Thursday, June 30, 2011

Onward: A Story of Love, Confidence, Pain, Hope, & Confidence

Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember the feeling of sophistication in Starbucks. I couldn't wait to become an adult, put on a pair of glasses, and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading my book at the iconic establishment. Whenever we would drive by one of the locations, the people inside seemed so happy, so intelligent, so adult. So you can imagine my astonishment when I discovered that I did not care for adult coffee. How would I ever be a sophisticated Starbucks goer if I didn't like it? One answer: speciality drinks. You know the kind: java chip frappuccino, egg nog latte, tuxedo mocha. And so as I became an adult, my love for Starbucks only strengthened. My experience enlightening each time I enter a store. The atmosphere puts my heart at ease. The serenity of the space. The aroma of fresh caffeine. The soft music playing. The cheerful partners (as they're called) remembering not only my drink of choice but my name as well. The European feel of savoring this moment, not rushing through it in true States fashion.

After my umpteenth time entering one of the three stores that bridge a block and half radius into work, I took the plunge and purchased the book I had been eyeing for months. Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul. The power in the tagline was enough to peak my interest, but the passion of CEO Howard Schultz kept me turning the pages.

Many of you know about my made up word, pareer, which is a combo of passion and career. I have longed for that feeling in my career. I have so desperately wanted to find my passion and get paid for it. Because after all, I am most successful when I am able to pour myself into what I am doing. Imagine my envy and disbelief when I began reading Onward and discovered that Schultz had found his pareer. Furthermore, he was watching it be stripped away from him, not in the leadership sense, but in the sense that Starbucks was losing its passion. I equate his feelings and emotions to that of watching a loved one suffer from severe illness. Watching them worsen, helpless in curing them. I am quite certain it is a horrifying experience.

Nearly seven years after stepping down as CEO, Schultz makes the decision to return to his post. To light a fire underneath the company. To restore focus on their mission. To provide people an experience. To believe in making a difference. To give them heart and soul again. 

In a world where emotions are frowned upon in business, Schultz speaks, writes, and leads from the heart. He (and his team) transforms a company that was drowning in Wall Street into a thriving, hopeful safe-haven that Americans needed in the worst economical downturn of the 21st century. 

Now, more than ever, I am conscious even energetic about my time at Starbucks. I have a better understanding of what they stand for, what they believe in, and how they overcame difficulty. For an inspirational read, one about heart & soul, grab Onward at your local Starbucks or purchase online at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

  • family events
Kendahl & Peter's wedding 2009

  • Wimbledon coverage, particularly R. Fed & American Mardy Fish

Roger Federer...greatest player of all time

  • technology because...

  • allows me to see this little guy do sick tricks like this:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lunch For One

While reading my latest People mag, I came across an easy summer salad courtesy of Rocco DiSpirito from the hit Bravo show Rocco's Dinner Party. Usually the weekends are our eat-out days/nights, but with this past weekend being our first home in a month, we decided to be low-key. So for me, that meant mostly staying in except for a few short hours each day (Saturday's retail therapy & Sunday's flash facial). For Ryan, that meant lots of outdoor activity including biking and hiking.

Friday evening, Ryan grabbed groceries and all of the necessary ingredients for my summer salad. After Sunday's facial, I was in need of a refreshing lunch so I decided to go for it.

Here's the recipe:

Boston Blue Chicken and Apple Salad
serves 4


  • 4- 6oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 in. thick slices
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup bottled reduced-fat vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chives
  1. Spray grill pan with cooking spray and place over high heat.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper and grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  3. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, apples, blue cheese, and vinaigrette. Toss & transfer to serving bowl.
  4. Slice chicken into 1/2 in. think slices. Add to salad and top with walnuts & chives.

Whit's substitutions/suggestions:
  • I prefer romaine lettuce so I subbed out the boston lettuce for romaine. Any lettuce will do really.
  • I detest regular vinaigrette so I used raspberry vinaigrette instead. If you want extra flavor, try it.
  • No chives for me. Toasted walnuts were enough topping.
  • Pair with cheese & crackers and a glass of champagne for a more fancy meal.

And viola...

Bon Appetite!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Shane!

Wishing our oldest nephew a very happy 12th birthday today! We wish we could be there to celebrate with you! Have a slice of your skittle cake for us and enjoy all of your official World Cup Gear ;)

Future World Cup Star 

Shane Robert :)

Music Mondays

In honor of the soon-to-be Mr. & Mrs. William Shane Collins...looking forward to celebrating the POWER OF LOVE on July 2nd

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vomit of Emotion

I'm arguably the most emotional person known to man. Naturally it is my biggest asset as well as my biggest liability. Perfect. Lately, I've been vomiting emotion all over the place.

My dad once said, "Kendahl & Shane retreat and become silent upon getting upset. You & Taylor blow up and then go on your merry way." 

As a child, my emotional outbursts were frequent, usually in a positive form. As an adult, I quickly learned that public outcry & professional emotional breakdowns were frowned upon. So I figured out how to suppress what I was feeling. Then I got quite good at holding it in.

There are two reasons for me doing this when I do it: a. I'm afraid of what I feel, b. I don't want to feel what I feel so I hope if I bury it far enough, it will go away.

With my recent emotional state, I've been using both reasons to hide from it. But with this particular issue, suppression has quadrupled the anxiety and put major strain on my relationship. No, I'm not into women (not that there is anything wrong with liking the same sex, as I write this during the largest gay pride parade taking place right outside my window). And no I'm not preggo (we've been over this before, aside from the Virgin Mary, sex must occur to conceive and we're refraining from that until marriage). I'm, gasp with embarrassment, homesick. I've lived away from home for a decade and never been homesick. Now, really??!!

But its true. I want to be in Louisville. I want to live in the same neighborhood as my parents, my sisters, and (one mile from) my brother. I want to have the option of seeing my niece & nephew whenever I please. I want to play tennis with my dad weekly, go to lunch with my mom, pick up Taylor from Molly's at 3am because she is freshly 21 and thinks Bardstown Road is the place to be. I want my dog back.

But...because there always is one.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid I will get bored. I'm afraid I won't have friends there. I'm afraid I won't get to travel or caught up in the gossip I so detest about Louisville. I'm afraid it will be a deal breaker for Ryan and he won't marry me if I tell him what I want. Even worse, I'm afraid that he'll quit his job, we'll move home, and he will resent me forever.

So there it is all laid out in cyberspace, vomited on my blog, in hopes of getting my groove back.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Scrapbooking 201

So, I have successfully filled up overflowed my travel scrapbook. It took all of 2 trips: Ireland & Alaska. To be exact, it only had room for half of the cruise pages. I officially need to get more filler pages and expand my little scrapbook. I was a scrapbooking maching last week and this week in an attempt to get the cruise pages finished before losing motivation. My biggest fear, in scrapbook related issues, is letting the materials pile up, realizing the task is too daunting, giving up on the newhobby, and then leaving its leftovers for trash can hell. Hence why I rapidly complete the pages while catching up on Without a Trace/Criminal Minds and sipping wine.

Without further adieu, here are my masterpieces from our Alaskan cruise:

Alaska here we come!

Vancouver, Canada and bike riding

Coral Princess and all its glory

Ketchikan & Juneau, two gems of the state

Cruise Fun!

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and hiking the waterfall

Ketchikan zilpine adventure

Skagway's dog mushing & gold mines

Glacier Bay, wine tasting, and lots of food

College Fjord & Anchorage's scenic drive

Denali National & State Parks

:( don't make me go home

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Love the One You're With

We've all had past relationships where we stop and think what if. And the current relationship we might be in at the present, no matter how perfect, has little to do with the haunting thoughts of our fate. Its the simple complex way our minds and our hearts try to rationalize the how and the why of life.

Emily Griffin, in my opinion, is brilliant. Her books envelop the reader to where they feel as if they are living the characters' lives. Love the One You're With is no exception. Ellen is a Philly native who comes from a blue-collar family with a working father and a deceased mother. Her life of fate begins as she enters college in North Carolina's Wake Forest. Margo, a real Southern debutante from Georgia, plays her roommate turned best friend. And when the two inseparable girls move to the big city, Ellen falls for bad boy Leo while her bff disapproves. So its only fitting that nearly a decade after her heartbreaking end with Leo when Ellen is in marital bliss and approaching her one year anniversary with Andy (Margo's Southern brother), her run-in with the one who got away flusters her to the core. In a mix of career, love, and lust, she has to sort out her cynical thoughts and her true heart desires, and she risks losing it all.

For a taste of chapter one, click here. But be careful not to get sucked in...or you too might question your own fate!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

  • My family, especially the girls ;)

  • scrapbooking

  • the sexy little lingerie I got in Vegas for our honeymoon

  • the hot chicks who made my bachelorette party a success

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Happens in Vegas...

...stays in Vegas, unless of course you are reading this blog!

It was quite an enteraining, adventurous, wild girls weekend in Vegas for my bachelorette party! We had a crew of 12 (13 counting Liz who joined us poolside for Saturday) making for an amazing weekend filled with memories and causing me to reflect on just how lucky I am to have such great family & friends. I won't spill all of our inside jokes and secrets, but I will let you in on a few blogworthy moments ;)

Friday highlights include a penis veil & lei, apps & jazz at BB King's, my hot pink lipstick that never comes off, one too many Flirtini cocktails, VIP table at Jet Nightclub inside the Mirage, a stripper pole used for dancing, a random Canadian couple, and B winning $700 playing roulette

We are family...I got all my siters (and mom) and me!

Maid of Honor, Bride, Matron of Honor

Not a natural obviously

But I was great at attempting to show up this dancer...

Where the shenanigans happens

Because what isn't more attractive than a light up penis veil?

Saturday highlights include poolside sun & water for about 6 hours, my adorable penis martini glass & penis charm bracelet, enough lingerie to last for a 2 week honeymoon (hint, hint Ryan), adorable personalized slot gumball machines from my mom, bachelorette dare game at Dal Torro Ristorante (see pics below), the blonde girl/musical acts/Snoop's dad at Kahunaville, random bachelor party at the Mirage entrance, Tao & the 21 year olds from Seattle, and the Venetian fountain

The sash is MUCH better than the penis lei ;)

Happy hour hosts!

The ladies

Group shot in front of the strip

Card #1: kiss a bald man on the head

Card #2: write a love note and deliver to a man who is on a date

Mirage with the creepy bachelor party in the background

Adorable navy panties

Sexy Little Bride

Vegas Baby ;)

Goodies from Mom, Kendahl, & Taylor

Snoop Dogg's dad who proceeded to dance with the MOB & MOG

Sexy Little Bride

My beautiful sisters ;)

Venetian fountain

Tao Nightclub

Sunday highlights include lots of giggles & storytelling from the weekend's events, yummy cheeseburgers & fries, lots of hydration, and sad-face goodbyes.  I am so appreciative and greatful to all of the attendees. Thank you girls for making my bachelorette party so special!

Soon-to-be Whitney Thompson thank you notes (courtesy of my mom)

A little Vegas thank you for my bachelorette attendees

The cocktail recipe