Monday, August 29, 2011

Wedding Bells

My good friends, Nicole and Chris, got married a couple of weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to get to be a part of their awesome wedding!  (Sorry, the post is so late…I was waiting on pictures).  

The wedding took place Friday August 19 at The Grand on Foster in Dothan, Alabama at 8:00 pm.  The venue is absolutely perfect for a wedding!  It is so pretty that it doesn't require a lot of decorations (that means you save money)!  If you want to get married in South Alabama you should definitely check out The Grand on Foster.

I also have to give a shout out to the photographer, Amanda Griffin Smith of Pratts Photography).  Amanda is so sweet and did a fantastic job!  The pictures turned out great!  I posted a few pictures below, but visit Pratts Photography to view the rest.

 The newlyweds!  Doesn't the bride look beautiful!

The amazing wedding party!  (haha)

The venue (I told you it was pretty)!

The wedding ceremony took place outside, and then we headed inside to get our dance on!  This is by far the most fun I have ever had at a wedding.  So, thanks Nicole and Chris for letting me be part of your special day!  I wish you two the best!      

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Silhouette SD Review

I've had several people ask me if I liked my Silhouette SD or not.  I've also received a lot of questions about the difference between the Silhouette and Cricut.  So, I decided to answer everyone's questions at once.  Keep in mind that I've never actually used a Cricut before.  I did a lot of research before purchasing my Silhouette, so I'm just using that information to compare it to a Cricut.

Let me start by saying that I love my Silhouette!  I suppose that it does have a few flaws, so I listed the pros and cons of the Silhouette SD for you below.

  • No cartridges - Unlike the Cricut, the Silhouette doesn't use cartridges.  You can either use any image saved on your computer (including images downloaded from the internet), or you can buy images from the Silhouette Online Store for $0.99.
  • More control of what you cut - The Silhouette comes with Silhouette Studio software that allows you to design and edit the images you want to cut.
  • It can cut any font installed on your computer - I think this is the best feature.  You NEVER have to buy fonts.  There are already a ton of fonts installed on most computers, and you can download free fonts from  
  • Longer cut length -  The Cricut can only cut lengths up to 24", but the Silhouette can cut lengths up to 39".  
  • Smaller - The Silhouette is smaller and lighter.  It takes up much less space and is very portable.
  • Narrower cut length - The Cricut's maximum cut width is 11.5", and the Silhouette's maximum cut width is 8".  This only really matters when it comes to using vinyl.  Cricut vinyl is 12" wide, so you either have to cut it to fit or order Silhouette vinyl from
  • More expensive -  My Silhouette SD cost around $250 plus shipping.  I think the Cricut costs a little less.

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons (at least in my personal opinion).  Actually, the cons list will be even shorter since Silhouette America just released a brand new cutting machine.   The Silhouette Cameo is replacing the Silhouette SD, and it is a little bit different.  It will cut 12" instead of 8", so you can use Cricut vinyl with it.  The one major drawback to the new Silhouette Cameo is the price.  It is $299.99 plus shipping.  You can no longer buy the Silhouette SD on the Silhouette America website.  So, if you are looking for a cheaper route, I would suggest  You might find a good deal on a Silhouette SD.

    I've also included a tutorial on how to cut an image downloaded from the internet using the Silhouette SD.

    1.  Find an image you want to cut and save it to your computer.
    2.  Open the Silhouette Studio software and open the image.

    3.  Click on the trace image button.  (You have to trace the image so that it will actually cut the image itself and not the edge of the picture.)

    4.  Click select trace area, and drag grey area over part of the image you want cut. 
    5.  Unselect the High Pass Filter check box.
    6.  Click Trace.

    7.  Click Cut Style and make sure that the lines you want cut are highlighted in red.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Cookin' for My Captain Giveaway

    Since I've been all crafty lately, I decided to open a shop on Etsy.  Not long after I listed my first items, Carolyn from Cookin' for My Captain (that's her blog) messaged me about the water bottles with cheerleaders and football player that I made.  She was planning on doing a giveaway when her blog reached 400 followers and asked if I'd be interested in participating.  Of course, I said yes!  I think it will be a great way to promote my shop!

    Carolyn is super sweet, and today is actually her birthday!  Happy Birthday Carolyn!  Her blog is pretty awesome, and you should be following it if you aren't already.  She cooks these amazing meals and then blogs about them.  Her food all looks delicious, but I haven't made any of the recipes yet (that's just because I'm a terrible cook…haha).  Like I said, you should definitely check out her blog Cookin' for My Captain.

    Back to the giveaway.  All you have to do to win is follow the steps that are listed here on Cookin' for My Captain.  Then, a winners will be selected, and will receive a personalized bottle.

    Here are some pictures of what you can win.

    I ran out of those bottles, so the bottle itself will actually be different.  Here is a picture of the new bottle. (Don't worry, it won't have that strange logo on it…haha!)

    Check out my Etsy shop here.  I you see something you like, use coupon code SAVE10 to get 10% off your order.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Southern Belles

    One of my Facebook friends posted a link to an article the other day that I LOVED!  So, I thought that I would share it with you guys!  

    Before you read this article, you should know that I love being from the south.  I know other parts of the country make fun of us because we talk slow, say funny words, and name our children after our mother's maiden name.  But, that's just because they don't understand.  

    We just do things differently down here, and personally I think we do them better.  We eat lunch at my Ninny's house every Sunday after church.  (Everything she cooks is good, but my favorite is when she cooks breakfast.  There's no competing with her biscuits and fig preserves).  I learned to drive my grandeen's truck in a cow pasture.  I graduated high school with 69 people who I'd known since kindergarten.  We drink sweet tea and say yes ma'm and no sir.  It may not sound like a glamourous life, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    Now you can read this article.  It was written by Allison Glock and featured in the August/September 2011 issue of Garden & Gun Magazine.

    Southern Women
    A new generation of women who are redefining the Southern Belle 

     It is not posturing, or hyperbole, or marketing. (See: all those song lyrics about California girls and their undeniable cuteness.) Southern women, unlike women from Boston or Des Moines or Albuquerque, are leashed to history. For better or worse, we are forever entangled in and infused by a miasma of mercy and cruelty, order and chaos, cornpone and cornball, a potent mix that leaves us wise, morbid, good-humored, God-fearing, outspoken and immutable. Like the Irish, with better teeth.

    To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort. Which is why even the girls in the trailer parks paint their nails. And why overstressed working moms still bake three dozen homemade cookies for the school fund-raiser. And why you will never see Reese Witherspoon wearing sweatpants. Or Oprah take a nap.

    For my mother, being Southern means handwritten thank-you notes, using a rhino horn’s worth of salt in every recipe, and spending a minimum of twenty minutes a day in front of her makeup mirror so she can examine her beauty in “office,” “outdoor,” and “evening” illumination. It also means never leaving the house with wet hair. Not even in the case of fire. Because wet hair is low-rent. It shows you don’t care, and not caring is not something Southern women do, at least when it comes to our hair.

    This is less about vanity than self-respect, a crucial distinction often lost on non-Southerners. When a Southern woman fusses over her appearance, it does not reflect insecurity, narcissism, or some arrested form of antifeminism that holds back the sisterhood. Southern women are postfeminism. The whole issue is a nonstarter, seeing as Southern women are smart enough to recognize what works—Spanx, Aqua Net—and wise to the allocation of effort. Why pretend the world is something it isn’t? Better to focus on what you can control (drying your hair) and make the best of what you have. Side note: Southern women do not capitalize on their looks to snag men, though that often results. The reason we Southern women take care of ourselves is because, simply, Southern women are caretakers.

    An example: I have lived in the North off and on for fifteen years. In all that time, only once did another woman prepare me a home-cooked meal (and she was from Florida). I recently visited Tennessee for one week and was fed by no fewer than three women, one of whom baked homemade cupcakes in two different flavors because she remembered I loved them.

    Southern women are willing to give, be it time, hugs, or advice about that layabout down the road. Southern women listen and we talk and we laugh without apology. We are seldom shocked. Not really. Sex in the City may have been revolutionary for the rest of America, but not for Southern women. Of course we bond and adore each other, and talk about all topics savory and otherwise. That’s what being a woman means.

    In Terms of Endearment, a dying Debra Winger visits a friend in New York and is immediately bewildered by the alternately indifferent and aggressive way the women relate to each other.

    “Why do they act like that?” Winger asks a friend, genuinely confused. Why indeed?

    Southern women see no point in the hard way. Life is hard enough. So we add a little sugar to the sour. Which is not to suggest Southern women are disingenuous cream puffs. Quite the opposite. When you are born into a history as loaded as the South’s, when you carry in your bones the incontrovertible knowledge of man’s violence and limitations, daring to stay sweet is about the most radical thing you can do.   

    Southern women are also a proud lot. In any setting, at home or abroad, Southern women declare themselves. Leading with geography is not something that other ladies do. You do not hear “That’s just how we roll in Napa.”  Or “Well, you know what they say about us Wyoming girls…” You may hear “I’m from Jersey,” but that’s more of a threat than a howdy. 

    There are other defining attributes, some more quantifiable than others. Southern women know how to bake a funeral casserole and why you should. Southern women know how to make other women feel pretty. Southern women like men and allow them to stay men. Southern women are not afraid to dance. Southern women know you can’t outrun your past, that manners count, and that your mother deserves a phone call every Sunday. Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches. Southern women know the value of a stiff drink, among other things.

    Which brings us to what can only be called: the Baby Thing.

    Southern women love babies. We love them so much we grab their chubby thighs and pretend to eat them alive. This is not the case in the North or the West or the middle bit.

    I grew up, like all Southern girls, babysitting as soon as I was old enough to tie my own shoes. I was raised to understand that taking care of children was as natural and inevitable as sneezing, that when we were infants, somebody looked after us, and thus we should clutch hands and complete the circle without any fuss. I was also taught that your children are not supposed to be your best friends. Southern women do not spend a lick of time worrying about whether or not their kids are mad at them. They are too busy telling them “No” and “Because I said so,” which might explain why there are rarely any Southern kids acting a fool and running wild around the Cracker Barrel.

    I have two daughters, Dixie and Matilda, and when we go down South, they are surrounded with love from the moment we cross the Mason-Dixon. Elderly men tip their hats. Cashiers tell them they are beautiful. To be a girl these days is more fraught than ever. But growing up among Southern women sure makes it easier.

    Which is why we are moving back home. I want my children to know they belong to something bigger than themselves. That they are unique, but they are not alone. That there is continuity where they come from. Comfort too. That there are rules worth following and expectations worth trying to meet, even if you fail. If nothing else, I want them to know how to make biscuits. And to not feel bad about eating a whole heaping plate of them.

    Because before I know it, my girls will be grown. And they will be Southern women too. And that, I believe, will have made all the difference. 

    You can read the rest of the article here.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Subway Art

    I've been off work all week, so I've FINALLY gotten around to creating some subway art!  It was really time consuming, but I think it turned out pretty good!

    I started on this first project a few weeks ago.  Since I'm always broke, I decided that I would make Ty something for our 5 year anniversary (you know how much boys LOVE homemade gifts…haha).  He loves baseball, so I thought it would be cool to make subway art out of some major league baseball fields.  Obviously, my gift is a little late since our anniversary was July 19.  Oh well, better late than never!  ;)

    Please ignore the fact that the canvases are laying on the kitchen floor :)

    My second project was a lot more personal.  I thought it would be neat to turn all of the streets that I've lived on or just love into artwork.

    Here's a list of the streets I used:

    1. Brookside Drive - the street my mom, sister, and I live on
    2. McFarland Boulevard - the main street in Tuscaloosa
    3. County Road 81 - the road I grew up on and where my dad still lives
    4. Hargrove Road - the street mine and Nicole's apartment was on Junior year
    5. 1612 4th Avenue East - the address of the house I lived in sophomore year (it was destroyed in the tornado)
    6. Paul W. Bryant Drive - home to Tutwiler (my freshman dorm) and Bryant-Denny Stadium
    7. 15th Street - another main street in Tuscaloosa 
    8. Veterans Memorial Parkway - where my apartment was located last year
    9. Peggy Road - where my grandparents live (the dirt road is named after my grandmother)
    10. 17th Street East - street that Chris's house was on (the one we survived the tornado in)
    11. Highway 82 - the road between Opp and Tuscaloosa that I've driven one to many times
    12. University Boulevard - the strip :)
    If you're keeping count you noticed that I lived somewhere different every year of college.  That's right…I've moved like 5 times in the last 4 years!  

    I'm going to try to contain my enthusiasm about my last project…but let me just say that it's freaking awesome!  I can't believe that I managed to not screw it up…haha!  Here's a picture, so you can understand  what I'm talking about!

    On this one please ignore the fact that some of the words are crooked.  I'm a perfectionist, so it's driving me nuts!  I promise the next one will be better!

    Just so you know…it is impossible for me to just read this!  I sing it in my head (sometimes out loud) and wish that I had a shaker…haha!

    I hope you enjoyed my artwork!  Like I said, it's really time consuming, and it took some trial and error to get the hang of it.  Mom and Magen will tell you that the error part involved a lot of me yelling at the canvas…haha!  But, the end result is totally worth it!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Pomp and Circumstance

    After waiting for 3 months, I FINALLY got to graduate from the University of Alabama!  I was supposed to graduate in May, but the ceremony was pushed back to August because of the tornado.  It didn't happen exactly the way I had planned, but the end result is the same.  I am an Alabama alumni!

    The weirdest part was being in Tuscaloosa and staying in a hotel.  I absolutely hate not having an apartment there anymore!  I need to win the lottery so that I can buy a condo next to the stadium for football season…hahaha!

    Here are a few pics from graduation

    After I was done with all the graduation festivities, it was time for Jeffapalooza!  What is Jeffapalooza?  August 6th was supposed to be my friend Jeff's wedding day…but that kinda fell through.  Instead we celebrated his singleness the best way we knew how.  We started the night at El Rincon and ended at Rounders.  Of course I have pictures!

    To sum up the weekend:
    I got to eat a Iguana Grill, graduated from college, drank a margarita from El Rincon, had a reunion with all my friends, and got to see the Whiskey River Band!

    I would say that it was a pretty successful weekend!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Do the Watermelon Crawl

    Happy National Watermelon Day!

    Yesterday was a pretty awesome day for 2 reasons:
    1.  I got Alabama football season tickets for graduation!!!  My Mom called me yesterday morning to ask if I'd rather have the money or the tickets.  My response was "Duh!"  So, that's right folks, I'm officially an Alabama football season ticket holder (at least for this season).  I believe that deserves a Roll Tide!

    2.  I found out that today is National Watermelon Day!  Who even knew such a day existed?  You probably think that I'm crazy since I'm so excited about a day devoted to watermelons.  OK…cut me some slack, I live in Opp.  There isn't a whole lot of excitement around here.  I mean who doesn't like watermelon anyway?  It is pretty much the greatest food ever!  And, it's just not summer without half a watermelon in your fridge.  :)

    In honor of National Watermelon Day, I posted some cool ideas I found on Pinterest.

    Watermelon jello shot  =)

    How cute are these watermelon cupcakes???

    Watermelon margarita…enough said!

    I know I've already blogged about this one once…but it's a watermelon cake!  I think that's worthy of multiple blog posts!

    I think this is awesome!
    Photo curtesy of:

    I just thought this picture was cute.  If only it wasn't frowned upon for an adult to have watermelon juice running down their chin!  Sigh...

    Since I posted a lot of alcoholic beverages, I think I should be responsible and leave you all with a bit of advice.
    "If you drink don't drive, do the watermelon crawl."   haha

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    I Will Praise You in this Storm

    I saw this video a few days ago on Facebook, and it inspired me to share my miracle.

    I was not injured, did not lose my home, was not trapped in rubble, and did not lose anyone I know, so you may not think my story is as miraculous as some.  But, I know (just like everyone else who survived this storm) that it is by the grace of God that I am still here without a scratch on me.  If that's not a miracle…then I don't know what is.

    Let me go ahead and warn you, this is going to be REALLY long!  It won't hurt my feelings if you don't read all of it.  At the bottom of the page is a slideshow of mine and my friend Cam's pictures (which I borrowed from Facebook) from the tornado.  So, you might just want to scroll on down to that :)

    Since April 27 is the worst day of my short life, I will just start at the very beginning.  So get comfy, like I said it's a long story.  Here we go!

    I knew from the moment I woke up on April 27 that it was going to be a bad day.  But, I guess you always assume that when you are woken up at 5:00 am by a thunderstorm.  I knew that there was a good chance of tornados (because that's all anyone could talk about the day before), so I got up and turned on the TV to see what James Spann was saying.  I saw that we were only under a watch, so I tried to go back to sleep.  Of course that was pointless since the thunder and lighting keep me awake.  I had class at 7:30 that morning (why the University scheduled a math for finance class at 7:30 am is beyond me) so I just got up and kept watching the weather.  Around 6:30 I started debating whether or not I should go to class.  Most of the bad weather had passed Tuscaloosa, but it was supposed to get bad later that afternoon.  All of the Tuscaloosa city and county schools were closed, but of course, the good ole' U of A was still open.  I probably wouldn't have gone if it hadn't been the last class before finals and my last day of college classes ever.  So, being the good student I am, I went on to class.

    I got to class at 7:30 and my professor brought us doughnuts (which is really weird because he had never done that before)!  I won't tell you about class, because I know you don't care haha…moving on.  I got out of class at 8:45 and walked across the quad to my job in the Rose Administration building.  I normally shared an office with three other ladies and another student assistant.  When I got there, no one else was in my office (which is also really weird because at least one of them is always there).  My boss came to check on me and told me that I could leave if I wanted.  I told her that I might as well just stay on campus since I had another class at 3:00.  

    I stayed at work until about 2:50 and then headed back to class.  I had a really bad feeling as soon as I walked outside.  The sky was really dark, and it was so humid that you could almost catch the water in the air.  Like the weatherman said, it was perfect conditions for a storm.  My class was on the 2nd floor of Gordon Palmer, so we could watch the sky getting darker and darker out the window.  We knew that it was only a matter of time before the sirens went off.  At 3:45 we finally heard them.  During a tornado warning the professor is supposed to take his class to the bottom floor of the building and hold everyone there until the warning is over.  Apparently mine didn't get the memo.  We all went downstairs and then left when our professor disappeared.  I got in my car and was heading to my apartment when my mom called me (I forgot to mention that she had been harassing me about the weather all day).  She told me not to go home (because I lived in a 2nd floor apartment by myself) and asked if there was somewhere else I could go.  I told her that I would just go to my friend Chris's house in Forest Lake.  

    When I got there, Chris and our other friend, Cam, were outside throwing the football.  None of us were too worried about the weather at that point.  We sat outside for a while and then went to McDonald's to get Chris some food.  It started raining around 4:30, so we went inside to see what was going on with the weather.  About 15 minutes later the sirens went off again.  After a few more minute it stopped raining, so the boys went back outside.  I stayed inside, because I was starting to get worried.  We had been watching the weather on Chris's big plasma TV in the living room, but the power flickered and turned it off.  So, we had to watch on the little TV in Chris's room.  

    At about 5:00 I looked outside and saw that Cam and Chris were talking to the Alabama baseball players that lived across the street.  I walked back to the bedroom and saw that a tornado had just touched down at Shelton State (at this point I didn't know what direction it was headed in and I knew that Shelton was a pretty good ways from where we were, so I thought we had more time).  I ran to the door and yelled at the boys to come inside and told Scotty, Chris's other roommate, (who had been in his room the whole time) to get in the hall.  They ran in and saw the tornado on TV and started looking out the window to see if they could see it.  As soon as they looked outside they could see debris flying.  Chris yelled at us to get in the bathroom (which I was already in) and threw bean bag chairs over us.  We had probably been in there for a whole 30 seconds before the entire house started shaking.  I could feel air and glass hitting my back from under the door.  Chris told me later that it took everything he had to hold the door closed, because the tornado was actually trying to push it in.  I was on the end, so I latched onto Cam for dear life and honestly thought we were all going to die.  I've always said that I won't go down without a fight, but there's no way to fight a tornado.  All you can do is hold on and pray.  The question most people ask me is what did it sound like.  Honestly, I couldn't hear much over my screaming and Cam repeatedly telling me that we were going to be okay.  

    After what felt like a lifetime (it was probably 15 or 30 seconds in reality), the house stopped shaking and it got really quite.  Then, we heard someone pounding on our door.  Chris jumped up to open it and the baseball players from across the street ran in.  They were in a panic and just kept saying our house is gone, our house is gone.  All the guys ran outside to see if anyone needed help, but I couldn't move.  I was terrified and didn't want to leave my safe area.  I finally convinced myself to get up and walked outside.  I immediately doubled over because the entire neighborhood was completely destroyed.  I saw Chris down the street and he ran to me (he told me later that he does not remember this at all).  He hugged me for a while and told me that we were ok and that everything was going to be ok.  Then, I heard Cam yelling at me to call 911.  I tried to call, but I couldn't get any calls to go out.  I also started trying to call my mom.  I guess I figured if I couldn't get 911, then my mom was the next best thing haha.    After several attempts, I was finally able to talk to my mom.  I don't remember much of this phone conversation but she told me that I just kept telling her that all of Tuscaloosa was gone (from what I could see, it was).  

    It was amazing to me in the few moments right after the storm, that everyone was genuinely concerned for their neighbors.  Everyone we saw asked if we were all ok, and we asked the same.  I am also so proud of Chris, Cam and Scotty for running to help the people that were trapped around us.  They told me that they saw some things that they wish they wouldn't have, but they had to help people.  

    I won't go into too much detail about what happened next.  It was just pretty much people telling us more tornadoes were coming and us trying to look for shelter.  Once we were told that the bad weather was over, we decided that we would walk to my apartment and stay there if it was still standing.  Chris packed up as much stuff as he could carry, and we started walking down 15th Street.  As we were walking we were trying to figure out if that pile of rubble was Smoothie King or Honey Baked Ham (it was so sad that you couldn't tell the difference).  These three guys saw us and asked if we needed a ride somewhere.  I don't know who these guys were, but they were lifesavers.  They took us to our friend Hannah's apartment (we knew she had a car and could take us to my apartment if it wasn't damaged).  Once we got to Hannah's she took us to my apartment, and thank goodness it was fine.  Of course there was no power, but we had a roof to sleep under.

    My boyfriend, Ty, and Chris's brother, Trey, came to get us that night and took us home the next day.  I spent the next two days glued to the TV.  I watched every minute of coverage knowing that pictures of the damage didn't do it justice.  After surviving a tornado, I have a new found respect for weather.  I'm pretty sure that I will get chills every time I hear a tornado siren.  

    The what ifs from that day are what haunt me the most.  The fact that one house is still standing while the one next door doesn't exist anymore is amazing.  Some people survived while others across the street didn't.  These are the questions that scare me:  What if I hadn't been at Chris's?  What if I hadn't told the boys to come inside?  What if Chris's house had been across the street?  What if I hadn't seen the tornado on TV?  But, it's a waste of time to worry about the what ifs.  I know that the only reason I'm alive is because that was God's will.  He protected the four of us in that little bathroom, and I believe he has big plans for all of us.  About a week after the tornado, the New York Times posted an ariel view of Tuscaloosa on their website.  You can clearly see the 6 mile path of destruction the tornado left.  It was an interactive map that you could zoom in on.  I zoomed in and could actually see Chris's house and our cars.  I was in complete awe when I saw that the tornado had actually looped right around us.  I will never know why God sent that tornado, but I do know that it isn't a coincidence that I'm alive today.

    I will be going back to Tuscaloosa this weekend for graduation, and sadly I dread it.  The city has removed most of the rubble on 15th street now, so it looks completely different.  I knew that area like the back of my hand.  Now, if you dropped me in the middle of Forest Lake or 15th Street, I wouldn't even know what city I was in.  I know it will all be rebuilt, and it will probably look a lot nicer than it did before.  It's just sad to know that Tuscaloosa will never look like the place I called home for 4 years.

    Thanks for taking the time to read all that.  It was good for me to get it off my chest.  But, I think I should end this post on a lighter note.  Football season starts in 33 days and Bryant Denny is still standing tall :)    
    Roll Tide!
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So, if you want to see what I saw that day, then watch this slideshow.