Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Office softball game on the National Mall - that's us in the Tennessee orange!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Today, I am thankful for unbelievable opportunities and amazing friends. I had a nice little surprise waiting for me on my desk this morning from one of my D.C. friends (and co-worker), Whitney. It reminded me how truly blessed I am and how fortunate I am to be where I am today with so many supportive people in my life.

I hope you all take a moment today to count your many blessings.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

"Better to lose count by naming your blessings
than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Yesterday, as the first pitch of the 2011 College World Series was thrown out in Omaha, I began thinking about my unusual love and passion for baseball and softball. Yesterday was extremely special - one of my favorite people, George W. Bush, helped christen TD Ameritrade Park as the new official (and beautiful) location for the College World Series by throwing out the first pitch. Maybe I'm a little more sentimental this post-season since it's the first year I haven't traveled to watch some type of college softball or baseball post-season play. I've seen first hand college careers end, and to watch athletes make it to the stage they've worked their entire lives to reach is simply special.
Some of you may wonder if I was ever a softball player - maybe that's where my love for the game began? Let me assure you, my two years as a softball player did not spur any love for the game. Let me tell you why...

During my first season as a softball player for the Country Kitchen Bears, I had a traumatic experience (well, traumatic for a 7 year old) during an at bat that I will never forget. I batted left handed, just like I played putt-putt left handed, and dribbled a basketball left handed. During that fatal, dream crushing, embarrassing at bat, I fouled off a series of pitches (5 or 6) with two strikes on me. Instead of saying, "way to battle," or "way to hang," my coach called me aside and told me that I had to move to the other side of the plate, that I wasn't really left handed. (I mean come on, I had just made contact with 5 or 6 pitches as a 7 year old during her first year playing) So, being the good little athlete my parents taught me to be, I listened to my coach and moved to the other side of the plate. You guessed it, first pitch as a righty - I struck out. I've never forgotten that moment. I think I went on to reluctantly play one more season of softball, but my softball career officially ended during that at bat. A little dramatic, maybe - but I was 7. Looking back, maybe I stopped playing simply because I wasn't very good, but that at bat is truly what did me in.

So, where does the love of the game come from? I've decided it began watching my brother play baseball and sister play softball growing up. My brother, Reed, was a shortstop for the Rockies. My sister, Haley, was a pitcher and shortstop for the Yellow Jackets. I spent a good deal of time at Pigeon Forge City Park watching my brother and sister play - I rarely missed a game.
As middle school came and went and high school began, I found myself still traveling to softball and baseball games. I was there, home and away, regardless of where my sister and her softball team played. When I wasn't watching my sister play, I was at the baseball field - watching my cousins and some of my best friends play. During the summers, I traveled all across the southeast as my sister played summer ball. When our boys made state junior and senior year, my sister and I made t-shirts and traveled with the team to Memphis for the state tournament. 
I have vivid memories of going on the field after my sister won the district tournament and when one of my best friends hit a walk-off grand slam to send the baseball team to the state tournament. Pure joy!

After high school, my sister went on to play college softball at Maryville College, while one of my best friends (who I went on to date for a little while) went on to play college baseball at the University of Virginia. For the first two years of college, I was either driving 367 miles to Charlottesville or spending some good quality time with GameTracker every weekend. (On a side note: as I watched UVA during the Super Regionals, I was blown away at the changes to Davenport Field since I was there last. The way their program has grown over the past five years is truly unbelievable. I can't help but pull for them during the College World Series. It'd be great to see those guys win it all! Go Hoos!)
I even traveled to New Hampshire one summer. Talk about dedication!

During the spring in college, you could usually find me one or two nights a week in Maryville watching my sister play softball or on the weekends traveling to her away games.
Yes, sometimes it created a love/hate relationship with softball/baseball...
But I wouldn't change it for anything! I was there to witness all of the highs and lows that come along with playing sports. I experienced pure joy as I watched my sister hit a walk-off double in the championship series, again when she was named Defensive MVP for three straight years, and lastly when she accepted her conference championship ring. I experienced pure misery as I watched her take her last at bat as a collegiate athlete. She hit the hardest ball she's ever hit in her life and I watched as it somehow found the shortstops glove to end the game. (Yes, I remember exactly where I was sitting as I broke into tears...and no, not just of those ugly cries)
Softball and baseball have just always been a big part of my life. As the College World Series kicks off this weekend, I again turn into "super fan" as I watch a new set of athletes chase their dreams.
Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tips

My tip for the day is directed to any and all recent college graduates, young professionals, or college students going to work in the "real world." As you will soon learn, dry cleaning on a budget can be a challenge. Let me tell you now, you need to invest in a steamer immediately. I have the one below...
Conair Compact Fabric Steamer ($45 at Target)
You couldn't get a better deal! I use my steamer almost daily for the everyday wrinkle and also for in-between dry cleaning visits. I can guarantee that in the 4 months I've had my steamer, I've already saved hundreds of dollars in dry cleaning bills. For a 101 on Clothes Steamers - a Modern Approach to Ironing - Click Here!

Take my advice on this one! Save money and always dress to impress, wrinkle free!

Everyone have a wonderful Tuesday - I'm back to work!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend Visitors

This weekend, my aunt, uncle, grandmother, and cousins were in town! It was so wonderful to spend time with them all weekend. We started off their visit with a visit to Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill. Good Stuff was opened by Chef Spike, who was a contestant on Top Chef Chicago. Talk about good far, all of my visitors have been taken to Good Stuff on their visit, it's just too hard to pass up!
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get off work early enough on Friday to make it to Arlington with the family, but I met them afterwards for a nice dinner in Springfield. On Saturday, Samuel, Aunt Jill, and Uncle John went to visit the White House while Mimi, James, and I hung out in my apartment. I treated them (well, they paid, I just picked the place) to one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall secrets on Capitol Hill for lunch. Bagels and Baguettes. It's a great little bagel place, cash only, with amazing food! It was definitely interesting with six people fitting in my apartment to eat, but we made it work!
After lunch, I took them on a "VIP" tour of the Capitol. We didn't see anyone famous inside the Capitol, but I did get to take them to my office and show them where Mitch McConnell lives.

Sunday was a big day! I swear my little cousin, Samuel, will have his own show on the Animal Planet when he grows up. I've never seen a little kid love animals like Samuel. It is so impressive how much he knows about animals (definitely more than me!) So - a trip to the National Zoo on Sunday was the highlight of his trip!
I definitely think it lived up to his expectations! We all had a great time, and I even bought myself this adorable re-usable grocery bag since, as you know from my last post, in D.C. you have to pay for using plastic bags at the grocery store.
After the zoo, we had dinner at the local pub, where they gained first hand experience about the lack of sweet tea, and sometimes even tea in general, in D.C. They headed home this morning after a good (but hottttt) trip.

As I've said before, it is always hard to see visitors go. (Yes, I cried) But, I am so glad that they got to visit D.C. and that I was able to share where I live and work with some of the people who mean the most to me!

And - as always, visitors are always welcome here!

That's all for now - it's a big TV night.... The Bachelorette and the GOP Debate.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All Over the Place

This week has already been all over the place and it is only Tuesday! To say this week has been a little stressful would be a small understatement... but hey, that's life! To start off the week - on Sunday I realized my car battery was dead after I tried to make a trip to the grocery store. On Monday I was able to have my car jumped off on my lunch break and I drove it around for a little while to charge the battery. All is good right? Well...I've recently been weighing the pros and cons of having a car in the city. Should I keep it up here? Should I send it home to Tennessee? Should I put it up FOR SALE? Lets just say after all this car trouble, I'm leaning a little toward the last option. Beyond that, today was just an overall stressful day at work - then I went to go to the grocery store... I get to the garage, and of course, Holly the Honda won't start. Looks like I'll be calling AAA for a new battery at some point this week.
On top of that, I've really been missing this guy... (LOOK AT THAT FACE!) - As some of you know, I went home for Memorial Day weekend and got to spend some quality time with my pup. Every time I see him and then move back it's super depressing. I know you might be thinking... well, heck... do you not miss your family? Well YES, of course I do! But, there is a difference. I can talk to my family at any point, I can't talk to Peyton. AND, my family knows that I left because I came to chase my dreams in Washington D.C. Peyton is a dog, he doesn't know why I left, he just knows I left him behind. And, that breaks my heart daily.
While I was at home I got him (and Pearl) this cute little doggy bed at TJ Maxx ($25). Isn't it cute?!?! It matches the living room perfectly!
Hopefully one day my Mr. Peyt-Mann will get to move to D.C. to live with me! What a happy day for me that would be! (Sad for my momma though - I am so blessed that my momma is taking care of Peyton while I am here. To be honest, he loves her a lot more now. It's like mom and I completely reversed roles. She is his new momma and I'm so glad he loves her so much) THANK YOU MOMMA (aka Kia)!
So - what are some positives? Well, my June edition of Southern Living arrived yesterday.
AND, Sevier County made this months edition!!! I've never actually been to Wilderness of the Smokies, but maybe I'll have to check it out. It was listed as one of "The South's Best Pools." All of you in Tennessee should go check it out!
This isn't really a positive - but kind of funny. I've been telling people at home that when you go to the store in D.C., if you don't have your own bags, you get SERIOUSLY judged. Well, on my visit to Subway this past weekend, I learned that not only do you get seriously judged, but now, you also get charged! Can y'all imagine Tennessee trying to implement something like this. That would NOT fly at home trying to force people to "Go Green."
Major positive - the monogrammed note cube (and clipboard, not pictured) that I wrote about here finally came in! Isn't it adorable? It's actually comical how happy new office supplies can make me. (Right, Whitney?!)
And last, but not least... look at this adorable new coffee mug I bought for my desk (to serve as a pen/pencil/highlighter holder). It's red with cute little elephants. How appropriate for my desk! =)
Just like this week, this post has been all over the place. However - it's looking up! I have family coming to town tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited!!! I hope you enjoyed the updates!

I'll leave you with a quote I saw today...Have a great rest of your week!

"I love the man who can smile in trouble, gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bachelorette Monday

Recently, I've been using my lunch break not only to eat, but also to catch up on all of my blogs! (And today to post)

In anticipation of the next episode of the Bachelorette (which can be seen on ABC at 8:00 p.m. tonight), I thought I would share a fun little blog with those of you who are equally as obsessed with the Bachelor/Bachelorette as I am.

Tonight's episode is expected to be one of the most dramatic episodes we've seen from the Bachelor/Bachelorette in some time (minus the whole Brad rejecting both girls and Jason dumping Melissa on After the Final Rose). I'm looking forward to it and highly suggest you tune in!

One of my favorites already got rejected...

Ryan M.
Ryan M.
But... my remaining favorites are...
William (Word has it he screws up majorly tonight)
Mickey (Minus the name and the hair gel)
Ben C.
Ben C.
Ben F.
Ben F.
Happy Bachelorette Watching! I'm back to work... have a great Monday!!

(All photos taken from

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Papa Paparazzi

Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably already seen this... but, I wanted to take a moment to share it with those who haven't.

After realizing I couldn't make it to the grocery store today (due to my car battery being dead - that's a story for another day), I stopped by the corner market that is one block from my apartment to pick up a few essentials (milk, bread, etc). I was still extremely frustrated because I had just returned from the parking garage and was texting my mom and dad to vent about my car when I heard an "excuse me ma'am," behind me in the aisle. (Yes - I had stopped in the middle of the aisle to text) I turned around and was in the process of becoming extremely ticked off when I see Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to pass me. Oooopsss! I politely smiled and apologized in the biggest southern accent I could muster. I finished grabbing my grocery items and ended up behind Senator McConnell in line and was able to snag this picture. (Good thing the Secret Service Officer was outside the door and couldn't see me - otherwise I would have felt like a total creep).

After I posted this on Twitter, my stepmom texted me:
Diane: Cool! Does he never go casual?? (FYI - He lives on the same street as me so I've actually seen him a few times out and about)
Me: Not that I've seen.
Diane: Guess he doesn't dare. :-)
Me: Yep. Too many paparazzi like me! 
So yes - I'm THAT girl!

We are the crowd
We're co-coming out
Got my flash on, it's true
Need that picture of you
You know that I'll be