Turkey Day

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple was a huge success.

My aunt Carla was in town, so she and I got up at 4:45am to go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. The parade was amazing - my experience was so much better than last year, where I got stuck at the back of the crowd on a side street by myself. This year, we were right in front, on the side where the sun wasn't in our eyes, right up against the rail. We were able to high five people in the parade.
Plus, Kermit was there!It's actually very weird for me to see Muppets in real life because I really do feel like they're real and I feel like I'm seeing an actual celebrity in real life.

Anyhow, after the parade Carla and I headed home to nap and cook. When we got there, JP had already moved the living room furniture around and set the table and it was GORGEOUS. (Side note: That brown tablecloth? Yeah...it's a bed sheet. How awesome is that?) This is the first time we used our wedding china, which was so exciting. (Of course, several jokes were made about the episode of Friends when Monica is such a freak about her wedding china.) JP was also already working on the turkey. We arranged the flowers we'd gotten and set out the chocolate Thanksgiving-themed lollipops straight from Jacques Torres.

Our friends brought delicious food to go with our turkey, dressing, and roasted green beans. Molly brought squash casserole, her sister Katie brought sweet potato casserole, and Harper brought apple dumplings and pumpkin pie. It was all so delicious.

The whole day was far more perfect than I could have imagined. It really made me realize how thankful I truly am for the friends I have here and the life I have with my husband. I had a defining moment during dinner (I describe it as my movie moment). JP and I were sitting at the head and foot of the table (another first!) and at one point everyone at the table was laughing really hard about something. So there we are surrounded by friends who love us and the sound of their laughter and JP catches my eye across the table and gives me a little wink. Now JP will probably read this and roll his eyes at my sentimentality, but for me...it was just one of those awesome moments when you feel such a rush of happiness and contentment with your life.

I hope your Thanksgiving brought you happiness as well. Now on to the Christmas season!


Internet Etiquette

I was recently accused of poor etiquette on the internet. By a stranger, no less. Now I'm not perfect and I'm aware that my negative Slytherin attributes do show up every once in a while. However, I also know a lot about etiquette on the internet. Here are some things that are just plain annoying to come across.

Whining that you don't have time to post...in a post. You had time to post that you don't have time to post. If you really don't have time to post on your blog, then just stay off your computer.

Along the same lines...if you post fiction in a public forum, please don't introduce it by talking about how crappy it is. Don't whine and say you're such an awful writer and your stories are crappy, etc. Just put it out there and let it speak for itself. Especially if it's mostly your friends reading it anyway.

Going by a fake name. Don't get me wrong, I understand using a pseudonym for professional reasons. But using a "nickname" that you've given yourself (when no one in real life uses it for you, well, because it doesn't even fit you as a nickname) in conjunction with your real name (so it's not exactly to protect your identity, right?) is just juvenile.
Acting like you care about someone online then ditching them in real life. This just looks like you're more active online than in the real world.

Posting something you read in a forwarded email as though it's fact. Come on, people. Don't be stupid.

What about you? Any crazy stuff you've seen that's just really irritating here on the world wide web?


Stuck in my head.

Do you get songs stuck in your head? I find it fascinating that this happens. I don't know if it's the same for you, but I tend to hear really random songs that I haven't listened to in forever. Some days I'll have just one or two songs that hang out in my head. Other days...it's like someone made a playlist for a 10 hour road trip and pieces of every single song are played in my head. I don't get it.

So here's what I did. I decided to start making note of which songs showed up throughout the day. I did it a few of days of this week. A couple of days I only wrote down 2-4 songs. No big deal. But other days I had a whole list. So I picked the longest list to share with you. Oh and the list ALWAYS starts in the shower. I've never taken a shower without humming a song. I give you the songs in my head on October 4.

1. At This Moment - Michael Buble
Michael usually shows up on every list. I probably listen to him more often than any other band or singer (with Harry Connick, Jr, being a close second.

2. Fancy - Reba McEntire
Truthfully, I have NO idea where this came from. I couldn't tell you the last time I actually heard this song.

3. The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia - Reba McEntire
For some reason, this song and Fancy always seem to go hand in hand in my brain. I can't think of one without thinking about the other.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme Song
Um, yeah. Not a clue.

5. I'm Coming Home - Michael Buble
See? More Michael.

6. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
I'm guessing this was hovering around because I'd been watching The Office in the last week or so and there's an episode where Andy is in Sweeney Todd. But I'd watched it days before this day.

7. Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
???? I don't own ANY of her music and again, can't remember the last time I heard this song.

8. My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
Ok here's one I can explain. I still reminisce about my awesome honeymoon most days. It was a cruise to Alaska. There were some bad weather days, and also icebergs/chunks of ice in the water (because it's Alaska), so we talked about Titanic a lot. So NOW whenever I think about my honeymoon, this song inevitably gets stuck in my head. It showed up on lists from other days.

9. Never Fully Dressed without a Smile - from the musical Annie
Don't know.

10. A song from the movie The Holiday. I don't know which song it was, but it was definitely one that was part of the score, not a song with words.

So there you have it. These all came while I was at work, because of lot of my work days are filled with me doing tests where I don't have to think a lot and so my mind is free to wander. The days with shorter lists were the days where I worked in the clinic, which meant I was actually talking to people the whole time (my brain was too focused on talking and writing, etc.). Once I leave work, I read my kindle on the way home, then usually watch tv and talk to JP before going to bed.

Oh and I'd also like to point out that sometimes I have two songs try to mesh together when they definitely shouldn't. For example, on this day, these lyrics were stuck in my head at some point: "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down...when the evil Shredder attacks, them turtle boys don't cut him no slack!"

So what songs get stuck in YOUR head?


Kayaking? In NYC?

Yes, that's right. Today I went kayaking in NYC. My friend Molly has been wanting to go so we went. JP and I were running a little late (of course) so by the time we got to the pier Molly and my other friend Katie had already gone out once. I was a little turned off to the idea by how soaked they were from the waist down, but I ended up doing it anyway since I did drag myself out of the apartment just for that reason.

So there are 3 (I believe) piers along the Hudson River where free kayaking is offered. We went to Riverside Park on 72nd St. Also, there's a long pier nearby for people to go hang out on that I'm really glad to know is there. It's a pretty gorgeous place to just chill and enjoy being next to the water. And there's a cafe that serves snacks, meals, beer, coffee...pretty great. But I digress. Back to free kayaking...

All you have to do is sign a waiver that will last you the year (you don't have to sign one every time you go), put on a life jacket, and you're good to go. If you have stuff you don't want getting wet (i.e. your purse, your phone, your wallet), they have lockers you can use that are also free. The kayaks aren't legit kayaks, because they're open. You're not tucking your legs inside something, so it's a lot safer if you've never gotten into a real kayak before.

Now, you'll definitely get your backside wet. There's no escaping it. I'd recommend wearing something besides denim - something that will dry quickly. But unless you're purposely slinging water everywhere because you think it's fun (and as long as you don't try really hard to flip your kayak), you can probably tuck your phone or camera into the front of your life jacket so you can take pictures...or text people to make them jealous.

So if you're bored and broke on a nice day, this can be something fun to do. I did have fun, but I must admit I got kind of bored with it. You have to stay within the set boundaries so that you don't end up down the river and out into the ocean. I'm used to being on a fast moving river where the scenery is constantly changing. Here, I just rode around in circles and got excited the couple of times waves came in. Otherwise...eh.

Ultimately, I'd go again. It's something different to do, especially if you're wanting to escape being in the city. And once again...it's FREE. That's a major draw. And when you're with good people, it will always be fun.


Naturally disastrous.

I've had a lot of people ask me about the earthquake and Hurricane Irene, so I thought I'd go through some details now.

Yes, I was home on Tuesday and yes, I felt the earthquake. JP and I were sitting on the couch and I snapped at him to please stop jiggling his foot because it was making the whole couch shake. He pointed out that he wasn't moving at all. That's when we noticed the liquid in our drinks sloshing, the blinds swaying, and our tall floor fan was wobbling back and forth. Because an earthquake was the furthest thing from my mind, I automatically assumed it had something to do with the fact that DirecTV had been drilling into our building that morning. But since JP is smart, he immediately said, no I think that might have been an earthquake. Yeah, he's the smart one in this relationship.

So now everyone is in a tizzy about Hurricane Irene. Lots of people have asked me if we're evacuating and/or what are we doing to prepare. The answer is no, we're not evacuating. We live in the middle of Queens, and according to the maps that show all the different zones (Zone A being the most at risk for flooding and other damage), we're not actually listed in any of the zones. So we have plenty of water, our stove is gas so we should be able to cook soup, etc., and if the wind ends up looking like it could shatter windows, we can hunker down in our windowless kitchen and hallway. We have flashlights and candles. Also, we'll fill our tub with water, so we'll be able to flush no matter what.

I personally don't think it's gonna be quite as bad as everyone here is thinking. I started following @NYCMayorsOffice on Twitter and I swear its sole purpose is to freak everyone out. For example, this was a picture they posted this morning and I'm posting it with the original tweet that accompanied it.
These are the kinds of boats used in Katrina. You don't want to end up in one. If you need to evacuate, do so now.

Also, the MTA has shut down all the subways and buses as of noon today. So now we just wait. Looking out the window, it's definitely getting darker and the sky is getting grayer. I'm very curious to see how it's all gonna go down. I'll try to keep everyone updated via Facebook.

Love you all - don't worry about us!


Pink is still my favorite color.

Last Wednesday I asked a doctor at work to take a look at my eye. My left eye had been sore since the night before and I wanted to make sure it wasn't a chalazion (a bump that forms on your eyelid, as a result of clogged oil glands). Here's how the conversation went:

Doc: Hmm...yeah...that's conjunctivitis [pink eye].
Me: What?! Really?
Doc: Yep. And it's in both eyes. Your right eye hasn't been bothering you?
Me: No! Not at all. So...I guess this means I need to go home, right?
Doc: Uh...yeah. You need to go home for a week.

Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, and since I work in an eye care facility, they take extreme precautions. So, I got to stay at home for a week. It's actually been pretty great spending time with JP. Lots of time spent on Tumblr, watching Law & Order: SVU and NCIS, and watching some movies here and there. Good times. But back to work tomorrow.


The Blanks at Highline Ballroom

My most recent escapade in NYC involved seeing a band called The Blanks. Have you ever watched the show Scrubs? Remember Ted's a cappella band? They are a real band and they've existed since before Scrubs. Oh yeah, and also, they're amazing.
Me with Sam Lloyd (Ted, from Scrubs)

The concert was at Highline Ballroom. If you're ever in NYC (or you live in NYC and enjoy going to events here) you should definitely try to attend something at this venue. There are two levels, the bottom level easily converted to a dance floor. But for this night, there were tables set up downstairs, just like upstairs. We were in close quarters with other tables (and in some instances, strangers were seated together), but it somehow still felt intimate.

JP and me with The Blanks
The menu definitely has some pricey items, but luckily they also have some cheaper stuff to choose from. We went with a bunch of "small bites," small portions of food for $5 apiece. Two chicken tacos, a cheese plate, coconut shrimp, and spring rolls. And all DELICIOUS.  Beware though...if you want water, specify you don't want it in a bottle. And if you order a Coke, refills are not free. There IS a full bar though.

And now I leave with a video. It's The Blanks singing Superman, by Lazlo Bane, theme from Scrubs. For more videos from the concert, visit my YouTube channel.


Top 6 favorite movies.

We all have different things we do for ourselves when we're down. I have a few different things I like to turn to...bubble baths, wine, puzzles...but my favorite thing to do is watch a movie.

But not just any movie. I have a handful of movies that I choose from and they are ranked.

6. The Chipmunk Adventure. Growing up, we had this movie on VHS and we watched it all the time.
Favorite Scene/Song: The Girls and Boys of Rock and Roll
Favorite Line: Brittany: I don't care how important he is, how powerful he is, how rich he is... by the way, how rich is he?

5. The Llama Movie (actually known as The Emperor's New Groove). I saw this movie in the theatre with a good friend of mine and it was love at first sight.
Favorite Scene/Song: When Kronk bursts into Yzma's tent and is startled by her mud mask. Close second: When Kronk goes to dispose of Kuzco and has his own theme music.
Favorite Line: Kronk's Shoulder Devil: Reason number two. Look what I can do. Ha-ha, ha!
[does one-armed handstand]
Kronk: But what does that have to do with anything?
Kronk's Shoulder Angel: No, no. He's got a point.

4. Cats Don't Dance. I mean, come one. It's a bunch of animals singing and dancing. Win.
Favorite Scene/Song: Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now. Close second: Big and Loud
Favorite Line: Danny: If we all work together, we can make our dreams come true. Let's show the world what we can do.

3. Annie. Another childhood favorite. I went through a time of watching it every single day. I knew every word and every dance move.
Favorite Scene/Song: Little Girls. Close second: We Got Annie. Close third: Easy Street.
Favorite Line: Lily: I beg your pardon, I'm sure, but I don't stoop to what you're incineratin'.

2. Cinderella Favorite Disney princess. The end.
Favorite Scene/Song: So This is Love
Favorite Line: Cinderella: [to the clock tower chiming] Oh, that clock! Old killjoy. I hear you. "Come on, get up," you say, "Time to start another day." Even he orders me around. Well, there's one thing. They can't order me to stop dreaming.

1. The Holiday At age 21, I did not think any movie could usurp Cinderella for my favorite movie after a lifetime of Cinderella holding first place. Then came The Holiday.
Favorite Scene/Song: When Amanda joins Graham and his girls in their tent. Close second: When Miles joins Iris' Hanukkah party. Close third: When Miles and Iris go to Blockbuster.
Favorite Line: Miles: Iris, if you were a melody... I used only the good notes.

What's your favorite go-to movie?


I don't always love NY.

I'm aware that I tend to gush a lot about how great New York is. I truly do love it. But I thought you might like a little dose of reality. What would you say if I told you it's not all rainbows and unicorns all the time? Here are some things that I don't <3 about NY.

1. The smell. NY has a very distinct smell. I've mentioned it to other New Yorkers, and their reply is usually, "Oh yeah, it's the smell of trash." But I can't quite agree. The smell unpleasant and slightly trashy, yes, but there's more to it than that. There's no other way to explain it, except it just smells like...New York. In fact, when I brought it up to my friend Molly recently, she said to her it just smells like home now. Those of you who have yet to visit, don't worry. You don't smell it constantly or anything. Even if you do smell it as soon as you get here, you get used to it really fast.

2. The heat. It's a lot hotter in Georgia than it is here, and for that I'm grateful. However, when it's in the 90s in Georgia, you usually walk from your air conditioned house to an air conditioned car, then go inside to your air conditioned destination. When it's in the 90s in New York, I have to walk from my non-air conditioned apartment to a bus that may or may not be air conditioned, then go underground to at station where it's hotter and stuffier than outside and sweat rolls down your back. Then you get on a subway train that may or may not be air conditioned. Then you have to walk however many blocks to your destination, which, thank God, is probably air conditioned. Let's just suffice it to say that the heat sucks up here. Which leads me to my next dislike...

3. No central air. We have a window unit in our bedroom because we couldn't sleep without it. But our living room only has a ceiling fan and a recently acquired standing fan. These do not make up for air conditioning. At all. If the temp gets up to the high 80s or worse, then JP and I just have to sweat it out on the couch or, on really bad days, hang out in the bedroom.

4. Poop in the subway. No, don't reread it - you got it right the first time. I have only seen this is one particular station - the one next to my work. Usually it's done over a vent halfway down the staircase. Sometimes you know it's there before you see it, other times someone has already covered it with sand. I'm pretty sure it's the same homeless guy I see hanging around down there pretty much every day.

5. TV shows are scarier. Law & Order: SVU is one of my favorite TV shows. I still watch it all the time, but now it hits home a lot harder. Every time they mention a specific address, I know exactly where it is now. I'm just saying...it's freaky.

6. Chick-fil-A. Come on, people, it's a given. If you know me, you started this blog knowing this was coming. I've bought a bus ticket to go into Jersey to find a Chick-fil-A. It's a hard-knock life.

7. Crowds. It's really crowded here. I know, big surprise. Sometimes I get really tired of seeing people EVERYWHERE. Especially when tourists hit up the big city during the summer. I pretty much avoid the major sites when summer comes around. Fuggedaboutit.

8. Jacked up prices. At Olive Garden, they've been advertising carbonara ravioli with chicken for $10.95, but when we had it we paid $15.95. It's like this with all chains, groceries, everything.

9. Health crazed. I'm all for eating healthy and taking care of yourself. But people are crazy about it up here. Calories are posted at almost every single restaurant or eatery, even chains like McDonald's. And organic food stores are all over the place. Maybe it's just me being stuck in my southern roots of fried foods and sweet tea, but I just really dislike being inundated with the superiority of it all.  (Now, Jean, if you read this, don't be offended. You do not annoy me with health food stuff. ;-)

10. Missing friends and family. I miss each and every person I left down south every single day!!

So there you have a short list of dislikes. But believe me, everything I love about this amazing city far outweighs this puny little list. Ultimately, I <3 NY!!



Lately I've been thinking a lot about the choices we make in life. Life is full of choices. What seems like a bad choice can lead to good. And what seems like a good choice can lead to bad. How do we know the difference? How can we judge people based on their choices when we don't know what they're going through or why they made that choice? How do we know what seems like a horrible decision isn't actually the best decision they could make? Who's to say you wouldn't make the same exact choice if you were in their shoes?

I grew up believing that life hands you a few Major Choices that will change the course of your life. Choices like whether or not to go to college, which college to go to, what career path to take, who you marry, whether or not/when to have kids, where to settle and put down roots. I also fully believed that you should make these Major Choices based on how much happiness they will bring you. Which, in part, is true. But this takes me back to the fact that your choice might seem like the best way to make you happy right now, but then later on you might realize it was the worst possible choice you could have made, and vice versa. In the moment, there's no possible way to know if you're doing the right thing or choosing the right path. Which leads me to my new modified belief...

The major choices you make in life do not directly correlate to your happiness. The only choice that directly correlates to your happiness is choosing whether or not to be happy. Happiness is a choice all in itself. Now I'm putting aside the extreme cases, like the fact that someone might have an actual chemical imbalance that causes depression, or someone who is in a physically harmful situation...for the average person, happiness is a choice. Period. Even when you're going through your darkest hour, you don't have to give up everything and quit. Find joy in the little things that aren't affected by the darkness.

One choice that I have made that a lot of people don't consider one of the Major Choices, is to not treat friendships lightly. I've seen other people go through friends like some women go through purses. They love them at first and go everywhere with them, but after a while they get bored and toss them aside for a new friend. At some point I made a conscious decision not to do that, despite those hurdles that every friendship goes through:

I chose to stick by a friend when they chose to enter into a damaging relationship that I didn't understand, and it made us stronger than ever.

I chose a friendship with someone after I'd been led to believe that they weren't a good person...by someone who really wasn't a good person...and we became closer than I had ever been with the not-so-good person. :-)

I chose not to let something that hurt my feelings damage a friendship that I truly valued and I still can't imagine a life without that friendship.

I chose to pursue a friendship with someone who was quiet and a little shy, but was rewarded when they turned out to be one of the most fun people I know.

I chose to have a relationship with someone who doesn't share all of the same beliefs I have, and in return that relationship has opened me up to a love beyond my wildest dreams.

This blog isn't about religion or relying on God to see you through things. It's about the little choices you make every day that shape your life and your happiness.


I'm a big kid now.

I'm 25 years old. In legal terms, I've been an adult for 7 years. But for some reason, over the past couple months, I've felt more adult than ever.

1. I got married. That's a pretty adult thing to do, right? I know we were living together for a year beforehand. And I have friends who say they didn't feel any different after getting married. But not me. I most definitely felt different. I made a huge commitment! I chose to commit myself to the man I love for the rest of my life and that is exhilarating. There are still moments that take my breath away when I realize all over again that I'm lucky enough to spend my days with JP.

2. I got a new job. Sure, working any job is very "adult-like," but realizing you're unhappy and then taking steps to secure a new and better job is even more adult-like. It's amazing how much your job can impact your life. I'm an easy-going person and I'm a good worker. But at my last job, I was so unhappy. I used to leave work depressed and would wonder what I was doing here. I was miserable. So I took control of my life and found a new job - now I'm working at a hospital with out-of-this-world benefits, I can afford medical AND dental insurance for me AND JP, and I'm happy. I enjoy my job. Now I leave work happy and excited to be living in NYC again. (Oh and I wear a lab coat and get to have a locker. WIN.)

3. I cook. No, even more than that...I like to cook. One of my favorite things to do in my down time is look up new tasty recipes to try. My recent successes include fried zucchini, zucchini pasta, shortbread cookies, cinnamon rolls, chicken teryaki, fried chicken nuggets... It's so. Much. Fun.

4. My wardrobe has subtly shifted. I mean, I still wear a lot of the same stuff, but lately when I buy clothes it's different. I buy tops that are a little more loose fitting and I buy dress pants (and think I might would actually wear them outside of work). I like it.

So yeah. Here's to being married for 86 days. And acting like an adult.