Lauren’s Tennessee Wine Project: 1/51 Blue Slip Winery-Knoxville, TN.

 

After a long hiatus from my blogging to go to graduate school and get settled in my big girl job, I am finally back with a new project. While I fully intend to start back Project International Dish, I have added another fun project. For ‘Lauren’s Tennessee Wine Project’ I will visit all 51 wineries in Tennessee, and rate the wines that I drink. For those of you who do not know my preferences, I love dry red wines; however Tennessee is best known for their shockingly sweet wines. Even though I have a preference I still love sampling what is out there, and taking the time to meet other wino’s and see the beauty of this state.

tnwine

My first stop, is number 36 on the map, Blue Slip Winery located in Knoxville, TN

http://blueslip.com/

Wines Tasted with review

Touriga: This had a nice flavor. This wine is one of their dry’s, however I tasted a semi-sweet bright wine.

Chambourcin: This lovely hybrid grape is usually one of my favorites; however the processing either on purpose or not, gave this wine a sour taste that bordered a tad close to vinegar. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of this wine, I still bought a bottle so Marc could try it.

Cynthiana: Another grape that I am very happy to see in Tennessee. Again the residual sugar in this wine was a little too high for my taste. Out of all the wines that I tasted at Blue Slip this one was the best.

Whump Ass: A wine that was not on the menu, but was tasty all the same. This fun named blend would be the perfect wine to drink with my girlfriends who all love sweet wines.

Old City Red: For the sake of comparison, I also tasted this wine which fell into the semi-dry section of their menu. The sweet tartness of this wine made my cheeks tense up from the smell alone. This wine was so sweet that I made the joke that it should be breakfast wine, as it was very reminiscent of a cool glass of Welch’s concord grape juice.

 

All in all, this winery was about what I expected. It lacked the things that I most love which are expansive outdoor space overlooking the vineyard and charm. It had a fair amount of charm, but is not a place that I will likely ever go to again.

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33 by 33

Hi, my name is Lauren. I am the short one on the end holding the pink flamingo. Today is the day after my 32 birthday and the day after a delightful evening with some awesome folks. In the picture with me are two of the greatest ape descendants (Devin and Christi) I have ever met, and I am lucky to be in this science experiment with them. One of the biggest issues that has plagued me for sometime is, my weight. Note that all three of us weigh exactly the same…unfortunately I am a few inches shorter…which makes me a few inches wider. That’s not all-while I am a very accomplished and determined person on my own, these two women are a constant source of inspiration. They both have interesting hobbies and amazing traits that make them such a joy to be around. Now we all know how much I love to make lists and set change in motion…So I got to thinking about what changes (and challenges ) I could force upon myself so that 33 will be a far superior birthday.

I have decided to come up with 33 things to do before I turn 33. Devin has proclaimed that 3 is the magic number…so 33 is going to be awesome right? Here is my list!

  1. Lose 33 pounds. (seems fitting to choose that number)
  2. Sing Karaoke with my girlfriends (Christi will love this)
  3. Do a zip line.
  4. Do a full moon hike.
  5. Go to Sips n Strokes with my friends
  6. Do the pedal tavern tour of Nashville
  7. Run a 5k
  8. Take a cooking class (Possibly hire the Viking chef and do it at Devin’s)
  9. Do the entire 10 mile loop at Stone Door
  10. Try a new food that is scary
  11. Dress up for Halloween (and be something really creative)
  12. Begin learning sign language
  13. Fix April’s hair for her wedding and help her in any way possible.
  14. Network. Go to at least one DIDDs event to get my name out in the community.
  15. Go to church with April and Kristie a few times
  16. Do an obstacle course with friends
  17. See an opera
  18. See a musical
  19. See a ballet
  20. Make a new friend (or become good friends with an acquaintance)
  21. Get at least a B in both classes I am taking this fall
  22. Take better care of myself!! No more falling asleep with make-up on. 🙂
  23. Take a pole dancing class
  24. Take a hot air balloon ride with loved ones (friends or the hubs)
  25. Visit Dinosaur World
  26. Visit a psychic
  27. Go horseback riding
  28. Dress up as someone completely different and go out downtown. (wigs and accents included)
  29. Take an evening stroll on the beach
  30. Buy a weird (new to me) vegetable or fruit and find a recipe to use it in.
  31. Surprise a friend with something sweet and unexpected.
  32. Learn to relax and let go
  33. Remind myself often that I do have value and I am loved.

So let’s get this year going in the right direction! Lets have fun!!!

Goodbye 2011….and HELLO 2012!

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.  ~Bill Vaughan  

I believe that this year I did a little of both…

The winds of change have been blowing outside my house for two days now…or at least that’s what I have been calling them.  With the holidays coming to a close yesterday, I hope and pray that this year will be far superior to the year that has just come to pass. Not to totally crap on my memories, but 2011 was certainly lacking in stellar moments. For me it was a building year…one of those clusters of time that serve to escalate you in mind and spirit.

This year I have had quite a few internal struggles, packed on about 20 pounds, increased my stress level and threw countless amounts of temper tantrums. Looking back as I write this I struggle to find any moments that stand out as truly exceptional…while I did some cool stuff like go to see Wicked, join book club, made a few new friends, and got Christi to the gym with me-I think that the stress of my everyday life gave even these events a sort of lackluster quality. So no more-2012 is going to be different…at least I am going to try really hard to make it so-despite having my 2012 horoscope tell me that it would be best for this Cancer to climb into her shell for the whole of the year…and possibly through the Zombie Apocalypse slated for December. But I choose to be present and to attempt everyday to make this new year better than the last.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey  

PREACH ON SISTER!! Now moving on….

My Grandmother always said you can’t do laundry on New Years Day (oops) because it brings bad luck. Well I am pretty sure that not having any clean panties seems like pretty bad luck…which is why I dared to wash a load of clothes yesterday. I did however decide to stack the deck in favor of luck, prosperity and financial gain-that is if eating these soul food dishes does actually work. And let’s hope they do because I ate a TON of greens and although I love them…I better get more than a cleaned out intestinal tract! The old adage states “”Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold… Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year!”  And let me take this moment to say that this meal was not cheap…but I digress. Being a Southern gal I am no stranger to this menu, but since leaving my childhood home to go off and become an adult, it is one such tradition that I let fall by the wayside. Until this year! I decided that to welcome 2012 I would make for my husband (who surprisingly had no idea this tradition existed or had even heard of some of the dishes) plus two of our closest friends the Good Luck New Years Day Meal.

The menu consisted of Pork (ham) which symbolizes Progress as well as Wealth and Prosperity. Mustard Greens (because they are my favorite greens) which symbolize good fortune…ie: MONEY! Black Eyed Peas which symbolize Health, Wealth and  Prosperity. I served these in the form of Hoppin’ John’s which combines tomatoes, jalapeno’s, and onions to make a yummy dish. I added biscuits because they are yummy…along with some really classy napkins so that we could bring in the year with style and laughter. Oh and I just learned that in China citrus is also a Lucky New Years Day food which provides wealth and luck….so I guess those Mimosa’s fit in after all. 🙂

At the beginning of 2010 I made myself a sort of yearly bucket list instead of resolutions-and while that worked well for 2010 I failed miserably with this same plan in 2011. Since I know that New Years Resolutions only seem to last to January 8 if I am lucky…I chose to make only one.

I Resolve and Vow to move forward into 2012 and do what makes me happy, keeps me healthy, and to LET GO of idea that I am responsible for other peoples happiness. So this can be seen more as a promise to be true to myself. 🙂 I think that the below picture could be my inspiration:

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.  ~Ellen Goodman

So let’s find what makes us who we are and embrace the good things that make us unique- and vow to expand on those. I wish each of you a Blessed, Happy and Prosperous New Year!


Things to be Thankful For!

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner I decided that I would throw up a few things that I am thankful for. I find that on a day to day basis I am not grateful for the big things in my life…so I decided to write down everything that I have in my life big, small, and completely inconsequential that make me happy.

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Audio:  I am addicted to Audible.com where I am constantly purchasing audio books for my commute. Podcasts! Some of my favorites include: Yale’s Autism Seminar,  Stuff You Should Know (love Josh and Chuck), Stuff Mom never told you, MUSC, Stanford, and UC Davis Podcasts on Obesity and Autism,  and the AMA’s Obesity Summit-plus I am sure I could find hundreds more. I love the ability to channel my inner nerd and feed my brain instead of listening to the same 6 songs that the radio plays on a loop!

My gym membership! Having a the opportunity to squeeze some work out (and friend time) into my busy life. My yoga class! First of all my Yoga teacher is awesome and our class is full of wonderfully sweet and caring people. No matter how much I may want to skip class-I have always left that space better than when I walked in.

The idiots of the world. Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Kanye West! I like knowing that there are people in the world that are crazier than I am. 🙂

The Women who have made a difference…Women like Victoria Woodhull, Annie Sullivan, Emmeline Pankhurst, Madam Curie, Coco Chanel, Katharine Hepburn, Oprah and so many other amazing women that have changed the history of our world and giving me some amazing role models to look up to.

TOYS:  Petsmart for carrying replacement Mr. Quackers. As the Mom’s out there know there is always the one special toy. Beau-dog loves stuffed ducks, and Sadie likes to destroy them. Thankfully I can replace them so that Beau-dog doesn’t do without. Marc’s toy helicopter. This stupid little RC helicopter has brought me countless laughs. Remember in King Kong where he is on the building and the planes are flying around? Well…Beau-dog + RC helicopter = WAY FUNNY! (it has been awhile since this has occurred in our home-but funny just the same)

My big pink (and now my big green)  pashmina scarf . I love that it is a functional item that can go from scarf to blanket, and that it is still in style. I wish more clothing items I owned were like this. Black leggings which make it possible for me to finally dress girlie.

Social Media-Facebook: it is a way to keep up with and reconnect with old friends and new ones.

TV and Movies online. Hulu-For allowing someone who doesn’t have cable-to keep up with the current shows. 🙂 Plus I can watch them on my time! Netflix for keeping me in a constant supply of documentaries that a video store would never carry as well as old TV shows from my childhood.

Favorite Restaurants:  The Mexican place at the end of the street. It is always great to have good food and good margaritas served by people who are a family and treat you like you are one of their own.  The Daily Dish! There is nothing like dropping $45 for brunch…when it is with your best friends and the food is amazing. Arnolds: I find that the food here feeds you soul the way that Grandma’s kisses did. Plus, he’s a better cook than your Grandma. Melting Pot…the cheese starter…need I say more? Any seafood restaurant on the inlet back home…I can’t wait to come home and get some oysters.

Stupid Stuff our friends like: Mr. T…Jason’s love for this iconic personality has been wonderfully infectious and I get so much laughter out out his complete adoration and appreciation.

Venues:  TPAC- I love that I have seen the Nutcracker as well as Wicked here. It is also wonderful to have a place close to home where I can see everything from Joan Rivers to Lord of the Dance with Opera and some Cats in between. 🙂  The Bridgestone Arena-for being my home away from home in the month of October-between the Preds game, The motivational seminar, and Disney on Ice I felt like I lived there.

School: Online Education! Thanks to Ashford University for being there so that I could continue to be superwoman and carry a full course load (and killer GPA) while still working full time. University of Tennessee having a satellite school in Nashville so that I can obtain my MSW locally.

Book Club-ok I may have only been to one meeting but it opened me up to a whole world of books that I would not have read otherwise.On that note I am thankful for the ladies in book club for expanding my life…and for Gregory Maguire who has introduced me to the “other side of the story” from my favorite childhood stories.

MY JOB!! I love my job! I get to play, take care of people I care about, and make a difference every time I go to work…plus I get paid for it!

But what is most important are my puppies, my friends and my family. I have been blessed to have a life full of amazing people who care about me and are kind enough to let me care about them. If you are reading this…consider yourself one of the lucky people that I am thankful for!

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and find time to create your own running gratitude list.

Stress Starvation and Sun Salutations

Dear Readers, I must apologize for such a long absence. It seems that my new position at work (far more stressful than I had imagined) coupled with summer fun, have kept me as far away from my computer as possible. It is September now and the faint breeze of fall has been slowly creeping in; it seems to be reminding me that I must acknowledge the change that is coming and I must find a way to change myself. So what did I do? Well…I did what I always do….I FREAKED out!! In the past few weeks I have reassessed my fall wardrobe (crap), my body(fat), and my diet (worse than my wardrobe). Let’s not even get into the horrible things that I have said or though about my life as a whole. I cried! I screamed! I was mean to my husband. I tried to not see my friends (thanks Christi, Jenny and Sara for the support I didn’t want but truly needed). I am so guilty so chasing life and trying to mold it into what I want it to be…or what I think other people want it to be…but for some reason I just can’t stop!

In my audio book que for this past week (I LOVE audible.com ) was a self-helper penned by my favorite “Real Housewife” Bethenny Frankel. I chose this book because I adore her-but it turned out that Mrs. Hoppy had a little something she could teach me! The phrase that she used a lot was “Noise”-you can have money noise, body-image noise, family noise….you get the picture. The noise is what gets in the way of you being positive and moving forward. It  keeps you from having gratitude. It keeps you scared, jealous and angry. I, my dear friends, have a full blown Metallica concert raging in my head all the time and I have not been able to completely make it stop.

Rewinding a little to a meltdown at the Meeker home, which turned into a super fun evening in the loving care of my friend Jenny, Marc and I learned about the value of play time with friends. Do you know how many studies have been done on the stress reducing goodness of hanging out with your friends? Well I don’t either, but it has been documented that we need “play time” as adults…even more than we did as children. So, with this in mind I tried the old two birds on stone approach (because its me and you all know how I love to multi-task) …I asked Christi if she would take yoga with me. Only two weeks in and I am hooked! I love it! Plus the gym offers other goodies like Zumba, Spinning, Step, and Kick Boxing-all of which I can’t wait to try. To me the simple act of doing something with my friend is enough, but I actually like the challenge of the class. Christi and I have met some really cool people and I am getting to try new things. Which brings me to my the big AHA!!

So here I was in the middle of my 4th or 5th Sun Salutation…my body is quivering…and I had that AHA moment! I decided I needed to Let GO!! It was one of those moments when everything seems to come together and just make sense. I needed to let go of everything that was pissing me off, and realize that what I have is my fault and what I don’t have might also be my fault to. I need to quit listening to the noise and start remembering what is good about me. Delight in the things that make me unique, and work on the things that I want to change. And finally give myself some darn credit for what I am working on….

I wanted to change my career and boost my confidence= school (I graduate soon-and I am hard at work attempting to get into grad school)

I wanted to change the world=my job and other volunteer projects I get involved in

So of course I have to go back to the things that are irritating me right now…my wardrobe (totally awesome if I can fit back into an 8/10) and my body(getting my butt to the gym-and making friends!).  With some focus, hard work, and of course time-both of these things will work out. I am thankful that under my blubber I am totally healthy (I have excellent stats), so it is just a matter of letting the pounds go. I think I can handle that…I just need to keep the noise out of my head!!

And as far as my diet is concerned…I am beginning the long awaited…much anticipated… Great Vegan Experiment!  I am rereading all of the books that I dove into with my first attempt at vegetarianism and as of today, I am on day 3 of no meat. It will take some time to adjust, but baby steps!! I can’t give up dairy just yet!! And please be kind during the detox phase where I will be very sleepy-like last night when I stayed up to the late hour of 10pm.

“Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine.”

— Hippocrates of Cos, Greece, 460-377 B.C.

Speaking of food…I am starving! Gotta go eat now…this vegetarian lifestyle makes me eat more. 🙂

 

My Glass is Half Full? Well…I Like Your Glass Better!!

I do not know why I feel this way, but I am sure that I am not alone. I believe that if I suffered from an alcohol or drug addiction that people would be more understanding or possibly more tolerant of my behavior. I personally suffer from an extreme case of ENVY. I wish that I could get to the root of where it comes from, but I just can’t find the 12 step program to get over this one.

Envy: an emotion that “occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.

Note the term PERCEIVED is highlighted!

So what the HELL is wrong with me? I do not have a hard time accepting that I have a good life. I have an amazing husband (that I don’t deserve), a beautiful home, great friends, a wonderful family (in-laws included) that love me, etc…WHY is it not enough?

I have spent the entirety of my life envious of what other people have…or at least what I perceive that they have.  However for me the problem doesn’t stop with envy…it spills over into an ability to not appreciate what I do have. Which causes my other problem which is Embarrassment.

I had a pretty wonderful childhood, but I envy families that had the money (and parents that wanted to) go on vacations. I envy the girls that got to continue in dance classes and gymnastics instead of being forced to drop something they loved to take piano lessons. This envy then morphs into embarrassment that I didn’t have these things, and then turn into negative feelings of anger when people discuss their wonderful family trips or when I see a professional ballet.

Now I believe that I suffer from Facebook Depression. Facebook has become that alternate reality where the beautiful people are still beautiful and have great jobs, spouses, and fun lives. They are going on the vacations I’d like to take, having their dream weddings, and starting their families.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42298789/ns/health-mental_health/t/docs-warn-about-teens-facebook-depression/

It is odd to think about other people this way simply because Facebook is nothing but the Highlight reel of someone’s life. None of us are going to go to great lengths to document the things we hate about our lives to share it with our virtual friends. The biggest problem for me is looking beyond the highlights because more often than not I look at Facebook pages and feel that familiar twinge of my old frin-emy ENVY.

I admire and envy my friend Jessica Rowan’s simple life with her hubby, two adorable sons, and the camper trailer just as much as I envy my friends who are single, living in NY or LA and living it up with their expensive cars, nights out on the town and amazing jobs. I envy my friend Sinead for living in Ireland (I know that she’s from Ireland, but still, How cool is that?) My friend Christi who works from home and gets to live life at her own pace. Hell, it even goes as far as my friend Cole’s ability to paint every room in her new house before she moves in while I’ve been here 3 years and it takes a freaking miracle to have Marc let me paint anything.

But what about my own life?

If this is truly a new depression(or at least mindset) then it would not be absurd for me to assume that at least one of the 400+ people that I am friends with on Facebook actually look at my page with envy because of what I have and/or what I am doing in my own life. Thinking about it this way…well it seems silly and kind of hurts my brain, but is more than likely the truth. I simply lack that Budda like quality to see myself as others see me.

Now that we have covered the problem I pose the question:  how is it possible that in a world full of images of things and ideas that we want can we ever be truly happy with what we have? Let’s say we work hard enough to achieve Jennifer Aniston’s physic, obtain the MD, PhD or that ultimate desired level of education, we live in the million dollar home and have all the toys we can dream of. If the love of our family and friends remained constant would that envy of what others have still be there?

I am in the process of reading The Four Day Win. A psychological and behavioral approach to weight loss, but also to general brain re-wiring and overall self taught behavior modification. Hopefully, I have found a winner that will help me change my brain as well as my waistline. 🙂

My Current 4 Day Goals:

Walk the dogs Everyday for at least 2.5 miles.

Consider the whole person instead of their possessions or a single aspect of their lives.

 

 

 

 

I will of course report back with a progress report soon! Have a great week!!

The Great Vegan Experiment…Coming Soon!

2011 began with a death in the family, a reunion and mending of broken family ties, an extremely hectic work schedule and a freaking cold that has lasted me about 20 days, I realized one thing…..I HAVE GOT TO GET HEALTHIER!! Not that very many of you would call me unhealthy. I believe that for the most part I work out more than most of my friends. I can certainly run up a mountain faster than my friend Jenny. 🙂 And I really hate to say it, but I am still chunky. I have quite a bit of fat on my small 5’3″ frame that needs to be gone.

While at work, I was speaking to the nutritionist Melody (whom I just adore) and completely floored her when I said the number on my scale. I am so thankful and so blessed that my body (and good clothing choices) hide my chub! It is hard for people to believe that I weigh 164lbs. Frankly, I find that number to be rather astounding myself. I certainly don’t feel that heavy.

As many of you know, I have been obsessing over food and obesity documentaries for a little over a year now. I have read almost every Skinny Girl, Skinny Bitch, Etc…book on the market along with some more intelligent choices that include an M.D. following the authors name. I’ve read about every Hollywood starlet and their diets. I’ve watched documentaries, researched crazy fads, looked into special blenders, enemas, juicers, pills, as well as removal of :fats, or carbohydrates, or dairy, or whatever all in an effort to gain the ultimate prize…A healthy slim body.

I spent the 3 months leading up to my wedding as a vegetarian and I found that it was rather easy to drop 10 pounds in three months without really feeling deprived. So this time I think that I will go the whole way and ditch the crutch that kept me comfortable…Dairy. Cheese if you’d like to be more specific.

My friend Sara and I have been off and on discussing our diets and I like her outlook on it.  When she was describing what she ate over Christmas vacation while visiting her parents she replied “everything that I ate was some varying hue of beige…it was all just…beige. I have decided that I need to eat more colorful foods.” And that is where I am at as well. I am ready to try veganism.

It is time for a little experiment...and maybe even a permanent change.

I began writing this post in January and then let life side track me. I do not know what I have been doing for the past 3 months…oh that’s right…I have been working myself to death! I have been so busy that it wasn’t until earlier this week while watching Oprah that I remembered the I had wanted to go vegan (for a month to 90 days-haven’t decided yet) and report the difference in my mood, my body and of course my waistline. Leave it to Miss O to make sure that she gets the experiment done first. Below is the link to Oprah’s website and a write -up of the progress that her staff made.

http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Oprah-and-378-Staffers-Take-a-Vegan-Challenge

This episode also coincided with some really great news…I GOT A NEW POSITION AT WORK! It is in a different department and I will be doing something completely different, but the good news is that my life is about to get REALLY flexible. HOORAY! This means more time for the gym, evenings off to cook dinner for my husband, and even the ability to join an intramural sports league for adults. I am hoping that this new position will be the catalyst that will thrust a new whirlwind of positive change into my life.

So cross your fingers, hide the steak and be on the lookout (either May or June) for me to officially kick off THE GREAT VEGAN EXPERIMENT!!

I have read this book already and need to purchase and re-read it!

I Absolutley want to devour the pages of this book before I begin my experiment.

AND FINALLY THE IMAGE THAT I HOPE WILL HELP ME TO MAKE IT THROUGH MY EXPERIMENT!!

I Have One Hell of a Farmers Tan!!

SPRING IS HERE!! (where did the first three months of this year go?) And with the beautiful sunny warm days you can find me and two very gracious pups spending tons of time in the yard. I have been very busy this year and have tackled some major yard projects and I am happy to say that I only have 1 left…although I am sure that I will continue to find more and more things to work on.

Here are the pictures of what I have been working on:

My flower bed in front of the house is now full and the plants are already blooming and growing!

I am still amazed that my Poinsettia is still blooming...so I repotted it today along with my Christmas cactus.

Another view of the front.

I extended this bed and planted more lilies. I also transplanted my crepe myrtles here...and they are just now starting to bud.

Planted a big Red Bud tree in the yard and made a tree ring around it.

Planted yellow Lilies and Pink and White Gerbera Daisies around the mailbox and added the border.

The other Red Bud Tree that I planted. I am also so in love with my Ligustrum...it is doing so well.

I extended the Iris bed today as well. You can tell by how sad the transplants look how much of it is new.

Another view of the Iris bed.

My sweet little garden. I have tomatoes, bell peppers, jalpeno peppers and yellow squash planted.

Yellow and Blue flowers around my large oak tree...can't wait for them to get used to their new home and spread out.

And my favorite! Salvia, Lavendar, Columbine, and Candy Tuft. The Bee's are going crazy over this bed.

So as you can tell I have been a Busy Bee!
I hope all of you are enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Until next time…wear your sunblock! 🙂

 

A Fun and Rewarding Project…Round 2! Goal Setting for 2011.

Here we go…Another New Year is fast approaching and for so many people that means that they feel the need to create a list of resolutions for their new year. Their fresh start!

At the close of 2009 I decided that New Year’s Resolutions were completely lame, and really spent time wondering why people continue to make them year after year.  I mean…c’mon people…no one ever sticks to them and by February many of you aren’t thinking about them anymore. So I decided last year that I would write down some things that I ABSOLUTELY wanted to accomplish, or try, or see, or do. That experiment went very well! I completed the majority of my goals for last year, and the things that I did not complete did not shatter my self confidence.  This is the reason that they were goals instead of resolutions.

As a complete Type A neurotic freak of a person I often get so involved in my life that I forget to do things that I really want to do. This would be why last year’s list actually included vacations, and other fun activities. I am not sure that I would have ever gone WW rafting, camping, or on a random trip to Panama City had I not set out at the beginning of the year to do those things. Writing out goals for self improvement, self preservation and some FUN made all the difference in 2010, and I had a great year of personal growth and a huge boost in happiness.

So grab your sheet of paper and write out your GOALS! The only rules are:

  • The Goal Must Be Attainable. I refuse to write down anything that has to do with weight, money, or careers.  Jillian Michaels isn’t moving in with you to control every aspect of your diet and exercise, and you have no idea what the economy will do or the future of your career. So please leave these off. These are the harmful resolutions that always end up causing pain later when they aren’t met. (with regards to weight you are allowed to write in that your goal is to complete a certain activity like a marathon, but NO weight, dress sizes, etc…)
  • The Goal Must Be Good for You! The entire goal of setting these goals is that you work on yourself and treat yourself to much needed ME time doing the things that you love to do or want to try.

Here is my Top 10 (11) for 2011:

1. Create a bird haven! I would like to buy and paint a few bird houses and add a seed and hummingbird feeder in the back yard.

2. Learn to sew!  Or at least use the sewing machine. I am constantly needing to hem things…plus making curtains for my kitchen and dining room would be a great project.

3. Finish decorating the house! This past January I painted the kitchen/dining room. After 3 years it is high time that I finished the rest of this house! Bring on the paint and knick knacks!

4. Take at least one cooking or cake decorating class. I am ready to learn more but need the room to expand and alter the direction of this choice.  (Learning to Can food also acceptable)

5. Do a zip-line obstacle course or tree top tour (preferably somewhere like Gatlinburg)

6. Hot Yoga. C’mon…yoga in a 100+ degree room…sounds like…well…sweaty!

7. Go on a Hot Air Balloon ride with my hubby (and maybe some friends)

8. VOLUNTEER: This goal gave me so much pleasure that I had to put it on 2011 too.

9. Become a Wine Connoisseur: Contrary to the Guru status that Christi gave me, I still need to enhance my education here.

10. Take some time out of my life to be a spectator of beauty and humor. See one Musical, Ballet, Comedian and one Opera this year! (Thankfully I have Christi who will be more than happy to be my date for these)

AND

11. Continue to put myself out there with positive energy from within! I guess you can call this a happiness project…but I need to work on the way I approach the world.

End of 2010 Part 2

2010 was such an amazing year for me that I wanted to post my favorite pictures and moments from this year! These are the things that brought giggles, smiles, and laughter! Consider this the highlight and blooper reel…

Our First Time at Daily Dish!

I love leaving Jason special TO DO lists!

Wine in a BOX...CLASSY!!

Taking the Meekers to the International Market

Me and Sadie in the Snow!

Spanish Tapas! Made by your truly! That meal was a masterpiece!

A blooming friendship! I Love Christi!!

Golf lesson in the Middle of the Atlantic!

I loved this dish...hated that Jackfruit!!

Frank Conway cleaning up after teaching me to make pasta. So funny!

This will forever be my favorite picture of Jason!

By far one of the best photo's I have ever taken!

This moment was very special! I loved Bill telling me he and Nance's love story!

MY DC Loves!

Old Friends Sharing Old War Stories!

What a group!

Boys will be Boys!

The house before the wedding...make me smile.

Now that's just FUNNY!

LAUGHING!

Atlantis Creepy Guard!

LOOK! That's one big ass fish!

No Caption needed!

Getting ready for a fun day!

Melman and ME!

Toes in the Sand

Random Horse walking down the street. Turks and Caicos-Grand Turk

Second Wedding Picture. Church where tying the knot became a saying and tradition.

Diggin' in the dirt and having fun!

Marc kissing his Goat Wine bottle

White Water Rafting

L and C take on the Ocoee

Frank finds Jesus at the Dark Farm!

Buckin' Up! Now a household phrase!

Jetskiing with Kim!

Love the Lake!

Good View...Great Friend!

Marc in Panama City drinking a margarita by the beach!

Beau-dog. King of the Campsite!

My family by the waterfall base!

In the rocks near Fall Creek Falls

Just us girls!

Attack of the Raccoons

Made at Richie and Mimi's Wedding

Lauren and Islandia Sparkle

Richie's friends and family...this is the way the weekend felt!

GO TITANS!

Me and the Sounds Mascot

Completeing the ALS Walk with Neva

Aly is on my back porch! This made me so happy!!

Beau-dog gets tangled in the beads

My little Devils..I mean Angels...by the tree!

NOW RAISE YOUR GLASS TO A NEW YEAR! I HOPE THAT 2011 IS EVEN MORE AMAZING THAN 2010!!! HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!!!