Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful.

The title says it all. My mom and Aunt Becky spent the weekend with me in Milwaukee, and we had a BLAST. I seriously cannot remember the last time I had this much fun! After the first night out on the town, I woke up to see my mom with the hairdo in the pictures below. The first word that comes to mind is special. She's just special. ;) The middle one is my favorite for sure. I'll do a post with more weekend details soon, but for now, I just wanted to share my mom's "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" moment. Love you mama!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Retroauricular Lymph Nodes

Before I start, I'll just apologize in advance for the somewhat serious nature of this blog entry. Not usually my way of easing back into the blogging scene, but I'm hoping it'll help explain why I've been somewhat M.I.A. lately! Here goes. While sitting at my desk at work about 2 weeks ago, I noticed a large lump behind my left ear. I immediately freaked out and kept touching it thinking maybe it'd go away. (Yeah, because continually touching something is bound to make it go away, right?) Anyway, because I hate going to the doctor and will put it off until the last possible moment, I figured it was something I'd wait out for a little while in hopes that it'd just disappear. Well, over that 2-week period, the lump started to get bigger. In addition, another lump appeared. I was told by several people that it was probably just swollen lymph nodes. Maybe so, but I've never felt a lymph node like this. It is big, round, and hard. Doesn't sound like the makings for a good situation, especially because I absolutely hate anything and everything to do with lymph nodes. They are extremely high on my "Things That Gross Me Out" list. Not to mention, whenever mine smell up, my brain immediately goes to the worst-case scenario and thinks cancer. Damn you, Lurlene McDaniel books (particularly "Don't Die, My Love"), for planting that seed in my head at a very young age. So, because my mom kept pushing me (thanks, ma:), I finally decided to go into Urgent Care last week to figure out what's up. The nurse practitioner came in and seemed somewhat alarmed simply because she'd never seen anything like it. However, the doc came in and also examined the situation, and he seemed pretty unconcerned about what was happening. His official diagnosis? "Non-inflamed retroauricular lymph nodes." In English, please? Basically, everyone was right. It's swollen lymph nodes. Here's where I'm in idiot. In my excitement over his, "I don't think it's a cancerous tumor" statement, I didn't even ask what he thought was causing it. All he told me was that he wasn't too worried, but that in an effort to be safe, that I should go back to the doctor in 30 days if they haven't gone away. So far, one has gone down, and the other one (the original lump) is still large and in charge. They don't hurt as bad as they did last week, but I'm still not convinced that it's completely harmless. Here's hoping that by February 19, they are GONE so I don't have to go in again. It's been a rough couple weeks, so wish me luck and pray for my health! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Go Pack Go!!!!

Because I'm on an excitement high, I feel that it's necessary to dedicate a blog entry to my favorite sports team of all time: the Green Bay Packers! Most people in my life are fully aware of my freakish obsession with football season in general, but even moreso with the Green and Gold. In fact, I just told my mom today that if I were to get married and also have the opportunity to actually attend (not just watch on TV) a Packers' Super Bowl game, that I'd probably look back on both of those days and classify watching the Packers in person at the Super Bowl as the happiest day of my life. That's right, going to the Super Bowl to watch the Packers would make me happier than the day I get married. ;) Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but I can't even describe how awesome it would be to go to the Super Bowl and watch them play!! Now, I don't want to jump the gun here, because we (yes, I refer to the Packers as "we") still have one more game to win before the Super Bowl is in our future, but with the way we've been playing, I'm feeling damn good about the odds! And no matter what, the fact that we get to square off against the Bears for the 3rd time this season is awesome in itself. Divisional rivals haven't played each other in the NFC Championship for over 20 years, so this is a BIG deal. Maybe not to everyone, but it is to me! And maybe I'm biased, but I've said all season long that I sense a Super Bowl for us this year, and each week, that is becoming a more and more likely possibility. What other team could overcome that many injuries and painful upsets to be where the Packers are right now? No other team, that's who. Can't wait until next week to see what happens. And if by chance they lose, you can be sure that I will sink into a deep depression for awhile. Actually, maybe not. Their season is one to be proud of no matter what, but a "W" will obviously be much sweeter than an "L." In the spirit of my excitement, I've included some photos below of previous Packer games I've attended. After looking through all my pictures, I want now more than ever to get back to Lambeau again! All I've gotta say is, "GO PACK GO!!" :)

PACKERS VS. VIKINGS (11-1-09 -- Favre's first game at Lambeau as a Viking)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Milwaukee Nights!

Today marks the 2-month marker since I moved to Milwaukee. Holy moly! In a weird way, it seems like it's been longer. That being said, however, I still can't believe I've been a big city girl for two months already! I still have so much to learn, but I've doing my research on the city and asking my boss a lot of questions to help me figure out what this place is all about. Something tells me that even 1o years from now, I could still be learning new things. Through the course of my limited exploration thus far, I have managed to get out of my apartment a few times and explore the Milwaukee night life. Let me tell you, there's a HUGE variety. Perfect for my tastes because I love just about anything. I've been to a sports bar, two breweries, a dance club, a country bar, three Irish places (yes, I'm a fan of Irish pubs), and a handful of other random bars. I've also been to a lot of fun little shops, but since this entry is focused on the night life piece, I thought I'd focus on the bars, ha! See the pictures below to get a feel for a few of my nights out on the town. The locations of these photos include: Ale House, Buca di Peppo, Club Brady, Hi Hat Lounge, Red Rock, and Suite. Looking forward to more fun nights in the future, so those of you who are reading this, take this as a hint that you should come visit ASAP so I can continue to explore! :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I will start this entry by saying that I am NOT a New Year's resolution kind of girl. Never have been, and probably never will be. I tend to be a little more realistic than that. ;) That being said, however, the timing of my current goal just happens to coincide with the typical resolution timeline. Call it what you wish, but I don't plan to get hung up on that notion. The goal I am speaking of is to run in at least one 5K (3.1 miles) race this spring and/or summer. For those of you that know me, you can appreciate the fact that this is HUGE. I don't run. Ever. Everrrrrrr. So while 3.1 miles may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, it is to me. I've seriously only ran a mile once (without stopping) in my entire life, and that was about 10 years ago when I was a freshman in high school. Yikes. Anyway, I did some googling to figure out if it was even possible for a "non-runner" like me to accomplish this, and I stumbled across this great and totally achieveable (I hope) plan called Couch-to-5K. The most awesome part about it? I really think I can do it!! :) The weather hasn't cooperated too well, and obviously I don't own a treadmill, so I took that extra commitment step by signing up at SNAP Fitness the other day. Until my boss pointed it out, I didn't realize that there's actually a SNAP literally across the street from the building I work in. I signed up at that one with the mentality that I'd be most likely to stay successful if I just bring workout clothes to work with me and go straight to SNAP after work and do my routine. That way, I won't even have the opportunity to get home, sit down, and talk myself out of working out. And the really great thing is, I can use any of their facilities now that I'm a member. Not to mention that I have access in the buildings 24/7. Because there are also two locations really close to my apartment, and even one in Colby, I feel like it's almost impossible for me not to go. Oh, and get this! Today I ran across an app for my iPod that actually helps track the regimen and even tells you when to alternate between running and walking as you're actually doing the workouts. That way, you can keep your music playing without having to constantly be checking a timer. I had a stopwatch for my first workout, and it was such a pain in the ass. So, the fact that I found this app makes me even more excited about all of this! One last item that I think will help ensure my success is the fact that I've actually made this pretty public (hello, I'm even putting on my blog). There are a lot of people who know that I'm doing this, so the simple fact that I've announced it makes me a little more accountable because I don't want to let them (or myself) down. I have a few key people in my life right now who have been especially supportive, and I can't thank them enough. Having people encourage me and believe that I can do it is a huge motivator. Totally cheesy, right? :) Anyway, I am SO looking forward to this, and I hope all of you can come watch me run a race in a few months. Wish me luck!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Current Playlist

Since today is quite a slow day in the office, I thought I'd do a little something fun by giving you an insight into the songs that currently please my ears. I've always been a huge music lover, and since many of you probably are too, I figured it might be kind of exciting to share with you some of the songs that have made my most current playlist. You can click on any or all of the songs for your listening pleasure. Hope you like them as much as I do! :)

1. Rhythm of Love by Plain White T's (LOVE this song!)
2. Baby by Justin Bieber (This is ALWAYS on my playlist!:)
3. The Other Side by Bruno Mars ft. Cee-lo Green and B.o.B.
4. Begin Again by Colbie Caillat
5. Bottoms Up by Trey Songz ft. Nicki Minaj
6. Rock & Roll by Eric Hutchinson
7. Marchin On by OneRepublic
8. Brick by Ben Folds Five (an oldie but goodie)
9. Raise Your Glass by P!nk
10. Who Dat Girl by Flo Rida ft. Akon
11. Last Request by Paolo Nutini
12. Leave Out All The Rest by Linkin Park
13. Mean by Taylor Swift
14. Love Like Woe by The Ready Set
15. Stuck in the Moment by Justin Bieber (Yes, he's on here twice.)
16. Keep in Mind by LoCash Cowboys (I saw these guys at Country Jam and they were awesome! If I ever get married, I'd definitely consider this song for the Father/Daughter dance!)

Okay, as you can see, I listen to quite the variety. This doesn't even cover half of what I've been listening to, but I thought I'd share some of my faves in hopes that I bring a little excitement into your current music selection. :)

Drew Elise. :)

While this is already "old" news to many of you, I'd be utterly crazy not to include a post about the newest addition to the Smith family. On December 10, 2010, Dave and Courtney welcomed Drew Elise (their 6th child) into the world. Yes, yes. Many people will say, "SIX KIDS?!" and their shock and amazement is understandable. However, because I know how much Dave and Court love the concept of a big family, nothing really shocks me anymore. Heck, I say bring on more babies. :) Sadly, Drew was the first of the six kids that I didn't get to meet in the hospital, but fortunately, I was able to meet her not long after she was born. Take a look at some of the photos below to see how absolutely precious she is.

LOVE this photo (Courtesy of Court).

The first meeting. :)

Baby's first Christmas.

Squeezing in my baby time before the other relatives stole her away. ;)

Spending quality time with a few of the kiddos at Christmas.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Yet again, I am forced to apologize for my lack of blog posts lately. Life has been crazy hectic over the past few weeks, but in a good way! I worked through December 22nd and then got to head home for the holidays from December 23-30th. Yet another perk of my job! Anyway, first things first, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I can't believe it's 2011 already. Crazy. A blog entry on that to follow soon. Now to catch up on the entries I've been meaning to post. It is no secret that Christmas is pretty much my favorite holiday. Every year, I get that same excited feeling that I got even as a child. I simply just love the feeling in the air and the time I get to spend with my family. And call me selfish, but I also love the aspect of presents. :) Don't worry, I love giving them too, especially when I find things that seem just right for someone. This year, I got a lot of really great things (i.e. books, a slow cooker--yes, I'm turning into a domestic, clothes, gift cards, etc.). For those of you who don't know, our family tradition has always been to have the immediate family together on Christmas Eve to hang out and open gifts. No surprise here, but it also involves a lot of snacking, or overeating, depending on how you view it! Then we usually get together with my mom's side of the family on one of the days right before or after Christmas. I especially love that gathering because it gives me an opportunity to see my cousins who I only see during this time of year (they live on the east coast). It's a fun gathering because we all get to catch up and then laugh our asses off when we do white elephant gifts (see photos below). I have since come back to Milwaukee, but the time I got to spend at home for Christmas was well worth it as usual. Seasons greetings to everyone! :)

Me and the girls on Christmas Eve!

With the bros!

I got these wigs as a white elephant gift. Of course someone took them from me because they are AWESOME. I always seem to get the gift that everyone wants.

Dad got lingerie. Nice.

Merry Christmas! ;)