July 29, 2012

I've decided to adopt a 12 oz. baby

In looking through my Instagram feed (follow me @turnedup2eleven) I have come to realize that I take pictures of my booze as much as a mother takes pictures of her children. So, since I do that so often I decided I should stop being so selfish and adopt a 12 oz. bottled baby and name him Frederick. He loves football, bars, chilling in a Saturday afternoon and having great conversations on a bar stool and pizza. Just like his mother.

Happy Weekend Everyone - it's lazy Sunday! *cheers*

Just myself, Frederick and Mike chilling at the bar
 #RTR #booze #football #OTR #love #bebes

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July 28, 2012

2 days late and 3 bucks short

I think I've said this before, but it bares repeating. My mother always said I'd be late to my own funeral. And she's probably right. If it wasn't for Mike's skills of always being at least 15 minutes early for everything, I'd never get to where I needed to be on time. It's not for lack of trying, I just get side tracked.

I haven't blogged much this week due to work. I've been extremely busy at the office [positive thing], and once I get home the last thing I want to do is sit down to another computer and type. Again I know this all sounds very familiar... I've probably typed this exact statement a few times before, and probably about this time last year at least twice. I won't complain though. Long hours at work, mean a hefty paycheck, and job security at least for now. I'm the person that always waits for the other shoe to drop. I try not to be such a pessimist but I can't help it. I prefer to think I'm a realist. I don't care for sugar coating, but I digress.

This post is about being late. White rabbit late, but less adorable, and maybe less of a maniac telling EVERYONE about how late I am. Wait, I am posting this in my blog, sooo I guess I'm just a more mellow version of Alice's White Rabbit. Anybunny...

This week I not only didn't post on my blog, I realized last night I missed my day to post on From the Sidelines. FOR SHAME! I'm sorry to my fellow ladies that bust their asses to get out some great Sports talk each and every day. I will be back in two weeks - PROMISE!!! I hate when I mess up like that. When others depend on me. Sure blogging isn't the same as say being in the Marines, but when others depend on you to do your part you should. So a huge, heartfelt apology to my girls that work hard to make From the Sidelines come together.

I also missed out on my fun Friday link-ups. Not really a must, but I enjoy getting out my thoughts and confessions for the week.

I will share one tidbit here, this is my most exciting news from the week. I got a new work toy! Score! Finally a computer that isn't over 10 years old, all for me, just for me to work my tail off each and every day. Note: I will not get to keep this sweet set up of having 2 macs, this is just until I get all my files squared away and set up on the new one! I'm a happy graphic designing camper right now!

It's a BIG beautiful monster - via my instagram @turnedup2eleven


Maybe next week I'll be back in the swing of things. Maybe not since I may, or may not be getting another chance to relax on a mini 'vacay'. We shall see.

To those of you still loyally reading. Thanks so much for sticking around. To some of the newbies around here, welcome and sorry it's not been the most exciting place to come check in. I will work on making it better for all of us.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay classy Turned Up to Elevevn readers!
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July 23, 2012

one of those days.

Today has simply been one of THOSE days. No particularly bad, not particularly good. I don't have much to write about. If I did it would be totally random. So what the hell right? It's my blog and I can be random on a Monday if I want to. So here's my random thoughts on a Monday evening.

via pinterest - story of my life

  • Dark Knight Rises was absolutely phenomenal! I can't say enough good things about it.
  • We returned to the house to eat lunch today and discovered our roof was being ripped off and a new one was being prepped to be applied. SCORE! The only issue I have with this is that I wish we had warning when stuff like this happened. Yes, we rent, so it's technically not our home, but still. This goes back to months ago when we came home and all the bushes in front of our house were cut down, do the ground. NOT trimmed. Chopped to the ground. They are growing back nicely now but for a while it looked totally white trash outside.
  • The roofers are still here hammering on the roof. My cat, Angus. Is hidden under the bed and refuses to come out. He hates loud noises. Oddly enough June, our dog. Not bothered by this at all. Some guard dog right?
  • Mike's parent's invited us to the beach in 2 weeks. Normally I'd be extremely excited and I do love a good beach vacation. My worry, issue... having to sport a swimsuit on the beach. I keep trying to get back into the swing of things with my workouts, and it hasn't happened. To add insult to injury my Sister-in-law will be there, she's very slim, as is my brother-in-law's girlfriend. Oh the joy. Guess I need to start tankini shopping, and possibly rum shopping to cope.
  • I am excited to get out to the beach though. We will be visiting the Gulf Coast. Calm waters, white sand and a private beach area. Just give us two chairs and a full cooler and we'll be golden.
  • Work has been insanely busy. I count myself lucky and remind myself every time I complain, that I have work to do and I should be thankful.
  • I'm trying to work up the desire to get into the kitchen to make dinner. It's already 6:30 pm. On the menu: pork tenderloin and okra. I'd be lying if I said I was going to make the orka in a healthy way, truth is I will probably fry it. It's garden fresh though so there's that. Can deep fried food still be called organic?
  • I tried Coconut/Almond Milk this week. I still think it will taste horrible on cereal but it's amazing in my  AM smoothies. I like that it's also lower in calories than the skim milk.
  • I also saw Ted last weekend and it was hilarious. I really want to have a Ted of my own.
  • I love summer movies. Love them. But I have a feeling I'm going to love some winter movies this year too. I'm excited about the prequel to Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit. Like, giddy excited.
  • Mike and I never went to see Ab Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The reviews were horrible and it bugs me. I finally find an awesome book and someone has to ruin the movie, hate that!
So there you have it, what's been on my mind today. I'm going to watch the rest of this TV show, get off my butt, cook some dinner and hopefully coax Angus out from under the bed long enough to eat his dinner. I'm sure the roofers will be packing up once the sun starts to go down.

Happy Tuesday Eve!

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July 20, 2012

In Loving Memory: Aurora, CO

Today I was going to round out the week with my final post for Leslie @ Blonde Ambition's Celebrating Southern week. I had my entry all ready to post, but I have changed my mind. I love my town and today's subject was what makes your region great. I realized I could sum it up in one thought. The reason I am here in this region is because of my husband. I moved here to be with him 7 years ago, after only dating for less than 6 months. He is the reason I continue to stay here. I love it here, and I love him. Wherever he is, feels like home to me. So there you have it, why I think my region is the best.
******
All day today I haven't been able to get the tragedy that happened in a theater in Aurora, CO last night during the midnight viewing of The Dark Knight Rises out of my head. My heart is heavy and I am in shock. So many innocent people were injured, and killed. It's hard to put into words what is flashing through my mind. My thoughts and prayers are with the families effected by this horrible act. I hope you take time today to appreciate your loved ones and take a moment to think of those hurt, and effected by this event.

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July 19, 2012

Celebrating Southern: Weddings and Parties

Is it really Thursday already? This week has really flown by. We are now in day 4 of the Celebrating Southern week that the lovely Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition has created as a way for all of us bloggers to link up and discover each other's traditions, and find new blogs to read. Thanks Leslie!

If you missed my other topics prior to today just click the follow topics and check them out. 
Celebrating Southern:  Hair and Make-up, Food and Drink, Game Day Fashion! Today is all about Southern Wedding and Party traditions. Again, as a Northerner, I will write from my point of view, what I love about Southern Weddings and parties! Enjoy!

Southern Weddings

I'm proud to say that even though I'm not from the South, I did have a wedding that I think any Southern girl may be a bit proud of. My theme, or plan was to throw a wedding that felt like a party in your Grandmother's garden. I wanted to be outdoors and close to nature and thus chose a wedding in October, NOT the Summer. I would never torture my maids or groomesmen in this heat. It's hard enough for me to stay fresh faced on a daily basis let alone while dressed in heels and lugging around a 20 lbs dress (not sure how much my dress weighed but it was heavy). My wedding was down home, complete with Southern food, drinks and lots of love, family and friends. I wanted everyone to feel at home and from what most tell me, they did. I used a few Southern staples in my wedding day, and thought I'd share those things and a few others I think are primarily a Southern tradition.

MASON JARS
Whether used for decor or functionality they are the perfect Southern touch to any wedding! I used them on my tables, filled with coffee beans and small tealights. Note: Don't try this on your wedding day unless you soak the beans in water OR use a glass votive candle inside the jar, then surround it with the beans. Once the tealights reached the bottom of their wick, they started to catch the beans on fire. Yep... total faux pas at my wedding. I had a dear friend alert me and then quickly asked him to blow out all the candles. Whoopsie!
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HANDKERCHIEF WEDDING INVITATIONS
Yes, you read correctly. Oh how I wanted to do these, at least for my Save the Dates. It is a time consuming and rather expensive, all be it impressive way to get your message out. Bonus they double as a hanky you could take to the ceremony. I had also thought about doing these and using them as wedding programs.
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VINTAGE, HEIRLOOM, ANTIQUE
I'm not just talking "Something Old" here, I'm taking celebrating family, tradition and history. I would have done this regardless of where I got married but I do feel like the South has a true way of holding on the past and showcasing it especially at special events. I love seeing all the weddings in magazines where brides have used their family's dishes, or collected old china and mixed and matched it for their guests. Old record players items such as these always put a smile on my face. I loved antiques before it became "trendy". I was raised in a home where Antiques decorated the walls so it wasn't unusual for me to use them in my personal decor for my wedding day.

This image makes my heart sing - SO fun, lovely and mixed and matched!
via pinterest
FOR THE LOVE OF BOOTS
I can't say I've ever seen this in the North but to be fair, I haven't been to a wedding that was in the North in quite a long time. My last friend in MD to get married was married at the beach [Hi Salt!], and they don't do boots at the beach. I had contemplated having my girls wear boots, not cowboy mind you, but boots for our Fall wedding but instead figured it would be more practical to have them pick heels they really liked. I had all my girls were different dresses of the same shade, and different heels of the same shade. But I love, love, love the BOOT look. Double points if you're marrying a real cowboy, or are a real cowgirl yourself. Note: I also love the non-conventional bridesmaid dresses and the wedding at a barn, LOVE!
via pinterest
SIGNATURE COCKTAILS
My hubby and I came up with signature cocktails for our big day. I don't know if this is especially Southern BUT I do think it was a highlight of the evening. We wanted a down home feel so I chose "Buttered Pancakes" and his was a "Peppered Stag". Very tasty and a nice little touch to our big day. Below is the actual drink menu I created for our special day!
via my crafty graphic designer ways!
GROOMS CAKE
To me, this is by far as Southern as it gets! When I was younger I didn't plan my wedding years in advance but I did long for the day I could get married and create a cake for my husband. I totally blame the movie Steel Magnolias. This is where I got my inspiration for the dream of having a Groom's cake. Most girls dream of their wedding cake, and yes, I was excited to create the look and feel of my cake, but Mike's cake was what made me totally excited. I decided to surprise him with his cake. I worked up a sketch for the baker and she made my creation come to life. I was SO over the moon about it I could hardly wait to see his face. He loved it and it's SO us! [Read about cake details here] I can honestly say I've never been to a Northern wedding where there was a groom's cake. Mike's brother got married and his table was fun, full of mini chocolate pies just like his mother makes every Thanksgiving. P.S. Chocolate Pie is another food I never had until I moved to the South. I think grooms really get the shaft when it comes to the wedding day. It's their day too so giving a dude a cake to me, is top shelf. Add to it their favorite cocktail (or soda if they don't drink) on their wedding day you've got a happy dude! His cake is below, the perfect rocking cake for my favorite rocking man - complete with superhero candy, SO him!

via turned up to eleven!
FORMAL INVITATIONS
I will say that the South is probably more proper, and more formal vs. the North. Not saying that some Northern Brides don't relish in ordering fine stationery for their wedding day, or letterpress mind you, but on average I think more Southern ladies order the finest letterpress stationery and the loveliest invitations. Most are traditional, with very little modern flare and all Southern Belles are sure to make their cards something their elders would approve of. I for one designed my own invitations, and all printed material that went into our special day with my husband's help (we are both graphic designers). Most women would frown upon that here. I work at a printing company and we see all kinds of Brides that come into our office, 80% of these ladies order Crane invitations, or something super fancy with all the trimmings. I admire women so deeply rooted in tradition and being proper. I for one need a guide book to make sure things are just as they need to be written for these invitations. I love fine stationery and when given the chance to order it, or create it myself I always love it. I love old fonts, scripts and how lovely a Bride and Grooms names will look together. Hand in hand with formal invitations is hand written calligraphy to address your envelopes. We have a woman that we use at our company and her penmanship blows me away. It's SO lovely!!! If you can afford it, I do feel like it's an extremely wonderful touch.
via pinterest
Bottom line, your wedding day is all about you and the person of your dreams. It celebrates love, and family and the joining of two families together. I had a blast throwing my own Southern wedding, even as a Yankee. And all my Yankee friends had a blast in Alabama. That to me was the second best feeling of the day, knowing everyone from all different sides of the US had fun on our special day. The most important feeling? Marrying the man of my dreams!
me, the happiest bride on earth!

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July 18, 2012

Celebrating Southern: Game Day Fashion

Before I even get into todays topic I had to add a list of things that I forgot from yesterday's post about Southern food. How on earth did I forget Fried Okra, Fried Squash/Zucchini, Sweet Potato Casserole or the big one, GRITS!!! How did I forget all of those? Let's just say moving to the South has broadened my taste buds AND my waistband.

Today I'm linking up with Leslie again over at A Blonde Ambition!
It's time to continue the Celebrating Southern Week!


Game Day Fashion and Essentials

Enough of that let's get down to business today's topic is GAME DAY FASHION! NFL's preseason is less than a month way and the college circuit isn't far behind!!! Again, from a Northern girls point of view. Where I was born and raised it's a bit difficult to think of getting totally dolled up for a football game, or any sporting event for that matter. I mean ladies, think about it, up North football games can get SERIOUSLY cold. You wouldn't find a Northern Lass bearing her legs in a cute dress during a Steelers game. [Yes, I'm a Steelers fan from Maryland, deal with it.] Southern football, totally different. It stays warm here much longer into the season. Today I want to talk to you about what I'd totally rock at an SEC game! [Let's face it, I'm not dressing up for an NFL game, I'm just not. My gear for that is a jersey and jeans. You can take a girl out of the North but you can't take the North out of the girl]. I want to also discuss Tailgating essentials. The stuff you want/need to have a great time at your next tailgate, even if you're just partying in your own backyard before the big game, which in my opinion can be JUST as fun!

via pinterest

My Loyalty
Let's get this out in the open - I'm a Steelers fan and an Alabama Crimson Tide Fan. I converted my husband into a Steelers fan, years ago, and he in turn blessed me with the new love of Alabama football. Truth be told when you move here you have to choose sides. It's Auburn or Alabama. I choose wisely for my new family, most members roll with the tide. Funny story, I chose my 'Bama loyalty before I moved here. My reason for picking 'bama was due to Forrest Gump. I still want to get myself a #44 jersey in his honor. Yes, I'm a dork.

So you're in the South, and like me you might be new to game day rituals. Let me give you a little inside track to how things go for me, in my neck of the woods.

FRIDAY BEFORE GAME DAY
You best wear your colors to work. I don't care if it's a red dress, or a houndstooth skirt, you rock it. If you're lucky like me you work in a casual environment and you can rock one of your many team t-shirts. I always sport an Alabama t-shirt the Friday before game day.

SATURDAY MORNING
If you aren't fortunate enough to get to go to the game for your team, no fear you can still dress up, but I would save your dressy duds for the game. I wake up in the morning on a Saturday, shower, and face my day in my lucky Bama shirt on. Yes, I have a lucky shirt. I've been wearing it for years and I must say it seems to be doing the trick. (2 National Championships since I started rooting for Alabama, say whatttt?).

If you are in fact heading to the game for tailgating well then sister you better get yourself done up right! I've been to one Bama game so far and I will be honest I felt completely underdressed. I wore a cute ruffled tank top, had a signature houndstooth scarf for flair and jeans. Yep, I said it, I wore jeans. Before all of the true Southern Belles judge me or gasp, please realize this is all new to me. Upon arriving in Tusacaloosa I realized the error of my ways. I'm looking forward to my next game and you best believe I will do it up right. I may not wear a dress but I will certainly accessorize the heck out of my outfit.
Opening Day • Paul W. Bryant Museum • Myself, Mike, His brother and brother's girlfriend - ROLL TIDE!
Tell me my brother-in-law's girl doesn't look adorable for game day, I dare you! She's a pro at game day dressing. She went to Alabama for most of her college career and she knows what works for game day, for sure.

One last image for fun - the Sea of Crimson!

Lastly... SUNDAY
If you aren't into NFL and your team wins on Saturday then I say round out the weekend with your teams shirt. Show your support. However, if you are like me and live for Sunday football as much as Saturday football then you need to wake up and put on your teams colors. I sport my favorite Steelers tshirts until game time and then switch into my favorite jersey. It's all about comfort when you're on the couch watching the game. If by some strange twist of fate I made it to a Steelers game I would dress accordingly. I might luck out and see them at the Tennessee Titans stadium and not have to worry about freezing. My jeans, jersey and flip flops would do the trick. However if I ventured north to see them, I would bargain on bundling up - for sure!

Dreamy Game Day Looks

I thought I would share some of my favorite DREAM looks for game day. Now I know I'm only showing Alabama approved  (and maybe Arkansas since we share the same colors) gear but you know there are MILLIONS of ways to dress up and prep for your big game day! Have fun with it. Sport what you like and what you feel comfortable in ladies. If you have to walk all over campus, DON'T wear huge heels, unless you love pain. If you're hanging around your own tailgate party, then vamp it up girl! I've been to tailgates in Tuscaloosa and the town does it up right. If you have to wear heels make friends with a family that owns a golf cart, it will give your piggies a break as you socialize with everyone and their mother.  My husband went to Ole Miss for a Tide game and was shocked how under dressed he felt. He can't wait to take me back there next year when we meet Ole Miss in their house again. Don't worry ladies, I will be finding the perfect outfit, treating it like Prom and such. I don't want to be the Bama girl that looks unfit to be partying there.

Tailgating in the Cooler Months

via pinterest

I think this outfit is perfect for an Alabama (or other team that uses red) fall game. The boots are adorable and can be switched out as needed and the fun dots are festive.

via pinterest
A Bama fan can't go wrong in sporting Houndstooth for the big day. Paying tribute to the Late Great Coach Bryant always puts a smile on any Crimson Tide fans face.

via pinterest
BE STILL MY ACCESSORY LOVIN' HEART! Having a trademark bubble necklace in your teams colors is a sure fire way, to me, to Southern Belle up any game day outfit. Even a tshirt, although I wouldn't recommend simply rocking a ratty tshirt with such a lovely piece of jewelry. I have a few bits of jewelry I wear regularly for game day that include a huge elephant necklace and some houndstooth elephant earrings. Not at the same time mind you, I'm not MR. T!

via pinterest
While you won't catch me purchasing these shoes, or wearing them I do think they are a really fun and adorable way to show your team spirit. If I'm rocking cowboy boots they will be classic ones, NOT Alabama-centric.

via pinterst
Again, in rockin' the houndstooth one can do no wrong in Alabama. For the colder months or even Basketball season there are tons of great coats and jackets to show your team spirit. Paired with a cute little red rose or ribbon button I think this would be PERFECT for game day!

Game Day Essentials

You can't have a great tailgate without a few essentials!
Good food • Good Drinks • Great Company! {and close bathrooms are always a plus!}
And it's a must to learn all the words to your teams fight song! A must!
** At our house we even have lucky glasses we drink out of on game day. True story!

So pitch a tent, get some grub, show your team spirit and as always be kind to your neighbors at the tailgate even if they are sporting the wrong colors. Being in the South is about hospitality, not hostility!

SOME OF MY FAVORITE GAME DAY FINDS!

Ladies, drink responsibly, no one wants to hold you up, or hold your hair before the big game even starts. Or at half time either! Take it easy, you'll be there all day!

via google
CORNHOLE
A great game to keep you busy prior to the game, and possibly a great thing to help you burn off some time after the game rather than sitting in traffic.


SEC BABY!
I'm not from the South but I know that SEC Football is probably the best group on the entire College Conference system - there I said it!

And I wouldn't be a tide fan without posting this so here you go! 
ROLL TIDE ROLL! 
GOOD LUCK IN 2012 BAMA!
{Trent, we will miss you dearly, good luck in the NFL buddy!}
via google

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July 17, 2012

Celebrating Southern: Food and Drink

link up with Leslie • Celebrating Southern
Here we are, day two of Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition's Celebrating Southern week. Please link up and share with us your Southern trends and traditions, you can get all the info by clicking here. If you missed my post yesterday, simply click here to find out about Southern Hair and make-up that's trendy in my neck of the woods as well as my background of being a Southern Belle In-Training.

Celebrating Southern: Food and Beverages

Today's topic is Southern Food and Beverages popular in your area. To be fair, it's hard for me to dictate what is popular here in the South. That being said I can tell you what food and beverages were completely new to me being a Northern girl transplanted to the South. I thought I'd share with you some snacks that I had tasted, or heard of before moving here, and probably the ones that are directly responsible for my immediate weight gain upon crossing the Alabama state line. *wink*

Good Eats

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SAUSAGE BALLS
Lord have mercy these things are amazing! Biscuits, cheese and sausage all rolled into bite size balls! When I told my friends back home about these treats they gave me super strange looks, but the moment I made a batch for them they were sold. I can remember the first time I tried a Sausage Ball. It was the first year I watched the Iron Bowl. For those outsiders the Iron Bowl is the biggest Alabama statewide football event where the Alabama Crimson Tide (ROLL TIDE) and Auburn Tigers take on each other for bragging rights. HUGE football battle, HUGE rivalry. A friend of ours had a viewing party complete with snacks made by everyone that stopped by. I wasn't sure about the sausage balls but my husband assured me they were good. One bite and I was hooked. I have found the key to perfecting them, to ensure they puff up and don't become super greasy, if you'd like me to share it I will, but only if you ask nicely.

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TEA SANDWICHES
During a bridal shower one afternoon I tried my first tea sandwich. This particular tray was made with cucumbers and I guess mayo? There isn't much here in the South that doesn't involve butter or mayo. I wish I had the correct recipe for this, I dream about them sometimes. I had no intention to like them, just took one to be polite. I think before the shower was over I had shoved about 6 halves down my pie hole. They are, amazing! If you have a great recipe, PLEASE forward it to me. I don't have teas often, if ever but I'd love to make those sandwiches again.

BISCUITS N' GRAVY
Don't be silly, of COURSE I've had Biscuits and Gravy. The gravy I speak of, is of the chocolate persuasion. Have you had it? OMG, insanity! My little sister-in-law insists we get it whenever we go to eat breakfast at the community center with my father-in-law and Mike's (my husband) brothers. Only, she doesn't use the biscuit, she just eats hers with a spoon. To each his or her own I suppose. I have only had this in small doses. Not only does the community center breakfast make a total sloth when I eat it, but I also know how bad for my health most of that food is if not eaten in moderation.

DRESSING
I'm sure you're thinking, Kelly? How have you not had dressing? It's a Thanksgiving staple. Well, not up North. Up North we call it Stuffing. And for good reason, we usually stuff the bird with it. Gross, I know but man is it awesome. I totally miss my mom's stuffing, but Mike's mother's Cornbread Dressing totally helps fill that void. Made with just the right amount of sage and goodness we all could eat it for days. She usually has to make 2 pans just to ensure her family has enough. (She is the mother of 2 girls and 4 boys, add to that sig others, friends and nephews and nieces well, you get why she needs to make two full pans!) Dressing to me is a much smarter way to go about things, and I had never had it made with cornbread until meeting Mike. I still love, and sometimes will make my mother's Stuffing made with bread when I get to missing her.

CATFISH
Fried catfish. It doesn't get more Southern than that. While I have always loved seafood and more recently fish I had never tried a stitch of Catfish until visiting Mike many moons ago when we were first dating. He took me out for lunch and while the waitress got our order wrong, I figured it was fate. I got to try not only blackened catfish but fried as well. Two birds, one stone!

COLLARD GREENS
I'm still on the fence about these. Mike's mom has made them a few times and the more I eat them, the more I start to fall for them.

via • It doesn't look like much but trust me, it's good!
HOE CAKE
Have you ever had this? HOLY hell it's good! My dear friend Miss A made it for us one night and I was hooked. It's not good for you at all, there is lots of lard involved, and siding it with chocolate gravy is sinful, delicious and just plain perfect but wrong... SO wrong. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself!

CHICKEN STEW
I've had chicken soup for years and years but never something as delicious as Chicken Stew. The minute I feel down, or sick Mike whips up a batch and BAM I feel 100% better. The spicier the better!

HOG JAW
Yeah, I said it. I have only tried it once. It seemed like it was either dried or fried but my brother-in-law's girlfriend late me have a taste. It's like bacon but deeper and honestly pretty darn tasty. I want to try it again.

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RED BEANS AND RICE
While I really only have had Mike's and his mother's versions of this dish I have to say I absolutely LOVE it! I want to try it in New Orleans the next time I'm there but until then I will be perfectly pleased with my husbands dish! Note: I prefer mine with brown rice, just like my hubby makes it.

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DALE'S STEAK SAUCE
Mostly used as a marinade this local liquid is considered gold to most locals. I for one think it's too salty and prefer Worchestershire Sauce instead. That being said, when Mike's dad makes steaks he uses Dale's and it is just about perfect for a salty, juicy steak craving.

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BIG BOB GIBSONS WHITE BBQ SAUCE
LOVE this stuff. Mike introduced me to this when he cooked pork tenderloin on the grill for me. It was the first meal he ever made me and I was hooked ever since. I also had never tried pork tenderloin before meeting him either. This sauce is tangy and delicious. Goes great with Chicken but he prefers to use it on pork instead.

PO' BOY SANDWICH
Again, another New Orleans favorite but Southern just the same. I absolutely love Po'Boys. Especially with Fried Shrimp, or hot roast beef with gravy. Let's just say I had some in the French Quarter that would make your knees buckle. We've been to the same place twice and it didn't disappoint either time!

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KING RED SHRIMP
You just haven't lived until you've had them. SO sweet and tasty. I hate that it's been over 7 years since I last had them! I'm still getting used to the whole "head on" thing with seafood around these parts, what is up with that? But bottom line, the gross out is worth it. SO yummy!

via • "Flo-town", Alabama Landmark
BUNYAN'S BBQ
I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to this on my list. This local BBQ joint is legendary in our area. Mike's family comes from Chicago to visit and leaves with TUBS of this stuff to take home. Better yet they eat there DAILY to get their fix. It's a local Staple! It's pulled pork topped with some amazing spicy slaw and smooshed between a XL hamburger bun. Order quick, and get to the point the ladies behind the counter don't have time for you to hem haw, the line is usually out the door. This stuff is so delicious that Mike and I actually requested this be served at our rehearsal dinner. Best pork sandwich I've ever had here in the South!

CHICKEN AND DUMPLIN'S
Yes, Dumplin's the G is not needed. Such comfort food.

via • Crawfish and a Mich Ultra, you read my mind!

CRAWFISH
I love me some crawfish. I never thought I would but I'm completely hooked. I'm still trying to get used to sucking the head... that's what she said! Again.... not sure about the faces but when in Rome, right?

GUMBO
Love it. Love it. Love it!

PIMENTO CHEESE
When I first heard about this stuff I was like WHAT, THE FREAK? But it's actually pretty tasty and has to be a Southern thing because I had NEVER heard of it.

Beverages for Front Porch Sippin'
via • this is my favorite brand
SWEET TEA VODKA
Since the South is the home of Sweet Tea it's no mystery that I would have discovered Sweet Tea Vodka here last year. I'm obsessed with it. LOVE it to pieces! Mix it with some lemonade and it's a great afternoon!

via
BUFFALO ROCK GINGER ALE
Have you ever had this Ginger Ale? It's knock your socks off spicy. I'm not kidding. The first time I had it it took my breathe away, but I loved it. It also will make you sneeze upon first sip! It's chemistry has roots in the civil war if I'm not mistaken and it's strong but so tasty. If you've never had it, be prepared it will burn until you get used to it. This is NOT your everyday Canada Dry.

via • When it hits your lips, it's so good!

SOUTHERN PECAN BEER
Love, love, love this brew from Lazy Magnolia brewers. Mike and I usually try to snag it for Thanksgiving dinner. It doesn't really taste like Pecans but it does that have a bit of a maple flavor to it. It goes great with football, pulled pork and crisp fall days. Sold yet? P.S. You Southern ladies say "Pe-CAUN" I say "Pee-CAN", Pe-CAUN is totally a Southern thing.

JUMPIN' MONKEY
Nothing good comes from this, I will warn you. I assume this is a high school or college party drink, involving Mt. Dew, kool-aid and Everclear it will go down smooth and knock you on your butt. But it's delicious. Perfect recipe for disaster. You will forget your name and you've been warned. I've had it once and never again.

MUSCADINE WINE
I've only ever had this homemade. A friend makes wine and beer and while the first batch we ever had was delicious it made us huge wine-o's that night. Again, exercise caution.

WHISKEY
My husband is a whiskey drinker in the fall. He's recently become a Gin and Tonic guy, and I really love that combo too. But I can shoot whiskey and I'm proud of that. Maybe not a lot, but I can do a shot or two. #takethatcarrieunderwood

So there you have it, my extensive list of items I didn't try until I became a Southern Belle In-Training! My husband and I have had a pretty fair trade off. He makes me eat seafood with the face still on it, and I do as well when we dive into All you can Eat Crabs when we're home in Maryland. Fair is fair. See you tomorrow when the topic will be one of my favorites Fashion and Game Day attire!

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WOOTD: Rest Day - Take June for 20 minute+ walk
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July 16, 2012

Celebrating Southern: Hair and Make-up

Link up with Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition

This week we're Celebrating Southern! Being the lovely Southern Belle that she is Miss Leslie over at A Blonde Ambition has started a fun, week long writing project all about life living in the South. She made it clear that we didn't have to be from the South or even living in the South to participate. I was truly excited when she announced this link up last Thursday because while I can't say I'm a Southern girl, I'm certainly living in the thick of Southern Belle country and thought it might be fun to give a Northern girls point of view. Feel free to link up with Leslie each day this week!

A Little History

Before I start this process I want to go on record as to saying, I am a Maryland girl born and raised. And while many will tell you I'm either A) a Yankee or B) That Maryland is below the Mason Dixon line, either way you slice that I'm OK with it. Being called a Yankee is not an insult to me in the least and I've been called that many times when I first moved here to Alabama. Since then I've been dubbed a "Southern Yankee" by my Brother-in-law. I've been living in the South for almost 8 years now and I will say for the most part I feel I fit in quite well, that's not to say it wasn't an adjustment. Most of the rumors you hear are true, lots of others aren't.  Southerners are friendly, truth. Southerners are very protective of their kin, truth. Southerners make the best sweet tea on earth, truth. Southerners are polite, truth. Football is a way of life and a second religion, truth. Southerners are all married to their cousins, false. If you hear banjos you should probably run for your life, semi-true. Ok that last one was a joke! In all seriousness, just like any other part of the country there is an exception to every rule. Not all Southern men and woman talk with a thick accent (my husband disappointed many of my friends when they heard him talk for the first time and he didn't have an accent). Not all Southerners are polite, but if you could compare the slower pace and friendly ways here to say somewhere up North, I bet you'd agree people are much more friendly here. For me it wasn't a huge struggle to get used to this way of living. Lots of people smile, and say hello. They ask you how you are, and truly mean it. Most Southern folks don't go through their days in a rush - they take their time. Maybe in the bigger cities the hustle and bustle is quicker but the small town I live in currently doesn't reflect big city living in the least.

As a Northern girl, I truly love living in a land of Southern Hospitality. And being exposed to the Southern way of life is a nice change. I miss home, a lot but oddly enough being here in the South suits me too. Reese Witherspoon's character wasn't lying in Sweet Home Alabama when she said she felt right at home in both locations. It's true. I could be just as happy here in the South as I could back home in the East, so long as I have my husband, my family and know who my true friends are I'm 100% happy. P.S. She also wasn't lying when she said you need a passport to come down here, truth.

As a not-so-girlie girl myself, being in the South has helped me get in touch with my inner Southern Belle. One thing you must know is not all Southern ladies are Scarlett O'Hara, although they'd wish they were. And not all Southern Belles are Dolly Parton, although it wouldn't be a bad person to be compared to, would it ladies? Ok, ok, truth be told they'd rather you tell them they were kin to Carrie Underwood these days, am I right? If there is one Southern lady that has it going on, it's Carrie Underwood. The hair, the clothing, the body, and I'm sure most would say the Prince Charming-esque professional hockey playing husband is a bit of a dream thing for most Southern girls. {The profession is inter changeable, I don't know many girls here in the South that gives a rats tail about hockey!} But I digress - the topic today is Hair and Make-up trends so while I won't call myself a forerunner for this type of stuff I will comment on the trends or ways I handled living here in the land of Southern darlings!

Let's start with today's topic of discussion, shall we?

Hair and Make-up Trends

HAIR:
Long, layered and lovely. That's how most Southern belle's rock it. I still haven't figure out how they look so perfect, poised and not drenched in sweat, but they do. Since I've cut my hair shorter I wear it down more often and end up looking like a sweaty mess. I have vowed to grow my hair out again. If it's on your neck, it's going to look a sight here in the South. Either you have it super short, above your shoulders or it's long, flowing and in a cute pony. OR you stay in the AC all day long!

BATTLE OF THE FRIZZ
I've always had issues with frizzy hair. I thought I knew humidity when I lived in Maryland, and don't get me wrong it DOES get humid there but darlin' you haven't known humidity until you've lived a summer in Alabama or any of the surrounding Southern states. Someone once said to my husband, "Breathing the air in the South is like trying to breathe in mayo." They were SO spot on with that. Gross, yes, but it's the truth. The air here in the summer is thick, extremely thick. Oddly enough, so is my hair. Thick, a bit course and very wavy. In my youth I had straight hair, but after years of perms in school I really think my hair decided to stick with the waves and bid my silky locks a general peace out when I was in high school. Since those days of bad perms I have been fighting the frizz and waves in a never ending battle for straight, pretty hair.

via google
My first defense with this issue is smoothing shampoo, followed by frizz ease products and finished off with a flat iron, and more frizz ease products. I seriously swear by John Frieda products. I start with my LO'réal EverSleek or EverPure sulfate free shampoo. It isn't a huge NEED but I love the way it smells and keeps my hair feeling soft, clean and manageable. Then I follow up with my arsenal of Frizz Ease styling products. Truth be told I probably don't need all of these in my hair but it's a tried and true method I've been using to keep my hair nice for days on end. I try not to wash my hair every day. I will often try to go 3 days or more if possible to keep my hair healthy. I'm no spring chicken and neither is my hair the less I dry it out the better. Add to that not having a super greasy scalp and I will say, I'm blessed.

My Anti-Frizz fighters are as follows: ALL FRIZZ EASE - 3 Day Straight Spray {thank you Misty for the tip}, Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme, Hair Serum, and Flawless Finishing Creme. Lastly I do use the Heat Protecting spray for my flat iron as well. (See John Frieda link above for details about each one).

Yes, I use all that in my hair, but not a huge amount of them. I use a dime size of each thing and work it through my hair. Blow it out straight, in sections, then iron out any kinks and then live in it for a few days. Yes, I still have to fat iron out kinks each day, and yes I wear my hair in a top knot while I shower and iron it again but in the long run it works for me. I still battle frizz and kinks but I found that it's not as bad as it used to be. If John had his products when I was in HS my life would have been much easier.

FRIZZ FRIEND: WAVES
Some days I just don't have the time to blow out my hair. It takes me a half hour most days to get this hair in check. Now you see why I don't like to blow it out all the time. If I'm in a time crunch, or just don't want to fight my natural texture, I will wash my hair the night before and add in some frizz fighting product and a bit of mousse, sleep on it and handle the rats nest in the morning. I will then curl my hair using my curling or flattening iron to make soft waves. Thankfully this style will last me a day or two as well. I usually think it looks better on the 2nd day. My Southern dolls I have not perfected the poof, or teasing my hair for volume - I may need you all to come hold my hand.

SPEAKING OF VOLUME
I know a huge trend here in the South is big hair. Thankfully big hair is pretty now - some of the old big hair, ala the 80's [metal AND country] was just plain scary. I totally rocked the huge 80's bangs if you're wondering and mine were fabulous thanks to all those evil perms! Trends here in the south for big hair now are less beehive and more, poof. And not Snookie poof, heavens no! Poofs are reserved now for volume in your crown, your ponytails and your updos. I've heard it quoted "The higher the hair, the closer to God." Am I right Southern ladies? Truth be told I'd like to think this look is "natural" but I know damn well that Carrie's stylist teased her hair to the heavens to get that volume. Note to self: Perfect the tease! Can we all take a moment to gaze at Carrie's perfect locks. I want to hate her, but I can't.

via google • she makes it look so effortless!

Let's talk Make-up!

EYES
Most Belles will tell you that you are not to leave the house without your face on. At the very least you should be rocking mascara. Well ladies I'm here to say I break this cardinal rule all the time. Not for lack of my Northern mother trying. My mom never went out without her make-up on. I can recall going to the grocery store, being told we were going and about 45 minutes later we left. She insisted she put on all her make-up. I didn't get it - I do now. Trust me if I didn't have bags under my eyes, I wouldn't mess with as much make-up as I do now. I NEVER wore make-up until I was 19. I started wearing it in college. My inspiration? Rose from Titanic. I wanted her eyeliner so bad and thus started wearing it and mascara, regularly. I say that I break the rules now all the time because once a week I vow to not wear make-up and give my face a chance to rest/breathe. That day is usually Sunday. Most of the time it's spent relaxing at the house, with the off chance I have to hit up the store, I still will go sans make-up. I should care more, but I figure all the women here judging me will say "Oh, bless her heart... she just don't know." Then they will see the Jeep tag that reads MARYLAND and give me a free ticket. I think it's good to let me my face breathe from time to time, so wrong I know but it feels so right to me. NORTHERN FREE PASS!

MASCARA
I've found that water proof IS vital. I don't wear it all the time but for outdoor events, hot days and kayaking it's a given. Yep, you read that right, Mrs. Odd Pants over here will wear mascara when she goes kayaking (as well as light make-up) but not to the store. I'm flawed, clearly. I don't ever recall my mascara truly running from crying lightly at weddings but why chance it right? Kayaking I sweat a lot, and it runs into my eyes sometimes, having waterproof isn't just a beauty thing but a safety thing! Safety first!

BB CREAM
It's a fairly new trend and I'm completely on the band wagon. It's lighter to me than most liquid foundations and/or tinted moisturizers. It goes on well, gives me ample coverage and I only have to grave a few bad spots with cover-up. It also helps with my dark circles. This product also let's my freckles shine through - I don't like covering them up. Since it helps me I then only have to use a light powder and bronzer to feel 100% covered. Again, I'm new to all this make-up stuff. Well I guess as new as a 30 something can be, but I like to look natural, not overly made up unless I'm going out for the night so this helps me. Having a less thick face covering also keeps me cool and makes me less concerned when I have to blot my forehead/face/cheeks from sweat.

SERIOUSLY HOW DO YOU LADIES STAY SO COOL AND PUT TOGETHER?

LIP GLOSS
I don't know if it's a trend but I'm obsessed with lip gloss. If I had one product I would swear you couldn't take away, it would be my lip color. There you have it... this Northern gal likes her lip smackers, and gloss, and stick - I love it all! I think it's the quickest way + mascara to look dressed up and put together in a pinch and it also can cover you in the blush department if you're in a jam.

So there you have it, my not so Southern ways of trying to fit in with the sea of Southern beauties that have it all figured out! See you tomorrow when we discuss more Southern Topics!

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Today I am back on the wagon. The workout wagon. I am going to be starting Chalean Extreme for the second time. I had a lot of luck with it before and it fit my lifestyle a lot better having 2 days of rest vs. just one. I want to make this a goal to change my way of thinking about fitness, weight loss and health in general. It's not a quick fix. If I treat it as one I will gain all my weight I've lost back again, for the third time. No more! Check back for updates! I will be listing my Workout of the Day [WOOTD] at the bottom of each daily post. Operation Fit Into My Snowboard Pants has started!

WOOTD: Burn Circuit I: Chalean Extreme

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