Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy FIVE Years!!

Happy FIVE years {of dating} to my handsome fiance!! 

In honor of our landmark, I've compiled some of my favorite pictures and memories of our lives together.  I wish I had had more time to really make this a beautiful collage, but iPhoto about kicked my fanny last night.  I'm not sure why some of them have a yellow caution sign in them, so please ignore. . .

I cannot wait to marry you Lash! Only 213 days to go!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coupon Club

True Life: I'm really into couponing.

I've said it before and will say it a thousand times: couponing is the jam. It's amazing how much money you can save with a little bit of effort. 

I think I'm so into it because my grocery expenses take up the largest percentage of my budget. I'm okay with that because as you know, I love to cook and try new recipes so it really does not bother me one bit to mark a large chunk of my budget to that category.  I expected it. 

I'd rather spend an extra $10 bucks at the grocery store to make a really cool supper than spend $10 bucks seeing a movie at the theatre.  I'll wait until the DVD comes out to Netflix.  To each his own.

I digress.

Sure, couponing takes a little bit of planning, but I swear it's worth it. Especially if you plan your couponing {new verb} when items are on sale.   That's when the savings really get incredible. 

Case in point: a few weeks ago at Publix, cheez-its- by far my biggest weakness- were BOGO.  I had a manufacturer's coupon that was buy two boxes, save $1.00. Cheez-its are reguarly priced at $3.49 a box. So instead of paying $6.98 for two boxes, I paid $2.49 for two, saving $4.49!

It was so great, until I realize I was dangerously close to killing two boxes on my own. That's when drastic times call for drastic measures.

I abandoned my cheez-its in our office's breakroom.  They cried, I cried, but I have not had one since.  Rehab is for quitters.

I digress again.

Anyways, I've saved some serious cash.  My highest savings has been $32 and change {I almost did cart wheels at the check out line}, and I've followed it closely with $31, $30, $27 dollars in savings- spending roughly $70 - 85 each time.  I'm to the point where I honestly look forward to receiving Publix weekly ad email Tuesday night.  Yes, I know, you don't have to tell me how nerdy cool I am.  But, I did want to tell you about my book. . . in case you want to join into the coupon club.

This book right here is my coupon lifeline.

It probably should be more applicably named my wine wallet.  Every dime I save, more funds for Total Wine runs :)

Anyways, it is so great.  I have all my coupons filed in clear plastic business card holders. If I could do it again, I'd probably try harder to find baseball card holders, but I got desperate.  Each page is organized according to type- cleaning supplies, paper products, dry foods, medicine, toileties, breakfast items, and so on.  Type A personality, can you tell?

Though I'm so proud of this organization, I have to admit that I am sooooo thankful that I have not seen anyone I know yet when shopping with this bad boy. . .  I'd probably be really embarassed and run in the other direction. hehehe.  Is that hypocritical?

But I promise, you really need to give it a try!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wake Up Call

I am loving our whole engagement season.  The cards, the congratulations, the best wishes, the fun, the plans, the appointments, the dreams  . . .  I am having a blast.

The only problem? My waistline is not sharing my same glee.

Seriously.  It is time to wake up and smell the diet.

We got engaged September 3rd and that first weekend (minus the first night) I was SO conscious about everything I put in my mouth and went running both days. . .  I can remember thinking, "ML, you've got to fit in a wedding dress, you don't need that cheez-it!  Think healthy!"

Then, people started coming into town or we went to go see family and friends and had fancy (re: high calorie) dinners to celebrate or grabbed a cocktail (or four), often times both, etc, etc.  And I have not paid one bit of attention to the scale. Whoops!

I have gained 3 lbs celebrating out engagement!

What in the world? Talk about airing your dirty laundry on the ole blog, but I am so mad at myself! haha! I know that's not a whole lot, but considering in the grand scheme of things I'm supposed to be in the negativo gearing up for the big day, I'm currently on the wrong train.  Did any of y'all go through this when you were engaged?

I've been sized and fitted for my dress, and it is currently in production so I've got three months to get my little shelf into shape before the alterations begin.   Anyone have any tips for a bride-to-be?

Here's to new beginnings!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm back :)

Hi everyone! I apologize for my lack of blogging lately.  Given last week's events, I decided it best to take a little hiatus.  In addition, several of my girlfriends and I took time off from work last week and made the drive to Hampton, VA for Concetta's dad's funeral.  I'm so glad we went.

Seriously, despite the grim circumstances, it was great to come together to support one another and catch up.   Let me tell you, though, 6 girls + 2 cars + estimated 7 hr travel = frequent bathroom breaks, over 8 hr travel time, and lots and lots of laughs :)

On the way there, every time we stopped to take a restroom break, I swear, we managed to find the one gas station in Po-dunk, USA with only one potty. . . Guaranteed to tack on the time o'travel.

On the way back, we vowed to be more efficient with our stops, however, it still took the same amount of travel time so I'm not sure how efficient we were, but we sure do have a lot of memories.  I'm convinced, time with girlfriends is quality time and is good for the soul, despite any circumstances.

When I got home from VA, I was unpacking and noticed this picture I have framed from our senior year at Wofford taken at our parent's weekend cocktail party.  While it is not surprising we are all in a picture together as we were all best of friends, this picture just struck me that it was all of us who were just together for the funeral.  I am a believer in the power of friendship!

I do want to take a moment and thank each and every one of you for your outpouring of love and support!  Thanks for your sweet comments and for your generous donations and well wishes for the Purple Stride. I am overjoyed to tell you that Concetta is the top fundraiser for the entire event right now, having raised $5,055 to date, and team Pauli's Girls is in first place overall, having raised $9,120 to date!!  The best part?  There are still two weeks left of fundraising!  Our original goal was to raise $5,000 and we keep having to extend it. I'd say that is a great problem to have.

I am excited to say that I really hope I can get back on the blogging train this week.  I've been doing a fair amount of cooking and wedding plans that I can't wait to share.  Thanks for sticking with me!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blessed Be Your Name


My heart is heavy tonight with sad news.

You may remember my post recently where I mentioned my friends and I were running a 5K and raising money in honor of my friend Concetta and her father's battle with pancreatic cancer.

On Saturday morning, Paul was freed from his physical sufferings and went to live with the Lord.  This passing was more sudden than expected, yet, all are comforted in that he has been freed from his pain and physical trials and has been healed by the Great Physician.  With heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences, the world mourns the loss of an incredible father, attorney, and friend.

Saturday morning, after I learned of the news, I went for a run.  It seemed appropriate given our upcoming race, and I needed time to be alone with God and my thoughts.  In many times of trials and tribulations, I have been comforted by praise music and time alone with the Lord.

As I rounded the battery on a beautiful morning in SC, Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name" came on my iPod.  Tears welled to my eyes, and I was so moved I had to stop running.  Overlooking the gorgeous harbor, I prayed, giving thanks to our God who will never forsake us and is here for us as the eternal Comforter.  I will continue to praise Him in the storm and bless His name.

I want to leave you with these words from the song,

"Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me,
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your Name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed by your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be your Name"

We must continue to fight the grim statistics of pancreatic cancer, and I urge you now, more than ever, to support our Purple Stride 5K efforts here if you are able.

I have been incredibly humbled and inspired by the generous outpouring of love and encouragement we have received so far for Pauli's girls.  In the wise and witty words of my dear, dear friend, "every dollar makes a difference so please make a contribution and let's kick some pancre-ass!!"

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.  He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.  2 Corinthians 1:34

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 2010

So, Sunday was 10/10/10, which is really cool. . . but also did you know that

Apparently, this only happens once ever 832 years or so.  How about that for some fun trivia for your Tuesday?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Low Tide

Did you know that the beach was not the only place to watch the tide go down this weekend?

Yes, the number 19 South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the number 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide 35-21 on Saturday!

It was such an awesome game to attend- the entire crowd was super pumped up the entire game, the Gamecocks played better than they ever have, and "fate" as Steve Spurrier called it finally came our way in this sweet, sweet victory!

I really enjoy college football, and like to try to get to at least one game or so each season.  When my aunt called last Tuesday with two extra seats to one of the biggest games in SC, I knew I could not resist!

I was especially excited to be there to get to spend Saturday with Lash, see Luci, hang out with friends I have not seen in too long, watch the game with family, and enjoy an incredible day outside.

One of my favorite parts of the day definitely was getting to hang out with my sister at the tailgate.

By the way, the high was in the upper 80s.  It was absolutely gorgeous out, but almost too hot during the middle of the day.  We were super thankful for shade and tents!

In typical fashion, my camera pooped out on me during the day, but nevertheless, a blurry picture is better than no picture!  Loved seeing some Wofford girls.

The excitement and anticipation leading up to the game was incredible. I've never seen Columbia so amped up!  There was hardly an empty seat in all of Williams Brice.

Victory fireworks at sunset

My handsome fiance and me post- game.  Hot, dirty, and sweaty after a long day, but so excited to experience the game in person!

Here's to hoping USC can keep us their success!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I love traveling for work, but let me tell you, it kind of throws me off- between all the planning to go out of town, packing, being gone, getting back, unpacking, settling in, and getting back to normal.  I think my setback was that I traveled Monday and Tuesday of this week.  So for you to tell me that today is Friday, I want to laugh. I have no idea what day of the week it is.  In light of my chaos, I thought this kind of post might be a little easier.

-I am trying to design a wedding website. I thought this would be such a breeze after almost a year and a half of blogging.  But whew, Blogger > The Knot.  Admittedly, its probably more user error than design flaw as I am a creature of habit, but y'all I am strugggggggling!  We are going to try to send out the Save the Dates shortly, so I've got to get the website up and running before those puppies hit the mail!  Hello, deadline!

-Lash and I stumbled into two tickets to the South Carolina v. Alabama football game this weekend.  Wahoo!!!  It is definitely some of the biggest football to hit SC in a while. ESPN game day will be there, we are playing the #1 team in the country! I cannot wait to see old friends and enjoy the big game day atmosphere!  I hope the Gamecocks put up a good fight kick face!!

-Many thanks for the positive encouragement and feedback regarding the Purple Stride 5K.  My friend's dad just recently did not get the best news in the world so I am so glad we will all be able to be together and support their family.  If you would, please remember them in your prayers and if you are so moved, donate to our cause.

-In preparation for our 5K, I just recently ran 3.14 without stopping or any significant training! This is a milestone for me!  I'm blaming the pasta I ate for lunch that day.  My typical run is a little over 2 miles but that day was a long one and Charleston has just been having b-e-a-u-tiful weather as of late so I just kept running.  I'm hoping I can keep this up and toying with the idea of working on times, etc.  Am I turning into a runner???

-Speaking of fall and lighter temperature, how bout dem apples? Do yourself a favorite right now and go to Publix and buy apples. Or even better go pick your own or march down to a produce stand for mountain apples.  As part of the wedding-everything-in-moderation plan, I'm kicking the 3:00 cracker binge for an apple.  I swear it makes a huge difference.

-In light of the weekend, I'm going to leave you with these thoughts:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Going to the Chapel

I found my wedding dress!!!

I can't believe I have not blogged about this yet! Dress shopping was amazing, but I do have to say the whole experience was a little surreal.  It's a day you dream about as a little girl and wait, in my case, 23 years to fulfill this dream.

When I say I dreamed about it, I should clarify- I didn't fantasize and obsess over a vision of what I wanted exactly. I had no idea what cut, fabric, look, anything that I was going for.  I just dreamed about the experience.  I think that's what I was so giddy to go shopping.  Very uncharacteristic for me, I was not overwhelmed or anxious about finding the perfect fit.   I just couldn't want to try dresses on and see which one would be my special dress.

Though I was secretly hoping it would be an easy decision, I'm here to tell you that it is not.  My problem?  I fell in love with 2 dresses.  Maybe it is because I went in a little ignorant thinking that as soon as I found "the" dress, I'd know.  Well, let me tell you, there are a thousand gorgeous dresses out there.  

From the start, I had a pretty good idea which one was my favorite, but y'all, its hard.  Life is not always rainbows and roses.  We took pictures, went home, looked at the pictures, slept on it, went back a second time to try both dresses on, took more pictures, compared all pictures from every imaginable angle, and tried on one dress a third time and finally made a decision.

It ends up that my front runner from all along is the one.  My mother and I both teared up when I put the veil on, and my sister gave it her stamp of approval when she came down and watched.  It is perfect for me. I could not be happier.  Many thanks to the best mom and sister in the world for putting up with me during my indecisiveness.  You made my experience absolutely effortless. I'm really excited!!

Only 233 days to go. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chive Blossom Crab Nachos

If you are ever in the Pawleys area, do yourself a favor and go eat at the Chive Blossom.  It is one of my favorite restaurants I've ever been to.

Everything I have ever tasted from there is to die for, but my personal favorite is the grouper.  Pan seared grouper with a tarragon cream sauce served over white and yellow corn with zucchini ribbons.  OMG- You will love it.

My mother and I have each tried numerous times to duplicate this delicacy, but have yet to master it.  I'm not giving up though.  Other family favorites are the tuna, scallops, and the crab nachos.

Anyway, work responsibilities called me to Hilton Head Island Monday and Tuesday, and Tuesday on my way back through the Lowcounty, I stopped in to spend some time with my parents.  {So awesome being able to do that, especially as we plan this wedding :) }  My dad and I went for a great boat ride last night and ended it by pulling our crab traps in the creek.  You may remember my love for crabbing some last summer here.

"What are you looking at?" hehe
Lash and me last summer showing off our catch. 

So my parents and I spent last night doing a little wedding planning, and enjoying each others company as we picked crab.  Armed with my favorite goodies, I headed back to Charleston bright and early this morning to work and I've been stewing alllll day over how I was going to cook this heaven.  I felt like Bubba Gump rattling off all the options in my head this morning.  Finally, bing!  I remembered the Chive Blossom!!

Modifying their incredible version to what I had at home, I sauteed diced onions and mandolin sliced zucchini in a touch of butter and olive oil.  While the broiler preheated, I layered the chips with crab meat and veggies, threw some montery jack cheese with jalapenos on top, and served with some guacamole and fresh salsa.  I just wish I had had someone to share it with!

Monday, October 4, 2010

PurpleStride Raleigh-Durham 2010

Please join in supporting our fundraising efforts for the Pancreastic Cancer Action Network, a non-profit organization working to advance research, support patients, and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.

A group of Wofford girls and I will be running the Raleigh Durhma Purple Stride 5K in support of one of my very best friends, Concetta Wilson, and her dad's fight with cancer.

In Concetta's own words:

"In 2008, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and, in 2009, doctors told him he had less than a year to live. I am happy to say that despite the grim predictions of several specialists, Dad is thankfully still with us today. His eternal optimism and zest for life, along with the prayers and support from friends and family, have gotten him through even the toughest times.

Last year, a group of my college girlfriends and I competed in The PurpleStride 5k in Atlanta. We were joined by my parents, friends, and family members as well as hundreds of other individuals directly or indirectly affected by the disease. Thanks to the generosity and involvement of our support group, Team Pauli’s Girls raised more than $4000 in donations, good for fourth place overall. The event itself raised almost $200,000!

On November 7, our team is thrilled to participate again in The PurpleStride 5k. This year’s location is Raleigh, where I currently live. Now, more than ever, I encourage past donors and new friends to make a contribution to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in support of my father and the thousands of others affected by the disease."

If you would like to donate to our cause, please click here.  Obviously, there is no pressure or expectations to donate, for I believe raising awareness is just as important.  But unfortunately, many of us know all too well that cancer is NO fun. 

But you know what is fun?  Being with your friends, exercising, and supporting a good cause!!  Thank you in advance for your support and well wishes.  Go Team Pauli's girls!