About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

The One with All the Pictures - Thanksgiving Week Photo Explosion & Recap

Well - I don't know about you, but I enjoyed my Thanksgiving break. I also know I'm sad it's over, I'm sad that my sinuses could not handle the wild temperature change between MS and VA (almost 70 when we left my sister's, about 45 when we arrived home) and is making me pay for it today and I'm sad that I won't see my sister daily. Well - at least for the next three weeks.

Otherwise - there is naught but happiness here, for those things above are trivial things to be sad about and the past week was filled with plenty of moments to be quite happy about. A season of Thanksgiving and a reminder of the many, many things I have to thankful for.

The drive home on Monday night - shaky, but I love the sunset over the mountains & I love getting to see it on the way home.

The week started pretty quickly - which maybe sounds like a crazy way to phrase it, but I guess what I mean is there wasn't much down time. I worked on Monday, en route to the house on Monday night I picked up pizza at Little Caesar's (and almost face planted off the sidewalk leaving the place...) and we drove all the way to Dandridge, Tennessee before finally stopping for the night shortly before midnight. Eek! Watson did spectacularly all the way to MS - I had no doubt he would do awesome but I think my parents were pretty pleased with his travel endurance. His travel endurance consists of sleeping almost the entire trip - but you know, to each their own.

When we'd stop and take breaks, my Mom and I would walk Watson...until my Dad came out of the rest stop and took over. He'd run Watson around the place, putting him through his paces like some kind of show dog. My Dad was pretty certain Watson didn't just need to skip around and sniff things; he needed to really run and blow off some steam. Hey - whatever you prefer Jeffrey.

Watson - always up for an adventure!
Especially up for a good nap in the car, ha-ha!
Waiting for his Lindsey Beast to get home from work...
We stayed with my sister all week and she was a lovely host - even if she was very particular about how I went about unmaking the bed - ha! I'm kidding Lindsey! Love you! We were bums for most of Tuesday night...well, we were bums for more than just Tuesday night, but then again, it was Thanksgiving Break - so a break was called for. On Wednesday we explored and shopped some in downtown Columbus; I always like to stop in at Deep South Pout, a store that Lindsey introduced me to last time I visited. We had lunch at Cafe on Main - a mainstay of downtown Columbus that had some pretty delicious down home Southern cooking! I have no doubt Watson's favorite part of the visit though; besides getting to be with his whole family, was the dog park mere steps down the street from Lindsey's house. He ran wild and free on several occasions and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!

Good ol Southern cooking - fried okra, black eyed peas & mashed taters...with Sweet Tea, of course!

Watson enjoying being king of the "mountain" & getting some Lindsey cuddles.

Sliding down one side of the climbing obstacle...eek!
And here is where so many of the pictures come into play - ha! Of course we celebrated our turkey day exactly as one should; with more food than you could ever actually eat! We had turkey, ham, dressing (stuffing - what do you call it?) mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, lima beans and rolls. Whoosh! We had to wait on dessert (red velvet cake, pecan pie and lemon meringue pie) until we'd taken a little afternoon stroll. My favorite thing on the menu was; as always, my Mom's sweet potato casserole and I'm realizing as I type this that I never managed to have more than my one little serving! Aw man! My little sister is no doubt enjoying polishing off what is left.

I wish I'd had more than one spoonful of this goodness! 
Watson in his bow tie - outfitted handsomely to beg for some turkey & dressing!
After watching the Macy's Parade and polishing off quite a bit of food, we decided we needed to get outside and do something besides sitting on our rear ends! Columbus has a river walk and so we decided to load up, head down to the river walk and stroll around some; Watson was especially thrilled to be included in this, even if it did mean he had to pose for some pictures every once in a while. One thing about packing for Thanksgiving in MS that I didn't really think too hard about? The weather! I looked at it once or twice; it looked like the weather would hover around 60, and then I packed up my bags and didn't think about it again. Well - almost every day the weather topped out at above 70 degrees and sunny! Don't get me wrong, the weather was absolutely gorgeous! I just didn't have anything gorgeous to wear in all that heat! Blegh! I struggled through, one day even wearing fleece lined leggings with a dress...because well, it was what I had!

Lindsey & I pretending we aren't sweating....
There are tons of antebellum homes in Columbus - after we left the River Walk, we drove around and looked at some of them (from the car). I interspersed those photos in here too...and yea, I have no clue what any of the houses are called. But they're pretty...




The Summerlin children with the granddog - who was obviously interested in something besides looking at the camera.

The sis & I - posing & secretly contemplating when we'd start acting wild for photos. 

I promise I'm not holding his head like that - he actually looked!



We made the mistake of parking under a big ol Oak tree while we explored the River Walk and apparently half of Columbus' bird population likes to roost there - the car was covered in crap, no other way to put it. We decided to head through the car wash on the way back to Lindsey's house and let me tell you - Watson was NOT a fan. I'd never taken him through a car wash for the very reason that I assumed he'd absolutely freak out. He did. Bless him.

Talk about being in a panic.

This face clearly says "car washes are NOT okay!"
We started our Friday with a trip to Starkville - and our first stop was The Biscuit Shop - Lindsey was so thrilled to go get biscuits that she quite literally ramped over the curb and into a parking lot across from the shop. She swears she thought it was the entrance to a parking lot...I'm not convinced. She just wanted those biscuits! We had lunch at Abner's, a place I'm pretty sure I haven't been to since I went to college for a semester at Mississippi State...but surprisingly, not much had changed. The chicken was still good, the tea was still sweet and the walls were still covered in MSU and SEC sports memorabilia. We cruised around campus (the calm before the Egg Bowl storm) and hit up a few shops before heading back to Columbus to visit with family and watch a Christmas movie.

Delicious chicken - and sweet tea!

The curb jumper with the biscuits. Ha-ha!

The day before the Egg Bowl madness....

Lindsey's little home - all decorated for Christmas!
Saturday was such an absolute whirlwind - just thinking about all we did makes me feel sleepy; although there is probably more to it than just that. We woke up at 6 AM, left the house around 7 and drove to Collinsville to visit with my Mom's family for a couple hours, then drove into "downtown" Collinsville to visit with my Dad's family and give my cousin a send-off before he deploys on Tuesday. After lunch, we drove back to Columbus to drop Watson at the house and purchase emergency rain ponchos before cruising up the Interstate to Starkville for the Egg Bowl. And when I tell you the first time I felt relaxed (besides when I fell asleep in the car...hehehe) was sitting in those stands, well - that's the truth and is kind of goofy too.

Saturday morning breakfast of champions - biscuit lady biscuits in raspberry, cranberry-orange & carrot cake!

En route to the game with the essentials!

The Junction

The (blurry) view from on high. So many people...so many tents.
I had not been to an MSU game since I was in college at MSU - and folks, that seems like a lifetime ago. So many things have changed but some things have certainly stayed the same. Let me tell you though; that gigantic, massive, absolutely huge Jumbotron on each of the stadium is pretty spectacular...as are the fireworks when a touchdown is scored and don't even get me started on the fire that shoots up when they players enter the field. Wow. Granted, I certainly would have liked to see more of the fireworks...the bulldogs weren't victorious but I still had a really good time and remembered all the wonderful things I love about Mississippi State football.

The new cowbell being put to use - the old one is still boxed up...

M! S! U!



Give me an S! Give me a T! Give me an A! Give me Another T! Give me an E!

That's right - I can ring two cowbells at once - because that's how much spirit I have.

Trying to keep her hood on during the downpour...thankfully it was short lived.

Dak Prescott's last home game with MSU - a fond farewell.

Adios MSU - until next time...whenever that might be.
We drove home all day on Sunday. All day. In the rain. Blegh. I know I was about to go stir crazy and by about hour ten of thriteen, Watson has started just hanging his head in despair that he'd ever be freed from the car. Bless him. The last stop we made, he was like "nope...not getting back in that car..." but of course, he soldiered on and was one thoroughly thrilled little puppy when we arrived at home. I was one thoroughly thrilled person when we arrived at home. The week was wonderful but the drive/ride was long...and I'm glad I won't be driving anywhere again until late March. Whoosh!


Settling in for the journey.


I leave you with my panoramic shot of Davis Wade Stadium - with Lindsey posing, of course.

Monday, November 23, 2015

London Bound - Harry Potter and Heights

There are twenty-six days people. TWENTY-SIX. As in...less than a month. That's right - I'm a little bit excited about all this London business and so I thought I'd share just a few more things we'd be doing while we are in merry old London Town!

First and foremost on this post - are you a Harry Potter fan? Well, let me assure you that we are definitely fans in our house...at least, my sister and I are huge fans, my Mom has read the books/seen the movies and my Dad...well, I suppose he likes it all just fine because we like it, you know?

Well - a large chunk of the Harry Potter films were filmed at Leavesden Studios in Leavesden and as the films were made, the props, costumes and sets were put aside in the event they were needed later in production. When the final film wrapped in 2010, the studio was left with thousands of intricately designed costumes, sets and props...and nothing to do with them, so the Warner Bros. Studio Tour was conceived and the tours began in March of 2012.

Leavesden Studios - The Warner Bros. Studio Tour
The Lobby 
The tour offers the chance to walk through the set of the Great Hall...right over the very stone floors that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint traipsed across filming the movies and you can also stroll along Diagon Alley if you'd fancy. The backlot is also a big part of the tour and allows guests to check out Number 4 Privet Drive, board the Knight Bus and even take a picture on Hagrid's motorcycle. Costumes and prop used in the films are located throughout the studio and when you've finished touring you can certainly help yourself to a tankard (or four) of Butterbeer...and let me tell you; I've had the stuff and I think I'm going to try to figure out a way to smuggle it out of there. Do you think it'd make it through customs??


Incredible: This extraordinary model of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is due to go on display for the first time
Hogwarts - A filming model, obviously.
Great Hall: Inside Hogwarts Castle at the studios near Watford in north London
The Great Hall
The tour will no doubt be a highlight of our visit to London - granted; I feel like the whole trip itself will be a highlight if I'm being honest, but I'm sure this will be a lovely way to start the New Year though. The most delightful part of our tour is that because we are arriving mere days after Christmas, we will be getting the Hogwarts in the Snow Tour. The Great Hall will be decked out with eight Christmas trees, wreaths will line the walls, the Gryffindor Common Room will be festively furnished for the season, the Goblet of Fire will be on display as well...spitting out blue and red flames, much like it did in the movie. Hogwarts Castle will be covered in a blanket of snow as well; after all, the tour is called Hogwarts in the Snow...right?

If you're headed to London and you're a fan of Harry Potter, I think this should definitely be something on your list. If you want to check it out just because - look no further than right here. 

I mean - it's received the royal seal of approval. It's obviously amazing.
Another treat - I think - will be taking in the amazing views from the London Eye. I'll be the first to let you know that I'm terrified of heights. Terrified. So, I'm not 100% certain how this whole thirty minutes turning ever higher will really work out for me but I'm also bound and determined to give it a whirl. Pun completely intended.

The London Eye - All 443 feet of it.
Step right up...step right into your very own pod.

The London Eye was opened in March of 2000 and was (until 2013) the highest viewing point in London. Eek! There are 32 capsules (one for each borough of London) that allow passengers to ride in air conditioned (hopefully heated in December) comfort as the Eye makes it approximately thirty minute rotation, offering unparalleled views of London as far as the eye (Eye...hehehe) can see. 

I'm looking forward to ascending to great heights...albeit with a slight hint of trepidation. However, I know this could definitely be a once in a lifetime chance; I certainly hope to return to London in the future, but you never know. There are so many places to see - so I figure I'd better seize the chance to take a turn on the Eye when the chance is offered!

The Eye at Christmas
So - there you go. Only twenty-six days to go...and I still feel like I have so much more to share! I can't believe this trip is getting so close! Christmas will soon be here...and when it arrives, I'll be in London! 

Happy Thanksgiving



From My Home to Yours - Happy Thanksgiving!

Watson Wednesday - Bark Box, The Third

This week's Watson Wednesday post is a little longer than usual - because Watson got his third (and final, for now) Bark Box! This box was somewhat Thanksgiving themed, although I was surprised that there weren't any turkey flavored treats or toys...but still, it kept the theme fairly well.

I sat the box on the floor and let Watson do his normal routine of sniffing things out and then letting him inspect each one. He always knows the box is for him because it is filled with delicious (it stinks to me...) smells that entice his little puppy nose!

Oh look - another box just for me?
Trying to reach in & pull something out - so he can eat it! 
I only signed Watson up for a three month subscription - I wasn't sure what would come in the boxes and my pup tends to be extremely ambivalent about toys; as I've mentioned before, he could care less about them. I feel like that was a good call for us because after three Bark Boxes, he now has five toys (I gave one away to a friend) that he doesn't do much of anything with. I know...I know...I could have given those away too, but they're so cute and a part of me hopes that he'll decide he likes them. One day.

Watson is NOT so picky about things to eat - he loves food, he loves treats and so the variety of treats that came each month offered him new and different things. I know sometimes the boxes have treats and a "clothing" article but sadly we weren't lucky enough to get one of those boxes, so I think for now we'll be done with Bark Box - but maybe I'll try it out again after some time has passed!

Nature's Bits with Bison, Apples & Peaches
Nature's Bits - These definitely intrigued Watson the most; I thought they smelled awful but he wanted to dive into the bag snout first! He had some of these treats as soon as we got everything out of the box and inhaled them immediately - he loves beef flavored things and bison is honestly just a better tasting version of beef (have you ever had a bison burger?) - so I'm sure if that applies to human food, surely it applies to dog food too.

The Squash
The Squash - This is one of those toys that is designed to make the dog work for a treat. I think; for that reason alone, I might be able to get him to play with this toy! Victory! He sniffed and licked at this but so far, that's all he's done. I haven't quite figured out what I might stuff into the Squash - it obviously has to be small enough to fit in and out of the hole but not so small that it falls right out! However, I think we might have finally found a winner as far as toys are concerned!

Peas in A Pod
Peas in A Pod - Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen? I'm absolutely in love with this toy...and of course, Watson gave it one sniff and moved on to other things. The little stinker! All three peas come out of the pod and have squeakers, while the pod itself is crinkly. I think this could be such a fun toy but Watson has no interest and since I'm goofy, we'll probably end up hoarding it because I have the hope he'll eventually want to play with it. I just don't have the heart to think of it getting torn to bits by some other dog, ha-ha! I know - I'm nuts.

Bully Chew
Bully Chew - Another one, eek! I know Watson loves these and he will no doubt devour this one just like he did the other...but I can't get past the things ever since a co-worker let me in on what it's made from. I won't elaborate here, you can google that if you feel the need. I know that Bully sticks tend to be very high in Sodium content, so I'm glad we won't be getting anymore of these. While I know I might be happy about that, I'm sure if Watson could voice his opinion online, he'd say exactly the opposite. Oh well!

Bark Box Approved - Pig Ear
Bark Box Approved Pig Ear - Another favorite for Watson, he can demolish a pig ear like nobody's business and enjoys every last bite. I guess if there is one thing my dog definitely likes, its animal parts. Eek! Gross! I suppose if it makes him happy, that's all that matters, right?


So - our final Bark Box may have been the most successful, if only because at least one of the toys can be used in conjunction with treats and so he might...maybe, just maybe he might play with it! I really enjoyed the three months that Watson received a Bark Box, I love what the company is doing and they were so easy to work with. 

We had an excellent experience with them and if my silly little pup would only play with toys, I'd have signed up for a much longer commitment! If you think Bark Box is something your dog might be interested in, feel free to check it out here - I don't think you'll be disappointed - and I know your dog will thank you!