Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne*

Good morning friends! It's the last day of the year, can you believe it? When I look back on 2010, I can't believe all the crazy/awesome things Doug and I have experienced together!

Here's a very quick recap of the best things of 2010:
-We celebrated our one year anniversary in Hot Springs, Arkansas and I am still so very in love with the guy I married May 2, 2009!
-Doug was admitted into the business school program at Vanderbilt and I could not be more proud of him!!! Way to go!
-In April, we visited Nashville for the first time, our new home!
-I was sad to leave friends, family, and my job behind in Dallas but excited to embark on a new adventure, and starting a new job in development at Vanderbilt University! I am so grateful for this amazing job opportunity!
-Doug and I ran a hilly Tennessee half marathon in September
-Visited Chattanooga in November (loved it!) and played hostess to some wonderful friends who visited us in TN
-Spent time with family over the holidays back in TX and also in Florida! Great times!

Looking back on it, 2010 involved a lot of job and grad school applications, waiting, planning, hoping, dreaming, praying and CHANGE! It was a lot of being patient, being impatient, and being patient some more. I can't wait to see what surprises are around the corner for 2011. Here's a few things I know for certain:

I am running the Country Music Half Marathon and raising support for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. If you'd like to support this awesome cause by giving even just $5, click here:

I still blog for As you wish... DFW wedding coordinators! If you're in the DFW area and are planning your wedding, check out Shari and the other ladies, they ROCK! We have been asked to contribute posts to a Daily Candy-type site called The Feast Dallas (eek!) I am so excited to have exposure on a bigger scale! Check out the As you wish... blog at

I want to keep up the running and work on increasing speed and distance. I have a few specific goals in mind! Other than that, my plan is to sort of "power down" a bit and lead a simpler life. Less time in front of the tv or computer at home, and spend time reflecting and reading, cooking, creating --- I believe it's important to clear the mind and your life of unnecessary junk in order to keep the creative juices flowing! {I know that sounds vague, and I guess it's supposed to...} Sometimes I forget to build in down time so I never really sit and catch my breath. I want to focus on what's really important this year and not sweat the small stuff!

All in all, I am looking forward to what 2011 has in store!

*I had to look up "Auld Lang Syne" to see what it means, it's a scottish phrase that translates to "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best and Worst Celeb's Baby Names of 2010

I read this on this afternoon and could NOT pass up the opportunity to re-post!

Best Celeb Baby Names of the Year:
Grace Margaret (Mark Wahlberg)
Harper Grace (Neil Patrick Harris)
Aviana Olea (Amy Adams) ... not sure about that middle name...
Olivia Marie (Lance Armstrong)
Bryn (Bethenny Frankel & Jason Hoppy - I don't know they are, anyone know?)
Eli (Rachel Dratch)
Stella Zavala (Matt Damon, who can do no wrong in my book)
Gia Francesca (Mario Lopez a.k.a. A.C. Slater)
Levi James (Sheryl Crow)
Easton (Jenna Elfman)

Worst Celeb Baby Names of 2010:
Buddy Bear Maurice (Jamie Oliver)
Egypt Daoud (Alicia Keys)
Cosmia (Claudia Schiffer)
Axel (Will Ferrell)
Krisha (Padma Lakshmi)
Gideon Scott (Neil Patrick Harris)
Billie Beatrice (Eric Dane)
Abel James (Amy Poehler)
Vida (Matthew McConaughey)
Nelson (Celine Dion)

What do you think? I won't lie, there are a few names on the top list that I adore! Not telling which, guess it will have to be a surprise for everyone one day ... whenever that day comes!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Very Disney Christmas

So...Christmas at Disney World you might ask!? Well, it's a place that's been special to my family since we were little and we all still love it! So it made perfect sense (to us) that with us in Nashville, my parents in Midland, one brother in NYC and another in Dallas ... that we pick Orlando as our vacation location and all meet up! We had a blast and I just loved the 70 degree weather we enjoyed every day. We actually saw the sun ... then flew back to Tennessee just after they had another large snowfall! Trying to stay positive about the cold.... :) But back to Disney! It was a blast. We rode all the rides, saw all the characters (from a distance - you have to wait in mega lines to meet them, gone are the days of just going up to Mickey for a photo), saw awesome fireworks, ate great food, and had a wonderful week at the Happiest Place on Earth. Great way to spend Christmas, if you ask me. And the park had amazing Christmas decorations!! You know the family who had the mega Christmas decorations (you've seen it on YouTube) well, their neighborhood basically banned the Christmas craziness, so Disney offered to re-create the family's Christmas decor at the park. It was AWESOME - great lights, music, and they even made it snow!

Christmas Recap {Part 1}

Hello again!! I've been out and about for a few days but now am back home safe and sound in Nashville. We had a great time when Doug's mom and brother visited Nashvegas for a few days, then Doug and I jet-setted to Orlando to spend Christmas with my family and, you guessed it, Mickey and the gang! I've enjoyed the break from blogging and all-around unplugging for a few days. Now that I'm back, I'm geared up and ready to go back to work tomorrow (wait, am I?!) I've enjoyed catching up on all your blogs and hearing about how everyone's spent their Christmas. And it was wonderful to come home to a mailbox full of Christmas cards. I love a fridge covered in pics of friends and family we don't get to see on a regular basis... having your pictures so close at hand is a great way to remind me to pray for you guys!

Hope you've all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas season!

On to the pictures...

Hanging out in Nash...
Pamela with two of her three boys... Critter you were missed!

We saw the Rockettes (awesome!) at the Grand Ole Opry then enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Tin Angel.

We went hiking on a chilly day at Percy Warner Park. Hiking, eating, running, the Rockettes, The Fighter (good) and Black Swan (creepy, but good) early Christmas presents - all in all a great weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

C'mon, Weekend!

Good morning everyone! I am sooo ready for the weekend - Doug's mom and brother are coming to Nashville for a quick visit! We are going to eat some fabulous food and go see the Rockettes! Then we are heading to Florida Monday morning. In the meantime, tonight I have an office Christmas party. I just need to stay focused today....

Monday, December 13, 2010

"It’s Christmas, and we’re all miserable." -Christmas Vacation

I couldn't help but think of that quote this morning! Last night, Doug probably had the craziest night of his life in Nashville so far ... here's the story:

About 3:30 or 4 on Sunday afternoon Doug was heading up to the school to study for a final today and a few others this week. He told me I'd probably be asleep by the time he got back home. He was prepared for a late night.

About 1:00 a.m. last night, I kept hearing faint noises, like Doug had come inside and was getting something to eat from the kitchen, not sure exactly. The heater was on and so was the fan in our bedroom, not to mention our walls are made like they don't make 'em anymore - sturdy - we never hear anything! So these noises were faint and I couldn't tell what Doug was up to. I was laying there and kept wondering when Doug was coming to bed.

FINALLY - he comes into our room to wake me up (I was awake at this point) and he said hey I need you to bundle up and come with me in the 4Runner (Doug's car). "Why," I asked. "Because I locked the keys in the car at school (my car, the CRV, lovingly called 'Millie'). The car is still at school and I had to run home in the ice." Me, being a genius at 1 a.m., said well why don't you just call a locksmith? Well he tried, apparently he called 4 or 5 different places and no one would send out a dispatch, the roads were too treacherous. (Doug's astute comment later about one particular locksmith company was, "They should really take the word 'emergency' out of their name.")

Anywho, back to 1-something-a.m., Doug said he tried to call me about 20 times and I didn't answer. Well, my phone was on silent. Whoops. So...I got him the spare CRV key...then Doug admitted my car was still running. Yikes. Then he said he pounded on the apartment door for about 20 minutes (the noises I heard) and he woke up all the neighbors and their dogs (Whoops again). So Doug was locked out, I wasn't hearing him banging nor was I getting up anytime soon, my phone was on silent...he had no way of getting in. So... he did the next logical thing. We have a built-in armoire in our dining room with a random tiny square cut-out at the bottom below the last shelf and the cut-out is like a tiny little door. (I don't know, we live in an old hotel.) Anyway, the cut out opens into our apartment building's interior hallway. Doug used his pocketknife (thanks, mom and dad!) to unscrew the hinges on that little door, and he shimmied on his stomach through the bottom of the armoire. (Taking time to carefully move and re-arrange our wine glasses and vases, no doubt!)

So that's how he got in! Anyway, he wanted me to go with him to drive one of the cars back. I convinced him that wasn't necessary (bed was so warm) so he drove himself back to campus in the 4Runner, unlocked Millie, turned her off, and left my car on campus overnight and drove himself back home, safe and sound.

How's that for the night before a final exam?!?!?!

Everything, the running home in the snow, the 4 locksmiths who wouldn't help Doug, the shimmy-ing through the armoire, the fact that my phone was on silent the entire time, it's quite hilarious today. But last night, no one was laughing though!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Mini Happy Lately List* for Sunday...

-Wrapping presents
-It's currently snowing
-My new toy from Nan (Doug's grandma!)
-Getting stuff together for our trip next week to DISNEY WORLD!
-Shipping a few surprises to TX!
-Getting excited for Doug's mom and brother to visit this weekend
-The ROCKETTES on Saturday
-I got my first donation to Team Rio - I am running in a half marathon and raising money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. For more info or to donate click here
-Doug's techno Christmas CD
*Thanks Allison!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A few shenannigans

I've been cleaning out my camera and uploading some pics I haven't taken care of yet! Here are a few recent activities in our household. My friend Rebecca celebrated her birthday last weekend at Margaritaville. When the restaurant opened recently, Doug's dad (who's a huge Buffet fan) submited in a TX license plate and he was wondering if they put it up.

We found it! It's the one that says Tre Bon. Front and center on the roof of the tiki bar.

Our take on Margaritaville: touristy but still fun.
Rebecca and her boyfriend Paul.

Rebecca, me, and Geoff: co-workers at Vanderbilt.

My friend Allen's Ugly Christmas sweater party:

And another one with biz school peeps:

And the biz school Holiday Party, a.k.a "Owen Prom"

Some other biz school wives, I love this random pic!

Such sweet girls! I adore them all!

The dean of the biz school was dressed as Santa.

Deirdre - a biz student who I just LOVE!
And Liz another fellow Texan and biz wife... the pics I won't post are of us dancing the night much fun! Those are a few recent events for us! Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Friday!

There's been a lot of fun things happening in the Midkiff household lately! Can't wait to upload some pics and blog about it! Until then...
I love that Gwyneth Paltrow posted this today on her blog GOOP:
I don’t know how it is where all of you are, but I am freezing my a$$ off.

That pretty much sums it up! Stay warm everyone!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A current look at the Nashville radar...

...all I see out of my window at work is white!!

The weather outside is frightful...

Saturday morning I went for a jog in 45-ish degree weather, and it felt awesome. As the afternoon wore on, the temperature dropped drastically. Yesterday morning, Doug and I were heading out to church when we noticed snow falling softly to the ground!! Major change of plans -the pajama pants went back on and we stayed indoors nearly all day until a Christmas party last night. image by Natalie Dee via Simple Lovely

This morning, it's a chilly 27 degrees. For the record, I'm wearing a pink zebra cardigan!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Hells-to-the-yeah, ladies and gentleman!!! Get excited for Christmas eating season!

I have been looking up a few recipes I want to try out. Cooking treats gets tricky in my house, considering Doug doesn't eat chocolate, and I really try to pick things that aren't like, a thousand calories. So...these all look pretty good. When it comes to recipes I am not loyal nor do I typically make the same thing more than 2 or 3 times. Maybe this Christmas I will find a few that can become "Midkiff classics." Here's a few I plan on making:

Lemon Buttermilk Cookies (via Tasty Kitchen)
•1-½ cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
•¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
•¼ teaspoons Salt
•6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
•¾ cups Granulated Sugar
•1 whole Large Egg
•½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
•⅓ cups Well-shaken Buttermilk
•¾ cups Confectioners Sugar (sifted)
•1-½ Tablespoon Well-shaken Buttermilk
•¼ teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, zest, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter briefly, until creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well to mix. Add the vanilla, and beat briefly again. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The finished dough should be smooth and pale yellow.
4. Drop the dough by level tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 ½ inches between each cookie. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are puffed and their edges are golden, about 11 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute; then transfer them to a wire rack.
5. To prepare the glaze, whisk together the sifted confectioners sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. The mixture should be very smooth, with no lumps of sugar visible. Brush or spoon the glaze onto the warm cookies. Allow cookies to sit on the rack until they are fully cooled and the glaze is set.

Ginger Molasses Cookies (via Tasty Kitchen)
•2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon Baking Soda
•1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
•2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
•½ teaspoons Ground Cloves
•¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt
•¾ cups Unsalted Butter, Softened
•1 cup Granulated Sugar
•1 whole Large Egg, At Room Temperature
•¼ cups Unsulfured Molasses
•1 Tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
•2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar, For Coating Cookie Dough Balls
•2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar, For Coating Tops Of Baked Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Sift together 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer works fine) mix together 3/4 cup of softened unsalted butter and 1 cup sugar.

Add 1 large egg and mix it up!

Now add in 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses and 1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed orange juice. Mix to combine.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined. Using a spatula/mixing spoon, fold the ingredients together in order to incorporate them.

Pour about 2 Tablespoons of sugar on a plate. The sugar will be used to roll the cookie dough balls in.

Scoop balls of cookie dough using a cookie dough scooper or a Tablespoon. Roll the balls of cookie dough in the sugar.

Place the cookie dough balls on the baking pan and using the palm of your hand, press the cookies to flatten them a bit.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet. Tranfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Pour 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar on a plate. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies in the powdered sugar. Shake off the excess powdered sugar.

Oh Baby Bars! (Via Eat, Live, Run, -- NOT a Doug-friendly recipe, but these would be GREAT to bring to a party! Easy and super rich...not something you want sitting in your house all month long!)

makes about 48 small bars

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
7 ounces milk chocolate
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 T butter

Blend together the brown sugar, powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter until it reaches a smooth paste-like consistency. Press into the bottom of a nine by thirteen inch pan.

Melt the chocolate with the tablespoon of butter over very low heat (or in a microwave). Pour melted chocolate over the peanut butter crust and stick in the fridge for an hour to harden.

Cut into squares and serve!