Monday, January 25, 2016

Home Town

I don't know how you feel about Sunday  nights but we can NEVER find anything on TV. Our usual go-to HGTV features Island Hunters all night long and that is so far in fantasy world that I have lost all interest in that show. We have started DVR'ing shows and saving them for Sunday nights to remedy our problem. Last night we watched a few shows but then we watched one and I literally sat on the edge of the couch the entire time. Have y'all watched Home Town?! I was hooked within the first five minutes and have several thoughts on it all...

Home Town is about Erin and Ben who want to revive Laurel, MS and bring character back to old homes. Think of Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper but with a different design twist and is based in MS. Ben looks like a lumber jack and Erin has the cutest hair and is representing for us short-haired girls! You can tell they truly love what they do and have a great time doing it. They love their little town and want others to see the hidden gem that it is. Erin also has a beautiful letter-press wedding invitation business that would make any Southern bride swoon!

Now I love Nashville and I never thought I would love this town as much as I do. You can eat, oh you can eat here, you can travel and truly be a tourist in your own town and I love these things. But honey, if I weren't living in Nashville I would be in South Carolina or Mississippi. I fell in love with MS in 2013 and that state has got a hold on my heart. The people, the smell (pine trees), the brown roads, the slow pace of life, the accents--give me all of it. Home Town is featured in Laurel which just so happens to be the hometown of one of our best law school friends, Will. Will's dad's company did the cabinetry for the home that was renovated. Now listen, this is like playing 6 degrees of separation and I am about ready to introduce myself to Mr. Mark Morgan and see if he can't provide some of his fine cabinets for a future home in Nashville! The cabinets were this light shade of green and I fell head over heels for them. Its different but still so classy and made the kitchen feel warm. You best believe I scoured Pinterest after the episode ended and pinned away! A girl can dream right!

I have a small confession: I am sorta over shiplap. I love Joanna and I think she has an eye for design but I really don't want shiplap in every room. Maybe if we lived in Waco, TX I would do a small section somewhere but you know what..I am good. I like Sheetrock! Again, I love Joanna but every house is starting to feel the same to me but I try to pick out elements from each one that I like and remember those. I think that was what was so refreshing about Home Town was that it was a different designer and she didn't want to stage the home, she wanted them to basically unpack their bags and get ready for dinner. Besides the kitchen cabinets, I loved that Erin and Ben painted the entryway navy and there was white wainscoting. Oh the pop of color with the stark white made a statement! In the dining room, there was a fireplace and they incorporated famous Laurel bricks. I texted Will and asked if he could find me a Laurel brick because as of 8 PM last night, my life would not be complete with out one!

Now in the living room, they had a linen or it could have been white couch. I want one of these so badly because its crisp and clean. However, the practical person would stay absolutely away from this purchase because children, let alone adults, are not clean all the time. However, I am drawn to it every time and think could I pull this off or will I wash white slipcovers the rest of my life?

This was Home Town's pilot episode and I really hope HGTV picks it up. Did any of ya'll watch? If so, what did you think? Are you over shiplap or is it just me? Now excuse me while I go butter up Will's dad and see if he will put us on his books for a future order!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow Day

Oh this weather! This week has been eventful in the sense that Monday was MLK day, Wednesday was bad weather but that was nothing compared to what we are experiencing today. I am a set-schedule, to-do list kind of girl and when the week is shaken up like this I feel out of sorts. However, when the bad weather hits on a Friday and you get an unexpected 3 day weekend, well honey, bring it on!

Monday both Jace and I had to work and at least for me it was relatively quiet since most people thought we were closed. Tuesday was a normal day but we knew what was looming. Wednesday the first round of bad weather hit and I decided to take a vacation day and not risk tackling the slick roads. Though it was a vacation day from work, it turned into a work day at home with laundry, grocery shopping, and light cleaning. I did manage to squeeze in a nap and it was glorious! Stamper braved the weather and went to work and I proceeded to tell him he was crazy but conditions really did improve by mid-afternoon. Yesterday everyone turned into amateur meteorologists and were giving their own predictions of when the rain and snow would hit. I worked hard yesterday and tried to get everything wrapped up just in case work would be cancelled. The anticipated text arrived this morning at 7 saying work was cancelled and I haven't got out of my robe yet! We are currently on our second pot of coffee and I am taking a l-a-z-y morning! Stamp is working from home remotely today and might even tackle our taxes! Whereas, I will feel productive to get a shower!

On days like today I wish we had Netflix and could do the whole "Netflix and Chill" but instead our TV is glued to the news and probably will be for the rest of the weekend. I do hope to read some of my books from Christmas, give myself a poor man's manicure, and try to fight off the urge to bake something sweet for this weekend! Now if we weren't living the dream in our apartment, Jace and I would be outside playing! The advantage of apartment living: no snow shoveling! The disadvantage of apartment living: parking lot snow angels.

I hope y'all stay warm and more importantly, safe this weekend. To my KY friends, I am thinking of you and inches if not foot or more of snow that greeted you this morning.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Weekened Shenanigans

Its Tuesday afternoon and I am trying to keep my eyes open but I'm so tired. That is what happens when you have a fun weekend and there wasn't any time to rest! Here is what I was up to...

On Friday nights Jace and I usually have a date night in and fix a fun, albeit easy dinner. Last Friday's menu was homemade pizza and Jace was in charge. Last week seemed to be a whirlwind with the sudden surprise of "busy season", so Friday was a much needed night to recharge with Jace and catch-up. Some Friday nights we literally crash, don't say too much, and go to bed early and are pleased as punch to crawl into bed at a decent time. However, last Friday night we discussed all manners of adult stuff but mostly work.We are both so career focused right now and are really trying to settle into a career and not stick with just a job. Stamp keeps me motivated and encourages me along this little path I'm plowing. Friday nights with him are the best cure to a long week and it never hurts when a bottle of wine is opened either!

Saturday morning I got up early and drove home because it was Mom's birthday and we had the best day! For many years, I couldn't be with her on her actual birthday and that was always hard but not this year! That is the wonderful thing of being 2 1/2 hours away, traveling home is not an all day occurrence and is so much easier. Saturday we ran all over Paducah and went into stores we normally don't and just looked around. We had lunch at a fun restaurant called Flamingo Row. The place is lively and very colorful and they have a live iguana. Now listen, I can't handle that creature. When we lived in Gainesville, there were lizards everywhere and as Jace would tell you, they became my best friends and that is the God's honest truth. Lonely times, people, lonely times when the lizards were the highlight of my days. The reason I can't handle an iguana is its tongue looks like its as long as its body. So imagine Mom and I enjoying ourselves, eating lunch, and she lets out this hollar. Y'all I thought that iguana had escaped its cage and was loose. I was two steps away from the door and just thought I would call the restaurant and give them my credit card information and pay that way. I am not kidding when I tell you that I was startled. Shockingly, the iguana was not loose--instead my Mom saw someone we know. It took awhile to recover from the excitement but then Mom and I got so tickled. We finished the day at Great American Cookie because how can you have a birthday without a  sweet treat?

On Saturday night I knew there were flurries in the forecast. I was prepared for a dusting but it was far from a dusting when we woke up on Sunday. 4 inches fell overnight and it looked like a winter wonderland. Pup was so excited for the snow and played and trotted all over the neighborhood while Mom and I scrapped ice and snow from my car. We had plans on going to church but even churches were closed and school wasn't in session yesterday.

On my drive back, I felt like I was in high school all over again. Mom always swears she is done having yard sales and yet almost every year we throw another one. She was going through things and found a stack of CDs and y'all they took me back to the day. We are talking circa 2003-2005, the hit of hits of my high school days. I knew every lyric to those songs and my word what a mix CD they were! One minute country, the next rap, and everything in between. When I traveled back to Nashville it was the time when we would have been in church and I hope the Good Lord forgives me because the lyrics weren't that spiritual in nature.

Overall it was a really great weekend, a weekend that makes you tired the next week but your heart is full!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Every Day Joy

Chipped finger nail polish. Burnt dinner. Loads of laundry. Grocery shopping.

This is every day life and is what my week has been about. Don't get me wrong this week has been fine considering its the first week "back-to-reality" but for whatever reason this week I have found joy in the every day moments of life. Maybe its because the holidays feel like a whirl-wind and leave you feeling exhausted but in the first few days of 2016 I have found delight in the every day mundane things. Last week I was on vacation several days and oh what it did to my soul. The feeling of not setting an alarm, going through our home and purging things we don't use/need/want, and cooking dinner at a reasonable time felt wonderful! That feeling of being at home and truly enjoying your space and the one you share it with has continued to flow over into this week and I think that is why I have enjoyed the little things.

As grateful as I am for our home and our jobs, this week has been rather busy. Jace got slammed at work and didn't get home one night until 8 PM. I had fixed dinner that night and honey, I burnt it. Have you ever smelt burnt cabbage before? Well its a smell you won't forget. I got home and started fixing dinner after I got a few chores done. I was tired and started reading a new blog and next thing I knew I was scrapping polish sausage, onions, bell peppers, and cabbage from the bottom of the skillet. When Jace got home, it was evident dinner was not going to be stellar and God Bless him he just ate it anyway. It was late, we were both tired, but we looked at each other and said at least its hot. Dinner was bad (Jace won't say it but as the cook, I can) but we still sat down at the table and caught up. Over burnt dinner, I was thankful for Jace and the moment we had together even if it was late. Sitting at the dinner table with him and going over our day is one of my most favorite moments of my day. The sense of home that he brings me in that moment is pure joy.

This week at work my heart has broken over hearing three stories of loved ones passing or hurting. You know how the saying goes, things always happen in threes and by Wednesday I had heard three sad stories. Hearing the stories made me think of how blessed my family is in that we are healthy and happy and I realize not everyone's life is like this. You just never know what kind of demons people are facing. Lately, I have been praying for more patience, more love, more grace because I know I need others to show that to me. The feeling when someone does this for you is not easily forgotten and I've tried to be intentional with my words and thank those that do this for me. A few colleagues this week have given me complements and with their words, I have skipped home. I found joy in the words they have spoken to me and I only hope I have done the same for others.

Last night I missed the Teak and so I called her. She had a great day yesterday and ran to the mall. Do you know what she bought? Booties! She said that she bought these short boots that hit at her ankle and I informed her that the girls call them booties and that she was in style. I asked her that she needs to find her a pair of skinny jeans and we could match and she and I got a real kick out of that. At 84, she is still rocking it and keeps me laughing. The Teak is one of the most purest forms of joy to me.

Every Thursday, my routine is the same and I grocery shop at Kroger. With coupons and list in hand, I go up and down every aisle and get what we need for the next week. I show my love through cooking and hence grocery shopping is essential for this, but a necessary evil of all of this is menu planning.  As much as I hate menu planning, the thought that we have food on our table (more than we really need) is a blessing.

I hope this feeling of joy continues and that I'm mindful of the small, every day things that turn out to be the really big things in life. I hope you have found joy within your week and have sparked joy in others.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Good reads for 2016

Happy New Year!

This New Year I have been greeted by a stack of books/cookbooks on my nightstand and I am itching to start reading them. I am always on the lookout for a good book and enjoy hearing what others are reading. I thought I would share with you what I believe will be some new favorites:

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Listen, at our house we are watching PLENTY bowl games and basketball games and this girl needs to mentally escape and read a girly novel and who better to read than ol' Nick. I had a quick business trip to Little Rock in December and almost knocked this book out in 24 hours. Easy read, love story, little bit of suspense all rolled into one. I am sure in classic Nicholas Sparks fashion, it will come out in a movie but I doubt Stamper will be eager to see this one.

My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg

Y'all I am laughing my way through this book of short stories and it will make you want to whip up some banana puddin', drink sweet tea, crack open an oyster, and rock a spell on your porch. Rick Bragg is the writer on the last page of Southern Living magazine and his stories seem like they could be told by your best friend's grandmother. The stories remind me of home and fill me with pride in being a Southerner. The stories are comforting, well-known, and make you shake your head like you are in a good church service. Jace gave me this book for Christmas and it is a true treasure. I just can't recommend this one enough and once I finish will probably re-read it.

The Southerner's Cookbook by Garden and Gun

I haven't had time to go through the recipes and they may be a little bit more complicated then I typically do but I think this cookbook will be a classic. After you finish reading My Southern Journey, break out this cookbook and make something with gravy!

The Southerner's Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life by Garden and Gun

Are you sensing a pattern here? I have been eyeing this book since fall and was about to purchase it when I was told not to spoil potential birthday gifts. I have a feeling this book is going to be one of those I will dog ear and learn from. After thumbing through it quickly in book stores, chapters discuss hosting tips, cooking tips, and so much more. Sign me up!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond

At this rate, Stamper and I are going to weigh 1000 lbs by the time I finish reading all the cooking tips and recipes from these books. Oh well, I guess we will be happy! I have quickly scanned through this book and some of her recipes are doable. I struggle with Ree at times because she has so much time to prep and let's be honest that is always the case on a random Tuesday night when you have to work late and come home to piles of laundry. However, I love the step-by-step picture layout of each recipe and it makes me feel more confident in trying them.

Though this is not a book, it has quickly become a beloved IG account. I follow Euna Mae's on IG and have fallen in love with this little store. Jace and I visited Euna Mae's when we went to AR to watch the Hogs play MS state. Euna Mae's is in Springdale, AR which just so happens to be one of my hospital locations and I was familiar with the area before our trip to AR this fall. The store is named after the owner's grandmother and is filled with cooking and baking tools, mixing bowls, and cookbooks. I walked through the store three times and really didn't want to leave. Recipes are posted on the account and it will make you gather up your people and feed 'em. Euna Mae's slogan is: Love. Welcome. Serve. I am about 2 seconds away from cross-stitching that and putting that above our door! Love, love, love that!

I hope your New Year is off to a great start! What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Las Vegas

Y'all let me tell you about my experience in Vegas! I recruit physicians for a facility in Mesquite, NV which is about 90 minutes outside of Las Vegas. I love my job and love that I get to travel to so many places and when the opportunity presented itself to go to Vegas I jumped on it! I never had a desire to visit LV but since it is a "work expense", I was open to seeing the city of sin. Y'all I was in the city for 16 hours and what a time it was!

I flew Southwest for the first time and loved the experience! A non-stop flight is a glorious thing! Once landed, I picked up my rental car and headed to the Wynn resort. 

After I parked and made my way into the casino, the smoke hit me right away. The tables were somewhat busy and it felt dark in the casino. I see where you can lose all track of time! I finally made my way to the registersation desk and checked in. On my way to my room, I passed a few flower arrangements...

What seemed like a short hike I found the elevators and accidentally got on the wrong set. The resort divides up elevators based on floor numbers. I accidentally got on the wrong set of elevators. Realizing my mistake, I hit the lobby button and had to ride until everyone got to their specific floor. Well y'all this one girl got on and she had on a tiny black pleated skirt with marijuana leaves all over it. I thought to myself, you know I haven't see that in Limited, Belk's, or Dillard's fall collection! Feeling completely green (no pun intended) I exited and got on the correct set of elevators and made my way to my room.

The room was really really nice and can I just say it has made me think about our future home. I had to press one button and the curtains opened. I pressed one button and all the lights came on. In the bathroom I had a phone and a TV. I'm sure  Stamper will roll his eyes when I tell him these would be worthy expenses in a future home!

I called mom and Jace and told them I had arrived safely. Now I'm not going to lie I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the city--it's big. I was hesitant to go and explore the strip but I thought when am I going to be back here? I ate dinner in the casino and made my way to the strip. I wish I could had seen the dancing fountains but did see several iconic resorts like the palazzo, trump tower, the mirage, etc. 

Now no trip to Vegas is completing without a little gambling. I don't gamble a lot simply because I like to keep my money but I took a $20 and found a slot machine. I inserted the bill and really wanted some instructions to pop on the screen. There were no instructions. I sat down for 2 minutes and hoped I could strike it rich like Charlie in the chocolate factory!

For two minutes I kept hitting a button labeled 40 credits and then the screen lit up with this...

What do three Grandpa Joe's even mean??? I had absolutely no idea and thought I would just cash out. A ticket printed and it said 

Well I was so excited I had won something!! However I thought there would be some left over change from the $20 and honest to God hit the service button three times and no one came to tell me the machine took my money and I'm very naive to the whole gambling scene. Vegas was created for people like me! I cashed out and was ok with only losing $5.50. I called Stamp and told him of my winning and of course he quickly did the math and corrected me that in fact I didn't win. Little did he appreciate the confusion I had to deal with those two minutes!!

After gambling and seeing the lights of the strip, I headed to my room. My body was two hours ahead and I was ready to call it a night. I can assure you no one who has been to Vegas went to bed as early as I did last night. 

Since I went to bed early when in reality it was my normal bedtime, I got up early. Remember my excitement about the tv in the bathroom well at 5 am I was watching MTV music videos! MTV actually plays music videos at that hour of the day and I thoroughly enjoyed getting ready. The bathroom had a magnifying mirror and ladies lets be honest that thing is a dangerous tool. You think you look fine and then BAM! you find hairs you didn't know existed! Well I took care of all that maintenance this morning with MTV on in the background!

The drive to Mesquite was rather flat. It truly looks like a desert and the largest things are the telephone poles. It also looks like Keith Morrison from Dateline could appear at any minute and tell you a story of how a spouse killed the other spouse for insurance money and disposed of the body in this region. 

The hospital visit went really well and it helps me when talking with the doctors after I have seen the community. I'm happy to have had the experience to see Las  Vegas but I'm a southerner at heart and to me there is no comparison to the south! I'm ready to get home, manually open my own blinds, and the only betting I plan on doing is with Stamper on who will be eliminated on Dancing with the Stars!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Nae Nae--Stamper Style

Jace Stamper--God Bless him! I love that kid to death and this weekend, I left him shaking his head but oh the grin on his face was as wide as the ocean! Saturday night his work family had a get-together and we truly love his co-workers. It is rare to really like your co-workers, enough so that you want to see them on Saturday night but the people Jace works with are really nice and FUN! To truly understand our Saturday night, I must go back and tell you about my cousin Sam's wedding.

Sam got married in July and he was the last Whiteker grandchild to get married. Now the wedding was beautiful and Lauren was a stunning bride but you know the ceremony is just a build up to the reception. The Whiteker clan has gotten pretty good at wedding receptions over the years and you know we threw down and left everything on the dance floor.

Friday night before Sam's wedding, Jace and I left for Lex. after work and it was late when we rolled into Lexington. However, we turned the ol' Honda Accord into a dance party for the entire length of the BG and went through old rap CDs from our high school days. You know, just a little prep work/ warm-up in case the wedding DJ wasn't any good. Sam and Lauren had a ton of "kids" at their wedding and by "kids" I mean 26 year olds. Now, Jace and I can't let the kids out-do us on the dance floor and we like to think of ourselves as masters who teach the "children" that we still got "it". Honey, we moved so much on the dance floor and requested the best songs. I sweated so much my dress had to go to dry cleaners the next week--a sign of a great reception. (We also wore out the Aspercream the days that followed massaging our sore muscles--a true sign that Jace and I are getting older!)

Jace and I were so proud of our dance moves and loved when the "kids" would come up to us and tell us how fun we were! The only point in the night where we both felt old is when the kids starting waving their hands and rocking side-to-side. I loved the song and it had a great beat, it made you want to move. All the "kids" knew it and Jace and I were completely puzzled as to why we had NEVER heard of this song. Were we becoming "old"? Did we not know what the "kids" were listening to any more? Panic set in until my cousin's wife told me it was the "Nae Nae" and proceeded to show me how to whip it and nae-nae. I tried to follow suit but you know the confidence just wasn't all there. The "kids" had one up me however, they didn't hold a candle to my "Don't stop believing" solo. The next day, Teak said she had never heard me so loud and that is really saying something!

I say all of this to tell you about this past Friday and Saturday night. Last week, Stamp had a hard week at work and by Friday night we were both needing a break. We have this tradition on Friday night to do a simple dinner and listen to music while we cook together. Our play list usually begins with Bob Seger, ventures into 80s Pop, might transition to today's hits, jumps over to 2000 rap songs, moves over to country; so basically we let the mood and the conversation dictate what we listen to. By Friday night we had solved the worlds problems over tacos and kept the conversation going on our patio. Now to fully appreciate what I am about to say, you have to understand that our patio is small and we look out at I-24. It was getting later in the evening and both Jace and I were feeling relaxed at this point and somewhere in conversation the "Nae Nae" was mentioned. Well next thing you know, we were watching "how to" videos of the Nae know to keep up with kids these days.

After a couple of You tube instructions, we started to Nae Nae and trying to perfect our moves. The Stampers broke it down into three "country" steps: 1) drive with your right hand, 2) drive with your left hand, and 3) wave to everybody! We proceeded to Nae Nae to everyone travelling on I-24 that night! Thank goodness that we worked on our Nae Nae moves on Friday night because you know I whipped them out at the party on Saturday night.

Now listen, Jace's coworkers are CPAs and attorneys and know everything there is to know about taxes but honey they know how to have a good time and I just get in there and hang with the best of them. Saturday night was no exception! This was my second time to attend this get-together and I had a little more confidence going into the party because I knew almost everyone. The food, the atmosphere, the company--everything was so nice! At these parties, I try not to embarrass Jace but you know I just start telling stories on him and he just shakes his head but secretly loves it!

Well after a glass or two of wine, the stories really started to fly and I proceeded to tell them that we learned how to Nae Nae Friday night. Well this just cracked everyone up because suit-and-tie Jace learned how to whip it and Nae Nae. Next thing you know the song was coming through the speakers! You best believe I called Stamp out and we did the Nae Nae. Now, Jace's efforts weren't the greatest but he did move those knees. I on the other hand, did the full dance. Why not? I had to show them that I practiced and came prepared just in case the opportunity presented itself. Then the head guy over national tax for the entire COUNTRY, the HEAD GUY, jumped in there with me. Little Katie Stamper was doing the Nae Nae with the head of EY's national tax and honey I loved every minute of it. This guy is so nice and the "country" instructions really stuck with him; drive left-handed, now right, and wave. I don't know if Jace was embarrassed or if he was just like that is my wife! I think it was more of the latter but either way he was smiling ear-to-ear.

The Stamper's are a good time and honey we will just about Nae Nae any where! Next time, you have a corporate get-together just call us and we will bring the dance moves and aspercream! Without a doubt, the "kids" don't have anything on us baby!