Monday, December 17, 2012

There is Still Good

After the senseless and despicable events of last Friday, I can guarantee everyone's heart is a little heavy.  It is utterly heartbreaking to hear the stories that came from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a place of learning and safety turned into a nightmare.  There are still good stories coming from this tragedy.  The first-grade teacher who barricaded her students into the class bathroom and told them she loved them, and was glad they were her students.  That story reminded me of so many of my teacher friends. Clever enough to hide, brave and endearing.  Also the little boy who saw that awful man and grabbed his friends and ran outside to safety.  How brave of a first grader!

Just this evening I heard a radio DJ asking callers to call in with their own stories of kindness to share- right here in Middle Tennessee.  One caller said she went to purchase a drink from a vending machine and found a dollar with a note taped to the machine asking its finder to pass on the good deed.

If you are looking for an opportunity to do good this holiday season or just in general, check out my best friend Lindsay's blog (here) about her upcoming trip to Africa.  She is currently raising money to embark on this adventure by selling these earrings. The beads are handmade by women in Uganda and the earrings were assembled right here in the great state of Tennessee by a group of our friends.
If you want to know more about Lindsay's trip to Uganda, follow her blog!  She truly has a heart to serve and I know she will be a wonderful influence on the people she meets.  At first I was very nervous about her going on this trip alone but I know that God will be directing her each and every step!  

Ugandan Paper Bead Earrings will make lovely Christmas gifts!

PS - another happy note...I ordered my wedding dress this past Saturday and it is the most beautiful dress in the world :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bethany's Tales: I'm Getting Married!

I hope everyone is ready for another installment of "Bethany's Tales," as this is the most recent of my adventures.  As of 4:15 pm on November 17....G & I ARE ENGAGED!  I figured this was the best place to give everyone the lowdown on how he did it.  So enjoy The Surprise Engagement of November 2012.

On Veteran's Day, G and I spent our day off shopping at Opry Mills and visiting with his parents who were in Nashville for a conference.  Later that week he said we were going to eat with them when they headed home to East Tennessee on Saturday.  I had planned on going to a craft show during the day and promised him I would be back to my apartment in time to eat.

Saturday rolled around and for some reason, I felt like I should curl my hair...good decision.  I had invited my friend Katy to join me at the craft fair but said I had to be back by 4 to go to Edward's. Once at the craft fair, my friends and I saw just about everyone we've ever known so we had to fly through the vendors.  We saw my parents and my brother, but I thought nothing of it since my brother's girlfriend had a booth selling children's clothes.

G had been acting like a time nazi all day, which is typically not his style.  For those who know me, you know I'm not tied to my watch...and when I get with Katy you can just expect us to be late.  I'd told her how G was being a crazy person about picking me up a 4 to eat so we both knew when we had to be at my apartment before he had a conniption.  So at the stroke of 3:50 we tore ourselves away.

When we arrive at my apartment, G steps out of his truck in a corduroy sport coat and my favorite shirt of his.  My first thought was "Oh darn I'm underdressed" and my next thought was "Am I getting proposed to?  Nah, that would be awkward if he proposed in the middle of the restaurant."  So we ride down the road to Edward's Steakhouse, all the while G's face is blood red and he looks like he might pass out.  I could not figure out why he was so worked up about getting there at 4.  It also never occurred to me that Edward's doesn't open until 4:30!

*Backstory:  The first time I met G was at Edward's.  I had been working a concert for work that had been rained out and I sought refuge in the piano bar area of Edward's where I knew a few people.  I was introduced to G there and it's one of our most frequented spots.*

G took me in the back door of Edward's and there was no one there.  I thought "See!  We beat them here, he's been all worked up for no reason!" UNTIL I saw a sheet of paper sitting on the table.  I immediately became enamored by this paper and I started trying to read it across the table.  He slid it over to me and said "It looks like they have a special menu tonight."  He had made a fake menu with all of these promises for me on it (listed as Free).  After reading it for what he said felt like forever, he got up and started to attempt his speech.  I say attempt because he was so nervous that he barely made any real words come was adorable.  Poor thing was so nervous he grabbed my right hand!  I said "wrong hand, other one" through about a million tears.  He finally made it to one knee and said "Think you'd like to marry me?" I said yes, we kissed and then he hollered out "She said Yes by the way!" and the staff of Eds came busting out of their employee area with champagne.  He walked me over to the stairs leading down to the dining room area where all of our family and friends (as many who were not at the Tennessee-Vandy game, of course) were down there!  It was the most perfect proposal!  I had never told him how I had always thought that would be a great proposal- one-on-one and then having everyone at another surprise location.  He just did it all on his own!

The best part was my parents knew, his parents knew, Katy knew the whole time.  EVERYONE knew but me!  AND they kept it a secret.  I'm so proud of them all!  I didn't care what he did, just as long as I was surprised.  He sure did that!  I really had no real clue!

So on this Thanksgiving Day, I am so very thankful for my G, my family, my friends and my God.  Thank you to all of the wonderful people who made this the most surreal and special night of my life!  Love you all!

Check out the pics!
Sooo surprised!
My sneaky BFF knew the whole time!

Soooo excited!

The most beautiful ring in the world!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pinterest Probs

My name is Bethany and it has been WAY too many days since my last blog post.  Forgive me friends, I promise I have thought of you all many times.

Tonight's post is in regards to one of my favorite past times.  Pinning.  How man hours do we gals spend pinning things like "How to turn a headboard & footboard into a cute bench!" on our DIY boards?  A lot, that's how many.  Though I often wonder "how did I think of ideas before Pinterest?" however, there have been times I've also thought, "Who the heck can I talk to about how much of a disaster this project/food/whatever has turned out to be??"  In honor of both of these sentiments, here's a post about the things that confuse me about Pinterest.

1.  Pins to Nowhere
This may be the most confounding thing about the beloved Pinterest.  You see a lovely DIY project pin, click to find the original link from a blog or website and all you get is a stinking picture.  Oh good, because I definitely just wanted to admire that lovely craft some mystery pinner created....or found on Martha  The worst has to be when you see a cute dress and it just takes you to a photo of the dress and not the actual place to purchase the dress.  Said Dress Maker is probably not crazy about that either.

In other news, I don't mind as much with "room inspiration" pins.  I'm fine with those just taking me to a pretty picture to file away for future use.

However, this pin is a prime example.  I think we skipped a few steps.  That or this girl has a magical curling iron that fishtail braids her hair- in which case I need to know where she got it....but there's just a picture :(

2.  Looks Too Good to Be True Pins
Did you notice that I mentioned a bed frame turned bench in the intro to this list?  That's because I pinned it once.  But never made it.  Primarily because it involved power tools and purchasing extra lumber and I wasn't that determined.

I also got really inspired to make a "pallet couch" since I had access to all sorts of pallets (for free!) and needed some cheap/cute patio furniture.  I stained and stacked those bad boys but when the time came to make the cushion I could tell it was just going to be a lost cause.  So instead I now look like a wood hoarder.  I should have taken a picture and posted it on Pinterest as one of those "Nailed It!" pictures.

Sidenote:  I've got plans for the patio that don't involve sewing enormous cushions.  Stay tuned.

3.  The People Who Don't Change the Caption Accordingly Pins
As you're scrolling through your pins, you see a delicious chocolate cake with the caption "Hands down THE best chocolate cake ever.  My mom makes it every year for Christmas!" and you think "Oh hey, so-and-so's mom is an awesome cook, maybe I'll try that," only to see it repinned four times down the page with the exact same caption.  Edit people.  I know all of your mama's don't make that same chocolate cake.  However if they do, I will totally retract my statement.

4. This Last One is Just a Warning
Okay, this last one is really just a warning.  I pinned this delicious looking recipe for Beer Cheese Chicken a while back and decided to give it a whirl.  I had a feeling it was going to be similar to taking baked chicken and smothering it in beer cheese dip from the Blackhorse and topping it with bacon.  Plus it was a crockpot recipe and therefore could not get much I thought.  The recipe called for some brand of some kind of "ale" but then said "or some (insert type) of ale" so I didn't think it mattered much what type of beer you got to use.  Buddy was I wrong.  I should've just gotten a Mich Ultra or something because whatever crazy thing I got to use was not good.  I am very sensitive about my cooking and was pretty sad about it.  Lesson learned: Follow the Beer Cheese Chicken recipe to the letter or accept failure.
Looks delicious doesn't it?  Now you see why I was so disappointed!

But I have tried recipes that were just wonderful!  Have y'all ever run into any of these Pinterest probs?  Or any I may have left out?  Better yet, let me know about some recipes that went great via Pinterest....I like ending on a positive note!

Do you follow me on Pinterest?  Hopefully my pins won't cause any Pinterest Probs for you :)  Follow me here!  Spoiler alert, I like pinning monogrammed items and pictures of really cute puppies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Testing 1-2

This is going to be a bit of a multi-faceted post...but all about things I've been testing out lately!

A few weeks ago, G got me a Keurig for my birthday (thanks G!) and I have been trying out new flavors of the K Cups.  In the spirit of the fall season, I picked up some Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice while in Morristown.
I was planning on trying it with the Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate but alas, I was too excited and was a little premature getting to the grocery and had to settle for caramel.  It's great though!  If I can hunt down the Pumpkin Spice CM I think we'll have a great match.  I get really weird about pumpkin spiced things....I don't care for them when they are too "spice-y." This is just right Goldielocks!

Moving forward with my testers, I had pinned a pin a while back about making your own fabric softener sheets.  I was a tad skeptical but I decided to give it a whirl.  So far I like it!  You take a jug of liquid fabric softener, dump it in a container, add old washrags/dishrags/cut up old t-shirt and then when you're ready to dry your clothes.  Take a "sheet," wring it out and toss it in with your laundry.  Reusable and therefore cheaper than those blasted sheets that always seem to wind up throughout my apartment.  Check out my "pinspiration" for this project here

The last of my test subjects was something my friend/sorority sister/former roomie suggested.  Few people can really appreciate a good owl find like a Chi Omega since our mascot is the owl.  However, there are such things as "cute owls" and "creepy owls."  Creepy owls tend to be porcelain  and perched in an attack/stalking position.  Nonetheless, a Chi-O is not a Chi-O unless she's got some creepy owls hanging around in her room or closet.  But I digress, Katy had suggested spray painting the little creepers all one color.  Here are my before & after shots!  

Sound off in the comments on your thoughts on Mr. Owl here.  Do you like his transformation or should I have let him be?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tunica: You've Got to Know When to Hold Em...

This past weekend G and I accompanied some friends of ours to Tunica, Mississippi to test our luck at the casino and see Ron White perform.  This is where we spent a great deal of our time:
Isn't it pretty?  We arrived well after dark and when I awoke from my car nap, this is what I saw in the middle of a field.  

I'll just go ahead and let you know that the extent of my gambling experience involves dollar scratch-off tickets...and I don't know that I've ever really won at those.  I also really hate wasting money so I was interested to see how this experience was going to go.  I loved it!  I did what everyone tells you to do when you go to a casino, "Only take a set amount of cash and when it's gone, it's gone."  I didn't even play with all that I brought.  Responsibility at its finest!  

I really liked the slot machines!  I won about $20 twice on the penny slots...but then I lost it again on the penny slots.  G stayed saddled up to the blackjack table for the majority of his casino time.  He didn't do too badly either!

They had delicious food too.  We had breakfast/brunch/lunch at the Paula Deen Buffet....SO good.  They had an Eggs Benedict (that was new for me as well) on a fried green tomato.  Delish!  We also had the best steaks I've ever had in my entire life for supper.

My apologies for the blurry pictures/red-eye.  I forgot my camera.
We were also lucky enough to see Ron White perform.  You would recognize him from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour as "the man with the cigar and scotch on stage."  He was great! Fun Fact:  We saw him at the steakhouse before the show...he was wearing a satchel.  I found that odd.

After the show we went back into the casino to play a few more games.  While the boys were holding strong at the blackjack table, we ladies decided we'd cruise the casino and see if ole Ron was gambling too.  We did not find Ron but we did find a man in a suit who tried to teach us how to play craps.  I still do not know what he was talking about but he let us roll the dice for him a few times.  When it was my turn to roll I scooped up the dice with both hands which is obviously against the rules of craps as the entire table yelled "NOOOOO!"  They must have sensed my scratch-off only experience and let me try again.  I let go of the dice and proceeded to bounce one of them off of a dealer's belly and back onto the table.  I did not win this man a dime.  He looked at the two of us and said "Okay, well you girls can go away now."  We kindly understood.

A big thanks to our great friends for inviting us to tag-along!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Hello there, remember me?  I am SO sorry!  I have had a crazy, crazy month but I am back, and ready to blog!

Where should I start?  Let's just go with last week!  Last week, I was basically a world traveler...okay more like a Southeastern traveler.  I enjoyed a fabulous week off from work with my family and G!  We loaded up the car and headed down to the Redneck Riviera of Panama City Beach, Florida.  I'm tell you all a little secret....go on a beach vacation after Labor Day.  Rooms are cheaper, you don't have overcrowding on the beach, it isn't 12,000 degrees outside and my favorite part....little to no wait at restaurants!  Of course there's the pesky hurricane season but life is all about taking risks every now and then right?

I had a new experience on vacation...celebrating my birthday at the beach!  That's right folks, I turned the big 2-5 last Tuesday.  September 11 is a tough birthday to have but my cousin posted a sweet message on my Facebook saying that "at least one good thing happened on this day in history!"  So that's nice to give people something to smile about...I'm one year older :)  My family treated me to a nice seafood supper and a visit to the outdoor mall where I found many pretty things!
Enjoying some birthday oysters at Shuck'ems
After several relaxing days, G and I loaded up my car and headed from the Florida panhandle to East Tennessee to visit his parents.  They live about 3-4 hours away and he doesn't get to see them as often as he would like.  I know he was happy to give his mama a big hug!

After much preparation and anticipation, we jumped in the car and drove to Knoxville to enjoy a little football time in Tennessee.  I'm going to preface this by stating that I really, really, really dislike the Florida Gators.  I always have, always will.  Couple that with riding high on the past two Tennessee wins and I was ready to rock and roll all over some Swampies.  Rather than discuss the disgust and disappointment I am still feeling today...two days after the game has ended, I will discuss the following:

1.  My gameday blazer/G's gameday britches
We just happened upon this perfect UT blazer while in Florida.  We did have to undress a total of two manikans and track down many salesladies to get it but it's all mine!  G's pants were a different story, we made a pit stop to Alumni Hall in Knoxville because he was determined to find some checkerboard pants.
Check us out!

2.  How excited I was to spend time with my long lost sorority sisters!
With a sold out ball game on our hands so many people made the journey to Rocky Top, or already lived there!  I was thrilled to see my sisters who live in Knoxville as well as precious Megan who is living in Denver these days.  Thanks so much to Rebekah and Jacob for keeping us up for the night (and for the donuts!) and to Cara and the entire Holden family for the tailgate fun!

3.  That I am thankful for Will Moore and currently owe him a favor of some form or fashion.
Our original tickets fell through and we quickly had to rustle up some others.  This was in the midst of the announcement that College Gameday would be broadcasting, live from Knoxville....and of course it was the Florida tickets on Craigslist or any other site jumped to $150 for top level seats.  No thanks.  Enter Will.  You might remember Will from my Tale of the Stoneware Jug.  If not, see here. Will is my college pal, former neighbor and devoted Volunteer fan who just happened to catch wind that those scallywags from Florida returned a good bit of their ticket allotment which resulted in our ticket purchase.  Thanks my friend.

4. Bid Day
Today I was lucky enough to help with Chi Omega's Bid Day celebration at Austin Peay.  It has been seven years since I ran to my sisters in the APSU quad wagging my big purse behind me, and it has been four years since I welcomed the pledge class of 2008 with big hugs and smiles.  I am thankful for the opportunity to give back as an alumnae officer and loved seeing the joy on the faces of Baby Hooties learning chants for their very first rally.  As a side note, Pledge Class 2012 may possibly be the most coordinated pledge class I've seen in a while.  It was especially sweet to see my Little Sister's biological little sister enjoying her very first Bid Day as a Chi Omega.  Here's a picture of the Fabulous Family tree...missing a few branches who were there in spirit!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bombasha Brazilian Steakhouse

Happy Sunday!  This weekend has really flown by.  G and I got to head to Nashville for a meal at one of our favorite restaurants.  And thanks to Groupon we got a deal to do so!

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Man, I really wish I could just have an all-you-can-eat smorgasboard of meat brought right to my table."  I'm sure any man reading this answered with an emphatic yes.  Well friends, look no further than Bombasha Brazilian Steakhouse in Nashville!

Photo via Bombasha's Facebook page

Our friends introduced us to this delight on New Year's Eve this past year and we've been back a couple of times since.  It. Is. So. Good.  Basically, here is the rundown of the Bombasha experience:

Once seated by the hostess, you'll notice a card at each place.  The card is green on one side and red on the other.  This tells the gauchos (the meat guys) that you are ready and rearing for the meat course.  You'll also be offered the salad bar.  G chose to forego the salad bar experience and dove straight into the meat election by flipping his card to green.  I made myself a small plate of greens, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese then flipped my card to green as well.

This is where things get serious....seriously delicious.  Ladies and gentleman this is not for the vegetarian in your circle of friends.  Bombasha boasts 11 cuts of meat.  There is beef, pork, chicken and sometimes lamb.  I'm a big fan of the House Special and the Parmesan Pork.  This weekend's selection also offered a Parmesan Beef that was so tender it was like butter in your mouth.  Wonderful, meat butter.  

Not only is the food delicious at Bombasha, but so is the overall experience.  Once you've flipped your card to the green side the servers, called gauchos, begin coming past your table holding what I thought to be swords skewered with meat (see above photo).  They ask if you would like whichever cut of meat they have and you have the option to try it or pass.  They cut the meat right at your table, so it is fresh!

Bombasha is located in Hillsboro Village on Belcourt Avenue.  If you have ever eaten at Cabana you've probably tried to walk in the door to Bombasha (I sat beside the window and watched many a person stutter-step to get to the right one.  Oh, and I've done it before too.).  It's a little on the pricey side but totally worth it for the amount of food you get and the servers are really attentive.  

Oh and PS - if you go to Bombasha, try the little rolls.  They have a different texture so they aren't for everyone....but I ate the entire basket myself.  Sorry I'm not sorry.

Where's your favorite place to eat in the Nashville area?