Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days of Fear{less}: Introduction

"To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” ― Taylor Swift

I've been contemplating for months now what I should do my "31 Days" series on this year. I really enjoyed last years' series 31 Days of Change, and it helped me write a lot of my book. I've known that October was going to be a busy month (can we say midterms?), but I really wanted to still do the series. I had a lent series that I had come up with (40 days) for the blog that I had never gotten around to writing, so I thought about doing that one. I thought about doing a blog design/Photoshop series...but, in the end, that wasn't what I wanted to do. Then, I was on Pinterest one day (all great ideas start that way), and I came across the Taylor Swift quote from the beginning of this blog post- and I knew that that was what I wanted to do this series on!

So, basically, this series is going to be on living fear{less}-not to be confused by living fearless. We aren't going to be talking about living in a state totally and completely absent of all fear. I don't think that that's exactly the way God intended things. There are certain times when fear is necessary (the fear of God, fear as a way of keeping us safe, etc). So, we'll be talking about what living fear{less} really is, how it's okay to have fears, and how we can live in spite of our fears. I'm super excited about this journey that we'll take together over the next month and hope you'll come back each day to see the new things I have to say! :)

I'll be using this post as the base post, so I'll add a link each day to the other posts in the series. If you ever get behind, just come back to this introductory post to get caught up!

Day 2: Absence of Fear?
Day 3: Completely Unafraid?
Day 4: Strong and Courageous
Day 5: Doubt and Questioning
Day 6: Worry
Day 7: Grief and Hope

#nycgw: part 2

Friday, we got up super early (once again) to start our day out in the city. Before we left, I had looked up subway directions for us on how to get where we wanted to go. We didn't have any issues with the subway (or super sketchy people on them)- it was pretty easy. Mom was convinced that we were lost a few times, but I assured her that I had it under control. Since we didn't want to transfer trains, we did walk pretty far to different subway stations, but it was totally do-able. I'll talk more about that later. :)

One of the highlights from our trip was Friday morning's breakfast. During my research before the trip, I had come across a place called "Doughnut Plant" that had good reviews. So, I decided that we should get up that morning to make the trek to the Lower East Side to visit this wonderful place. For some reason, I was a little confused as to exactly where this place when we got off the subway in Chinatown, it was a little worrisome. But, after a small hike (and passing a baby smoking a cigarette in a stroller), we finally arrived at our destination. Let me tell you, these doughnuts were yummy. Mom had a carrot cake doughnut (pictured below) and I had a blackout one (chocolate/chocolate/chocolate/chocolate). It was pretty much like eating cake for breakfast. If you're ever in that direction, definitely check this place out. Make sure to go early though, because they do sell out of some of the good flavors (I wanted a creme brulee one, but they were out by the time we got there).

After our doughnut fest, we headed to a different subway station to catch a train to Wall Street. After an obligatory photo op at the NYSE, we headed towards the 9/11 Memorial where we had 10am tickets. The memorial was a neat experience. Since I've never been to NYC before, I really had no idea just how big the towers were. We didn't take any pictures at the Memorial, because it just seemed out of place. We also visited a church that served as a "home" for the First Responders that had all sorts of things from that day. It was really neat to see how a church was "the church" for their community in the time of crisis and basically opened their doors and was willing to do whatever to help.

After visiting the Memorial, we had planned on going to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island. But, I decided that that wasn't really where I wanted to spend my time. I saw the statue when we flew in to LaGuardia, and I wasn't really in the mood for a museum.So, we took another train to Union Square, where we ate lunch at City Bakery. I had some macaroni and cheese and a pretzel croissant  and they were yummy. Mom and I would definitely recommend this one. :) After our yummy lunch, we took a stroll through Greenwich Village to Magnolia Bakery. I had a yummy cupcake and Mom had their banana pudding. I don't know what all of the "negative" reviews were for this bakery- this was one of the best cupcakes I've ever had. So, obviously, we'd recommend this one also. 

After Magnolia Bakery, we decided to start heading back to our hotel. According to our Transit Authority instructions, the subway stop we wanted to get on was "right there". But, somehow we ended up walking for about a half an hour. We finally found a shop with a map (which we purchased), figured out where we were, and got to the subway station. All in all, it was a nice little walk through Greenwich Village though. :)

We got back to the hotel and rested for a few minuted before we headed out to our dinner reservation. There's a lot of naked people in Times Square. There was the Naked Cowboy, the copy-cat Naked Cowboy, the Black Naked Cowboy, and a (Pretty much) Naked Lady. I'm not too cool with that, as you can clearly see. We ate at an Asian Fusion restaurant called Ruby Foo's for dinner. It had really good reviews (and was near the Gershwin Theater), but we just didn't like it. It was kind of like P.F. Chang's (which we really like), but it just didn't taste that good. Plus, Mom's sushi had old/stinky that was a thumbs down. We probably wouldn't recommend this one, especially since there are so many other good places nearby.

Finally 8pm came and we went to see Wicked! It was amazing. Seriously, I love this play. Can I just be Glinda when I grow up? We had 5th row seats for this show. I'm not going to say anything about this play, except to tell you that if you're ever in New York City, you must see it!

Yay, Day 2 down! One more to go!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

#nycgw: part 1

Yes, we did have an official hashtag for our NYC girls' weekend. We're just that cool.

Since it's been almost a week (craziness!) I thought that I should blog about our trip before I forget. Things like that happen frequently, you know. Even though it was just a few days, we took quite a few pictures (mostly Instagram), so I thought I'd split our trip up into a few (probably three?) posts so that it's not a super long post. :)

Last Thursday, my mom and I headed out super early in the morning to drive to Atlanta to catch our flight to New York City. Even though the airport is about 2 and a half hours from home (plus the whole time zone thing that "adds" an hour), it's easiest to drive there and not fly out from Montgomery. Plus, it's cheaper! So, we got up early so that we could get to the airport early for security and all. We didn't run into that much traffic, made a quick Chick-fil-a stop, and after a little driving around at the airport, we found where to park! Once we got all checked in, we went through security, where we had some really nice TSA agents! I feel like most of the time I just complain about how rude they are, but the TSA agents in Atlanta were really nice- probably because it was a Thursday morning and they weren't that busy. After a little waiting, we were able to board our plane and fly to NYC! We had really good weather (and left a little early), so we arrived in NYC earlier than expected.

We got in a really scary taxi cab and got to our hotel. Seriously guys, never take a cab. Our driver was talking on the phone, didn't know how to get to our hotel (which was basically in Times Square), and wasn't a really great driver. I liked the subway we took so much better. But, we finally got to our hotel (we survived) and got all checked into our room. We did have a "seriously?" moment when the hotel desk person told us our room number. Yes, we were in room nine-eleven. Seriously.

We stayed at Hotel Mela right near Times Square. I expected it to be a little further from Times Square (because it wasn't super expensive), but it was actually in a great location. It's on 44th Street, so we walked a little bit (like a minute-literally) down the street and were in the middle of everything. We were able to walk to the theaters, restaurants, shops, and street vendors very easily. Yet, since it wasn't in the Square itself, it was a lot quieter than we expected. I didn't have any issues with noise and sleeping at night- and I'm from the country where we have crickets. :) It was a smallish-room, but since it was just my Mom and I, we were fine. For the prime location and cleanliness (no bed bug worries here!) and the price (not the cheapest, but cheaper than most Times Square hotels- but it wasn't sketchy at all!)-I'd definitely recommend it to others visiting the city!

Then, we went exploring in Times Square. There are so many people there! It was crazy. Since I still wasn't feeling well and we were pretty tired, some of our plans changed. We didn't go to Mood Fabrics or the New York Public Library. We walked by the Toys R Us, but we didn't do the carousel. We did go into the Forever 21, but it wasn't anything that special. It was more overwhelming than anything. Around 4, we went by the TKTS booth, and since there wasn't too long of a line, we decided to see what we could get. At first we were thinking about Mary Poppins or Jersey Boys, but after talking to some other people in line, we decided to see Phantom of the Opera. We waited in line for maybe 30 minutes, and we were able to get seats in the front row of the front mezzanine. With that bit of excitement out of the way, we headed to find some dinner for the night. We found a cute little place across the street from our hotel called Cafe Un Deux Trois, where I ordered a yummy quiche. Then, we went back to our hotel to get ready for Phantom! As you can kind-of see from the picture below

Phantom was AMAZING (seriously, how can I compare theater in Alabama to Broadway??). Mom and I were both still super tired, so it was a little hard to stay awake (because it's such a dark show), but it was really, really good. It was an amazing show- phenomenal. If you're interested in more "classical" theater/Broadway, I'd definitely go and see this next time you're in NYC!

Okay, that's all for tonight. I'll work on what we did Friday and post that soon! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What TO Wear...

Promise I'm going to get to blogging that New York trip from last weekend soon. It was so much fun, but I still have some pictures to download from my mom's camera!

As I'm getting closer to graduation, I'm also getting closer to the "big girl job". While I haven't found "that special place" yet, I have sent out my resume, and I just got a coffee shop "meet you/get to know you/not really an interview officially". While I'm fully aware of what to wear to "big girl interviews", I'm kind of at a loss of exactly what to wear to this thing. I know that I want to look semi-professional, but I also don't want to be overdressed. I want to be cute and memorable, but I want to look my age (Mom said skorts were off-limits. Sad day). So, I thought, where better to go for advice than my blog? Here's a few outfits I've pulled together so far. Do any look like they might work?

The first two outfits do have jean-jeans (as opposed to green jeans, which we'll get to later). I currently don't own a pair of dress pants that fit right. They're all either too big or too small. So, I'm trying to find something dressy enough...without having to wear a skirt or dress. These jeans are a dressier jean, though. They're wide-legged pants from Anthropologie that I got off the sale rack a while back and haven't had a chance to wear yet. But, I really like them. I feel like option A is super cute, but Option B might be too casual. 
Annie inspired the next look. After I saw her mint jeans, it got me thinking about how I really liked them. My Old Navy didn't have any mint jeans, but they did have these green cords on sale (which I knew thanks to Nicole's post! That's why I love the blog world and blog friends!)
I also have a new red scarf that I got in NYC last weekend. Since I think that navy and green go good together, I thought a pop of red might be nice. Too much whimsy? I still want to look semi-professional, but I want to show a bit of personality.
So, from all of this, we can conclude that I really really like my new green pants (I never thought I'd say THAT!). When I wear my red scarf, I feel kind of like Mr. Tumnus from Chronicles of Narnia. :)

So. What TO wear? :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Start Spreading the News, I'm Leaving Today..."

Lists made- Check.
Tickets purchased- Check.
Directions found- Check.
Bags packed- Check.
We're headed out bright and early this morning to catch our flight to the "big city". I'm so excited about this special time with my Mom and all of the fun times we'll have! Thanks to your advice, I've figured out the last minute problems and we're good to go! I'm logging out of the blogging world for a bit (but might still tweet a little), but I'll be back Monday with lots of fun adventures! Yay!

P.S. Do girls wear Norts and Chacos in the city? What about skorts?

Title Inspiration: Theme from New York, New York. Thank you Mr. Sinatra.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Night Football

Tonight was Desmond's third football game of the season (counting the "Jamboree"...but we totally do!). Since it was the first home game, I thought I might bring along my camera to get some pictures. This whole "six o'clock game time" really didn't help my photography skills and I had to play around with my camera settings to get the pictures to turn out, but some turned out halfway decent, and that made me happy!
Since this is Desmond's first year in this age bracket, he isn't seeing too much playing time. But, he did get to run the ball once tonight and he did pretty good on defense (even though he's a skinny boy!) and make some tackles. I'm one proud big sister to call #22 my baby brother. :)
When the score was 20-0 at the end of the first quarter, the game became a little less fun. I mean, we were winning- but it just wasn't fun. It's a little more exciting when there's actually a game being played, if you know what I mean. 
We played a little more, and we hit the "thirty mark". When one team is thirty ahead in this league, they keep the clock running. All in all, at the end of the game, we won 43-0. So far, in all three games, we haven't had a team score on us. We played what will probably be the "toughest" team last week and won- so at least one of my teams might have a good season (and I'm not referring to my alma mater or Auburn...).  Go Indians! :) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NYC Plans: Day 3

So, I feel like I'm over planning, but at the same time, I feel like I really don't know what we're doing. :)

Oh well. Our last day in NYC is super jam packed (I feel like) with things to do. Right now, I have more of a list of things than a particular order of when to do them.

I know that the first thing we are going to do is go to Ellis Island. It's been a place I've always wanted to visit, and I think it will be a great educational experience.

I think we might also hop into Magnolia Bakery and eat a cupcake. But I have a question for those of you that have actually been to the city before- is it worth it? I hear that they have really long lines, and some cupcake people say that the cake isn't actually that good. I don't want to go to Magnolia just for the sake of going there- I want a really amazing cupcake. I've never seen Sex in the City, so the whole "they filmed there" thing doesn't mean anything to me.

I also want to go to the 9/11 Memorial. I think. I mean, there's a part of me that really wants to go (the history nerd), but there's a little part of me that's kind of freaked out by it all. I mean, I have to get on a plane and fly home the next day. I'm an emotional person. I don't need a freak out moment. But, it looks like a really neat memorial, and I'd kind of like to see it.

There's also a place called City Bakery that apparently has really yummy pretzel croissants. So, I definitely want to run by there.
So..people. I need ideas here. Enough/not enough? Did I leave some important place out? I need your help to plan my trip!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NYC Plans: Day 2

Next Friday will be our first "full" day in the city! I have lots planned- hopefully not too much!

Breakfast at Doughnut Plant- I've heard so many good things about this place, and I love doughnuts. So, duh...we have to go here.

Then, we are going to head to Fao Schwartz. I love toys (I'm a kid at heart, remember) and I want to  play on the big Piano. It just looks neat. :)

Then, I thought that we might spend some time at Central Park.  Mostly so I can skip around singing like in one of my favorite movies. 

We're also thinking of doing the boat thing. Cliche, yes. But, I think it'd make for some pretty pictures. 

And I want to go to Sprinkles cupcakes.I really hope that a cupcake atm opens up in NYC in the next 8 days, but I'm not holding my breath. 

Then, Friday night, Mom and I are going to see Wicked @ 8pm!! I'm super excited about this (it's the reason I wanted to go to nyc!). I love musicals- especially this one! 

There's a few more things that we might throw in here or there (Superhero Supply Company, anyone?), but that's what's one the schedule for Friday! I'm getting so so so very excited! :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NYC Plans: Day 1

Our flight is due to land in New York City around mid afternoon.Mom and I still aren't quite sure how we are going to get from LaGuardia to our hotel (that I'm not sharing because I don't want to encourage my crazy stalkers...haha). Those of you who flew into the city- how did you get to your hotel? We are staying near Times Square/Broadway. I found an airport shuttle that goes to Grand Central Station, but that's the closest I can find. I know that traffic is crazy, so NY taxi drivers kind of scare me. :)

Since we are arriving that afternoon, we just have a few things planned for Thursday. We are going to check into our hotel, then head out to do a little exploring. Since I love the idea of sewing and fabric makes me smile, we are going to make a stop at Mood Fabrics. It's the fabric store that they use on Project Runway, so it sounds super neat. 

From there, we have a couple options. I'm not much for crowds, but the TKTS booth with discount Broadway tickets holds some appeal to me. I read somewhere online that if you go around 5pm, they have last minute tickets that the theaters send over and the lines aren't as long. Since we ARE definitely seeing a show on Friday, I'm thinking about winging it Thursday. If we find a good deal, great. If we don't, no big deal.

If we don't go see a show, we're going to try and experience some of the craziness known as Times Square. I hear rumors of a 4 story Forever 21 and a Ferris Wheel in the Toys R Us. Since we know that I love Forever 21 and I'm a kid at heart, that sounds really fun.

The one thing that we don't have planned yet for Thursday is where to eat dinner. I'm not a big Pizza eater, and I don't want to eat at chain restaurants that we have here in Alabama. I like the idea of food trucks- but I don't want to go hungry because I can't find one selling food I like. So, if you have any ideas of where to eat (or things to do!) near this area, let me know! :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

TEN days!

TEN DAYS (Oh, please hurry up!) until Mom and I leave for a long weekend in New York City! I've realized that I don't think I've blogged about our little excursion. I know that *some people* like to keep these things secret- but I just can't hold in the secret anymore! It's just too exciting! I thought that for the next few days I'd share what we have planned and get any advice that any of you "experienced" NYC trip people have! Mom and I are going for a casual weekend- one where we aren't spending all day (or hardly any time) in our hotel, but we don't want to be all rush-rush and miss out on the fun part of the experience. We're flying into the city on Thursday and flying home on Sunday, so we have plenty of time to do the "must-do"s on our list.

Small note: We're too cheap for most shopping and we're just bringing carry on sized bags, so you don't have to suggest shopping places to us. We're just not into the whole drooling over $10 million shoe business. I'd worry that I'd trip and fall and break a shoe or something and be in debt the rest of my life. Trust me- I'm that clumsy.

I'm also horribly afraid of heights (like, I get nauseous in church balconies half the time), so I'm not into the whole "let's climb a skyscraper" thing. I can see just how tall it is fine from down here, thank you very much.

And- I hate art museums. Totally not into the whole MOMA/Met thing. Unless they have the Mona Lisa. That'd be pretty cool. But, I think that's in France if I remember correctly.

I love history. We're thinking about going out to Ellis Island (always been on the bucket list) and we might stop by Ground Zero (but the whole "flying there/flying back/ I'm super emotional" makes me freak out about that one).

I also love thrift stores. I'd be willing to check a bag if you knew of a good thrift store- that was cheap of course.

I'm not a fan of fish. Especially stinky fish. Or counterfeit handbags. Or super sketchy places. So, no Chinatown for this girl. :)

After all of that...if you have any suggestions, please let me know! Tomorrow I'll be blogging about our plans for Thursday, Wednesday I'll blog about our Friday plans, and Thursday I'll blog our Saturday plans!

We so excited. Yay. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

birthday catch up

There's this little man in my life that had a birthday last Tuesday.
Somehow in the madness, I forgot to blog the pictures from his birthday party- his first "party" in a few years. The lucky boy has a birthday that just so happens to fall around Labor Day every year, which makes getting his friends together quite difficult. Plus, it's football season. If you should know anything about Alabama, you should know that we love football. But, last week, his team had an off Saturday. And some of his friends were in town. So, we went to a local bowling alley and let the boys have a little fun.
 Life with boys mean things get a little crazy and they like to think that they're superstars when they walk in the building. But, this little (or not so little- sad day!) boy loves his mommy- and his friends.
Sissy and Max needed to get in the pictures, too. Have to make sure that it's on the record that I was around the kid on his birthday this year.
 After bowling, we had some yummy cupcakes. Des was a little bummed out that the fan kept making his candles go out- right before he'd get to blow them. But, they were still yummy.
 All in all the kid is growing up. I can't believe that my baby brother is ELEVEN! That's two years from being a TEENAGER! Crazy! Before I know it (um, OCTOBER) my bigger little brother will be turning FIFTEEN- that means he can drive. Stay of the road guys, stay off the road. Dangerous days ahead. :)