Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Look Your Best

Back in college, Allison and I went through a minor period of being groupies. I technically do not believe we were groupies because we knew the band (well Allison did and by the time our touring ended, I knew them pretty well too). Nonetheless, we felt compelled to travel the Midwest and South supporting them in their musical endeavors.

Ingram Hill has rocked out with some pretty cool bands at some pretty sweet venues. They have also written and produced numerous jams that will knock your socks off. Some have even been featured in movies and TV shows.

After a small break, the boys are back with the most stellar CD. Look Your Best offers up a good mix of romantic lyrics and classic life lessons. Check it out...

Ingram Hill's Look Your Best

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Today I am getting a new roommate. He is a temporary renter, but I have a feeling he has enough stuff to give it a permanent feel. After all, the man does have 2 walk-in closets that he has managed to fill to the max.

This should be a good warm up test to see if we can survive one another...

I have lived by myself for close to 9 months now. It seems to suit me just fine in terms of having space and a safe haven to reside in when I am feeling blue. But I miss having the option to come home to someone. In SD, I had Shana or Mark which was wonderful. Plus if they weren't home, then I just skipped down the block to Brooke's house. In Chi-city, there were plenty of peeps in the hood to converse with whenever I felt the need. Miami was booming with friends thanks to graduate school. And college, well 6 girls in a house makes for anything but dull.

I am excited to have the presence of another human in the apartment, even if it is temporary. So long as he does not hog the bathroom, put his butt cheeks on the dining room table, or rest his shoes upon my coffee table.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's In a Name?

Apparently calling someone by their real name is becoming more of an option than a mandate. I have been called so many names in the past 3 days, none of which resemble my given name. (For the record, my name is not Brittany, Wendy, Karen, Collins, Courtney, Kim, or Angela). Also, people who do not know me have not been granted permission to call me Whit. This right is reserved for a small select few (you already know who you are). I am highly considering changing my name to Kevin, Kev for short. You can't actually mix that name up with anything else.

This reminds me of that time back in college when Kimmie & Aham had the pleasure of being in the same classes as the beast, and in the midst of senior year, she took it upon herself to change her name. As she announced to the class, I will now be going by Kada. Man did we all get a good laugh, and I felt comfort in knowing that I was not nearly as insane as her.

After some thorough research, I have found that other people get called varying names too. For example, Kate has been called Katie (standard), Amy, Kafer, and worst of all Pete. I guess this should make me feel a little bit better.

I have decided that if I am not called the right name, then the person obviously is not directing his/her question towards me. Because honestly, how hard is it to get someone's name right? So since their question is not directed at me, then I clearly do not need to be responding to their requests. Therefore, I will cut down on my work load by about 1/3. Making more time for reading and writing, shopping and know, the things I truly enjoy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sometimes all it takes is one second that you can never get back.

This Ain't Nothin'

Friday, September 24, 2010

Alpha, Alpha, Delta, Pi...

Wednesday night marked the start of sorority recruitment (most commonly known as rush). Over the summer, I was upgraded to Recruitment Adviser and my position became a bit more intense than my casual involvement in the spring. Weekly meetings at the HOP (house of Pi) along with multiple daily emails and phone calls seemed to be my side job. Truth be told, I didn't really mind. I have actually enjoyed being able to advise and lead a group of girls in planning and executing something that was always good fun for me.

We had great ideas and visions for the week, but at times, I felt like I might be more committed (and slightly reliving my glory days) to the cause. My fears were squashed when I walked into the house mid-week. Everything was amazing- the decor, the bulletin boards, the lighting, the flowers, and most importantly the girls. The house looked like a professional had sprinkled some magic fairy dust and poof we had a house fit for full-court recruitment.

Tonight we begin Round 2...House Tours. With the generous donations from alumnae, the upstairs bathrooms look stunning. Think Pottery Barn on steroids (to coin a phrase from one of the seniors). The girls' rooms look amazing with matching plush bedding and little personalized items.

I am anxious to see how the rest of the week/weekend goes, but if the first round is any indication, I am extremely proud of everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday's Touch Up

Apologies for being M.I.A. the past few days. So much has happened in the last 72 hours that I am having trouble wrapping my head around it all.

First, let me give a shout out to Kimmie Keebler who got engaged over the weekend. Super stoked for her & Jerrad. This now means that 1/3 of the posse is engaged...and if one other gets engaged, we're at 50% of marriage bliss. Crazy!

Second, I have walked myself down from the ledge I stood upon last week. My hormones seem to be back in check (thank heavens) so all is semi-right again.

Third, I learned a few things this weekend: sometimes it takes almost losing something or someone to truly make you appreciate it or them. Trust and faith in the Lord and your man goes along way because men like to provide and they do not like to be nagged. Lots of time, tremendous love, and good snugs can heal anything.

Fourth, SF is not as horrid as I dreamt in my head. I have deemed it an acceptable place for living. Hesitantly, dare I say that I am a tiny bit excited about the opportunity for our new life...

Lastly, Jason Kidd seems to be a polite man with a lovely wife and an adorable 7 month old son named Chance.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Driving 101 for the Greater Los Angeles Area

Dear Fellow 405 Drivers,

If you could be so kind as to learn how to drive I would be one happy commuter. I have been driving for many, many years and have driven in a multitude of cities. You, my friends, are pretty dang terrible. Perhaps a few pointers would help assist you in doing a better job navigating the roads.

1. The speed limit is 55. No need to go any slower as it messes with the flow of traffic.
2. If you choose to go less than 55, move to one of the far right lanes.
3. When 2 or more cars have passed you (and you're in the fast lane), kindly move yourself to another lane.
4. Slamming on your breaks for no apparent reason is damaging to your car, its breaks, and your gas mileage. Not to mention it is incredibly annoying and causes anxiety to those around you.
5. Gawking at a wreck, flat tire, or tow truck on the side of the road is unnecessary and only causes more accidents.

And to my drivers who come to a complete stop when they enter the OC for "Heaven only knows" reasons, I would greatly appreciate if you could refrain from this ridiculous act. It is really affecting my mental and physical health.

Thanks in advance,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mardi Gracias JL for Getting Hitched

A few PG photos from the weekend...

BFF's Reunited

KY & TN Girls

Pretty faces

California Girls

The Bride-to-Be

Love them

JL & I

Kim & her new bf

KP & I

Tell her she is pretty


Quite the bullrider

Our own rockstar

She said you shoulda put a ring on it

Friday, September 10, 2010

Traveling Thoughts

The traveling portion of my trip to NOLA has been rather temulchuous so far. I managed to create a disaster at home thanks to my natural yet unintentional ability to self-destruct. My aisle seat was less than appealing upon my Air Tran flight to the ATL. My chosen seat had a few drawbacks- minimal room underneath the seat for my purse causing incredible discomfort for my legs, a pesky row mate who while I slept took it upon herself to spill some type of goo on my pants, and a mini-space between the pull down tray and the seat in front of me crippling my normal habitual sleep plan.

After a 4 hour catnap, I found myself in the quiet Atlanta airport with nothing but time. I slowly ventured to my gate to sit, ponder my life, complete some lessons in my Spanish book, and read my new hiking adventure book. Plopping my bags down, I noticed the congregation of workers nearby sharing their morning gossip. And right then and there at 6am, the housekeeper vacuuming belted out “laid back, sipping on gin and juice, with my mind on my money and my money on my mind.” Wow so that’s how they roll in the dirty south these days.

And things only proceeded to get worse. As the lone soldier at my gate, a sea of open chairs filled the area, but it would only make sense to come sit right behind me. Oh yes a very loud, obnoxious group of women (adult aged) come thundering through doing cart wheels and speaking about 200 decibels too high for the early am. The ring leader was just piercing my ear drums with her Latino accent and absurd comments about MySpace (honestly who has MySpace anymore?) and other nonsense topics.

An hour and a half later, feeling like my head might explode from the commotion behind me; I graced the airport halls with my presence. Landing in Seattle’s Best Coffee, I treated myself to a small mocha and chocolate croissant. All is right in the world again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Heading to the South

In less than 24 hours, I will reunite with my 5 best friends. The last time we were all together was nearly a year ago when we revisited college in a bittersweet reunion/girls' trip to LexVegas. Things have changed a bit since college, but we still know how to have a good time.

Now as JL approaches married life, we will again reunite and relive our college days for a brief stint in New Orleans. I, for one, cannot wait. I have missed my best friends dearly and am happy to take a day off work for some R&R.

great friends + a few cocktails + a lil' gossip = a killer weekend

NOLA, here we come!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Summit to Mt. Whitney

7 months of training. 7 months of strenuous activity on the body. 7 months of building a stronger relationship with a little bit of bickering and growing pains along the way. 7 months of love blossoming.

It all came together yesterday.

We arose at 2am, grabbed our packs, and headed to the trailhead. After a bit of fumbling around, lacing our boots, and double checking that we were 110% prepared, we hit the ground running at 3:17am. The sky was pitch black with sprinkled stars up above. A planet (Mercury or Mars perhaps) shone down upon us. Our headlamps played tricks with our eyes causing me to believe tree branches and giant rocks were some sort of new animal species. 3.5 miles were complete within an hour and twenty-three minutes. We passed through quiet streams and creeks that whispered to us. We almost fell into Lone Pine Lake due to a minor wrong turn. The Lord's playground was comparable to a jungle gym.

As the sun peaked out over the mountains, we were already to the meadows. The temperature dropped drastically causing layer upon layer to be added as we continued to hurry along the trail. By Trail Camp, we were in need of refueling with water from the nearby lake. Our only real dilemma of the trip: a botched Steripen. (*attention fellow hikers, if the temp. is below 32 degrees the darn thing will NOT work). After this minor incident, we journeyed up the switchbacks and on over to the last 1.9 miles.

Now when you see a sign that says 1.9 miles and you have completed 9.1, you think this oughta be a piece of cake. Ha ha ha. False. The last 1.9 miles seemed like an eternity literally. The winds were roaring, and I am surprised that my fingers did not fall off from frostbite. I may have said a few choice words under my breath...

Frostbite or none, the views from the top were worth it. Amazing. We could see the whole world or so it felt that way. I honestly bet I was able to view the lands of New Mexico, Nevada, & Arizona from Mt. Whitney's peak.

After a few tears, rearranging clothing, and sharing a sammy, we began our descent. And boy were we on a mission. We hurried through the gusting winds on the 1.9 miles which seemed far less on the way down. Rounding the John Muir Trail point, we scurried down the switchbacks to the campsite. I am happy to report that the weather coming down was far better than on the way up. It was just right as I was able to bronze myself without being scorching hot.

With the sun beaming brightly down, we were able to see the multitude of ecosystems that the morning darkness prohibited. We saw meadows, wetlands, deserts, and much more on our trek home. All of it was breathtaking.

In a little under 13 hours, the love of my life and I completed the most challenging and amazing accomplishment of our 27/29 years. And the best part was that we were able to do it together. Without one another, the encouraging words, the pushing in times of doubt, neither of us could have completed such a daunting task. But together, we were successful.

For a glimpse at the beauty, see pics below!

In the tent about to head to the trail

Ryan at the Trailhead

Whitney at the John Muir Wilderness sign

Lone Pine Lake

The sun coming up

Rounding the 5-mile mark

The meadows

Like walking on the moon


20 degrees below but we made it!

On top of Mt. Whitney

The pictures don't do it justice

On our way down...notice the tank top

Nothing like finishing a hard day with a Sierra Nevada

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wozniacki Wows on the Women's Side

Caroline Wozniacki is having no trouble filling in for Serena Williams as the #1 seed. So far in her 2010 U.S. Open play, she actually makes it look like a natural fit. Wozniacki has yet to drop a set. She's yet to drop more than one game per set, if she even gives up a game that is.

In terms of grand slams this year, her performance has been less than par. Losing 4th round in both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, Wozniacki didn't seem to be a top favorite coming into the tournament. But she is wowing the competition and the fans with each progressing match.

Her next opponent will be Maria Sharapova who walked over American teen Beatrice Capra in a 6-0,6-0 victory. Perhaps she heard the whispers of a repeat from last year when she fell to the young Melanie Oudin. Sharapova suffered a rocky road the past couple of years. Plagued by multiple injuries, she has had to climb her way back up the WTA ladder. But if there is one thing Maria possess giving her the upper hand, it is her ability to have iron-clad focus on the court.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Capra(tilizing) on the Home Court

Who? Beatrice Capra. Again, who?

The 18 year old Maryland native's debut at her first U.S. Open seems to be going pretty smooth so far. Aside from being a "legal" adult and having the luxury of purchasing lotto tickets now, she has a few other things to celebrate. Winning her way into the third round in a three set victory over the 18th seeded Aravane Rezai of France is probably at the top of the list.

Her run thus far might be giving tennis enthusiasts a flashback to the young Melanie Oudin and her surprisingly outstanding performance in the '09 U.S. Open. But don't get the two mixed up. While their U.S. Open stories resemble one another, they're a bit different. Capra prefers clay court while Oudin loves the hard court. Capra was just shy of double digits when she began to play tennis. Oudin had a bit of a head start on training, as she was 7 when she first picked up a racquet. Despite her "late start" into the tennis world, this half Italian-half American is not afraid to go for the big shots, play beyond her years, and give fans something to cheer for.

Capra is scheduled to face Maria Sharapova next. Can the teen continue her run on what seems like her own home court?

A Night With BL (No, I Don't Mean Bud Light)

Bottega Louie
: a restaurant, a bar, a patisserie. A class-act establishment. Half part deco, half part posh.

Through my RCIA inquiry class, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill. He lead our class and provided a world of entertainment mainly with stories of his Missouri grandmother. Informally, Bill is a laid back comedian walking the journey of life.

Formally, William is a high-class maitre d' at Bottega Louie. He is a magician of sorts, making tables available for those he deems fit for the occasion. Saturday evening, post Confirmation, 6 of us headed downtown to check out BL. I'd been wanting to go since February, and since it was "my night," everyone happily obliged.


Instantly when we walked in, I could feel the vibe of exclusivity. Not in the snobbish sense where you feel out of place, but in the Whoa! sense that you are about to have an amazing experience. The plan as instructed by William was to casually make him aware of our arrival and then place ourselves by the bar. We grabbed a cocktail and snagged a small round table in the bistro area. I must make you aware that the line to place your name on the list for the posh dining area was almost out the door. I overheard some guests having to wait 2+ hours (which they did; hence how fabulous this place truly is). After about 15 minutes of waiting, just enough time for us to successfully get our cocktails and sip them halfway, William appeared to greet and seat us.

Our waiter was a hoot and referred to me as Ms. Collins. He was told to take "extra good care of us" which I am happy to report that he did. The owner happened to stop by as well to see how our dining experience was going. I kindly let him know that I was in love with his restaurant and would be coming back again and again and again...and again.

We ordered fancy salads and tapas style appetizers. To die fors: lobster manicotti, escargot, and asparagus with fried egg. I also adored the European-style caesar salad as well as the left-over margherita pizza that I've had for lunch this week courtesy of mi madre. And let's not forget the OMG chocolate souffle that my sweets sneakily ordered for me. Now I make a mean souffle but this thing put me to shame!

Bottega Louie. Highly Recommended.

Roddick Ain't Got Talent

It was an early second round upset for Andy Roddick (USA). The 9th seeded American fell in four sets to Janko Tipsarevic. The Serbian kept Roddick out of a rhythm the whole match. The first set appeared to be a breeze for Andy winning it 6-3, but he struggled in the second set falling 7-5.

On paper, Roddick seemed to have the match in the bag. Statistically, his first serve percentage, number of aces, and number of unforced errors favored him. But, Tipsarevic dominated Roddick with winners and approaches to the net.

A minor hiccup in the third set may have cost Andy the match though. What he thought to be an ace in a crucial service game turned out to be a tiny foot fault sending Andy into a bit of spiraling rage. A rage that he never quite dug himself out of. Losing the third set, he took a bathroom break to change his shorts. A temporary fix. Perhaps if he would have spent more time focusing on the ball and less time throwing a toddler temper tantrum, he would have been able to regroup.

Though the fourth set looked promising for the highest seeded American man, and again the statistics favored Roddick, he was just shy of pushing the match to a fifth set. One point shy to be exact.

Six Americans remain in the men's hunt for the championship.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Game. Set. Mardy?

Ah alas the time is here. Our fourth and final Grand Slam of the season: the U.S. Open. Tennis season runs from January until September in terms of tournaments that the players prep for and excite the fans most. Beginning in the far west on hard courts, the Australian Open launches the tennis year. As the competitions make their way to the east part of the world, Paris hosts the daring French Open on red clay always thrilling the crowds as the players exemplify fancy footwork and soft hands. Shortly after Paris, the ever-prestigious Wimbledon takes center court in England on the most unpredictable surface: grass. Not your ordinary backyard grass that the husband mows religiously on Saturdays, but royal lawn grass. And then we bring it back on home to the U.S. in none other than the lovely Flushing Meadows, NY. The season starts and finishes the same, with a hard court tournament allowing players to overpower their opponents and fist pump their way to the trophy.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the Grand Slams is that the winner quite often is the least expected (well since Federer has taken a parenting hiatus on the men’s side and Serena pulled out of the U.S. Open). In sports, we all have our favorites and tennis is no different, and while we enjoy a good underdog victory, our hearts still yearn for American victories especially with a home court advantage.

American tennis players have struggled lately to be consistent and perform at Grand Slams. Aside from the well-known Williams sisters and Roddick, the U.S. hasn’t made much wake in the headlines for “W’s” this year. American player highlights have been few and far between with the exception of the “match heard ‘round the world” at Wimbledon where John Isner (USA) defeated Nicolas Mahut (FRA) in the longest match in history.

Until recently that is. Mardy Fish, currently ranked #21, is making moves in the tennis world. Back in 2004, he reached as high as 17th on the ATP World Tour until suffering various injuries forcing him to sit out for a lengthy period of time. But Fish is back and he’s determined to put U.S. Men’s tennis back on the map. In preparation for the U.S. Open, he reached the finals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Master’s two weeks ago. And he was just shy of a title, losing to Federer in a dynamic third set.

Although his first round match in Flushing Meadows was not a walk in Central Park, he managed to squeak past Jan Hajek (CZE) in a five set thriller. Despite his almost stumble, Fish seems to be a crowd favorite and viable option for the 2010 U.S. Open Champion. Stay tuned over the next two weeks to see just how Fishy Flushing Meadows could get!

Working Woman's Wednesday (Lucky Number 7)

For 7 weeks, I have been doting on my favorite female friends and how hard they work in terms of their career. So many of the important women in my life come from all walks of life and have a variety of talents which help to make me a better person. In honor of this past weekend and the woman who gave me life, I thought for Lucky #7, I would brag on my mom a little bit.

My mommy never really had the 9 to 5 job as long as I've been around. We were blessed financially in that she didn't have to work to help put food on the table. In fact, my dad preferred that she not "work". (I think that stems from the fact that he met her while she was working for another automobile dealer aka the competition).

Her work schedule was more of a 24/7/365. If you've met my family, you know that we can be demanding. All 6 of us. So in theory, my mom's work has been taking care of and protecting 5 other people (yes, daddy-o included). A life-long career; one that never ends. No matter how far away we are or what time it might be, she is always "on call." Phew, I barely have the energy to work 8:30 to 4:30 and be involved in a few extracurricular activities.

She has always been great at hosting events in our honor, remembering important dates & moments in our lives, tending to our wounds, and spoiling us uncontrollably. Despite the miles that separate us physically, I always feel like she is right here with me.

Kuddos to my mommy and all of the moms in the world for their never ending work in making the world better one child at a time!