Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday's Song: Grammy Thoughts Edition

*disclaimer: this is most likely going to "spoil" a couple of the awards for you, namely Album of the Year. So don't read if you haven't watched and want to. That is all.

Most of these are either random thoughts I had while watching, or texts I sent to Anthony...

Lady Gaga and Elton John...I heart you.

Pink eyed green peas!

Dear Taylor Swift: Please stop looking so shocked when you win.
(however it was a nice and coherent speech. Props for that)

Simon Baker makes up for it though. Yummy.
(I still like you better though. No worries :)

Nice crotch hold, Beyonce.

Oooh, Seal!

Holy shit P!nk! Ok, that's pretty stinkin impressive. Pretty sure I could never sing while I was doing that!
I'm kind of terrified she's going to electrocute herself with the mic and the water...
I've always loved even more.

Why have I never heard of anyone in the best new artist category?! Do I live under a rock or what?

I gotta admit. I'm kinda digging the Black Eyed Peas. Hey, new workout music!
But what in the world are the dancing robot things? Or dancing...stereo speakers?!

Ewwww, Jonas Brothers.
And I can hear a fangirl screaming in the background. At the Grammys. Klassy.

Dang. Serious competition for Best Rock Album.

I remember thinking Chris O'Donnell was soooo cute when I was a teenager.

I can't tell if Taylor is really off key as much as she sounds or if she's just being a whiny teenager. My money's on pitch problems though.
(and I think she's cute and a good songwriter. She just...doesn't do well live. When she sings. Speaking she's good.)

Maybe I'm just callous, but I'm SO.TIRED. of hearing about MJ.

Ahhh, Bon Jovi. That's the way it's sung. I've gotten used to the rock band version and I almost forgot. :)

Placido Domingo and Mos Lots of funny phrases are trying to create themselves in my head. I must restrain myself.

Wait...I'm on a Boat is a song besides the SNL version?!

What an ADORABLE child! I also like his speech the best. "do you wanna say anything?"
"No Thanks!"

Wow. Andrea Bocceli...Mary J Blige...David

I'm so glad they're plugging music education. Do you think maybe that means that maybe I'll be able to start teaching again?!?!?!?!?!?!? It would require music teaching positions to be OPEN...

Quentin Tarantino are you fo'real?!

Ok, with all the other nominees for Album of the Year...I don't agree at all that TS won it. Are ya kidding me?!

All in all, a fun show.


Review: The Search for God and Guinness

As soon as this book popped up for review on Thomas Nelson's blogger book review site (now, I knew I had to read it.

A book about alcohol (even beer) and spirituality was too intriguing to pass up.

I have long known that my views on alcohol consumption differ from most of those of my Protestant friends. Perhaps that's why I'm so drawn to the Catholic church (among other reasons!)...they have no issue with drinking in moderation!

Plus, because of my ancestry I'm interested in all things Irish.

So I ordered this book and it did not disappoint.

The Search for God and Guinness begins with the history of beer and weaves in the story of the Guinness brand in particular with the amazing members of the family who created it. From the very first Guinness, the family has been involved in spiritual formation, unification of Catholic and Protestants in Ireland of all places, and humanitarian efforts. Members of the family that were not involved in the company have been clergymen, members of government, and highly respected members of society. However, the book mainly focused on the family members who became the acting head of the Guinness brand and how their spiritual journey corresponded with their passion for their life's work.

I was especially intrigued by the story of one of the descendants who upon receiving his wedding gift of 5 million pounds, took his new bride and went to live in the slums in order to best serve the people there. Amazing.

Guinness is one of the more recognizable brands around the world, and there is a reason for that. I'm not going to share much more of the story, because I truly feel it's a read that will be more fascinating if you discover the little treasures for yourself.

The book stressed that for those members of the family who took on the company, beer making was their passion. And that's something we can all learn from. In the eyes of this particular reader, though the point was never stressed in the book, I truly think that the author was trying to convey that there really IS no separation between the sacred and the secular. So many of us try to create a chasm between the two...but it is God who gives us our passions, talents and gifts, and I think He blesses us when we choose to live out those passions.

To give a fair and honest review, although I was fascinated by this book, I couldn't read it in one sitting. The names, dates, and details sort of swirl around in my mind so that I would have to take a bit of a break (of a few days normally) between stretches of reading. However, it is a wonderful read and I highly, highly recommend it.

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's a Great Day to Be Snowed In

It snowed...It Snowed...IT SNOWED!!!

Nashville finally has seen snow. And it's completely shut the city down. Offices closed, restaurants (even Cracker Barrel) closed, and no one's going anywhere.

4 inches, ladies and gentlemen. 4 inches.

We ARE supposed to get more. And in all fairness, I think the biggest snowfall I've seen here in Nashville in the last 10 years has been 3 inches.

I'm headed to Anthony's to play in the snow with my beau. I'm smelling a monster snowball fight. Pictures to follow!

(so I guess it's not true that no one's going anywhere. Nashville drivers...stay OUT of my WAY!)


Friday, January 29, 2010

You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Volume 7

I've heard about a lot of things being smuggled in underwear lately...most notably the attempted airline attack...

But 44 lizards?

A German man was arrested in New Zealand for attempting to get out of the country with 44 lizards in his underwear.

Let's just stop and think about that for a minute, shall we?

At what point did that seem like a good plan?! And the article seems to imply that he may have actually succeeded in this before...


article here


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday's Ten: Favorite Places to Eat

Sorry this one's running a bit late!

I know that a lot of us (me included) are trying to eat healthier and save money at the same time. So today's top 10 is either your favorite restaurants OR your favorite recipes. Should be fairly simple, yes?

And if you're like me, you'll do one of each, just because. :D


1. Maggiano's
the food is great AND it was the first place A ever took me on a date. Sentimental = good as well!

2. La Hacienda
local (I think) chain of as-authentic-as-you're-gonna-get Mexican here in Nashville

3. the Pub
sometimes you just NEED pub food

4. Genghis Grill
affectionately known as "the bowl place" where you fill up your bowl with meat and veggies, choose noodles or rice, and watch the guys on the grill do their magic. and if you're me, you drown said meat, veggies, and noodles in dragon sauce!

5. Royal Thai
yeah, it's a chain, but it's GOOD

6. Cheesecake Factory
high in calories, and a little cliche...but yummy nonetheless

7. PF Changs/Pei Wei
they're essentially the same place, so they get the same number :)

8. Caesars
local Italian place. YUM.

9. Sushiyobi
when I'm in the mood for sushi THIS is the place to go

10. Which Wich
such a clever name and a clever restaurant. I love the build your own aspect that's classed up.

I'm adding an 11. And by the way, these are in no particular order. Baja Burrito, or Blue Coast Burrito if you're lucky enough to have a franchise. But Baja, the original, is a-freaking-wesome. :)

And recipes? Easy enough. By the way, this doesn't include my favorite desserts...we'll have to do that on another top ten!

1. vodka pasta
2. tomato soup
3. chicken salad
4. pizza pot pies
5. ginger noodle stirfry
6. cheesesteak chimichangas
7. poppyseed chicken
8. tortellini minestrone soup
9. greek meatloaf
10. pepperjack chicken

You know the drill! Grab the button (code is to your right in that sidebar over there. See the followers? Right under that!), sign MckLinky and GO!

Take Me the Way I Am

(next week's theme: Valentine's Gift ideas)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Last week I didn't spend much time at the office.
(I'm temporarily there, and they're very flexible with me taking other jobs)
I spent a lot of time with this sweetheart. She was sick and couldn't go to her school. Bummer...

I would never post pictures that are recognizable of any child I babysit, so please forgive the slight glimpses.
E has such a great personality, at her tender age of 5 months.
She didn't feel good at all, but she remained upbeat and cheerful for the most part.
She was content to sleep holding my finger in her teeny hand

and when I finally put her down on her boppy right next to me, she could only sleep touching me. If that hand moved off my leg she'd fuss. SO cute.
Methinks this isn't helping my baby fever any...

Photobucket least i twisted my ankle on sunday...

because our 5K was *awesome*

I left my house at 2pm (race started at 3) because I knew that it would take at least 30 minutes to get there. I live only 15 minutes away, but they had shut down one of our major roads for construction all weekend so the back way I had to take was sure to be jammed full of not-so-happy rerouted people.

Sure enough.

Anthony's aunt texted me while I was still waiting in a line of traffic on said back road, asking if I were there yet. I said no, but probably would be off this particular street within 5 minutes and it should be a short 5 minute drive from there. She said they were 1 stoplight down from the zoo waiting in line to turn in (they were coming the opposite way from me).

It took exactly 5 minutes for me to turn onto the next street (points for me knowing my Nashville traffic!), and not even 5 to get to where I could see the entrance to the zoo. That's where the real fun began.

(don't you love this overpass with the animals painted on? on the other side there's a cheetah stretching up to a bird. very fun.)

I only got pictures from my side of the line, because thankfully it moved really quickly. However, once I got around this corner:

This is what awaited me!

Once I was in, I texted them to see if they had parked. They were STILL IN LINE to turn into the zoo! My side of town for the win!

More waiting least it's a pretty little drive up the zoo property to the parking lot...

(this sign always cracks me up a little bit)

I finally parked. There was a MASSIVE amount of people milling around the parking lot (including Gnash, the Nashville Predator's mascot). So I decided to just hang around the top of the lot and wait for Anthony's mom and aunt...because I figured there was NO WAY I would find them in that crowd.
(which I found out later was at least 3000 people strong--and that was just the participants)
I only ran into one other person I knew--a former coworker from when I was teaching. Since we taught together she has had a precious little girl who is now 2, and found out that she had cancer when Olivia was 3 weeks old. She thankfully was declared cancer free last October, and is doing these 5Ks and half-marathons just to show that she's kicked cancer's ass. I love it.

They delayed the start of the race until 3:15 because of the traffic, but eventually we were off!

The route was pretty cool--lots of little trails not open to the public and quite the backyard tour of the zoo! We're members there so I thought I had seen all the animals the zoo houses, but there are several that live off exhibit. I was lucky enough to walk by these tapirs. If I hadn't watched Rachael Ray earlier in the week I wouldn't have known that they were so special, but apparently they're a pretty rare sight.
The path was paved at times, rocky at times, and muddy often. Several hills and twists and turns. I can't imagine having run those portions of it!

We got to see the Bengal tigers (who were quite interested in all of us too!) and the other big cats (Lynx and cougars were out) but most of the other animals were either indifferent or holed away somewhere. I didn't stop to take any pictures. Got a couple of drive-by shots, but they definitely show motion:
(lynx)We wanted to beat our last 5K time which was somewhere in the 55-60 minute range. Of course, we all were walking slower that race so we thought it shouldn't be a problem. We decided that somewhere between 45 minutes and 50 minutes would be great. Of course, we decided this when my iPhone app that we were using to time ourselves (we weren't officially timed, so we started about 5 minutes after the timed runners/walkers) turned to 40 minutes. So we were hoping we were within 10 minutes of ending the race!

Mess, Anthony's aunt, got a little burst of energy right at the end and started speedwalking. Anthony's mom and I looked at each other, shrugged, and kept walking at the same pace. She finished 10 seconds ahead of us...we ended the walk at 48:36. Not too shabby for walking the ENTIRE way...and definitely not to shabby for me considering that less than a month before it literally hurt to walk from one place to the next. My back did fine for the entire time, and I even began contemplating running some in the next 5K we do...which will be in 2 weeks!

finished! Anthony's mom on the left, aunt on the right

Mess and me

And then Sunday came.
And in true Lora fashion:
I completely wiped out in the back of our sanctuary after church.
Twisted my ankle.

Not TOO badly, but enough that I'm now wearing an ankle brace for support so that I'll be able to do the next 5K...

but I guess I'll be walking that one too!

(Next 5K: Nashville Predators Fangtastic 5K...February 6...12 days and counting!)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's a Great Day to Run at the Zoo

today's wordle:(join Shannon to create your own and link up)

Nashville Zoo Run...Hop...Walk...Crawl...

Yep! Today I'm in my 2nd ever 5K. Because of the issues I had with my back less than a month ago, I'll be walking the majority if not all of it. But the important thing is that I'm DOING it. It benefits our zoo, it'll get me out in the sunshine (crossing fingers for that one), and it keeps me moving! A's mom and aunt are doing it as well (they're gonna start hating me for asking them to do more and more of these things--I have us all signed up for another one in March!) and two of the girls from the office I work in will be there as well.

I'm thinking that the route through animal habitats and the gorgeous scenery at the zoo will be a welcome change from most 5Ks. Since I'm walking I may even snap some pictures!

After the "run" I'll be hanging out with some of my best girlfriends, Meghan and April. We're going to see Leap Year and just hang out for awhile. SO long overdue, this girl time.

A and I are also squeezing in a quick run to our friends house to give their 4 year old daughter, Morgan, her birthday gift and say hello...since the 5K is during her party.

Whew! I think it's time to get moving!


Friday, January 22, 2010

You Can't Make This Suff Up: Volume 6

Ever wished for a little extra warmth in your hotel bed when traveling?
You know, like a giant hot water bottle?

Go to London and it's just a quick dial down to the front desk. A human bed warmer, dressed head-to-toe in a fleece sleeper suit

(pardon me just a moment. can I just have the fleece sleeper suit? kthanks)

will come up to your room, turn down the sheets, and lay in the bed for about 5 minutes before you actually get into the bed.

So in England, having a stranger in your bed might actually be a good thing?

There's scientific evidence to back it up, blah, blah...

And while I admit it would be tempting to get in a nice toasty bed

And I suppose it's the same principal as sitting in a nicely warmed chair that someone has just vacated

I just can't get past some random person seeing me *right before I go to bed*

That's not exactly my glory time, ya know?

Full article, so that you know I truly didn't make this one up. And another.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday's Ten: A Few of My Favorite Things (Home Edition)

Welcome to this week's Thursday's Ten! I'm excited about this one, although I must admit I had a bit harder time with this one than I thought I would! Because of that, I'm running a little late, so please feel free to make this a Friday's Ten :)

This week's theme is your 10 favorite things in your home. I would LOVE to see pictures, but if you can't take/upload/post them please just tell us about your favorites :)

Most of the things I've listed here aren't uber expensive or all that "special" from a monetary point of view. I'm very much a sentimental saver. Hence the movie stubs, football tickets, and playbills in my scrapbooking cabinet. So most of these things have more of a meaning to me than anything else!

Here's mine, in no particular order:

1. wall cross. I found this at Hobby Lobby a few years ago and LOVE it.

2. my antique rocking chair passed down from a great aunt to a grandma to me. I also have a vanity that matches it in my bedroom but it's so covered in crap er, hard to photograph because of the light...yeah...that I didn't get a picture of it this time around.

3. my prayer board. this hangs in the bedroom next to the vanity, and I made it myself (along with another memo board in my kitchen). sometime I'll explain the meaning--it looks a little bare right now because I'm in the process of changing it some of it's "confidential" enough not to put on my blog!

4. my laptop. where would I be without it?(answer: the office upstairs on the dinosaur PC that wouldn't get me very far...)

5. the Madonna A gave me for our anniversary in August. Isn't she beautiful?!
and in the same picture
the picture I took of the Eiffel Tower when I was in Paris in 2002. It was WAY before I had a digital camera, so I was thrilled with how well it turned out!

6. the vintage jewelry tree LaJuana gave me for my birthday last year. It's *fantastic*

7. my recycling bins--my first ever purchase at IKEA, and so nice for organizing the recycling that often explodes in my house!

8. my iPod docking alarm clock station. This was a Christmas gift a few years ago, and now that I have my iPhone the only time my nano leaves it is for a run.

9. various dishes I've inherited...they're just special, ya know?

10. my bedding. it's Pottery Barn and I totally bought it brand new on ebay for under half the price. All except the shams. Which they double sent me from PB, and when I called to ask if I should mail the extras back or return to the store they told me to keep them. :)

(erm, sorry it's all wrinkly. guess I shouldn't sit on the bed right before I take a picture...)

What about you? I would love to see (or hear about) your favorite things...please link up or comment so I know to visit you, and grab my button if you don't mind!
(code for said button is right there to your right...under my followers!)

Next week's theme: favorite restaurants/recipes


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recipe of the Week -- Bacon, Jalapeño and Jack Quesadillas (healthy version)

So, I LOVE this recipe, particularly because it includes homemade guacamole as a starter!
I changed just a bit of the recipe from the original, but it's pretty close to the Food Network version.

Bacon, Jalapeño and Jack Quesadillas


1 ripe avacado, halved, peeled and seeded
1 small tomato, diced
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (I used half the lime and squeezed it in. Close enough)
1 - 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced


4 strips turkey bacon
6 scallions (white and green) thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3 (8-inch) multi-grain tortillas (I used Trader Joe's habanero lime wraps for mine, A chose to have one of those and one whole-wheat)
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey jack (I used pepperjack since that's what I had on hand)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, optional (I chose a big NO to this particular option)
Cilantro, for garnish

Guacamole: Coarsely mash the avocado in a large bowl. Add the tomato, scallions, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic until blended. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

(and chill for real. if you don't your guac will turn...brownish)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Unless you don't see this step. Which actually seemed to work out just fine in my case.

Lightly spray a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble and set aside. (this is easier said than done. You must also dodge the popping of the bacon grease which isn't all that much better with turkey bacon as it is with regular bacon. I hate, hate, hate real bacon, and I only marginally like turkey bacon, so the fact that I'm even posting this recipe should speak to you at how good it actually is)

To the same skillet, add the scallions, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat, until the scallions are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the tortillas on the baking sheet; sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese, 1/3 of the scallion mixture, and 1/3 of the bacon over half of each tortilla. Fold the unfilled half of each tortilla over the filling. Lightly spray the quesadillas with cooking spray. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.

Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve with the guacamole and sour cream, if using. Garnish with cilantro.