Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Project!

Mandy and I are working on an exciting new project! Clue: It has something to do with girls and their "Favorite Things". Should be up and running soon :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Morning

It's Sunday morning about 8 AM. I've been up for about half an hour. Everyone else is still sleeping. There is no question that I am a morning person. On weekends, the morning is my favorite part of the day - that time when its just starting to get light outside and the rest of the world seems to still be sleeping.  This morning, it is a little dreary - it has been raining all night, and the sky is still overcast. The weather is cooler up here (I'm in New Jersey) - I'm not sure if it is also this cool at home or not.

We've enjoyed the weekend. It's been quite relaxing, and although we didn't get to do everything we'd planned (we had planned to visit some of Scott's family further north), we've been able to spend a lot of time with our nephew. He's the sweetest little thing - only fusses when his tummy hurts, or if he's hungry. Even I do that. Haha. He had his first bath last night, and he didn't even cry. We may come up again next month to visit the rest of Scott's family. We just have to plan a weekend.

Well, I'm off to get a bowl of cereal. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Food Poisoning :-(

So the last couple days, I've been battling some food poisoning. I woke up this morning feeling much better, though a little weak from my "clear liquids & gatorade" diet. I had toast and oatmeal for breakfast. Hopefully they will be easy on my tummy. I was thankful that I didn't throw up at all (which is how I know it must have been food poisoning, and not a virus). It was just digestive, so I know it must have been something I ate. Never again will I order a steak & cheese sub from Yossi's Cafe. I was also VERY careful not to get dehydrated this time - last time this happened (which happened to be the night we got home from our honeymoon), I ended up dehydrated in the hospital. So this time, I drank lots and lots and lots of water.

Anyway, on to more pleasant things. I'm very thankful that I'm feeling better, because we are heading to NJ tonight to meet Benjamin. I just can't wait to see him! It's going to be a busy weekend, as we have a lot of people to visit. I'm going to leave it all up to Scott where we go. We need to definitely see his grandmother.

In other exciting news, next weekend is going to be a BLAST. On Thursday night (Oct 1), we are meeting Shane & Mandy in Charlottesville to go see U2! It should be so much fun. On Friday, after work I'm heading down to Durham, NC to meet Amber. She and I have been trying to plan a weekend to "meet in the middle" for a while now, and we finally settled on Oct 2nd. And we randomly chose to meet in Durham, since its right at halfway between both of us. And what are the chances that Virginia Tech would be playing against Duke that weekend AT DUKE? So we got tickets for the game! We are so excited about that. Also, Sue Monk Kidd is doing a book signing at the Durham Library on Saturday night - she wrote The Secret Life of Bees (one of my favorite books) and The Mermaid Chair, and has a new memoir coming out that she wrote with her daughter. So we are going to the book signing :). It's going to be such a fun weekend!

That's about all the news I have for now. Happy Friday everyone :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani - Book Review

Big Cherry Holler (Big Stone Gap, Book 2) Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have to say I was quite disappointed in the storyline of this book. Not only was it depressing, but at the end, it left you wondering about Jack Mac's side of the story. What happened between Jack and Karen Bell? Perhaps that information isn't important to Ave Maria, but its important to the reader. The only thing I enjoyed about the book was the setting - Trigiani makes the reader long for Italy.

View all my reviews >>

Monday, September 21, 2009

Field Days of the Past

What a fun weekend! Before I tell you about my weekend, I have to point out my new "Blidget" in the sidebar for my other blog, SightSi. I made it using Widgetbox, and I think its pretty awesome. If you have a blog, and would like to support SightSI by featuring my blidget there, let me know.

Now, back to my fun weekend. On Friday night, Scott and I decided to go out to the mall to do a little shopping. The Maids had come Friday afternoon, and the house was spic-and-span. So we didn't want to dirty up the kitchen by cooking, so we grabbed something to eat while we were out.

On Saturday morning, I went to a few yard sales before Shane & Mandy arrived. They got in about 10:30 or so with Rory, and we all headed over to Field Days of the Past, which is a 3-day festival in Manakin-Sabot. It's the coolest festival I've ever been to, and this was our 2nd year going. The place is enormous - its held on this old farm that's been there for who knows how long. I think the farm itself might have once been a village, but I'm not sure. I should do some research on the history. There is a general store and a mechanics garage that were once in business. During the festival, you can buy glass bottles of coke and penny candy at the general store. They have an old saw mill, a cotton gin, an old tobacco house, a smoke house, steam-powered cranes, and tons of other equipment that is probably over 100 years old. All of the equipment still works, and throughout the day they do shows where you can see it running. They also have tractor pulls, lawnmower racing, equestrian shows, petting zoos, pig races, an antique car show, vendor booths and even carnival rides. I've never been to a festival that had so much to see and do. We had a blast. I'll have to get some pictures from my brother to post.

After the festival, Shane & Rory left for Norfolk to go to a Tommy Emmanuel concert. I think they really enjoyed it. Mandy, Scott and I went back to our house, and our friends Chris & Keri happened to be in town looking for houses and they came by to visit with their little girl Rebecca. They are all moving to Richmond sometime this fall, as Chris got a job with the Federal government. We are really excited about it! Rebecca is such a cutie - she is 3 months old now. She was a little fussy because she was so sleepy and she was fighting it, but I was able to rock her to sleep.We watched some of the VT football game (Go Hokies! They rocked it out at the end) while they were there.

After they left, Mandy and I went to Short Pump to do some shopping. I picked up a new wallet from Fossil, which I absolutely LOVE. I've never had a Fossil wallet, but I might be hooked on them now. It's this really soft leather, and so cute! It is great for the fall.

After shopping, we came back home and ordered pizza and watched tv. On Sunday morning, I fixed Pecan Pumpkin Spice waffles for breakfast. They were SO GOOD. I got the mix at Williams-Sonoma. Mandy and I did some scrapbooking in the morning, and Shane came up about 11:30 or so (he had stayed with Rory - they didn't get in until almost 2AM from the concert). We all went to Trader Joe's, and Shane & Mandy left from there. Rory came up and met Scott and I at Mexico Restaurant for lunch, and I had a chimichanga for the first time. Delicious! Then we went back to our house and sat out on the deck the rest of the afternoon just hanging out. It was a fun weekend.

This coming weekend, we are heading up to NJ to finally meet Benjamin. It should be fun! I think we are also going to try to see Scott's grandmother while we are there, as she hasn't been doing too well recently.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remaining Photos from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg

 This is the actual "Old Mill"
Comedy Barn
HillBilly Golf
I thought this was hilarious!
Alamo Steakhouse
 Our "Love Nest"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gatlinburg - Pigeon Forge - Day 4

Our last full day in Gatlinburg was mostly a free day. We had done just about everything listed on our itinerary, so we decided to sleep in a bit and take our time before going out for breakfast. We picked up some donuts from Krispy Kreme to hold us over until lunch, and did some more cruising around to look at the cars. We had lunch at the Old Mill - after having their breakfast, I was curious what they would offer for lunch/dinner. They gave us corn chowder with fritters as a starter. I ordered the Pot Roast, which came with green beans and mashed potatoes, and Scott had a grilled chicken sandwich.

In the afternoon, we went to a few shops, including the Christmas Village and back to the scrapbook clearance store. We had planned to go to the Smokey Mountain Winery, but decided we really weren't in the mood for wine. Instead, we went to play Hillbilly Golf in Gatlinburg. It was fun! You ride on this cart straight up the side of the mountain, and it drops you off at the beginning of the putt-putt course. Then you make your way about halfway back down the mountain as you play. We had a really good time. When we finished, we drove around a bit more before going back to the cabin to get ready for dinner.

Dinner was at the Alamo Steakhouse. I had reserved us a "Love Nest", which was a private dining area at the restaurant. It sort of looked like the booths at The Melting Pot, except a little more private. We had bacon-wrapped shrimp for an appetizer, salads, and then we both ordered Filets for our main course. We skipped dessert - we'd eaten so much that week that we just didn't need it. It was a great end to our vacation.

The next morning, after packing up and checking out, we stopped at Smokey Mountain Knifeworks on the way out of town. I'd heard Rory talk about that store a lot, so I just wanted to see what it was like on the inside. We left town about 1PM and made it to Lynchburg right around 6:00pm. We went straight to Shane & Mandy's house, and we all decided to go out for dinner at West Side Deli. I hadn't been there in forever.

After dinner, we rode up to Bald Mountain (at least that's what I call it) to see the Snowplex. It is really cool! I'll be pretty excited if they open snowtubing for adults - right now its just a little hill that's really for kids. I'm not big on the skiing or snowboarding, and you need to be pretty experienced to ride those hills anyway. But it was fun watching them all come down - especially standing there in shorts and a tshirt. Haha. Sort of surreal.

Overall, it was an awesome trip. I will post a few more pictures when I get home tonight - I don't have them here with me right now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent - Book Review

Cottonwood Whispers Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In the sequel to Fireflies in December, Valent continues the story of Jessilyn Lassiter, who is now 17 years old and quickly growing into a young woman (much to her father's dismay). Problems arise when tragedy strikes a little girl in town, and a dear friend of Jessilyn's is blamed. Meanwhile, Gemma has taken on a new job and isn't around as much to spend time with Jessilyn. Written with the same southern charm as Fireflies in December, Cottonwood Whispers will make your heart ache one minute, and swell the next. It will leave you anxious for the release of Catching Moondrops.

View all my reviews >>

Gatlinburg - Pigeon Forge - Day 3

So as you can see, I slacked off a bit on my blogging at the end of our vacation. Truth is, I started sleeping in, and didn't have time to blog each morning.

On our third day, we visited the Apple Barn, and had breakfast at the Applewood Restaurant. It was just as good as the Old Mill! They brought out Apple Muffins, Apple Fritters w/ applebutter, and some kind of apple mango juice. Then we ordered our food, which was pretty much the same as the old mill - eggs, bacon, bicuits, gravy, grits, home fries, etc. It was delicious, but WAY too much food! After breakfast, we went over to the Apple Barn to do some shopping in their store. They have such neat stuff, and its a great place for anyone who loves apples.

After leaving the Apple Barn, we headed through Gatlinburg to the Smokey Mountain Stables to go horseback riding. We pretty much got a private ride - it was just the guide, Scott and I. My horse's name was Buckerspots and Scott's was Tiny Tim (he was anything but tiny). About 5 minutes into the ride, we ran into a copperhead snake! The guide was in front of me, and he walked right over it, nearly stepping on it. I said to him "There's a snake right there" - I was walking by it as he turned around, and he said 'That's a copperhead", with eyes as big as coasters. GREAT. I made it past it and turned around to see Scott walking by it. I asked him, "Did you see it?" and he said "See what?". He totally missed it. Apparently, none of the horses saw it either, because they would have been spooked - horses do not like snakes. We're lucky the snake didn't strike - especially Scott. That snake had to be riled up by the time he rode by it, because we all almost stepped on it. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, but still quite beautiful. I'd hoped we would see some bears - the guide told us he sees them about every day, but we didn't run into any more wildlife that day.

We rode over to the Great Smokey Mountains visitor center after our horseback ride, but it was starting to rain up on the mountain. We decided not to drive up the mountain in the rain. Instead, we went back to Gatlinburg and had lunch at Bubba Gump's. Then we drove to Pigeon Forge and cruised around looking at the cars. The car show, Shades of the Past, was scheduled for Friday and Saturday. So by Thursday, Pigeon Forge was crawling with old cars. Scott loved it! We cruised around all afternoon, then went back to the cabin for a little while to relax before going back out to the Comedy Barn show that night.

The show was hilarious, and we had a great time. I had been to it the last time I was in Gatlinburg, back in the late 90's when I was still in highschool. My friend Heidi went with us on that vacation, and I had a keychain with our picture in it that we got at the Comedy Barn show. I still have that picture - after the keychain broke, I carried it my wallet for years. This time, I got the same keychain again with Scott and I. It's a terrible picture of me, but I couldn't resist getting it. And besides, it was a fantastic picture of Scott.

Well, that about does it for Day 3 of our trip. Here are a few pictures from our horseback riding adventure:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gatlinburg - Pigeon Forge - Day 2

In all my excitement about my vacation, I forgot to write about 2 pretty important events that occurred this past weekend.

First, on Friday night at about 11:15 PM, my very first nephew, Benjamin Allen Tindall, was born weighing in at 6 lb 13oz! He's as precious as he can be, and if I get the OK from his Mom, I'll post a picture of him here. We are going to NJ the weekend of September 25th to meet him - I cannot wait! I can't believe I'm an aunt.

Then, on Sunday evening, my cousin Amy got married! Her wedding was absolutely beautiful - it was held at Valhalla winery on top of a mountain in Roanoke, VA. The view was spectacular, she looked absolutely gorgeous in a spanish-themed dress and veil. Everyone had an amazing time. I'd love to post pictures, but they are on my other laptop in Richmond. So I'll have to do that when I get back home.

Now, as for Day 2 in Gatlinburg - we had a blast! Truth is, we did not go to Gatlinburg yesterday - we spent the day in Pigeon Forge. First, we headed down to the Old Mill District and had breakfast at the Old Mill Restaurant. It was AMAZING! They have the best homemade biscuits I've ever had, they just melt in your mouth. You get a ton of food - homemade banana bread muffins, biscuits, grits, gravy, eggs, bacon, pancakes, and a glass of juice. We were stuffed! I want to go back, but we have another place planned for breakfast today. After breakfast, we walked around to the stores in the district - the General Store and the Pottery were really cool.

Our next stop for the day was Dollywood. I have been to Gatlinburg a couple times in my life, but this was my first time going to Dollywood. We had a great time - Scott and I aren't roller-coaster riders, so we picked a couple shows and some "moderate" rides. We are such chickens. LOL. We had a great time, and we were exhausted by the end of the day. We left about 4:30, and headed back to the cabin for some downtime before our dinner show. We had tickets for the Black Bear Jamboree that night, which is a dinner show. The food was great, and we really enjoyed the show.

Today, we are heading to the Applewood Restaurant and the Apple Barn. Then we are taking a ride into Smokey Mountain National Park, and possibly doing some horseback riding. Tonight we have another show, The Comedy Barn. Should prove to be a day full of fun once again :).

Here are a few pics from yesterday:

Klondike Katie at Dollywood:
Scott & I at Dollywood:
The Old Mill Restaurant:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gatlinburg - Pigeon Forge - Day 1

We made it down here! We got here a little after noon yesterday, and were able to check in to our cabin early. The cabin is AMAZING! I was concerned it would not be as awesome as the pictures were, but it certainly is! It has a beautiful view of the Great Smokey Mountains, a spiral staircase, a jacuzzi out on the deck, and a loft with a pool table. It also has a full kitchen, so we went to the grocery store last night and grabbed a few things to have this week.

So after checking into our hotel, we decided to head to downtown Gatlinburg for the afternoon. We walked around to all the shops, and had lunch at a place called Mountain Grill. Scott got a chicken sandwich, and I had pizza. It was really, really good. Then we decided to ride the Sky Lift - which, frankly, took a lot of nerve on both our parts. It is so scary looking! But once you are on it, it is actually not scary at all. It was so fun, and had AMAZING views! They take your picture when you get to the top, and it turned out so good I had to buy it - I wish I had a digital version so that I could post it here.

And would you believe it - there happens to be a HUGE car show going on this week! As we were driving into town, it looked like the car show at Ocean City, MD! The official "Rod Ride" doesn't start until this weekend, but there are tons of classic cars here already. Scott has his eye on a '69 GTO Judge that is for sale. LOL. I told him he had nowhere to put it. As many cars as are here already, I can't imagine what it will be like this weekend when the show officially starts. Scott will be in heaven - we hadn't expected this.

We are having a great time. We decided to come back early last night and enjoy and relax in the cabin. Scott took a nap while I read, then we spent the evening in the jacuzzi on the deck, which is really nice. However, I've found that I can't stay in it for very long, or I get really hot and light-headed. I had to get out and pour cold water over my head. LOL.

Today we are headed to the Old Mill district for breakfast, then over to Dollywood. We are going to a dinner show tonight (The Black Bear Jamboree).

Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

Downtown Gatlinburg:

View from the top of the Sky Lift:
My attempt at Self-Portrait whilst on the Sky Lift:
Sky Lift:
Our cabin from the outside:
Inside of cabin:

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Wedding and a Vacation!

I've been looking forward to this day since....well, ever since I planned our vacation to Gatlinburg, whenever that was. It's my last day of work for 10 days! WOOHOO!

Half day today, then off to get my nails done and a pedicure this afternoon. Might get my car washed, as well, since it is Filthy with a capital F. Amy's rehearsal is tomorrow in Roanoke, and then she gets married on Sunday! I have got to figure out what I'm going to do with my hair - that is one of my goals for the evening. I might go with something VERY simple, as long as she is OK with it. Maybe a couple ringlets, and just wear it down.

Monday is Labor Day, and we plan to come back to Richmond just for the day to check on Simba and pack our bags. We head back to Lynchburg that evening, and then Tuesday morning we are off to Gatlinburg!! I'm SO excited! I hope the weather cooperates - the last I checked, they were calling for rain next week. Hope that doesn't happen.

Check out my new upgrades on SightSI if you get a chance, and rate some of the itineraries for me. This is still not the new website, but I've upgraded the blog with the logo and header that Mandy designed...she did an awesome job! And I've also gotten the ratings feature to work properly.

In other news, my niece/nephew is due to arrive any day! As a matter of fact, today is the full moon, so I need to check on Jeanine and see how she's feeling.

Happy Labor Day to everyone - I may have time to write while we are on vacation next week. I'll try my best.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry - Book Review

The Hippopotamus The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was, no doubt, a really weird book. The first chapter really turned me off, but after I got past that, it started to get quite interesting. A strange story, indeed, and not at all for the easily offended.

View all my reviews >>