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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve


I just have one statement to make about this outfit: I freakin’ love it! Anyone hitting up a great NYE party needs to step out in style. If this ensemble were within my budget, TRUST ME I’d be wearing it! I must say, though, that the Swarovski Blue Hyacinth Collection is GORG!!!! And closer to my budget than, let’s say . . . . that fabulous skirt! My hubby got me the earrings to this set (not pictured) a couple of anniversaries ago, and they are literally my favorite earrings in my handy dandy jewelry box. They are not pictured in this outfit because they weren’t available on Polyvore. I assure you they would be pictured otherwise.
So here’s to a happy and healthy beginning to a great new year and, in my world, a new shoe calendar! Yayy!
Should auld acquaintance be forgot.... 
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sambuca Nashville

Cheesecake in the traditional sense was not on the menu at Sambuca Nashville. This was ok with me, as they still offered up cheesecake...just packaged a little differently. It was not the creamy wedge with a graham cracker bottom that I am used to ordering. It was a diversion from the ordinary...but I can handle it. They served up a mean Cheesecake Sopapilla  that basically came with its own halo. Heavenly is an appropriate adjective to use for this delectable dessert. Folks, this is no ordinary sopapilla which can be ordered in one of the twenty-bazillion Mexican restaurants on every street corner in America. This is creamy sweet deliciousness in a toasty pastry shell topped with cinnamon and sugar, drizzled in chocolate & trimmed with pieces of fresh fruit. And as they say, it’ll make you wanna slap your mama! Goodness gracious it was ever-so-tasty! If you ever visit one of the four Sambuca locations, I recommend this dessert! Here is a pic to feast your eyes upon. PS - This was our anniversary trip, so please overlook the chocolate message on the plate...


Nashville or Bust!


Anniversaries are such grand occasions. The hubs and I make it a point to celebrate our anniversary every single year with a mini-vacay (i.e. a trip), despite the fact that it is 6 days before Christmas. This year was no different - except for the fact that it was the BEST.ANNIVERSARY.EVER! Last year at this time we took a family trip to Florida, which was a supa-fun-time that I wouldn’t take back for the world. However, that particular anniversary was spent with kids in tow, eliminating an element of intimacy. It was still great though. But this year... Nashville, Tennessee. Music city, baby. The story of this trip’s inception can be found in my post entitled  Hiatus, Part Deux - Where Have I Been?
I have made a couple of trips to this glorious place in the past, but none like this one. The first time was on my senior trip - which might have been quite some time ago - and my second time in the 90s with a gal pal of mine. Hubby has been there once, but he was young. He doesn’t really remember anything about his time there. I remember quite a few things, but little did I know, I didn’t get the Nashville experience either time I was there before. By that I mean I didn’t have the rockin’ sockin’ fanfreakintastic time then that I did this time.
My in-laws lent us their Volkswagon Bug to travel in so that we’d get better gas mileage. And that we did, my friends! That little sucker trucked us along with gas mileage coming in somewhere around 40+ mpg. Very nice, considering our gas guzzling SUV gets roughly half that...on a good day! The little silver bullet, or “Sassy” as we jokingly called it, added character to the road trip.
We left work a little after 11am and headed East. Six and a half hours, 320 miles, four quick mart stops, two traffic jams, a wrong turn & one latte later we rolled into our hotel parking lot. As we got off on our exit, we saw the lights of the Opryland Hotel, along with a sign that said “Rockettes this way.” In case you didn’t read the inception post, I’ll catch you up: Many anniversaries spent in Branson. Badly wanted to see Spirit of the Dance Christmas Show. It never happened. Show exists no longer. Hubby surprised me with tickets to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular! THE Rockettes. The NYC ones. Yep, those girls. With their legs and their kicks and their fabulousness.
But I digress. The sign said Rockettes this way. Sounded simple enough. We asked the hotel for a 7:30 shuttle. Seemed logical to assume we could be shuttled over, considering the show was basically across the street and the shuttle van sat untouched out front. The front desk clerk said they wouldn't take us because the shuttle only runs to the airport and some other location (which she referred to as Point B). Really?! What a waste of a vehicle payment. Our show is literally up the street about ONE mile. Still, they would not take us. This sparked aggravation in me, hence beginning a sequence of irritable and unfortunate events. We got to our room and housekeeping had turned off the air (I suspect 3 days earlier judging by the sweltering feel of the room). We cranked the air up to high, the temp down to 60 & began to get ready. As all women know, it is not fun or easy to get ready in the midst of sweat. To combat the heat, I was running the hair dryer a few seconds, then darting to stick my face in front of the vent, then back to the hair dryer, back to the vent, curl one piece of hair, vent, curl, vent...you get it. Needless to say, this slowed down the process and made me even more snippy. And so began the insidious cycle of outfit changing. The night turned into something from an episode of Friends. The episode titled “The One Where No One’s Ready.” If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you may need to brush up on your Friends. The tension mounted as it got closer to 7:30, our planned time of departure, as our show - like Ross’ event - started at 8pm. On my 2nd outfit change my ever-impatient, but normally stoic, husband actually said, “Please just GET READY!” Like Rachel, I reacted with a modicum of hostility. We finally walked out the door of our hotel room at about 7:42. We drive the one mile to the lighted street with the aforementioned sign. As that seemingly single-lane road crested, we see all sorts of turning options and no more signs. We pick the most well-lit street. We park. We run across the huge parking lot - me in my stilettos - to the lobby of the Opryland Hotel. We both got a sick feeling upon entering to find nothing but casually dressed people toting luggage. It was then that we realized we were in the wrong place. It was dark, we didn't know how to get where we were going, there was moisture in the sky and puddles on the ground, construction everywhere...it was no surprise we were in the wrong place. However, we thought - or rather hoped - maybe there was some sort of pathway  from the hotel lobby where we stood to the Opry House, so we had to find someone to help us. I very rudely interrupted a shoe sale in progress inside a boutique to ask where the heck we were supposed to go. The stunned salesperson and patrons, after getting over the initial shock of my audacity, were eager to help. Although it was hard to absorb anything they said after they, with a seemingly heavy heart, said we needed to get back in our vehicle and then turn......that’s about where our eyes glazed over and we scampered off like the roadrunner leaving only a cloud of dust. Hubby walking as fast as he EVER had while using very descriptive verbiage, me jogging along in my stilettos, sequined purse flying open, a gentle mist falling from the sky, both of us sweating profusely (or so it felt), curls falling out of my hair. It was tragic. We go where the kind hotel ladies told us to go. It turned out to be a dark, lonely street that was not the right street. I'm guessing in our haste we must have missed some vital information in those directions we didn't listen to. Luckily a family was strolling along the sidewalk and was able to tell us where to go... sortof. After a large and winding circle through construction and closed streets, we parked. As we walk to the entrace, someone exiting told us it was much colder in there than he expected. Cold? What the?!! Another sinking feeling. As we get closer, we see a sign that says Madagascar On Ice. Holy mother of Marty & Melman, we were at the wrong place AGAIN! At this point (8:05ish), I break the news to hubs that I’d read that if you walk in late, you may be asked to wait until intermission to be seated so not to disturb others. I’ll let you use your imagination as to how he responded. Therefore, I responded in kind. Again with the power walking, the stiletto jogging, the purse opening, the hashing out of the night thus far, the mist. Whoa, it was not a pretty moment. Shameless and dastardly. However...the light at the end of the tunnel. Across the parking lot stood our destination. The clouds parted, the Christmas lights gleamed, and we reached the majestic steps of the Grand Old Opry House after an arduous journey there. Already adrenaline-packed and in B mode, I was well-equipped to make sure we WERE seated, in the event they tried to make us wait for intermission. But luckily I was able to keep that one in my arsenal, as the usher seated us right away with a smile on her face telling us to enjoy the show.  Ahhh the first glimpse of a cool down. We made our way to the front row balcony seats we had carefully chosen, thinking they would be the best view in the house (we were right, mind you). I stepped on a foot with my heel, nearly knocked off someone’s jacket, then sat down and breathed a sigh of relief. In an instant, the music grabbed us, the leg kicks mesmerized us and all was right with the world. Within 20 seconds, all was forgotten. The splendor and marvel of the show made the previous couple of hours a distant memory. Before I knew it I was teary-eyed with joy, my husband’s arm was around me & I got the sweetest most sincere kiss ever. And so began a series of scenes involving all sorts of remarkable entertainment, concluding with a live nativity scene and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Touching and moving to say the least. I hated to see it all end. The show was opulent & grandiose. Literally the best show I have ever watched in my entire life. And I'm being for real here. Simply AHH-MAAAA-ZINGGGG! We left hand-in-hand feeling as blissful as newlyweds.


Afterward we found a funky little sports bar to go have a late night meal. Scoreboard is known for its Hot Chicken & BBQ, however I opted for the Philly Cheese Steak and homemade fries. It was delish and it totally hit the spot. I recommend! Dinner conversation was pleasant and uplifting. All-in-all a fab ending to a superb night! Except for the getting ready part  ;)

Day 2 began with the most amazing breakfast. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend (Shout-out to Lindsey) we ate at a little out-of-the-way place called Noshville, where we noshed on some fantabulous food.The atmosphere was so charming. Oh how I yearn for places like this close to home. From the whimsical waitress who said “It’s a great day for a Mimosa” to the peculiar little old man fulfilling his busboy duties in his shimmery Santa hat...who - God bless him! - happened to be a Veteran. And let’s not forget the Christmas decorations & the pickle ornaments hanging from the light fixtures...

I had the most scrumptious pancake I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, alongside bacon, eggs, a potato knish & marble rye toast. Delectable!


It was the breakfast that made the world go 'round! I might have uttered the words, “Shut the front door” after my first bite of pancake. This quaint little joint serves a breakfast that is the cat’s meow. I will return!
After that meal, we drove around just looking around. We visited the beautiful 333 acre Vanderbilt campus, where hubby was able to cross off yet another school in his quest to have his picture made in front of all SEC football stadiums.

The Commodores football team was on the practice field getting ready for their upcoming bowl game, I suspect. After watching that a few minutes we headed a few blocks over to check out a couple of stores. After a walk through the awesome Apricot Lane (which I didn’t know was located anywhere other than Branson) we went in a place called Two Old Hippies

What a pleasant surprise. LOVE that store. Could totally go broke in there. Bought a Christmas gift for a dear neighbor. Browsed until we’d looked at everything in the store. Absorbed the spirit of peace, love & rock n’ roll. Walked on, refreshed & inspired.
Next we made a stop at Urban Outfitters, located our dinner destination & headed downtown. We had planned to begin with a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Oddly enough, I - not an avid lover of country music as a whole - was more pumped about it than my hubby, who listens to country music WAY more than I do. When we found out it was going to take nearly 2 hours to tour, we talked ourselves out of it. Considering the brief duration of our trip, we could not justify spending 2 hours of our day in one place. Therefore, it’s on the to-do list for our next trip! We continued to walk around downtown. We perused Broadway & 2nd streets to visit local shops and soak up the culture, as well as the abundance of live entertainment.
Lunch was at Piranha’s on 2nd. First, let me say that I am SOOOO NOT a fan of fried pickles. The only ones I’ve ever even mildly enjoyed are the ones from Hooters, and even those can’t get me hooked enough to eat more than 4 or 5 at a time. But oh my how the tides have turned. I don’t know what sort of abracadabra culinary love potion they put on those pickles, but lawwwd have mercy they are mouthwatering!

As was my juicy burger with jalapenos...


I really just can’t say enough about the calibur of this burger. I am not a fan of restaurant burgers because they typically are made from frozen patties, and my palate tends to reject them. Except, of course, the burger-on-the-go type fast food fare. And even then...! Anyhoo, if I’m going to sit down and be served a burger I expect a notch above a Quarter Pounder. And that is exactly what I got. Only it was far more than a notch above. It was a big juicy monumental hunk of meat that was simply to-die-for. A table away, a couple of dudes had ordered a very curious looking burger that caught my eye. It was called a donut burger. Oh Emmm Geee. Just take a gander at this...

I was compelled to cross the lines of proper etiquette and disturb them for a picture. They were more than happy to oblige, as they were doing the exact same thing. Donut burger photography. Who knew. The guys said they'd been there the day before, reluctantly tried the donut burger, and loved it so much they were back for more! The plan was to go back for lunch Thursday before heading home in order to experience what can only be referred to as an unexpected treat. Unfortunately, mother nature put the kibosh on that plan! Another addition to the to-do list for next time.
After lunch we continued our sightseeing downtown until it was time to go get ready for dinner. The getting dressed process went a lot smoother than the previous night’s fiasco. Since the hotel’s lame-o shuttle policy put a kink in our transportation plan, we searched for other means. We had no intention of driving downtown in the dark, unfamiliar with the lay of the land, taking on the hassle of searching for parking 2 or 3 times which would either lead to jacked up parking fees or dealing with one of those contraptions known as [high-maintenance] meters. Therefore, we took the bus. That was an experience in itself. It wasn’t bad at all, just different than what we are used to. The $4 ticket sure beat the heck out of a $25 cab fare. After a trip to the downtown transit station and a 5 block walk - in a different pair of stilettos - to the bus stop on the route that would get us to our restaurant, we were there. Sambuca Nashville.
This beautiful restaurant pleased me before I even entered the front doors. As the hostess walked us to our booth (not just any booth), I see a vase of flowers awaiting us. Hubby, not lacking in the romance department, had called a local florist prior to our trip and ordered flowers to be delivered to me at the restaurant the day of our reservation. So there they sat. I must say it was a bit of a tear jerker. But back to the booth. It was a half-circle with a tall seat made of black leather with a tufted back. There was a cute little throw pillow thrown in for good measure. It may sound unusual but trust me, it fit the ambience nicely. The booth was partially enclosed by dark sheer curtains pulled to each side. The lighting was very dim, consisting of candlelight and not much else, except for stage lighting. The dinner entertainment was jazz musician Ben Graves. This music was absolutely perfect for the mood. The climate was a perfectly flawless mix of elegance, style, class & sophistication beyond compare. Is it obvious I was smitten with the cosmetics of Sambuca?
On to the food.
We started with Grilled Garlic Cheese Bread. Yeah yeah I know. It sounds like a simplistic dish for such a fancy shmancy place. But rest assured, that menu contained nothing of the simple sort. Nothing. Our main motivation behind this starter was the size of the dish. We certainly did not want something large enough to ruin our appetites. This bread did not disappoint.


Next came a Caesar salad, my personal favorite of the green leafy variety! It was fantastic. 


The meals. Ohhhh the meals. Mine: Lamb Chops seared and topped with a five-pepper mint jelly, served with smashed potatoes and asparagus. This wasn’t just any ordinary meal. My taste buds all but verbally thanked me as I enjoyed this delightfully lavish spread. 


His: Chili-Rubbed Scallops on risotto with smoked tomato cream sauce. There was also nice sized pieces of asparagus on the side. I am not particularly enticed by scallops, therefore I cannot attest to the yumminess of this meal. However hubby assured me it was pretty  darn “delicious!” 


Post meal: As I am a “professional” taster of cheesecake, it is no surprise that I ordered none other than a Cheesecake Sopapilla, the only cheesecake-focused dessert offered. Folks, this is no ordinary sopapilla. This is creamy sweet deliciousness in a pastry shell topped with cinnamon and sugar, drizzled in chocolate & trimmed with pieces of fresh fruit. Goodness gracious it’ll make you wanna slap your mama...and maybe even your grandma! *Interjection: I don’t really mean that, Mema!* But boy was it ever-so-nummy! Our attentive, knowledgeable & polite server arranged for this sweet treat to be on the house for the happy couple. Not only that, but the pastry chef went to the trouble of writing Happy Anniversary in chocolate. Mmmm. Doesn’t get much better than this...
Off to hit some hot spots. Tootsie’s in PCB was definitely a treat, so our goal was to visit the original before the night was over. It just didn’t happen and here’s why.
We started out at Wildhorse Saloon, another GREAT recommendation (shout-out #2) from a friend...


The entertainment in there was super. Phil Vaught’s If Her Lovin’ Don’t Kill Me needs to be on the charts because it’s off the chain! Unfortunately we only got about 30 minutes of him (some original music, some covers) before it was a wrap.  We moved on in our journey. Next stop, Cadillac Ranch. This was a recommendation from my brother. And a good one, indeed. The Springs (check 'em!) was playing there. Most entertaining band I have ever watched outside of a major concert. Five guys, five personalities, five entertainers! We were so into them that our live entertainment tour ended there. We stayed until the last song, then stayed a little longer for autographs, a picture & a purchase of 2 CDs. My prediction: they’ll be signed before 2012 ends. MARK.MY.WORDS. You heard it here first. Here's me with front man, Stewart.


Our night came to an end. The buses had concluded their routes to our area. We caught a cab. He turned up the radio for us. We made the most of a 20 minute cab ride back to our hotel. Great night!

I love this man! Please overlook the banged up pickup in the background, for which we did NOT notice until the next day. What a sore spot in the picture!


We woke up in no hurry to get out of town because, as I said, I just HAD to have a donut burger for lunch. But as luck, or lack thereof, would have it our time before rain moved in was limited. We headed back downtown to grab some grub. We walked right by this old vintage-looking Dollar General. I found it so cute that it scored a pic AND a place in this blog post :)


For breakfast/brunch we chose Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. Don’t let the name fool you. By grocery, I don’t mean milk, bread & Lucky Charms. It’s more like specialty/gourmet sauces, jellies & such. I was able to find a glaze I can't find around home. This place also dished up some exceptional food. I suspect that it, along with Noshville, also serve a mean lunch and dinner. Focusing on food eaten before lunch, though. I ordered the country fried steak platter with a side of grits. Look closely at the grits. Amongst the fabulously melting butter, you can see a bit of a shimmer. That is raw sugar. Such a lovely condiment. So much more appealing to the eye than white sugar, and a higher nutritional value. It's about to be my new thing!


On the flip side, my better half ordered a sausage burrito, enjoying every bite. He raved endlessly about this made-to-order treat from the chef. And about the biscuit. He's not much a biscuit eater, but this was no run-of-the-mill biscuit. I will agree with him on this one. That was one impressive biscuit!


We both had the most excellent meal to begin our day.

As we left Puckett’s, the rain had already begun to fall. So much for time spent downtown (and a donut burger) before heading home!


We had a few more gifts to buy to completely finish up our Christmas shopping, so we got on down the road out of the rain and made a stop in Jackson, TN. While there, we went in the Old Country Store in the Casey Jones Village. What an eccentric little throwback to “the good old days.” This gift shop had an eclectic variety of offerings. There’s no way to put it into words. Anyone traveling through Jackson, TN would be wise to make a pitstop here. What most amazed me was the candy. Lots and lots of candy. Take a peek at what I captured. The first shot is of the fantastic little retro soda shop inside the store. Below that - a cornucopia of sugary goodness.  It’s not just the barrels of confection you should notice. Don’t miss the candy in the jars, on the next row, on the beam........






See what I mean! Such a delightful little store with an endless supply of saccharine indulgence. Decadence in a barrel.
I can’t say enough good things about this trip, or about Nashville. So I’ll just cut it short. Did I have a great time? Heck yes! Is this town full of good times? Without a doubt! Will I go back? My sister & I have already begun the planning. One word for this trip? Epic. Wait, are we over that word? Ok, I’ll go with Winning!
Now to work on that to-do list...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Party Glitz

My final Christmas outfit. I felt it fitting to pull together some glitz and glam in light of holiday partying. Black polish with red glitter overlay... trendy and lovely. The shoes are everything a shoe should be. Everything about this dress screams sexy. The coat...well, it’s elegance personified. And there is nothing like a girl’s best friend to add that special touch. I personally see this ensemble as a show stopper.
Christmas Glitz


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Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Touch of Christmas


In keeping with the whole Christmas theme, I've chosen red again. This time with a touch of silver/grey. I love silver. I’m totally into monogrammed jewelry. Gray polish is my new thing. Needless to say, I absolutely would wear this outfit...and accessories! This week’s sweet style, my friends...

Click here  to see on Polyvore.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

T minus 24 days until Ben F!!!!

To quote the commercials...it’s BAAAAACK!
And by “it” they mean IT!! This...

The Bachelor!!
ABC is on its toes. We are seeing all sorts of intro pieces to - you got it, the season of Ben! Ben F, that is. Ben freakin’ Flajnik. Ok ok ok, I am fully aware he isn’t the most handsome of Bachelors ever to grace the screen. However, he is quite the hottie! He loves his Mom and his sister. He makes wine (shoutout #2 to Vergie). Enough said.
The commercials leave us guessing. An old lady. Hmmm. Well. I have nothing. The crier in the red dress. Please please please let her be the first one out the door. Hebert ruined me. I can’t take it. The tears. The whining. Gah!
I have just a few first impression opinions purely based on pictures:
Here’s one that surprises me. FINALLY, a bachelorette with some curves!

I think I’m going to like Linzi C. She looks wholesome and sweet. Almost Tenley-ish...

Another Emily. There’s also something about this girl that looks sweet. Maybe it’s the pink shirt. Maybe it’s the name. Nonetheless.

And all I can say about good old (pardon the pun) Sheryl is...WHAA?!?!

Trust me, I have other - mildly unsavory - opinions regarding overly enhanced body parts, unkept highlights, tacky tattoos & “dumb blonde” syndrome. BUTTT I think I’ll put up my claws and keep it positive until episode 1. No promises after that. Cheers to a new season. Cheers to a perfect Bachelor. Cheers to the anticipation. Cheers, Ben. See you soon. Until then, I’ll be watching your tweets...
Ben Flajnic “Ben F” - winemaker, sf giants fan, fernet branca, bachelor 16, boom.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Days of Kids-mas

On the first day of Christmas, my three sons gave to me...
12 broken glasses
11 years of Santa
10 muddy bike tires
 9 knockdown dragouts
 8 frozen pizzas
 7 wrestling matches
 6 tons of artwork
 5 stomach bugs
 4 baseball games
 3 scraped knees
 2 chocolate bars
 And a life of nothing but happy!
This post is dedicated to my rowdy, silly, oh-so-lovable kids. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nude and black can be fun!


I’ve always loved black, with or without a splash of color. No I’m not boring. No I’m not goth or emo. I see black as a blank canvas from which multiple looks can emerge. So there it is. Black is beautiful. Throw in some earthtones and some bangin’ accessories, and bingo - class and style.
My maiden “Sweet Style” lies below...


Nude and Black














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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sparkle & Shine & Do It In Red


It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Christmas - as a matter of fact, my blog appearance changed to reflect the season - and I also love shiny things. Is it a fashion faux pas to sparkle and shine? Probably, if not done tastefully. Am I too old to sparkle and shine? Maybe. Do I wear blingy things anyway? Heck yes, with pride! During the holidays I love to rock the bling. And red...lots of red. Those two things together make Christmas all the more beautiful.
I created these Christmas outfits in the spirit of holiday glam. They make me happy :)

Christmas Elegance












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Hiatus, Part Deux - Where Have I Been?



WOW! I thought 3 weeks was a long time to go without blogging. But 4 months...well that’s just ludicrous. Nonetheless, here goes.
In my absence, life has been extremely busy. Since my last post, chronologically speaking, school has begun. My baby entered his first “real” year of school. Kindergarten. He has hit the big time now. It didn’t take him long to win over his teacher. I hear stories of how well-behaved he is and I think, “is this really my child we are talking about?!” Of course it makes me wonder why he doesn’t reserve some of this behavior for home. But oh well...I’d much rather him behave well at school than at home. Moving on, my middle child entered 3rd grade. Overall, things are going well. He played his first year of Mighty Mites football. Now THAT was a fun experience. My little bobble head on a football field. WARNING: Gratuitous boasting ahead. In his first game, he scored 2 touchdowns! Such a proud moment for a Mom. My oldest, well he is in the 8th grade now. I have him in class for the 3rd year in a row. I have been fortunate enough to have taught him in 6th, 7th and now 8th. This is it, though. He moves on to high school after this. The sadness is setting in. My eyes well up as I type. Let’s not discuss it.
What else? Hmmm
Oh yeah. I added 2 states to my “Visit all 50 states before I die” list! Illinois and Indiana, I cross you off. This is thanks to a super fun road trip with a dear friend. We went to Indiana to see her Mom. Such a fun trip in all sorts of ways.
Took a trip to Dallas to watch the Hogs play A&M in the house that Jerry built. Another fun trip with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Always a treat! That stadium - oh man, there are no words.
I must brag on my wonderful hubby. We have a December anniversary. We normally go to Branson for our anniversary (with the exception of last year - we went to Florida!), and each time we do I hint that I’d love to see the Spirit of the Dance Christmas show. We always end up doing other things, though. Given, he has never actually expressed that he didn’t want to go. However he has never jumped at the idea of going. Soooo I’ve never pursued it aggressively. Recently he says to me, “I was going to take you to see Spirit of the Dance this year, but it’s no longer there.” You can guess what I was thinking. One word - convenient! BUTTTT.... just as disappointment set it, he surprised me with tickets to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. The real deal. Yayy! Nashville instead of Branson. Rockettes instead of the SOTD girls. He redeemed himself.
Currently, I am in full blown Christmas mode. My tree has been up for nearly a month. I have many gifts bought. My children are excited. Life is good.
Until next time... which, incidentally, will NOT be 4 months from now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Finale

I wonder how many I-HATE-ASHLEY-HEBERT clubs have formed since the finale.

The show begins with Ash sitting in the sun with her family as they wiped themselves down with towels...or in Lori’s case, watched sweat stream down her chest. It left me wondering why they didn’t set up this scene in a location a little less, ummm, sweltering.

Meet The Parents

JP comes strolling up the beach with his bottle of wine which is, without a doubt, rapidly nearing the boiling point. He sits down to charm the family. He asks them for a fire extinguisher to tame the flames rolling out of his derrière. Meanwhile, Ashley looks down her shirt hoping she isn’t up in flames herself. They sit down to dinner for the interrogation portion of the afternoon. Michelle “Bombshell” McGee aka Chrystie asks her sister if JP makes her laugh. Ash lets everyone know she makes herself laugh. They awkwardly try to move past this subject after Ash implies that he’s a complete bore. Although there was that one time when he told that really funny knock-knock joke. YESSSS, redemption! They ask for a do-over and to my *says with sarcasm* astonishment, her answer the second time around is “SO MUCH!” Giggling commenced. Ash gives herself a pep talk to be reassured that she is way funnier than anyone else at the table. The ladies retired to the AC to sip on White Russians so that Bombshell could pass judgment without sweating profusely, hence ruining the silver plating on her fake Chanel earrings. I agree that Ashley took a bit of a beating, but does she REALLY have to cry in almost every scene. And I swear she rubbed a bald spot on the top of her head with her excessive nervous finger brushing. Sob sob, rub rub, wipe wipe. She decides to go talk with her brother so that he will tell her what she wants to hear. Meanwhile, JP gets his turn with Bombshell. The alone time that was supposed to turn her around ended up in one of the tensest moments I’ve ever seen on the show. I’ve made no secret of the fact that JP slipped out of my good graces in Taiwan. However, it really wasn’t appropriate to browbeat him 5 seconds into the conversation. Again she goes back to the laughter question during family discussion. Searching for a reason to give him a hard time. Does she want him for herself? Did she not take her happy pill with breakfast? Did she leave her big girl pants at home? Or is she just a straight up... let’s go with bellyacher. Either way, I’m a little bit over her. And him too, for that matter. I wish their convo would’ve went down more like this...

Bombshell: Ok, JP, I don’t see it.
JP: See what?
Bombshell: A connection between you two. You don’t make her laugh. That’s just not acceptable. Have you tried armpit farting?
JP: Yes. I also tried the real thing and she still didn’t laugh.
Bombshell: You’re not right for her. Hmmmm...I think I’ll tattoo those words across my left ankle.
JP: I think you should put it down your arm and complete your sleeve.
Bombshell: Great idea! I like you, JP. Oh wait. I hate you, JP.
JP: No you don’t.
Bombshell: You’re right. I love you. I’m getting distracted. So back to the laughter thing. You don’t make her laugh. That’s all I have.
JP: Shut up and kiss me.
Bombshell: Ok but do you promise to make ME laugh?
JP: Well not with my kissing. Ashley says I’m the bomb at making out. And my cousin confirmed.
Bombshell: Tell me the one about the chicken crossing the road. I’m laughing already just at the thought of it. You ARE a funny guy. Or am I laughing at myself? Ok it’s genetic.
JP: Wanna go roller skating?
Bombshell: Only if you’ll play me some REO Speedwagon too.
JP: Done. Now go make Ashley cry again. I have a bet going.

Our resident skin head takes Ash for a walk on the beach to rag on her sister a little bit. That’s quite a no-no in my book. You don’t rag on someone’s sister like that. Uncomfortable conversation on the beach, a butt squeeze, then she walks off in a dramatic fashion leaving him standing in front of a setting sun. The next scene involved the sisters chatting about the JP thing. Ashley called her a dirty word and that’s pretty much the only portion of the conversation with substance. Bombshell does insert one very valid point. “You want me to just tell you what you wanna hear. You don’t wanna hear what I have to say.” True dat. However aside from that, it did feel like she was just trying to control Ashley and make the decision for her. Control freak. Maybe she and JP would make the better couple.

Ash meets up with tall, dark & handsome, aka Ben, to take him for the family introductions. He brings a bottle of bubbly. Let’s just hope it bubbles from carbonation and not from heat. Conversation with the family went swimmingly. He made Ashley laugh. SCORE, says Bombshell. Ben gets his one-on-one convo with the sister. She calls him Benny-boo. Apparently she had just watched How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. Interjection - Great flick. Moving on. He doesn’t get the third degree as JP did. Benny-boo wins Bombshell over with intriguing conversation...well, and with his dashing good looks. She strolls to the beach to send Ben off on a tiny boat while she gets ready for date night. She gives his booty a squeeze too. Something makes me think she might be a butt girl. Can’t quite put my finger on it, though.

Getting Their Dates On

Ben appears. Looking super cute as always. One more thing that only THIS guy can rock...above-the-knee trunks with neon colored trim. YES, you go Benny-boo. They head to a hot mudpit. They seemed completely taken by it, but it looked more like a dirty pond with thick sludge. Unlike Jake and Vienna’s sexy mud bath in St. Lucia. Ashley rubs herself down with mud at an attempt to make herself irresistible. She then makes an inappropriate joke about rubbing mud somewhere on him. She laughs at herself again. This chick is a one woman comedy show.

Night falls and a romantic stage is set. It’s their final date and he is stylin’ as always in cute slacks and a button up. She shows up in a gym-worthy ponytail, a flowy tank top and jorts. Par for the course. He tells her he loves her. A steamy makeout scene follows. She’s all over him, appearing to be into him like no other. (boy would that turn out not to be the case...there’s a name for girls like that)

JP’s date begins on the sea shore. They head up to a shady couch overlooking the ocean to sip water in order to keep their core temp in check, considering it’s 128 degrees there. He jumps into sister bashing again. Dude. Seriously. Let it go. Ash is such a rebel that she’s going to pick you just to spite her sister. Was I supposed to say spoiler alert? Anyhoo. He professes his love to her, she affectionately kisses his cheeks, he plants one of those “awesome” kisses on her. I gotta ask, though - is it just me or does he begin every kiss with an open mouth swallowing of her lips? Whatever. Back at his room, he gives her a gift. A photo album of their journey. Also, a letter to her inside the album. Sweet gesture. I’ll give him that. You think there’s a picture of Benny-boo in it? She heads out, hair a bit (or a LOT) more disheveled than when she first got there.

The Time Is Upon Us

Clips of times past begin. I am completely touched by every Ben memory. On the other hand, I didn’t love watching the JP journey. We got to relive the night Ash hopped in her ugly, I mean cute, pj pants and pouted about the dot dot dot. We watch the boys choose rings. Ben is the winner with that stunner! My nerves are shot, my palms are sweaty, I’m waiting for JP to hop out of the first plane, aaaannnndddd FAIL! Ben gets out. My hopes are still high at first. I’m waiting to see her beam as soon as he begins the walk up the makeshift deck. Then... he approaches. She doesn’t beam. Instead she looks nervous. Like a woman about to unload bad news. Tear tear. Boom - he delivers a heart felt speech and drops to one knee whipping out that gorgeous rock. She grabs his hands, pulls him up, and says she’s sorry. All he can say is, “Wow.” He is rightfully a little bitter and angry. Who wouldn’t be? It’s obvious she has led on like he’s the one for weeks now! As I said, there’s a name for girls like that. Favorite part of the scene - when he tells her not to sugar coat it. Really though, who wants to hear someone who has just dumped you sing your praises. GO BEN!! It may take time for him to realize it, but she just did him a huge favor. This girl is whiny, insecure, wishy washy & a bit on the classless side. Basically a train wreck. Although he was definitely the best choice, this is gold for women everywhere because 1) he is available to more deserving women, and 2) hopefully he’ll be the next Bachelor and we can have more of our Benny-boo!

At this point, I lost interest. Ben is heartbroken. I’m angry. Everything from this point is meritless. I watch anyway.

Here he comes. The apple of her eye. “Heeeyyyyy handsome! You like my baby doll voice? Can we make out before I give you a rose?” yada yada yada, yeah yeah yeah, will you marry me. She wants to be with him forever. He gets the final rose. They splash in the water. Video montage to REO Speedwagon. They stroll on the beach. He unnecessarily drops a dirty word. End credits. My loss of interest in this couple.

Theory: Not only did she want to spite her sister, but she was also intimidated by Ben. He’s got it together and so does his family. He’s the wine connoisseur who knows what romance and class are all about. She’s intimidated because he’s not the redneck, Boone’s in a Dixie cup, roller skating type. So there it is...she dates down due to her own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. Even though she seemingly has strong connections with others, she sends home the ones with more intelligence and class than herself. Case in point: Ryan, Ames, and now Ben.

Prediction: This lasts less than 6 months. At their first argument, his short fuse will surface and she’ll see the uglier side of him. And/or he’ll get tired of reassuring her that Emily is not better than her. And/or she'll mistakenly call him Bentley at an inopportune moment.

Thank you, Ashley, for confirming that you aren't the woman anyone wanted to see at the reigns this season. Thank you, William for roasting about that. Thank you, Bentley for providing immeasurable entertainment in the midst of boredom. WORST - BACHELORETTE - EVER!!!! dot... dot... dot...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A collection of thoughts... Episodes 7-9

Life and its super busy moments have suspended my Bachelorette blogging in recent weeks. Therefore, I have decided to combine my thoughts on the past 3 episodes and place them all in one post...
TAIWAN
Constantine gets the first one on one. They begin to paint a lantern. Ash paints a couple of peculiar things resembling something my 5 year old brought home from school last year. They move on to dinner and Constantine lobbies for her to keep him for hometowns. His face gets shinier, his hair gets kinkier and he babbles on while she nods with a blank stare and says nothing intelligent. What would Ames think about this? They release their lantern. Very cool! Best part of this uneventful date.
Ben gets the next date. Yippee! Once again she says she’s looking for the whole package. Just sayin. The only man who can rock a white sheer top is also the only man who can rock a scooter. Seriously. This dude is it. She tells him to keep his eyes on the road and what does he say? “It’s hard with the precious cargo I have behind me.” Awwww. Yes Ashley he IS the man. At dinner he says all the right things. Meanwhile she sits nodding with that signature blank stare, undressing him with her eyes, no doubt. She responds to nothing. She waits for his mouth to stop moving so she can lean in for a kiss. I’m having a Jillian flashback at this moment.
The group date card arrives. Ryan wipes sweat from his brow, squirms in his boxers, chews on his knuckles and tries not to tinkle himself. He is soooooo tired of being the only one without a one on one. His name is not on the card! Of course he verifies to make sure they aren’t yanking his chain. Done. One-on-one on deck.
The next morning Ben still isn’t back. JP sits on the couch stewing in his fury. We get a peek into his anger issues and his need to control her actions to suit him. All of a sudden I’m not feeling JP. Short-fused control freaks make me gag. He just slipped below Ames on my list.
Group date time. Wow she has evidently decided to make a mockery of these guys. They enter a boutique for wedding photos. Without a doubt they get butterflies, thinking they are about to score some super fly pics. Uhhh-ohhh, not so much. Lucas and Ames are given completely preposterous getups, while JP is given a traditional tux. Hmmm...could this be the result of his early morning temper tantrums? Loving Ashley’s cute finger wave for the oriental shoot, by the way. I assure you JP was NOT feeling that shoot, though. With Ames she got to wear a gorgeous long sparkling gown while he was stuck with a flamboyant suit with a snow goose hanging out of the pocket. Real fair, Ashley. She gets another pretty gown for JP’s shoot, but stands in front of a wrinkled cheesy background. Fail. They then gather for hors d’oeuvres -- hometown rose looming on the table. Lucas kisses her, Ames whips out old photos & JP’s veins protrude from his temples as he whines about watching her date other guys. Newsflash: this is a reality DATING show. He gets the pity rose, I mean the hometown rose.
FINALLY, Ryan gets his long-awaited date. His enthusiasm produces girlish giggles from within. It’s kindof cute, I must admit. Not much to this date -
Ryan sports a sweet pink button up.
Ashley has on a backless shirt I can’t quite figure out.
They throw bricks.
They have a long boring conversation about Tai-chi that quickly evolves into the fact that the sun is shining.
They show up at a picnic, Ryan on cloud 10.
He makes conversation about...well I’m not sure. He lost me at water heater.
Yada yada yada she dumps him on the spot and crushes his soul.
Michelle feels sorry for broken hearted Ryan as he unsuccessfully attempts to compose himself long enough for his exit interview...before hailing a cab. A cab! Really, ABC??
Ashley doesn’t need a cocktail party tonight because she has no desire to travel to the Lone Star state for a hometown. Or maybe it’s because she’s ready to get the heck out of dodge and doesn’t want to waste time. While she walks Lucas out, JP throws a jab at Ames, claiming he did NOT expect him to get a rose. Wow. Jerk.
Next, a sit down with Emily. She talks about her breakup with Brad and their continuing friendship. She seems genuinely sad, he couldn’t bear to show up and talk about it, but they remain broken up. I still love her, but I can’t figure them out. I’m over it.
HOMETOWNS
First stop:  Georgia with Constantine. It begins with lakeside chat on a picnic table. Cute. He lets her know they are headed to the family’s restaurant. She lets him know she can make a meeeannn PB&J. Kudos, Ash. They walk in and the female waitresses are all over Constantine. Hmmm. He charms her in the kitchen before they chill on the patio while those curious creepers, I mean waitresses, gawk and giggle. Awwwkwarrrrd. Ash and her man head out. They pull up to the crib and Ash can’t wait to be a part of this money, I mean this family. Pardon my Freudian slips. Momma Elleni takes Ash for a chat. Mom quickly, and in her own not-so-nonchalant manner, lets Ash know that if she chooses her baby boy she should be prepared to “come, here, part of this, relocate, jump right in.” She claims that relocating to the peach state would enhance HER SON’S life. Last I checked, Constantine was a grown man and can live anywhere he chooses. Run Ashley run!!!! Controlling mother = failed relationship. The family shows up for some Greek fellowship and plate breaking, or in this case, money tossing. Fun times. But I still have a gut feeling about Elleni. And creeping in the doorway watching them say goodbye is just plain old tacky. Don’t like that woman. What can I say.
Next comes Pennsylvania with Ames’ crew. What a beautiful place they have. She sits and talks with family members, having personal conversations with his sister and Mom. They are all articulate, sophisticated and intelligent. Not surprised. That picnic under the Magnolia tree and the carriage ride beside the water...phenomenal! He says some really interesting things on this date. For the first time, I’m liking what I’m hearing. Seems more down to Earth than ever before.
Ben’s turn! Sonoma, Cali here they come. Off to their winery for a tasting and then a picnic. He pours his heart out about his relationship with his family, memories of his father and the grieving process they all went through after he passed. Ashley’s response - “how come you’ve only brought home one girl to meet your mother?” Classy! He lets her know that if she doesn’t like and get along with his family, it’s a deal breaker. They finish their bordeaux and head out. His sister is sweet. His Mom is precious. They both carry themselves in an inviting way. This is a classy family! I love.
Oh boy. Now on to JP. Mister Romance takes her roller skating. He claims it’s because it was supposed to be raining. Ok sure. Sounds like a funny thing to do, but on a hometown date when you are trying to romance a woman you might not want to strap on roller skates and skate under the disco ball to REO Speedwagon circa 1985. Moving on to their “picnic” where he serves her Boone’s Farm in a Dixie cup. The only thing missing is a box of Ritz crackers and a can of spray cheese. The family seems like a happy one. They serve up a man size dish of some tasty looking lasagna. Ashley eats her fair share, then decides to experiment with bulimia.
Back at the mansion, at last. Did we really have to hear her talk about Bentley AGAIN? Ugh. She relives moments from the hometowns before it’s time to hand out roses to the guys she wants to spend the night with. Shame on me. How dare I accuse her of that. Still... First rose goes to sweet wine making Ben. Next JP. What? She knows that if she picks him, their overnight will involve a game of Twister, a Tab soda and a Culture Club concert. And lastly, Constantine. Ames looks around wondering if there is another rose hidden somewhere. He’s shocked. So just when I start to sorta kinda be ok with Ames, she gives him the boot. My theory - she was intimidated by the well spoken and posh family. She knows she’d never measure up. She bids him adieu and he is stone faced. What’s up with the handshake and the frozen smile? Is he up for a re-election of some sort? She lets the guys know what’s next. Destination Fiji. THIS is what’s up. Fiji has been at the top of my bucket list for a long time. Lucky them!
Can’t wait for the next 2 episodes. Who’s the mystery guest? And countdown to Bachelor Pad begins!
FIJI OVERNIGHTS
The episode people wait for. The pizza delivery episode. After 10 minutes of flashbacks from the 3 men remaining, our mystery guest appears. The obvious guess was Bentley but I didn’t think they’d let him vacay in Fiji after paying for his vacay in Hong Kong. My next guess was Ames. But we get Ryan. Obviously he doesn’t accept rejection well. I like Ryan but he’s a bit delusional to think she’s changed her mind. Has he watched the show before? Every season a disgruntled cast off comes back asking for a second chance. Every season, they are rejected again. With the exception of Ed Swiderski. Doubt Ryan joins the ranks of Ed and his green shorty shorts.
Numero Uno - Ben. They take off on a sweet yacht chillin’ on the deck rubbing sunscreen on one another. Although I’m pretty sure it skipped a part, based on her lotion request. Benny sportin’ some muscle tone. Oooh la la. Sunset kiss on the yacht. Double oooh lala. Of course they’d get a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach. So glad Ash dressed for the occasion. Yellow tie dye cotton dress that came from a t-shirt shop, frizzy unbrushed hair, and does she realize she left her eye lashes and eye makeup back at the room? Just can’t ever tell about this girl. Sweet Benny stumbles as he tries to communicate those 3 little words. In the end he decides not to go there. However where the fantasy suite is concerned, yes, he decides he WILL go there.
Next in line - Constantine. Riding off in a helicopter to swim underneath a waterfall. Cliche much? Conversation that didn’t grab my attention. Moving on to dinner, which began a bit boring as well. But just when I was zoning out, here it came...interesting conversation:
Constantine: I have something to tell you, Ash.
Ash: What’s that, honey? That you’re ready to rise up against your controlling mommy?
Constantine: That’ll never happen. I think she could take me.
Ash: What, then?
Constantine: In the past, affection has been instinctive for me. I have never hesitated to hold a woman’s hand, kiss her cheek, grab her booty, you know...that crap women like. But with you I find myself holding back. I’m not feeling this. I have no desire to hold your hand or grab your booty.
Ash: But... but... but...
Constantine: I prefer the term booty.
Ash: Is it because I am the chair of the IBTC? Itty bitty is in! I swear!
Constantine: Not in my world. Anyway, the truth is I like Ben more than I like you.
Ash: But who’s gonna make me pizza and build me a big house?
Constantine: I couldn’t care less, Emily. Oh crap, did I just say that out loud?
Ash: YES. I totally heard that. [says in whiny voice] WHYYYYYY am I not good enough?
Constantine: Because you eat gravy over your french fries.
Ash: But it’s delish. Who cares though. You’re a jerk and I love Bentley anyway. Ummmm did I just say THAT out loud?
Constantine: Yeah actually you did. It’s the end of the road. I have some waitresses to get home to.
Smartest move ever! Walked out... leaving her holding the fantasy suite card. Chuckle.
Ashley’s next move - dump Ry all over again. I just know the world was shocked to see this. Or something like that. Bless his heart, he left his big girl panties at home. You’ll be fine, buddy.
JP is last. They go to their own private beach. Talk about a great place to fall in love with somebody! Having a date in a picturesque locale like that could make Tom & Jerry fall in love. JP is being weird again. She asks what’s been on his mind and he clams up. Jeez.
They go to a little island oasis. I have to interject to say great earrings! Moving on. She tells JP that she said goodbye to two men the previous day. He about choked on his Pinot! He thought he was the only one left. Oopsie. Ben is still in the running, mister. He forgets all about that when she hands over “the key” though. I’m surprised he finished reading the whole card before jumping up and running off as he unbuttoned. Needless to say, they used the key.
It’s time for the weekly chat with Chris. Another street corner dress, another sad hairdo. Is the show’s stylist on strike this season? Even though there are only 2 guys left, she chooses to have a rose ceremony out of fear that someone might have leaving on their minds. They both accept and she tells them that she would have let Constantine go anyway. Ok whatever.
I’m just ready for The Men Tell All. Specifically...Bentley. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m tired of Ashley talking about him. That said, I’m ready to hear him talk about her! He’s such a jerk that he crosses over into funny. Guilty pleasure. If TMTA does not disappoint, I’ll be back when it’s over. Otherwise, until the finale. Dot dot dot.