Thursday, October 13, 2011

Classy or Trashy? Boone's or Bordeaux?

I've been gone awhile, I know. Don't hate. I do what I want.

No, no, I kid. Really, I've been changing jobs, decorating my house, obsessing over my animals and generally being a crazy person. Thus, I've grossly neglected my blog and for this I apologize.

Moving on...It's almost the most important holiday of the year ***ahem, my birthday***. I've decided to throw myself my very own party under the guise of Huzbo (terribly self-involved, I know) and we're going for a dress up (duh) theme. Wait for it...CLASSY/TRASHY WINE AND CHEESE PARTY! I get to dress up as Snooki and get fancy with expensive wine and gourmet cheese. Or, inversely, I get to dawn my old prom dress (yeah, right) and sip Boone's. I'm a genius, it's true.

So, we have 18 or so folks signed up to attend the shindig and I've been scouring the internets trying to find quality ideas for party decor and games. My search has thus far proved unfruitful. I need help. Gimmie your creative suggestions (if you're still reading). Please?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pugfest: The Happiest Place on Earth

It doesn’t even matter that this post is like two months overdue. You’re about to forget it because I am going to blow your mind with the cutest pictures you’ve ever seen. EVER!

Last month we attended, for the second year in a row, Pugfest, our local Pug Rescue’s annual festival, celebrating the most unconditionally happy, loving, affectionate and interesting creatures in all of the world. I am the proud person of such a being, Murphy the Pug Extraordinaire. He also happens to be the most handsome of his breed and though he only holds one beauty title – 2007 Runner up for Cutest Dog in Hillcrest (he was robbed), I think you can only agree with me. Here he is with all of his Pugfest 2010 pals:

Murphy's the ferocious one. He's pretending, of course.

Tucker the baby pug. Just as cute sideways.

Pug lady, with some of her pugs, plus Murphy. Later, for the costume contest, they all dressed up like pumpkins and went as a pugkin patch. Cute overload.
This sweet guy looks like Yoda in a sweater, with his little dark face. Sometimes Murph gets this grumpy, embarrassed face when I try to dress him up. Not a fan.
Murphy in his Razorback sweater. Aside from any day he gets people food or a treat, Pugfest is his favorite day. He loves communing with his kind.

Pugfest was super fun and we all enjoyed hanging out with these super loving and affectionate dogs, but there were also several sweet animals - some with health issues, some who had been abused and some who's owners didn't want to or couldn't care for them anymore. The NWA Pug Rescue is run by a group of really generous, hardworking people who really love these animals and want to find them loving, caring people to live with. If you are interested, you can learn more at

Friday, November 12, 2010


T minus 8 days until the Great Hensley-Nichols’ European Adventure 2010. That’s right, folks, Huzbo and I fly out of XNA next Saturday bright and early at 6 a.m. Yes, it’s early and yes, we do have a nine hour layover in Atlanta, but let’s focus on the important stuff, here. Like German beer and Czech beer and Austrian beer. And all of that other fun Euro-cool stuff.

So we’ll arrive in Munich on Sunday and have reservations at the Wombat City Hostel for the first two nights. I’ve stayed there before and love it. Super fun, clean and two blocks from the train station. I love hostels, mostly because I love the possibility, even probability, of meeting super interesting, open-minded people from around the world. Steven thinks it’s going to be sketchy and uncomfortable. He’s lame, though, so I don’t listen to him.

While in Munich, we’ll definitely have to spend some time at the Hofbrauhaus and I really want to visit the remains of the Nazi concentration/death camp, Dachau. I missed visiting any Holocaust memorials on my last trip, but will definitely be going this time around. It’s not exciting at all, but I think it’s super important to go, pay tribute and recognize the people that lived through and died during that horrible time in history.

Tuesday we’ll leave Munich for Prague and I cannot be more excited. It’s been on the top of my travel list for awhile now and I’ve heard super fantastic things about the city. Also, they have fantastic cheap beer. Gotta love that they haven’t converted to the Euro yet, which means our American dollars might actually buy us something. Score!

We don’t have a Czech place to stay picked out, but they have great hostels and super, SUPER cheap hotels. Like, five star for $100. For realz. We also don’t yet have a to do list for the city, but all suggestions are appreciated. I’m thinking pub crawl, for sure.

Then on to Salzburg, Austria. This will probably be only a day trip, but Steven’s never been and I think he will love the Festung Hohensalzburg, a giant fortress built on a mountain in the middle of the city. It’s wicked. I also want to check out the market held every Thursday. There are thousands of sauerkraut options, and you can even buy sauerkraut juice. Hello, Heaven.

We plan on leaving Austria for Munich on Thursday or Friday, depending on what’s shaking at the time. Unfortunately, our plane flies out of Munich Sunday morning and we’re scheduled to rejoin the working world the next day. Lame, I know. But I really can’t complain about an eight day vacation. Yeah, we’re cool.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Get Your Giveaway On

Ms. Alli Walker, longtime friend and fabulous blog writer, posted a lovely in-home date giveaway today. Check it out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh, the Updates

I am shamefully behind on my blog updates. I admit it, but I have very, very good reasons (isn’t that how all excuses begin?).

The first and most exciting is that I started a new job last week! I’ve moved from a purely marketing communication role into project management for a specialized marketing company. As you can probably tell, I’m still trying to pick up the lingo, but I think it will keep me busy and engaged, which is a definitely plus for me. Boredom is toxic. If I’m not 100% engaged and challenged by what I’m doing, then I’m probably 100% useless. I fully expect this new venture to fulfill that need and the people and environment are both fantastic. Everyone is professional, yet friendly and they do a great job of making you feel welcome and appreciated. Key, very key.

Huzbo and I have also been exploring a bit, both in our city and outside it. We took the pug to Pugfest not last Saturday, but the one before (photos to come, of course) and have made an effort to find a couple of few new restaurants (mixed reviews, more to come).

We also just got back, meaning at midnight last night, from a whirlwind trip to DC. I had never before visit the District, but Stevo had been a couple of times before. We were also lucky enough to meet up with a few friends who have recently relocated. Knowing folks in whatever town you visit is generally the key to making a good trip into a great one and our friends definitely did not disappoint in this case. Mitchell and Alisha gave us the tour of the DuPont circle and even let us crash on their air mattress the first night. Since our flight got in super late, I couldn’t stomach an extra $150 for a hotel room. We relocated to the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park for the next two nights and I must say that this famous hotel did not disappoint. It was quite fancy, especially considering that we “rolled the dice” on Priceline and got a FABULOUS rate. This is really the only way to go in DC, as hotels are generally waaaaay too expensive. Some people can’t handle not knowing the hotel their booking beforehand, but it’s really not an issue if you specify the area and star rating that you require. Seriously. 

View of the hotel from across the river.

Stock photo, but our room looked pretty much the same, minus the super fancy wine and fruit and cheese plate. We Pricelined it, we're obviously not ballers.

We did so, so much walking. I literally have a strained knee or something and even had to buy a more comfortable pair of boots at the Urban Outfitters in Georgetown. Before you condemn me for my impulse buy, you should know that I’ve been searching for a suitable pair of gray, low-heeled boots for sometime now. I found a pair of Frye’s that I loved, but couldn’t bear to pay the requisite $350. So when I spied the $68 price tag on these perfect boots, I snatched them up, fought my way through the throngs of Saturday afternoon Georgetown tourists/shoppers and happily parted with my $70ish bucks. So worth it.
Anyway, we hit up all of the usual monuments and even got to watch the Razorbacks get completely screwed out of the Auburn game at the official DC Arkansas Alumni bar. Disgusting, seriously, but the bar, Trusty’s on Capitol Hill, offered the perfect dive bar atmosphere that I much prefer over snooty places. A good time was had by all and I randomly met a guy that went to the same high school as me. Weird, but awesome.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip with perfect weather and great friends. Thank you Lisa for the wonderful recommendations – I think we hit like 70% of the spots that you suggested and thoroughly enjoyed them all. While I’m happy to check DC off of my travel to do list, I definitely wouldn’t mind a follow up trip sometime soon.

Pics to follow. I’m so behind, I know…

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Travel Extravaganza

If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I am always, ALWAYS up for a trip somewhere. And I’m always planning a trip somewhere. I don’t know what it is, but I was bitten with the travel bug early and just can’t seem to see enough of the world. I’m not discriminate, either. I can appreciate a random trip to Memphis for Rendevous’ barbeque just as much as an overseas trip to Paris. I love to learn and no matter where you go, there’s always something new to explore and learn about.

With this little bit of personal information, along with the fact that I’m a crazy list maker, it should be of no surprise that right after Steven and I got hitched, I forced him to sit down and make a list of Places We Want to Travel Before We Procreate. It just makes planning smoother when you have a list to go by, no?

Anyway, Germany was on the top of his list. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s wanted to go. I even bought a guidebook to Munich for his 25th birthday, the first one that I was around for. The two top cities on my list were Washington D.C. (I know, it’s despicable that I’ve never been) and Prague. So, in my very extreme bout of summer restlessness, I decided that we must visit these places and soon. I’m still surprised at myself for not just booking a ticket for the following weekend (ok, I can be a tad impulsive at times). But, I was able to hold off until….next weekend!

You heard it right. We are beginning our mini-travel extravaganza with my very first trip to D.C. next Thursday and I am super stoked. Thanks to a couple of friends either from or now living in the area, we have a very ambitious to do list, but I’m most excited about the Natural History Museum and the Holocaust Museum. I cannot wait to see all of the amazing memorials, statues, buildings, etc. I’m just really afraid that I’ll fall in love and never want to leave. But would that really be so bad?

Don’t be worried about Steven, folks. We’re following up our D.C. trip with one to Munich, Prague and Salzburg in November, over the week of Thanksgiving week. Though it’s sort of like a belated honeymoon, the romance will be kept to a minimum, considering my sister is meeting and travelling with us and we’re staying in 10-bed hostels. I don’t think our companions would appreciate a lot of kissy face.

Either way, I’m so freaking excited about the food, the beer and seeing the sights in Prague. I’ve been to Munich and Salzburg before as part of a much longer backpacking trip, but didn’t get to really explore since we were only in Munich for a couple of days and just passed through Salzburg on a day trip. Huzbo was a little bummed that we couldn’t make if for Oktoberfest, but we’ll definitely get to enjoy the Christmas fairs and whatnot. And come on, you can ALWAYS get tasty beer and brats in Munich. But between you and me, I’m way more excited about Czech beer.

So what’s the point of travelling if you don’t have a camera? Ok, there might be sort of a point to it, but a camera is nonetheless essential. Sadly, my little point and shoot Lumix has died and until Monday we were without camera, which is a definite issue if you’re planning to visit super photo-worthy cities. After tons of research and debate, we settled on a camera that we thought would serve our travel needs now and our family-building needs later (assuming that any piece of technology will last more than 3 years these days). We picked the Sony Cybershot H55 with a ginormo for a point and click 10x zoom. We also got a 16 gig memory card which is admittedly too big, but nonetheless impressive to photo-challenged me. I’m excited. I was sold when I played with the sweep panorama in the store. You can take 360 panoramic pictures. At first I didn’t think we would ever need it, but how could you not want to take a 360 picture of Paris from Sacre Couer (Paris is next on Steven’s list)? I know you guys can’t even handle the anticipation of my fantastic photos. I’ll be sure to share.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 14.1 MP Digital Camera (Silver)
Isn't it cute? It's not super small, but still compact enough to comfortably travel with. We ordered it at because it's like $30 cheaper than anywhere else, even Walmart stores, and because Huzbo gets an employee discount (a baller 10%). It is scheduled to come in tomorrow, just in time for documenting Friday's home improvement projects and Pugfest Saturday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Birth Control

Let’s talk about sex, friends. Specifically, let’s talk about contraceptives and their risks. Actually, let’s just talk about one in particular – hormonal birth control.

Now, to begin, let’s clear up a little piece of misinformation that I’ve heard buzzing around recently: All feminists do not think all women should be on birth control (I’m talking about “the pill”). Sadly, our culture just loves to stereotype entire groups of people into believing or being this thing or that thing. It makes people that exist outside of our comfort zone seem less threatening. Like a “know thy enemy” approach, except the little boxes we try to put people in are generally far too small to contain them.

Anyway, I digress. Basically, what I’m saying is that many people, including those committed to learning about and educating folks about women’s interests, see the dangers that birth control poses. I include myself in this category.

Now, much of what I have to say is anecdotal and comes from personal experience. One reason for this is that not enough research has been conducted on the long term effects of birth control on women’s health. The other is that this is my blog and I can talk about issues from my perspective. That said, look here and here and here and here for more medical information about birth control.

So I’ll begin with my own experiences. I suspect other women can relate to how I’ve felt.
I started having sex at a relatively young age. The pluses and minuses of that choice are not to be debated in this particular forum because, well, it’s my bizness. Anyway, I was very much not into repeating the mistakes of those around me by having a baby at a young age, so I sought various means of contraception. This is all to say that I’ve been around the block when it comes to contraception and I’ve seen a fairly representative sampling (for one person) of primary care physicians and gynecologists. Hey, this body is a wonderland and I’m set to protect it. I get my annual exams.

I’ve also experienced migraines with aura since I was in fifth grade. Yeah, feel very sorry for me because they suck a lot of ass. I’ve tried various drugs, stopped drinking caffeine for periods, tried to avoid sleep exhaustion, etc. The only real connection that I’ve found is that they’re related to hormones and stress, and I’m guessing that those two items are also related to one another, so I boil it down to hormones. What is the justification for my educated guess, you ask? Well, each time that I’ve ever had a migraine, since I was 16 or so, I have been on a hormonal birth control of some sort. Each time I get off of the birth control, the migraines stop. To be clear, I was not on birth control in fifth grade, but I was going through puberty, which I’d call a pretty hormonal experience).

Each time I went to the doctor and confessed (because it always feels like a dirty confession) that I was sexually active, they would tell me that I needed to get on birth control. I’d say I didn’t like taking pills daily or that it made me have my period constantly or that it made me have headaches and they’d tell me to try something else. Finally, at 25, I wised up and told the doctor to fuck off and to quit trying to push her pills down my throat. Condoms are just fine with me, thankyouverymuch. Ok, so I’m not that rude. I didn’t actually tell her to fuck off, but I did tell her I wasn’t interested. She said I should try an IUD. I said hell no. Then, to her credit, she made the connection. She asked me about my migraines and told me that I should have never, ever been on a hormonal birth control because, since I got migraines with aura, my risk of stroke was super high.

STROKE? Wait, wait, wait. This can’t be, I thought. Surely someone would have told me before now. I have been to doctors, even headache ones. I ALWAYS fill out my medical history questionnaires completely and the migraine thing is front and center. Why the hell had someone not mentioned this before? Turns out, people, even doctors are irresponsible. It also turns out that some doctors love to pass out birth control like candy without considering or discussing the risks. Why doesn’t every woman know – why aren’t they telling us in schools – that birth control (among other things) can cause strokes, breast cancer and a whole host of other things? My hypothesis is simple – people don’t really give a shit about women’s health. Which is why they’re constantly pushing this untested Guardasil shot on us, why they don’t educate men on how to prevent diseases such as HPV and why there is tons fewer research dollars for issues affecting women than those affecting men.

We all love “my friend” stories, so I’ll share a couple in brief to back up what I’m saying about birth control. My friend had crippling migraines for years. She quit taking birth control. She stopped having migraines. My other friend has taken birth control for a couple of years. She had a stroke two weeks ago. She’s 24. No one told her about the risks. She figured her doctor would, being a doctor and all. She doesn’t have healthcare and is having to foot the bill for the MRI, etc. to see if permanent damage has been done to her body. There’s no way to know for sure that it was from birth control, but, ya know. Another friend works at a hospital and told me about a 17 year old girl who came in with traumatic brain injuries. She had a massive stroke. The only cause they could figure out was birth control. This is insane.

Ask questions before putting things in your body. Don’t ever let yourself be pressured to take something by a physician without tons of information. Find a physician that doesn’t pressure you (I finally did and I’m sticking with her, despite the grueling time spent in the waiting room). Use condoms. Tell people to talk about these issues – with their doctors, with other women, with the bum on the street, it doesn’t matter.

This is a rant, I know. And you might disagree with me or believe that because I didn’t provide numbers and charts that what I’m saying is bullshit, which is all totally fine. You might love your birth control and never experience any problems. Either way, do some research of your own and listen to your body. Protect your body.

If you have other sites or books or whatever resources for information to share, I invite you to post it in your comments.