Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Moving On...

In true Machen girl style, my sister and I went last minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. I couldn't help but notice that the stores have already started selling spring items. As anti-climatic as it is to buy shorts on December 24th, I was very VERY tempted!!! Anyway, just looking around at what is in the stores now, I see a major nautical/island feel coming our way this Spring. And this is not something I will EVER complain about {especially living in Florida}.

For you girls on a budget {if you're like me, a budget that allows you to buy close to NOTHING}, Ann Taylor Loft has several really cute options. I used to think of that store to be too old/conservative for my tastes. But they have really upped the anty and are starting to cater to a younger crowd.

And of course, my beloved J.Crew hasn't let me down. Here are a few of the things I would die to have...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this whole look!! Who would have EVER thought you'ld hear me say that about a button down and white jeans?? But its true. Yesterday, I was cleaning out my closet and decided to try on my always way too tight white jeans {**sidenote: too tight white jeans are about the most repulsive thing anyone could ever wear} and I was beyond delighted to see that not only were they not too tight, they actually were on the loose side!!! So, once Easter comes and goes, those suckers are going to be put to use!!

No weddings in plan for this spring {thank goodness!!} but this would make for the perfect accessory!!!
LOVING these cute little shorts and Cardigan combo!

And something I think I could use right about now!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

For Mrs. Caldwell..

Recently, I got to visit with my friend Sara. I was beyond excited to see their new home!! Now, Sara has been a loyal blog follower of mine, so I figured it would only be right to devote a post to her!!

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of her beyond adorable home {I think she would have been completely wierded out if I had shown up with a camera} but maybe one day, she'll actually jump on this bandwagon and start a blog.

I've been petitioning for this for quite some time now, but Sara I REALLY think that you have what it takes to make a great blog. You have the most amazing eye for detail and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the way you take ordinary items like simple little vases and use them to add personality to your home! In fact, as soon as I got home, I channeled my inner Sara and tried to spice up my place. It was a miserable fail, but fun nonetheless!!

Anyway, the goal was to somehow achieve that livable, comfortable and incredibly well thought out look that Sara and Tyler have achieved with their new home. Sara, you emailed me a few weeks ago asking me to come tell you what to do with your home, but the truth is I need YOU to come do that for me! ASAP!!

So, I've been doing some research and found several pictures that just remind me of that Caldwell charm. I think that what I love the most about their home is that EVERYTHING has a story. A painting given as a wedding gift that was created from a picture taken on a vacation years ago. Books of all kinds {including text books...these two are ALL about learning...something I should strive for} flanking an incredible set of built in shelves. Little one stem vases filled with just greenery {a la momma marge} and so so much more!!

Sara and Tyler, I absolutely adore you two!! So much, that it makes me want to live in Montgomery again. And THAT is saying something!!



rachel bath

lamp base




rocking chair


Its Over, But...

Yes, Christmas has come and gone, but there's absolutely no reason to turn into a Debbie Downer around here. Yesterday afternoon, after NUMEROUS trips to and from the car, unloading unreal amounts of bags, I carefully went through all my Christmas gifts. After close observation, I couldn't help but laugh at how my gifts are completely different from those of a few years ago. Scary thing is, I imagine to have this same reaction several years from now.

As my brother and his wife were opening their gifts, I kept secretly asking myself "WHAT in the world is THAT!?!?!?" Apparently you find yourself raving over things like Le Crueset (spelling??) pots and pans and specialty spices when you've been married for a year or two.

I, however, was still baffled when I found a pot strainer in my stocking {you know, the kind that looks like a HUGE rounded knife that you hold over a pot to drain water}. As much as I tried to hide my stupidity, it was a miserable fail.

I may not be domestic in a cooking utensil type of way, but I do know one thing. I LOVE pretty things!! So, in the spirit of all things beautiful, get ready to feast your eyes. These will be coming your way for the next few days as I play catch up and try to figure out the most awesome gift of Christmas {aka Photoshop!!!}.

Apparently, Santa reads my blog because I received a coat VERY similar to this one!! Perfect!
And if these were sitting on my new shoe rack, I'ld pretty much stop dead in my tracks and never take them off my feet EVER!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Part 1....

It never really set in that this guy came to town...Christmas flew by, as always. And strangely enough, it seemed kind of like just another day with family. All the gifts were wrapped this year {no big spread of Santa gifts to walk into the living room to find this go around } and were opened in the early afternoon. Much different from my younger years when we woke up at 4 am anxious to see what Santa had brought. But I can't complain. We've had a great Christmas!!
After a visit to New Hampshire, my mother has an obsession with the moose.
She's got the sticker on her car, calendar, and now ornaments.
I don't get it.
I don't try to either.
LOTS and LOTS of cooking and baking.
There goes the diet!!

Well, I had to include one pajama picture.
Sarah probably would choose otherwise, but this is just too sweet!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Almost There...

I pulled into town last night and have been doing everything Christmas from the moment I got off 231!! Got to go see Sara's new house, which is absolutely AMAZING!! I was so incredibly impressed with everything they've done. VERY VERY jealous Sara!! It was so nice to get to catch up with a nice roaring fire in the background. Little visits like this make me really miss all my friends back home.

This afternoon, my sister and I set out like banchees to do our last minute shopping. Fortunately, the rain drove most people away from the stores, so we didn't really have to face ridiculous crowds. We had a nice lunch at Chappy's for old times sake and headed home to wrap gifts. I've stayed in the kitchen with mom while she bakes all kinds of Christmas goodies.

The refrigerators are both jam-packed with food...

and they look completely different than my bare fridge with week old left overs that never get eaten!!

Here's what I usually eat for dinner...
That's right, I'm a kid at heart!! I alternate between several cereals. Its been a while since I've seen several friends and I've gotten several "how did you lose weight?? Are you on pills??" Well, I'll let you in on my secret. I have no diet except for eating one big meal a day. I eat whatever I want and then the rest of the day, I'm done. IF I'm dying, I opt for some cereal. Appparantly its working. I'll be honest, I never really set out to diet. I hate them...always have, always will. But slowly, I've lost close to 30lbs over the past few months. I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back. Just putting all suspicions to rest. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder, was I just that much of a wilderbeast before?? I'ld love to be able to take the compliments and run with them, but its just not in the cards for me.

This afternoon, I played with the new baby {aka my camera} a bit more and we got these...

If I was cheesy, this would have been my Christmas card picture.
Just wait for it next December.

And I taught Mom how to upload a picture to Facebook. She chose this one. I'm not gonna lie, I think I did a pretty good job. You'ld never know its nasty and raining in the background!!

I hope all of you have a very Joyful Christmas spent with your loved ones. I'm sure I'll have some more fun things to share soon!! Until then, enjoy your egg nog and fattening foods. Indulge yourself in the Home Alone and A Christmas Story marathons, have a good time with your family, take lots of pictures and most importantly, take the time to reflect on WHAT this whole season is about!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I have a feeling that lots of us will be finding pretty new things to wear wrapped up all pretty under the tree in 2 days. Santa, if you're looking for last minute ideas, I'ld kill for...
LOVING the hair band. LOVING it!

And this morning, I saw this on E!Online. If you could arrange me to get a sneak peak at this movie, I won't ask for anything anytime soon!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm Ready...

I spent the day on the road yesterday, working in Panama City AGAIN! The town is disgusting but I had a successful day, so I can't complain too much. Thankfully, my blackberry kept me super entertained throughout the day. I got to catch up with several friends and make plans to see them while I'm home for Christmas.

Speaking of home. I sure wish I was there right now. It seems very strange to be working 3 days before Christmas. Most everyone has shut down for the holidays, at least mentally when it comes to the corporate world. Tomorrow after work, I plan on leaving swampland and heading straight back to Sweet Home Alabama {yeh, I said it}. When I get home, I'm looking forward to...
I can dream. Right??
I left these rascals to play at their Grandparents house this week. So I'm ready to see the little hoodlums.
Ready to walk through the door and be greeted by Mom's Christmas arrangement {which happens to be one of Jennifer Riley's creations}.
Ready to see the Gramama in training work her magic with the pupsters.
She really needs grandkids, by the way {ahummmm John and Kristen?? It sure won't be me anytime soon, that's a guarantee!!}.
Ready for gifts {and looks like someone else is too!!}
Ready to park it at the kitchen island and eat/talk/cook {yet another Jennifer Riley creation...I told you she's fabulous}.
Ready for all the Christmas goodies that neighbors and friends have brought to our house. All under the Chritmas kitchen tree.
And last but not least, ready to see all the ridiculous Christmas sweaters she has bought for this year!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 More...

Only 4 days till the Big Man comes to town.
I'm ready!!
Apparantly he's already bought all my gifts.
And didn't send me the memo that I should have done the same for everyone on my list.
LOTS of shopping to do this week.
Christmas really has a way of reminding me what is the TRULY most important in life.
For Example...

christmas_2009_099 My family {a few people missing who may or may not have been partying with friends}
My Grandmomma.
Who just happens to be the BEST in the world.
{STILL dying to have that book!!}

Get your stockings ready!!

Yesterday, as I was leaving my parents' neighborhood, I saw the sweetest thing. A man was dressed as Santa sitting in his car parked around the corner from one of our neighbor's house. They have a lot of grandkids and I saw the Grandmother walking towards Santa's car to greet him. I'm sure this was all pre-arranged. It was probably their family Christmas and she had hired him to come visit all the kids. I just couldn't help but smile.
Growing up, Christmas was always magical for me. I NEVER was able to sleep the night before. We always woke up our parents at 4 in the morning just dying to see what Santa had brought. Now, the magic has kinda disappeared, but I've learned how to enjoy Christmas as an adult. On the way home from my Grandmomma's house, my mom and I were talking about how Christmas is really hard for some people. It has a way of reminding you who you don't have in your life anymore. Whether its friends you never see, someone who has passed on, or relationships you no longer have. I'll be honest and tell you that I've really been dreading this season for several weeks for obvious reasons. A lot of "this time last year..." has gone running wild through my head. A lot of "we were supposed to..." has come my way as well. And quite frankly, I've really tried to stay extremely busy to silence these thoughts. But as always, things slow down around this time of year and I'm given WAY too much time to think. Lots of hours in the car just me and the dogs...time to do nothing but think. A few tears have been shed, but the majority of the time has been spent smiling. Because year after year, we take this same family picture. And although some people are in the picture one year and gone the next, the core of who I am is always there. I am beyond blessed to have such a loving family. And THAT is the greatest Christmas gift I could ever ask for!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It has been a few days, which, for me, is a long time on here.

I've been sneaky this weekend.

I surprised my family yesterday afternoon at my Grandmomma's house. She lives 5 hours from here. I just didn't think it was practical to drive 10 hrs in one weekend and turn around 4 days later and do it again. But practicality flew out the window. The surprise was well worth it!!

Moving on...

I finally got my camera, so I stayed glued to it all weekend. Got the camera guru {aka my dad} to show me a few tricks. Now, I already have a few lenses I want. Go figure.

Forewaring: This is a Dog picture post. If you're not into the pups, come back tomorrow

Here's little man sporting his new sweater his Gramama bought for him today. No more shivering!!
083 And of course Madison had to model hers as well.

Mom with her pride and joy {aka Lexington}
Hudson hanging out with his Pops.
Ok, this toy is absolutely the most ridiculous/hilarious dog toy I've ever seen. It sounds like a dying animal. Madison was obsessed!! Please excuse her undone Christmas ribbon. Its a tradition.
Last night, my dad playing with the new camera and this is the only thing he was successful capturing of me. Lets keep it that way!!

Stay tuned. I've got lots planned for this blog this week!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Another Reason...

Its not a secret that I love Auburn.

Always have.

Always will.

And when you combine Christmas lights with Auburn, I pretty much am overjoyed.


2009 Lights On Merrimac Ridge Animated Lights from Merrimac Ridge on Vimeo.

Now, you tell me a Bama grad that would even KNOW how to do that!!!

All the way over in TX, someone else is sporting their love of Auburn.

If I lived there, I'd leave an envelope in the mailbox with a cash donation for power and a note that says WAR EAGLE!!

The only thing more awesome than this is a Montgomery, AL tradition.

EVERY family makes a visit EVERY year.

If you're from Fungomery, you know exactly what I'm referring to.


Raise your hands Montgomery kids if you and your family load up in the car and make the yearly visit Christmas Eve! And also make it a MUST to take any out of town guests.


No more words needed.
Its cold and rainy here, so naturally I lean towards these to keep me warm and dry...


But I really wish the rain would go away and I could wear something more like these...



Ok, so I'm not brave enough to sport jean shorts...EVER! Or the over the top fur coat. But it would be nice to be able to just have the guts to actually wear fun things like these.

Again, I'm in swam land where the dress code is SUPER casual.

Hope everyone has a FABULOUS Friday. Only one week left till Santa arrives!!!