Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I am a bit of a lagger when it comes to trends such as fashion, technology, and well just about anything I guess. I enjoy change once I have been catapulted into the mix, but I slightly resist the initial effort. I am not exactly set in my ways, but much like the rest of my fam, change is accepted ever so slowly for me.

For example, I just joined twitter last week for the sole purpose of hoping to connect with Betty White. Mainly because I love her and she reminds me of a mix between my grandmothers. Sweet & innocent looking (Mama Comley) yet a spitfire prankster (Mama Collins).

Nonetheless, I have been on the bandwagon of Groupon for a solid year now so I decided to buy the $20 for 20 group fitness classes to Lady of America Fitness in White Plains. I have been scolded a bit on my monetary spending habits lately by the hubs so I figured this would be a way to get me out of the hotel without spending mulla. I printed out their group class sched two weeks ago and mapped out my daily classes. I wanted to keep it spicey and try a new class each day. Then I would have my week set for the next month or so. Now I hadn't done a group fitness class in a minute, but I am quite accustomed to most of them from my high school days. So lean n' tone, yoga & pilates, butts & guts were all a piece of cake, and I knew what to expect. To mix it up, I decided to check out Zumba, the latin form of exercise.

I was rather timid as I walked into my first Zumba class with all of the regulars. I'm talking ladies from age 15 to 65 shaking those tushies all over the place. Swinging those hips to Pit Bull's Give Me Everything and getting low, low, low to JLo's On the Floor. Talk about intimidating. I was lucky enough to swivel my hips in the right direction without looking like a white kid at a hip hop concert. Clearly when I'm at the club, I don't have a mirror nor am I stone sober enough to realize what my dance moves actually look like to the crowd. Nonetheless, I had a blast exercising in a fun way. So for week two, I tried another round and felt a bit more comfortable in my own skin. Before you knew it, I was bumping and grinding along with all the other women fitting right in.

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends the hottest music with a series of steps to form what is known as a "fitness-party." Started in 2001 by Alberto Perez on accident, the dancing fitness trend has spread to 125 countries and more than 12 million people joining the party.

If you love fitness but don't enjoy the monotonous of exercise equipment, check out Zumba at a location near you!

**an exclusive interview with the founder of Zumba and a taste of a typical class

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Mondays

Nothing like a good ole country song to kick-off the week...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In Remembrance of Charles R. Murphy

For over a decade now, the six of us girls have been best friends. We have seen each other in the best of the best and the worst of the worst. We have watched each other go from barely "legal" adults to crazy college kids to struggling "real" adults to flourishing women. We have rejoiced together in new relationships, job promotions, further education graduations, moves to new cities, and marriages. We have stood by one another through break ups, abuseful relationships, divorces, and funerals. So when tragedy struck for JL, we did the only thing we knew how to do: showed up in Hickman, KY to be there for her.

I have been beyond fortunate enough to have both of my parents still living. In just over a year, our family buried my three grandparents whom we lived a mere four houses from my entire life. We saw them regularly, spoke with them often, and traveled the globe together. Now when I come to Louisville, I pass their homes at least twice daily. My heart flutters every single time as my mind rolls through the memories of the times we shared. For my dad and mom, I can't even fathom what it feels like to pass a house for almost 30 years and stop to see your mom & dad only to now pass the same home daily knowing that its empty, only filled with memories.

Out of the six of us, three have now lost a parent at a young age. We are not seventy years old where this thing happens all the time. We are not pooling from a group of 200 people either. The reality is that 50% of our best friends have lost a parent, and we haven't even hit thirty years old yet. To be frank, that percentage terrifies me more than really anything in life at this point. And the truth is that two of the three were fatal accidents which no one saw coming.

In the town of Hickman, Mr. Charles resided as the Mayor. He gave a great deal to his community, his family, and his friends. He was a teacher, a principal, a mayor, a brother, a father, a grandfather, and a friend. The outpour of love and support from so many people who's lives he had touched was astounding. On the evening of his visitation, there must have been close to 400+ people who came to pay their respects to the family. As I sat and watched one by one the members of his life hug and console his children, I had an overwhelming feeling of greatness for one man's life. He left the legacy most people dream of leaving.

Life is short. Our time is not known by anyone than the good Lord. So hug the ones you love every chance you get. Call your mom, dad, grandparents, whoever as often as you can. Forgive quickly. Hold on to your memories. Listen to their stories. Say I love you every day. Because you never know when it will be time for another angel to be called home.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

R&R in Vermont

Due to the "stress" of our living situation, newlywed bliss has rapidly warn off. Paired with Ryan working 14 hour days and me watching endless tv programs daily, I felt we needed an escape from the city (granted we don't actually live in the city city but whatever).

So after researching a few things via groupon getaways, I booked a 2 day vaca for us. We headed up north around 7am braving the way in the new Ford Explorer through the snow. Proud to report that the four wheel driving machine performed perfectly. Nothing like an American made car in America driven by an American. (I'm slightly biased ;) but if you're looking for a new car, I know just the place!) Ok sales pitch complete. As always, I'm a stellar passenger...falling asleep about 30 minutes into the trip and awaking in time to snag a dunking' donut then snooze all the way into town.

We reached Manchester, VT just in time for lunch. The town is adorable and exerts true New England feel. The streets are decorated with a range of shops from Kate Spade to Patagonia to Vineyard Vines to Armani. They also have antique shops with fun finds to capture your colonial side. We settled on Up for Breakfast to dine in. Perfect choice with a hometown feel. Ryan enjoyed the brie apple omelet while I awed over the short stack pancakes with Vermont maple syrup.

Next stop was Londonderry where I'd planned a sleigh ride at Taylor Farms. The local farm, famous for its cheeses, was beyond quaint offering a delightful experience. Our sleigh was pulled by two mares, Megan & Molly, who were gorgeous in every way. We shared the ride with three couples and their combined 4 kids. Kids are wonderful to watch and observe especially at the 3 to 6 year range. The ride included stopping at a bonfire, roasting unlimited marshmallows, and sipping apple cider. When you go to VT, you must indulge in this winter activity.

Taylor Farm sleigh ride...
had to borrow the pick because I don't have our camera at the present

Back on the west side of Manchester, The Dorset Inn was awaiting our arrival. It is the longest consecutive running accommodation in Vermont, started back in 1796. Do the math, and that's over 200 years. The homey feel is felt prior to entering the doors. As you round the corner and turn onto Church Street, the gorgeous white colonial home turned inn speaks to you. With a bit of white snow decorating the outside, it's a winter wonderland dream. The charm of the inside is breathtaking with fireplaces galore, a library nook (take a book, leave a book policy), tea & cookies in the family room, a sunroom for breakfast (included in your stay and girls I'm not talking continental but full breakfast menu that's to-die-for), a tavern, and an intimate dining room with only 13 tables. As for the rooms, there are only 20 in the inn each equipped with a living room furnished with a fireplace, reading chair, a cozy couch, and a full china cabinet (think circa 1850) with ornate pieces inside. They've spared no modern day comforts with heated floors, a jacuzzi tub & shower, king size canopy beds, towel warming rack, and 2 tvs. When you got to VT, you MUST stay here. MUST!

gorgeous exterior

and lovely nighttime lights

stunning interior

romantic bathroom

Taking full advantage of our surroundings, I snuggled up on the couch with a fire & blankie to take a mid-afternoon nap. Ryan used his time to read on the iPad by the fire. Refreshed and dolled up, we made our way to the dining room for our 7:30 dinner reservation. Seated by the fireplace, we enjoyed an intimate thre course dinner that was more than pleasing to the appetite. Real New England clam chowder, a spinach salad, NY strip steak with truffled fries & veggies, VT veal & mashed potatoes, chocolate truffle cake with raspberry grenache, and baked apple crisp. Pardon the sexual reference but simply orgasmic. We capped off the night with a bourbon for Ryan and a few Aussie Open matches for me.

intimate dining setting

Sunday started off with the fab breakfast that I mentioned above. The sunroom was flourishing with guests from the inn preparing for their daily adventures. Once nourished we checked out and headed to one of two ski resorts in the area: Stratton. The resort was hopping with shops, eateries, and skiers/snowboarders. Our stuff is in storage as you know but I managed to hunt down Ryan's gear last week...mainly because he has the annual boys' snowboard trip coming up and needed his stuff. I wasn't so lucky on finding mine so I shopped while he boarded. I'll take it. Stratton is a bustling area with many different options for lodging, part time or ful time. To keep warm, I spent most of the afternoon at Mulligan's making friends with a girl who's boyfriend is a ski instructor on the mountain. We talked Long Island (her native hometown), big girl jobs, sports, and relationships. Nice to know I can still converse with strangers comfortably.

With a full belt of winter activity, we cruised back south to our lovely hotel in White Plains knowing that Vermint is our new wine country. Put it on your bucket list of places to visit. I promise you'll love it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Mondays

Great country song on repeat right now...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aussie Open 2012

Much like the People's Choice Awards kick off the red carpet season, the Australian Open begins a new year of tennis fun. And what better place to start fresh than down under. With day 4 underway, the Aussie Open has had a wonderful mix of awe and suspense coupled with fan favorite victories.

The Americans have held a steady presence thus far, with the exception of male Mardy Fish losing in straight sets cirque round 2 and Roddick retiring late against Lleyton Hewitt. Thank heavens for the jolly, tennis giant John Isner or the American males would be strugggling. On the femal side, 19 year old Christina McHale advanced to the 3rd round along side fellow American Vania King. Not to mention the almighty dominating Serena cruising through her draw.

Noted upsets include the 1st round loss of Verdasco to Tomic, the Aussie heartthrob hero. The 5 set thriller was enough to keep me up until 2am on Sunday/Monday. The reigning US Open champ and Aussie femme didn't quite have the same luck as Tomic when the #6 seed (Stosur) fell 1st round in straight sets to Cirstea of Romania.

My boy RFed is stil going strong and will face Karlovic in round 3. So aces to Fed and double faults to Nadal, Djokovic, and anyone else who stands in his way ;)

And just for fun to play along with the red carpet theme, here are my fave picks for the action shots on the court thus far...

fist pumping Federer

Kimmy the grunt Clijsters

the highlighter exploded on my clothes Fernando Verdasco

all hail Serena

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gridiron Belles: A Book Review

Written by my former classmate, Christie Mueller, this sweet read is a guide to Saturdays in Dixie for the football femmes. Combined with fancy pink font and football tactics, she explores the basics of life in the south: football, tailgates, and etiquette. She gives a full account of what a typical fall is like for twelve southern schools and their debutantes.

Testimonials from a variety of students attending Arkansas to Kentucky to LSU provide a peek into the college life, football style. Aside from giving every belle a guide to football terms, X's & O's, tailgate must haves, wardrobe dos & donts, and university profiles, Mueller reminds us of the south's great charm.

Ashley Judd may have said it best when she explained, "Tough girls from New York. Sweet girls, they're from Georgia. But us Kentucky girls, we have fire and ice in our blood. We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys, all the while making sweet tea darling'. And if we have an opinion, you know you're gonna hear about it." But Mueller runs a close second with her wit and charm.

If you're looking for a great hostess gift, coffee table eye candy, or a treat for yourself, pick up a copy of Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Contraband: A Movie Review

Markie Mark

Mark Wahlberg is smokin' (hot) and extremely talented. I'll see any movie he acts in. Don't care about the reviews but then again I never do. Couldn't careless about the storyline. If he's in it, I'm there. So when the previews came out, Contraband was no different. I had to see it. Ryan and I made a date night out of it on Saturday.

When you combine Markie Mark and gangsta thrills, you will no doubt get a cinema win. Contraband has an all-star cast consisting of Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, and Giovanni Ribisi with a suspenseful and twisted plot.

Young Andy (newcomer Caleb Jones) tries to earn his stripes as a con-artist by smuggling drugs across the waterways of the U.S., but as customs comes aboard the ship, he dumps the goods into the water. He quickly learns that running tricks for Tim Briggs (Ribisi) is a no non-sense game. Farraday (Wahlberg) gets wind of the mishap his little brother-in-law created and agrees to settle the debt. What ensues is a riveting turn of events filled with lies and betrayals of family and friends. Can a retired con-man save his whole family or will he lose it all?

If you love thrillers and Mark W as much as I do, check out his latest film! Below is the trailer for a sneak peek...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Music Mondays

In honor of my sweet sister and her birthday, rock it out Ken ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

People's Choice Awards

Kaley Cuoco did a great job hosting her first awards show, in my opinion. I can't imagine just making the big screen with a sitcom then being asked to follow up Neil Patrick Harris with hosting duties. But she used her sweetness and her spice to create several funnies throughout the night.


With Betty White about to hit 90, her TV time is rapidly increasing. She reminds me of my late Mama Comley in looks and her sass reminds me of my late Mama Collins. I'd love to meet her in my lifetime. And I was thrilled to see her sitcom Hot in Cleveland won an award.

such a cute lady!

Other highlights included Faith Hill taking the stage in what seemed like a decade, Adam Sandler' s hilarious speech attributing his many teachers for his success, and Emma Stone taking home two trophies for favorite movie actress and favorite movie comedic actress.

Who were your choices for the people's fave?

The View

I don't generally care for the cast of The View (aside from Elizabeth Hassleback who seems to be the only one with any sense). Barbara Walters is well past her prime. Whoopi makes me nauseous with her pajama outfits. And Joy B is a miserable person all around. (I'm indifferent to Sherri). Their personalities often override the talented guests which makes watching the show difficult.

But last week I was pleasantly surprised at their ability to put their egos aside and let the well-spoken and financially educated Suze Orman take the stage. Suze had so many great tips for the American public on how to get their finances back on track...independent of whatever happens to be going on with the government/economy.

Here are a few main points:
1. Using your debit card does not help give you FICO points which is not fair in her opinion.
2. NEVER borrow money from your 401K. Ever.
3. When it comes to saving for your kid(s)'s college funds, if you can't pay your everyday bills then you can't set aside money for that right now. A sad truth for many families.

**And a very important and interesting point for those political activists, the 8.3% unemployment rate does NOT include those who have stopped looking for employment. Making that number not very accurate. Something to think about come election time...

As you start your 2012, use these tips to help your financial situation. If you're really bold, pick up Suze Orman's new book: The Money Class.

available at Barnes & Nobles for just $13.00

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our New House

Our New House
 Since we have officially signed our contract and put the downpayment down, I finally feel comfortable revealing a few pics of what will be our new house. While it was a bit of a strenuous process for a newly wed couple, we thoroughly enjoyed looking at all of the different homes around Westchester County and Connecticut. There was something amazing about the charm of an old home built in the 1800's or the ornate decor of a family's humble abode. We certainly learned a lot about decorating styles too. The do's and the don'ts! And there is an incredibly unique feeling to be able to purchase a new home together.

The house is situated in the town of Ossining (right on the Crotonville border), county of Westchester, and state of New York. All very high tech terms when dealing with a contract so I learned. The county makes a U/V shape with the Hudson River on the left hand side, Manhattan at the southern point, and the CT border on the right hand side. We are situated on the northern part of the Hudson. There are several "river towns" and each has a quaint downtown area.

As for space, we are going from 900 square feet (condo in SF) to 5400 square feet. We will literally be swimming in space. I can.not. wait. To actually have them put boxes in separate rooms instead of in the middle of the condo because it is one, big, open area seems like a dream come true! It is a 4 bedroom, 2 full bath, 2 half-bath (which we will be converting one of them into a full bath). It has a formal living room, a dining room, an office, a family room, a two-room basement, and a bonus room. The house sits on .5 acres which doesn't sound like much but looks like a plethora of backyard. There is a gorgeous deck and ground level patio fit for entertaining. It is fully fenced in which means baby Beau is free to roam the property at his leisure. In fact, he will be living large in the mudroom equipped with his own bay window. He certainly lives the life.

Aside from changing some of the wall colors (i.e. I love Miami Hurricanes, but I don't want my basement painted in my alma mater's colors ;) ) and getting the carpet cleaned, we don't have much to do before moving in. And theoretically, we are move in ready and can do the changes as we go. I am so excited to put my pintrest finds to work!!! Oh and actually get my furniture into the house because Lord knows I have been buying pieces here and there ;)

So without further adieu, here is a link to our new home!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Goals & Resolutions

To play along with Bedazzles After Dark, I decided to express all of my goals/resolutions for 2012 to my blog followers. Nothing too earth shattering, but I think it is a good balance in bettering myself (i.e. working on patience with the house) and my relationships. Plus I had to include some fun stuff too (i.e. traveling ;) )!


  • Ryan- let the past go (once something has been discussed that is the end of it), "WE" mentality, support one another instead of attack
  • Family- rebuild relationship with mom (by spending one-on-one time together), weekly call with dad, continue growth with siblings, monthly note to nieces & nephews
  • Friends- plan girls trip for 2012, top 10 email monthly
Health & Fitness

  • take vitamin supplements (OMEGA 3 & memory)
  • monthly facial & quarterly massage
  • NY tennis league
  • yoga
  • monthly golf

  • IMG consulting events (Sony, Bank, New Haven, etc)
  • Bluegrass 1000
  • Crave Louisville


  • church group
  • neighborhood friends
  • ADPi group
  • SHA scholarship
  • nesting with pintrest & DIY projects
  • fully furnished & finished by June


  • French Open
  • snowboarding trips (UT & VT)
  • Tiffany's wedding

What are some of your goals and resolutions for 2012?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Home Sweet Hotel

As of January 1st, our official residence is the Hyatt Summerfield Suites in White Plains, NY. After 3 weeks of already living out of suitcases, what would a few more hurt? One would think about this time I would start going stir crazy and feeling incredibly unbalanced. I am not much for not having all of my stuff, living out of packed suitcases, or following a routine especially now that I have gotten older. Don't get me wrong, when traveling I love that type of lifestyle, but for my everyday life not so much. But to be honest, I am so exhausted and tired by about 5pm every day that I can't even complain or muster up the energy to organize this chaos we call our lives right now.

Instead I have resorted to simply letting things be until we close on our house. Yes that is right, we are buying a house. I blogged about how we couldn't agree on which house to put an offer on, but I failed to blog about how we came to a decision and went for it. Mainly because we made the offer as we were moving and enjoying our last few days in San Francisco. The negotiation of price kept going right on up to just before Christmas, and I was terrified to jinx the possibility of actually getting it. But we were able to mutually agree, the sellers and the buyers, on a reasonable price. The contract has been signed, and we are eagerly awaiting a closing date. **Fingers crossed for a date this month.

But while we await that date, I have a few pics to show of our "first" home in New York:

don't mind all of the bags and the chair I already bought for our house

suitcases, bags, and furniture oh my!

we stocked the fridge

we make our bed

we even hang clothes in the closet

Monday, January 9, 2012

Music Mondays

Such an inspiring song about love and strength...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Heading South for the Winter

Never a dull moment in my life. Honestly the fun just never seems to stop ;) Thanks to my dad and his love of motor vehicles, the motor coach has provided us with lots of quality family time and trip taking. Because who buys one of those things and intends to let it just sit there? Not my dad.

So on Monday the 26th, we headed down south to Naples for a little R&R before jumping into the new year. Seven adults, one toddler, and one baby seemed easy compared to the previous trip to Naples, but we definitely still faced a few challenges. Nothing a few Collins girls and in-laws couldn't handle though (Peter, bring in the laser!).

After a day and a half of playing scrabble (Taylor I hate you!), watching kiddie movies, and telling ridiculous jokes, we finally arrived in the sunshine state. We spent the week playing tennis, taking walks around the neighborhood, checking out houses to buy (for my parents), swimming in the Williamson's pool, dining in downtown Naples, playing golf & tennis, shopping on 5th Avenue, and just enjoying our time together.

Here are some snapshots of our family fun:

heading down south on the bus!

but not without Scrabble...

my little UK fan

hubby & wife 

love me some Bishop!

Peter & Bishop


out to dinner at Waterside

the "LV" girls ;)
Pete & his kiddos

Collins girls

the DeZarns!

daddy-o & I

matching golf outfits for this father/son-in-law


dinner at Bellini on 5th Ave

a little dessert

battle of the tennis champs

where I won!

better luck next time daddy ;)

brisk walk

Bishop ridin' in style

NYE on 3rd Avenue

mommy and daddy

ringing in 2012 at Tommy Bahamas

Monday, January 2, 2012

Music Mondays

Love starting out the new year to this jam...