Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thank GOD I fixed it

Here are my before and after shots. I'll let the pictures speak for them- selves because there's quite a difference. I'm sooo glad I got the highlights, but the cut is the best part of the whole thing.
I looked like hell before. Why didn't ya'll tell me I looked that bad?!? Sheesh! :-)

Sorry if the layout of this post is off kilter ... I'm not so good at putting photos side-by-side!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dishwater blond

When I was little I had the most beautiful light blond hair a girl could ask for. During the summer months it turned almost white, it was so light. When I hit third or fourth grade my hair started getting a bit darker, and the rest is history.

Now I'm lookin' at a head full of what my mother affectionately calls "dishwater blond" hair, and it's not at all attractive. It's brownish-blondish-reddish, and something really needs be done.

So, tomorrow I'm heading to my stylist and handing over my hair - highlights and a cut are in order. I don't care what she does - as long as I walk out of the salon looking at least a little better than when I walked in.

I'll post before and after shots and let you, my critical audiences, decide if I've made a mistake!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Editor gets holiday off

Working at a newspaper pretty much means you work doctors' hours but earn a journalist's paycheck. To break it down: We're at the office at all kinds of ungodly hours and the pay, well ... it's nowhere close to a physician's salary.

But I love my job, and I love journalism so that's the reason I'm in this field - despite rarely getting holidays off so that our loyal readers get their papers on Christmas morning, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, etc.

But wait!

This year I've got July Fourth off! It's a minor miracle, considering this is the first Independence Day I've not had to work since graduating from college in 2000. That's five years ... FIVE YEARS of seeing fireworks in vivid photos plastered across section fronts, as opposed to in living color down by the river with the rest of America.

I'm a sucker for fireworks, professional and, er ... not so professional.

In college, my roommates and I had a couple near-encounters with the police due to shooting off fireworks in a state where that's a big no-no. Couple the illegality with the fact that we were in South Georgia, and we were lookin' at jail time if we got caught, which we didn't. (Not because we were discreet in our fireworks antics, by any means!)

I once set a bush on fire beside our house thanks to a rocket that, instead of shooting straight into the air like it was supposed to do, it went up and took a sharp turn to the left straight into the hedges. The fire was out by the time the police got there, and all was cool.

This year I won't be shooting off fireworks at my house (I'll leave that to the college kids next door), but I will be at any fireworks display I can find.

I may sound like a little kid, but I don't care. Bring on the fireworks!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

4-letter word

There are several choice words that contain four letters that I tend to utter on a regular basis lately, but for the past week or so I've been hung up on one ... and it's not really a word, per se ...


Yes, four little letters that are really getting on my nerves. Why is it so hard for invitees to "repondez, s'il vous plait"? It's not like I'm asking in a foreign language!

But seriously ... More than three weeks ago I mailed out invitations to a bridal shower I'm hosting a week from today. There were 22 invitations sent, and so far I've only heard back from four people - one of which isn't going to attend. And there are two ladies who are "iffy" according to the bride's mother (whose home the shower will be at).

I've got to order a cake, buy groceries and try to figure out how much of what to cook. Then there's favors and prizes for games.

The really bizarre thing about this shower is that I don't know any of the guests except the bride, her mother, grandmother and an aunt. The rest are a mystery, which makes getting in touch with these folks all the more difficult. And a bit irritating, considering they were the ones asked to RSVP, dammit.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Have a picture

Last night was Jim's birthday, so I'm really not feeling much like blogging today ... it was a fun time, though!

So, enjoy this picture of my crazy cat. I think she's finally getting used to the camera. She just ignores it now.

Here's to the weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flip-flops aren't for touring

Yesterday morning I had no idea what I would be doing for the day. It was between lounging by the pool or heading out with Jim to some unknown destination armed with his new fancy-shmancy camera, which I covet.

I chose the latter, and we were off, driving around Chattanooga with no clear destination in mind. Eventually, the roads led to St. Elmo thanks to a question about Mojo Burrito. A few minutes later, lo and behold, we were at the foot of Lookout Mountain right in front of the Incline Railway, which transports folks up and down the (very, very steep) mountainside in a railcar.

I've lived in Chattanooga now for about 2.5 years, and I've done a lot of the cool touristy things our beautiful town has to offer. But I'd never ridden the Incline - and that's probably because there are perfectly good roads that lead up to the top of the mountain - why plop yourself on a railcar that goes backwards up the 72-degree angle that is Lookout Mountain? From what I've heard, it's for the fun of it! And it was exciting - fun, not so much, but it was quite interesting.

Once we got to the top of Lookout, we walked over to Point Park. Civil War history is practically every where in Chattanooga and our area, and Point Park was no different. The Battle Above the Clouds was fought up there, and Gen. Ulyssess S. Grant once stood atop the mountain looking down on a massive army ready to take him and his troops out.

There are cannons pointing out over the city where you can see for miles and miles. Yesterday it was very hazy, so our view was hampered. But it was breath-taking nonetheless.

We walked throughout the park, and it wasn't until two good-sized blisters had formed between my toes that I realized flip-flops really aren't the best choice of footwear for walking up and down a mountainside area. But, the park was gorgeous and the homes atop Lookout are absolutely beautiful old houses with stunning landscapes. It was worth a couple blisters.

After marveling at the scenery for a while and taking some pictures of a few wildflowers here and there, we headed back to the Incline station and hopped on the railcar to make the trip down the 1 mile side of the mountain to our car to head home.

They don't call Chattanooga the "Scenic City" for nothing, and I'm slowly finding all the beautiful reasons it got that name.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

See Rock City

Well, I didn't get to "See Rock City" today, but I did get a full dose of Chattanooga tourism, anyway.

At this very moment I'm pretty tired, so I don't know that I'll be blogging all about it tonight.

But there are pictures and stories to come about my adventures on the Incline Railway, atop Lookout Mountain, scenic overlooks, Civil War history and a few wildflowers sprinkled in for good measure.

Until then, enjoy this picture of someone's birdhouse on Lookout Mountain. I thought it was cute.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Adventures in shopping

I'm a natural shoppaholic - it's in the genes, thanks to my mother - who taught me everything I know about the ins and outs of finding a good deal. (Thanks, Mom!!)

It doesn't matter what I'm looking for, just point me to the mall, boutique, warehouse, etc., and I'm good.

Today I got the chance to help spend someone else's money - which is really my favorite kind of shopping since it doesn't affect my measly checkbook. Jim's mother (who rocks) is footing the bill for a new sofa for his birthday. Anything he wants, all Jim has to do is pick it out. Nice, eh?

So, Jim and I took the afternoon and headed to a handful of furniture stores in town. There's so much to choose from, but I've become a fan of the soft microsuede fabrics - especially in R-E-D! I mean, why not?!?

After scoffing at first, I think I have almost sold Jim on the fantastically bold statement that would do an amazing job of brightening up his livingroom. But there's only one tiny problem ... now I want one!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Credit card chaos

With all this talk about people tapping into credit card companies' computer systems, identity theft and other scary issues tied to having credit cards, I think I've decided to get rid of mine. I've got too many as it is, and a couple don't carry a balance anyway.

A couple months ago I had a bit of a scare when my alma mater's database was broken into by a hacker, who may or may not have accessed thousands of students' and former students' Social Security numbers and credit card information. Putting a fraud alert on my credit report pretty much weirded me out enough to get rid of my cards right then and there. But nothing came of the situation in regards to my personal information being violated, so I decided I may have been over-reacting.

But last week, the story broke that 40 million - yes 40 million - MasterCard numbers were accessed by hackers somewhere somehow. That was enough to send me over the edge.

So, tomorrow, I'm heading down to my credit union, taking out a loan to pay off my cards and closing the accounts. I've heard too many horror stories to validate the risk involved in having the "security" of quick money.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Quick cool story

It's amazing how things tend to come together when you least expect it. That's exactly what happened this afternoon at work.

I was telling a co-worker about my adventures cleaning a rental home owned by Jim's mother this past Wednesday. To say the very least, this place was a dump. And the couple had left behind pretty much all of their possessions. After getting the go-ahead to haul their things off, Jim and I went into the house and started sifting through all the junk - only to find a few items that were actually worth something.

Jim is now the proud owner of a new TV, and I've got an all-in-one printer, copier, scanner. We also found a brand-new car CD player, which Jim took home.

Fast-forward to this afternoon at the office. I was telling a friend about the house and how Jim and I had found some things that we actually could use. She jokingly asked, "Did they leave a car CD player?!?" Apparently, last night her car was broken into, and the jerks stole her stereo.

Her eyes nearly popped out of her head when I said, "YES!!!"

I just love it when these things happen. I hate it that her car was broken into, but it's always nice to have a somewhat happy ending when you think you're completely screwed.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I tried ...

In an effort to throw a stunning bridal shower complete with cute little hor'dourves, I made an attempt at mini quiche thingies tonight.

As with any new recipe, I tried it out before the big day so as not to:
a) Offer guests something truly nasty for their dining (dis)pleasure
b) Forget key ingredients the day of the affair
c) Poison someone besides myself

I took the recipe from an online cooking site. It sounded good with ingredients including cheddar, dill, eggs, etc... and I added some bacon just to mix things up a bit.

They turned out all right, but not good enough to serve a bunch of hungry women who've just gotten out of church. Sooo, it's back to plan B, which I haven't figured out yet.

So, if you've got a never-fail recipe or idea for a finger food, feel free to let me know.

So far all that's on my little menu is finger sandwiches, a cheeseball, strawberries dipped in chocolate, and a veggie platter. Oh and CAKE - my personal favorite! I think I might need something else, but I just don't know what.

This is why I'm not a caterer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Feelin' fantastically fat

Ever have one of those days where you feel just plain fat and gross?!?

Well, today's my turn.

I don't want to go to work - I don't want to go anywhere for that matter.

But, alas, I'm off tomorrow. I think I may spend the better part of my day working out.

And then it's off to Riverbend!!! Cowboy Mouth, here I come! Woo!

Monday, June 13, 2005

I deserve china, crystal AND a new toaster, too!

In the last year or so I've purchased God knows how many items from various gift registries. Weddings, engagements and babies are worthy of gift giving, no doubt. And I'm always excited to see what people have selected for their new paths in life.

But damn! What about those of us who are approaching 30 with no wedding in site, and definitely no babies around the bend? Do we not deserve fine china? What about new towels? And my toaster is about shot - you'd think we'd deserve a new toaster. I'd love a new set of sheets. And I could use some new everyday dinnerware, while we're at it.

I think if anyone should be showered with gifts it's those of us who are single. If you think about it, we don't have combined incomes, so we have less money than those who are married.

AND we're stuck having to explain why we're not married yet, why we haven't had children yet and when, for the love of God, are we going to settle down.

If dealing with that kind of rapid-fire questioning isn't enough to warrant a present here and there, i don't know what is ...

And what about the family discounts we're missing out on? And then there's the coming home to an empty apartment every night. How sad is that?!?

So, think I should petition the department stores on behalf of all us single folks who deserve our own gift registries. I think it's only fair that we're treated to the finer things in life, too. I mean, geez, everyone needs a good can opener, right?!? :)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A few random items

* I've just knocked a 26-hour headache, and man do I feel like a new person! It hit yesterday right after I got off work - and last night was brutal. Nothing helped - I took Advil and drank tons of water all night long with no results. Turns out, all it took was a sour cream and chives baked potato from Wendy's ... who knew?!?

* One true bummer: After being so excited about my car's air conditioning working, it's gone out on me again. So now I'm sweating all the way to work. What gives?

* The Riverbend Festival is going on this week in Chattanooga. It's a weeklong music fest featuring a lot of bands I've never heard of and some I could live without, like Kid Rock, who played Friday night. Boyz II Men performed last night in the midst of my mega headache, so I opted out of braving the rain and crowds and missed the show. Wednesday, Cowboy Mouth is set to perform. I've heard they're excellent live, so I'm going. Other bands of note: Cheap Trick, Big & Rich, Trace Adkins and the Red Hot Poker Dots. I've never heard of the Red Hot Poker Dots, but I may just have to check them out based on the fact that I'm fascinated by their name and band description in the Riverbend brochure ... "They promise a night of hillbilly mahem with more honk, tonk and yodeling than grandma's shotgun wedding." Oh yeah!

Friday, June 10, 2005

I should be shot

I did something wicked today. I'm ashamed of my actions, so I feel I must confess that I went to Wal-Mart this afternoon.

My swift punishment came in the form of women stricken with that classic deer in headlights look wandering down endless aisles of "Roll Back" values. Screaming children and thousands of product choices only added to my frazzled state of mind.

Jim helped as we frantically decided between about 35 varieties of baked beans, hamburger buns and various other items for our cookout tomorrow. (My dad and stepmother are coming up from Rome for the afternoon - very exciting!)

About an hour later we emerged from the "We Sell For Less" spectacle feeling dirty and shameful. But, by God, we probably saved a dollar - maybe TWO!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Be careful what you wish for

Ask and you really shall receive. I've got the red skin to prove it.

It takes weeks, if not months, for me to build a tan most people get from a couple days of summer poolside leisure. And it takes only a couple of hours to turn my pale skin into flaming red radiance. And that's what I've got right now.

My back. My poor, poor back is giving off heat, and I'm convinced that if I were standing within close proximity of a snowman, he'd melt. In a heartbeat.

The back of my legs are throbbing. It hurts to sit down. My right ear is practically glowing (my left is is just fine ... that's what I get for not turning my head periodically).

And I deserve every minute of this pain. I am, in fact, 28 years old. I know my skin in all its white glory. I know that SPF 4 tanning oil is not only wishful thinking - it's nonsense for me to even consider starting out with less than SPF 15.

And yet this afternoon, something came over me. I decided that maybe, just maybe, over the course of the winter I'd acquired the skin of a beach babe. No such luck.

Instead, I'm that much closer to wrinkles. Oh joy.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

If only ...

I were sitting at this little outside bar In Grand Cayman with a bottle of Stingray at this very moment. Is that really too much to ask?

I don't think so.

I've had the last couple of days off and it's been wonderful, but all I can think about is the beach. Taking a vacation at this point is impossible because of work scheduling issues and lack of funds (two essential components to a successful vacation endeavor, apparently).

So, the best I can do is look through pictures and remind myself that next year I will bask in the Caribbean sun while sipping a rum runner in Jamaica or the Bahamas or someplace beautiful I've never gone before.

One special request to the Big Guy Upstairs: Since I can't take a tropical break this year, could you PLEASE make it stop raining so I can at least enjoy my pool?!? Thanks.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Some thoughts on air travel

Why I don't fly
* Because I am afraid of crashing to the ground at an ungodly rate of speed.
* Because I am petrified of heights.
* Because I can be a bit of a control freak.
* Because I don't think it's natural to have something that heavy practically floating through the air.
* Because I prefer to keep my feet on the ground and my butt behind the wheel of a car.
* Because I would have to be either very drunk or high on something to get on a plane, and airlines aren't cool with that, apparently. (Yes, I watch Airline on A&E.)
* Because I have bad luck. Isn't that enough?!?

Things I am aware of
* Flying is a safer way to travel than driving.
* Flying is way faster than driving.
* Airplanes don't merely "float" through the air, and the people who build them are very smart people who know what they're doing.
* If I don't fly, the chances of me ever getting to Europe or Japan or where ever the hell else I dream about are pretty slim.
* I am a wussy who needs to take a friggin' 100 step program to relieve my fear of flying.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Macy's, Mr. Clean and me

This weekend I managed to get Friday and Saturday nights off, which never happens unless I've requested those specific days. Which, it turns out I had.

It took me a while to figure out why I'd taken those two nights off, and then it hit me ... my 10-year high school class reunion was Saturday. I chose not to go, and instead had a very "Stacey" weekend. What could be better?!?

Friday I woke up early and headed down to Atlanta for some shopping. First up: Macy's.

I really, really, really wish Chattanooga had a Macy's. I spent over two hours in that store alone, and I think I could have stayed another hour at least.

But, my mission was to find Allison a gift for her bridal shower, so I headed over to the gift registry computer and printed out their requests. With the help of a super nice sales clerk, I found what I was looking for and made my purchase. After I had the gift wrapped I was ready to do some major shopping for myself.

There were sales everywhere - I was in heaven!! 50 percent off here, 25 percent off there, take an extra 15 percent off the already reduced price, etc. I must have tried on 20 outfits and God knows how many shoes, but it was loads of fun. Amid all the sales and craziness, I managed to pick up two shirts, a pair of jeans and a pair of trousers for next to nothing. I think I did well.

But after about seven hours of nonstop shopping, my feet were killing me (stupid me didn't wear appropriate shopping shoes). So, I found my car and hit the road back to Chattanooga, where I promptly sat down and didn't budge from my sofa all night.

Saturday was spent having lunch with my friend Angie, who was celebrating her birthday, and then heading over to Jim's house for some serious spring cleaning.

Curtains were taken down and washed, floors were swept and mopped, windows were cleaned, furniture was pulled out and vacuumed behind, knick-knacks were dusted and the bathrooms were transformed into spotless, gleaming porcelain havens.

We worked our butts off. The house looked incredible and it was time for dinner. So I drove home, showered and got ready to go out. We ended up at Fox and Hound where we had a couple drinks and dinner. Afterward, we headed back to my apartment where I made it almost all the way through Saturday Night Live and then crashed on my sofa.

It was a busy, tiring weekend, but I loved it!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Steppin' out, Steppin' back

Last night I got off work a little earlier than usual, so I met a few people out at Chattanooga's newest bar. I think the place was called Midtown.

The hip looking, plasma TV-filled bar was doing some serious business with the college crowd. Considering the campus borders lie only a few blocks away, it was to be expected. But what I didn't expect to see was the fashion choices some of these kids were making. It was like I was transported back to the sixties and seventies.

Don't get me wrong, they looked great, and I'm secretly jealous that there's no way I could pull of what these girls were doing. Cute little dresses, some with plunging necklines and bright colors, beaded tanktops and so forth were everywhere.

And when did college kids get so skinny? The group at this new place (at the risk of stereotyping) looked to be the sorority/fraternity crowd. The guys had their perfectly messy hair, and the girls were just plain perfect - supermodel thin and supermodel fashion-forward.

Back all those five years ago when I was still in college, the Greeks were a motley crew. The majority were a lot like the kids I saw last night, but there were the requisite chunky guys and gals ... even a few who were obviously way too chunky.

But today isn't everyone so much thinner? Or is it that I'm so much bigger?

On that note, I'm off to Atlanta for a day of shopping. Maybe I'll come home with some back-from-the-past fashions.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Gettin' glammed up

Mall makeup counters frighten me. Women in white lab jackets or black drapey smocks who wear lots of eye shadow make me want to run and hide. And the men who work those counters intimidate the hell out of me.

I've been a loyal Clinique and Estee Launder customer before - in college when I had money to blow (go figure), and I'd like to think I knew what I was doing when I applied my $15 mascara. Chances are I was just as clueless as I am now.

But with my friend's wedding a month away, I'm beginning to think I might need to at least make an attempt at learning the ins and outs of makeup application. I mean, my God, I've been in a makeup rut since high school - never changing my look - ever. I don't have a seperate "day" face from my "night" face. I just have a face ... and a plain one at that!

I've read a few magazine articles here and there, but none seem to address my issues ... dark circles, small eyes, white eyelashes, etc ... So, I'm thinking I may need to pay those glamour girls (and guys) at the mall a visit.

There are so many different makeup lines these days. I have no clue which counter to walk up to. Do I find the nicest looking person there, or do I go for someone who appears as though they could sympathize with my facial issues? Or do I take a huge leap of faith and go for the guy who knows more about makeup than I'll ever care to know?

I guess my biggest fear is that I'll walk out of Parisian with a tiny bag of makeup, $200 less in my checking account, and no clue as to how to fix my face. I'm also secretly afraid they'll tell me I've got no hope and send me on my way. At least then I'd be able to keep my money.