Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend update...

Weekends are by far the best part of the week. However, as any graduate student would attest, weekends are usually full of exuberantly large amounts of school work. Tampa is abuzz with things to do right now because it's Superbowl weekend. The weather has actually cooled off to a decent temperature. There are movies galore that I would love to see. There are craft and sewing projects calling my name. All I can think about is curling up on the couch with Heaven and reading magazines.

Unfortunately, doctor school has invented a cruel torture know as the Clinical Competency Exam. The fate of my entire year of diagnostic training rests in the hands of the CCE. If I don't pass, I have to complete another full year of diagnostic clinical training, which means an extra year of school. Stress inducing, yes. The CCE isn't really a traditional's more of a case presentation. And it is LOADS and LOADS and LOADS of work. So I will be stuck inside all weekend scoring assessments, conceptualizing data, transcribing client interactions, forming hypotheses, and writing reports. Sigh.

One of my classmates was watching a special on the history channel, and apparently all of these philosophers and scientists have predicted that the world could end in December 2012 due to some crazy cosmic event. So my classmate and I were discussing how we are officially done with school in 2012, and how it would really suck if we've wasted all these years becoming doctors only to have the world end. That's the kind of stuff I'm thinking about today while I longingly gaze outside. But "this too shall pass", right?

A lovely game of tag...

I've been tagged by one of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Texan Couture!

Here are the rules:

Step 1: respond and rework—answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.

Step 2: tag—eight other un-tagged people

Make a list of things you can see without getting up: Heaps of text books, psychological tests, picture frames, candles, and a mug of freshly made Ghirardelli coffee

What are you wearing now? A slate grey American Apparel long-sleeved turtleneck dress, thick black tights, and black Zara knee-high flat boots

What’s the last thing you read/are currently reading? An Interpretive Guide to the Personality Assessment Inventory by Leslie C. Morey (I'm interpreting test data today)

Do you nap a lot? I wish!

Who was the last person you hugged? Hubby

What’s your current obsession/addiction? Sewing, Vanilla Caramel Truffle tea, Ghirardelli coffee, cashmere scarves, my new Conair Infiniti Hair Designer Pro, and blogging

What websites do you always visit when you go online? Facebook, Blogger, JCrew, Amazon, All Recipes, and MySpace

What was the last thing you bought? Conair Infiniti Hair Designer Pro (this thing is seriously AMAZING!)

What are you listening to right now? Sirius satellite radio (Cosmo radio)

If you could have any super power, what would it be? To be able to cure people of incurable diseases and mental illnesses

What is your favorite weather, and why? I love crisp autumn weather...I just feel better when the temperature is cooler and autumn smells are in the air

What time do you usually get up? 5:45 on clinical training days, 8:00 on regular school days

What is your most challenging goal right now? Trying to be financially responsible and getting out of debt

Say something to the person who tagged you: Texan Couture--I love that we are both Louisiana girls with an affinity for Marc Jacobs and king cake :)

If you could have a house–totally paid for, fully furnished–anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? Since it can be anywhere in the world, I'd have to say Paris or Amsterdam. But my true dream home is actually attainable...I just want a gorgeous old Southern home in Louisiana.

Favorite vacation spot? I haven't been able to take a vacay in years since I go to doctor school year round, but as soon as I'm done I'm planning a trip to ITALY!

What is your favorite item of clothing? I absolutely adore dresses and skirts...I wear them practically everyday. I especially love feminine dresses that can be belted at the waist.

Name one thing you just can’t resist no matter how bad it is for you: McDonalds....mmmm

Favorite pair of shoes you keep going back to over and over, even though your closet is overflowing with a zillion others: I am actually pretty good about showing all of my shoes love, although my Zara boots are probably getting the most attention right now simply because they look fab with dresses and over skinny jeans.

What is your favorite restaurant: I am a total foodie, so I have many :) If I have to narrow it down I would say Mama's Seafood in Natchitoches, LA, Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans (nothing is better than beignets and cafe au lait!), Ceviche Tapas in St. Petersburg, FL, and Samari Blue Sushi in Tampa. Now I'm hungry.

**One I added:**
What is one accessory you can't live without? Handbags! I have a serious addiction to buttery leather and an ongoing love affair with Louis Vuitton.

I tag:

The Fabulous Life of a Southern Belle

Serious Shopaholic

With Love From New Orleans

Park Avenue Princess

Steak & Cakes

Chic & Pink

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A simply amazing read...

I love devotionals. I often pick up devotional books that I find while browsing bookstores, yet somehow never find the time to actually read them on a daily basis. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. This book is probably one of the most beloved devotionals of all time, and with good reason. The other day, I decided to pull this pretty book off my bookshelf and make time to read it each day. The devotionals are short but powerful. I highly recommend this classic to anyone who is a devotional fan or who is just looking for a great way to continue their walk with Christ.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Men are masochists...

Here is the infamous waxing video. Several of hubby's friends are now requesting that I wax their legs. Maybe I should start a little side business. Please ignore the horrible song in the background...I'm not sure what hubby was watching on TV but it sounds like we're in an 80's strip club.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beauty is painful...

Last night, hubby asked me to wax his legs. My hubby is not a metro...for some reason mountain bikers shave their legs. Personally, I think it's just an excuse for men to engage in feminine beauty rituals for the sake of sport. But I digress...

So hubby asked me to wax his legs, and I must say I rather enjoyed the experience. It isn't too often I get to see a man fully experience what we ladies go through on a regular basis. Hubby screamed profanities and yelled at the top of his lungs. As hubby was fighting back tears, I reminded him that having a strip of hair ripped off his leg paled in comparison to having a Brazilian.

He made a little video of the process to show his mountain bike buddies. I will try to convince him to upload it to my blog so you all can have a good laugh.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm in love...

With this bad boy...

I don't know how I ever lived without him.
Thank you, Bissell, for bringing so much joy into my life.

(Bissell PowerSteamer PowerBrush)

Maybe I was a jewlery designer in a past life...

As predicted, I rushed back to the craft store as soon as I woke up this morning. While looking for heavy duty wire, I discovered some stone beads that looked strangely familiar. Then it dawned on me...they looked like the beads on the JCrew necklace! And they were on sale for 50% off! I immediately pulled up a picture of the necklace on my IPhone and started gathering up materials. My end result doesn't look exactly like the originally coveted necklace, but I must confess I am quite pleased.

Hubby has the good camera in Vegas, so the color quality of these photos is pretty crappy. The colors are much more vibrant in real life. My inspiration was the Golden Avocado and Lemon Jade.

This is the end result of my chunky bead project. The color of this necklace is more true to life in the photo of the beads I posted yesterday. I think this may quickly become my new favorite accessory.

I will most definitely be incorporating these into my outfits over the next few days, so I will try to get some photos that do these little lovelies proper justice.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Do you ever have those moments where you're all prepared to do something and then you realize you're missing a key element? It happens to me all the time when I go to cook something and then see that I forgot to buy a crucial ingredient. I bought these gorgeous stone beads a while back to make a chunky necklace but never got around to buying a clasp, wire, crimp beads, etc.

This morning I went to the craft store and rounded up the rest of the materials, only to get home and realize the wire I bought is way too thin and can't support the weight of the stones. Sigh. I am determined to make this necklace this weekend, so I guess it's back to the craft store tomorrow. I'm trying to convince myself that this necklace will somehow curb my desire for the JCrew glass bead necklace I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

I was up all night with a sick baby (i.e. my miniature Pomeranian Heaven). Hubby is still in Vegas, so I am trying to manage being a single parent. I have had my hands full with her. She seems to be feeling better today, thank goodness. She is napping right now in a pile of her daddy's laundry.

I'm going to try to be very productive this weekend since I'm home alone. On my To Do list is mounds of school work, steam cleaning the carpet, and making a king cake. I am also dying to get started making a dress from one of my vintage patterns if time allows. Hubby will be home early Sunday morning, so I am hopeful we have time to squeeze in a little date after church.

Hubby actually admitted that Bette Midler's show was very entertaining. Last night, he ate at Mario Batali's. Last night, I ate Ramen noodles. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Watching history unfold...

I know I'm a bit behind with my Inauguration post, but this week has been crazy busy. Needless to say, it was amazing to watch history. Not only were the ceremonies beautiful, but it was so touching to see the hope in people's faces. I haven't seen Americans come together in such camaraderie since 9-11.

I haven't watched an inauguration since Bill Clinton in 1993. I don't remember much about it, although I do recall him playing his saxophone at some point...maybe at a ball. Music has always held a special place in my life, so I often correlate music with memories. That said, I cannot even begin to express what I felt when they announced that Itzhack Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma were going to play at Obama's inauguration. I so greatly admire these two men and their musical talent. They are hands-down my two favorite classical musicians. The fact that John Williams composed the piece further contributed to my joy. I always adored playing his compositions when I was a musician. In my opinion, he is THE greatest American composer of all time.

These are some of my favorite moments from the festivities:

I thought Aretha's hat was absolutely fabulous. I noticed quite a few classic, chic, and sophisticated hats throughout the audience. I especially loved the hats on all of the dapper men. I love hats because they remind me of a time when people just seemed to care more about their appearance and looking respectable.

I think Michelle Obama made an excellent choice with this Jason Wu gown. The color and fabric were feminine and elegant while the design was fresh. Perfect for a fashionable First Lady.

I just love this picture because I think it captures the love shared between the Obamas. They are truly an inspirational couple. I also love that Michelle selected sassy green pumps instead of the traditional Washington black pump. I can't wait to see if the ladies of Capital Hill start to follow her trends.

The great Yo-Yo Ma. I will forever associate this performance with the inauguration of 2009.

What were your favorite inauguration memories?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a day, what a day (WARNING: Venting Ahead)

Today was just one of those days. You know the ones where you wake up and just know it's going to be a crappy day? That was today. On Tuesdays, I commute an hour and a half to do my clinical training at a psychiatric hospital. Just thinking about the drive puts me in an ill mood (I absolutely hate driving, and Florida drivers are the worst in the world...seriously). I'm also scared to death of bridges, and I have to cross two big ones to get to work. So I wake up this morning and the first thing I hear on the news: "Be extremely careful going over the bridges this morning...wind speeds are gusting at 20 mph." So I immediately try to think of excuses to call in today. At 6:00 AM I can think of nothing worst than spending an hour and a half fighting to keep my car from flying off the bridge into the ocean. I fondly refer to one bridge that I drive over as the "Bridge of Death". It is ridiculously high because cruise ships have to be able to pass under it. The bridge is actually named the Sunshine Skyway. I don't think you should have to drive over anything with the word "sky" in it. Here are a couple of photos of the Bridge of Death:

Then this afternoon, I had a patient say to me "You really need to brush your hair. You're starting to get a rat's nest." I gave her the nastiest look I could muster. Then she says to me "You're hair is really dark. I bet you're really a blonde."

I finally got home, opened the door, and Heaven didn't run to greet me. She ALWAYS comes to the door and sticks her little face in the crack. Immediately I was worried that something had happened to her. Then I saw her hiding in a corner of the living room. This tells me that she was doing something bad when I got home. I looked around for evidence but couldn't find anything chewed up. I still don't know what she was up to, but it was definitely mischief. I have a feeling she was humping something. She knows I disapprove of her humping things, so she only does it when I'm not around or she thinks I'm not looking.

Thank you for letting me vent...tomorrow I will be back to my usual happy self.

Hubby is in Vegas on business, so I'm going to spend the night watching the inauguration. He sent me this picture from the plane:

On his agenda for tonight is Bette Midler's show. Now I would love to see her show, but hubby--not so much. Hubby is the type of guy who races mountain bikes and obsesses over football. I can't wait to hear what he has to say about the show.

I miss him already.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sweet and salty and totally addictive...

Since many of you have the day off tomorrow and may be looking for something to do, I thought I would share this delicious recipe for cashew brittle. I love how it is perfectly crunchy, salty, and sweet.

Cashew Brittle

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups cashew halves and pieces
2 tsp baking soda

Mix first four ingredients together and let come to a boil. Cook until it reaches the hard crack stage. Stir in cashews. Add baking soda and beat until well mixed. Pour out onto a well greased pan (**I used a large cookie sheet.**). Once candy has cooled, break into large pieces. Then try to resist eating the entire batch in one day :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The way to a girl's through Mignon Faget

I have always had an affinity for jewelry. It doesn't matter if it's real or costume...I love it all. With Valentine's Day quickly approaching (which means now is the perfect time to start dropping hints to your significant other), I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to my favorite jewelry designer: Mignon Faget.

Mignon Faget's designs are inspired by elements reflected throughout Louisiana and New Orleans. She incorporates architectural design as well as natural influences. Her pieces are worn and admired by most women in Louisiana. It has often been said that Mignon Faget is to Louisiana ladies what Tiffany is to New Yorkers. Although I've been collecting her pieces for years, there are still many designs I'm lusting after. These are my favorites that I'm hoping to eventually add to my collection:

Venus' Reef Collar

Rosette Interlacement Cuff

Marquis Dangle Earrings

Large Moonsnail Necklace

Zea Maize Collar

Jeweled Raw Diamond Scarred Node Cuff

Gumbo Necklace

Engaged Column Pearl Ring

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Louisiana diet...

My home state is known for it's unique cousine. One of my favorite Louisiana staples is the meat pie. Yes, I know the name doesn't sound very appetizing. Fortunately, I started eating these when I was a child or I may have never been compelled to try something called a meat pie. But trust me...they are absolutely AMAZING. Once you make these, you will be planning your trip to Louisiana for the annual Meat Pie Festival.

Natchitoches Meat Pies

1 tsp shortening
1 lb ground meat (beef)
1 lb ground pork meat
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pod garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
Salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste
1 Tbsp flour

1 quart flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup shortening
1 cup milk

Melt shortening in heavy pot. Add meat and seasonings which have been chopped into small pieces. Stir often. When meat is done but not dry, remove from heat. Stir in one Tbsp flour.

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. Beat egg and add to milk. Work gradually into dry ingredients until proper consistency to roll. Break into small pieces and roll very thin. Cut into rounds using a saucer as a guide.

To assemble: Place a large Tbsp of prepared meat along edge and halfway in center in of round dough. Fold the other half over, making edges meet. Press edges with a fork. Drop into deep fryer and cook until golden brown. Drain and serve hot.

(**My family also likes to add about 3/4 a package of finely chopped pepperoni to the meat mixture. The pepperoni adds additional spiciness and, as Emeril would say, really kicks it up a notch.**)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So much to do, yet so little time...

School is back in full swing, which means my blog time has been severely reduced these past few days. I'm finding it hard to get back into the rigorous routine of the semester. The mornings I have my clinical training are the worst. I just don't feel like it's proper for any human being to be forced out of bed before the sun rises.

Although my semester readings should really be restricted to text books, I couldn't help but buy this book the other day:

I've only had time to read a few pages, but I'm loving it thus far. I'm very tempted to sneak it into Stats class tomorrow night. Yes, that's right...ANOTHER semester of Stats. And it's a night class. I seriously don't know how I'm going to survive this. Stats class already makes me behave like a child. I am normally a very studious, respectful, and attentive student. But Stats changes me. I squirm in my seat. I get uncontrollable fits of the giggles. I pass notes to my friends. I shoot dirty glances at the people who read their Stats books over the weekend and actually know what the professor is talking about. It's terrible.

Resolution #371: Be a better Stats student. Or at least try not to behave like an 8-year-old.

And last, but certainly not least, I am so grateful to the beautiful Ashley at The Fabulous Life of a Southern Belle for these awards. She is an absolute sweetheart and I adore her blog!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why I love date night...

Date night is one of my favorite parts of the week. Hubby and I always try to make time for this, even if it's just for a couple of hours. Although hubby and I love to get dressed up and go out for a fancy meal, one of our favorite places ever is Mel's Hot Dogs. It is possible I could eat at Mel's every day. I'm actually wishing I was there now.

This little eatery is actually a somewhat famous spot. The walls are covered with pictures of celebrities and well known people who have eaten there and sung its praises. There are also tons of photos of people wearing Mel's shirts or holding Mel's bumper stickers in exotic locations all over the world...including Antarctica!

My favorite dog...topped with mustard, onions, sauerkraut, and a pickle.

Hubby looks like he's afraid I'm going to steal his Chicage style dog. And maybe I would have.

Mel even has a convertable Weiner-mobile (you can't see the front of the car, but it has a hot dog weinee coming out the front just as it does in the back).

I also must confess that Mel's has the best sweet tea in Tampa. Good sweet tea is hard to find in this area since South Florida is not really Southern. I probably consume a gallon of it everytime we eat here.

I love date night. I love my hubby. And I love Mel's Hot Dogs. Enough said.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Life's little luxuries...

Today I got my hair cut for the first time in what felt like ages (doctor school has certainly had an impact on my formerly high maintenance beauty routine). I had forgotten how AMAZING it feels to have someone massage my scalp, rinse AND repeat, and brush my hair. And what a luxury to have someone else blow out my long wavy hair all perfectly straight and shiny.

Resolution #265: Do not blow monthly budget sneaking off to salon.

When I'm a doctor, I vow to go to the salon twice a week for a shampoo and blow out. I also vow to happily indulge in the complementary champagne.

How to spend a Thursday night...

Tonight is the National Championship game, and I must admit I'm not all that excited. I would like for the Gators to win since they are representing the SEC, but I don't think I'll be paying much attention to the game. Instead, I'll be noshing on this delicious dip. The recipe is courtesy of the fabulous Giada De Laurentiis. Don't you just love her? I'm slightly obsessed with her modern Italian recipes and laid back style of entertaining.

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

4 pita breads, split horizontally in half
2 Tbsp plus 1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (I used dried parsely and it tasted fine)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 garlic clove

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges on a large baking sheet and brush with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Then sprinkle with oregano and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn wedges over and bake until they are crisp and golden, about 8 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and the remaining salt and pepper. Pulse on and off until the mixture is coursely chopped. With the machine running, gradually mix in the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Season the puree with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer peree to small bowl and serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside.

I plan to spend the rest of the night curled up with a cup of tea and the new issue of Harpers Bazaar. Hope you all have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fashionable Treasures

While I was home for the holidays, I discovered some treasures packed away in the top of a closet. My mom had saved an entire box of vintage patterns from the 60s and 70s! I was beyond excited as I dug through them. I selected a few to bring back with me to start on. When I'm going to have time to sew, I have no idea. But the thought of creating unique outfits from these vintage patterns brings me a lot of joy. My mom also gave me an amazing Simplicity sewing book from the 70s, which I have been devouring. It's full of helpful tips and photos, and it sold for a whopping $1.00 back then! I think I may go fabric shopping tomorrow and try to make a dress over the weekend. I'm especially eager to try the coat dress (bottom row, 3rd from left). I can just picture it in yellow with heels and tons of pearls for Easter.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Polynesian Chicken Salad

I have never really been a big fan of chicken salad. However, a family friend introduced us to this recipe several years ago and I was blown away. I like to pair it with a buttery croissant for lunch or a light supper.

Polynesian Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced canned pineapple or seedless grapes (or both)
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine chicken, celery, pineapple, grapes, and almonds. Blend mayo with sour cream and seasonings. Pour over chicken and toss lightly. Chill.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wouldn't you know...

As soon as I decide to be "financially responsible" and stick to a budget, the JCrew website gets updated with all of the fabulous spring arrivals. Sigh. I want everything. I know I don't NEED anymore cute little cardigans, skirts, or long chunky necklaces, but I can't help but WANT them.

These jade beads would be a very versitile addition to my jewelry wardrobe. I would love to have 2 strands and wear them in layered lengths.

I want this entire outfit, right down to the candy colored belt.

I'm a sucker for anything leopard print, and lately I've been drawn to shades of yellow and mustard. This would be a perfect outfit for school.

To keep myself from dashing off to JCrew tomorrow, I seriously need to be productive and get to work on the rest of my resolutions. The getting organized thing isn't going so well! Maybe I should take the money I want to spend at JCrew and hire a maid for the day...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Working on my resolutions...

When my alarm went off at 7:00 this morning, I was so tempted to turn it off and go back to sleep. But I managed to drag my sleepy self out of bed and make it mass on time. I'm so glad I did because today Epiphany was observed and the church looked absolutely gorgeous. I really wish I would have taken a picture of the full Nativity Scene. Epiphany is also the start of Mardi Gras! Since I won't get to go home to celebrate, I'm going to attempt to make a king cake from scratch all on my own.

After mass, we went to one of my favorite spots in Tampa...Nola Cafe. I love going there when I feel homesick. It reminds me of the lazy mornings (and late nights) I used to spend at Cafe du Monde.

My delicious beignets and cafe au lait

Stuffing my face (once upon a time I could never eat all three I practically lick my plate)

I should have taken a photo of hubby's breakfast...he ordered a crazy breakfast sandwich that consisted of an omelet and andouille sausage on a piece of french bread, smothered with cheese and hot sauce. It didn't look that appetizing on first glance, but my taste buds convinced me otherwise. It was pretty amazing, but I don't know if I could ever stray from my beignets.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The perfect bowl game snack...

We made these delicious little bacon and tomato cups for Christmas Eve, but I think they would also be great for snacking on during a bowl game. I'm going to make them again next week for the National Championship game.

Bacon & Tomato Cups

8 slices bacon
1 tomato, seeded and chopped (I used roma)
1/2 onion, chopped
3 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp. dried basil
1 (16 oz.) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (regular size, not Grands)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease mini muffin pans. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon into a medium bowl and mix with tomato, onion, cheese, mayo, and basil.

Separate biscuits and cut individual biscuit into quarters. Press each piece of biscuit into prepared muffin tin. Fill with the bacon mixture. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling. Can be baked and rewarmed.


Happy 2009!

I hope everyone's new year is off to a fabulous start! I am back from my lovely Christmas holiday in is always so hard boarding the plane back to Florida and this time was no exception. January is such a depressing month for me. I'm always so sad when Christmas is over. I used to be able to look forward to Mardi Gras break, but unfortunately Florida does not let us out of school for such things. My next break from school won't be until April. That's right...there is no spring break in doctor school. Sigh.

But I am determined to start 2009 off on the right foot and make some positive changes in my life.

1. I want to be more organized. My life is so hectic during the semester that I never have time to clean and organize things. I'm trying to get all of that taken care of before spring semester starts so that I can just do small amounts of "maintenance" until my next break in April.

2. I want to be healthier. This includes not only my physical health but my emotional and spiritual health as well. Again, this is something I neglect due to my hectic schedule. But this year I am determined to make time to enjoy the small things in life so that I'm not overwhelmed by stress. I also want to make it a priority to attend church, study the Bible, and do devotionals more often.

3. I want to make a budget and stick to it. I feel like now is the time to become more responsible financially. I've always been a hardcore shopaholic, but my closet literally cannot hold another thing. Not one shirt, one shoe, nada. I could probably "shop" my closet and not wear the same thing twice for 2 years. Seriously. So what better time to try to implement this lifestyle change?

I have also decided that in 2009 I'm going to try to spend more time sewing, crafting, cooking, and I REALLY want to get back into my music. I was a classically trained musician for 16 years...I miss it immensely. I want to go on picnics with my husband, take Heaven to the beach, enjoy Saturday mornings at the farmers market, paint teacups at the pottery cafe, relax on my porch with a cup of coffee...

I will have upcoming photos and recipes from my trip home. I send you all best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2009!

P.S. Although I was certain I failed my Stats final because I stayed up all night finishing that monstrous Stats project, I ended up with an A in the class =) A true Christmas miracle!