Thursday, April 28, 2011

We Made It!!

Yes, we survived the awful tornadoes that tore through Alabama yesterday.  

Yes, that is the tornado destroyed Tuscaloosa and then made it's way to Birmingham.  That video is being shot as the tornadoes blows through north downtown Birmingham.  Thankfully, we live south of Birmingham and while all this was happening we were taking refuge at Patrick & Megan's house since they had power and they also have a basement.  Layla went too.  We spent the evening watching storm coverage and then on Facebook seeing pictures and watching video footage that had been taken.  It is just shocking the amount of lives lost and the damage that has been left.  While I have been complaining about our power outage since I woke up yesterday, I am extremely grateful that we are safe and there was no damage done to our property.  Please keep everyone affected by this storm in your prayers, especially in Tuscaloosa where the storm hit the hardest.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Happy Wednesday Y'all.  As always, I'll be linking up with Jamie

First, I'm loving that all of my family and friends are safe from the storms that blew threw the Memphis area over the past 48 hours.  We've had round 1 and it's supposed to get dangerous tonight.  Praying that God looks over everyone here in Alabama.

I'm loving my Moroccanoil hair treatment.

Megan at Bloom always puts this in my hair when I get it done and when I had my hair done earlier this month I decided I just had to buy some.  Oh, how I love it.  It makes my hair so smooth and soft and it gives it a little bit of ooompf!  

I'm loving the Capri Blue Frosted Mercury Glass Jar candle in Sheer Peony from Anthropologie. Not only is the jar beautiful but the candle smells DELICIOUS.  As I have mentioned before, peonies are my absolute favorite and the fact that they smell wonderful makes me love them even more.  I definitely plan on purchasing more of these.

I'm loving that this weekend I finally found a pair of shoes suitable for graduation.  This was the 3rd pair I had purchased.


I liked them but I thought they were slightly on the prostitute looking side and were almost $100.


I mentioned these on my blog a while back and asked for opinions.  This one seemed to be the favorite so I purchased them.  They were considerably cheaper than the NW pair but after trying them on, I understood why.  Ouch.


Finally, a winner!  I decided to pop in DSW last week to just see what they had.  These were the first shoes I spotted when I walked in and after seeing the price tag I knew it had to be the shoe. To my surprise, I tried them on ad they were super comfy given their $35 price tag and they were exactly what I was going for. Score.

Finally, I'm loving that we are only 9 days away from being in paradise. Key West. We are so excited and can't believe it's next week!

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blueberry Yum Yum

Well that's not exactly what Mrs. Paula calls it but that is the name this little dish has earned.  I started making this dish back in the good 'ole days at Ole Miss.  My roommates and I were watching Paula's Home Cooking as we always did, it was our religion as you know, when she whipped this up.  We decided we had to try it and I remember the boys who lived next door devoured it.  Not that we were trying to get to these boys' hearts in particular  but we knew the way to a boy's heart was through his stomach so this recipe became a keeper. 

Blueberry Yum Yum is a favorite to prepare for breakfasts when guests are in town and it always makes an appearance in the Grove at least once a season.  I've never tried it with a different fruit, but I start salivating just thinking of the possibilities. 

Blueberry Yum Yum


1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1 can buttermilk biscuits (just buy the cheap ones y'all)
1 c. quick oats
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 inch baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Next, cut each biscuit into quarters and dip each piece in the melted butter and then roll it around in the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture until well coated. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the quick oats. 

Combine the blueberries and sugar in a bowl and toss to coat.  Spread over the oats and biscuits and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of oats. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until it is golden brown. Serve warm.

Hope y'all enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's a Wrap!

The Easter weekend is over and I have begun my last week here at my internship!  I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend rejoicing in the most ultimate gift we could ever recieve, Sacrifice. 

We went up to Memphis for the weekend to celebrate the holiday, but we had another important item on our agenda: find somewhere to live!  We got into town on Friday evening in time for a very late dinner from one of our favorite Italian places in Memphis, Coletta's.  It has been open since 1923 so you know it's legit and they have by far the best BBQ pizza in Memphis.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now.

Saturday morning, we had an appointment with an apartment complex in East Memphis.  We had done our homework and thought this place  might be a good fit for us.  The community is actually a mix of apartments and townhomes.  After getting all the important info (prices), the lady helping us informed us that they had 2 units available in the floorplan we were interested in.  She said she would show us both of them and we could choose which unit we liked better.  On our little tour, one of Ben's first questions was can we have a girll and when she said yes I knew he was sold.  After looking over the 2 units, which happen to be right next door to one another, we decided on the unit that was on the end so we only have 1 sharing wall and it just had all the flooring redone since the last tenant moved out.  I'm most excited about the pantry. A little silly? Sure, but when 2 small little shelves make up the "pantry" in our current apartment, it's a pretty BIG deal.  Also, there is a decent sized patio for Layla and the complex has a bark park so Layla can run wild.  Glad to have that done and glad it only took us a little over an hour.  After that, we met up with friends for lunch at Huey's, another Memphis favorite.  After lunch, the girls hopped in one car to do some shopping while the boys hopped in another car to go hang out.  After our little shopping rendevous, we headed over to Stephen & Denise's new home that they just moved into a few weeks ago.  It is an older home in east Memphis and it reminded me so much of our little house in Hattiesburg.  I loved it and Denise had it fixed up so nice.  That evening, we met up with Jene and some other friends to watch game 3 of the NBA playoffs for the Grizzlies.  The series was tied 1-1 and the game was in Memphis and the FedEx Forum was SOLD OUT. People this never happens.  I was pretty impressed to see how the city has really rallied around the team.  Well the Grizz got the win and the bar went NUTS.  Next, thing I know the waiters are bringing around free jello shots to everyone for the win.  They were pretty terrible but everyone had fun with it.  After the game, a country western band started playing.  Shortly after, it was time to call it a night.

Sunday morning we attended church with my Nana.  My favorite part of the service was the traditional hyms that were sung, including "Because He Lives."  After church, we all went back to my parents house where my mom had cooked up a yummy Sunday feast.  The Easter bunny came too.  He brought Kinsley a rocking chair.  She LOVED it. 
Kins in her rocker

Jene & me

Another successful weekend in the books. 

Lastly, my best friend Anna's grandmother went home to be with the Lord this morning.  Please keep her and her family in your prayers as they need comfort and strength during this time.

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole

I'm typing this bad boy on the iPad so my apologies for the smaller font this post, as I can't figure out how to change the size on here. I'm also going to go ahead and apologize if I have ever posted this recipe. I have no recollection of posting it and I'm not a tagger and I wasn't going to sear h for it. Also, this recipe is worth posting twice.

I got the idea from Ben's dad who made enchiladas similar to this minus the cream cheese. I used to prepare this with plain Jane cream cheese that was until I discovered Philadelphia cooking cream. If you can't find the Santa Fe flavored cream you can do it my old school way with softened cream seasoned with chili powder and cumin to jazz it up.

Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole

4 burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 tub Philadelphia cooking creme, Santa Fe flavor
1 pkg. Frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 can Rotel, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1-2 cans enchilada sauce
1 c. Mexican shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 casserole dish. In a mixing bowl combine cooking creme, spinach, Rotel, black beans, and 1/4 nod enchilada sauce. Next, pour another 1/4 can of enchilada sauce in a shallow dish. Coat both sides of 2 tortillas and place in bottom of dish. Next, spread half of the cheese and spinach mixture and top with half of the cheese. Repeat with tortillas, mixture, and cheese. Pour remaining enchilada sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 7-10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Garnish with sour cream, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.

This bad boy is even better heated up the next day and is a easy to meal to prepare to take to a sick friend or a new mommy.

Hope y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It's Wednesday again!  As always, I'll be linking up with Jamie.
Here's what I'm loving this week.

I received the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens yesterday and I'm loving the cover.  Peonies are my absolute favorite flower and they happen to be gracing the cover of the magazine this month.  When we have a house someday, you better believe my yard will be filled peony bushes (I guess it's bushes)

I started reading Pioneer Woman's Black Heels to Tractor Wheels yesterday and I'm in love.  I already knew she was a good writer but y'all their story is so sweet.  It's so romantic, you would think you were reading a fictional romance novel. 
I'm loving that we are heading home this weekend so we will get to spend the Easter holiday with my family.  We are going to go to church with my Nana and she is thrilled.  I'm excited to spend such a special day with our family.

Kinsley last Easter
 I'm loving these whoopie pies that Ben and I made last night.  I wanted to make a treat to share with all the interns since none of us can turn town a baked good.  I haven't tried one yet, but they are disappearing fast so they must be pretty tasty.

 I'm loving that my supervisor, Julie informed us this morning we can wear jeans to work tomorrow!  It's the small things in life.

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Official!

If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you know most of this story so for your sake I'll keep it short and to the point. 

Ben and I moved to Birmingham last May so I could complete an externship.  The externship is the last step in completing my doctorate.  I finish up my externship next week and graduate a short 2 weeks later.  When we moved here, we knew it was a possibility that it could only be for one year.  We had no clue what and where the job opportunities would be when it came time for me to graduate. My, how fast this year has flown and now it's that time!  I started searching for jobs in February after I learned that I had passed national boards.  We primarily focused on Birmingham and Memphis.  We wanted Birmingham because we really love this city, Ben has a great job, and its the halfway point between both sets of parents.  We wanted Memphis because that is where I'm from, Ben has a sister and her family there, we have lots & lots of friends there, and it's only an hour's drive from our favorite place, Oxford.  

We have been praying for guidance since I submitted my first application. We weren't praying for a job specifically, we knew God would provide no matter what, but we were praying that God would be our guide in making a very difficult decision as to where we needed to be.  Well after numerous interviews, disappointment, and some frustration we got our guidance.  There was an opportunity for me to stay where I am finishing up my externship and I have really loved all the experience I have gained here.  But, I would only be working with children, which is what I really want to do, however, I really felt that with my first job out of school I really  needed to be somewhere where I could gain experience testing all ages since I am still developing skills and experience.   That opportunity came while I was away in Chicago.  I got a job offer from an ENT practice in east Memphis and after more prayers and discussions with Ben we decided to accept.  It's OFFICIAL!  We're trading in the Magic city for the Bluff city!  We are very excited and nervous all at the same time. We are going up there this weekend to find a place to live.  I swear it feels like we just did this and boy was it stressful.  Honestly, we'll probably sign the dotted line at the first place we visit that will allow Layla to live there, hah.

Thanks to all my followers that kept us in your prayers :)

We're trading....

Steel Mills


Downtown Birmingham


Beale Street

Saw's BBQ



And the list could go on & on...

There are so many things and places about Birmingham that we will surely miss but we are looking forward to the next step in our lives. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Recap

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful Monday!  We've had a busy day at work so it has flown right on by. 

We had a pretty laid back weekend and that is not a complaint.  Friday, Emily and I drove to MS to take care of school/work related business.  We took care of our work and had lunch at Old Athens Grill and then got on the road back to Birmingham.  The drive was TERRIBLE.  There were tornadoes touching down all over the part of the state we were traveling through. Very. Scary.  We knew it was no joke when storm chasers were passing us on the interstate.  It took us 4 1/2 hours to make the trip and it usually takes just a little over 3 hours. Thankfully, God was safely guiding our car home.  By nighttime, the storms had died down to just rainfall so we met up with Patrick & Megan for pizza.  The food was delicious and so was the company, but the restaurant was running rampant with wild kids.  These kids were play fighting right in the area where the servers have to pass through from the kitchen to the restaurant and their parents were doing nothing, just carrying on amongst themselves.  Great parenting skills.  I realized at dinner just how NOT ready I am for kids. 

We spent Saturday running errands.  Super exciting stuff: the grocery store, Ben got a haircut, the post office.  We were running all day and were pretty exhausted by the time we got home in time to watch the Ole Miss Grove Bowl.  That's our annual spring game and it ended in a tie (17-17).  Not really sure what that will mean when the fall rolls around but it was exciting seeing some of the new players on the field.  I already have a few new favorites.  That night, Ben's co-worker Ty and his fiance Rachel had us over for dinner.  Ty grilled chorizo burgers and corn on the cob.  It was delicious.  Ty must have known the grill was the way to our  heart.  Rachel made a blueberry and peach crisp for dessert.  It was so nice for them to have us out to their place and have dinner for us.  Also, Rachel gave me a copy of Dreamcakes Bakery's founder, Jan Moon's new cupcake cookbook.  I am excited to try these out for the Grove this fall! Thanks Rachel!

Sunday was a rather lazy day.  I spent a majority of the afternoon at the pool reading Michael Oher's new book, I Beat the Odds while Ben was away at softball practice.  It was so relaxing and peaceful.  We did manage to get all of our winter clothes packed away and a bag full for Goodwill.  One of our friends, Carrie came into town for a job interview so we took her to dinner at a yummy local place, Baha Burger and then dessert at Yogurt Mountain.  Talk about a delicious way to end the weekend!  It was fun catching up with her and hearing all that had been going on in her busy life.  So glad she got to visit, if only for a little while. 

Anyways, thats what we did! I apologize for no pictures. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If I Were Cool.

The weather has been about near perfect here in Birmingham the past couple of days and I have been daydreaming of being seaside.  Lucky for me, theres only 24 days until that happens!  

When your reading People or or whatever celebrity site you might follow, do you ever notice how "jazzed" up celebrities get to spend the day at the beach or poolside?  I don't get it.  Why put on all that make-up and jewelry to sit there and sweat?  I hang out the pool sans make-up, unshaven legs, and a dirty head of hair.  And I could give 2 toots if my cover-up matches my swimsuit.  I'm there to relax.  Anyways, I conjured up what my "day at the pool" outfit would be if I was A.) famous or B.) cared.


With this body of course.  Via




Pretty glamorous I know.  Couldn't you see me on the pages of People?  :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Wow, didn't Wednesday get here fast?  As always, I'm linking up with Jamie.

This week I'm loving that I only have a 3 day work week.  That's right.  I was off Monday and I'll be off again on Friday. I have some business to take care of on Friday so it won't be a completely free day. 

I'm loving that I only have 11 more work days left here at Sparks.  How. Crazy.  It just seems like I started yesterday and that was almost 11 months ago.  I have really enjoyed my internship and super grateful for all that I have learned here but theres always a time to move on.  I will definitely miss this place and all the fun people that work here.

I'm loving my nail polish.  Yesterday, I decided it was time for a polish change and decided to go with OPI's Big Hair Big Nails and I LOVE!  Such a great color for the summer!


Once again, I'm loving that we have absolutely no plans for this weekend.  We have been out of town the past 2 weeks so it will be nice to have a free weekend here in Birmingham.  We better enjoy it because the next month or so is going to be a complete whirlwind.  I've already check the weather forecast and it doesn't look promising to be pool side on Saturday, however, after church on Sunday you might find us by the pool.  I will be reading From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by PW. Can't wait to start this book! They already have plans to make this into a motion picture!

I'm loving that we are making taco bowls for dinner.  Taco bowls are basically a taco salad prepared in a huge tortilla bowl (shell)  We make our own bowls using large tortillas.  We drizzle them in olive oil, salt, cumin, and chili powder and then mold them over glass bowls that are oven safe.  Way healthier than the fried version and super tasty.  We are sharing them with Patrick and Megan tonight for Survivor.  I think they will love them.  If only we had some 'ritas to sip...

And of course I'm loving our Layla

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back from the Windy City

Finally back!  Well I actually got back Sunday afternoon but I've been too busy enjoying the warm Southern weather to blog.  As soon as I got home from the airport on Sunday, I told Ben I wanted to spend the afternoon at the pool and so we did.  And I have an awesome sunburn to show for it.  Yes, I usually use sunscreen but I was being dumb and decided I didn't need it that day. Lesson learned.  I had yesterday off and I'm so glad I took it off.  I slept it, caught up on t.v., and did laundry. It was wonderful.

On to Chicago.  We arrived in the Windy City around lunch time to chilly temps.  This was expected and I had dress appropriately for this day.  We spent the afternoon on the Magnificent Mile.  On our way back to our hotel, we saw Garrett Popcorn.  We had seen Oprah feature the popcorn on her favorite things episode so we decided to stop in and pick some up. I got the Chicago mix which is a combo of their cheddar and caramel corn popcorn. DELICIOUS. This was definitely the best decision of the week.  If you've never had it, I can't even begin to explain how delicious this stuff is. No wonder Oprah can't keep her weight off, I sure wouldn't be able to either if I lived around the corner from this heaven-sent treat.  We all bought "small" (they were in no means small) bags and we munched on it everyday.  Grabbing that bag of popcorn was the first thing the 4 of us did the second we walked into our room from being at the convention all day. Seriously, the stuff is like crack.  While we were at Navy Pier on Saturday I picked up a large bag of their infamous Chicago mix to bring back to share with Ben, Patrick, and Megan.  It's now all gone and I'm sad about it.

Thursday and Friday we spent both days at the convention.  We went to sessions where we learned about all things related to Audiology.  Last time I went to AudiologyNow, I wasn't very interested in these sessions, however, this year they were very beneficial since I will have a J-O-B very soon where I actually have to be held accountable for those fancy letters behind my name.  The convention also has an exhibit hall where all the hearing aid companies set up shop with the most elaborate booths I have ever seen.  They "wine & dine" you with delicious treats at their booth to try to win you over so you'll purchase their products.  One company had masseuses there giving massages. I liked the booth that had the barista there making cappucino best.  At night, the hearing aid companies throw big parties.  Thursday night we got to see Collective Soul play and it was a good ole time.  The next night, the big party was at the House of Blues with the Blues Brothers but we got there too late so we ended up going to another party at Navy Pier with jazz music.  Still a fun fun time.  On Saturday, we only spent half the day at the convention, by then we were audiology'd out!  We spent Saturday afternoon at Navy Pier.  I was a little disappointed in it. A little too touristy and with it being so chilly, the outside attractions were closed.  We rode the ferris wheel and thats about all the excitement we had there.  We decided to spend the rest of the day on Magnificent Mile since everyone in our group had been to Chicago at least once and done most of the tourist stuff.  I only made purchases at H & M since the closest one is in Atlanta.  We had dinner at a super yummy Thai restaurant. All in all it was a super fun trip and I was so happy to get to go on a semi-vacation. 

Magnificent Mile
Collective Soul

Collective Soul

My 1st Chicago Dog.  I don't do onions or relish.

Ashley & Emily on the Navy Pier ferris wheel.

me & Katie on the ferris wheel.

Glad to be back!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It's that time again already!  I'm actually writing this on late Tuesday because on Wednesday I'll be way high in the sky on the way to Chicago and will have zero time to blog.  I have left super detailed instructions for Ben to link this up with JamieSo hopefully that all works out!

I'm loving that I will be spending the rest of the week in Chicago hearing (hah, no pun intended) about all things audiology and seeing friends I haven't seen in almost a year! 

I'm loving that I am off until next Tuesday.  Thats right, no work for a solid 6 days!  Hallelujah!

I'm loving that one of my besties has a birthday this weekend.  Hannah & I have been friends since high school and I consider her one of my dearest friends.  Shes's so beautiful and funny.  Seriously, everyone loves her.  She is the sister of a gal and her dog.  She's having a crawfish boil on Sunday to celebrate and she knows if I wasn't going to be in Chicago, I'd be there for the crawfish and maybe to celebrate. :)  Happy Birthday Love!!

Seniors in high school.

I was so honored to have her as a BM!

I'm loving that 2 of my other best friends have entered into true adulthood.  Ashley closed on her very first house last week and got moved in on Friday.  It is in a super fun area of Memphis and is super cute of course.  Anna and her husband went under contract on their first home this week and is set to close in May!  How exciting for them!  I can't wait to help Anna spend all of Nathan's money on decor! 

I'm loving my styling new hairdo!  I got it all jazzed up for summer with a trim and highlights.  Megan, co-owner of Bloom Spa & Salon did it for me.  Megan is the younger sister of my recently engaged friend Jessica who I blogged about here.  She's like a little sister to me and I love that now she can help make me beautiful! She and her friend, Whitney opened Bloom in late summer and they do a fantastic job at EVERYTHING!  Not to mention, it is without a doubt the cutest salon I've ever seen.  No pictures of the hair just yet, hopefully I'll have some to post after my trip!

Finally, I'm loving my sweet Kinsley.  I never get sick of hearing "HEY LULU" in the sweetest, most excited voice.  When we were leaving this weekend to come back to Birmingham, she ran after me and said "kiss, Lulu."  Then she hugged my legs and said, "I miss you."  Aggghhh. That little stinkbug sure has my heart. Love her.

Y'all have a fabulous week!  I'll be back to blogging next week!

Happy Wednesday Y'all!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yucky Monday

Sorry I've been MIA for a few days.  We had a sudden trip out of town and we were going full throttle the entire weekend.  

We are expected to get very nasty tornado-ish weather later today and I really won't mind  as long as it waits until after I get Layla's walk in this afternoon and it washes the remaining pollen off of our vehicles. 

Weather like what's headed our way makes me want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of something hot.  So, tonight I have decided to make Creamy Taco Soup.  It makes a lot so Ben won't starve while I'm gone the rest of the week in the Windy City.

Creamy Taco Soup
1 lb. ground beef/turkey, whichever you prefer
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can, Rotel, partially drained
1 can, pinto beans, drained
1 lb. Velveeta, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. Cumin
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 c. heavy whipping cream
Tortilla chips

In a soup pot, cook your meat, onion, and garlic together until meat is browned.  Drain.  In the same pot, add Rotel, pinto beans, and velveeta.  Cook on medium heat, stirring quite often until velveeta is melted.  Add meat to the soup.  Next, add seasonings.  I'm not gonna lie, I have no idea if these are the exact measurements for the seasonings,  I don't use measurements when it comes to seasoning.  So I'd advise to add and taste until it has a tacoey taste.  30 minutes prior to serving, stir in whipping cream.  Heat thoroughly.  Serve over crushed tortilla chips.

And because a post isn't fun without some pictures, I'll share a few randoms

Getting a bath

Swinging on Nana's gate

Hat I wanted for Key West but thought it might be more appropriate for Asia

Hope y'all stay dry!