April 30, 2012


What a fun weekend!  It was jam packed with family and good food and dogs and my best friend, so it's one of those Mondays where I feel like it's time to be back at work, not like my weekend ran away from me!

On Saturday morning, I did the Pregnancy Support Services Walk-a-Thon with my small group, and we had a blast!  Mostly, we just had fun laughing and talking with each other, but we did get some good laughs at each other's expense, too.  Poor Stephanie.  We made these shirts a week ago, and hers didn't quite go the way she wanted, so she ended up looking like a big birthday present.  But no one said anything, and she was DEFINITELY not the worst-dressed person there!  

After the walk, I swung by my parents' house to visit with my aunt and uncle, who were visiting from South Carolina on their way up to Connecticut.  We had played cornhole and had barbecue chicken the night before, so I was squeezing every ounce of visit time I could since we don't see them as often as we should!  p.s. my dad is the master at cornhole.  We shouldn't have let him build a game that he could handily beat us at.  Every.  time.

And I got to snuggle my canine besties.

On Saturday night, I met my fam for dinner at Nantucket Grill, and Saturday is free cake night!  I ask you, is there a better marketing tactic?  I think you could spend $10,000 in skywriting and banner ads and flares and those blow up guys you see at used car lots and you still wouldn't pull in as many people as free cake.

This was the unbirthday cake, and it was worth every bit of uncomfortable I felt later.

Leanna went to see Sugarland that night with her friend, Lauren, so she missed out on the literal sugarland that I enjoyed.  But she also got to see David Allen Stewart of the Eurythmics, who she later described as "a weird British guy who told stupid jokes and used to be part of a band called 'Arrhythmia'".  It's ok, she was almost a '90s baby.

April 27, 2012


If you know me, you know I spend a significant amount of time planning the next concert I'm going to, and this one was no different!  I actually saw it on Needtobreathe's tour calendar before I moved back to Raleigh, and I immediately put the ticket sale date on my calendar!

I actually saw them for the first time at Cat's Cradle in 2010, shortly before I moved to DC, and they were amazing!  They had Matt Hires and Will Hoge with them, though, way before I knew about Ben Rector.

Last night, I met up with my sister and with Danielle and some of her friends at Poole's Diner in Downtown Raleigh before the concert, and the food was delicious!  I had heard it was worth trying, but I had never been.  I definitely recommend it!  Leanna and I shared an open-faced burger that was SO good!

Our friends, Whitney and Lauren, and a couple of their friends met us for the concert, so it was wonderful to see them!  And, for the record, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium is a MUCH more comfortable place to see a concert than Cat's Cradle... so much space to move around and sit your heiny down if you need to!

And I actually saw Ben for the first time last year at Jammin' Java in DC, so Molly and I got to meet him!

He's super nice and also happens to be friends with one of the girls we met in Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010.  Small world!

After he finished being awesome, Needtobreathe came out and played a BUNCH of new songs from their new album!  In case you haven't heard them before, they're sort of country/rock/Christian, but they're not a worship band.  Lots of their songs have theology kinda woven in, but you don't hear it unless you're listening for it.

Here's one of my favorites of theirs:

They always end with an amazing acoustic song, no matter how big the audience is.  No microphones, just them.  The audience is always super quiet, and it's one of the best ways to end a show that I've ever seen.

I always forget which places will let you bring fancy cameras and which won't, so I took all these on my iPhone.  I need a cheat sheet so I know when they're gonna check my bag!  I totally could have photographed their nose hairs with my mamma jamma camera.  Oh well.

If you get a chance to see either Ben Rector or Needtobreathe, GO!  Your face will be melted.

April 26, 2012


Last night, Amanda and I visited our alma mater for some lovely baseball!  The stadium was actually pretty full, which might have been because it was the last day of classes, Carolina is actually a fairly good team, and they were playing East Carolina.  I think it would have been more full if final exams weren't around the corner, though!

That's my freshman dorm back there!  Unfortunately, I didn't live on that side of the building or on the sixth floor, so I couldn't watch any baseball from up there.  But, I did have an awesome roommate (hi, Ellie!) and absolutely LOVED living on South Campus.

We chose to sit in the sun because it was a little chilly!  Which also meant we couldn't see very well until the sun went down a bit, but that's ok because we probably did more dancing and singing to the stadium music than watching the game.  OH and because no one scored until extra innings.  When Carolina won by one run.  Adrenaline-pinching.

I wore my sparkliest shoes, of course.  In the sun though, they were blinding.

We tried to hit up student stores before we left, but they closed at 8.  So, we had a nice walk up and down Stadium Drive and popped into Rams Head Market for a Coke before we headed home.  Just like old times.  :)

April 25, 2012


The Bells are super special to my family for lots and lots of reasons!  Our parents have actually been friends since before we were born, when they all lived in Greensboro.  But, after losing touch over the years, my mom ran into Melanie at Hallmark one day after we moved back to Raleigh, and they introduced us to our church!  Melanie and my mom go walking on the greenway everyday, and Leanna and I even rent our townhouse from her.  We just love them!  The oldest two, Lauren and Emily, are in college, but Martin and Matthew are on their high school and middle school baseball teams, so Bekah and I went to go watch them play a few weeks ago!

Matthew plays for Wakefield Middle, which is where my sister went.  I went to Wakefield High, so I was super excited to go support them!  

Martin came to watch, too.  Such a good big brother.

The next night, we all went over to Heritage High to watch Martin play with his JV team, and they beat East Wake!  Martin even scored a run, so I took a super blurry picture of it.  :)

The boys were good sports about this picture even though they really, really didn't want to do it, haha!

Melanie and her two boys!  I think she goes to baseball games and practices almost every night.

There's something so small-town about going to a high school baseball game... I just love it!  And I adore that family.

April 24, 2012


Sometimes, it's just good to know your name's still on the wall and you're not old as mold.

It's tradition at UNC that all the seniors get to climb the Bell Tower a few weeks before graduation, and even though I'm pretty sure it's not sanctioned by the administration, the senior class council always has a mess of Sharpies up there so you can sign your name inside it.  My graduation year was so special to me, not only because it was the end of an era, but because I had just come back from Detroit, where my school had won the NCAA men's basketball championship a week or two earlier.  And the whole campus was still completely abuzz.  My friends and I climbed that tower together, and every year, it seems one of my younger friends finds my name!  This year, it was one of the freshmen from my saxophone section in the marching band, and I can't believe her whole class is about to head out.  How did three years go by so fast?!?

If they ever wash my name off that wall, I will learn to rappel and put it back.

April 23, 2012


Football season is only FOUR MONTHS AWAY!!!  (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I can hardly stand it!  On Saturday afternoon, my parents and I went over to Carter-Finley Stadium to watch NC State's spring game.  It was a beautiful day except for the ten minutes of hard rain we got around halftime.  The black team absolutely embarrassed the white team, so I'm hoping they stacked the black team in some way...

The game was also a fundraiser for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and Scholarship Endowment, and I think they raised about $26,000!

"Giddy" is not a word most people would use to describe my dad 99% of the time, but he was pretty much beside himself with happiness.  February through August are very hard months for him.

Props to my mom's hair for handling the humidity much better than mine did.

The countdown has begun!

April 20, 2012


This is my view from work.  It's lovely and I thought I should share it.

Oh, Raleigh.  You're a gem.  

Happy Friday, errbody!

April 19, 2012


No, not Lady Gaga.  Although she is a veritable rainbow of expression.

Actually, I saw this the other day and had to share... it's the Queen of England!  In every color of the rainbow.  And a statistical breakdown of her favorite colors.  It's like someone over at Vogue incepted one of my dreams and said, "You know what?  Lauren likes fashionable elderly women.  She also happens to love color and math.  Let's make her drool."  Thanks for that, Vogue.

And, look at that.  The queen loves her light blue.

Go Tar Heels, eh, The Queen?

April 18, 2012

4000 STEPS

In a couple Saturdays, my Bible study girls and I will be walking 4,000 steps with the Pregnancy Support Services of Wake Forest as a fundraiser for women struggling with pregnancy and new motherhood.  We're in the middle of fundraising right now (thank goodness there's no minimum we have to reach... I am the world's worst), but I'm excited for the actual event!  

I volunteered to be our Bible study's Community Liaison (like Social Chair with a heart I guess), so this is my first organized thing.  I came up with our team name, which is a whole cow's worth of cheese.  It's The Belly Band.  It's clever, but only if you get it.  A belly band is what pregnant women wear around their waists to hold their non-maternity pants up without having to zip them.  I don't know why I know that, but I read a lot of blogs.  Anyway, it looks like this:

Awesome.  I like it.

So, we're making t-shirts this Sunday night, which means I get to get my craft on.  Sweet neon t-shirt paint, I'm coming for you.

If you'd like to donate to the cause, that would be awesome!  You can go here:  http://support.psspartners.com/site/TR/Events/General?px=1007496&pg=personal&fr_id=1080

And if you just want to give me your thoughts on sweet t-shirt designs, I would also very much like to hear them!

Maybe I'll show up like this:

You go, sir.

April 17, 2012


I thought I was a super careful grocery shopper.  I always check to see if things are organic or not, or if they're fat free or not, or if they're fresh enough to still be mooing.  But I made a rookie mistake last week and bought whole bean coffee.  

I do not own a coffee grinder.

And I found this out around 10:00 on Sunday night, when I was already exhausted and couldn't even fathom a Monday morning without coffee.  And a trip to Starbucks would only mean an earlier wake-up time.  

So, I did what 21st century girls do and Googled, "How to grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder."  I kid you not, the first tip was "Consider purchasing coffee that is already ground."  NOT FUNNY.  DO NOT MAKE A MOCKERY OF ME, INTERNET.  And from there, it suggested putting the beans in a bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin (which I had already somewhat tried, but I tried smashing them with a pizza cutter and that only ended up putting puncture wounds in the bag.  For some reason, I thought using a blender was too easy.  There was no way it would grind up beans that small, and of course the internet discouraged me from trying it.  And somewhere, I'm sure a super pretentious barista is shaking with fury over all the bean flavor I murdered by grinding them up in a common blender, but that's exactly what I did.

And it worked like a charm!  Why didn't anyone ever tell me this was possible?!?!?

In fact, it not only worked, it was a BLAST!  You can watch the beans literally get pulverized, and the only thing I think you're sacrificing is your eardrums, because they are loud.com/earpiercing.  But I ended up grinding the whole bag because I had so much fun.  I did have to send a quick text message upstairs to my sister letting her know I wasn't lumberjacking the house to bits.

So my morning coffee was saved!  And that's the story of how I beat the grocery gods.

April 16, 2012


I'm still in the process of going through real-camera pictures from Easter (oh, the pile of pictures I need to sort through...), but here are a few from my phone that I thought were precious enough to share!

Somehow, this sisterhood-at-its-doggy-finest provides for both snuggly cuddles and a growl from Dottie to Reba every time she walks by.  Fortunately (?), Reba is stone deaf, so no one is the wiser (except Dottie, who sometimes is awarded with an express ticket outside).

My spoils from a Trivial Pursuit victory.  For the record, I had no idea there was whale oil in soaps and lamps.  According to Leanna and Bekah, this is common knowledge.

Also, Leanna enjoyed the eyes on my particularly accurate rendering of Stephen Colbert.  It was an accident, because my short, round fingers are too much for the tiny pencil setting.

I promise real pictures (of egg hunts and my mom) real soon!

April 13, 2012


Have y'all heard of Catalog Living?!?

Ok, well neither had I until about three days ago.  But it may be one of the funniest blogs ever.

Have you ever noticed when you're flipping through a catalog that the stylists who put it together might be on acid?  Seriously, sometimes they photograph rooms styled in the strangest ways, and we just keep flipping through like everyone lives that way.

Well, this lady figured out how to make a comedy routine out of it.  She created Gary and Elaine, who live inside the pictures from the catalogs that she posts, and they justify why things look the way they look.  So, under a picture of dishware artistically hung from a fisherman's net, she writes, "Although only an amateur fisherman, Gary knew there was no feeling more satisfying than hauling in your first seasonal plate catch of the year."

You just have to read it.

Here's my attempt, in case I'm the only one laughing in this proverbial room.

"Elaine was horrified to find that Brenda was so hungover she couldn't even serve her brunch guests a fruit salad served in the middle of the placemat.  This lime was certainly from the backyard."

Anyway.  You'll never read a catalog the same way again.  Happy Friday!

April 12, 2012


My gorgeous friend, Bekah, is so gracious!  About a week before I headed up to Northern Virginia to shoot Ryan & Chelsea's wedding, I bought a brand new camera, and even though I have plenty of experience with Canons, I wanted to be sure I knew exactly what I was doing and how everything worked before I took off into what could have potentially been a high-stress situation.  So, I texted Bekah about an hour before the sun went down (this was pre-daylight savings) and she quickly showered, threw on her cutest outfit, and met me at the seminary down the street, where she is a student.  Our light ran out fast, but some of my favorite pictures are the ones where she's a little glowy because I was fighting for every last image I could squeeze in!  And on top of that, shooting in the almost-dark was a fantastic learning experience.  

(p.s. I also added a sweet new logo that I designed last weekend, all by myself!)

Thanks for being such a lovely model (and friend), Bekah-boo!  I love you!

April 11, 2012


My mother is a pretty gifted gardener.  As in, while my dad, Leanna, Bekah, and I played cornhole next to the house on Sunday afternoon, my mom trotted off to "repot three plants".  For most people, that would be a whole afternoon's project.  But she was done in like thirty minutes.  And there they were, all the way across the yard from where they used to be.

I always love hanging out back there and taking pictures once spring arrives (even though today feels like Old Man Winter punched it in the face), so here's your little bit of warm weather until the temperature goes back up.

By some biological miracle, my mom has managed to lure almost every avian creature one foot from our house with these feeders.  She also almost bought the iBird app on her iPhone, but apparently it costs $25.  

Do y'all have these little seeds everywhere, too?  They get caught in the spiderwebs outside my front door sometimes and then they just get suspended in the air.  Uselessly.

Leanna would be upset if I didn't show you her bright new sneakers.  Zappos.com, baby.

So, there you have it!  Spring in my parents' backyard.  Birds chirping, bees buzzing, and the shih tzu nextdoor yapping its face off.