Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekending.

On Friday, Donny left for a few days in Texas, so I had the weekend all to myself.  A few months ago, I bought season tickets to this year's Broadway Lights series in Charlotte.  I ordinarily go by myself, but I bought my dad a ticket to come to see American in Paris with me for Christmas.  So, we had a lovely father-daughter date night on Friday night!

We started out with a delicious dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery in uptown Charlotte before going to the theater.
The show itself was wonderful.  George Gershwin is my favorite modern composer, so the music was my favorite part!
It was a very late night, so I slept in on Saturday morning for a while.  I spent the day reading, relaxing, watching the Patriots win, and a good portion of the day doing the fun task of organizing my photos and backing them up.  It's one of those tasks that keeps getting put off and put off then you realize it's out of control.  So, it took much longer than it should have.  To keep myself occupied during this process, I binge watched Sherlock!  I just started watching it in the last few weeks and have absolutely LOVED it!  I caught up with all the episodes just in time to watch the finale on Sunday night.  
I also made a delicious Asian salad for lunch.  I don't love lettuce, so this was a great way to eat a bowful of colorful vegetables!  The dressing is still a work in progress, but I'll post it once it's ready to share.
Saturday was also spent blowing my nose constantly.  Donny got a cold this past week, so of course my turn was coming.  Thanks to my essential oils though, it's not been too bad.  Just a bit annoying.

Sunday was the first time I've been back to church for worship since before Christmas!  With the holidays and the snow last weekend, we haven't been there on a Sunday.  But yesterday was a great  (delayed) start to our new year.  Our class started a series on prayer, and I think it's going to be great.  Prayer is definitely a spiritual discipline I need to grow, so I'm looking forward to these lessons.

Sunday evening was spent finishing up Sherlock before the finale and monitoring the weather in Texas where Donny was.  I hate thunderstorms, and they're even worse in Texas than they are here.  A few tornadoes touched down less than thirty minutes from where he was.  He wasn't worried about the storms at all, but I was a bit stressed on his behalf... 
Round One... and Round Two an hour later...

I have mixed feelings about the Sherlock finale-- it started out very, very dark with the psychological "games," but I loved the way it wrapped up and ended.  What I did not have mixed feelings about was Victoria.  It was really great and definitely fills the gap left by Downton Abbey and The Crown.

Overall, a nice relaxing weekend.  Today I'm back at the office to begin my first five-day work week in a month.  But it promises to be a busy week with lots going on, so hopefully it'll fly by until Donny is home in a few days.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 in Review.

2017 was a roller coaster of a year.  Some of the most fun times of my life and the darkest days of my life all occurred in 2016.  The year started off great ringing in the New Year with my wonderful husband!

It wasn't long until we had our big snow of the year in January, and it was beautiful.  I love snow!
We had some amazing times with our friends and our Bible Fellowship class this year.  Donny and I are now co-leaders and co-teachers of the class, which has been incredibly challenging but very rewarding.   
We FINALLY got a new kitchen faucet, and I was more excited about it than was reasonable.  I absolutely hated the old one, and this one is tall and movable and just made me so happy.  The fact that it's a highlight of my year on this blog tells you the extent of my feelings about it.
In March, some friends and our moms went to the Abundance conference in Asheville, and it was a great weekend.  We heard from Lisa Harper, Lysa TerKeurst, Annie Downs, and more.  It was also my first time eating at Biscuit Head (more on that later...).
2016 was the year of the cookie.  What started as a random urge to bake during Christmas 2015 became a fun side-business in 2016.
Drew and Morgan came for a visit in early April, and it was the first time that the whole family had been together in years.  So fun!
Not long after they came, Donny and I left for a visit to Texas.  We saw lots of family and friends, and even went down to Waco and Magnolia for a day!  
My Nana had two strokes this year, and although she has recovered well both times, things have definitely changed for her.  And therefore, for Dad and for all of us, as we try to help her stay at home.
My other grandmother was diagnosed with a type of myeloma, which was a bit of a scare, but it's being treated very well right now with medication and minimal side effects.

In May, I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks gestation, which was absolutely the most difficult thing I've ever endured, both physically and emotionally.  I'm so thankful for the wonderful friends that God had brought into my life in the previous years through our church, several of whom had also experienced miscarriages. There is no doubt that God brought all of us together to support each other. Donny and my parents were also wonderfully supportive, and I'm blessed to have them.

Funnily enough, Donny's college graduation was the very next day after we spent the night in the emergency room.  Despite our sadness, I was so happy and proud to watch Donny walk across that stage after he's worked so hard all these years.

2016 was also the year of the Emily weddings.  My good friend and former maid of honor Emily got married in Galveston in a beautiful and fun ceremony.  
And my current assistant/right hand and wonderful friend Emily got married in July.  I did the makeup for both brides and Donny and I photographed both weddings!

We celebrated Donny's birthday in August and saw my favorite tennis player, Richard Gasquet, when the ATP tour came to our town.
In case you can't tell, it was SWELTERING that day.

On Labor Day weekend, Donny took me to the beach that Sunday after church for a last minute visit. There's nothing more healing to me than sitting by the beach with my book and watching the sun rise. I wouldn't have gone, except Donny made me be spontaneous.  He's pretty good like that.  :)

I also went hiking for the first time this year!  Donny has really gotten into hiking and camping, etc., so I decided one weekend that I would go with him.  We got up early one Saturday in September and drove to Stone Mountain in NC.  It was harder than I thought, but so much fun.  

In October, I went with my parents to visit my brother in Los Angeles.  The traffic was HORRENDOUS, but otherwise it was a great trip.  The beaches were beautiful, the food was amazing, and now I get to say, "I've been there!" during lots of movies/tv scenes.  :)

In November, Donny and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary in Asheville.  We went to the New Belgium and Sierra Nevada breweries on Friday night then went hiking in the Dupont National Forest the following Saturday.  It was beautiful and full of waterfalls!
After hiking, we absolutely deserved lunch at Biscuit Head, aka the best biscuit place in the world.  This picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice.  If you're in Asheville anytime before 2pm in the day, do yourself a favor and stop here!

Again in December, Donny and I decided to be spontaneous and went to New York City for a whirlwind 36 hours.  We'd both been wanting to go and see the city decorated for Christmas.  It was absolutely beautiful, and we had a fantastic time.
This was as close as I got to seeing Hamilton...
My brother came home for Christmas this year, and it was great to all be together again for the holiday. 
Also this year, I bought season tickets to the broadway series in Charlotte.  So far, I've seen Cabaret and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.  My dad and I are going to see An American in Paris this coming Friday, and will many more shows to come this spring and summer!  
And finally, I read more books this year than ever-- 101!  You can read all about my favorite ones of the year here.

A wild adventure of a year, for sure.  But time and time again, God showed me his faithfulness and goodness.  I can't wait to see what 2017 brings!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Golden Globes Wrap-Up.

I am generally not a celebrity person.  I don't read People Magazine or Us Weekly or really care about  their lives in general.  But I DO love awards shows!  So I was very excited to watch the Golden Globes this year, as always.   

However, what I learned is that I need to watch more movies.  I have not seen many of the nominees!   I need to see Florence Foster Jenkins, Moonlight, and Edge of Seventeen ASAP.  Jackie will be at our indie movie theater at the end of the month, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

I did watch Manchester by the Sea and La La Land.  Manchester by the Sea was very good, but very sad.  It just wasn't my favorite kind of movie.  But I absolutely LOVED La La Land.  So I was thrilled that it racked up last night.  And of course, two of my favorites-- Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (can we talk for a second about how perfectly coordinated her dress is for both her movie and the award show??).

On the TV side, I was also thrilled that The Crown got some love with Best Drama and Best Leading Actress.  Claire Foy is truly remarkable as Queen Elizabeth II.  My brother tells me I need to watch Westworld, but I just can't get into it.

Apparently the fashion trend this year involve sleek ponytails, metallic or sheer dresses, and lots of cleavage and side-boob.  I saw more of Emily Ratajkowski, Mandy Moore, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Chastain than I ever needed to....

Also, did anyone not tell Natalie Portman that she didn't have to dress like her character, Jackie Kennedy, to come to the Golden Globes?

I have no idea what Nicole Kidman and Drew Barrymore were thinking with these...

And I know I'm in the minority here, but I hated Viola Davis and Kerry Washington's dresses.  Actually, Viola's would have been great if it were a different color.  But the yellow just looks like a giant banana.  And I don't understand Kerry's dress at all.  It's a weird length and has a bizarre mini-sash across the middle and odd brooches.  I don't get it at all.

On the other hand, the TV stars of NBC stars were smoking hot!  Sterling K. Brown and his wife Ryan Michelle Bathe were my favorite couple of the night.  Kristen Bell definitely amped up the glam and looked amazing.  And Milo was smoldering in his navy tux.

But my favorite dresses of the night were Naomie Harris, Giuliana Rancic, and Janelle Monae.  All were beautiful, feminine, and unique.  Gorgeous!

All in all, a fun night as always.  Now I just need to get to watching some movies before the Oscars roll around!
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