Wednesday, December 14, 2011

find the artist in you

My mom and I are planning on going to a step-by-step painting class in the next few days, which reminded me that I never posted about my previous experience at Paint Along in Nashville.  I went with Caroline and her friend from school Meredith.  I tried to take pictures after each step, so you can see how easy it is!
This is what the painting was supposed to look like.
First, we painted the background yellow and then added the white sun.

My finished product!  Not quite the original, but I was proud of myself!
Don't be afraid of these classes if you don't consider yourself an artist...the teacher guides you through every step of the painting.  In Nashville, we brought our own bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers.  Apparently, in Kentucky, you can't do that, so when Mom and I go, we'll have to buy wine there if we want it!  I would definitely recommend a BYOB painting class as a fun activity for any girls' night.  There were even a couple guys at our class in Nashville, so it might make a good date night!

Monday, October 24, 2011

fall wishlist

Since I have to dress up for work every day, I am lusting after some new great accessories to complete my fall wardrobe:
Tory Burch Amanda Hobo Bag

Nordstrom Endless Oversize Hoop Earrings

What do you have your eye on this fall?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

throw ya hands up

As of tonight, Vanderbilt Homecoming 2011 is officially over.  It was a great few days, and several of my students have told me it was the best Homecoming week in their four years here, but I'd be lying if I said I was a little glad it's finished.  The committee chairs, Josh and Daniel, were so great to work with!

Some highlights from the week:
Me with Trey Songz, the first time he called me beautiful

I went in for the handshake, but he wanted a hug!
The whole Homecoming committee after Block Party with Karmin

Josh, Daniel, Karmin, and me
Post title: "Bottoms Up," by Trey Songz

Thursday, September 22, 2011

look at me now

Clearly my dinner of the week idea hasn't taken off.  Or really blogging in general, for that matter.  But it's a good thing; I'm so busy loving my new life in Nashville that I haven't found the time to blog...and that's okay with me.  But I really do like my new hobby, so I figure I'll still check in once in a while, but I'm not making any big promises.

Random bits of information about my life for the past month:

1. I'm making a lot of great friends in my program (Yay!  I know everyone was worried.)  Facts about the Higher Education Administration at Peabody College c/o 2013 Cohort: there are 24 of us, only six of us are straight from undergrad; only six of us have assistantships with the Dean of Students' office.  All facts I find very interesting.  You, on the other hand, probably don't care.  Kate (on the left in both of the following pictures) falls into both of those minority categories with me.  She's my closest new friend in Nashville.

Kate, Kerrie, Greer, and me after the Taylor Swift concert.  Please excuse the random man in front...and the beer bottle.

Kate, me, and Kerrie before the concert

2. Speaking of Taylor Swift, I attended her concert last weekend, and it was surprisingly good.  Observations about my girl Tay Tay: she thinks she is a Disney princess, she acts like she has no idea she's famous and is in constant confusion about why people are applauding her, she has clearly worked on her vocals and is actually quite impressive, and she is a better role model for the thousands of little girls who were at the show clad in tutus and glow sticks than Katy Perry and the overall, I approve.  I really went to see Needtobreathe, who have been on tour with Taylor this whole year, and they didn't disappoint.  It was my sixth time seeing them in concert, and I must say, it was weird seeing them at the Bridgestone playing in front of 18,000 people as opposed to at Sigma Nu Beach Weekend my freshman year.  To solidify my groupie status, Kate and I bought their new CD, The Reckoning, and     got wristbands to attend a meet and greet.  Bear, the lead singer, pretended to remember me from Beach Weekend, which I thought was adorable, and Bo, the gorgeous guitarist "engaged me in conversation" for quite some time, according to Kate, so I was thrilled.  I also got the CD four days before it was actually released, so that was pretty cool, too.
If you don't own this CD yet, you should.  I guarantee you Needtobreathe will be one of the biggest bands in America within the next couple of years.  I'm trying really hard to convince the Music Group here to book them for Rites of Spring, Vanderbilt's music festival, in April.

There she is, pulling the ultimate princess move--a flying Romeo/Juliet balcony!
3. Taylor (different actual friend) came to visit Leah and me a couple weekends ago before she jet-setted off to Nottingham for graduate school.  It was so fun to see her but bittersweet knowing she'll be gone for a year.
At the UK vs. WKU game at the Titans stadium.  I gave in and wore blue but didn't cheer a single time, don't worry.  I know where my allegiances lie.

We drove to Lynchburg to take a tour of the Jack Daniel's distillery.  So fun except ironically in a dry county...
4. My mom came to visit last week!  Sadly, I have no pictures to document it, but it was a great couple of days filled with good food, shopping, and fun with the Mannings.  I'm so glad I am a lot closer to home than when I was at Furman so we can do quick trips like that more often.

5. My life has been consumed by planning Vanderbilt's Homecoming.  It's fun but slightly overwhelming.  
Luckily, I have two awesome student co-chairs, Daniel and Josh, or "knuckleheads," as Dwayne calls them.
Check out our Homecoming events at  My Morning Jacket is headlining our big concert (opening artist to come).  Since my parents are much cooler than me, they have seen MMJ in concert and assure me it is a great show.  I'm really excited that Karmin, the YouTube sensation who were recently featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show will be performing at our Friday night Block Party.  Watch this video if you haven't already...she's so good!  

Come visit me in Nashville and attend our fun Homecoming events!

Post title: "Look at Me Now" by Chris Brown, feat. Busta Rhymes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

dinner of the week

Tonight I made myself a real dinner as part of my new plan to be more grown up (I mean, healthy).  This may be ambitious, but I hope to post about one meal each week.  Anyway, I made Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Tomato Sauce from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook, a baked sweet potato, and my mom's blueberry and peach crisp.  

I love The Sonoma Diet Cookbook!  It's based on the philosophy of 12 super foods: almonds, beans, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, citrus, grapes, olive oil, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and whole grains.  All of the recipes include at least one of the super foods, which are all very flavorful.  The dish I made tonight had bell peppers, olive oil, and tomatoes.  It looked so pretty in the skillet!

I've been craving my mom's blueberry and peach crisp for a while this summer (ever since I made it during our July trip to Flathead Lake) and figured I'd better make it before summer escapes us.  It's a healthy take on a sweet treat (and it uses a super food).  Caroline and I couldn't wait to take a picture before we dove right in!

In other completely unrelated news, I'm very excited (nerd alert) that I figured out how to download PDFs for school to my Kindle.  I know I'm a little late to the technology party, so if you're tech savvy, please forgive me, but it's so cool that I don't have to print out 50 plus pages a week and lug them to class in a binder.  Instead, I can have them all in my cute little Kindle, and I can even highlight and take notes in it.  If only all of my textbooks were available for e-readers...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

begin the begin

I'm easing into life here in Music City!  My first class isn't until Thursday night, so my daily routine includes a morning workout, a few hours at work, and then hanging out with Caroline in the apartment.  I am attempting to cook more than in the past (averaging about once a semester) and have thus far made marinated chicken and a sweet potato and tortellini with sauteed bell pepper and onion, so I'm doing better than usual.  If you have any great (and easy...and quick) recipes you'd like to share, I'm gladly accepting donations.

My supervisor, Dwayne, has been unbelievably welcoming.  I can tell we're really going to get along.  However, I'm not sure how I feel about being greeted by this...

Yes, it's a cut out foam board of my head.
...on my desk on my first day of work, but I think I can forgive him for it.  At least everyone in the office knows who I am!

I met the students I will be working most closely with yesterday at the Vanderbilt Programming Board (VPB) retreat.  For my role as the Graduate Assistant for Student Campus Events, I am the advisor to the Homecoming Committee and Vandy Fanatics.  Homecoming is fairly self-explanatory; we plan all of the university-sponsored events leading up to the big game, including a competition between student groups for the prized Commodore Cup.  Vandy Fanatics is the student organization that encourages students to support the different athletics teams.  Interestingly, the chairs for both of my committees are all guys.  It's great to see successful male students involved in campus activities; it seemed like male leadership was severely lacking at Furman.

I have definitely been experiencing information overload the last couple of days, but I know I will figure it all out soon enough.  During a meeting with the Fanatics chairs today, I mentioned the men's soccer team...which doesn't exist at Vandy.  So clearly I still have some things to learn.

Post title: "Begin the Begin," by R.E.M.

Friday, August 19, 2011

moving on

There have been so many changes in my life recently!  Leaving the ranch was hard, to say the least.  After a tearful goodbye with Kris at the airport, two different TSA agents offered me Kleenex and the coffee shop attendant asked if I was okay.  Needless to say, it was a rough day, followed by a quick trip home to Louisville to pack up my stuff, and then moving to Nashville on Monday.

My parents rented a moving truck to transport my furniture to my new apartment, since we no longer own an SUV.  This is what (practically) all my worldly belongings look like.

After lugging the contents of the truck up two flights of stairs and doing the same the next day for Caroline, the apartment is really coming together.  I love that we are right by the lap pool and fitness center, and being on the third floor is worth it for the vaulted ceilings.  I have pictures, but they were all taken with my phone, so excuse the quality/lighting.

New area code: 615

My room

My bathroom

Shower curtain that I hastily bought in order to be presentable at dinner.  I really like it though!

Caroline's room

Caroline's bathroom
So far, all (um, I mean all two) of our visitors have commented on how "grown up" and "real world" our apartment looks, whatever that means.  But it is nice to have escaped the lovely North Village linoleum, to have furniture of our own, and to be able to use actual nails for hanging pictures as opposed to Command strips.

I've attended orientation for both my graduate assistantship and Peabody.  All of the people in my program seem really nice and very accomplished.  I'm in the minority as a 2011 graduate; most people have been working professionals for several years.  Classes don't start until next week, but I have been working in my assistantship for a few days.  Work includes meetings with the balloon man, so I can't complain so far.  I have a very early morning tomorrow helping the freshmen (or "visitors," as my boss, Dwayne, calls them) move in, so we'll see how I feel about my job after that!

Post title: "Moving On," by Needtobreathe

Monday, August 8, 2011

fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue

For my last days off, Kris and I took a trip to Glacier National Park in northern Montana.  He got off work late because some of the horses ran to the edge of the ranch property and he had to chase them down (hahaha), so we got a slow start.  The drive there was beautiful though.
We passed Flathead Lake.
We didn't get to Whitefish until almost 10:00 and were sure no decent restaurants would be open.  I had called a restaurant called Lou La's and asked how late they stayed open.  They told us if we got there by 10:00, they would serve us.  We walked in around 9:55, and they had a table waiting for us.  You might think this is a pointless part of the story, but it was a momentous occasion because Kris ordered his first bottle of wine that night.

The waitress poured him a taste while she and I were talking, and she had to interrupt the conversation to ask Kris if he would like to try it.  When she left, he told me he wondered why she had given him so little!

The next day, we drove into Glacier and embarked on a nine mile hike from McDonald Lake up to Snyder Lake.
The beginning.  Lake McDonald in the background.

Lake McDonald's the largest lake in Glacier.
Kris carried the backpack most of the time, but I took a turn once or twice.
Snow in August!

I found him the perfect hiking stick.

Indian favorite wildflower.

Kris stopped about every five minutes on the way up to take pictures of wildflowers.  After three miles, it got a little old.

Finally at our destination...Snyder Lake.

We stopped at Lake McDonald on the way back...

and put our feet in!

Looking a little rough post-hike.
So we made some rookie mistakes:
1. We didn't take enough water and ended up getting some from a stream on the trail.  We accepted that we would probably not feel very good later on but didn't really care.  It's a few days later now, and neither of us has Giardia, as far as I know, so I guess we survived!
2. We borrowed hiking boots from the Rod 'n Gun at the ranch that guests rarely use, so they weren't broken in at all and were a little stiff.  Our toes paid heavily for it, especially on the way down.
3. I rolled my ankle stepping off my tent porch right before we left.  Probably shouldn't have hiked nine miles on it the next day.  It's still pretty swollen.
But overall, it was so much fun, and I'm thrilled that I finally got to see Glacier.  We didn't see any major wildlife, but I'm okay with not encountering bears or mountain lions on the trail, thank you.

Post title: "Cowboy Take Me Away," by the Dixie Chicks