About Me

My photo
Welcome to my world: Where I'm just living my life the best that I know how... Day by day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Hairy" situation? It's time for a change!

First of all, let me just say TGIF!
Fridays are just fantastic aren't they?
Okay guys and gals, especially gals,you know when you get bored with something and just need a change? Some people need drastic change; others may need something a little more subtle. Well, I needed a change. I have been growing out my hair for so long now that it has become quite long. I love the versatility of my long hair, so I couldn't quite make the plunge to cut it all off, but I needed a change! So, what could I do? Play with highlights, of course! Okay, this may not seem like a big deal to y'all, but you don't understand. I am a highlights virgin! I welcome change, but change can often be a little frightening...and this was terrifying! However, since I committed to making a change, and I refused to cut off my long hair, I decided to commit to highlights and a slight style change. Hoping this would satisfy my itch for change and not throw me into complete panic mode, I went with it. I am very particular about my hair, and I could not even begin to imagine what it would look like. I did what every girl would do and started Google-ing. Is that even a word? Anyways, I found thousands of absolutely atrocious examples, but I came across some attractive ones as well. My problem was picturing the ones I like on myself. Thank goodness for my trusty dusty hairstylist! I have only let three people EVER cut my hair, one of which being my mom, the second of which stopped styling hair. Thus, I was onto a third. He has moved around to a few different salons, but I follow him wherever he goes! His name is William Evans, more commonly known as Will, and he is currently located at a salon known as "Paula's Escape" in Manchester, Tennessee. Do you want to know how I make sure I always leave the salon happy? Keep reading, and I'll share my essential tips with you!

I don't know how many people I have come across that were unhappy with their new hairdo, color job, cut, or style after visiting a salon. So, I decided I would share my own tips for making sure I leave the salon happy! Follow these simple steps, and you will be sure to be pleased with every salon visit from here on out.

  1. Break up with your hairdresser! You aren't married to your stylist, it's okay to break up with them. Unless you really are married to your hairdresser, then I'm sorry, but you're out of luck here. If you aren't happy with your hair every single time you leave that salon, then that's just not a healthy relationship. It's time to move on to bigger and better things.
  2. Find the right hairdresser! You will need to do a little research. I find that the best way to do this is by word of mouth. Talk to your friends (preferably the ones whose hair you actually like), and see who they recommend. It is also important if you have a really particular hair-type to get in contact with someone whose is similar to yours. Just because a hairdresser was really good for your friend with really thin, short, straight, blonde hair doesn't mean that stylist will be a good match for your thick, long, curly, brown hair. Then again, if they really are an excellent hairdresser, they will be excellent with all hair types. Also, just because a particular salon doesn't have the best reputation, doesn't mean that they don't have the best hairstylist in town working there. You don't need to get caught up in looking for a "good salon," you need to be looking for an individual hairdresser. Sometimes you might have to sort of shop around, but always remember that nothing you do with hair is totally permanent. It will grow back, and the color can be fixed if someone really screws up. 
  3. You get what you pay for! Okay, I'm one of those people who doesn't mind putting some money into my hair, but I also don't get my hair done more than three times a year. If you are on a tight budget and get your hair done all the time this might be a tough step for you. However, for those of you pinching pennies, I highly recommend transitioning to a style that doesn't require major upkeep. That way, you can put a little bit more money into your salon visits since you won't have to visit as often. Let's be real, if jump on the "$5 haircut deal today only" train, you will probably be leaving the salon looking you paid about $5, if that, for your haircut. More than likely, you won't be happy, and you'll end up going somewhere else to get it fixed. So, you just wasted a perfectly good $5.  
  4. Decide what you want! When choosing what you are going to have done to your hair, I find it very helpful to make a "wanted" list. Write a list of what qualities you specifically want, and maybe even more importantly, what you do not want. Look at pictures in magazines and on the internet, and print or cut out the ones you like. Bring the pictures and your list to your stylist. A great hairdresser will be able to tell you what he/she thinks won't work for your hair, and will be able to offer suggestions on how they could tweak it to make it work for you. Be sure to tell your stylist what you want. It is their job to make you happy, it's what they get paid to do. Do not feel like you are inconveniencing anyone because you feel like you are being picky. It's your hair! This is something you wear for the world to see every single day, you have a right to get what you want. With that being said, if in the end you aren't totally satisfied, express your dissatisfaction! Don't wait until you leave, call up your best girlfriend, and start crying about how awful your hair looks. If you call me, I'm going to tell you to turn your sorry behind around and go right back in that salon and have them fix it. Like I said, it is their job to do your hair how you want it. Then again, if they do exactly what you ask and it just isn't working for you, that's quite unfortunate. However, any good salon will want you as a customer and will do whatever they can to fix it and make you happy. If it's absolutely terrible and not like anything you described, run away. Run away fast. Straight to another salon. 
After using these steps and settling down with my current hairdresser, I feel at ease when I go to get my hair done. Usually, I go into the salon, and I tell my hairdresser to do his thing. I trust him with my hair so much, that I know he knows even better than I know myself what will look good on me. Yesterday, I was terrified about getting highlights, but that had nothing to do with my trust in my hairdresser. I just wanted a change and was a little scared of it. I told him I was thinking about some lowlights as well, but his suggestion was not to go that route because he would have to use an almost black color for them to show in my hair, and he thought it would be a little much for me to handle. Also, I told him I wanted to keep my hair long, but I wanted a little bit of a different style. I put him in a tight spot, because I pretty much told him not to cut my hair off, but I want something that looks different. Here Will, you can only choose between option A and option B, but I want option C. Leaving him with little options, he still knew just the thing to do. He cut about four inches off, which sounds like a ton of hair, but my hair is so long that four inches is hardly noticeable. That was necessary to get all my dead ends off and leave the edges nice and healthy. For a different look, he added some layers in around my face. With the highlighting, four inches cut, and layers around my face, I feel like a new woman today. I don't look incredibly different, but it's just different enough to fulfill my need for change. 

What are your thoughts?
Have a fantastic Friday!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Reminiscing with John Denver, Jimmy Buffett, and more

Do you ever wake up with a song stuck in your head? It happens to me all the time, and strangely enough, it's always a song I haven't heard in a long time. I am one of those slightly superstitious people who thinks everything happens for a reason, and I hardly believe in coincidence. I always wonder if there is some sort of a hidden meaning behind why I have a certain song in my head when I wake up. Well, this morning I woke up with a little John Denver stuck in my head...

Almost Heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, Mountain Mama
Take me home, country roads....

You might think it's strange that I (being just 20 years old) would be so familiar with John Denver's "Country Roads," but there is a good explanation as to why I know this song so well. When I was just a little girl, Mom or Dad would always tuck me into bed. Even with five children, four older than myself, they always made sure that I was taken care of at bedtime. One of my favorite parts of my bedtime routine was listening to Mom or Dad sing me a song. I clearly remember five of my favorites that I always requested, and I can still remember every word to all five songs. Dad must have been fond of John Denver, and I guess I was too since two of my favorites were "Country Roads" and "Grandma's Feather Bed." The thought of a bed that was nine feet high and six feet wide that could hold eight kids, four hound dogs, and a piggy we stole from the shed never failed to put a smile on my face. Jimmy Buffett's  "Come Monday" was also a regular bedtime song. I even remember when my dad would go away for business trips, and I would think of that song just waiting for him to come back home. I would just think, "Come Monday, it'll be all right." 

One of my favorite songs I loved for Mom to sing to me was Joni Mitchell's "One Tin Soldier." As a young child, I never understood the lyrics of this song, but as I have grown older, this song really troubles me. Now, it even leaves me unsettled and sad! If you aren't familiar with this song, it tells a story of a "kingdom on a mountain and the valley folk below" in a situation regarding a "treasure buried deep beneath a stone" on the mountain. The valley people demand to have the treasure for their own, and the kingdom people are more than willing to share. However, the valley people are too selfish to share, and they want it only for themselves. So, they mounted their horses, drew their swords, and killed the mountain people. The valley people then stood by the treasure where they "turned the stone and looked beneath it; PEACE ON EARTH was all it said." Now that I think of it, my other favorite song that Mom used to sing to me was quite sad also! Jeez, this post is getting depressing fast! Well, I won't go into serious detail about this one, but it is "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." Basically, the song is a chain of questions and answers starting with: where have all the flowers gone? Young girls pick them, then where do the young girls go? To young men of course, who become soldiers, go to war, and so on and so forth. The song has a beautiful melody, and although sad, it is very mellow. I also remember Mom singing the hush little baby lullaby, but every time I try to remember the words, I'm pretty sure I make them up. Maybe Mom made them up to, who knows. All I know, is that mama never bought me a mockingbird! 

One day, I hope to have children of my own (hopefully not TOO many years from now). When I do, I will be singing these same songs to them, just like my mom and dad sang them to me. Do you remember being sung to as a child? What songs do you remember?

Also, do you ever wake up with a song stuck in your head?    

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Raving Restaurant Review!

Come eat at The Boulevard!
Happy hump day! Today I bring you a restaurant review from Middle Tennessee. If you have been in the Murfreesboro, TN area and not taken the time to eat a meal at "The Boulevard Bar & Grille" you are totally missing out. There is not anything I have eaten at this restaurant that was not absolutely delicious! Conveniently located on Middle Tennessee Boulevard, not only is the food amazing, but the prices are reasonable, the service is good, and the atmosphere is simply awesome. With a very open layout, this restaurant is very welcoming and relaxed; it definitely doesn't have your average "bar" feeling. It does not feel elegant, and it does not feel, well, like a bar. I would say it is somewhere in between. 

The Boulevard is online!
So, what kind of food does The Boulevard serve? A better question would be, what don't they serve?! I'm pretty sure our waitress came back about three times to see if we were ready to order yet, but there were just so many appetizing choices! From your Southern favorites such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy, to seafood, pizza, and sandwiches, to several choices of fresh salads, all the way to and mouth-watering burgers of all kinds--they've got it all. Most entrees The Boulevard serves are priced between $8 and $13, and they definitely don't scrimp on the portions either. Don't go unless you're hungry or want leftovers for lunch the next day! The last time I ventured to The Boulevard, I ordered one of their wonderful salads--"The Very Berry Chicken Salad." It was very fresh and contained strawberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and candied pecans topped with grilled chicken and raspberry vinaigrette. It was absolutely delicious! My brother went as well, and he ordered the "Honey Crispy Chicken Salad" served with honey mustard dressing which was I also tasted, and it also was amazing. We decided to take Dad there for Father's Day lunch this past Sunday. He and Mom each ordered one of the sandwiches off the menu, and they both enjoyed them very much. I ordered the meatloaf which came with a side salad, steamed vegetables, and mashed potatoes with brown gravy. First of all, this so called "side salad" could have probably been my meal. My favorite part was the delicious croutons which I suspect to be made in-house from their sweet-tasting freshness. Then, when the main dish was brought out, not only did it have one huge serving of meatloaf, but it had TWO huge servings of meatloaf. There was no way I could finish all of this, so I definitely brought some home to eat for lunch the next day. The mashed potatoes were so creamy, and there was just the right amount of gravy. Yum yum! My mouth is watering as I write this! My brother Josh ordered something that I was very tempted to order: "The Cheesiest." Yep, you heard me, they have a burger called "The Cheesiest." This is no ordinary cheeseburger! The burger is not only topped with provolone and mozzarella cheese, but on top of the cheese is fried cheese wedges. Cheese sticks on a cheeseburger? It tastes like the most delicious heart attack you could ever eat. It is even served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping and your choice of chips, fries, or onion straws. 

If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend you make it a point to stop at The Boulevard. With over 30 TVs, a patio, and daily food and drink specials, it's also a great place to watch the big game! If you have ever been there, comment on this post and tell me about your experience(s)!

You can check them out at the following link: The Boulevard Bar & Grille

Monday, June 18, 2012

Catching Up: Surgery, Break-Ups, and Packages

Getting ready to go into surgery!
Hello readers! I'm so sorry that I haven't posted in nearly two weeks, but the past two weeks have been quite eventful for me. I had my surgery on the 6th. The doctor had scheduled to do what's called a septoplasty, but once he got in there, he realized my sinuses needed some work too. The surgery that was supposed to last a mere 45 minutes ended up lasting over an hour and a half. My parents were quite unsettled in the waiting room wondering what was taking so long. Everything went great during the surgery, however. When I started to wake up from the anesthesia, I was shaking like crazy! They kept asking me if I was cold, but I was just in that much pain! It was absolutely unbearable. My blood pressure has always been a perfect 120/80, but it shot through the roof. My usual 120 was approaching 200, and my typical 80 was over 100. Honestly, that was a little frightening to me. As my BP was quickly on the rise, the surgical team was in action. Being a nurse, even though I was still a little out of it, I was able to understand what was going on, and that scared me even more. However, I knew I was in great hands. The nurse almost didn't let me leave, but after giving me 3 times the IV pain meds they intentionally planned to, my blood pressure slowly started to go back down, and they said if I wanted to go home then I could as long as I monitored it. I didn't want to be anywhere but home, so we left! That was definitely the worst of it, and the worst was now over. The rest of that day and the next were pretty terrible too. As expected, the pain medication I was taking took the edge off the pain, but I was nowhere near pain free. At least the pain became a little more bearable. Nights were even worse. I had been instructed to remain in what the doctor calls "beach chair position" for 48 hours after the surgery. I had to lean back constantly or my nose would start bleeding. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my couch time, but 48 hours of doing nothing but laying on my couch? I was absolutely miserable! That Friday I went back to the surgery center to have my splints and packing taken out. Holy cow...I didn't know so much stuff could fit up my nose! I have pictures of the splints, one in each side, which were enormously larger than my nostrils, but I will spare you the graphic photos. Then the packing consisted of a few foot long strips in each nostril. If they were to have started pulling my brains out of my nose, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have noticed, because that's exactly what it felt like. Ewww. Anyways, I have mostly spent my days since then recovering. I look fine from the outside, but the inside of my nose looks like someone tried to trim my nose hairs with a chainsaw. I am also still very swollen internally and am having trouble breathing, and honestly, the progress is slow to nonexistent. I am still having headaches, but the doctor said they should subside with the swelling. We will see about that. I'm still very hopeful!

If the surgery wasn't hard enough on me, Justin decided that we would be better off as friends right now. He explained that we have had a great relationship, and I am the best girlfriend he could ever ask for, but it's just not meant to be right now. How can he tell me I'm everything he wants, but we aren't meant to be? I don't really understand, but then again it wasn't my decision.
....and people say women are complicated? Grrrr.
 Honestly, since he has been home from his last job, I think he has just gotten overwhelmed as we have been together nearly 24/7. We need space from each other, even I know that. He left on Thursday night for a job in Jacksonville, FL, so we will definitely be getting plenty of space. We still care about each other so much and have continued to stay in contact since he left. Things are looking up; we will see how things go in the next couple of weeks.

On a different note, I have officially received my first Foodie Penpal package! I was so excited to open it up! However, I can't tell you about it until the 30th, so be looking for my post about it! I also sent my package out to my penpal on Friday, so I hope Kayce will enjoy it! If she hasn't received it yet, she will be getting it any day now. She will also be guest-posting on my blog at the end of the month, so look for her special post as well. She will be my first guest blogger, so I'm excited for a new first!

Back at work!
Anyways, I am back to work today up at the City Hall. I feel absolutely awful. I can't breath, my head hurts, my nose hurts, and I'm hungry....but I'm still smiling! However, I would much rather be sitting here feeling bad and making money than sitting at home all day feeling bad and not making money. So, I really shouldn't complain too much! I am determined to have a good day and a good week. Happy Monday y'all!            

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Foodie Penpals" & Surgery

Sign up here!
Hello all! So, I'm pretty excited. Care to know why? Well, I joined this group called Foodie Penpals this month. If you have never heard of Foodie Penpals, you most definitely need to check it out. To give you a brief overview, on the 5th of every month, I receive an email telling me who my Foodie Penpal is. I must then contact my penpal to get some general information such as a mailing address, dietary restrictions, etc. By the 15th of the month, I have to send a little package to my Foodie Penpal. What needs to be in the package? It must contain something written along with any treats or goodies that I wish to send. There is also a $15 price limit on whatever is sent, so there is no pressure to be too extravagant. Do I receive anything? Yes! Somebody else has been given my information, and they will be sending me a package! I have yet to be contacted by my Foodie Penpal, but I can't wait to see what they have in store! Finally, on the last day of the month, I blog about what I received from my penpal.

Kayce is the Foodie Penpal I have been paired with for June. She is a 26-year-old mother of an almost 3-year-old with one on the way, and she is also the wife of a Military man. Thank you for your service! Originally from Washington State, this growing family is currently a few miles from home. By a few I mean over 2500, as they are currently located in the state of Georgia. Welcome to the South y'all!

Kayce is currently not a blogger, so expect a guest post on my blog from her at the end of the month. I can't wait to read what she has to say about the package I send her! I will not be revealing what I will be sending to my Foodie Penpal. I don't want to spoil it for Kayce, so I will leave it up to her for the surprise. I'm very excited to get started, and I look forward to the many months ahead filled with Foodie Penpal surprises!

On a more personal note, I will be having surgery tomorrow on my nose. Funny story, actually. Just before New Years Eve, my friends and I decided last minute to head up to the mountains in East Tennessee for a quick little getaway. It was very cold (we were expecting some snow), so we decided bringing some firewood to build a fire was an excellent idea. My friend Ross was loading firewood into my arms, I was walking over to the truck, and Justin was unloading from my arms into the truck. It was pretty dark at the time, and we were in a hurry. Well, let's just say one of the pieces of firewood caught my face on the way to the truck. In simple terms, my boyfriend hit me with a piece of firewood and broke my nose. See why it requires an explanation? It just sounds awful if I leave it at that. My broken nose is honestly not too noticeable, but that's not why I am having surgery. Since that little accident, I have had the worst splitting headaches. After seeing the ENT a few times and having a CT Scan done, it was concluded that I have a severely deviated septum. Imagine putting pressure on a thin piece of wood. What does it do before it completely snaps? It splinters. So, when I broke my nose, it splintered in two places causing bone spurs which are causing the headaches. The doctor said he is 100% positive that after my surgery tomorrow, I will be rid of those awful headaches. I am scheduled to go into surgery at 7:45 tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how it turns out! Wish me luck!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Easy Enchiladas for Everyone!

Everyone that is familiar with the Chappell family knows about "taco night." This is a meal that my family has been having since, well, since I can remember. Even my childhood friends remember "taco night" at our house. What is so special about this meal? Well, it's easy to prepare for several people which was an absolute must for every meal growing up. With two parents, five children, and all of our friends that practically lived at the house, meal preparation was huge (literally). Other than the easy preparation, who doesn't love tacos?! Even the pickiest of my brothers loved this meal.

So, what is my favorite meal to make when I'm looking for something easy that could feed a number of people? Tacos! Okay, so I don't just make tacos, but it's hardly Mexican so I prefer to place this meal in the taco category. If we really want Mexican food, we head off to one of our local favorite restaurants. You just can't beat it (especially since most of us American folks specialize in cereal pouring and not tortilla making, unfortunately).

For me, the typical at-home taco night meal consists of enchiladas, tacos, rice, and beans. When expecting a bigger crowd, chips and cheese dip is a great addition. All of this together took less than an hour to prepare!

For 6 Enchiladas here is what I needed:
  • 6 soft taco size tortillas
  • 1-2 lbs of ground beef (usually I lean toward 2 lbs)
  • 2 cans of mild enchilada sauce (I have tried medium, but I feel that adding heat takes away from the flavor)
  • 1 package of finely shredded Mexican fiesta cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer works great)
  • 1-2 packages of your favorite taco seasoning (you use 1 for every lb of beef, so 2 lbs would require 2 packs)
Enchilada Directions:
  1. brown beef, and drain
  2. add in favorite taco seasoning and follow directions on package (usually requires adding some water)
  3. pour enough enchilada sauce in a 9x13 pan to cover the bottom
  4. mix a small amount of the enchilada sauce in with the taco meat
  5. take each tortilla, and place desired amount of cheese and meat mixture inside
  6. wrap up the filled tortillas, and place side by side in the pan
  7. pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, and cover with cheese
  8. place in oven (approx. 350ᵒ) until the cheese is completely melted  (around 15-20 mins)
Typically, I brown more meat than needed for enchiladas, so that I don't have to brown more meat for the tacos. The easiest way to do this is to brown all the meat, add in the seasoning, and just take out what I will use for the enchiladas, leaving enough meat for tacos. While I am browning the meat, I heat up a can of refried beans. During this time, I would usually make white rice, but this time I tried something different. While browsing through the Mexican section of the grocery store, I came across some microwavable Mexican style rice made by Taco Bell. I just had to try it! All I had to do was put it in the microwave for 90 secs and it would be ready. It turned out to be outstanding! It was surprisingly really delicious. By this time, the beans are heating, the taco meat is ready, and I can put together the enchiladas. I put them in the oven, then get going on some cheese dip. I decided to try the new Velveeta Queso Blanco, and it also turned out delicious. You just add Ro-tel, and put it in the microwave. Easy! While everything is in the works, this is a good time to cut up any lettuce, tomato, or any other toppings you would like. The last thing to do is toss the tortillas in the microwave to heat them up a little, throw the shells in the oven to crisp, and prepare the 90 sec rice. Everything will be ready around the same time if prepared this way.

Now, you are ready to eat! Everything is prepared, and people can make their tacos however they wish.