Friday, June 24, 2011

So Many Festivals

If you know me, I'm always looking for a good festival. Some of my favorites are the Strawberry Festival, the Moon Pie Festival and Jack Daniel's BBQ Festival. Unfortunately, I have missed the first two this year, but we are planning to hit Jack Daniel's fo sho. Something about all the food, crafts, people, and unique things to do just make them so much fun. And not to mention most of the time these fun festivals are in the neatest, quaintest little towns. Earlier this year I was dying to go to the strawberry festival located in Dayton, TN and it somewhat snuck up on us. I used to go to this festival all the time when I was little because my dad and brother would always play in the big softball tournament they have at the same time. I love strawberries anyway, anyhow, any shape or form and Mark hasn't been to this either. (I'm thankful he likes to take in a good festival every once in a while too).

So on the day of the festival we already had scheduled a grooming appointment for Molly but she was scheduled to be done around 10:30am. This still would allow plenty of time to get to the festival and spend most of the day there. Well, Mark was not having it. He didn't care to go and thought we wouldn't have any time, and did not want to make the 2+ hour drive. You name an excuse, he had it. Ugh, I was so mad and so bored that day. Mark tells me sometimes I run him into the ground with my excessive planning and busy body-ness, sometimes he just likes a lazy day at home. I get that but this was THE strawberry festival. I pitched a tantrum like a 3 year old but didn't get my way. So we dang sat at the house all day long with me in a bad mood and

We ended up running some errands that night and got a call from some friends we had recently met during our new church small group that wanted to meet up. So we met them to hang out and had a GREAT time. Thanks Peyton and Elizabeth, you guys really helped keep Mark out of the dog house that night. So I'm thinking someone else had a hand in us not making the trip to Dayton that day, it was a great start to making new friendships.

Now with that I wanted to list a few TN festivals that I plan on hitting up in the very near future! I thought some of you may like this list too.

Cornbread Festival, April 28-29, South Pittsburgh
Memphis in May, April 29 - May 28, Memphis
TN Strawberry Festival, May 10-15, Dayton, TN
RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival, June 18, Bell Buckle
Grainger County Tomato Festival, July 29, Rutledge
The Sweet Tea Festival, August 27, Thompson Station
The Southern Fried Festival, Sept. 23-24, Columbia
Jack Daniel's BBQ, Oct. 22, Lynchburg

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our Outdoor Living Space

I knew when we bought this house that I would make our back porch more of a living area than just a boring space. We had a dining table from the old table and kept it back there through the winter. We seldom used it at the old house and hadn't used it at all during the time we had been in the new house. I had been watching Craigslist for some deals on furniture but wasn't really finding what I wanted. While looking through the Sunday paper I found what I wanted at Big Lots (of all places). We went that day to look at it and ended up buying it. Mark also wanted a swing so we got that too. He had to sand and paint it to match our other dark furniture. We are thrilled with the way everything has turned out. We have spent more nights sitting out there than I ever thought we would. Even on these hot days the evenings have been perfect. Molly likes to sit out there too.

Simple DIY Wreath

I saw this wreath on another blog and thought it was so cute that I had to make one myself. I kept thinking of all the colors I could use and that I could make many for all occasions. Well, when I got to craft store I wasn't very excited with my felt choices. So I opted to go with the green Blair had used and it goes perfectly with our green decor and paint color. I made it weeks ago and just now hung it and I LOVE it! Our walls are green so that didn't look right but it looks great on our white door. It was so easy just took a bit of time for cutting felt. I think this is a great gift idea too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My favorite thing right now

is Purity's White Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream. My first love was the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory. Then I found this, it's hard to pick a true winner - both are DELICIOUS!!

Marco Island

As I mentioned before, I had purchased a 2-night stay at the Marco Island Marriott Resort and Spa at an auction last year. We needed to use them before they expired so we decided to go down for a long weekend, extending our stay a few additional nights. We needed to fly Southwest because we had free flight credits so we had to fly into Ft. Lauderdale then drive 2 hours across the state, which actually wasn't that bad. We spent a few by ourselves then some friends of ours were in training all week in Miami so they drove over for a couple nights. We had a great time, lots of relaxation which is exactly what we needed. I love to travel and enjoy it so much more when I'm with Mark. We had some great food (of course, I think all of my blogs include food in some form or fashion), rode jet skis, read a couple books on my Kindle and got some sun.

My jet skiing pictures on a water camera that I have to get developed, I didn't even know they still made those anymore. :) This was a just a tease for our vacation coming up this summer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The first half of this year has been FULL of travel, some for work and some for leisure. Here's a snapshot of my travels.

February - Orlando, FL

This was for work and I really don't have pictures that have anything to do with Orlando. But here's a picture of us in our booth. Let's just say cows had a bit to do with our promotion.

April - New York City

This one was for work too BUT I was able to spend some time with my bestie, Laura too! I've been there several times so we've definitely covered the touristy stuff. This time it pretty much felt like a food tour. I LOVE to eat so we did our fair share. Some of my favorite spots are listed below. Oh and for work, our meeting was in the New York Stock Exchange, so that was pretty cool. While I was standing outside talking on my cell phone this magazine photographer asked to take my picture because they were doing this article. Unfortunately, my picture didn't make it. Boo!

  • Blue Ribbon Sushi -- Went there and we got to eat with John Legend. Ok maybe we didn't eat with him but he sat two tables back from us, close enough. :)

  • The Burger Joint -- This place is inside the Le Parker Meridien Hotel. It was voted as one of the best burgers in the nation by Gayle and Oprah. It was a good burger but I think Mark actually makes a better burger right here in Tennessee.

  • Max Brenner -- Laura knows I love desserts and chocolate. So she took me here and we had a fondue sampler. Oh my! This was fantastic!

  • Olive Tree Cafe -- Then we rounded out the trip with one of my favorite spots in the Village for their oh so yummy wings! Man, they are cooked just right, a bit crispy and so tasty. My mouth is watering

April - Puerto Vallarta
This was work also, the incentive trip for our top sales representatives. This is always a fun trip. You get to see people you work with all year long that are here Nashville and most of the time you get to meet their spouses too. So it's always a fun trip. It's a pretty sweet office I have for a week too. :)

May - Miami, FL
Ok, I know I said some of these trips were for leisure, I'm getting there......
This one however, was still for work. We had to check out some locations for a possible meeting in Miami. We saw some great properties. I had not been to Miami since I was there for a college conference in 2005 (maybe). I think it had changed a lot. Well and I probably got to see a few more things this trip too. One highlight was our dinner at Red. Oh and one more was dinner at Scarpetta inside the Fontainebleau.

May - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Back for work. This meeting was fun too. We got to experience some neat things in Ft. Lauderdale. I had never been there and really it's much smaller than I thought and a little dated but we did have a great time. We took a dinner cruise around the inter coastal and was able to see some FAN-tastic homes. I can't imagine how much some of them cost and then of course most have a huge yacht parked out front too - must be nice! We had dinner at Joe's Stone Crab (not to be confused with Joe's Crab Shack). We were there the last week of the stone crab season and they were oh so yummy. What an experience! One night, my friend Ashley and I went out on the town in South Beach. We had a great time hotel hopping. We met some great friends at the Delano. It was fun chatting in the poolside cabana. From my last trip to Florida I had heard about this restaurant, Le Tub. So of course, I had it on my list to check out this time around. It's a local joint with old claw foot tubs and toilets right located right on the water. Their menus are on white pieces of paper that were hand written who knows when and it even has drawings that look like they are from an 8 year old. Very cute! Remember this list? Well, Le Tub was #1! They did have one darn good burger but my favorite thing was the key.lime.pie. Man oh man, my mouth is drooling right now. It was chilled perfectly made with fresh key limes (you could even see the bits of key lime), the crust was perfect and it had just the right amount of whipped topping. I'm not even a huge fan of key lime pie and I don't think any other would compate.

May - Marco Island, FL
This is the leisure part. I purchased 2 nights at the Marco Island Marriott at an auction last year so we had to use them before they expired. Ya know what, I think this trip deserves its own blog. More to come........

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mango Chicken

I have fallen in love with this recipe and I just wanted to share it with you. It's just a fresh tasting dish for the summer.

Mango Chicken

16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken

1 can (8 oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple, juice only (reserve fruit for salsa)
1 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 T honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. red pepper flakes

Pineapple from strained can
1 mango, peeled and diced
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1/4 c. red onion, diced fine
1 lime, juiced
1 T cilantro, chopped
1 T jalapeno pepper, diced fine (optional)

Open pineapple and strain to separate juice from fruit. Place juice in a baking dish. Add soy sauce, honey, garlic and red pepper to the dish and stir. Slice chicken breasts into 4 4-ounce strips. If thick, pound out to flatten with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place chicken in the marinade ad refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Prepare salsa by combining all ingredients. Preheat grill to medium heat or turn on broiler and place rack in the middle of the oven, about 6" away from the heat source. Grill or broil chicken for 45 minutes per side or until the meat is no longer pink. Serve with fruit salsa.

Makes 4 servings, 3 ounces cooked meat and 1/2 cup salsa.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Anniversary - Year 2

Mark and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary at the end of April. We've said we'll always take some sort of trip just to get away and celebrate with just the two of us. Last year I purchased 2 nights at the Marco Island Marriott at an auction so we decided to use those for our "anniversary trip" since they are about to expire. More on our trip to come later.

I continue to grow more deeply in love with my hubs every day. I mean of course, there are some days I would like to strangle him or make him sleep outside but he makes me laugh or smile so quickly that I'm never mad for too long. As I've said before he's my BFF, companion and lover. We are TEAM ROGERS! And I must say we do make quite a team. Marriage has been one fun ride and we have a great time together! Let's get on with Year 3!


I just wanted to say that I heart Southwest Airlines. Because of their cheap flights and Rapid Rewards program, they have funded several of my flights for vacations. I love their low prices, check-in process, seating process, checked baggage fee - which is FREE, FREE in-flight beverages, and funny attendants that make jokes during the housekeeping notes before take-off.

So thanks SWA!!