Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where I Come From

I'm from Smalltown, South Carolina.  For those of you who don't know where this is, it is near Charleston.  Sometimes I hate it.  But then there are days when I'm driving home after work and the sun is setting through the trees causing rays of warm sunlight to filter down.  It really is beautiful.  I am thankful for these moments when I can stop to appreciate something so simple. 

Fall evenings are spent gathered around a fire pit with an ice cold beer or maybe a glass of red wine.

Neighbors will give you homemade bread or sweets just because.

We love monograms... a lot.

Snow is a big deal.  We find it utterly delightful.  And we enjoy it until it is merely dirty slush covering the frozen ground.

We wait all year for football season to come around and share it with our closest friends and family- even those that we only see during this special time of year.

The beach is a safe haven and the river is our waterpark. 

Sunday mornings were made for strolling through the yard with a cup of coffee before getting ready for church.

Nowhere is more peaceful than sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair and listening to nature.  The rocking chairs are nicely complimented by coffee or wine, depending on the time of day.

The smell of fresh cut grass can rejuvinate you after a long day.

Christmas is celebrated with huge gatherings.  Everyone comes together and remembers those that are no longer with us, toasts old friends, and promises to not let life get in the way of seeing each other more often.

People will smile and say good morning/afternoon or ask how you are doing even if they have never laid eyes on you before.

It is so easy to stop and pick out these tiny little details of life, but most days we are too busy with the day to day.  This is where I come from.  And I'm proud to say that it is a part of who I am. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Worn Out

Christmas is big times, y'all.  Now I am just exhausted.  It was great, though!  I hope you can all say the same. 

Little J decided that he would give me three special gifts:  longer naps (word), sitting up (finally), and sleeping on his stomach.  Hold the phone... I totally did not request the latter.  Oh well, what can you do?

Seriously, I think I'm so tired that I can't even think of what to write.  We will go with this instead...
This little sign is in my kitchen.  It cracks me up.
Little J at his first oyster roast, which just so happens to be
the First Annual Jax Christmas Eve Oyster Roast.
Merry Christmas, Mama!  I'm sleeping on my tummy! 
(FYI, Sleep Sack, not a blanket)
I got a big boy toy!  VROOOM!  I haz happiness!
AJ haz happiness, too!  (times 2, thank you Mama and Jax!)
"The State" = The most awesome old MTV show EVAH.
Adorable, just adorable.

Oh yeah, and y'all, IT SNOWED!  Not stick to the ground snow, but honest to God big fluffy snowflakes!  It was wonderful.  Combine that with family, chili, and a nice afternoon nap and I had the most perfect end to Christmas that I could have imagined.

*These pics were all taken on my phone.  I swear I have a real camera.  And I use it.  If I think about it, I will post better pics later.  Don't hold your breath, it might take me a while.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Almost Christmas!

I am not sure how often I will be posting over the holiday.  If something totally cool and awesome happens, I will be sure to stop in and inform you.  For example, if Santa Claus sets off the alarm or Duke catches a reindeer, you will be the first to know.  Swear.

Please have a happy and safe holiday.  If you are traveling, watch out for bad drivers and those who have partied too much.  Enjoy your family and friends.  Stay warm!  And if you get snow, you damn well better not tell me about it because I am crazy jealous.

Take a moment to remember the reason we celebrate.  And if you don't believe in that kind of stuff, just take a moment to reflect on all of your blessings.  Please also keep in mind those that are less fortunate and those who can't be with their families because they continue to fight the battles for our freedom.  Feel free to shed a tear for the loved ones you've lost, but smile at how much joy they brought to your life.

I hope you all get what you are wishing for this Christmas, whether it be snow (ahem, me) and iPad (me again) or a closet full of designer bags and shoes (that would be me, too). 

Peace, love, and happiness to you and your family!  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Am A Rockstar

Hotpants over at Handbags and Handguns has confirmed my status with this

Y'all, I am super excited!  First of all, two things that are completely awesome and totally go together... handbags and handguns.  Right up my alley, as I'm sure you've noticed from previous posts.  Second, Hotpants and I both want to be BFFs with Britney Spears.  And now, this goddess of celebrity gossip thinks I am a rockstar.  My day can't get any better.  Thank you Hotpants!!!  Oh yeah, and y'all check her out because she is awesome and always has the best celeb dirt.

So what else makes me a rockstar?  Let me give you an example.  See this?

This is a Mini

Yep, that is what I rocked fireside at a party last weekend.  But did I drink out of the bottle?  Hell to the No.  Well, yes and no.  I had a super festive Christmas straw in the bottle.  Yep, bubbly out of a straw.  Rockstar status once again confirmed.

And you know what else?  This.
Duke last year when we had snow.

Gratuitous picture of my sweet baby puppy badass dog.  Booyah.  Rockstar. 

So, I still haven't wrapped any presents yet.  I'm still trying to bribe someone who knows what they are doing into doing it for me.  Hint HINT, Jax.  Besides, my leetle one was ailing last night.  He had a slight fever.  He is fine today, thankfully. 

Three more days till Christmas!  Am I the only one who is counting down like a 5 year old?  Please tell me no!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

And The Shining Stones Winner Is...

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway!  I sincerely wish that I had enough dough in the bank that I could give each and every one of you a gift certificate to Shining Stones.  Actually, I wish I had enough to give you all a Benz or a Louis Vuitton purse or a trip to Australia because that would mean that I was like Oprah... mega-rich with my very own talk show.  Alas, it is just me and my leetle ole blog.  BUT I can still give you Shining Stones, y'all!  So, want to know who won?

Since there were some who did not leave separate comments, I decided to just put all of your names in a shoe with the correct number of entries and draw one instead of using  And the winner is......

Jenny from Life After Yes!

Yay, Jenny!  I will contact you soon to give you the details on how you can redeem your gift certificate. 

I would also like to give a big thanks to Ellie.  She has been so wonderfully easy to work with and she makes gorgeous jewelry.  I sincerely hope that you will all check out her shop.

Hopefully, you have all gotten your shopping done!  I am almost through.  Now for the wrapping.  Ugh.  My most dreaded task.  I will be spending my evening under piles of shiny paper and curly-Q ribbon.  If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I implore you to please send help.  In the event that I survive, there might be pictures tomorrow.  I can't promise that it will be pretty!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Things I Must Have at Work

I love these things and must have them  If one of these items is missing from my day, I totally can't function.

1.  Lip Gloss.  I love it.  I need it.  It gets me through the day because even though I'm at work I can feel pretty. 
Burt's Bees Lip Balm, MAC (Plus Luxe), Cover Girl Fruit Spritzers (Raspberry Splash)

2.  Hand Sanitizer.  Because, duh.

3.  Gum.  Doesn't really matter what kind, but clearly I prefer these little Ice Breakers Ice Cubes things.
Ice Breakers Ice Cubes (Wintergreen Splash and Mango Kiwi Cooler)

4.  Aveeno Hand Lotion.  Anytime I have to deal with lots of paperwork it makes my hands feel gross.  This makes them all better.

5.  I would really love to drink coffee all day, but I think our office coffee pot is gross.  So I drink green tea instead.  AND I found this awesome Candy Cane green tea.  It is pretty good and definitely festive!
Celestial Seasonings (Candy Cane Lane) and Lipton Green Tea

Are you bored to tears yet?  This is right up there with those "what's in your purse" games.  Blah.  Sorry people, but there is a lesson to be learned here.  Sometimes life, much like this post, sucks.  You have to take the good with the bad, right?

Hopefully, overall you find good.  In your life and in my blog. 

And, as if you could forget, we have a giveaway going on!  A $35 gift certificate to Shining Stones!!!  There is a gorgeous Smoky Swarovski Crystal ring that I will be purchasing as a Christmas gift to myself right after Christmas.  I can't wait! 

There are not too many entries right now, and I'm sure y'all would like to keep it that way because it increases your odds of winning, right?  Well, from now until I draw on Monday, any new follower who names you as the one who pointed them in my direction will gain YOU an extra entry. 

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Court Is Now In Session

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,

Before I plead my case, let me tell you that I am a fine, upstanding member of society.  Anything you may or may not hear from the defendant is total bullshit... erm, maybe.

I come to you today to ask that you find my husband, Jax, GUILTY.  Today I will prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that he deserves to be punished severely.  And for what, you may ask?  He read my journal. 

I choose to call it a journal because diary sounds so, I don't know, high school or something.  The fact is, I wrote in this in my "wilder" days simply because I was having so much fun that I thought it would make a good book.  Or a movie.  Starring Reese Witherspoon Lindsay Lohan Jennifer Aniston as AJ.  Or something like that.  I hadn't really given it much thought.

I have suffered MENTAL ANGUISH.  Also known as SEVERE EMBARASSMENT.  Because ooohhhhhhh the stories that journal holds.  I will not repeat them because as I already told you, I am a fine, upstanding member of society.  Although, if I did find something particularly entertaining I might be bribed into releasing it.

But it is Jax who is on trial here, not me!  So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what say you?  I would like a verdict.  And if found guilty, a recommendation for a suitable punishment.  Please and thank you.

*If he had access to argue his case, he might mention that I left it in the file cabinet where any doofus could find it.  And there isn't a lock.  And it is damn hilarious.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here We Come A-Wassailing!

This is going to be chock-full of good information, so be sure to pay close attention.

Philosopher, I am not.  Now, PhilosophIZER, that's more up my alley.  (BTW, I didn't know that was a real word, I thought Derek Zoolander made it up.  Whatevs.)  Anyway, see if you can follow this A+B=C philosophizing.

1.  To Wassail means To Carol
2.  Wassail is also an Alcohol Treat

So, it stands to reason that the carol "Here We Go A-Wassailling" is ambiguous, correct?  Here is the proof:

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand'ring
So fair to be seen.

Carolling?  Drinking?  From reading those lyrics I think possibly both.  So I say, let's all get our Wassail on!  Woot Woot!  And in case you were curious, here is a recipe for Wassail courtesy of Alton Brown (the first recipe I found was from the Pagan/Wiccan site, thought that was interesting).  Skip all of the purple if you don't care.

  • 6 small Fuji apples, cored
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 72 ounces ale
  • 750 ml Madeira
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2-inches long
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmed
  • 6 large eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the apples into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Spoon the brown sugar into the center of each apple, dividing the sugar evenly among them. Pour the water into the bottom of the dish and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.  Pour the ale and Madeira into a large slow cooker. Put the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon into a small muslin bag or cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine, and add to the slow cooker along with the ginger and nutmeg. Set the slow cooker to medium heat and bring the mixture to at least 120 degrees F. Do not boil.  Add the egg whites to a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Put the egg yolks into a separate bowl and beat until lightened in color and frothy, approximately 2 minutes. Add the egg whites to the yolks and using the hand mixer, beat, just until combined. Slowly add 4 to 6 ounces of the alcohol mixture from the slow cooker to the egg mixture, beating with the hand mixer on low speed. Return this mixture to the slow cooker and whisk to combine.  Add the apples and the liquid from the baking dish to the wassail and stir to combine. Ladle into cups and serve.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to Wassail my ass off for Christmas celebrations!  Is that wrong?  And I use the term "Wassail" in the "drinking" sense because I can honestly tell you that I won't be trying this recipe.  Mainly because I don't feel like going through the hassle when I can just open a bottle of wine. 

Have I cluttered your brain with enough mindless drivel for one day?  Awesome.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway below if you haven't yet!  And because I've been so ridiculous today, I will leave you with this:
How cute are those leetle red shoes on my sweet boy?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shining Stones Giveaway!

Before we get to the good part, there are a few things you should know:

1.  Apparently, Jax thought I was making oatmeal for the reindeer, hence the need for water.  Even more awesome, my Mama said they would "shit gold logs."  I love you, Mama.

2.  I'm an attention whore.

3.  I completely adore Shining Stones- which I found on SITS, ohbytheway.

Shining Stones is an Etsy shop owned by Ellie.  Not only is this chick talented, but she is SO super sweet.  And since I adore every single last one of you too even though I may or may not know you I'm going to give one of you $35 to spend at Shining Stones!  Yep, that was one sentence.  So, just in case it got lost somewhere in there...

One of you lucky people is going to win a $35 gift certificate to Shining Stones!

When I ordered from Ellie, I realized that this would be perfect for a giveaway.  And since we know that I'm an attention whore (please see #2), I made it happen.  Booyah.  Anyone following my logic?  Let me explain.

You can enter my giveaway by doing one or all of the following (please leave a separate comment for each entry):

1.  Become a follower.  If you are already a follower, then just leaving me a comment.
2.  Follow me on Twitter, @ajakz, and tweet me.
3.  Tweet about my giveaway and tag me in it.
4.  Mention and provide a link to the giveaway on your blog.

Easy Peasy!  I feel like Santa Claus!!! 
*Winner will be drawn on December 20th.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reindeer Food

Let me see if I can correctly remember this conversation...

Me:  Little J and I are going to make Reindeer Food on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa's reindeer!

Jax:  What is Reindeer Food?  What do you mean?

Me:  It is oatmeal and gold glitter.

Jax:  Reindeer can't eat glitter.

Me:  No, the glitter shines and shows them how to get to our house.  Then they eat the oatmeal while Santa is leaving toys.

Jax:  Wait, so do you add water?

Me:  Ummm, no.  Why would we add water?

Jax:  So, what do you do, put it in baggies?  Is it real glitter?  What are you talking about?

Me:  We are going to put it in baggies for him to give to his friends, but we are also going to put it in our yard.  And yes it is REAL glitter!  And oatmeal!  For the reindeer to eat!

Jax:  If I see you come home with a big box of oatmeal I'm going to hide it from you until after Christmas.

Scrooge.  Whatevs, we are totally doing it anyway. 

Reindeerz gotta EAT, y'all.

I just realized that Christmas is like two weeks away.  And I still have the majority of my shopping to do.  Including ONLINE shopping.  Oh my, this is so not like me. 

HALP!  HALP!  PANIC!  CHAOS!  Good Lawd, I'm going to need a Valium to make it through the next two weeks.  Especially if I keep having conversations like that with my husband.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

You Might Be a Redneck If

You get your Concealed Weapons Permit while you are 5 months pregnant.  Yep, I did that.  But I don't think I'm a redneck, just an overachiever.

So, why a CWP?  Just because.  I don't know that I'll ever actually carry a gun anywhere.  Maybe it is just the knowing that I could. 

Or maybe it was more of a defense thing for me.  I wanted to be confident in shooting, like if anyone ever broke into my house or anything.  Which, by the way, if they did they have about a 70% chance of being shot if they stand absolutely still.  So I'm not a sharp shooter.  Meh.

Actually, the more I think about it, maybe it is best that I leave all firearms at home.  I would be considerably more dangerous with a weapon on the road.  Just the other day I threatened to bust some guys windshield because he cut me off and almost hit me. 

Long Commute = Serious Case of the Road Rage

Well, at least in my case it does.  Thank God for my homemade Glee soundtrack.  I can just turn it up, belt out a few tunes, and my troubles melt away  ::sigh::    Because who doesn't feel better when they hear Lea Michelle and Chris Colfer sing "Get Happy," a la Judy Garland?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Got The Funk

I've been struggling with what to write today.  I was going to talk about how super cold it is- 16 degrees when I left my house this morning.  Mainly because I'm too cranky to write about anything awesome. 

I haven't felt very Christmasy this year.  We put our tree up late.  Little J has been fighting some kind of cold/junky cough/crud since Thanksgiving.  Jax and I had not been able to catch a moment to sit down and figure out where we are going and when and what we are doing for Christmas (past tense because we actually made some time last night while cooking dinner).  My Christmas dishes are still put up in the pantry.  I haven't been shopping.

I guess in a way it is the usual Christmas hustle and bustle, but it has left me in quite a funk.  To say the least.

Then I read Blair's post today.  Y'all, it almost made me cry.  I highly suggest you read it if you have been in a funk like I am.  It was one hell of a wake up call.

I have warm clothes and a cozy house to come home to. 
I have an amazing family to share the holidays with. 
I have the money to pay my bills and put food on the table
and still buy nice gifts for the people I love.

I wish I could say that I would be so generous and thoughtful as she was.  More than likely, I would not.  Not because I wouldn't want to, but just because it would be too easy to ignore.  To be scared.  To come up with some excuse as to why it was probably a bad idea.  And it makes me sad.

But as much as it saddens me that my reaction would probably be the norm, it gives me hope.  With all of the drivers with road rage, angry shoppers, thiefs, and other bad things that come along with the holidays, there are people out there who still do good for others.  These people get it.

It isn't about trees or snow or sparkly lights.  It is about giving- and not necessarily Christmas presents.  It is about remembering why we celebrate this holiday.  It is inspiring.

Starting right now, I'm going to do my best to put all of my petty crap aside and enjoy this time.  I'm going to get out of my Christmas funk and get into the Christmas spirit*.  I'm going to enjoy it, and maybe do something nice for someone else.

*I totally feel like now would be the perfect time to break out the pom poms.   I mean, I did say SPIRIT!  But I'll spare you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Stockings Were Hung

... on the deer antlers with care.  'Cause that's how we roll.  Seriously.  We are still remodeling and don't actually have a mantel yet, so deer antlers it is.  And here is our beautiful tree.  You can kind of see one of the deer hidden behind it.

Please excuse the decoration chaos/explosion/mess going on.

This weekend was really nice.  I got off work early on Friday, spent Saturday doing some cleaning and then went to our town Christmas party that night.  Mama and Daddy kept Little J, which means that not only did Jax and I get to sleep in on Sunday, but we had dinner prepared Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning.  Perfection (thanks Mama).

Sunday was just fantastically relaxing.  There is nothing better than snuggling up with my little boy by the Christmas tree and watching a movie.  Have y'all seen Enchanted?  So stinkin' cute.  I love it.  Unfortunately, Little J is one of those people who wants to chit chat through the whole movie, or sleep. 

So sleepy, but completely fascinated by the tv.

He doesn't really care to be rocked, which is usually a good thing since it means he goes down for naps and bed at night really well.  So having him fall asleep in my arms on Sunday was wonderful.  Everything was all warm and snuggly and bunny rabbits and ice cream cones- or wine, whichever you prefer.  And y'all know me, I prefer wine.

Oh, and speaking of being lazy relaxing, Couch 2 5K got put on hold when I was sick a couple of weeks ago.  I have yet to resume.  Is it crazy to think that I'm going to start this before the end of the year and be successful?  I mean, most people just make it their New Years Resolution and then fail.  Why am I determined to get my fail on during the most wonderful time of the year?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Social Misfit

Good Lord, I haven't posted anything since Monday?  I feel like I've been at work for a month, so I'm not sure why I have neglected y'all.  Oops, sorry!  I promise that I'm going to make it up to you VERY soon, though.  Hint:  I have a nice little Christmas present for one very lucky reader.

So... I have a confession to make.  If you know me in real life, then you already know this to be true.  I am horribly unfunny.  And awkward.  A social misfit, if you will. 

I'm not good at meeting people or interacting with people I don't know.  It is almost an out of body experience.  I can feel my voice getting higher.  It is almost as if I channel some sort of odd Valley Girl/Teenager/Stand Up Comedian Who Isn't At All Funny.

No lie.  The funny thing is that I know I'm doing it and just can't stop myself.  Or I will tweet something or post something on Facebook- usually these occur after a glass of wine or two- and totally regret it in the morning.

Sorry y'all.  I'll never be the cool kid in school.  I'm not outgoing.  I don't like being in a room full of people I don't know.  It makes me feel sick.  Upon graduating high school, a girl in one of my classes told me that she always thought I was snotty because I didn't talk to anyone.  It took her four years to realize that I was actually a nice (totally cool and fun) person.  Ah, the drama.

But there is a lesson to learn here.  If you are a social misfit, like me, one day you will find someone who appreciates your quirkiness.  Someone will laugh with you, not just AT you.  Although, in my case, they are usually laughing AT me, too.  No biggie.  One day someone will get it.

This post is perfect.  It is awkward, just like me.  And if you would like more of my random awkwardness, don't forget to check me out on Twitter (@ajakz)!  It is live, in your face, action 24/7.  Okay, not really that cool, but whatevs.

Tomorrow is FRIDAY!  Can I get a "hells yeah" for the weekend?
*And don't forget to check back soon for my first giveaway!!!