Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving In Chicago

Well, it seems as if we’ve been a little MIA lately. We spent last week in Chicago with Alyssa’s family for Thanksgiving, and then as soon as we got back Aly came down with some sort of a cold. But between making her smoothies and bringing her chicken soup in bed (half of which I spilled all over the place) I edited this little video of our time in the Windy City. Hope you enjoy!

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5 Reasons I Love Thanksgiving

In the words of my favorite New Girl, Jess- “So what are you all gobblin’ about? Turkeys?”

The time has come.

It’s Turkey Time.

Here are 5 reasons I love Thanksgiving:

5) Eating Mashed Potatoes. (And eating in general.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love the turkey part of thanksgiving, but the side I look forward to most is the mashed potatoes. Regular or Sweet, they are so delicious. Especially since I don’t make them for myself often (even though I just did like 2 nights ago… but that’s beside the point!). Point is- before this year, I didn’t cook dinner very often and having a delicious home cooked meal in front of you to devour definitely has it’s perks. Lots of them.

4) Baking Pies

I started this tradition last year and I’m planning to continue this one! I kind of became obsessed with baking pies last year. So much so that when a dear family member of mine dropped my pumpkin pie while taking it out of the oven last year, I scrounged up some kitchen ingredients to conjure up a new one (without having to go back to the store, I might add). Who knows, maybe this year someone will get a pie in the face. It’s always an adventure.

3) Shopping! (But not on Black Friday…)

You know me- I LOVE shopping. As the weather gets colder, the want for a warm sweater and scarves is always on the back of my mind. Hitting up some of my favorite shops that aren’t in Nashville while I’m home is always fun- H&M, Tradewinds, Aldo, etc. Heading out before Thanksgiving or the Saturday after Black Friday has always been my plan. I have never shopped in stores on Black Friday- it kind of scares me! It’s hard for me to even go to the grocery store on a normal weekend with the crowds. You can’t avoid getting in someone’s way and let’s face it- other people are always in your way, too.

2) Reflecting on the year and things I’m thankful for.

This year has seriously been a whirlwind! I’m so very thankful for pulling off an incredible wedding and getting married to my best friend! For the roof above our heads, for the food on the table, and the friends and family around us… God’s really blessed us with so much!

1) Being with FAMILY!

As some of you may know, our families live far away from us. Spending time with them during the holidays means so much! Plus, they both live in colder climates- so it really does feel like fall when we come out to visit. Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without them!

An Airplane’s View Of The World

I was trying to clean up my computer a bit this weekend and free up some space on my hard drive. As I was going through I noticed that I had a lot pics either from airplanes or of airplanes. So thought I’d put a little collection together of my travels. Pardon my addiction to iPhone apps…

Landing in Frankfurt

Flying Over Italy

View from an aircraft carrier flight deck - Somewhere in the Middle East

Descent somewhere in the Middle East

Touchdown in Yokosuka

Bahrain International Airport

Dawn Over Amsterdam

Osprey Ride In The Indian Ocean

Mt Fuji southwest of Tokyo

Beautiful Ireland

This was taken by my buddy Ari last year while we were aboard a Navy ship. Early Morning -Indian Ocean

Djibouti, Africa

Diego Garcia - Indian Ocean (Another shot by Ari)

Early morning landing in Paris

Riding co-pilot somewhere in the Middle East

Crossing the Atlantic

Okinawa

Aircraft carrier somewhere offshore the Middle East

There are far too many to post them all, but can’t wait to go back overseas again! Lately I’ve really been wanting to go to Iceland and Norway!

Fall Cleaning – Finding Things We Could Have Used Months Ago

This past weekend we decided to do some fall cleaning. Dust was starting to collect on old clothes and our desk drawers were becoming so cluttered that it was becoming impossible to find anything. So after breakfast we started our Goodwill bag and began making the hard decisions of what to toss.

I started with my desk – so much junk mail. You see I’m completely paranoid about throwing out junk mail – I think that the bad people of the world are going to steal all my info, open up credit cards accounts and go on extravagant vacations on my credit score’s dime. So instead of trashing it all I just hold on to it until I – A) get access to a shredder or B) have access to fire where I can burn the evidence.

Alyssa in the meantime started on her craft drawers – and let me tell you, the woman could start her own craft shop with the amount of buttons and gluesticks she has.

Time for a Zack Morris style time-out for a brief story:

The week before our wedding, while I was on the road, Alyssa called me a bit upset that she couldn’t find her passport – an item that was most necessary for our honeymoon travels. However we knew some people who had used passport expediting services and we weren’t too worried.

Well, the next day she called to inform me that she couldn’t find her birth certificate either. Now, if you don’t know, not having a birth certificate highly complicates getting your passport expedited and we were running out of time.

Long story short – Alyssa’s mom had to go to the county clerk’s office back in Chicago and get her birth certificate to mail it down to Nashville same day air. Then we had to FedEx everything to the expediting service and pray for the best.

So the whole week before the wedding when most people are stressing over things like whether or not the flower girls will remember their cues, we were worrying about whether or not we would be able to go on our honeymoon.

But alas – at the last minute the FedEx package arrived and we all were relieved.

Time In:

So during our little cleaning session guess what turned up in one of our ‘junk boxes’…Aly’s birth certificate – oh the drama we could have avoided.

Needless to say we’re going to take a few more organizational precautions in the future – no more close calls for us. But thankfully it all worked out in the end and we had an amazing honeymoon in St. Maarten!

Oh and later that night I started a fire to burn all of our junk mail…

San Fran Memories

This past weekend, Chico traveled to San Francisco with the band for an event called Live on the Vineyard. He met lots of cool people there and they had a great time!

While I was at home, I had a pretty low-key weekend. I couldn’t help but think of the time I went out with Chico and the band for a few tour dates in California 2 years ago for my birthday.

Not only was it my first time in California, but it was my first time traveling on a tour bus! I met up with the guys in Reno and as they say- it was an older version of Vegas. That night was my first on the tour bus and it was pretty rough! We drove through the night through a snow storm in the mountains. The bus was squeaking so loud, my ears kept popping due to altitude, and it was really bumpy! Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night!

The next day we arrived in San Fran and Chico and I woke up early, rented a car, and spent just one day in the land of Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco treat, remember?). We walked over the Golden Gate Bridge a few times enjoying the views and our time together.

We also went to Alcatraz! It was one of the most erie and awesome places I’ve been to! Chico and I were so fascinated by the stories, history, and architecture of the prison. A definite must-see in San Fran!


With a few hours left to spare, we then decided to hunt down the Full House house. Yep. We are those kids who grew up watching the show and couldn’t pass up this chance! Perfect opportunity. And yeah, we ended up taking pictures next to it…

…and we found some of the places from the intro theme song.

After a show in San Fran and then the next night in Los Angeles, it was time for me to head home and go back to work.

This trip felt so magical. Almost like I had stepped out of my life and into a photograph or something. It’s really hard to describe how much fun I had. I am seriously jealous that Chico got to experience the City again without me! There WILL be a next time!

There Is No Escaping…

I thought I was safe. I thought this would be easy. I thought the only thing that Alyssa had ever cooked with success in our four years of dating had been Kraft Mac & Cheese and even that was debatable.

Then came perhaps the most dangerous gift of our wedding shower in Chicago…A recipe book. This was no ordinary recipe book – it was filled with hand written family secrets and traditions from friends and family – some passed down over generations. I knew this would be trouble.

Don’t get me wrong I love food…like LOVE food (especially sweets). After all I grew up in the northeast where my Italian grandmothers took it very personal if I didn’t go back for seconds – or thirds for that matter. However, in recent years I have found that the best way to eat healthy is the ole’ “outta sight outta mind” technique.

Still, I figured it would take Aly some time to learn her way around the kitchen – WRONG. Ever since that first dinner together in our new home when she cooked me a birthday feast that included a family favorite ‘Poppyseed Chicken’ followed by my mom’s chocolate cake I knew I was in trouble. And remember how I said that I especially love sweets? Turns out desserts are her specialty. She will disappear in the kitchen and all of a sudden the house is filled with the smell of butterscotch or cinnamon or some other deliciousness.

When I’m home I office out of the house so I’m stuck all day with whatever goodness she was inspired to make the night before. And let’s face it – my will power is not nearly strong enough to fight off these cravings.

I have single-handedly made whole sheets of cookie cake disappear, murdered muffins by the dozens, and destroyed full pans of pumpkin loaf in one sitting. My current battle this week has been Alyssa’s pumpkin pie…

This is a war that I clearly cannot win….looks like I’m going to have to double my jogging miles…

I Am The Tourist (NYC Style)…

Last week we were in New York City doing a couple of things with VH1. We had a day off between events, and I decided that I’d be a tourist for the day. I’m not talking about the “blend in and pretend I live in this city” kind of a tourist – if I want to sit in a coffee shop and read I can do that in any town. I’m talking about the “ask for directions and take lots of pictures” kind of a tourist.

Tate and I got up early and took the subway down to the South Ferry. Both of us are history nerds, but neither of us had ever been to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. We got off the subway and saw a huge line wrapping around Battery Park – surely this wasn’t the line for the ferry – turns out it was (and don’t call me Shirley). After buying our tickets we took our place in line. Fortunately for us there was plenty of entertainment along the way to make the time go by.

Santa trying to make some extra cash in the off season...

After waiting for over an hour, we finally got on the ferry – first stop; Statue of Liberty:

After spending some time with Lady Liberty we got back on the ferry to head over to Ellis Island and walk the halls our ancestors did upon entering America:

After watching some pals play in SoHo we got off in Times Square with a hankering for our favorite pizza place:

The next day we had an early morning at VH1 as the guys played live on the Morning Buzz:

Here are some more shots from NYC:

So long NYC – I look forward to being a tourist again soon