Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday as in I didn't write any of this myself... Happy Wednesday!

#1 Neyland Stadium, University of Tennessee
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Capacity: 102,455
Unique Facts:
General Robert Neyland made the Vols a football powerhouse from 1926-1952
One of 70 stadiums in the US bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup
The largest SEC stadium, 3rd largest in the US and 6th largest in the world
Unique endzone paint with an orange and white checkerboard
Located on the Tennessee River, The Volunteer Navy tailgates (or sailgates) outside of Neyland each gameday
“Rocky Top” is one of the most well-known, repetitively played songs during any college football game

General Neyland's 7 Maxims
1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE.
3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.
4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slive, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.
6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.
7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keept it here for 60 minutes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The College Football Fans Prayer The College Football Fan's Prayer
By Andy Staples

Somewhere in America this week, a college football fan will sink to his knees. 
This is what he'll say...

Lord, it's been a tough offseason for those of us who love college football. The Auburn people could lose their trees. The Ohio State people have lost their coach. Oregon paid a street agent with a check. A former Miami booster sat in prison and admitted he paid dozens of players. Some LSU players went to a bar called Shady's and -- lo and behold -- something shady happened. My beloved sport smells like a cesspool. Lord, maybe it is one. But it's my favorite cesspool. And after months of hand-wringing and moralizing, I only want to watch students from one school ram into students from another school at blistering speed while 85,000 people scream. So Lord, I ask you for the strength to allow me to shut my eyes tight and forget that I love a multibillion-dollar business in which the coaches make millions and the players never get a raise. I don't want to feel guilty while I watch. I want to eat brats and scream at my coach's decision to punt on fourth-and-inches from the 50. (That millionaire pansy.) Lord, there is so much to be thankful for in college football. Thank you for the Vol Navy floating along the Tennessee river. Thank you for the M Club banner in Ann Arbor. Thank you for Howard's Rock and for section GG. Thank you for gold helmets and a promise to play like a champion today. Thank you for nerds pulling pranks at Cal and Stanford. Thank you for "We Are The Boys" between the third and fourth quarters at The Swamp. Thank you for the dotting of the I in Columbus. Thank you for the burning couches in Morgantown. Thank you for the 12th Man. Thank you for the Blackshirts. Thank you for the flight of the War Eagle over the Loveliest Village on the Plains. Thank you for that moment in Tuscaloosa when Skynyrd blasts through the speakers and 100,000 pom-poms shake in unison. Lord, thank you for Traveler, for Renegade, for Bevo, for Ralphie and for Boomer and Sooner, who pull the Sooner Schooner. May they not leave any gifts on the field. May Uga VIII rest in peace, and may his replacement live to see the second coming of Herschel Walker. Lord, thank you for making Miss Americas who can name Ole Miss' backup left tackle. Thanks also for boots with sundresses and for chaps on cheerleaders. Lord, thank you for spread offense. Thank you for the I-formation. Thank you for the quarterback, the dive man and the pitch man and the fact that they have options. Thank you for pulling guards made huge by pulled pork. Thank you for the Jack linebacker and for the twist stunt. Thank you for quarterbacks named Luck and for rush ends named BarkeviousThank you for the Statue of Liberty and for Little Giants. Thank you for green grass and for blue turf. Thank you for Joe Paterno. May he outlive and outcoach us all. Lord, thank you for Les Miles. Truly, we can never thank you enough for Les Miles. Lord, I understand my beloved sport has been tainted by scandal, but please don't let those eggheads in the presidents' offices or those idiots in the press box change a thing. Lord, please don't allow the NCAA to legalize payments from boosters, agents and endorsement deals, even though such payments wouldn't harm anyone or anything. When my head hits the pillow every night, I want to know that I might wake up and find out that Charles Robinson of Yahoo! has written something that will burn my rival's program to the ground. If Charles ever writes about my program, I reserve the right to call his story a witch hunt perpetrated by a mainstream media jealous of my team's success. Lord, I want to believe that the color I wear will make a difference in the outcome of the game despite glaring evidence to the contrary. Also, while I realize you have many, many more important things to do, I might -- only once or twice -- ask you to intervene in the proceedings at a stadium at some point this fall. But only in the fourth quarter. I promise. Lord, everyone says you only pull for Notre Dame, but I just don't believe that. I believe you gave us college football because you love us and you want us to be happy. I believe you gave us college football so South Carolina fans can chill themselves with sweet tea and hope every August and so Wisconsin fans can warm themselves with Leinenkugel's and rushing totals every November. I believe you gave us college football so Texas A&M students can yell. I believe you gave us college football so Starkville residents can get more (legal) cowbell. Lord, this offseason has felt like an eternity. Scandal has dominated. Football has been reduced to an afterthought. But my faith remains unshaken. I swear. 

Lord, please make them kick the damn ball already.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to the Real World

Last time I blogged, I was headed back to Tennessee for the weekend and a ton has happened since then! I had an amazing time spending time with my family and catching up with friends. My time at home always seems to go by so fast, but then of course when I get back to work I feel like I've been gone forever! I feel like I have so much to catch you up on, so let me try to tackle the big items first - Earthquake, Pat Summitt, and Irene.

Earthquake in DC?
A 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the east coast Tuesday approximately 100 miles south of Washington, D.C. and was felt in NYC, Boston, and even in North Carolina and Tennessee. Luckily, I was still at home. Although initial reports from my landlord left me worried about my little apartment, the only damage I had were a few broken picture frames that had fallen off of shelves. Since then, I've seen a lot of comments about how D.C. overreacted to the earthquake - and maybe they did - but I don't think D.C. residents deserve all the grief they've been catching. Let's think about this... living in D.C. you live in the one of the most targeted locations for terrorists attacks in the world. It's not something I like to think about, but more specifically, working at the Capitol, White House, Pentagon, or Senate/House office buildings, you are even closer to the risk of a terrorist attack. Especially for those who worked on Capitol Hill during 9/11, it doesn't surprise me that their initial thought was a terrorist attack. I know it would have been my first thought. Come on, earthquakes of that magnitude don't happen on the east coast. So, cut D.C. some slack - especially Capitol Hill staffers and people at the White House and Pentagon - it's a little different than most cities along the east coast. Regardless of how scared I would have been had I been in D.C....these are some of my favorite tweets/status updates from the day:
"DC... what you felt was just the entire country shifting to the right. Bring on 2012!"
"Evidently the quake occurred on a fault known only to Obama called "Bush's Fault."
"Breaking: Obama administration points out they "inherited" these fault lines."
"That was no earthquake, it was the Founding Fathers collectively rolling over in their graves."
"Breaking from Jay Carney: "We apologize for the disturbance, the president's ego collapsed under the weight of all his bullshit."
"That was no earthquake, it was Obama's approval rating hitting rock bottom."
"In related news, Maxine Waters blamed the Tea Party for the quake and told them to go to hell and Obama missed a putt and blamed Bush for the mulligan."
"Finally, some movement in Washington."
"This shouldn't surprise anyone, Obama just dropped the ball again."
Pat Summitt Diagnosed with Dementia
The Tennessee family has been through a lot the last few years. It's been a rough run as a Volunteer fan, but nothing can even compare to the hurt of this one. It's still hard to even process the announcement Coach Summitt made on Tuesday. (You can read Sally Jenkin's article breaking the news here) I had heard over the past few months that this season might be Coach Summit's last season, but I thought maybe her arthritis was getting worse - I never expected this. Dementia (specifically the "Alzheimer's kind" as Coach Summitt describes it) hits close to home for me, as I'm sure it does for many around the country. My great-grandmother has Alzheimer's and I have seen what it can do. It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that some day Coach Summitt might not remember her legacy and how much she means to so many across the country. When I heard the news, I cried... and I've cried many times since then watching different stories and reading different articles. Growing up so close to Knoxville, Coach Summitt has always been my hero. Coach Summitt made me want to be a Lady Vol. When I wrote my admissions essay for the University of Tennessee, I wrote about Coach Summitt. I wrote how since I was a little girl I wanted to be a Lady Vol because of Coach Summitt and although I knew at an early age I would never grow tall enough, quick enough, athletic enough, or physically strong enough to play for Coach Summitt, I still wanted to be a Lady Vol. I wanted to be the type of Lady Vol Coach Summitt builds - a strong young woman who carries herself with class and respect, puts a high priority on academics, supports her community, and is committed to her Volunteer family. Of course, I never played for Coach Summitt, but I still strive to be the type of Lady Vol Coach Summitt builds, Coach Summitt still impacted my life. She still is and will always be my coach, Vol nations coach. I wish Coach Summitt the best of luck tackling this disease. If anyone is strong enough to fight it, it's Coach Summitt. As Gene Wojciechowski with ESPN put is so well, "If it happens, if Summitt one day fails to remember Tennessee because of the fog that is Alzheimer's, it won't change an eternal truth. And that truth is this: Tennessee will always remember Summitt."  (Wojciechowski's must read article on Coach Summitt here). Best of luck, Coach Summitt! This Vol fan is rooting for you!
Wearing orange in support of Coach Summitt on the Capitol steps. We even made the local news in Knoxville!

Hurricane Irene

Two "natural disaster's" on the east coast in one week? Who would have ever predicted that?! Luckily, Hurricane Irene wasn't as bad as they were predicting. We were under a tropical storm watch from yesterday afternoon until this morning. Was I scared? Absolutely terrified! But... keep in mind that I get scared in normal thunderstorms, so I don't think my fear is a good judge of how bad the storm actually was. Honestly the only difference in Irene and a normal thunderstorm was that it lasted FOREVER. My biggest fear was a large tree (see below) being knocked over by the wind and onto my building. Sure, there was probably a 2% chance it could actually be knocked over, but trees were falling in D.C. and it scared me. I ended up sleeping on my couch since my bed is right beside the window. Although, I didn't get much sleep since it sounded like I was inside a car wash most of the night because of the wind. Hopefully this is last big "non-event" D.C. has for a while! Thanks to everyone who checked in on me over the past week. :)

This picture doesn't do the massive tree justice. It probably is double that in height, my photo just cut it off

A lot more happened while I was at home, but those seem to overshadow the things I would have normally blogged about. I got to see all of my sisters during recruitment, I spent time with friends and family, and caught up on some rest. Trips to Tennessee are the best! I guess that's all for now, time to get back to Sunday chores. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Wont You Carry Me Back to Tennessee

Tennessee, Tennessee
There ain't no place I'd rather be
Baby, won't you carry me
Back to Tennessee

Tonight I'll be flying back home to Tennessee for a much needed (and I'd like to think much deserved) long weekend at home. I'll be in town until Tuesday evening and am so excited to relax and spend time with my friends and family. Y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Southern Women

My friend Hallie sent me this article this morning and it made my week! You can see the article in full here. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! 
If you're southern, embrace it. If you're not, bless your heart.

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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Faux Braid
I first ran across this faux braid tutorial on Pink Lou Lou's "Confessions of a 20 Something" Blog. She makes my Google Reader list and I read her every day during my lunch time blogging break. Anyways, I don't know about y'all, but I've never been able to master the actual braid. I'm still working on it, but I'm just not there yet. My Momma always told me, "fake it 'til you make it," so that is exactly what I decided to do. Maybe one day I'll master the braid, but for now, this is an easy way to get my bangs out of my face on those days they are driving me crazy. And we all have those days! Enjoy!
P.S. Pink Lou Lou's Blog has some pictures of her hair after the faux braid. You can see a little better than the video.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Motivation Monday

This week will be what you make it.
Make it everything you want and more!

 And last, but certainly not least...
All images via Pinterest

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Pinning

Fashion Finds
Home Wants
 Holiday Ideas
Travel Wishes
 Wedding Ideas

All images via Pinterest