Monday, December 31, 2012

The Post-Christmas Blues, and New Year's Eve, too!

I don't know about you fine folks, but this Christmas really snuck up on me. And as such, I feel I've been cheated out of anticipatory excitement time.

You know, the Christmas countdown that begins as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is devoured. That time when you pull the tree out of the attic, untangle lights (for several hours), unbox ornaments, and are just in general super excited for December 24th, and 25th.

My new festive snowman!

I think sometime just before Thanksgiving, someone hit the fast-forward button on my life. Everything has been flying by, and when the week of Christmas finally came, I felt very inadequately prepared, quite a bit lacking in Christmas Spirit, as my Super Granny called it.

This year was an interesting one, though. A little topsy-turvy and probably more turbulent than most. Not in bad ways, quite the opposite, but things being hectic and new and different kind of took over and I had less time to let my merriness develop.

We took longer than usual to get the tree up and decorated. My mission to deck the house in lights and sprinkle snowmen and reindeer and icicles outside was a fair bit more complicated than I'd envisioned. Three strands of lights have blown fuses. And who knew swag lights are so hard to find now? And candy canes don't seem to want to stay put in loose garden dirt.

Reindeer and candy canes. :)

To call it a disaster would be throwing it out of proportion, but in my world where Christmas is supposed to be the best, most festive, happiest time of the year? Well, suffice it to say I've been feeling a bit pessimistic.

Let's face it, I'm not a kid anymore. I miss the childish glee, the ease at which that Christmas Spirit came. It's harder as you get older, to find time between work and relationships and life in general. And when the week of Christmas came, I was basically a pessimist about the whole thing. This Christmas will suck; that's what I thought, and I was glum.

But then I had this great discussion with my Dad, about how we should be thankful for what we have, about how it's okay to be content—because I, of course, was stressed about not knowing what to ask for for Christmas, as if it's the worst thing in the world not to need anything. And you know what, this was one of my favorite Christmases, one of the ones where our gifts are silly, random, mostly small, but still so thoughtful.

Presents under our tree!

And actually, one of the most popular Christmas gifts turned out to be the warm fuzzy blanket I got for Tucker. We all seem to be vying for use of it (because hey, it's super cozy).

But now, even considering how hectic it was, now that Christmas is over, the usual post-Christmas blues have rolled in.

In fact, pre-2013 blues are here, too. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to next year! But I always get a little nostalgic at the end of the year, especially when December 31st sneaks up on me. And this year I definitely felt it was a bit sneaky.

So my first Resolution is to focus on the positives—all of the things I want for my 2013. And trust me, there are plenty of things I want out of this next year. Even with the nostalgia, I'm really excited to see what the coming year will bring!

I hope you are, too! As far as my NYE plans, they're pretty mild. Spending some time with the family, watching movies, and ringing in the New Year at midnight. But honestly, that sounds just about right—starting the new year with my family, doing some of the things we always enjoy doing. What better way to bid farewell to 2012 and say hello to 2013?

So, as this is my last post of 2012, I'm wrapping it up with an adorable picture of my dog, wearing his new Christmas sweater, lounging on his new Christmas blanket. Too. Cute.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Tucker, cozy and cute.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

30 Day Itch

It's only four days until November. If you've been following this blog for awhile now, you probably know what that means...

It's almost time for NaNoWriMo 2012!
For those not up to date, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and I've been participating in it (both successfully and...less so) since I first learned about it from a certain creative writing teacher back in 2007. Basically, you spend the thirty days that make up November writing like a maniac in order to reach the goal of 50,000 words in one month. It's kind of wild, a little crazy, and very fun.

But my feelings about it this year are a little different. I'm maybe a little more excited, and maybe a little more anxious. Because, if I'm being honest, aside from the rare blog post here and there, I haven't really been writing at all since I graduated in December. So this year, NaNoWriMo means a little more to me and for me.

I'm expecting several things to happen next month, and hoping for others.

I'm expecting a rocky, slow, maddening start. Because, like any other craft or skill, the longer you go without keeping your tools sharpened, the duller they are when you get back to them. I don't doubt that I have a talent for writing, but I also don't doubt that it'll take some time to dust the cobwebs off of that talent. There are bound to be a few "dark and stormy nights" those first few days, maybe even weeks.

But I'm also expecting, hoping, to be energized about writing again. Excited about interesting settings, feisty characters, unexpected plot twists. Inspired and encouraged.

I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my love of writing, and, not that I need any excuse to do it, NaNoWriMo is always a time I eagerly look toward as that extra push to just drop the insecurities and let the words flow.

And I'm also looking forward to December 1st, when I can sit back, take a breath, and be proud of what I wrote, no matter how good or bad it is, because I wrote it.

So bring it on, November. I really can't wait.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Up for Apple

Is anybody else still awake?

I admit, I took a bit of a nap between midnight and one, because work was hectic today and I was exhausted. But now I'm obsessively refreshing two different web pages, both for the same reason.

That can only mean one thing...

It's iPhone 5 pre-order day!

And yes, I am sitting up in bed, quivering with excitement, Visa clutched anxiously in hand as I spend some time debating, last minute, whether or to pre-order from Apple's website, or AT&T's.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Repeat.
 I am really, really excited about this phone. Okay, to be fair, I get really excited for most Apple products. What can I say? I'm a brand fan. But I've been anticipating iPhone 5 since last year, when the iPhone 4S rolled out. I waited on upgrading then, even though I really wanted to play with Siri, and now it's paying off—no pesky hassles with AT&T and two-year contracts not-yet-ready to be upgraded.

I'm thinking I'm going to go for the 64gb White/Silver phone. I think it looks slick, modern, and classy.


iPhone 5 is now available to pre-order! And I am pretty sure it could not have gone smoother.
iPhone 5, soon you shall be mine!
Oddly enough, while Apple's website (and AT&T's website) sat useless, still not taking pre-orders, the Apple Store App on my iPhone 4 was up and running almost the second it was supposed to.

As you can see, I ordered the White & Silver 64gb iPhone 5. And I managed to not accidentally knock myself off of the several-times-grandfathered-in Unlimited Data plan.

So all in all, this late-night/early-morning was worth it! My shiny new phone should be headed my way sometime on the 21st, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you can expect and unboxing post in the near future, with a review post to follow!

Any of you guys trying to pre-ordered iPhone 5 tonight, too—Good luck! :D

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Siren Call of Coffee

Yesterday I cleaned out my purse. Backstory: I got this purse in May for my birthday (which you will read about one day in a very shamefully belated birthday blog post, honestly) and this may actually be the first time I've cleaned house, so to speak, since I started carrying the bag.

The first thing you should know is that my purse can hold just about everything but the kitchen sink. I swear once it was cleaned out it weighed several pounds less. (Sidenote—I'm actually planning to do a review of this purse/"What's in your purse" blog post about this particular handbag because when I was thinking of purchasing it, I scoured the internet for good reviews and came up with very few helpful reviews. So stay tuned.)

My purse was seriously getting too heavy, and every time I needed to find something, I had to dig through all this junk—in other words, cleaning it out was way overdue.

So I turned the whole thing upside-down and dumped its entire contents onto my bed. I took a picture, just so you guys could understand how absolutely lazy I am when it comes to using my purse as a combination storage/trash bag.

Promise not to judge me.
See? Everything but the kitchen sink. Also, a lot of napkins.

This picture comes after I sifted through my belongings and pulled out the important stuff. Just so you guys don't think I only carry napkins and straw wrappers in my purse.

So anyway, as I'm going through the pile of stuff on my bed—you know, to make sure I don't accidentally throw away anything important like loose change, or dollars, or socks (yes, I have a spare pair of socks in my purse, even still)— I start noticing a trend: Practically every other wadded up receipt I find is from Starbucks.

That got me wondering what exactly the total would be, you know, if I gathered up all the Starbucks receipts and added them all up.

So I did.
So many receipts...
All in all, between being lose in my purse and tucked away in my wallet, I found 18 Starbucks receipts, spanning in dates from all the way back in May to now. And let me just be clear, by no means is this an accurate representation of how many times I've been to Starbucks since then. In fact, frankly, that's not even as many times as I go to Starbucks in two weeks.

But still, here's what I got—

That's dollars, folks.
What can we learn from this little exercise?

Well, clearly my priorities are very coffee-centered. Because honestly, only on one of those receipts can I claim I was grabbing multiple coffees as a work errand. Pretty much those were all personal coffee purchases.

So, if that isn't being a dedicated brand advocate, I don't know what is.

Sometimes I truly feel that I just can't resist—I really love going to Starbucks. Something about it makes me happy, even if I only just drive through. I actually go so often, I've made friends there. People who know be my name, know my order. Which, let me just tell you, really makes a customer feel appreciated and want to keep coming back.

Starbucks Corp., if you're reading this, please feel free to use the Contact Me button so that we can discuss some sort of compensation for the fact that I am basically spending my life and living at your fine establishment. Or perhaps we can arrange for some complimentary coffee as appreciation for all money I spend on your lovely coffees, teas, pastries, and merchandise.
Oh wait, you already do that...
Or really, just... Never go out of business. Because then what would I do?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No-Labor Labor Day

I'm just going to politely ignore the shameful and lengthy time that's passed between now and my previous post, and hope that you fine folks will humor me and do the same.


Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, which basically translates to "What--wait, it's September now?" for me. Seriously though, time has been flying.

Like, I've been so busy that it simply didn't occur to me that this past weekend was a holiday thing (aside from inherently knowing in my soul that it would be a poor weekend for shopping) until yesterday morning, when I thought--Do I work today? I hadn't even thought about the fact that I might be off, that the shop where I work would probably be closed. (So busy that I hadn't thought to check on this the last time I'd been in to work).

So when my parents asked me if I wanted to join them and a few choice family friends over at my Uncle's house, I regretfully said no, that I'd be at work, grumble grumble. That's when the lightbulb turned on.

A few phone calls later and ta-da!

Surprise day off work!

Oh, the irony. Labor Day and I did absolutely nothing. Okay, a few things, but fun things. Certainly not laborious things.

We had hot dogs and beer at my Uncle's, sat around the baby grand while he played old gospel songs I remember from years and years ago, and caught grasshoppers with the young'uns (then politely turned my back when they started picking their legs off...because I know boys will be boys but also, yuck).

Our Labor Day party was kind of a hybrid thing, too. It was also a celebration of another of our dear friend's book release looming in the very near future. (Stay tuned, I'll be posting a review on that book here, as a friendly favor to spread the word—hey, maintaining your own blog has its advantages. Shameless promotion).

Anyway, all in all, and long story short, as great as Labor is, and as much as I love my job and appreciate that I have one, and enjoy the income that it generates, sometimes a surprise day off from work is just the ticket.

I had been focused on work, stressing about getting there on time, and having an unexpected day off made me slow down. Just stop and enjoy those awesome little things again, like time spent with family and friends, good food, great times. It was refreshing, and exactly the break I needed to refocus and get back to the work part of reality with renewed energy and ambition.

So tell me, how did you guys celebrate Labor Day weekend? Or Labor Day? Or both? Whatever you did, I hope you got to spend some time recharging your proverbial batteries! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moving Forward and Leaving Behind

This has been my whole day.
This is my official last night in my apartment at College Station—this is the last post I'll write here in my cute little apartment. Yes, even with bare walls and boxes stacked on boxes, when I look around I still see my cute little apartment.

It's funny, it takes so long to make a place feel like your own. Then, in a matter of hours, it's all stripped bare again like you were never there.

It's bittersweet, moving out of this place. It's been a fantastic place to live while going to school down here. Bright, cheerful, and just the right size for a girl and her dog. But now that I've graduated, it's time to move on. Even though I know it's time to go, I'm still not happy about it. I've always had a hard time with change—even small changes make me anxious. Honestly, even positive changes make me uncomfortable, at least for a little while. I'm such a creature of habit, which I'm sure is the reason. But, at any rate, all this change has been hard for me.

My life, in boxes.
It's not just leaving this apartment—I've been so busy lately making a lot of changes, I'm kind of on overload. My inner self wants to curl up in a familiar place with familiar people and familiar things and rest, but that hasn't been in the cards lately.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. In fact, actually, it's basically all good! The only "not good" would be my ability to handle change.

Still, it's all been positive. I'm the stick in the mud letting my mind linger on things, wallow in nostalgia, and wish that things could stay the same.

Art, off the wall.
It's funny how moving forward goes hand in hand with leaving behind. You can't really move forward without leaving something behind, and you definitely can't leave something behind unless you're moving forward. I guess it's all in how you look at life, and the things it throws your way. Me, I have a tendency to dwell on the Leaving Behind part. It's easier for me, because I already know about all that. That is, I know exactly what I'm leaving behind, whereas the "what's ahead" is such a mystery. What will it be like? Will I like it?

But I'm really trying to focus on the Moving Forward, and the excitement and anticipation of what comes next.

I have so much still ahead, and so many experiences on the horizon that are worth looking forward to. And no matter how scary the changes are, what kind of a life do you have if you sit stagnating because you're too afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace life's possibilities?

My view right this second,
but with a trendy Instagram filter.
I know from experience that when you let yourself get too comfortable—no matter how easy it is—one day you wake up and realize you're stuck in a rut, unhappy, and wondering how life managed to slip by so fast.

So, to sum up this random introspective post—Goodbye, College Station! You've been good to me, Texas A&M has been great to me, and I'll miss you. But this is only the start, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Even if I am nervous about what "next" might be.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Date with the Couch

Much like the tale of poor Gregor Samsa, as of late I've discovered I've undergone some sort of twisted transformation. Fortunately, I'm not an insect. (If you have NO idea what I'm talking about, go read The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka.) No, instead, these past few weeks have seen me transform into the stereotype of a reclusive teenager obsessed with video games.


Video games.

And not just a few, and not just mildly obsessed—I mean, I'm not going to lie. I really love video games. And I've got my 'defense of gaming' argument all set up; you'll read about it (if you stick with me!) later in this very post. But seriously guys, it's been ridiculous lately. My productivity has absolutely plummeted. I spend most of my time firmly planted on the couch, Playstation controller clutched tight in my hands, concentration devoted entirely to the game.

It all started when I graduated—maybe even a little before then. I was rebelling against responsibility, I think, and maybe trying to make the most of the days I have left in which I can afford to shirk all my duties and sit on my backside for hours on end. Either way, it happened.

The first game that really sucked me back in was Fallout. Followed quickly by Fallout: New Vegas—I mean, come on! Post world-as-we-know-it open world game space in which my actions and decisions actually impact the outcome of the game? Excellent.

Then there was Deus Ex, which was just cool in this super high tech futuristic way. But what really got the ball rolling on my too-much-time-spent-gaming kick was Dead Island. A zombie game. An open world zombie game. Yes, I was super excited for this game even before it actually came out! Because, in case you didn't know, horror movies of all kinds are a guilty pleasure of mine. I love zombies. So a zombie game set on a tropical island that you can explore completely? I'm there.

Me at midnight, pleased as punch.
And I was. At midnight. To pick up my reserved copy.

And let me just say, I was one of maybe...four girls there for the midnight release? In which the store was practically full? And I'm pretty sure all the other girls were there because their boyfriends were.

So yeah.

Then, to top it all off, I got back to my apartment, popped in the game, and couldn't get past the first five minutes of gameplay without dying. Seriously. I died about seventeen times before I gave up and went to bed angry.

The next morning, I actually Googled the game to figure out what I was doing wrong. Here I was, thinking, "Game glitch!" But no. Literally I was just running down the wrong hallway.

I was off to a great start.

In the end, I ended up spending just about seventy hours of my life on that game. Just that one game.

Also, I wrecked a staggering number of vehicles. See evidence below—
Exhibit A—by the pool.
Exhibit B—into some bushes.
Exhibit C—down the stairs.

It gets worse.

The next game that completely engulfed my time and my life was Skyrim. Another open-world game with side-quests galore! To date, I have spent 100+ hours on it, and guess what? I'm not even finished with it yet!

Most recently, it was Silent Hill: Downpour—but in my defense, I've been obsessed with this game series since I played the first one back on the original Playstation. And it only took me thirty hours. Yeah.

But it's not even just serious or involved games like Dead Island, Skyrim, or Silent Hill.

I've also started spending a lot of time on games like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, and Mario Party. I've become obsessed with getting gold stars on each level, or unlocking all the extra characters.

I keep telling myself that it's fine—and honestly, at this point, it's not too bad. I'm still working, so I'm not a lost cause. But remember my last post, where I was talking about how I haven't been writing?

Yeah. This is one of the reasons why. And it's not a good reason. It's just a convenient one.

In some cases, video games actually do inspire my writing. Especially if I'm in the mood to write something scary, which is often. At least, I usually start writing with the intent to end up with something scary. So games like Dead Island and Silent Hill aren't completely a waste of time.

But the truth is, it's more convenient and much less work to just let these games take over my time.

However, remember how I said I have a defense of video gaming? I'm getting to that now!

There's this really cool thing that happens when you play a video game—it's somewhere in between reading a book and watching a movie. Especially when you're dealing with a game with a solid, interesting story (like the Uncharted series!). It's more interactive than reading a book because you control movement and actions. It's more involved than watching a movie because not only do you see and hear cutscenes and dialogue, you're immersed in the story as you play through it. So playing video games can be a really involved experience in which for a few hours (or, if you're me lately, more than a few hours) you get to ditch reality, step out of yourself, and let your imagination run wild.

In that sense, as a creative person, I really appreciate what gaming brings to the table. It's never a bad thing to get your creative juices flowing, and if playing a video game makes that happen, I say that can't be a bad thing!

That being said, definitely I need to work on cutting back how much time I spend playing games. Because in that sense, it is a lot like reading—I can sit down thinking I'm just going to play for a little while (I'm just going to read a couple of chapters...) and before I know it, half the day is gone.

So, is it just me? Or are any of you guys game obsessed, too? :)

Friday, April 6, 2012


What I'm staring at when I stop typing.
I keep opening my blog, staring at the screen, and thinking to myself, "I really really need to update."

I think something has happened to me since I graduated college—I mean, besides the inexplicable laziness. It's like every since I graduated, I have this strange feeling that nothing interesting happens to me now. Which, frankly, isn't true. I mean, I did just take a almost-two-week-long trip to Atlanta, I'm working, and I still paint the town red when I get a chance.

But my writing life? So stagnant. It's shameful.

I think part of me is being 'rebellious'. I'm out of school; I have no assignments, papers, homework. I don't have to write, and you can't make me!

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in myself. I'm supposed to love writing, right? I mean, love it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've had this exact same pep talk with myself before—if I love writing, why am I resisting? Why don't I sit down and write every day?

The answer, I think, is a lack of discipline. Because, really, I should be doing just that. Don't get me wrong, I haven't completely stopped. I journal a lot, and I've blogged some. But the fiction? Not happening lately.

I've got to change that. I fall back on excuses; "I'm uninspired!" "Writer's block!" "I don't have any good ideas!" These are poor excuses. If I always waited for inspiration, I'd hardly ever write. The best way I've found to beat writer's block is to blow through it by force. I have plenty of ideas—I think a more accurate excuse in that vein would be, "I'm afraid of not being able to adequately express my ideas in writing."

Even now, I'm babbling along desperately, hoping to wind up with a fair blog post. But really it's just babble. I guess I should get to my point.

If there's something you love doing, do it. Even if you're afraid of failure. It's worse to not try, or to stop because you don't want to disappoint yourself and others. Keep doing what you love, even if it's just for your own personal enjoyment. Half of the things I write, no one ever sees. Or only close friends and family ever read. But to love something is to do it anyway, tune out everything else and get lost in it.

This post is meant for me as much as anyone else—Motivation. Encouragement.

Because, for me, there is nothing quite as satisfying as the act of creating something. Words on a page, art on canvas, anything.

When in doubt, create.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Let the games begin!

I know I can't be the only one out there super excited for the film release of The Hunger Games this week!

I've read all the books, I've been following the news on Twitter and Facebook. But mostly, I've been listening to the unofficial score—The HG Music Project.

Guys, I know I told you about this before, but there's new news. Now you can download the album from iTunes and Amazon! It's a great way to get pumped for the movie, plus support a couple of crazy talented guys; the composers. Both studied film scoring at NYU, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that they're great.

Check out their Facebook page—"The Hunger Games Music Project". Search "HG Music Project" on iTunes or Amazon and preview the tunes! You won't regret it.

I try not to do too much promoting, product pushing, etc., but one of the composers just so happens to be my best friend. But I promise, I'm not just biased. I'm just giving you the opportunity to become a fan before the rest of the world does. ;)

Who else will be at the midnight showing of The Hunger Games? Are you dressing up? Are you going with a group? Let me know in the comments! I can't wait to hear what you guys think of the movie (or the book!)!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hello Hotlanta

I have finally finished going through all my pictures from my trip to Atlanta. It's pretty normal for it to take me forever to go through pictures, usually for two reasons. One, I take a lot of pictures—sometimes I have to work up the energy to import and sort through all of them. And two, going through vacation pictures too soon after vacation makes me wistful and sad that I'm not still wherever I was in all the pictures.

The downside of waiting too long to get my act together is I start having to try to remember what days I did which things. But honestly, I'm not going into specifics. I'm just excited to finally be sharing the pictures with you guys!

So here we go.

I was, of course, really excited to go. I'd been planning the trip for months ahead of time—Naturally I waited until the last minute to pack. That's when my dog started getting the idea that something was up. He's a smart little dude, and I'm sure once he realized I was exhibiting all of the signs of a person soon to head out the door, he decided to start telling me how much he didn't want me to go. He followed me around while I packed, shivering and looking sad, and when that didn't work, he tried to sneak himself in my luggage.

My hopeful little stowaway.
I love my dog. He's so precious. But sadly he couldn't make the trip with me. (Spoiler alert—he lived through my almost-two-week absence just fine, but was super excited to see me when I got back).

The flight out was smooth, at least as smooth as flying can be what with baggage check, TSA, wasted time, pat-downs, and boarding. I don't have a whole lot of flying experience under my belt—this trip made my third flight ever. But as far as flying goes, it wasn't half bad. The flight was pretty short, our pilot was funny, and I read the whole time.

Landing was the fun part—walking off of the plane and into a different state. I may not fly much, but that's something that's kind of wild to me every time. I sit down on a plane and step off thousands of miles away. Crazy. Flying is awesome.

We had arrived.


The view from my hotel room.
Welcome to the Omni Hotel!
We stayed at the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center, which was amazing, I'm not gonna lie. For starters, the room was really nice, and the hotel had a few places to eat and a couple or so bars. And then there was the fact that it was connected to the CNN Center itself, which had a whole food court full of things to do. A Starbucks, for instance. At which I spent a lot of time—or at least made a lot of runs to. That little glorious Starbucks kiosk was on my route to street level almost every day I went out, which made it the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee every morning.

But I digress.

The purpose of my visit to Atlanta was to see an old friend of mine who's recently relocated from Texas to Georgia. So needless to say, I was pretty darn excited. It had been...what, something like a year? Maybe more? You don't know—and obviously I can't remember for sure.


My friend, Heather, was also basically my wheels while I was in Atlanta, as I didn't have a car there. So she was kind enough to tote us around town and drive us to all the things we wanted to see.

Guys, Atlanta has SO much to offer, I didn't come close to seeing it all. And what I did see I'd like to do again. It was so much fun.

We visited the zoo, which was great. The weather was awesome—it pretty much was for the whole trip—so we took our time looking around, taking an insane amount of pictures of the animals. We even took time out for lunch there, completing our zoo experience with a couple of slices of pizza. I love zoos. And I can honestly say I really regret not buying the cute little panda stuffed toy I saw there. Maybe next time.

On our way in!
This pouty gorilla was my favorite, all huffy under his tree.
Panda chows down.

I think maybe my favorite place we went was the High Museum of Art. It was fabulous, and we didn't even have time to walk through the whole thing! But they had a great exhibit of Warhol and Picasso. I absolutely love Andy Warhol, so seeing his work in person was amazing. I took a ton of pictures there, too—I'm always careful to ask about policies on photography before I whip out my camera in these types of places; just a reminder to always check before you snap photos! I took a lot of pictures of Warhol's work, but just to be safe (I'm not sure how the museum feels about pictures of their special exhibits being plastered online) I'm only going to post one from that exhibit. It's my favorite!

LOVE the soup cans.
Inside the museum.

Since I was staying in the CNN Center, I thought it only appropriate that we take their tour as well. And, as luck would have it, we ran into a lovely couple who'd purchased a City Pass but hadn't used it all yet—and one of the things it got us in to (for free!) was the CNN Tour. I was pretty excited. Honestly, I never really watch CNN. I'm more of a Fox girl, but to see their facilities and tour their floors was really awesome. And our tour guide was great. Really personable, chatty, friendly. He told us that the center has the largest freestanding escalator in...I think the world? Possibly just the United States. Don't quote me. But seriously, the escalator was wildly tall. We toured their newsrooms, saw a mock studio—one woman got to read the prompter and give a news cast, which was cool. We saw how they use green screens for weather maps and the like. It was really cool. We even got to see Wolf Blitzer, which was really neat because he's usually out in D.C. and not in Atlanta. We watched him through the glass and saw in person what the rest of the world was seeing on live TV. Pretty rad.

And I'm not even all the way at the bottom at this point.
CNN, y'all.
One of the mock newsrooms.

And another absolute must-see, especially for me—lover of books and writing—was Margaret Mitchell's grave. (She wrote Gone with the Wind, for those of you who have no idea who I'm talking about.) Which turned out to be a little gem of a surprise because it wasn't on the agenda; I honestly didn't know she was buried in Atlanta. But she is! At Oakland Cemetery. Maybe it's weird to call a cemetery beautiful, but this one really was. It had a lot of trees, some really elegant statues and headstones. And for being in the middle of Atlanta, it was very peaceful. It took us a bit of hunting to actually find Margaret Mitchell's headstone—it's not wildly big or extravagant, so it blends in. But eventually we followed the signs and found it. People had left some coins there. I added my own.

Oakland Cemetery.
Peaceful. I loved all the trees.
One of the really elegant tombstones.
Thank you for Gone with the Wind, Mrs. Mitchell.

We also hit up the Georgia Aquarium, which was actually the most expensive thing we did. Go figure. Probably because our ticket price included a 4D movie and a dolphin show. (The dolphin show was totally better than the 4D movie, just sayin'.) The aquarium itself was really cool. A maze of fish tanks, interactive exhibits, seals, penguins. I even got to touch a stingray! They feel slippery and wonderful. I love them. It's hard to take pictures of moving fish in a tank with no flash—but using flash just makes the glass reflect. So I didn't get a ton of great pictures in the aquarium. But that didn't stop a girl from tryin'!

The aquarium. Ta-da!
Me and my new best friend, Mr. Stingray.
I'm not sure what kind of fish this is, but it's pretty!
Sea dragon! I love these guys.

We also hit up another museum, the Fernbank Natural History Museum. My favorite part of this was the dinosaur bones in the atrium. They were pretty rad. Our walkthrough in this museum ended up being interrupted by a fire alarm—false alarm, thank goodness. Ironically enough, we also had a fire alarm go off while we were walking through the High Museum of Art. Apparently Heather and I are just too hot for our own good. (I kid. But seriously.)

A trio of dinosaurs welcoming us to the Fernbank.
Giant atrium dinosaur. :)
All in all, the trip went by way too fast for me, as vacations often do. Atlanta was a really great city, and it sure has a lot to offer. I hope I can go back to Georgia soon—next time I really want to make it down to Savannah!

We visited a couple of other museums and checked out a lot of restaurants, but honestly this post is way out of control in length, so I think I'll do a Part Two of sorts, talk about a couple of other places we went, and then rave about the food we ate. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Oh, hello there, 2012.

I don't know about you guys, but I simply cannot believe 2011 is over! It was a pretty good year for me, so I'm sad to see it go. Accomplished a lot, had a lot of good times.

I have pretty high hopes for 2012, and I'm starting it off right—with a trip to Atlanta! I am so unbelievably excited. I'm tagging along with my Dad, who's going for a job. It's a vacation I really need, plus a chance to visit a very good friend of mine who moved to Georgia recently! The best part is, I'll be there for practically two weeks.

Like I said, I simply can't wait.

2011 ended in a bit of a whirlwind for me! Between graduation, Christmas, and New Year, it was over before I knew what had happened. Eventually (hopefully soon) I'll borrow Mom's camera and download the pictures she took of my ceremony.

It wasn't near as bad as I'd feared—I was really paranoid I was going to trip. I had also envisioned there being millions of people there. There weren't. It was big, for sure. We had a few thousand students graduating, so once we filed in and got seated, I felt like I'd be there forever. The walk across the stage went by in a flash—My parents said I booked it, but I didn't notice. I was just thinking something along the lines of, "Don't trip, don't trip, don't trip. Take the diploma. Shake his hand. Smile. Don't trip. Don't fall down the steps. Don't trip. Oh, it's over."

It was such a relief, and so gratifying to actually hold my diploma in my hands—that's something A&M does that I really love. You actually DO get handed your for-real diploma when you walk. So as soon as I took the maroon tube and shook President Loftin's hand, I had my diploma.

Then I came back home and was only a week until Christmas! I feel like I missed out on the whole countdown-to-Christmas build up. I was so focused on graduation that I didn't even realize how close Christmas was. My Christmas was great—I got a million and one things, and everything that I wanted. I have pictures of Christmas morning to go through, too, and I still may write up a separate post for Christmas. Because really, it deserves it's own post!
Our tree! Overflowing with gifts! <3
New Year snuck up on me, too. But I spent it quietly at home with my parents watching movies, which was lovely.

I should probably start writing down my resolutions—I have some, but so far they're just ideas, and not yet on paper. I'd intended to write up a post about that, too. I suppose I still could, I'd just have to nix "Not procrastinate" off of the resolution list. You know, for posterity's sake.

At any rate, I really have to wrap up this post now. As usual, I've managed to put things off to the last minute so now what I need to be doing is packing my suitcase—I'm actually headed to the airport tomorrow for that Atlanta trip I just mentioned.

I can tell you that one of my resolutions is to stop going so long between posts, so keep an eye out! And, as always, thanks so much for reading!

Oh! And I got new glasses. :D