.

And, for those of you who are single on this V-day, treat yourself to a gift. You deserve it.
Images courtesy of

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Never Thought I'd See the Day...

Did I mention that Hubby gave me a Kindle for Christmas? Yeah, me the hardcover-book-loving-purist got a Kindle. Did I ask for one? No. Do I now love it? YES!!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would join Team Kindle, but it's pretty darn cool. I can download just about any book at the touch of a few buttons. This can also be dangerous,  because you can quickly rack up the charges with Amazon.

I was worried that I wouldn't like reading from a screen, especially since I spend a great portion of my day in front of a computer. But, there is no glare. It's very viewer-friendly and light. I also feel like I read faster with a Kindle, but maybe that's just me. I did whip through my first e -book pretty quickly. Perhaps I should actually give credit to the author who wrote a very engrossing story, though, rather than the instrument on which I read it. :)

Don't worry, I haven't totally gone electronic with my reading. I also received the final installment of the "Girl" trilogy for Christmas, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," which I'm currently reading in hardcopy form. Yes, I'm bopping back and forth between two different stories, one in hardcopy and one on an e-book. I'm weird like that.

Anyone else go to the e-side/dark side recently? If so, what do you think?
Image courtesy of SUNY Press

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pure Barre - Part II

I tried a Pure Barre class with several friends today and LOVED IT!!

Now, I have a feeling I'll be sore all over tomorrow and have difficulty climbing up and down stairs, but I do plan to go back for more classes. The ab work was especially good. The facility is really nice and the music makes the workout upbeat and fun. I'm glad I learned about it - it should make for a great way to workout during these cold winter months.

In other weekend news, it was a good weekend for our sports teams. UK had an easy time beating LSU while the Steelers won against Baltimore. Good times.

The kids are off school tomorrow, so I'm taking the day off with them. I'm looking forward to sleeping in another day. Have a great week!
Image from Pure Barre Louisville

Friday, January 14, 2011

Need a Feel-Good Moment?

I heard this story on the way home yesterday and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. End your week on a sweet note by listening to this interview with Elizabeth Hughes, as well as watching her performance of the National Anthem at a hockey game (keep in mind that the audio on her microphone cuts out while she's singing).

Hope you have a great weekend! On Saturday we'll be hosting friends at our house as we cheer on the Wildcats against LSU (GO CATS!!!), as well as the Steelers against Baltimore. Stay warm, everyone!
Image courtesy of You Tube and interview taken from NPR

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Publications and Preservation

I’m a fan of a number of online and hardcopy publications, especially those that celebrate a particular region of the country. I bet you can’t guess which area? Why, yes, the SOUTH!

My long-time blog friends are well aware of my adoration of Garden & Gun. So, I was thrilled to read a wonderful entry about G&G in the New York Social Diary. Writer Ned Brown made a visit to the hunting plantation and lodge, Rochelle, in the Lowcountry region, to do a story about G&G founding editor John Wilson. Rochelle is a feast for the eyes, to say the least.

Rochelle Hunting Lodge in South Carolina

I love the fact that Brown calls G&G “one of the finest lifestyle and best constructed magazines I know of.” So, once again, if you have yet to have a G&G experience, GO BUY THE MAGAZINE NOW. (Seriously, I should be on their payroll for all of the subscribers I’ve sent their way.)

Guests mingle around the fire pit at Rochelle Plantation during a fundrasier for the American College of the Building Arts

Wilson recently launched a new digital magazine called Charleston The Manual, which is a user’s guide for anyone planning a trip to that fair city or for residents looking for the latest happenings in that region. Wilson has a knack for the creative.

During Brown’s visit with Wilson, a party was held at Rochelle to benefit the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston. I had never heard of this school, but as I learned more about it, I found it has a fascinating curriculum and purpose. Having only achieved licensure in 2004, ACBA is a young college that works diligently to preserve the old. The school's website states:

The American College of the Building Arts educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world's architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.

What a wonderful mission. I have a strong interest in architecture and the preservation of important structures, although I'm only a novice on the topic. I can tell you, though, that my hometown of Louisville, Ky. has the second-largest assembly of cast-iron buildings in the United States (New York City has the most), and I’m fortunate enough to travel by several of them on my way to work each morning. I’ve seen some of these structures fall into disrepair and in a couple of instances, literally crumble to the ground.

That’s why I think a school like ACBA is a valuable institution and its graduates will make significant contributions to architecture in this country, and perhaps around the world.

Stop by New York Social Diary to read a recap of Brown's visit and delight in photos from the gathering. And if you are a lover of architecture, take comfort in knowing that a school like ACBA exists.
Images from New York Social Diary and the American College of the Building Arts

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow, Snow and More Snow

We had another snow day on Tuesday. Kids home. Hubby and I working from home. General chaos that ensues when kids are cooped up too long indoors.

Around lunchtime, the kids and I bundled up and ventured outdoors. It was cold and still snowing, but it was fun to frolic with them in the yard. We tried to build a snow man, but the snow was too powdery; would have been perfect for skiing. After coming in for lunch, they ventured back out again for some more snow-time, but didn't stay long. It was time to come back inside and watch a movie.

Here's the aftermath of the snow adventure (I really need to invest in a nicer camera - my phone is a poor option for blogging):

The whole process of bundling kids up for playing in the snow is not fun, to say the least. The time, energy and sweat - whew! But, they had fun and were able to run around a bit, which was much needed. 

I was hoping that by the time they were finished playing outside, both of them would crash and finally get a much-needed nap. Little Man eventually succumbed to the day's activities, but it was right before dinner, which meant I had an unhappy camper on my hands when I had to wake him up much sooner than expected. 

The kids certainly are racking up the snow days. They'll be going into June at this point! They did return to their normal schedules today, thank goodness.

I heard today that every state in the country, except for Florida, has snow on the ground in some location. Yes, even Hawaii, apparently. Unbelievable.

Try to stay warm, folks. I'm already planning our summer vacation. I need something warm and sandy in which to look forward!

P.S. - Props to my University of Kentucky Wildcats for their win over Auburn last night. Yeah, War Eagles, you may have won the BCS Bowl, but you got nothin' on us in basketball. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pure Barre Anyone?

Has anyone tried Pure Barre and if so, what do you think? A new Pure Barre studio has opened in my hometown, in fact, not far from my house. I was reading about this form of exercise just last week and then last night, read about the opening of this new studio. The website states that,

The Pure Barre Technique is a total body workout that burns fat and produces lifted seats, toned arms, thin thighs, and flat abs by fusing elements of ballet, pilates and weights in a 55 minute intense session. It is the most effective, fastest, yet safest way to change your body.

Hmm. Due to the weather, I've been sticking to our treadmill. Good workout in a comfy setting (no New Year's Resolution crowding at the gym). But, I was intrigued when I heard about Pure Barre. So, if you know anything about it and can attest to whether it's a good workout and perhaps worth signing up for, let me know your thoughts.

It's a cold Monday for many of us. The snooze button was hit several times. Hope you had a good weekend. We spent Friday night with friends, eating a good meal and laughing our heads off. Then on Saturday, my parents came over for chili and a sad, sorry bowl game in which my Wildcats lost. Boo. And, of course we then heard about the tragic events in Arizona. Sending prayers to the victims and their families.
Image courtesy of

Friday, January 7, 2011

Turning on the Imagination

This family is featured in today's New York Times, in a story about families and communities trying to restore playtime in their kids' lives.  

I found this article in the New York Times very interesting. It’s about an effort to restore playtime in the lives of children.

I’ve been hearing over the years that due to an enormous presence that technology has in kids’ lives these days, as well as kids being overscheduled with countless extracurricular activities, their imaginations have been stunted. But I guess I wasn’t quite aware of the extent until reading this article. It made me appreciate that our kids have vivid imaginations and that Hubby and I have fostered this along.

I have to admit, I likely allow too much TV, especially on cold or rainy days. But, we’ve been making a concerted effort to turn off the TV or the computer games and let the kids have their own make-believe time.

They may whine a bit at first, but it’s amazing how quickly they turn on their imaginations. I start hearing conversations between dolls, chugging noises from a choo choo train and playful banter throughout the house. One day, they built a fort in the basement made of chairs and a blanket. On nice days, they run around in the yard, make chalk drawings on the driveway and much more. Our house gets cluttered, but I'm okay with that. We have little kids who have toys strewn about and who play dress-up. That is life in our household and personally, I think that's how life in many households should be. But, hey, that's me. Not going to push my way of life on everyone.

This article also reported about some schools where recess is no longer permitted, because of a fear that kids will get hurt. Are you kidding me?? Groups are being developed across the country to bring back recess and playtime to schools and neighborhoods. Amazing. Maybe that’s why workplaces like Google, eBay and Facebook look like giant playgrounds because the staff at those companies missed out on playtime as kids. They have to go to work to learn how to play. :)

Please share your thoughts on this topic - would love to hear what you think.

Bowl Weekend
Enjoy your weekend, folks. Hope you have some fun activities planned. We’ll be cheering on my Kentucky Wildcats against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the BCVS Compass Bowl (whatever the heck that is) on Saturday.

Go CATS!!!!!!

Images from The New York Times and Lexington Herald-Leader

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who's Dating??

Sorry, I'm going to be a little tabloidy (my word of the day) and write about the latest couple sighting: Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp. How random is this? I guess no more random that his marriage to Elaine Irwin, which lasted close to 20 years, an eternity in the world of show business, or even for regular folk in some cases.

I’m a big Mellencamp fan. Saw him perform at IU several years ago. When Hubbie lived in Bloomington, he saw Elaine Irwin out-and-about with the kids sometimes. The Mellencamps lived a quiet life in their small town. Guess things change.

What I wish hadn’t changed was Meg. I’m also a big fan of hers and it so bothers me that the Hollywood Machine got a hold of her and convinced her that she needed plastic surgery. Such a shame.

So, I guess I've had my first "What the what??" moment of 2011.

How do you wear these??
On another random note, my shearling boots from L.L. Bean arrived the other day. They are super-comfy, but I can’t tuck my jeans into them! Am I going to have to buy jeggings to even wear these things or not tuck in the pants legs? I probably ought to send them back and get something more practical. They are toasty-warm, though. :)
Image taken from People Magazine

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Bourbon Review and Bourbon Chase

If you’re a fan of bourbon or love a fan of bourbon, I highly recommend that you get a copy of The Bourbon Review.

I gave Hubby a subscription to this quarterly publication for Christmas. The brainchild of four University of Kentucky fraternity brothers, the Review is both a tribute to the fine spirits that Kentucky is known for, but also to the Bluegrass region itself. From famous distilleries along the Bourbon Trail, to the wonderful restaurants that serve these fine drinks, the magazine highlights a number of Kentucky treasures. In addition to the content, the magazine itself features a rich paper stock, similar to that of Garden & Gun, as well as great photography.
Bourbon Chase 200-mile relay

My sister-in-law, a running enthusiast, was browsing through the magazine during her recent holiday visit, and learned about the Bourbon Chase, an overnight relay through the Bourbon Trail and horse farms of Central Kentucky. If you're a runner, I think this would be such a fun event. Here are some photos from last year's Chase. I can't imagine a prettier running route.
Another scene from along the Bourbon Chase route.

Apparently the event is already full for 2011, but my SIL contacted the organizers anyway, just to see if any teams needed additional runners. Fingers crossed, Anne, that you hear back from them and are assigned to a team! I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line in downtown Lexington, with a bourbon in hand, cheering your arrival!

Here's one of the team's from last year's Bourbon Chase, the Maker's Dozen.

In an age where many hardcopy periodicals are shutting down, it’s good to find a little gem that you enjoy reading. What magazines or journals are you reading these days?
Images from The Bourbon Review and The Bourbon Chase; article source The Herald-Leader.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My New Year's Eve at the Salon

For Christmas, Hubby gave me a gift card to a local salon where spa services are available. He suggested a massage or facial. Sounded good, but then I thought it would be fun to have my hair and make-up done for our night out on New Year’s Eve, so off to the salon I went.

I have short hair, so there’s not a lot that can be done with it. Yet, the guy who did my hair didn’t do the greatest job. He said, “Let’s go for that big party girl hair!” Tease and lift away he did. So I was rockin’ my Kentucky Big Hair as I headed to the make-up chair.

I tend to go more natural with my make-up, playing up my eyes a bit, which are brown. I gravitate toward warm earth tones, browns, creams, maybe a light pink.

Here’s me taking a photo of myself, going out to some random function over the summer. Not sure why I appear so startled; perhaps I could see into the future to New Year’s Eve and what the makeup lady would do to my face. Anyhoo, this photo gives you an idea of how I normally wear my make-up and what the lady had to work with.

The young woman who did my makeup wanted to go crazy with my eyes and boy did she ever. She picked out some startling shades of green. I don’t do green eye shadow. But she assured me that the color was more subtle once applied on the eyelid. Hmm. My little voice inside was saying “Hell to the no!” But, then I thought, “Be adventurous! Try something new! It’s Aveda, what could go wrong?” Oy.

So, I get home with a few minutes to spare before I have to pick up the babysitter. I march upstairs to get dressed, but I refuse to look at my husband. He keeps saying, “Let me see!” I keep my head down saying, “No, I look like a drag queen.” Finally, I show him the full effect and his neck jerks back a bit. “Wow.” I shake my head as I take a brush to my big hair and make-up remover to my eyes. My husband asks, “Is it because you have big eyes that make-up artists want to experiment with you?” Again, I just shake my head. Who knows? Anyway, I tone down the eye make-up (some) and the hair, pick up the babysitter and then we head out to ring in the new year with friends.

We ended up having a great night and I learned that, for the most part, I can do my own hair and make-up pretty well. I should have used the card for its original intention and scheduled a massage. Oh, well. Live and learn. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Blazing New Trails

My New Year’s buddies are these Montrail walking/trail shoes. I bought them late last week and have worn them on the treadmill and around the neighborhood every day. Great shoes! And the even better thing is that we had a gift card to the Trail Store where I purchased them, so I didn’t have to shell out the full amount on my own. Woo hoo!

In addition to my new shoes, I bought some cool socks made from recycled bottles to wear with them. How granola am I? Not very, but it’s fun to pretend with my new outdoorsy wardrobe. :)

Seriously, though, I have been looking into participating in some trail walks/hikes in the spring, so I’m hoping I can take my new shoes “off-road.”

Everyone having a great day back? It was tough for all of us this morning, the kids especially. But, it was time for them to return to their routines. I spent the weekend taking down ornaments and other Christmas decorations, so all that’s left is a bare tree in the living room and boxes waiting to be placed in the basement for another year. Sigh.

With the cold weather in full-force and the holidays behind us, I’m looking forward to college basketball (Go Cats!) and the NFL playoffs. What about you?
Image from Montrail