Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Just Another Music Monday

A few songs I am loving at the moment.....

Hands - JJ Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

Side Note: I discovered this beautiful song yesterday which was perfect since I had missed going to church that morning. I hadn't heard of this artist before, but I'm going to check more of her stuff out ASAP

Tonight - Seether

I’m not gonna waste this
This opportunity’s mine
I’m sick of complaining
About a beautiful life

How did we get here?
Did we forget all the things inside?
And how do we stay here?
Do we embrace all the things denied?

Side Note: When the album first came out, this was my least favorite song. Now? I can't stop listening to it! Only 15 more days until I see the in concert - whooty whoot!

Sweet Dream - Greg Laswell

If I could write out my own dream
For the next time that I sleep
You'd be the first one that I see
And I the last one that you keep

And the dream would go on and on
While we sway against all things thrown our way
And the morning would be so cruel
When it came with sunshine and warmth to blame
For announcing the end of my sweet dream
For announcing the end of my sweet dream

Side Note: I love the melody to this. It makes me want to write. It's really short, but so so good. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sister Road Trip: Day Two Part One

After the first night of landing face down into a pillow, waking up to the heat blasting through the room, not being able to find my pants, meeting the mainatance man at 1:00 AM who looked just like my cousin, Jamie, we got up the next morning, got ready, and headed down to the front desk to see about tickets to places and tour guides throughout Nashville.

Wow, that was a long sentence.

Anyhoo. We found out that if we did this book package deal thing down there for the day, we would have a shuttle all day up until 1:45 AM and we got tickets to go to a few places so we were game. Oh. And did I mention that the second day in Nashville was MY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Because it was.

And I kind of forgot it was my birthday off and on all day. Except at 8:00 AM when I shouted to my sister: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! She told me to shut my face and I told her: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! YOU CAN TELL ME TO SHUT MY FACE ON MY BIRTHDAY! And then she threw a pillow at my head.

Our first stop off the shuttle was the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I am not a huge country fan, but I am a music lover so I was actually pretty excited to see a lot of it even if I didn't know who the heck half the people were. We spent almost two hours wandering around, listening to music, watching videos, and learning more and more about so many artists.

All hail, the Man in Black.
I was really surprised of how little Cash stuff they had there. But that's okay, I found him in Memphis.

OMG! It's a bear....and a blurry one at that. 

Oh, no the circle won't be broken
 By and by, Lord, by and by

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sister Road Trip: The Best Hotel You'll Ever Stay At

I decided to make a separate post about the awesome and amazing Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville that we stayed at. I've stayed at some nice hotels before, and I was pretty sure the Disneyland Hotel with all it's awesome Disney-ways would always be my favorite, but the Gaylord was so freaking gorgeous and had a bed made of Heaven that it's totally bumped Disney out of running place.

BUT we did have a slight problem with the heat kicking on in the middle of the night. The first night it happened, I couldn't find my pants (the cleaning lady found them for me the next morning) so I stayed under the covers when the maintenance guy showed up. Strangely enough, he looked just like our cousin Jamie. My sister was all whispering it to me (she had pants on) and I peeked my head out from the covers to confirm it. If I had a camera handy, I would have taken a picture. The next night, the heat kicked on sometimes towards the morning. We called maintenance again, they fixed it while we were at the Spa (having a Swedish massage, pedicure, and a hair blow out) (!!). When we checked out they did knock money off of our bill for the inconvenience.

The hotel itself is like a little village. I didn't take pictures of every area, but I did take a ton of the main floor.

We didn't stay in the balcony rooms. I felt like a total peeper walking by when guests had their doors open, but I had to see what the difference was in rooms! From what I saw, they were basically the same except they had the cool balcony.

At night, the whole place was lit up in white lights. 

And it was super pretty, but none of the pictures came out that great. 

While walking around the hotel, I sometimes felt like I was in the movie Bi-Dome, and almost expected Bud and Doyle to be busting a jig out in the middle of the walkway.

Sadly, it never happened.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sister Road Trip: Day One

I've been meaning to do this series of posts of the road trip my sister and I took, but ya know.....I didn't.

So here it is!

Last year, my sister and I decided before her and her husband tried to have a baby, we wanted to go on a road trip together. After much debate and many upon many changes of plans *ahem*, we decided to take a week off, hit the road and our destination stops would be: Nashville, Memphis, and Tunica. Two days before we were supposed to take off, the massive flood hit in Mississippi and the levy was about to break so Tunica got cancelled out, but we were okay with it (for the most part) and decided if we wanted to gamble, we'd head to Tulsa or something.

On April 28th we planned to hit the road at 8 AM. Of course we didn't leave on time because that would mean the Apolocolpsye was happening. After gasing up and grabbing some drinks, we blasted the music up (departure song: Ain't No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant), and we were ready to go!

Driving was pretty smooth except for the fact our lovely Tom-Tom didn't realize we were on highways, and I may have almost took a wrong exit only to jerk us back into traffic, almost making my sister wet herself and even the people behind us probably about peed themselves too.

While we knew there was a lot of flooding down south, we didn't expect so much flooding to be in Missouri. Besides seeing a few creek get high, we don't see flooding often, so you can imagine our faces when we soon were surrounded by this:

Because of all of that *waves hands around like a maniac* a few exits we were supposed to get on were no longer available. We were technically only supposed to be in Illinois for 4 miles, but a lot of exits were closed and closed and closed. Thankfully my sister brought an Atlas with us because Tom-Tom just wasn't having this re-routing thing AT ALL. Here's the thing. My sister is a nervous driver/rider. When she starts getting nervous as a rider, I, the driver, start to get nervous. When you add in a lot of traffic surrounding me, I sometimes...well....freak out.

SO I may or may not have whipped the car over onto a country road, spewing gravel everywhere, while my sister screamed, "WHO THE HELL TAUGHT YOU TO DRIVE?!?!" And I may have screamed back: "I TOLD YOU I DIDN'T WANT TO DRIVE THREE EXITS AGO SO HERE YA GO, SUCKA!" And then she drove.

Even though I was cursing Illoinois and it's po-dunk backroad highway we got stuck on (I really, really had to pee for 30 freaking miles), the most glorious thing ever appeared on a billboard:

A Life-Sized Statue of Superman!!

Our little atlas route had taken us right into Metropolis, Illionis. I didn't even know there was such a thing! I yelled out: STOP! STOP! Gave my sister another heart attack, and we pulled into the place, following the lovely pointy arrows and did a bit of Superman sightseeing:

Oh, did I mention we kidnapped Cheryl and carried her around with us?!

Then we saw the saddest thing, a Harrah's Casino underwater.

A moment of silence, please.

After that we piled back into the car, hit the highway, went through Kentucky for a brief moment

And whaddup! No more detours and soon we saw the glorious sign of Tennessee!

By the time we finally hit Nashville, we were beat. Traffic was NUTS! When we found our hotel, Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, it took us about 10 minutes just to figure out where we were supposed to go. That place was HUGE and was like its own little village.

Being stuck in a car for almost 9 and a half hours, (when our car ride was only supposed to take about 6), we unpacked everything, and went exploring in the hotel. We ate this Mexican restaurant that had the best salsa ever. Drank some drinks, wandered around a bit more, ate some ice cream, and decided that since it was already after 9 PM, we would just hang out in our room for the night. I suffer from insomnia. I have never been one of those people who put their heads on their pillow and conk out. I crawled into that Heaven of a bed (seriously best bed ever) and within 20 minutes this scene happened:

Brandie: Look Amber! Sex & the City is on!
Me: .......
Brandie: Amber? *looks over*
Me: *out like a light with a little bit of drool*

And that concludes the first day of the Sister Road Trip.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weight Loss Sucks: Me and the HCG Diet

So I started doing the HCG Diet. I was all pumped to do it. Had my veggies, fruits, and lean meats all piled up in the fridge. Then I started it......and I was starving. After four days on it, I was thinking there was no way I could last the full 21 days. My blood sugar was going crazy and I felt like a complete fat freak that was obsessed with wanting to stuff food in her mouth.

But then my lovely mama who had gotten the stuff from a girl at work called me to inform me: Oh Amber, you're supposed to take 15 drops 3 times a day, not 5 drops. Might be why you've been feeling so hungry.

I didn't know whether to jump for joy that I wasn't some fat freak obsessed or call her evil so I did both.

Fast forward to Day 12. I'll admit - I cheated. A few days. A few times. With really unhealthy stuff, but so far I've lost 10 pounds. I can feel it in my sides and the fact I was able to go down a notch on my belt. I should have 9 more days left, but the drops I have aren't a 21-Day supply. I probably have enough for 3 more days. So even though I have cheated (like last night OMG steak!) I'm going to finish them up. I may have not have lost the 20 pounds I was shooting for, but I'm quite happy with 10 pounds in 12 days. This was the jump start I wanted. And it has gotten me more motivated to want to start exercising again. Plus with all the water I've been chugging and no more drinking Diet Coke (which I learned in Anatomy class has like some crazy chemical in it when it gets too hot that can kill you so Diet Coke is no longer allowed to enter my freaking body ever again), I feel great!

Do I suggest the HCG Diet? I do if you can hack it. One of the girls I work with did the full 42 days and lost 30 pounds on it. She's been able to keep it off, and it really helped her in eating healthy. Even my 12 days with some unhealthy foods, I have been craving more fruits rather than sugar. And a lot of fried food just looks gross to me (except for fried pickles). I know a lot of people rant about how you're starving yourself. In a way, yes you are. You can only have 500 calories, but your body doesn't go into starvation mode due to the drops.  Just if you do decide to do the HCG Diet, make sure you double check how many drops you're supposed to take. Trust me, that was fat girl Hell.

Oh, and just so you know, if you took a pregnancy test while you're doing this diet, it will more in likely come out positive. So if you're trying to have a baby OR not have a baby, you might want to wait until the drops are out of your system before you pee on a stick. Though I have thought about scaring the crap out of my mother by peeing on one....

And one more thing: If you feel sick or weak or your blood sugar drops STOP DOING THIS DIET! I had read up on it before I did it, and I saw many people say something on the lines of: On Day 7 I felt dizzy. On Day 13 I could barely make it up the stairs. WHY WOULD YOU KEEP DOING THIS TO YOURSELF IF YOU ARE FEELING THAT BAD?! I knew by the morning of Day 4 something wasn't right and was about to quit it. When I got the proper dosage, I felt completely fine. Even if I didn't feel fine by the proper dosage, I would have stopped this diet. So if your body isn't responding right, there's a reason for it. Don't be an idiot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Unbreakable Bonds: Help For My Friend Chris

Chris with his family
Janet, Chris (black shirt up front), Ty, and Brandon 
I know this has nothing to do with books, but I am reaching out to the blogging community in hopes for a friend of mine. Chris Mooney, 26, has went through more than most will ever have to face in a life time. When he was 2 1/2 years old his mother, Janet Thompson, provided a kidney for his first transplant. That kidney held strong until he was bit by a tick and it almost caused him to die due to a disease it was carrying called Ehrlichiosis. He lost the transplant kidney his mother gave him and had severe seizures. He suffered temporary blindness and memory loss. Chris still has no memory of certain times in his life prior to the seizures. Chris went on hemo dialysis as soon as he was stable, and was treated for 3 years until he received his second kidney transplant from his father, Mike Mooney, when he was 13.

Now 13 years later, his kidney is going bad due to his spleen rupturing last year and an infection has set in. It has just taken its toll on him these past 7 months. He is extremely ill and in stage 4 renal failure. Brandon Winfrey, his older brother, is going in to be tested to see if he is a match for a kidney donation. If not, Chris will have to go on the donor list, which means he may not make it that long. His doctor said he is not a good candidate for dialysis this time around. So we hope and pray that Brandon will be a match.

Due to the extreme circumstances of Chris's health, his mother and his younger brother, Ty, are moving back to the states from their home in New Zealand to help take care of him. This is where I'm asking for YOUR help. I've known Chris since I was four years old. His mom used to babysit me, and I'm extremely close with a lot of his family. The funds will help in the cost of assisting the family in taking care of him.

Janet says, "I know we will make it work some how, heck we did it when he was a baby, we may not have had much, but we still had Chris with us to share life with." If you can't afford to help financially, prayers are always needed and appreciated! If you have any questions, you can email my friend Cathryn at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring Into Summer: 50K in 50 Days

Author Karen Mahoney is hosting a 50K in 50 Days challenge. I have been struggling with my own writing lately due to school eating my soul and the craziness that I call work. Even though my road trip I took last week (I will be posting about that soon) was a nice break from all things reality, I'm ready to "spring" into action and tackle some stories. So when I saw this just a few minutes ago, I thought PERFECT!

Clicky-click on this link right here and go read what Spring Into Summer is all about. Did I mention there are going to be prizes?

What I like about this challenge is that you don't necessarily have to work on just ONE story. I currently have four different WIPs now. One of these beasts will be tackled.