January 28, 2009

Ultimate Workout Playlist

Music is the ultimate motivational tool for me at the gym. My workout playlist has different songs for warming up, lifting, running, walking, etc. If I'm not taking a class with a preset soundtrack, I usually put my workout playlist on shuffle and just skip around based on what I'm doing.
I've starred my very favorites in terms of motivation for me. Be warned - I always get the clean version and you may prefer to do the same. These songs do get me going, though!
I trained for my half marathon a few years ago using Ashlee Simpson's entire Autobiography album. I'm pretty tired of it by now, but it was great for me then so I'm including it below.
Take a look and let me know what your favorites are as well. I'd love to add some new music to my workout mix!
Autobiography - Ashlee Simpson
Pieces of Me
Little Miss Obsessive

*Single Ladies - Beyonce

Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
*Gimme More
Me Against the Music

Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams

How I Could Just Kill A Man - Charlotte Sometimes

*Forever - Chris Brown
Kiss Kiss

Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera

*What You Got - Colby O'Donis

*Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield

Mercy - Duffy

American Boy - Estelle

Leavin' - Jesse McCartney

Irresistible - Jessica Simpson
I Think I'm In Love With You

Green Light - John Legend

After Tonight - Justin Nozuka

FutureSex/LoveSounds - Justin Timberlake

Jesus Walks - Kanye West

Whine Up - Kat DeLuna

Over It - Katharine McPhee

*Hot N Cold - Katy Perry

Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson

***Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf

*Mr. Brightside - The Killers

Red Blooded Woman - Kylie Minogue

**Just Dance - Lady GaGa

I Will Love Again - Lara Fabian

The Right Kind of Wrong - Leann Rimes

Lollipop - Lil Wayne
A Milli
Got Money

Get It Shawty - Lloyd

In My Pocket - Mandy Moore

Harder to Breathe - Maroon 5
Through With You

Come On Get Higher - Matt Nathanson

*Closer - Ne-Yo

**So What - Pink

New Shoes - Paolo Nutini

*Fuego - Pit Bull

*When I Grow Up - Pussycat Dolls

Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
Breakin' Dishes
Pon de Replay

*Magic - Robin Thicke

**Live Your Life - T.I.
Whatever You Like

Lolli Lolli - Three 6 Mafia

Shut Up and Let Me Go - The Ting Tings

Love in This Club - Usher

Nolita Fairytale - Vanessa Carlton

Take Me on the Floor - The Veronicas
This Love
*This is How It Feels

25 Random Things About Me

I was tagged a number of times to do this on Facebook, so I thought I'd repost it here. I'd love to learn 25 new things about each of y'all on your own blogs!

1. I was born in England, where my dad was opening a UK branch of a South Carolina-based company; we flew home when I was six months old. As a result, I can't donate blood - something about Mad Cow disease?

2. My first name is after my maternal grandmother, who was German. Watching a teacher's face as she tried to pronounce it on the first day of every school year was terrible! Thankfully Anne is a lot easier to say.

3. I don't sing in the shower but I do sing constantly in the car.

4. I'll reread a well-loved book until it falls apart.

5. I'd rather change a diaper than a tire. I sincerely hope that doesn't make me a stereotype.

6. I believe 2009 is the year of the scarf.

7. More than two years after I got it, I still stare at my engagement ring well more than anyone should. I got a new ring for Christmas, so now I'm staring at both hands and looking straight crazy...

8. I have never smoked a thing.

9. The only beer I'll sip is this delicious raspberry Belgian concoction, Lindeman's Framboise. I think it's 1% alcohol and 99% juice, but it's fabulous!

10. I don't drink coffee but love Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. Nothing helps me get through a work day quite as effectively as popping open a cold DC.

11. I don't eat cheese except on pizza.

12. I wish I was Italian; pasta and gelato are two of my favorite things!

13. I eat everything plain. No ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, sauerkraut, salad dressing, alfredo or other heavy sauces. Essentially I'm a preschool eater in a grown up's body.

14. I used to wear way more pink and green than you can imagine. I'm broadening my accessory choices these days, though, and leaning towards a lot more purple. (And orange, of course. Go Tigers!)

15. My dog Blue is one of my favorite people (yes, people) on Earth.

16. A DVR has been both the best and worst thing ever to happen to my free time. I follow way too many TV shows - Mad Men, LOST, The Office, 30 Rock and The Bachelor.

17. My favorite places in the world are Paris, Clemson and Charleston - or any South Carolina beach. I'd rather hang out at home with friends than alone anywhere else, though. I'm a total extrovert and a believer that who you're with matters more than where you are.

18. I could sleep 10 hours a day if left to my own devices. During the week I aim for eight.

19. I've spoken at my college and high school graduations, plus a few other big events that left me more excited than scared. Speaking in front of a small group of people, particularly those who mean a lot to me, gets me much more nervous than 11,000 people in Littlejohn Coliseum ever could.

20. I'm trying really hard to learn to cook. It's a work in progress. My two favorite cookbooks are one devoted solely to breakfast and another to soups.

21. I eat grits as a meal any time of day. I have also been known to drink sweet tea with brunch. Life without those two staples is hard to imagine.

22. I've adopted Dolly Parton's mantra from Steel Magnolias - no one cries alone in my presence. That entire movie is pretty much quotable genius. I can't even discuss "two pigs fighting under a blanket" without laughing 'til I cry.

23. I generally refuse to cry in front of people I'm not extremely close to - so I guess that's a compliment to you if you've ever seen my splotchy, crying face.

24. I always carry hand sanitizer, Burt's Bees, lip gloss and a tiny hair brush. At work I usually stock Shout wipes, too. Don't laugh - everyone always asks to borrow my "grandma" supplies!

25. As loud and over the top as I can be, my husband Bradley and my friends are still the funniest people I know. Believe it or not, I tend to be silently sitting, listening and bent over laughing when we're all together.

January 25, 2009

I knew I wasn't alone!

I am not the only gal south of, well, anywhere who is on the hunt for addictive and budget-friendly accessories. It's difficult to have a closet full of options if they're all high end, n'est-ce pas? Let's save our splurges for the truly timeless...perfect jeans, amazing bag, vacation in the tropics. That's another post for another day, though.

Apparently some grown and girly bloggers have caught on to the Walmart scarf trend. Like Brandi below, I am also a Target girl through and through. But you can't beat $5 with a stick, even if you have to admit your super chic accessory is from the home of the Rollback smiley face!

Here is Brandi's suggestion for tying a scarf. While you're looking, you also need to get hooked on Bring the Rain, Angie's blog where the original query was posed. Big Mama, our first video tutor, is a great read as well. Enjoy, gals!

Scarf Conversations from Brandi Wilson on Vimeo.

Before you start another crazy week....

1. Tell me a few of your favorite gym songs. I am working on a fabulous new playlist and absolutely welcome your suggestions. I use it as a total excuse for all of the crap, um, pop music on my iPod. Britney, Three 6 Mafia, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Kevin Rudolf, Kanye, Christina, Mandy Moore - whaaat? I know, I know. I keep it to the clean versions, but a girl's got to keep it exciting if she wants to tempt herself onto the treadmill. So add a little to my playlist... I promise to take your advice!

2. Be in prayer for a Clemson graduate and Columbia native who could certainly use them! This adorable girl is engaged to be married this spring and has found out she has two brain tumors. She's set for surgery this Tuesday the 27th to see if they are benign or malignant. I'm praying for beningn!!

3. Join me in hoping that the groundhog predicts a quick and sunny spring next week!!

4. Take a moment to (finally) learn how to tie a stylish scarf. Also, enjoy a good Southern accent, some lovely lady chatter and a bit of good insight into Bachelor contestants' fashion faux pas. This will totally be me in ten years - if I'm lucky, that is!! It goes to show that sorority-style gal pals never go out of fashion!

Scarf Tying 101 from Big Mama on Vimeo.

Fortunately, I can wear stylishly chic jeans, heels and scarves to work. I think I wore one every day last week. Newly acquired are hot pink, lime green and charcoal from (yes, you're reading this correctly) Wal-Mart. I walked by to grab some eye cream and what do you know - they've got cute pashminas!

Add to that my gorgeous orange gift pashmina from K.Dub, the purple one my friend Jennifer just forced me to purchase, a red one that got broken in over the holidays and a mauve one from my summer in Paris well before they were in style - well, you can see how easy it is to throw one on over a t-shirt and call yourself a fashionista.

Have a fabulous, fabulous week, y'all!

January 23, 2009

Tweet tweet!

Is anyone tweeting? (Is that even the right term?) Follow me on Twitter!

January 21, 2009

To warm your heart...

...as you thaw your limbs. Had to share a few things that have made me smile in the middle of a long, chilly work week.

Valentine's Day sweets

The promise of summer - and adorable swimsuits

Any excuse to spend an evening celebrating!

This notepad and the very concept

The whole house these pictures come from and the blogger who lives there.

Hydrangeas, stationery, porcelain and monograms.

A glass bottle for water-drinking cube-dwellers - green and genius!

Brightly patterned linens

Sweet folksy valentines

Grown-up paper art

A gorgeous blue door

A cozy orange reading nook

Roses and ranunculus

Patriotism - and a good set of shutters.

Even with all of these warm fuzzy thoughts in my brain, there's still one last thing to share:

Soup, anyone?

My very very favorite thing in the bitterly cold, gray and boring months of winter is a good batch of soup. (It's always better when Mom makes it, but I'm learning...)

My favorites are beef vegetable and (in the vein of Olive Garden's unbelievably addictive recipe) pasta e fagioli.

I'm dying for some new soup recipes. What are your favorites? And how easy are they? (No cheese, please. Y'all know me!)

This post should perhaps be titled: Old Married Lady Part Deux, but I'm hoping someone else shares my affinity for soup this time of year. Add a little cornbread, some super comfy pjs and a good movie and you've got the perfect night!

This is what 18 months of marriage will do to a girl...

Today marks a year and half since Bradley and I said "I do." Keep that in mind as a little bit of an excuse as you read.

In preparation for the greatest snowstorm that never was, I ran by Target to grab a variety of excitingly mundane things for "the house." (If you're not aware, that's code for "I want to see what cute Valentine's day items/fancy British make up/new Isaac Mizrahi shoes Target is stocking.")

Knowing that many people would be preparing their generators for a total black-out and seven days of powerless living due to a few flakes, I decided to get only the basics. Diet Coke, an exciting new face cream, lip gloss, hangers for my as-yet-unaccomplished closet overhaul, whitening toothpaste, bread, milk, peanut butter and Febreze. So, essentially, the works.

No need to lecture me about American consumerism or the desire to substitute things for love, or the plot of modern day "Mad Men" to have us buy any little thing we lay our eyes on. I work in advertising. I know the drill. And therefore I appreciate mocking a ridiculous TV spot or the absolutely unnecessary product it's pitching. (For instance, the new creamy fabric softening scents from Snuggle. And the 'ladies who lunch' while discussing their, ahem, inner workings and the benefits of probiotic yogurt.)

I know when we're being taken advantage of, when a "free gift with purchase" is just a trap and when we women in particular are being targeted through a variety of stereotypical assumptions and marketing ploys. The problem? I'm fully aware, absolutely mindful and I still fall for it. Hook, line and sinker. Every time.

What's this have to do with Target? So glad you asked. In my whirlwind trip to grab just the basics, I, um, happened upon the laundry aisle. I did need Febreze, after all. Blue loves a deliciously scented couch!

The problem? They were all sold out of Snuggles' almonds and cream swirl fabric softener. Sold out! Perhaps in preparation for all the laundry we Upstaters would be doing during the invisible snowstorm?

Anyway, it didn't matter. I wasn't going to buy it, y'all. Just smell it. I mean, I love almond. I was actually kind of (sadly) excited about it.

So now it's public knowledge: I'm an old married lady with few other highlights in her day besides oohing over the aroma of a new fabric softener.

If it's this bad eighteen months in, people, I'm going to need y'all to send for help when we hit the ten year mark.

Hope you're bundled up and cozy!!

January 18, 2009

Stop the presses...

Letter presses, that is. Lilly Pulitzer is coming with a line of stationery. Why didn't someone think of this sooner? Genius!! Until we see the price tag, of course...

January 16, 2009

Watch it now.

Say you didn't buy the perfume, stand in awe of the fabulous choreography, envy Debbie's bedazzled outfit, know the words whoo-for-whoo and attempt to replicate her every jazzy hand motion.

No, seriously. Please say that. Because that musk in the fabulous spiral bottle left a lot to be desired in the scent department, no matter how cute Miss Gibson was in the late 80s.

Take a peek at Electric Youth.

(Do the first few seconds have anyone else reminiscing for the days of pegged jeans, big hair, vests on both genders and Michael Jackson's original nose? No? Okay, you're right. Maybe just the first few iterations of MJ's nose. What a sight the King of Pop is today...)

January 13, 2009

And the outbreak continues...

Sigh. Sigh. Deeper sigh.

With one of the Hollywood's most private and seemingly successful marriages, an adorable toddler and publicly discussed family priorities, I have long considered Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner to be fabulous (if famous) parents.

When their first daughter was born in 2005 I was thrilled to see that, unlike so many other stars, they named their little girl Violet Anne Affleck. Named after her grandmothers and not a favorite after-dinner snack, the preschooler is no doubt an outcast on the celebrity playground. In the real world, however, she'll do just fine.

I was happy to hear that Ben and Jen (version 2.0) welcomed another daughter last week. The name was made public today.

They bestowed upon their sweet, helpless, undoubtedly adorable daughter the name Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck.
Please say the last three are her "official" names and that Affleck's publicist is playing a horrible joke on us. Seraphina? Really?

Ridiculous celebrity baby names have become such an epidemic that there is both a blog devoted full-time to the cause and an online name generator.

My dear friend Jennifer has always wanted to name her future celebrity spawn GrapeNuts, so she may be a bit disconcerted to hear that my future daughter's name, according to the generator, should be Granola Cranberry Smith. Beautiful Granola's twin brother Comet Khaki Smith will probably go by "CK" for short. Natch.

What is your generated name? Have any celebrity favorites?

(Bronx Mowgli Wentz, with his super-luxe initials and extra consonant-y "Bronx Wentz" nametag is a current fave. But Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale is also a top competitor. Perhaps Lunesta Ambien Cialis Zyrtec Jolie-Pitt is not too far behind?)

January 12, 2009

On rising, shining and starting a (soon-to-be) fabulous week

I will be reading this every hour on the hour, if needed, to ensure that this week flies by and stays productive, exciting, energizing and all-around fabulous. Feel free to do the same!

"Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work, hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest, prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkle of play, and a cupful of good humor."

Happy, happy Monday, mes amies!!

January 11, 2009

Notes to Self

*Pack a fleece when you go to the gym and it's 25 degrees outside. You might be warm walking in wearing a coat, but walking out in capri length running pants and a t-shirt is going to bite you. And entering the grocery store dressed like that will just make you feel a bit crazy.

*While we're on the subject, don't buy a month's worth of groceries dressed like that. Your husband won't be home to help you unload them, and your dog will look at you like you're an idiot as you come in and out of the cold no less than 1500 times toting enough food for a small country.

*Kiss that dog, though, for following you to and from the car all 1500 times. So chivalrous.

*Stop pretending to be embarrassed when you run out to check the mail mid-Saturday in your new pajama pants. After all, they ARE the most comfortable things you've ever put on. Why shouldn't you wear them for more than eight hours at a time?

*Quit online shopping already! It was fine for Christmas; that was for other people. Just because you aren't physically carrying out the bags, though, doesn't mean it "doesn't count." The mailman must think you have some kind of clicking addiction, judging by the number of packages he's delivered in the two years you've lived here.

*Clean your closet out already! How can you even know what you have if your accessories are tossed all willy-nilly about the closet and in your dresser? Your storage system is Martha Stewart's nightmare... Get it together! (At least then you can semi-sort of justify your "super sale free shipping totally necessary" online slip-up.)

*Find a way to explain to Blue that, if Bradley has to work at night, staring out the dining room window after he drives away won't bring him home any sooner. Besides, it's just plain pitiful to watch. (If you thought it'd work, though, you know you'd be right there with him.)

*Not making any New Year's resolutions may be the best decision you've ever (coincidentally) made on the first of January. So far you've managed more water, trips to the gym, veggies and stairs-over-elevator decisions than any other year. Take that, list-making addiction!!

*Stop dreading Mondays and start counting your blessings. Hit the hay early, tear your dog's nose away from the dining room window, and prepare to rise and shine. (Rising alone is no longer going to cut it!!)

*Write more and get back to reading your favorite blogs! Life is a little bleaker without the exciting online commentary of your favorite authors. (Don't make it a resolution, though. You're anti-that this year, remember?)

*Send out those well overdue Christmas thank you notes already.

*Stop talking to yourself as though you're schizophrenic...it's kind of creepy!

Hope y'all have less conversations in your head than I do this evening. Happy Sunday night and have a fabulous week! xoxo

January 7, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Life is so crazy right now, y'all. Isn't January supposed to be long, gray, slow and boring? It's been awfully gray and cloudy lately, but as for slow - it's not happening.

Work is crazy, getting to the gym (and finding a parking spot!) is a struggle and finding time to whip up dinner is wearing me out. Hats off to you parents who juggle ten thousand things all year round!!

I promise I'm not whining, just sharing the tiny reasons I haven't been as chatty lately. I have much to share and even more I want to hear about your holidays.

So there's more to come and very soon, I assure you. In the meantime, please take a peek at the bits and pieces that have been most fascinating in the not-gray, not work-related celebrity world.

-Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn had their twin daughters this week. And named them....wait for it....Charlie Tamara Tulip and Dolly Rebecca Rose. Dolly after their favorite singer Ms. Parton; Charlie after Jerry's brother, a former TV Bachelor. I'm going to save comment for another day, because I just don't know where to start!

-In a similar vein, Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacman Pacquiao and his wife Jinky named their baby Queen Elizabeth. Yes, you read that correctly. Little comes close to Jermajesty Jackson, nephew of king of pop (and king of normalcy) Michael, but this is an impressive attempt.

-And in a delicious piece of news as we work off the holiday pounds, having a big derriere can be good for your health. Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez will be co-hosting a party, y'all. Don't worry, I'm sure I'm on the guest list. Enjoy!!

January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Such a long silence! What a wonderful holiday and a much-enjoyed vacation I've had, though. Hope your Christmases and New Years were just plain fabulous.

Promise to catch up tomorrow. So much to share and I can't wait to hear what you've all been up to as well. Miss y'all!! xoxo


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