merry christmas, from the family

I didn't take my camera with me when I went to visit with my sisters over Christmas. But, my always-prepared-slightly-picture-happy older sister Lauren had hers---so no worries!

Just to remind y'all: Josh and I went to my dad's house for dinner with my sisters on Monday and my mom's house on Tuesday. And, we all survived. Hallelujah.

Time with my sisters is always fun....and, you never know what moments might be captured on film. Here are some copies of Lauren's pictures:

We won these hats (and other prizes) at dinner.

This is my dad doing his impersonation of Josh's hair.

These are two options for the family Christmas card....which one do you like the best?

Thanks Lauren for all the great pictures!!


shake it, girl!

I love this time of year, because my old Young Life girls (that are all grown up and away at college) are home! I love hanging out with them so much----they are soooooo funny.

One of my favorite things to do with the girls is Zumba at the YMCA. Zumba is a group cardio class...just picture Latin dancing, but withough a partner (or you do it like Amy, Kay and Kate and just do random dances in the corner.) I mean really....what could be more fun than shaking it, popping it and dropping it with your favorite girls?!

At Zumba, I was joined by Amy, Kate, Kay, Baird, Maria, Carolyn and Natalie. Our favorite instructor, Marissa, was there too. She loves these crazy girls almost as much as I do----she gave us all free Zumba tshirts! Does life get any better? I deduct it does not!

Here's a picture of us, in our brand new shirts with Marissa.....we're all doing poses from our favorite dance "Call Me". (This isn't really the name of the dance...we had to make up our own names because I can't remember the real ones.)

And here's a video of us doing some of our favorite dance moves from "Call Me":

**A special thanks goes out to Maria, who was kind enough to video this awesome dance on her new phone. Thanks girl!!!!


oh, the holidays

This year's holiday season was pretty peaceful for both me and Josh. We usually are rushing around to my mom, my dad and josh's dad's houses on Christmas day. But, this year we spent some time with my family before Christmas and spent all of Christmas with Josh's family up at the farm. It.was.so.relaxing. Sorry for the lack of blogging last week---I know y'all were so looking forward to hearing from me, but I was either too busy napping of playing on the farm to get back to the 'old blog. But don't you worry: I.am.back.

The best part of Christmas (besides the Jesus stuff) is that I get to spend time with my sisters, Lauren and Taylor. I love love love my sisters. This year we only got to hang out on Monday night at my dad's and Tuesday night at my mom's, but we really made the most of it. We got to play with Stella Blue (the new pup), open presents, play rock band and go out on the town (if that's actually possible in Spartanburg, SC!) I do wish I could have spent more time with them, but I guess that's just what happens when you grow up. Oh well.

I do love Josh's family as well. His cousins are like his brothers and sisters, so every holiday is so so so fun. We all sit at one long table at his Grandma's house---but don't worry, there's still a "kid's table" in there. Don't you love how Josh and I are holding down the kid's end?!

We had lots of great conversation, ate a lot, opend gifts and played tons of fun games (some of which I have to double-check with Josh and see if I'm allowed to post on here----I'll get on that ASAP because it was hillarious.)

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your friends and family this past Christmas :)


if you liked it then you should've put a ring on it

This song has been playing on repeat at our house. And between me thinking that I sound just like Beyonce in this song and Josh thinking that he's got her moves down pat, its been quite the show. I think we may go on tour, we're just that good.

Here the video the song we love so much:

But I think this is the version that I like the best:

Watch more My Video videos on AOL Video


i heart television

Its ok to say you like TV. I think some people like to pretend that not liking TV is cool. I picture them all sitting around and having wonderful conversation and reading interesting books...you know, in a pre-cable/1950s kind of way. BUT, most of the people that I know that have this "I'm-too-cool-for-you-because-I don't-own/watch-television" are actually kind of boring and don't really have much to add the types of conversation that I want to have.

So there. I like TV and I'm not too cool to pretend like I don't.

(Plus, I think I'm pretty well-rounded....I'm ok a sports, play a a musicial instrument or two, liked school work and have a wide-range of friends, which also makes it ok for me to like TV.)

So, I'm so so so so pumped that both Lost (1/21)and 24 (1/11)are coming back in Januray. Yay!

In case you forgot (how could you?!?!) click for Season Finale, and Episode, recaps for Lost and 24.


on a day like today

Hey friends! Sorry I've been a little mia the past couple days. I had a Young Life meeting at Windy Gap on Wednesday (with no computer to blog) and I got some stomach bug while I was there (which meant no blogging on Thursday.) But I'm back and ready for action.

Today is foggy, muggy and slightly misty outside. I can't believe it December in the Carolinas and that its nearly 70 degrees outside. I'm going to blame the warm weather front on why I haven't bought all my Christmas gifts yet. I mean seriously, its practically impossible to buy Christmas presents when it feels like the 4th of July is just around the corner.

So in an effort to feel better on this winter-but-really-feels-like-a-crappy-summer-day, I reccomend putting on this baby:

Ahhh, a little touch of Chanel lipgloss in Wild Rose is just the thing to salvage a day like today. It makes any day instantly better and brighter. Put on a little bit of this gloss and be prepared to get a raise, date or new best friend; this gloss is just that good. And at $26 a tube, it should be!

I do have to thank my sister Lauren for introducing me to this lovely lipgloss. I bought my first tube a little over a year ago with her at Sacs.

Order one today at Nordtrom.

I can't help but mention it.....I hope some of y'all caught Tyler Hansbrough breaking Phil Ford's record at the Dean Dome last night....but in case you didn't, here's the shot:

Click here to watch the Tribute to Tyler.....its so good!

By the way, I'm famous. I've been posted on Big Mama's blog....the post is about insanely bad Christmas sweaters, but I'll take what I can get! Check it out!


two of my favorite websites

Good morning friends! I would like to take this time to introduce you to two of my favorite (cheap) websites:

First off if http://www.steepandcheap.com/. SteepandCheap sells premium outdoor gear and clothing for really really cheap. They sell one item at a time until its gone. Then they upload another item. And so on and so on; the joy continues all day. You can even sign up to be alerted every time a new item is posted.

**I need to thank my friend Leslie for showing me this website a few summers ago. Thanks!!!

Seriously....these chaco's were just $37 this morning!!

Secondly, I love http://www.chainlove.com/. This site is exactly like steepandcheap, but its only cycling gear. Which is really really good news for our household.
I love this Fox Racing jersey and might just get it since its 50% off!
I hope you all enjoy a good deal on these sites today.
Happy shopping!


weekend update

What a weekend we had!

Josh and I met up with our friends Chelsea and Grant for the best burger I've ever eaten (aka: dinner) on Friday night at Big Daddy's Burger Bar. I know, its a horrible name, right?! Well, despite the ridiculous name, Big Daddy's has the best veggie burger around. Its freshly pattied and topped with Monterrey jack cheese, avocado and a chipotle sauce. I know its not a healthy burger, since it tasted so good, but it was nice to eat a vegetarian meal that wasn't so bland :) I debated doing an entire blog entry on this burger, because its just that good....but I decided not too, since the burger is just too good for words.

After burgers, we headed downtown to go ice-skating. That's right, Charlotte has an outdoor ice rink. So what if its only the size of my living room? At least we've got one!

The Holiday on Ice skating rink was quite the hit with me and Chelsea. I'm not sure how much fun Josh had, but that's really not the point now is it? We paid $10 to skate around this dinner plate-sized rink, and boy was it worth it! I am now officially in the holiday spirit!
I took my camera with me (as I do everywhere) to document the fabulous burger and our adventures on the rink. Sadly, I was too excited about eating my burger to remember to take a picture. (Don't worry, I'll be sure to visit again soon and take a picture for you guys.) And my camera died almost as soon as we got onto the skating rink. I was able to get these two great shots though:

This one looks like Josh and Chelsea are on a date.....hmmmmm

Chelsea, the little ballerina on ice :)


I Love Australia!

As we speak, I'm packing up all my belongings and trying to find a way to move to Australia circa 1940. Anyone have any ideas??

This movie is simply amazing; I'm almost at a loss of words, and we all know that doesn't usually happen. It's directed by Baz Luhrmann (who directed, wrote and produced Romeo+Juliet and Moulin Rouge!). Luhrmann is one of my favorite directors, but I was a little nervous when he was recently quoted saying that he wanted to take a "new direction" with his upcoming films. However, Luhrmann was able to take his story-telling to new heights without loosing his distinctive brand of film-making.

Here's a synopsis of the movie from IMDB.com:
In northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, an English aristocrat inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier.

Here are some great reviews for the movie:
"The story is exhilarating. It has its humor and it has its tragedy, classic Luhrmann style. It is set in a heightened state of reality and yet speaks much truth. Get lost in this amazing film."
"I will say this: On the big screen, this is an awesome sight. I knew it would be a spectacle, but I was still surprised by the images at times. I am Australian, and I know of The Kimberley region etc. Still, there are parts of the scenery that I simply did not know existed in Oz. The cinematographer (Mandy Walker) is female, and could well be the first woman to win an Oscar for the camerawork. A nom at the very least."
"If you enjoy the sweeping majesty of the epic movies of old and don't mind settling in to a relaxing storyline that doesn't focus on excessive violence, gratuitous foul language, and Hollywood special effects out the wazoo... then you will enjoy this emotionally involving movie about the human spirit."

Some things I love about the movie:
-The scenery. I lived in Australia during my Junior year in high school---the way they were able to capture the beauty of the country was simply breath-taking. It brought me back to my time spent there in an instant.
-Brandon Walters. This little boy absolutely stole my heart---and the whole film. I'm so thrilled that a young Aboriginal boy was cast in such a film. I can't wait to see what he does next!
-Nicole and Hugh. They have such chemistry on screne that I almost felt uncomfortable...but in a good way! This film shows why Hugh is clearly the "sexiest man alive".
-Its believable. This film did what "movies" are supposed to....I was drawn into the storyline and forgot about the world around me. It made me not want to go see the other "movies" that are out there.

Go and see this film today!


Jesus Peeps

This is an email that I got from my friend Elizabeth. She is married to our friend John and they have two kids: Daniel (5) and Anna (1). This email is soooo funny, I just had to share:

We just had a conversation with Daniel and Christmas is not all about trees and Santa and presents, as a friend of his at school today tried to convince him. Though peppermint ice cream and decorations are fun, we are celebrating Jesus' birth and what it means for us!

He then opened up the topic of, "Why do I have to open my Nativity Story Advent calendar before my Lego Advent calendar????...I really want the robber mini-figure!!!"

[I said] "Well, dear, we want to put Jesus first. He is more important than Legos. blah, blah blah..." We are really trying here!!!

After mulling over what John and I were saying, Daniel then exclaimed, "I sure would like to eat some Jesus Peeps sometime!" Thank you for laughing.

On a side note...John then wondered if there really is a Jesus Peep out in the world somewhere and low and behold, I found a Jesus made of 494 Easter Chick Peeps. Oh yes.


Flannel Wonderfulness!

I am IN LOVE with these new sheets!

I'm frugal, thrifty and cheap which means our house in the winter is cold, chilly and unbearable.

The first thing I do when I climb into bed each night is crawl into the fetal position...I'm not kidding. I think its this instinct we have for being cold; something about pulling your extremities into your core so that your body spends less energy heating itself or something. But enough with the science already----its just plain cold at our house and really cold in our bedroom.

We don't have a ton of extra money right now, since my paycheck relies on profit sharing (and there is no profit to be shared right now.) BUT, I told Josh that we had to get some flannel sheets or I was moving to Florida, Texas or one of those places where Santa goes to thaw out. And on Monday they came in the mail.....these glorious flannel sheets.

I washed and dried them (with two extra dryer sheets, for good measure of course!) And when I got into bed Monday night, I simply could not believe it. My.bed.was.warm.

I think the leaf pattern was a bit much for Josh, but at $25 he wasn't complaining. That's right: 25 measly dollars!

So, Monday night was the first night that we used the sheets. The unbelievable sleep that ensued was my excuse for being 30 minutes late to work on Tuesday morning. Instead of waking up at 7:45am like my alarm told me to, Josh literally pulled me out of bed at 8:50am.

Go right now and buy yourself some of these amazing sheets. But buyer beware: you'll get the deepest sleep, worst bedhead and possibly loose your job...but hey, its totally worth it!


more free stuff

I found myself yesterday adding more and more to that blog post.....then I decided that the events from Saturday night were worthy of 2 posts. So here ya go:

After Josh and I left our free courtside seats, Josh announced that he had a little room left for Krispy Kreme. So, after taking 28938 pictures of me standing on the on the Bobcats court, we left the arena and headed for Gastonia's Krispy Kreme.

I dropped Josh off to grab some last minute grocery items for his cheese ball (long story) and I headed to pick up his doughnuts. I say "his" doughnuts, because I'm on a diet, remember?! So I walk into Krispy Kreme and the guy at the counter is smitten with the girl ordering. He's leaning on the counter, asking her all kinds of questions, smiling and then gave her two doughnuts and coffee for free! Awww, young love....or young girl just trying to get a free doughnut, I'm not really sure. Anyways, so I waltz up to the counter and order two decaf coffees and three doughnuts. The total was just over $3. The same smitten guy hands me my two coffees and doughnuts. He then winks at me and says its on the house. I probably would've cared more about the wink if I hadn't been so caught up in the "its on the house" phrase.....did he forget that I paid $3?

I head out to the car and pick Josh up at the grocery store. He jumps in the car and tears into the doughnut box.....and this is what we find:

(Ok...that's close to what we found....Josh ate one of the doughnuts before I could take a picture.)

So that's what the guy meant when he said "on the house." I checked my receipt and he only charged me for the coffees. Josh thought he was in heaven....free courtside seats and free doughnuts?!

On a similar note, Josh and I went on a date last night to check out the new Italian restaurant in town Gondala's(aka, another place for Josh to check out pizza.) We ordered a greek pizza to share----it was sooooooo good. What was even better was the fact that someone else paid our bill! That's right....we asked the waiter for the check and he said "Don't worry, another couple already paid for your bill. They said they wanted to treat y'all."
Seriously?!?!?! I never win anything.....and in the past couple of days I've gotten free courtside seats, free doughnuts and free dinner!!! I wonder what luck I'll have today?!


courtside, baby!

That's right....I spent Saturday night courstide with Lebron James and Ben Wallace of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sean May and Raymond Felton of the Charlotte Bobcats!

A friend of mine that lives in Charlotte had a couple of tickets for Saturday's game that he wasn't able to give away. (I guess the Bobcats aren't exactly the hot ticket in town!) Josh and I quickly begged for the tickets....and we got 'em. I guess that shows what a little groveling will get you these days!

Our seats were amazing!!! Check out the view that we had:
I mean seriously?!?!?!

Not only did we happen to see the famous basketball players up close....but we were 4 seats away from Julius Peppers and about 20 seats away from Nia Long! I'm telling you---the Time Warner arena was the place to be!

I've mentioned before how much I love UNC basketball....so it goes without saying that I was cheering pretty hard for Felton and May. I really really wanted these guys to play well on Saturday. They played a ton--pretty much the whole game....and I guess they played ok....but seriously, what do really expect when you put them both up to gaurd Lebron James?!

The main attraction of the night by far was Lebron. Everyone was trying to get his picture....some people were even sneaking almost all the way down to the court!

Here are two pictures of Lebron that I absolutely LOVE:

I think that I love these because this is kind of how I like to think of Lebron....that he can laugh and still remember that basketball really is just a game.

So, until next time....this is Blair, signing off----from courtside, that is.


buying local and giving handmade

So its another post about my cheapness...i mean thrifty-ness.

I do actually love giving gifts over the holidays, but my wallet is keeping me from really splurging this year. So, I'm thinking a little outside the mall this year for some of my gift giving.

Here are some things I'm looking into and thought you all might be interested in also!

How about trying your hand at being crafty?! I'm going to try and make my own bath salts. I had a small herb garden this summer...and the lavender was about all that survived. As fall approached, I cut and dried the remaining lavender from the barren garden. A few weeks later I read about making your own bath salts on Martha Stewart.com. Its basically just kosher salt with the herb of your choice (lavender) tossed inside. Check out the details here.

How about giving a gift that can make a double impact: the money goes towards helping others and your friend gets a great gift

Salvation army furniture. Its takes some time and a few coats of paint, but everyone loves a new piece of furniture. I bought a great piece for my sister this year for only $13. I spent a weekend sanding, painting and polishing and now it looks like a great fit for their new home in Birmingham. Not to mention, the money I spent at the Salvation Army thrift store goes directly to the work the SA church is doing! (Check out my first piece I did over on Chelsea's blog)

Fair Trade Coffee. So, if refinishing furniture sounds like a little too much work, how about sitting down and sharing a pot of coffee? I love our local coffee shop, Broad River Coffee Company. Not only is Seth (the owner) a really great guy, but he is deeply invested in the lives of the coffee growers he purchases from. Seth offers the independent farmers a fair price for their beans. It allows the families to continue farming on their own land and have their own small business... which is certainly a rarity in places like Costa Rice and Ethiopia! He has a great collection of shade-grown organic fair trade beans. Personally, I love the organic Ethiopian and Mexican Sunrise. Right now he's having a sale on beans----so buy a pound today. Your family will love the brew and your fair trade-consciousness.

Another great idea is buying local: it'll give your gift a little eclectic flare and keep struggling small businesses afloat.

My choice this year is the Owl's Eye Vineyard. Owl's Eye is owned by a doctor here in town....and its right across the street for my neighborhood! My family has loved touring the property, wine-tasting and the amazing views. The wine is around $15 a bottle, and they have a variety of red and white wines available. If you're not sure what to purchase ask Sean, the Winemaster at Owl's Eye. He's incredibly knowledgeable and friendly!


countdown to christmas card 2008

I love Christmas cards. I love all the time, energy, blood, sweat and tears that go into these little envelopes of joy. I get so excited to check the mail in December.

Josh and I take great pride in our Christmas card photo selection. We go through hours of photo shoots and then meticulously look through all the photos to find the perfect one. Here are some of our pictures from the past couple of years:

Merry Christmas for the City of Pleasant Living.
You might have to enlarge this picture to see my facial expression and to get the full effect of Josh's lederhosen.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Santa
This picture doesn't really do justice to how teased my hair was, how greasy Josh's hair was or how overly red my lipstick was.

Christmas gets some flavor.
Props to Josh for the awesome "russian" cheerleading jump!

So, here you are....just waiting and waiting for me to unveil our 2008 Christmas Card. Well, you'll have to wait a few more days (collective sigh from the crowd.) I know, I know....but it will be worth the wait. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out one of my other favorites.
You've just gotta love Young Life Christmas cards!
Crest High School YL leaders 2005.


holler for a dollar

So the economy stinks. That's about as technical as you'll hear me talk about the subject.

Political Science major or not, all I really care about this season is how the economy effects my gift giving (ahem, and my gift receiving.) I've only bought two gifts off my list of things to purchase, because I've been so overwhelmed with what I have to buy and what little buying power I have these days. But have no fear! I'm hear to help your shopping woes.

Stylish and Fun....on the cheap

great gold clutch for only $10 at Old Navy

green bangle for $22 from Banana Republic

white and gold bangles for only $5 at Old Navy

great blue metalic scarf for a measly $5.50 from Forever21

how cool is this pinstripe fedora for only $10.80 from Forever21?

for the right person, these sassy shoes are just perfect. only $15 at ALDO

throw in some bright colors this winter with a flower purse from ALDO for just $19.98

how about a French-inspired tote for just $11.98 at Motholgy

i love these blue recycled milk glasses. a steal at $18 on Mothology

how great would it be to give these guest towels this year? $12.95 at Crate and Barrel


i hear jingle bells!

I love the Christmas season! I love the decorations, chill in the air, the parties....and of course the presents.

There are several things I like to do each year to properly prepare for the holiday season.

#1 Attend The Messiah and start the season out right! Its playing in Charlotte on the 17th...anyone want to go with me?

#2 Get a classy picture with my family...or of someone else's family to make fun of on my blog. (Sorry Amaya's....I love you guys!)

#3 Buy a sassy sweater to celebrate the season in style.

#4 Listen to the classic Christmas tunes.

Any other suggestions for celebrating this season?

Images by Freepik