Monday, August 23, 2010

Feliz Cumpleanos!


Last night Taylor and I went to a surprise Mexican birthday party for our dear friend Carolyn Grace! I think she may have had an inkling that something was up, but it didn't matter--she was still super excited, and plus we got to yell "Surprise!" and blow noisemakers...that's all the really matters, right? :)

Taylor and William, the sweet husband of the birthday girl, and our dear friend as well. He planned a great party! What a sweet present for her birthday in their first year of marriage!

We love this couple!! As you can tell, we called each other ahead of time and color-coordinated our outfits.



Kidding.


After the par-tay/fiesta we had the pleasure of Wade (another sweet friend--she's the one in the pink in the first picture of this post) coming over to the house for a while to hang out and talk about life. I can honestly say that I feel uplifted about life in general, and encouraged in my walk with the Lord, every time I have a long conversation with her. (Which is often, considering we have been through pretty much everything together since we were 4, and I see her almost every day. For anyone reading this who doesn't know us personally, we have been through every possible type of school together--from kindergarten to elementary to high school, college and the same sorority, to dental school. Crazy!) We love you Wade!


On another note--can I just go ahead and shamelessly profess my love for high school football?? We had plans this past Friday night and so we missed the first game of our high school's season, but I plan to make as many as we can! There's just something about it...not to mention the fact that it means cooler weather is coming, and coming soon! I am normally a summer-loving girl, and I still am, but this summer has been so unbearably hot that I am longing for those cold Friday football nights when I can get some hot chocolate from the concession stand ("Hey, Mrs. So-and-so, so good to see you! ____(insert son's name here) made such an awesome play last week!"), squirm my way back up through the bleachers, speaking to everyone along the way, and snuggle back up next to Taylor and at some point in the course of the night get away with wearing his big camo jacket that always seems to be warmer than whatever I brought! He is so sweet to always keep me warm!


My nephews Carter and Kyle are playing high school and junior high football, respectively, so I can't wait to see them in action again this year!


Now I'm off to indulge my guilty pleasure....watching ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Make fun of me if you will, but I love it! Taylor is having a man-night at the deer camp tonight with his dad, my dad, and his brother, so I am indulging watching the shows he's not so keen on. :) And I need to get in an hour or so of studying too. Wish me luck!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review!

I recently read this book:

Now I know that for some people, the book was controversial. Reason being, it takes the truths of the Bible, the Trinity in particular, and applies them in an allegorical form. The story is a gripping one: a man has lost his youngest daughter in a horrible abduction incident. (My sister-in-law, from whom I borrowed the book, warned me of this ahead of time. She and my brother have four little girls, and I think this part of the book must be terribly difficult to read if you have small children. It was hard for me and I don't have kids yet!) The rest of the book is how he deals with himself and with God in relation to such an awful event in his life. The main character, Mack, is a Christian, but after the incident with his daughter, he finds himself distanced from God and not really desiring to return to a close relationship with Him. He is full of distrust, hurt, and bitterness. One day a note appears in his mailbox, a note that he believes either is either a terrible joke or a letter from God.

I won't give away any of the rest of the story, but I must say that I thought it was an excellent read! I devoured it in less than two days, and it was a huge encouragement to me in my daily quiet times and relationship with the Lord. Now, I won't say that you should take letter for letter the theology of the book and write it in blood or anything, but I think that it may be a huge encouragement to someone who feels that God is a formal, faraway, impersonal deity who cares nothing about them and their everyday life and concerns.

I don't want to give away any more details of the story, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

I haven't been reading as much as I'd like in the last well, three years, really (isn't that sad?) because of dental school. My brain has been on such information overload that I can't even bear to open another book when I get home. But now that I am in such a clinically focused time in school, and have been for about a year, I think my brain has had time to refresh and heal itself and I'm ready for reading once again! It truly is one of my favorite things to do, plus it is so good for your brain! And your vocabulary. I'm kind of a vocab snob. I like to know lots of words and be able to use them frequently. That's my little competitive, bossy 5th grade former self coming back out. If I start trying to dominate the four square court on the playground again, somebody stop me.

Speaking of school and reading, I need to get back to it! This weekend commences operation Study for National Boards Because They Are Scary and Coming Up Soon. Also known as SNBBTASCUS. Just kidding. But for real about the studying and starting NOW. I'll be taking the test in mid-November, and will be trying to balance classes, seeing patients, and studying between now and then. Please pray for me if you think about it!

Off to hit the books for a bit, then a Mexican dinner with our friends Lane and Bo! Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to the Grind

Well, since I last posted, we've taken another trip, this time to Nashville for a family friend's wedding. Nashville is, I think, my other favorite city in these great united states. If I lived anywhere but here, it would be Nashville or New York. Which is funny, because they are so vastly different. Nashville has such a cool, young vibe with the plus of an almost small-town, laid back, everybody-knows-everybody kind of feel. It lives up to it's nickname of Music City, with dozens of big-name acts making appearances every weekend, and hundreds if not thousands of music hopefuls strumming their gee-tars and hoping to catch someone's ear. (As an aside, my BFF lives there, and she informed me that the most used and most popular pickup line among Nashville guys is, "Hey, we should write together sometime..." HA!). Here's a pic of us from the weekend:




Taylor and I headed up to Nashville Thursday morning, by way of Oxford. We stopped there for a couple of business meetings Taylor needed to tend to, which was more than fine by me! I got to eat at Bottetree and read the local paper and my current book(possibly my favorite pasttime ever. fyi I'm currently reading Willie Morris' New York Days, will give a report later), and I got to hang out with my sweet friend Carley Ann, who just got married a couple of weeks ago while I was in NYC!

After that short stop, it was off to Nashville! The drive was nice, including a couple of stops (because my bladder is small as a pea, seriously...poor Taylor), and then he dropped me off at a cool coffee shop in hillsboro village called Fido. I continued my reading while he had his business meetings, and then he came back later to join me. That night we had a delicious dinner at an Asian fusion restaurant called P.M., and we ran into our friends Will and Allie. It was so good to see them! Then met my BFF for some after dinner coffee at the coffeehouse next door, Bongo Java. (I love that name...so fun to say! Bongo Java Bongo Java Bongo Java! Sounds like drums...bongos!) Then off to our hotel, the Hutton, for some shut-eye.

Friday morning Taylor dropped me off at a cool shopping center with (you guessed it) a coffeeshop, so I could find a cool bday present for Emily and have a place to read and study. One of my dear friends, Tricia, picked me up for a great lunch at a little eatery called the Picnic. Our friend Scarlet, who just recently moved to Nashville to get her MBA at Vandy, met us there. It was SO good to see these sweet girls! I wish I had thought to get a pic of the three of us!

That night Taylor, Em, and I met our friends Blake and Ally at a brand new Nashville restaurant, Burger Up! It's in the 12South district, which is an up-and-coming area of urban renewal. We loved the restaurant...the burgers were so flavorful! All the ingredients are local, with a touch of flair such as the Jack Daniels maple ketchup that is served alongside the restaurants sweet potato fries. Can you say YUM?
This was followed by popsicles from the famous Las Paletas. I have to confess that over the course of the weekend I had three, yes three, popsicles from this place. I justify this by the fact that it was over 95 degrees just about the whole time we were there! I tried to be adventurous though! Friday night I had an avocado one, and Saturday I had cucumber with peppers and chocolate with chocolate chips as my lunch! Here is their chalkboard with most of the flavors:


The next day Tay and I, Emily and her roommate, Emily, (confusing, I know!), Taylor's parents Mark and Lisa, and our good friends the Roberts, all met for breakfast at the Nashville favorite, the Pancake Pantry. I had the Santa Fe pancakes, which have cheddar cheese, green chilies, and bacon cooked into them! If you've never been to the Pancake Pantry, you should most definitely go on your next trip to Nashville! A bit of advice though: go early, and be prepared to wait. The line is always long, but it moves quickly.

That day we went to the 7th annual Tomato Festival, in East Nashville. This included such funzies as a tomato haiku contest (1st prize, an Ipad-these people don't play!), a wet burrito contest (who can eat a burrito the fastest while being sprayed with a water hose), lots of vendors of local art, and a redhead contest! It was really fun but Lordy moses it was HOT. We went with Mark and Lisa and the Roberts after breakfast, but had to take a break for a while before we went back later in the afternoon to see Emily and Emily enter the redhead contest. (Which they did not win...it was rigged, I tell you, rigged!) Then a quick visit with Taylor's cousin, Rebecca, and back to the hotel. Here's a pic of Taylor and me melting away, holding giant tomato-shaped fans:




That night was the wedding, which was beautiful and lots of fun!

All in all, it was a great trip! I'm still waiting on some pics from my NYC trip, and I'll hopefully get to post those soon! Also, coming up, a couple of book reviews! It's back to school for me tomorrow though, and back to the grind. I had a mini-meltdown yesterday about how badly I do NOT want to push through these last 10 months of dental school. I love what I do, the actual dentistry and patient part of it, but I do NOT love the way the dental school is run. But sweet Taylor encouraged me, and as I must, I am just going to smile and make the best of it! I hope you are having a great end-of-summer!

Friday, August 6, 2010

NYC, FYI

I'm baaaaack. :) As you probably guessed, I was (in my opinion) in one of, if not THE most wonderful city in the world! New York City. Ahhh...I get a little shiver up my spine when I simply say the name. It is truly an amazing place. If you've never been, go there ASAP. It really is the city that never sleeps. Case in point: on the way to a VIP rap concert (yes, ME, at a rap concert...more info shortly) at about 11:30 pm our cab passed by a hair salon....which was brightly lit and bustling as if it were 11:30 am. It is the city of whatever you want, whenever you want. No wonder we are a culture who demands instant gratification...in our finest cities, it is present in its most intense form. I am waiting on pics from my sweet friend Emily, who housed me for the entire WEEK I was in NYC. I will try to post a few soon while I'm waiting on them.

First of all--the reason I took the trip: as part of the elective hours I am required to complete for my fourth year of dental school, I completed an endodontic externship at New York University's dental school. It involved shadowing the endodontic (root canal specialists, in case you are unfamiliar) residents as they worked, observing surgeries, and picking the brains of the students for whatever knowledge I could glean from them. It was a wonderful experience, both educationally and socially! I chose NYU because I love New York so much. I have always wanted to live there for at least a short while, but I'm not sure that is in the cards for me. So I told Emily that I wanted to feel like a real New Yorker for a week! She was a wonderful hostess.

Day 1: arrived at LaGuardia airport around 7 pm and hopped in a very talkative cab driver's yellow taxi. Met up with Em and her roommate Musette (how beautiful is that name?) at their cute as a button apartment near the Village. Unloaded my stuff and set out for one of their favorite restaurants, Gemma. I highly recommend it! I ordered a delicious summer salad. Went by Whole Foods (YUM!) to pick up some breakfast goodies for my stay and stopped in a nearby subway stop to get set up with a MetroCard for the week.

Day 2: Woke up early and headed to the subway. I got off at the right stop without a hitch (thank you, thank you) and found NYU dental school without any problems. Emily let me borrow a great map of the NYC subway system that was a total lifesaver. Met all the residents--from places as diverse as Egypt, Korea, Poland, Romania, good ole USA, Iran, Puerto Rico, and Syria. They were unbelievably kind to me and taught me SO much over the course of the week. For any dental people reading this, I got to see an apexification case on a pediatric patient this day. After work went down to the Times Square area to see the bright lights and get in the groove of the city! Then met up with Em, Musette, and another friend of theirs for dinner at a Mexican place, Mole, known for their (surprise surprise) guacamole!

Day 3: Woke up early with Em for a morning workout--power walking along the Hudson River. Subway, work, explored the Village and Little Italy, and ate PINKBERRY for the first time!!! If you haven't heard of Pinkberry, it's amazing frozen yogurt that can be found in New York, LA, and a few other cities. It's delish!
Ok...so now comes the rap concert. SO not my normal style. Emily has a friend in NYC who works for a company called Vevo that films famous artists in private venues for music videos to be posted on YouTube. He had a particular event going on this night with rappers Nas, T-Pain, and a Tribe Called Quest. These names sounded familiar today, and I know these guys are pretty famous, but due to the fact that I am not a big fan of rap, I didn't really know anything about them. But I figured, hey, I'm in New York and have an invite to a VIP only concert...why not?? So we went to a small little venue underneath a hotel and saw an awesome rap concert! I had no idea what those guys were saying but hey I was there! :) Probably the best part was when we got ushered to the front of the line outside the club...I felt like I was in a movie!

Day 4: slept in a little, since the rappers hadn't even STARTED playing (rapping?) until 1 am...again, not my normal scene! Em headed out to Queens to teach tennis (her weekend job--this girl works HARD, I am telling you) and I ate a leisurely brunch at the apartment and headed out to explore. Sweet Taylor told me I could buy a new dress for the party we would be attending that night. (More on that in a min.) So I found this cute little boutique called Pinkyotto and found a GREAT dress! I haven't bought a really nice dress in a while, so it was fun. I always feel particularly pretty when I get to wear something new.
That night we went down to one of the Piers and hopped on a HUGE boat for a joint birthday party for three of Emily's friends. We cruised around Manhattan. It was so cool to see the city from the water like that, plus we got a really close up view of the Statue of Liberty.

Day 5: Woke up fairly early and headed down to the Times Square TKTS booth to get discounted tickets for the musical Memphis! It won the Tony for best musical this year, and let me tell you, it was WELL deserved! Go see it if you get the chance. We hit up Gemma again for brunch...I got pane e nutella and a tomato basil frittata. Mmmmm. Headed down to the theater district for Memphis. It did not disappoint! Then uptown for church at Redeemer Pres. I LOVED attending a service there. Their main pastor, Tim Keller wasn't there, but the assistant pastor was wonderful. I love attending church in New York, simply because of the diversity. I feel like I am in the middle of what the kingdom of heaven will truly look like. People from every tribe and nation! Back to the apartment after church, leftovers for dinner. (New York is expensive!)

Day 6: Subway, work, took a LONG walk from NYU to Central Park, just happening to pass by Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales along the way...nothing wrong with a little window shopping! :) Then took an ice cream break at Dylan's Candy Bar, aka heaven on earth. Met up with Em and took a power walk in Central Park. I had probably walked, no lie, a total of 8 or 10 miles that day!! My feet were worn out!! Headed back to the apartment, ordered pizza from Lombardi's, New York City and America's first pizza place!, curled up on the couch and watched the Bachelorette finale--which was very entertaining by the way!

Day 7: Work, took off at lunchtime since it was my last day to enjoy NYC and headed again to the TKTS to nab a last minute ticket to see Promises, Promises, a comedic musical with Kristen Chenoweth and Sean Hayes (the hilarious guy from Will and Grace). Headed down to Canal Street to see if I could find a purse for my sister..no luck. Back to the apartment for a quick dinner of oatmeal and berries (I was using up the breakfast food I had bought!), and headed down to Broadway solo to see Promises Promises. Em was leading a Bible study that night, and since I only had one last night, I decided to skip it and see one more musical instead. Met back up with Em for prayer at the end of the Bible study at her apartment, then packed up and turned in!

Day 8: to the airport and home! I was SO excited to see Taylor...we have not been apart for this long since we've been married.

Will post pics soon! Hope this gave a little insight into the life of a New Yorker, at least as I lived it for a week!