Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Wednesday

It's going to be a great day!
It's already Wednesday, Fox and Friends played a Backstreet Boys song this morning, we're in recess (or should I say 'state work period'), my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. this morning instead of 5:00 a.m., I only work until 4:00 p.m. today, and I'll be in Tennessee in 9 days!
For Wordless Wednesday, I thought I'd share this neat little video I found yesterday. This was created by an advertising agency in Chattanooga, TN and the students are from UTC, Ooltewah and Boyd-Buchanan high schools. If you're interested, you can read more on it here. I hope y'all enjoy. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

P.S. I've had a few people ask if I deleted my blog. Obviously, if you are here, you know I didn't. However, I did change the web address for my blog. Instead of my full name, it is now (I didn't want my full name so clearly displayed and out there for the world to see) So, if you have my blog on your favorites bar, which I'm sure all of you do (I joke, I joke), then make sure to update the web address.  =)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Erin Condren Life Planner

If you know me, you know I am as Gold as Gold personalities come (although yes, Allie, I do have a good bit of Blue in me). For those of you who aren't familiar with the True Colors model of personality identification, you can visit their website here. 

Some of the most notable traits of Golds are: organized, consistent, procedural, thorough, punctual, structured, and orderly. Golds are the people who make a to-do list daily. Golds are the people who go back and add things to their to-do list after they've completed the task if it wasn't on the list before. If you know me, you know this describes me perfectly. I am the QUEEN of lists. I've been made fun of many, many times for my excessive to-do lists and for even going as far as dating my to-do lists (Alissa). 

In case you're curious... some information I found about Golds online:
Golds value tradition (hello, this screams me), they are the record keepers, inspectors and caregivers. They enjoy family traditions such as birthday parties and family gatherings. (My family will appreciate this one - I pitch a fit every single time someone offers a new idea for a family holiday). Golds are very business-like and private. They believe their word is their bond, that everyone must be on time (pet peeve), organized and plan things through properly. They follow their to-do lists and seek closure since they prefer to do one thing at a time, do it very well and then move on. Golds view the world as black or white, right or wrong and are definitely the rule makers and rule followers of the world. They are the ones who act as the steadying element in our society. “Be prepared” is their motto. They form the backbone of institutions. They fill the places of worship, the service clubs and businesses. During their teen years Golds take on increasing responsibility. They will want to get jobs to save for their future such as their further education. They will have their rebellious times but these don’t tend to last as long as they might for other temperaments. They need to feel grown up and they want to take their place in society. Golds expect to be held accountable and to take responsibility. They cheerfully shoulder the load that they know needs to be done. They know someone is going to come along and ask them if they have finished some specific project and they want to be able to say that it is done. 

So, now (if you're actually still reading) you know more about the Gold personality than you probably ever wanted to know, but you might be able to understand how incredibly excited I've been about my new planner arriving since I have a strange love for planners, calendars and to-do lists.

In the past, I've used a Lily Pulitzer planner. I loved it, but it seems like they have become more and more popular and I wanted something different. Let me introduce you to the best thing that has happened to planners since some person with a Gold personality invented them...

The Erin Condren on-the-go Life Planner. After much anticipation, my life planner finally arrived this week!

Notice Erin Condren's attention to brand identity detail. I was so impressed with the packaging. Fun colors and inspiring quotes can be found all over Erin's products.
Inside I found a friendly welcome note and a free gift.
My life planner came with customized free gift labels.
How stinkin' cute! Mrs. Erin sure does know how to pull in a customer base. I will definitely be ordering from her in the future. 
I also received custom notepads to match my planner.

For my life planner, I wanted something cute, but basic enough that I could leave it out on my desk at work and not immediately be compared to Elle Woods. Cute and fun, yet sophisticated was my goal.
 I absolutely loved how the cover turned out.
Inside the front over. A place to put your name and contact information in case you ever misplace your planner.
As I mentioned, cute and inspiring quotes are everywhere in this planner.
One of my favorite things - TABS! They make the planner so easy to use. My only piece of constructive criticism is next time I hope they laminate the tabs as they did the front and back cover. I have a feeling these will wear out quickly. I can't decide if I want to try to prevent that by covering them or if it might add a little character. We'll see.
Next we have special dates pages to list important dates. This will be very helpful for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and will be helpful when transferring into a new planner after this one is complete in December 2012.
 Up next is a view of each month up until December 2012. This will be useful for long term planning.
Then we get to the individual months. Each month begins with a month view on sturdy cardstock.
 After a few notes pages, each week is broken down into morning, day, and night. Love this part! It also has a goals and to do list section for each week. Amazing!
Again, fun colors and cute quotes throughout.
 After all of the months, there is a section to fill in personal important numbers. (Work, Cell, Emergency Contact, Doctors, Dentist, Restaurants, Gym, Salons, etc.)
 What girl doesn't love stickers? Up next are six sheets of stickers. Some are already filled out (Party, Game, Birthday, Concert, Hair Appt, No School, Vacation, Wedding, Girls Night, Sale, Mani/Pedi, Baby Shower, Bridal Shower, Date Night, Massage, etc.) and then some blank stickers to make your own!
 Next is this awesome "Keep it Together" pocket. I plan on using this for postage stamps, stationary in case I need to send a note in a pinch, etc. It has a pocket on both sides.
 After the convenient pocket is a water proof Zip-Loc type pocket. It came filled with all sorts of personalized goodies AND a 10% off coupon for my next purchase. I'm telling you, they thought of everything!

 This shows where I put my personalized notepads. So convenient!
Another view.
 And finally, a full 2013 and 2014 calendar on the back cover.

If you are anything like me, I know you would absolutely love this planner. Erin Condren seriously thought of every detail you would ever need in a planner. For you brides and teachers... she also sales wedding planners and lesson plan books and I'm confident they are just as awesome.

If you've stuck with this post all the way to the end, I'm impressed. Don't forget to check out Erin's website. She has everything from these planners, to iPad stickers, to stationary, invitations, gift labels, etc. etc. etc.

Gold personality love to you Mrs. Erin. LOVE my planner. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I didn't blog about the 10th anniversary of the September 11th (mainly because I was so overwhelmed with different emotions and I didn't know what to say), but I wanted to share these two photos with you.

I was able to attend the 10th Observance of September 11, 2001 on the East Front of the Capitol with all 535 members of Congress and many past and present Congressional staffers. It was an amazing experience.

Time to get back to work. Enjoy! - Micah

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Someone Should Want To Date Us

The main event of the weekend didn't turn out exactly how I was hoping, but, as always, Florida weekend was still a major success. Hallie and I did some major research during the week on what all we wanted to contribute to the game watch party. Our decision: orange jello shots, football-ish cookies, pizza dip (me), and baked beans (Hallie). 

We started off the weekend (as we normally do) at happy our with our co-workers after work on Friday. After happy hour(s), we headed to the grocery store to pick up all the needed ingredients for the weekend.  We then headed back to Hallie's to make the jello shots (they needed to sit overnight) and the baked beans (they needed to cook in the crock-pot overnight). We finally finished up a littler after 11:00p.m. The result? Over 100 orange jello shots and a-maz-ing baked beans.
Since the game started at 3:30, I had to get up early to get everything else done. I used adorable jersey and football cookie cutters and put a Tennessee touch on some sugar cookies and brownies. (These will be better next time, both taste and looks. I ran out of time and had to rush)
Hunter, Bray, and Poole all made the cut for my cookies. After Justin got hurt (which I can hardly talk about -- absolutely heartbreaking), one of the girls at the party asked if him getting hurt was a big deal. My reply, "Obviously he's a big deal. I mean, he's one of my cookies." And of course, I couldn't make anything Tennessee related and not include Peyton, so he got a cookie too.
I was most excited about this pizza dip. I'd had the dip before, but I'd never made it myself. I also wanted to bring in the football theme and I'd seen a pepperoni football on a pizza on Pinterest, so I thought I'd try it out. I was extremely nervous, but it ended up working out perfectly and was apparently a big hit at the party. It was completely gone within 30 minutes.
All in all I'd say it was a huge success (not the game -- the party). Hallie and I's conclusion from this weekend: someone should want to date us. We spent hours preparing for game day and deciding what we would contribute to the party, we spent hours socializing after work on Friday, and we spent hours going to the store and making food for the party (and we LOVE football and actually know what is going on). Who wouldn't want one of us as their girlfriend/wife to make each game day a complete hit? Right? =)

Since I used all of my favorite ideas for this past weekend, I'm glad we have an off week so I can try and come up with more ideas for the next game watch party... and so we can all recover from the heartbreak of the Florida game. Don't worry Gators, we'll get you next time!

Side note: I've never done the whole take pictures of your outfit thing like some bloggers... BUT I am just SO excited about fall weather that I had to share my first fall outfit. 
 I hope y'all have a great week! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

If it doesnt look right

I'm running short on time and ideas until I have time to uploaded some pictures, so this post comes from one of the adorable blogs I follow, My Two Cents. She has a guest blogger today, Danae Matthews of Women's Health Base. I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did. Have a fabulous Monday! - Micah
I have been living in San Francisco for going on five years and in my time here there is one thing I can say for certain: girls. be. trippin.

Now why do I say that? I’m sure this doesn’t just apply to San Francisco, I’m sure you could relate to me for wherever you are reading this, but if there is something that I consistently see is women not knowing how to act- with men. This is largely because half the females I know meet a man, that man tells them exactly what his intentions are from the very beginning, but because that female thinks this man is somehow holding back his feelings she pursues him anyway. This creates months of tears, drunken text messaging and my ear being talking off about some guy who told you from day one “he wasn’t looking for a relationship.” So for all my SFers and beyond, for all my comrades in love, these are just a couple of tips to keep in mind to avoid this ever happening to you. In no particular order.

If he tells you he isn’t looking for anything serious, it’s because he isn’t looking for anything serious with you.
No really. I know I sound like that book, but it’s true. Men are like animals in the sense that when they see something they really want (actually women are like this too) they feel the need to pee all over it and let all the other men know it’s theirs. If he isn’t metaphorically, symbolically, or physically (if you’re into that) peeing all over you-it’s because he isn’t too concerned about anyone snatching you up. This could be for a thousand reasons. Find one you’re comfortable with and make yourself believe it.
If he asks you on a date, a real date, assume he has the funds to take you out.
If a man asks you out- I mean calls you up and makes plan for a restaurant or event, when you get there PLEASE don’t suggest to split the bill. You’re a laddyyyy. Not his friend, not his buddy. Doing this will automatically make him think that you are trying to be. Trust me; it doesn’t make him think you are “cool.” A real man will want to pay for you, maybe not all the time forever and ever for the rest of your lives, but for the first date, yes.
Alternatively, if he asks you out and you end up sitting on his coach playing a video game, run away, run run run away!
He doesn’t like you. At least he doesn’t like you in the way that you want him to. He probably wants to have sex with you-but a relationship no.
If you’re on a date and he says something that is really off color, makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t stop talking SAY SOMETHING.
You’re a human being too. Most likely you’ve been to high school, hey probably/maybe college. I bet you have A LOT to add to the conversation, huh? If he starts monopolizing all conversation, makes an offensive joke or reaches across the table and grabs your cha chas; tell him, correct him or leave! I’ve heard too many bad date stories from friends who said how they sat there for two hours without saying anything. EW why? TWO HOURS? It’s your life too! That is two hours you could have spent finding the NEXT guy. Don’t be rude, just politely say whatever it is that you need to make the night better or end.
There is a time and way to make plans with you. I’m not suggesting playing games, but…
I’m just saying-making plans for dinner for 8PM at 5PM means something else that he was going to do that night fell through and he is calling you to bat clean-up. The proper way to set up a date would be a day or two before. Heck really he should make a date on a Monday for a date on Saturday and check-in on Friday to confirm- that would be ideal. The whole “hey wanna catch coffee in an hour” is reserved for someone you’re already dating.
Because I had one more thing to say…
My aunt always says “If it doesn’t look right, feel right, or smell right, it’s probably because it’s not.” I live my life by this. If you have to push something, or if you’re in a situation that just really makes you uncomfortable on more than one level get yourself out of there. You know yourself best, look out for you!
-Danae Matthews

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Am Tennessee

My friend and co-worker, Whitney, celebrated her two year anniversary of moving to D.C. earlier this week. Yesterday, we shared stories about our moving experiences. The range of emotions both of us felt from the moment we accepted our respective positions to the day we officially started in the office can't be perfectly put into words. Excitement, disbelief, joy, sadness, stress, being overwhelmed, fear -- you name it, we felt it. We joked how our friends and family probably thought we were regretting our decisions to move to D.C. because we were so overly emotional during that time. Yet, at the same time, we were both relieved. We knew we were on our way to doing what we always wanted to do - we were on our way to our dreams.

One story I shared with Whitney was a lunch with co-workers and students of the job I was leaving. It was a very special lunch - one I will never forget. During lunch, we shared stories of all the different things I had had the opportunity and honor to do during my undergraduate career. Finally, I was asked two questions:

1. What is your favorite moment from the University of Tennessee?
2. What will you miss the most about the University of Tennessee?

While choking back tears, I described my favorite memory. Standing arm in arm with the four other Miss Homecoming finalists singing the Alma Mater on the field in Neyland Stadium. It was a spontaneous moment in which I reflected on the four (and a half) years at UT that had helped mold me into the person I had become.

I then moved on to the next question. I tried and tried to think of one thing I would miss the most about being at the University of Tennessee. Class? Football games? Sorority meetings? SAA events? Panhellenic functions? Fraternity parties? The strip? Yes, I would miss those things... but they didn't come close to describing what UT meant to me. Finally, after what felt like an eternity to me, I finally choked out through the tears... "this is my home." And it is. As cliche as it sounds, Tennessee has always been my home. I was born in Knoxville. I took field trips to visit McClung Museum on campus when I was in grade school. I went to football games. I went to Lady Vol basketball games with my Mimi. I earned my degree. I fell in love. I fell out of love. I met my soulmates in my friends and sorority sisters. I grew into the person I've always wanted to be and now I'm in the process of achieving my most far fetched dreams. And when I go back in a few short weeks, I'll again be going home.

I am 110% confident I am exactly where I need to be and where I am meant to be. At this point in my life, I am supposed to be in D.C. I love my job, I love my friends, I love everything about my life here. As one of Whitney's friends once told her... you'll always be sad when you leave home, but that doesn't mean you want to move back or aren't happy where you are... there's just something about home.

When I first ran across this poem, I decided to post it as my blog for today. The more I read, the more I realized how perfectly it describes what it means to be part of the Tennessee family and this led me to share a bit more.

 I don't think I could have ever predicted the utter sadness I feel when I think about missing our home opener in Knoxville this Saturday. There is so much more I love about Knoxville and the University of Tennessee than football, but there is something special about knowing that most of the people who love Tennessee as much as I do will be in one place this weekend, and I won't be there.

Instead, I'll join fellow members of the Volunteer family at a bar in D.C. as we all watch our boys take on Montana and enjoy every minute of it. 

I look forward to my three trips home this season (Georgia, LSU, and MTSU) and I know those trips will give me the perfect amount of home to prevent me from being sad. Best of luck to our Vols this weekend and I hope all of you have an amazing time no matter where you'll be watching the game. GO VOLS!

Author Unknown
I am Tennessee. I am the 30 year old couple coming back to campus for the first time with both little ones in tow. One wears her orange and white cheerleader outfit; the other wears #16 even though he's too young to understand why.
I am the 50 year old man who hoped no one saw tears in his eyes when the T was formed by the band. I was too choked up even to sing "Rocky Top." For a moment I felt foolish and then I didn't care. God, I love this place.
I am the 60 year old woman meeting her freshman grand-daughter who is now the 3rd generation of UT students in our family. Despite my age, I'd strap it on Saturday and hit someone if it weren't for my gender and this blasted arthritis.
I am Tennessee and I have always believed I was different. You can see it when you look up into the stands. My orange is not the same as Florida's or Auburn's, but the differences go much deeper than my colors.
Read my creed. What other school has one? I genuinely believe in these things. To be a real Tennessee man or woman speaks of character, not of geography. All are welcome to walk through my gates, not just the wealthy or the elite.
Georgia and Alabama may have their nations, but we have always been family. Make no mistake, we loathe defeat, but even in defeat we would rather be a Tennessee Vol than anything else.
We are family and you are the sons of Heisman, the sons of Majors and Neyland. You come from a long line of brothers whose names include White, Gault, Wilson, Manning, Shuley, Nash, and Mahelona. It is a great heritage.
So this Saturday, when the warm ups are over and the prayers and amen spoken, when you hear my thunder growing in the stands above you, when you stand in the tunnel and the smoke begins to form, listen for my voice when you run on to my field.
Behind the frenzy of the shakers and deafening roar, I will tell you something in a whisper you may miss. I will be telling you that you are my sons and I am proud of you for the way you wear the orange and white. I am telling you that you are my sons and I love you.
Tennessee is so much more than a state or a school or a team or a degree. It is something that, once you have experienced it, will live inside of you forever and become a part of what makes up who you are.
It is driving into town on a game day. You may have come from hundreds of miles away and as you get closer and closer to the city limits, you feel it rising inside of you. Other cars on the highway proudly display their Orange and White flags or magnets or car tags, and you honk and wave at them, because, for that one day, you are all on the same team.
It is the smell in the air and the ritualistic act of tailgating... catching up with old friends, making new ones, and invitations from perfect strangers to try their ribs or watching their satellite TV showing all of the day's important match-ups... of course, all being secondary to the one that will occur in the great cathedral of Neyland Stadium later that day.
It is the Vol Walk... where you might just see 300 pound men overcome with emotion and weeping with pride, because you have come there to cheer them on. As they walk by, you might exchange a glance with one or two of them, and you can see it in their eyes... it is going to be their day.
It is the students... dressed in their best, because going to a Tennessee game is like going to church for Tennessee people... you show the same respect as you would if you were in God's house. Those students remind you of the days when you were walking in their shoes and Tennessee was your home... but then you realize, in many ways, it is still and always will be HOME.
It is that lump that rises in your throat when the band plays Rocky Top as the "T" is formed.
It is walking around on a "foreign" and sometimes hostile campus. You are easily identified (Tennessee people always are) and the enemy jeers and shouts things at you to mask their feelings of intimidation. But just then you happen upon a friend you have never met before. You know they are your friend by the colors they wear or the shaker in their hand. You exchange a "Go Vols" and a confident grin, because he/she knows what you know.
It is when your heart leaps with every touchdown, field goal, sack, and interception... because those are our boys. And win or lose, they will always have our un-dying support. After all, it is those boys that you are really there for and not a coach or a logo or a trustee or a president.
It is the complete and utter exhilaration of walking away victorious over a worthy opponent... that feeling of pride and accomplishment as if it were your own feet that had crossed the goal line scoring the last points yourself... that feeling of wanting to scream "GO BIG ORANGE" at the top of your lungs and hug complete strangers... and then there is the ultimate high of defeating your most hated foes from across the state.
No words can describe what this feels like, but you know because you have experienced it. It is the sheer agony of defeat as the last minutes tick off of the clock and you realize that all hope of a victory is gone.
You feel like crying and maybe you do... then you hear the faint sounds of a cheer that grows louder and louder... "IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL."
It is knowing that year after year, no matter how things change in our hectic lives, you can always come back to "the loveliest place on the river"... the place where you came from... your home.
It will probably look a little different and there will be new names on the backs of the jerseys, but deep down, no matter what, it is still the same. You still love it as much as you always have, because Tennessee is as much a part of you as your arms and your legs and the orange blood that runs through your veins.
And finally, it is the feeling you have right now as you read these lines... the anticipation inside of you, because you know it's almost time... it's about to start all over again... but then it really never goes away, does it?