Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas weekend, and an exciting New Year! 2011 is going to hold some very eventful things that I'm excited to share. Until them, eat to your hearts content, laugh til it hurts, and love one another.


Merry Christmas!

Many of you have asked that I document the crazy experiences I had growing up on a farm. Many of my California friends haven't heard these stories, so it's my pleasure to introduce them to you today. Although they are much funnier when told in person, I'll do my best to capture each moment.


THE LAGOON

We lived in Bagdad, Kentucky (yes, Bagdad). The town consisted of one general store, one bank, and one feed store. Every good rural town has to have a feed store. Our home was at the base of a large hill, and most of our land backed up to it. Across the one lane road was a creek, and the farm next to us had beautiful horses. For some reason, my parents thought it would be a fantastic idea to move the house, yes, the HOUSE, to the back of the property; which was on top of the hill. So, it began in the late fall. Construction workers created a driveway up the steep hill, and soon our house was amazingly moved to the top of the hill.

Now. Let me remind you that this was in the middle of nowhere. It isn't quite as simple to get water, electric, etc. when you move your home in the dead of winter to the top of a hill. Mom? Dad? Are you out there? Why did you do this to us?!?!

Some official person suggested along the way that we create a "lagoon" of sorts off to the side of the house. So, they came, they bulldozed the trees, they went. The lagoon began to fill with water from the rain and snow, creating a perfect ice skating rink. Again, for some odd reason we had a collection of ice skates, and off we went to skate in the winter.

The Lagoon also made a perfect rise in the land to target shoot. Shoot, as in guns. Gasp, yes we grew up with guns. Yes, we even killed animals. So one sun shiney day, my parents asked me to take my then 4 year old brother out to shoot the bb gun. We climbed the side of the lagoon, stood on the embankment and aimed for the trees. I showed Sam what to do, then turned the safety off. My sweet, precious, innocent little baby of a brother declared: "I'm gonna shoot you!" So what did I do? What any 10 year old sister would. I RAN. I ran and ran and ran and wouldn't you know it, I heard the 'pop', felt the pain, and crashed to the ground. While Sam I'm sure was clueless as to what he had done, I stood up, felt the back of my head, saw the blood and ran for home.

Yes. My four year old brother shot me in the back of the head. While I was running. He's in the Army now. Nice aim, kid.

I love Coldplay. I love Christmas. I love Coldplay and Christmas together. Enjoy.




I am so very excited! Today The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree, announced that she has finished her novel and it will be released in February 2011!!! How exciting is this! The book is the story of how she met and married her 'Marlboro Man', and moved to a remote ranch in Oklahoma. She began chronicling her journey via her blog a few years ago, but ended the short chapters at her wedding. She is adding those chapters, and continuing through her honeymoon and first year of marriage.

Click to pre-order "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels".

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, PW began a blog a few years ago. It has now blossomed into an award winning, recipe posting, life chronicling, hilarious blog. I love it so much because she just writes. Simply writes how she feels. Since Ree has gained national (and I'm sure worldwide) acclaim, her followers are into the millions each day. There's even been a rumor of a movie one day. I'd go see it. :)

A friend told me about her crazy blog shortly after it began, as a friend had told her. We kept it quiet, on the down low as if we had found a nugget of gold amongst the riff raff of the Internets. But alas, we've all shared her site with our friends and loved ones, and now the secret is out. She came out with a cookbook last year, and I had the privilege of standing in line for three hours meeting her.

I love Ree. I love reading about her life, her kids, the ranch, the cowboys.....and I dream of the day I could live on a ranch...with a cowboy....and the kids......

Hey! I can dream, right?


The crew at Jen's on Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I wasn't able to return home to Kentucky this year, but am so thankful for my family of friends here on the West Coast. I split my day between my family that I work for, and my friend Jen's house. She hosted four Marines from Camp Pendleton who are finishing their training before shipping out to various locations across the world. It was such a pleasure to honor them, hang out with them and just love on them for the day. We had so much food, played pool, games, watched football, the works. They were too sweet and we all enjoyed getting to know them.

I joked that they were modeling the "Fall 2010 Marine Wear"

I was able to accompany Jen back to Camp Pendleton to drop the guys off, and we got to talking about how much more we as a people can do for our military servicemen. Some of the young men and women who serve our country do not have families who can visit them, or do not have family at all. I encourage you, if you live near a military base to contact the local YMCA or MWR on post to see how you can get involved. Upon further investigation, I have found that the YMCA on Camp Pendleton has over one THOUSAND families who have signed up for the Secret SANTA program this year. They are still looking for donations for over 350 families. Below is an excerpt from the Director of the program:

"Our Secret SANTA (Support And Nurture Those Americans who serve) program focuses upon junior enlisted families with children who are the ranks of-5 and below. These families have provided the Armed Services YMCA a wish list is then assigned to a donor family, organization, or business so they can shop, wrap and personalize gifts."

I am so excited to be involved in this program, as my younger brother himself is a serviceman, the least I can do is help out. If you are based in the Southern California area and would like to help, please see the contact information listed below.

Program Contact Information
Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA
Phone: 760-385-4921
Suzanne Tabrum Director of Events and Community Relations










I'm sitting at my desk watching the warm Southern California sun cast dancing shadows across my Macbook screen. Shaking my head, I'm thinking...never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here. A sparkling pool right outside my window, snow capped mountains in sight, (Bette Midler, anyone?) chilly evenings and warm afternoons year round.

Still, never even dreamed that I would be here.

But here I am, a year and a half later, and I have to say...

I LOVE IT.

Don't get me wrong. I'm going back to my homeland someday, Tennessee, that is. Just not today.

In this season of thanksgiving, here are thirteen things that I am thankful for living in Southern California.

-Daily dosage of sunshine
-The ocean
-Bonfires on the beach
-Sandcastles
-Churros (Ps-didn't even know what that was until I moved here)
-FroYo!! (See above comment)
-The abundance of parks
-Being within driving distance of some of the most amazing geological creations
-Disneyland (Come on, it's awesome and you know it :)
-Breathtaking views of the city
-Standing still, with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other
-Having an amazing job that made this move possible
-Being blessed with the most incredible friends a girl could as for

There you have it! Of course I have a million other things to be thankful for, but I thought I'd give some props to my Cali experience thus far.

Joshua Tree

Last weekend the crew and I loaded up for a camping trip at Joshua Tree National Park. We had an absolute blast, and the weather was perfect, albeit a little chilly in the evenings. The stars were INCREDIBLE! I wished I could bottle them up just to see them sparkle all the time. I've been on a few cruises in the middle of the ocean, but somehow seeing the stars this time around was more profound than before. It seemed as if you could see the galaxies, so amazing!



Ok, call me crazy, but doesn't this look like a fish?!

So many beautiful rock formations.


We picked a route and just went for it. We were inside little rock caves, climbing up and over huge formations, you name it, we did it. We came to this one formation that the guys were determined to conquer. I really wanted to as well, but sadly... I have little legs. Ah, to be tall.

Half of the crew

Climbing inside of the rock formations


We only suffered one injury, and that award goes to Grant. He was Spiderman over all the of rocks, conquering his fear of heights pretty quickly! The last formation he was coming down, he fell and sprained his ankle. We had to cut our explorations a little short, but we didn't mind. The other guys in the crew were so sweet to take turns helping Grant out of the park. Now I now why people could get so lost out there, it's really hard to stick to a trail!! Next time, I'm bringing walkie talkies. :)

Nothing better than a fire...

The crew.



Glee

For my Nashville friends...notice someone behind the lead singer? Look familiar?!



GO COLIN! :)

A Nashville musician used records to shingle his outdoor porch! How cool and resourceful!


You can see the original post here.


Whew!

Halloween was quite the blast, a friend hosted a fantastic party, complete with ghoulish martinis! So cute! Everyone got all dolled up and decked out, so much fun!


Dani, Courtney and I

Courtney and I

A group of friends bought tickets to Go Fest, the local country radio station's festival. We had lawn seats, but snuck into the Terrace level and had oh so much fun!!

Only half the crew!

My dear, dear friend Jessica married her sweetheart in an adorable outdoor ceremony in Huntington Beach. It was a super small wedding , and I was so honored to be there as her guest. Congratulations Josh and Jess!!

Mr and Mrs. Fowler

One of my favorite highlights from the past few weeks would have to be scoring tickets the to Tennessee Titan/ San Diego Chargers game! I took my friend Dani, and we had an incredible time. Our seats were nosebleeds, but we didn't mind! We were just happy to be there.

Our Seats

On the way to the stadium, we met a few fellow Titans fans on the train to whom we gave some of our temporary tattoos. So fun to meet new friends, especially when they've lived in Tennessee!! They mentioned that they had field seats...

Trent, myself, Dani and Tom

And offered to move us down with them if there were extras.

There were :)


We were the luckiest girls that day!

Yep, good ole' Jack Johnson was in concert last week, and I was so excited to see him perform live! I've always wanted to, but Jack never toured near Nashville. Thankfully, 2010 was my year in Southern California.I'm so glad I follow the musicians that I do; they are all so talented! It's so fun to see someone perform live and be as good or better than their records. That in itself is a kinda funny statement, huh? But in these days of the Taylor Swift's of the world, I mean what I'm saying. Love sweet Taylor, own her records, but girl can't sing live. Poor thing. As we say in the south..."bless her heart!"


But not Jack Johnson! He is so chill, funny and talented. He brought his opening acts on stage with him, Zee Avi and G-Love from time to time. He sang all of his classics, covered a song or two, and his grand finale was my personal favorite song, "Better Together".

I also saw Sara Evans and Rascal Flatts this week, as their concert was re-scheduled from a previous date. We met up with a group of friends and tail-gated all afternoon. I'm still not used to the idea of tail-gating for a concert, but hey-I won't complain! We had a great time! We originally had lawn seats, but by the time we got in the venue it was SO packed, we decided to be sneaky sneaky and head into the Terrace seats. All of us made it in! Have NO idea how we did, but we did, and loved every second of it. We sang and danced our little hearts out and had an absolute blast.

Well, this officially ends Stacey's Summer Concert Series....but tune in for more adventures! Coming soon is camping at Joshua Tree, my first time to Las Vegas and New York City, Christmas in Kentucky and Tennessee, and most of all, my solo trip to IRELAND!

Dancing Queen

One of my favorite blogs to browse is The Finer Things, and todays post was incredibly adorable!



How stinkin' cute!!!





Well, it's that time of year! Halloween! I recently went with friends to the Knott's Berry Scary Farm, where ghosts and ghouls ruled the night. Creatures would slide across the pavement, through the fog to scare you, and creepy clowns would follow you around. There were many "mazes" to walk through, and believe me, I had NO voice by the end of the night.

I haven't been to anything to frighten myself in a long time, and now I remember why. I hate it! I had a fantastic time, but I so do not enjoy getting scared. My friends got a good laugh at my expense, and I'm glad they did. I just won't be returning next year unless I have someone to death grip. :)

It's in this season I'm reminded of traditional things I did back home in Tennessee. Every fall we would get pumpkins, go out on a back road in Jon's Jeep and obliterate them. I've tried to think of a way we could do that here in California, but I just don't know where we could.
Corn mazes were always a blast, and sadly, we have no corn here! Knott's did their own version of a corn maze, and my friends made me go first. I was impressed, and terrified of course!

I hope you all have a fantastic fall season complete with timeless memories only fall can bring.

Nothing to Say



I like to talk. A lot. Not a shy person. Would tell anyone something. Anytime. Even if they weren't listening and didn't care. I'd just keep on yakking.

But sometimes when I sit down to write a blog, I can't think of what to say. I know I recap my life a lot, but that's mainly for my family who reads this blog. Thinking back, I started this blog just because it was the new, hip thing to do. And here I am, wordless.

In this world of social media, we have a lack of guarding our lives. Back in the day, (I'm talking when you had shared phone lines) you worried of conversations being overheard. Nowadays, you cannot go anywhere without hearing the person next you telling whoever is on the other end of their phone what they did that day, where they were, etc etc. It's quite mind boggling if you stop to think about it.

We log onto Facebook and Twitter, and the question "What's on your mind?" looks us in the face. Of course I want to know that someone just had In N Out! Of course I want to know you just took a shower. And the winner, absolutely, hands down...OF COURSE I want to know you are tweeting/status updating during church.

Now, I'm not here to hate. It's all love, baby. I'm simply thinking with my fingers here, and wondering why we are ok with letting the world know our lives. Sometimes, and only sometimes, I toy with the idea of deleting Facebook. *GASP!* I know. Treason right there. But seriously! I talk with those I'm friends with in real life, and hardly talk to those I was friends with in the past. But yet I, along with many others, are guilty of trolling the pages of those I one knew, just to know what they are doing with their lives. Sometimes I'm jealous, sometimes I'm not, but bottom line-it's not personal anymore.


I'm old school. I love sending cards, letters, small gifts in the mail. And I love getting them too! I feel all them move loved, knowing someone took the time to sit down and write me a note. Or that someone thought of me when they saw this item, and knew I had to have it.

Anyways. This is me, having nothing to say. :)

Whirlwind Weeks!

Hi!

Hey there!

Remember me?

Stacey? That girl who lives in California?

Oh, right. It's ok. I've been gone.

BUT I'M BACK!

I do apologize for my absence of late, I've been a leeeeeetle busy.



I went to Kentucky over Labor Day to visit my family, and had such a great time! I feel like it was a whirlwind, and I was super caffeinated the entire time I was there. I flew in Thursday evening, and met up with my dad and sister to have dinner at my favorite place in the Louisville area, Buckheads. Not just any Buckheads, but the one across the river in Jeffersonville. Tasty tastiness in my mouth! We enjoyed a fantastic meal while the sun set over the city, outlining Louisville in a fantastic light.

Friday I was up and at 'em early to take my grandmother to breakfast, then coffee with my dear dear friend Heather (who is having her baby any day!!) and lunch with another longtime friend, Sarah. It was so good to catch up with these ladies, I wish we had more time! So thankful for their friendship over the years.

Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting my sisters work; she is a stylist at Zappos.com. I had a fantastic afternoon watching her style the models, and seeing how the operation worked. I'm a process person, so seeing how the models are styled, photos taken, and sent to site. Site being, THE site. After Steph got off work, we headed to the outlet on campus and shoe shopped our little hearts out! I bought FIVE pairs of shoes. FIVE. Don't judge.. if you had a chance to buy shoes 95% off, wouldn't you do it?

Uh huh. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Friday evening I headed out to my mom's place in Lebanon Junction, KY. Had a wonderful meal, my favorite meal she cooks; "The Good Chicken", mashed potatoes, green beans. DELISH! Saturday morning I was up early to meet my dad and visit my older brother, Scott. Later in the afternoon, I met up with my sister to attend the much rivaled, UKvs. UofL football game. Her boyfriend plays for UofL, so we went to cheer him on. They lost, sadly, but we had a great time tailgating and cheering the guys on.

Sunday we were up early again to go boating all day! The entire fam (menos Scott and Sam) got together for a fantastic day of conquering fears, jumping in the water, and just chilling out. I think it was one of our favorite family days in a long time.

Monday came too soon, and I boarded a plane for home. I haven't stopped working since I've been home, but it's all worth it. I love what I do and I'm thankful to be employed.

Until next time...





I need these.

Oh, Kentucky






I'll do a recap of my trip home to Kentucky here soon, but please enjoy these photos until I do!









Katie flew into LAX and we headed straight for Hollywood to meet Manny for dinner at a fantastic place called Aroma Bakery. It was delicious and so fun to be in the city for an evening. Saturday we went shopping, then to dinner at my favorite restaurant in Newport Beach, the Bluewater Grill. From there we went to see Dave Matthews in concert! I will never get tired of seeing that band perform. So talented!

Sunday we got up early and headed for the water. We rode bikes all along the boardwalk, ate lunch at Sharkee's, and partied til' the sun went down. Monday and Tuesday I had to work, so we played with the kiddos in the morning, and hit Huntington Beach for dinner on Monday; and the John Mayer concert on Tuesday.


John Mayer deserves a whole other paragraph. He was incredible! First let me tell you about his opening act, Owl City. His name is Adam, and he makes good music. Well, more than that, his lyrics are catchy, somewhat ironic and mostly stick in your head goodness. I was intrigued to see him perform live, because his music is so heavily electronic. Surprisingly, he stood in front of a microphone, playing an electric guitar. His band played so well, and he closed the night with "Fireflies".


Enter John Mayer. In his plaid pants and ugly polo, he stole the crowd instantly. Playing his classics, we all stood and swayed to the goodness that comes from his melodic guitar. Aside from his constant cursing, what he said in between songs wasn't too bad! He made us laugh, made some people cry, and over all played an incredible set. All too soon it was over, and we had to go home.

Enter the football.

Traffic was a nightmare, so Katie and I stood by my car munching on snacks we had brought, when I saw some guys playing football. Knowing we had time to kill, we jumped in the game and killed some time. I'm pretty sure I kept nailing the same white Toyota Camry over and over...oops!!

Wednesday came and I had to say goodbye to my bestest friend in the whole wide world. We had a great time, and I can't wait for the holidays so I can see her again!



I saw Eat.Pray.Love the other day, and it was incredible. If you aren't familiar with the story, a single woman goes on a year long quest to find herself, and find God in three different countries. While her story is different than mine, it made me again question why I'm not pursuing certain things in my life.


I love to travel. I'm thankful I've had the opportunities to travel all over the world. I have yet to travel to Europe, and I'm so excited to go in the spring. I've planned to go with my sister and mom, but watching the movie the other day made me think of "what if they can't go". And here's what I've decided. I'M GOING. I know it's not the safest thing to do, or the smartest, but I can't let fear of the unknown keep me from living my life. I've wanted to go and do things for the past few years, but have watched opportunities pass me by because I was afraid to go alone. Well, no longer.

Now, I'm not going to be a complete idiot and walk into things unprepared, no way. I'm just finished with watching life pass by while I stand still. So, Ireland, here I come, with or without my travel companions. I mean, it's IRELAND. In March. Which means one thing...

ST. PATTY'S DAY IN IRELAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I was reading my favorite blog The Pioneer Woman today, and she recaps her recent trip to the Big City. It got me thinking about my upcoming trip in the fall and I realized that I'm terrified to go!

What if I don't fit in?

Don't worry, you won't.

What if it's terribly cold?

It will be. Get over it.

I have to meet a million new people. Awkward conversations.....GO!

Again, get over it.

I'm scared I'll feel claustrophobic.

Go to Central Park.

Oh, you'll take me to Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ?

Ok. :)





The legendary Manuel Garcia celebrated his birthday in style Saturday night; he celebrated with about 50 of his friend in the Fashion District of Los Angeles. Host Alastair Chang opened his LA loft for the amazing party....





Manny's cake I made, it's one of my favorites!


We all had such a great time! I met so many new friends, and reconnected with a few old ones. What's ironic, I met two people from Nashville, and we are connected in all these random ways! The world really is a small place sometimes. Alastair has a fantastic home, the perfect place for an intimate party. The talented Noel L preformed, as did Vinyl Siding and others.

For the seven years I have known Manny, each birthday he outdoes himself. One of my favorites was his 30th, two years ago at a mutual friends home in Green Hills, Nashville, TN. It was an outdoor event, complete with a pool, pool house, wine, gourmet snacks and much much more. I'd have to say that this year tops even that. Or, maybe not tops, but definitely matches in display, entertainment, etc etc.

One of my favorite elements from this years bash was the photobooth. A new favorite trend at parties and weddings, it adds a fun element as well as lasting photos for years to come. Here are just a few snapshots!


Photography by Brandon and Serra Wright



As many of you know, I'm a nanny for two small munchkins that I love to pieces. We are always on the go, being active, doing whatever we can to keep me sane. Just kidding. We love the outdoors! I grew up on a farm where I had the vast countryside to roam and play, build forts and hunt, interact with animals and run from my brothers. I'd like to show the kids I care for a taste of that free childhood. Living in Orange County we are within borders, but I've done my best (with their parents help!) to find the coolest parks and am constantly looking for new and exciting things to do.

One of the things I've been wanting to find is a traveler to attach to my bike. They are a little pricey, and I'm sure we won't use it but for a year or two more. So, we've looked and looked but never made the purchase. Until today.

I was a Target, and happened to run through the bike equipment aisle, and there on the shelf for 50% off was a Schwinn Bike Traveler!

I was so excited! I quickly confirmed with my boss that I could purchase it, and the kids and I are so excited to put it together! I love bike riding, there are SO many trails around where I live; just another reason to be outdoors!

Ireland

I've been talking about visiting Europe for years, and in 2011, it will become a reality. While there are many countries I will visit in the coming years (Hello...Norway/Finland/Sweden!), Ireland will most likely be the destination for next year.


I've been thinking about taking my mom with me, seeing as it will be her 50th birthday next year. I'm planning on keeping it on the down-low, and I know she never reads my blog; so I'm good to share it here.

If you have visited Ireland, please let me know of any tips, places, B&B's, etc! I can't wait to make this trip happen!

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