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reunited and it feels so good…

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Way back when I was in college, during a time when Facebook was new and reserved only for college kids, there was an option on the burgeoning social network to put in what classes you were taking. And like all the other cool kids, I put in my schedule. Shortly thereafter, I found myself with a handful of new adds from people I’d not yet met but who I’d be having class with that fall. It was actually a pretty clever function; we could set up study groups and such and communicate missed assignments. I remember noticing one girl in particular who added me and who I’d never seen around.

n156803730_30318231_7048 On my first day of PR Writing at JSU, I sat in the back. I saw a vaguely familiar head of hair sitting in front of me. I tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, but are you Kristin?” I asked. The beautiful girl nodded and smiled at me.

And the rest is friendship history!

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Kristin and I became fast friends, and as I remember it, that very first week, she invited me out to dinner and drinks with her friends. She was not only the most gorgeous girl I’d ever seen in real life, she was also super down-to-earth and funny. We spent many a late night drinking wine, eating cookie dough and laughing our asses off.

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We were study buddies, drinking partners, and karaoke queens. Kristin and I, along with my friends Kevin and Kaitie, became a very close-knit group within the communications department.

In 2007, Kristin moved to New York for a fabulous internship, and it was a big change that soon became semi-permanent. We kept in touch, and no matter how infrequent our conversations may have been, she was still one of my very best friends. I swore I’d come for a visit, but the money and time were never available.

The next year, Kristin moved home for a little while, and we were able to see each other a little more. But before I knew it, she’d found a new job and new place to call home: Washington, D.C. (Virginia, to be more correct). A lot closer, but still so far away. We continued to have sporadic visits as she returned home to see family, including a fantastic whirlwind trip last fall when we attended our alma mater’s homecoming festivities.

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This past March, I decided to check out flights on AirTran, on a whim. Kris had told me she’d been able to find reasonable tickets between two smaller airports, and I just had to see. As luck would have it, I found a round-trip ticket over Memorial Day weekend—for just under $150 total.

I bought it immediately.

So in less than 24 hours, I’ll be DC-bound and reunited with my BFF Kristin. We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a very long time, and I foresee a lot more wine and late-night chatting on the agenda.

And if we’re lucky, maybe a little karaoke.

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Take a few minutes to make a phone call to someone with whom you might have lost touch. I’m sure it’ll brighten both your days. I hope you all have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend—see ya on the flip side!

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happy weekend!

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Hello all! It’s been such a busy week, with work and volunteering and everything else. I’m packing up to head to Huntsville to visit my sister and my mom, and oh yeah—run my first official 5k since I injured my foot back in January. Wish me luck!

Also, for those of you in the Birmingham area: My friend Jason is partnering with Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc. to host the 2nd Annual National Food Blogger Bake Sale for the state of Alabama (there are participants from coast to coast). They’ll be offering up delicious treats baked up by area bloggers and local businesses like Urban Standard and Dreamcakes. (OMG, cupcakes!!!1!) Head down to Homewood near Urban Cookhouse (across from Trak Shak) to pick something up and support Share Our Strength, an organization devoted to ending childhood hunger in the U.S.

I’m contributing mint chocolate chip cookies! There was a moment where I freaked out when the mixture didn’t look quite right—it seems that the trouble with making up recipes is when you don’t really write it all down…you think you’ll remember, but alas, that’s not always the case. But a quick sample proved to be pretty darn good (in my humble opinion, that is).

If you’re not in the Birmingham area, check the main page to see if your state is on the list and find a bake sale near you! Whenever I think of bake sales, I’m transported back in time to when we used to fundraise for band trips and church trips, and also when I was so geeked out over 4-H that I entered (and sometimes won, holla) the cooking competition every year.

Check that sweet outfit!

Have a great weekend!

cinco de reago!

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Last Thursday, our friends gathered together to celebrate a very special holiday: Cinco de Reago!

Also known as the anniversary of the birthday of this lovely lady:

181528_588139029079_156801991_32791118_7421141_n Reagan requested angel food cake and strawberries for her birthday (“since it’s healthier than other options”), and I was more than happy to comply. After calling my mom for advice, she told me to just go with a box mix to simplify things; she assured me it would turn out delicious.

She told me I would need a specific type of pan, a tube pan. I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I decided to go with loaf pans. The directions seemed simple. Mix, pour, bake. Easy peasy right?

Sigh. Nothing is ever easy.

DSC09382 Looks can be slightly deceiving. While this may not look that bad, I had some problems. The cakes puffed up beautifully…and continued to puff up until they spilled over and onto the burners in my oven. And consequently caught on fire.

It was all good, though. I managed to get it under control.

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  Not so bad, eh? We’ll just ignore the metal tin of disappointment off to the side.

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Oops.

We headed out to Jim ‘N Nick’s for dinner, then to karaoke for drinks and entertainment. Some shots from the evening:

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Dresses with pockets rock!

April, where did you go?

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Sheesh, it was a busy, busy month. Let’s see…

I’ve been to three weddings:DSC09023 No good pictures of me from Tyler and Jennifer’s wedding, so here’s a good one of J and his college roommate, Matt. This was the 1st weekend in April.

Then two weeks after that, our friend Juliet said “I do,” too.

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Juliet and Mr. Juliet have their first dance.

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Me and Jonathan on the left, tasty treats on the right. I was so pleased with the food options! Tons of veggies and fruits (including sugar snap peas and blackberries!) and a delicious pasta salad.

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Me and Jonathan with the lady of the hour.

And the this past Saturday, a girlfriend of mine from high school got hitched at Noccalula Falls.

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We walked around the falls a bit and snapped some photos.

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The legend is that Indian maiden Noccalula was promised (in marriage) to member of another tribe. She was so in love with another and so distraught (and angsty) that she dove off the falls in protest.

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No worries, we kept both our feet on the ground.

The same day as the first wedding, Jonathan and I attended a cookout for my Uncle Phil.

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He’s in the Guard, and he is being deployed. In addition to giving him a swell sendoff, we also celebrated his birthday and his daughter’s. It was so nice to have the ENTIRE family in town.DSC09001DSC09012

My sister and I with good ol’ Mom.

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Left: Me and all the girls (pretty much the whole family) and then J and I, flanked by festive balloons.

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The grandest grandparents in all the land. Truth.

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Left: My Aunt Alice holding one of the grandbabies—doesn’t she just look like a little doll?

On the right: My Uncle Donnie, my granddad and my Aunt Dolores—siblings!

The second weekend of April, Jonathan and I joined a friend of his, Rachel, to visit another friend from college, Adam.

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We drove to Knoxville, TN, to hang out, stopping by Chattanooga to visit more friends on the way home.

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This sign tickled me. I felt like it was saying, “Horses: THIS MEANS YOU.” I wondered if they’d had problems with horses trying to get residents to pony up for candy bars and horse scout cookies.

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This was so amazing…I went on and on about it for a while. Probably too much. It’s a vegetarian muffuletta from Jason’s Deli (with a side of fruit). SO good.

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They’re so sweet.

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Beeeeeer. Beer as big as my head and as multitudinous as my fingers.

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After a fun night out with the college kids from UT, we headed south towards home and another pair of good friends.

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We met up with Brandon and Kristin (newly married this year) to have lunch in the super-cute arts district. From there, we walked over this scary glass pedestrian bridge:

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And THEN we walked over this massive bridge:

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Just so we could get some of this:

DSC09133 So…there’s most of my April, in a not-so-small nutshell. (Well, there was also a monster brunch on Easter last Sunday, but more on that later.) It was so jam-packed! I don’t think the next month will be nearly as full, but I have some fun things on the sched. What was the most fun thing you did this past month?

green me up, scotty.

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Ok, ok…that was cheesy. Let it slide? Just this one?

Great.

For St Patrick’s Day, my friends and I usually head towards Lakeview. And now that I live closer, I’m all about drinking at establishments that are walking distances of my dwelling. We started out at the Oasis, then made our way over to Moe’s Original BBQ for dinner (no meat for me, please) and then On Tap for our own personal last call.

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Chug, chug, chug!

Last year, I made Rachel’s awesome black-and-tan brownies to share with my buds. This year, I wanted something equally as festive but a little easier and slightly cheaper.

Enter mint chocolate chip cookies.

Delicious, easy, and the green food coloring makes them fit for any St Patty’s Day drinkfest. I started with this recipe, but I ended up changing it around because I didn’t want to buy a bag of cookie mix.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-1/4 c sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 c whole wheat flour, 2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint extract
  • optional: green food coloring
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c Andes mint baking pieces (or do what I did and chop up a mint chocolate bar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks butter

Combine your dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips) and wet ingredients separately, then mix together. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly.

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The dough looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream!

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These cookies were so simple, yet so awesome. I think the others agreed, too.DSC08792DSC08793DSC08794

Here are some other fun pictures from the evening:

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Still not sure exactly how this “leg in someone’s photo” thing got started. (I’m blaming Jason.)

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I believe this was around the time we all started trying to tell every joke we knew.

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My dinner at Moe’s…yeah, I had to pick meat out of the corn, and yeah, I’m sure that’s not allowed on a vegetarian diet…but I did what I had to do.

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On the left: Mandy and Reagan looking cute. On the right…I found a hole in the floor and convinced Dennis to stick his finger in it. (I got a giggle.)

Since I know that St. Patrick’s Day was about two weeks ago, I won’t ask you what you did for the (arguably best ever) holiday. But instead…what’s your favorite go-to cookie recipe? These were so easy to make and so tasty, I definitely think I’ll revisit it again.