Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Neglect and A Secret.

In case you FABULOUS followers (AND MANY BLOG STALKERS OF MINE) haven't noticed, I have been M.I.A. for awhile now. I still have much catching up to do on reading about all my fav's, but hopefully that will be done soon :) Sorry that the same ol' posts have been up for like 1-2 weeks, that is just UNLIKE me. I like to update every few days if not every other day.

I have a secret... Are you ready for it? Wanna know why I been neglecting my blog for so long?? It might, just maybe, definitely is because I have been hanging out with this very handsome, charming, and very Southern gentleman! Yes, he is the reason I've been M.I.A.

I'm sure you gal's understand right? :) We went fishing over the weekend and just look at those arms!
I was excited because I caught the FIRST fish of the day and look at the size of him!
Then Heath caught the SECOND fishy of the day...notice I caught the bigger one :)
After catching 13 fishies we decided to go ahead and call it quits, we were getting quite an appetite. Heath grilled that night...let me just say that he is a WONDERFUL cook. Heath has cooked many meals for me in the past few weeks. This particular night we had bbq ribs, potatoes, and some beer bread with a fresh glass of sweet iced tea!

Have a FABULOUS week!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I made it! I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and am living to tell about it! This past weekend I went SKYDIVING for the first time ever! I can now cross that off of my Bucket List :) The experience was AMAZING! I highly recommend doing it! This is the most adventurous thing I've ever done and I can't wait to do it again real soon! I thought I would be nervous the days leading up to the "big day" and on Saturday...but I wasn't scared at all. I read a verse earlier in the week about F-E-A-R and think that had a lot to do with it!

*Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

*The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid." -Psalm 118:6

Enjoy some of these pics of my uncle and I. I have over 400 pictures from Saturday. I will have more than 1 post about this adventure, so keep coming back to see more pics :) I HATE that the jumpsuit I had to wear was forrest green and the harness was red...I mean HELLO!! That is SO not girly and DIVA-ish...next time I skydive, I will have to bling-out my harness or wear a pink jumpsuit or something!

OK, maybe you can, but be nice. I know I look bad with my hair all crazy and wind blowing my cheeks weird, momma says I look like Cindy Lou-Who from The Grinch.

About to jump out!
 Blowing kisses!!

 Look how HOT we look in these jumpsuits! Haahaha!
 In front of the plane that we rode in/jumped out of!

 Getting ready to land! I was so excited because I didn't fall or slide when we landed. We were able to jusr "walk" on the ground..if that makes sense.
 This pic is hillarious to me! This is my Uncle Chad and I walking off the "runway". We couldn't believe we accomplished our goal without breaking a bone, backing out, or getting scared!
 At the Return Gate with a man who is 82 Years Old!! That's right..82!! He jumped 4 times Saturday! He has been skydiving every weekend for the past 15 years!!
 Showing off our DIPLOMAS!

More pics to come!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Birthday Celebration-Part 2

Darby's birthday celebration continued after The Cheesecake Factory. SHOPPING! O, how I love to shop! There's something about walking into a store and seeing all the colors, fabric, BLING, and accessories that just makes me so giddy! The Summit in Birmingham has Saks 5th Avenue, Juicy Couture, Charming Charlie's, Brighton, Pandora, Pottery Barn, Swoozie's, Express, and many more!

Here's Darby and some of her friends in the Juicy Couture store.

Here's Darby and I. Notice the purse on the ground? That's a new purse I bought that weekend at Francesca's. I just love that store! The purse is a cream color leather with patchwork texture front and gold hardware.
Momma purchased these super cute cream/khaki linen shorts for me from Express to wear with the new tan wedges :) Bad picture sorry :(
Here's a picture of my WONDERFUL Aunt Rhonda (Nonnie) and Uncle Jeff

Have a FABULOUS week!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birthday Celebration-Part 1

Momma and I traveled to Tuscaloosa a little over a week ago to celebrate my sweet cousin Darby's 16th BIRTHDAY! A fun time was had by all! I just love spending time with my family more than anything in the world! It gives me pure joy whenever I see them!

Saturday: My aunt rented a Suburban to carry all of us in on the way to Birmingham. Of course, being the awesome cousin I am...I had to write on it so everyone knew that there was a birthday girl on board! Danley helped me :)
 "16 and FABULOUS!" & "BIrthday Girl got it goin' on!"

Did you notice Birthday girl Darby and her "16" crown in the picture above?

Darby invited 3 friends and we ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory! I just love the Cheesecake Factory, it is SO yummy!

Here's the girls selecting their cheesecake before we were seated. We made sure to arrive right at 11am when they opened!

 This picture CRACKS me up!!! I captured this look on Darby's face as they brought out the "Baked Mac n'Cheese" appetizers...too funny! They were SOOO yummy!
We also had the Buffalo Crispers or something for an appetizer as well, these little guys were SPICY but so good! I recommend them!

Next up, ENTREE'S! Momma had the Mahi-Mahi, I had the chicken salad sandwhich with soup and sweet potato fries. YUMMY! Danley had a GOOD-LOOKIN' Ceasar Salad and a Club.

Godiva Chocolate, White Rasberry, and Reese's Peanut Butter

Which one do YOU think would taste the best? Have YOU ever had any Cheesecake Factory cheesecake? Have a favorite flavor?

Be on the lookout for Part 2!

Friday, May 20, 2011

24 Hours...

In 24 HOURS I will be doing this...


Skydiving has been on my "Bucket List" for a long time. I figure now is a good of time as any to go ahead and get it done with! I am super excited! It hasn't completely sunk in yet, but I'm sure during the 4-hour drive to the Skydiving Center/Airport I'm going to, it will kick in and my excitedment will turn into nervousness.

Say a prayer for my uncle and I on Saturday please. We have both decided to skydive and will be doing this together. Hopefully the instructor I'm strapped too will be nice :)

Have a "free-fallin'" weekend! (yes, i admit..that was cheesy.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Sweet Girl!

Here are some pics of my sweet Chloe-Elizabeth! Enjoy!

Have a FABULOUS day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Summer Wedges Please?

The other day I found some super cute wedges online at DILLARD's  and decided that I should e-mail Mom a link and picture of them. I have never e-mailed her a pic or link of anything before, I've always just told her in person or on the phone. I have been searching for a pair of light brown wedges for Spring/ Summer and these are simply FABULOUS! Do you agree? They even come in black, white and dark brown too!

GIANNI BINI "Adobe" Wedge

I was calling Momma on my way home from work Thursday, like I do every evening when I get off work, and she said she recieved my e-mail and loved the wedges as well. She was surprised Gianni Bini made them in a small size, 5.5. She surprised me and ordered them for me!!! I was so shocked and excited! Even more excited when they only took 2 DAYS to get here :)

They fit well and I can't wait to wear them this Spring! I'm going to wear them with jeans, white shorts, dresses with tan belts, etc. Any ideas on what else I could wear them with?

Thanks again Momma!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wedding Season..again

Wedding Season is here once again. This past weekend I attended my 4th wedding of the year! If your from the southeast Alabama area, then you more than likely know about Landmark Park. Well, that is where this wedding took place at. The wedding took place outside under the gazebo and the reception took place in the "Stokes Activity Barn". I didn't take any pictures during the ceremony, but I took a few of the reception and of some friends and I. Before the wedding, I went to ERICA and visited her at work (Merle Norman Cosmetics) for her to do my make-up! I just love going to Erica when I have an event to go to, she does such a FABULOUS job!! Thanks again Erica!

 Here's a picture of Rebekah and I! Rebekah is my best friend! I am so thankful for her and her family! We've known each other since I was born...literally. They used to live across the street :)

Below, is a picture of myself, Momma, Mrs.Paige, and Rebekah
 Waiting for the wedding to start! I should have taken a picture of the SUPER cute programs. They were fans that the guests were able to use. A must have for outdoor weddings! Especially one with itty bitty gnats and heat :)
Here's some random pics from the reception. I loved the personalized lollipops at the Candy Bar! The main color was PINK!

Yes, I realize this is a post about a wedding and there's no picture of the Bride and Groom..oops!

Congrats Lauren and Michael!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remembering Tuscaloosa.

It's been exactly 2 weeks now since the devastating tornado and storms came through the South. I have continued to pray for the citizens and students of Tuscaloosa, the families of those who lost loved ones, those who lost their homes, lost their church, and those who lost their businesses.

Last week at work I recieved an e-mail about the story of a University of Alabama student. As soon as I read this I prayed. I could never imagine this happening to me and thank God that the friends and family I have in Tuscaloosa are all ok. I would like to share this story with you instead of showing you pictures of how the tornado ripped apart T-Town.

This is my experience during the tornado that swept through Alberta and Tuscaloosa in as much detail as I can muster with the medication I am on. I need to put this down for therapeutic reasons and for others to read because I can't keep re-telling this story. If you are to take anything away from this story it is two things: 1)God saved so many people that day including me and 2)disasters bring out the absolute best in some people...and the absolute worst in others. I am going to write down the events exactly as I remember them while I still can. I will add details that I have gathered from accounts by my neighbor and judging from materials stuck inside my body. I would also like to point out that any person I don't reference by name (such as neighbor) I had not really met before. Here goes:

At roughly 4pm on April 27, 2011, I was sitting in FI 414 class listening to presentation on industries and the severe weather alarms went off and the University cancelled classes for the rest of the day. I considered staying on campus, but I saw everyone else leaving and decided I would be fine going to my apartment (face palm). This is probably my biggest regret of my life purely for the fact that I let the actions of others sway my opinion and nearly kill me. I walked to my truck that was parked roughly a mile away near the Coliseum. I knew we were in for a storm when the wind knocked my backpack off my shoulder halfway there. I made it to my truck and drove to my apartment that was located at the intersection of University Blvd. and 25th Avenue East in Alberta City, AL. During my drive, I received several texts from both my older and younger sisters warning me that some severe storms were heading to my area. Naturally, I discounted them as hysteria and paranoia and continued on my merry way. I got to my apartment at roughly 4:30pm and popped a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner. I turned on my computer and pulled up my assignments for the night. As I began working through my homework, I got some more texts from friends warning me of the weather. I assured them all that I would be perfectly safe in my sturdy apartment. The timer for the pizza went off so I got it out of the oven and took two slices to my room. I hadn't eaten much for lunch so I was ravenous. I ate nearly the entire pizza. This small detail probably saved my life. More on that later.

The power in my apartment went out at roughly 5pm and so I opened the shades on my window to read and look outside. I noticed the trees behind my apartment swaying at a steep angle. Then I decided I should probably close all windows and doors. I did so. Just then my buddy Sean Philips texted me that I should find cover. I was coming up with a clever retort about how paranoid he is being when my ears popped really hard and I heard what sounded like a train outside my window. I had watched enough news to know this meant a tornado. I jumped into my closet and slammed the door shut. I felt the whole building shaking so I grabbed the door knob and held it shut with all my strength. Then I heard tearing and ripping noises which had to be my back wall tearing away. At this point, I wanna point out that if any of these events had occurred slightly differently or in a different order, I would have been buried. Anyway, the back wall tore away from the building and the door to my closet began shaking open and I kept pulling it back closed. After a couple seconds of this struggle, the door and I were sucked out of the closet and through the back wall. I never rose more than a couple feet off the ground but, judging from memories of where things were, I flew about 40 feet total. The winds flung me from the back wall into the chain link fence 10-15 feet behind my apartment with enough force to leave bruises of the chain links in my side. It then flung me back into some piles of rubble where I was then rolled around on the ground for about 15 seconds before it subsided slightly. I looked up from my prone position and I was lying on tile floor and I could see my neighbor lying on top of her baby trying to shield her. I also heard myself screaming and realized I had been screaming the entire time but hadn't noticed.

The winds were beginning to pick up again so I ran over to my neighbor and threw myself on top of them to try and shield them. Somewhere along the way I stepped on a piece of wood with enough force to shove a 3-inch piece through the bottom of my foot. Please take note, this was not an act of heroism, but desperation. As far as my concussed mind could think, I truly believed during that split second that we three were the only beings left in a world that had dissolved around us. I acted to try and preserve the only other people left in this Hell so I wouldn't be alone if I survived. I laid on top of her and immediately the winds picked up again. I was bombarded with (judging from wounds and what is still imbedded in my back at the time of this writing) glass, roofing shingles, pieces of wood, and a Bic pen. LOL. I know this for sure because I pulled it out of my side when I stood up. The storm finally dissipated after roughly 10-20 seconds and slowly stood up. Due to adrenaline and shock, I did not notice any of the injuries I suffered. However, I did notice that I could barely hear anything and my ears were bleeding from the pressure of the storm (the earlier popping that alerted me of the tornado). Everyone's ears were. The poor baby's ears were pouring blood. At this point, I surveyed my body. My jeans, watch, glasses, and shirt had been ripped from my body. Somehow, I was still holding my iPhone in my right hand. Just then a call came through. It was my older sister, Christina. I could only stare at it in disbelief before answering. I don't remember our conversation, but she later relayed it to me. Here it is as she remembers it:

Christy: Randy??? Randy???

Me: Kiki! My apartment; it's gone. The baby is bleeding. I lost my glasses. My foot is bleeding bad. There are people stuck. I have to go.

I then hung up the phone because people were screaming from within piles of rubble. I limped over to the nearest pile where one of my neighbor's head was sticking out from beneath a section of roof. I pulled off a couple small pieces of wood before collapsing. I think I blacked out for a couple seconds. Next thing I remember, he is digging himself out. He comes to check on me and almost slips in the puddle of blood and water at my feet. He tears off his shirt and ties it around my foot (I had no shoes or socks on before it hit). He helps me stand and we look around at the damage. I see my childhood friend Austin and his girlfriend Mary and their dog that live six doors down from me. They are standing in their bathroom. I yell to them and then begin trying to crawl out. At some point I believe a neighbor (maybe Mary) throws me a woman's loafer which I put on my left foot to protect it. It was a left shoe that was about 2 sizes too small but I barely noticed. I can't walk because of my foot so I throw some sections of my couch across the short wall of sharp debris between me and what's left of the parking lot and begin crawling on my hands and knees across. Due to the composition and layout of the debris, I am forced to crawl on my belly under my truck to get out (it was then parked in my living room and totaled).

I finally reach the parking lot covered in blood, dirt, oil, and sheetrock dust. I lend a neighbor my phone and then I spot my friend and neighbor, Brandon and hobble to him to check him out. Amazingly, he is unhurt. We both hear someone yelling that another storm is about to touch down in the area so we immediately take off to find shelter. I lose track of everyone else. Austin and Mary help dig out some neighbors. Brandon lends me his shoulder and we begin walking (me hopping) to the Piggly Wiggly down the street. We hear that they are not letting people in so we detour to the local Save-A-Lot and ask the manager if he is letting people in. He lets us in. I sit on the nearest checkout station while Brandon runs to find first aid supplies. He finds peroxide, paper towels, and scotch tape. I use what little Spanish I know to try to cheer up a small Hispanic child that was crying near me. I begin to feel very faint from blood loss so I start chugging as much Gatorade as possible to keep blood sugar up so I don't pass out. The pizza I ate earlier also probably kept me awake and alive. Brandon begins cleaning and wrapping my foot. We then see that there is still wood sticking out. We wrap paper towels and tape over it to try to stop the blood loss.

I then begin to feel a slight itchy, burning sensation on my back so I asked him to take a look. He says that I have a few cuts on my back. I'm glad he didn't tell me the extent to which it was messed up. We stay in the store and wait for the next tornado to touch down. I sit on a rolling cart so that Brandon could quickly wheel me to the back if it came. We were all getting ready to run to the back and lock ourselves inside the freezer. I tell Brandon to gather some food and water in case we are trapped inside the store. I feel prepared, so I try to slow breathing and heart rate to slow blood flow. Sometime later (I began losing track of time and events) we see people run into the bank to steal money and cops arrest them. This pissess us all off for obvious reasons. Brandon and I walk (and hop) up to the Texaco because we hear they have set up a triage center there. We get there and they turn us away so we go back to the store. I am exhausted from blood loss and hopping everywhere. I should point out that I am hopping down the street wearing only my silver cross necklace and boxers and the homemade bandages on my foot. It's funny now, not so much then.

We stay in the store for a while. A woman who was in the store earlier comes running back and leads a cop to where I'm lying. I owe her and Brandon both my life. I would have bled out within a couple hours if that cop hadn't found me. He calls in a truck and I jump in the back and they drive me to the hospital. I ask for pen in the bed of the truck so I can write my name and medical info and mom's phone number on my body in case I pass out again and can't talk to nurses. We get to the hospital and I am assigned a randomized name for legal reasons (Raja Ed Downtime). I ask over and over again for them to call my mom to check on Jessica because she is home alone in Homewood and I heard a storm passed by there.

I will never forget the nurse who helped me, Nurse Jackie. She checked up on me throughout my X-Rays and CT scans and stitches over the next 6-8 hours. I felt like I was her only patient although she likely had scores of them at this time. I plan on thanking her personally as soon as I can travel.

This is where the story ends. I am just one person among hundreds, possibly thousands of people hurt in a city where neighbors and strangers alike risked their own lives to save each other. I tried to help who I could any way I could and I owe my life to many others. Thank you, Nurse Jackie for consoling me while I was alone for those many hours. Thank you, Brandon for lending me a friendly shoulder and thinking only of others. Thank you, Lady from Save-A-Lot for finding me a ride to the hospital. Thank you, Mom for forcing Delta airlines to let you off of a plane preparing to take off. Thank you, Jimmy and Jessica for looking throughout hospital (and morgue) for me for hours before finding me. Thank you to the men and women of the National Guard, fire departments, and police departments around the state. Many of us wouldn't have made it without yall. And, of course, thank you, GOD. Even as the clothes and material possessions were ripped from my body, your symbol stayed firmly around my neck and in my heart.

It is long, but I can already feel a massive weight lifted from my chest. This note has done its job. If you are reading this, you are my friend and share the honor of calling me "pal". ;)


There are many ways you can help out the tornado victims. I decided to donate toiletries and other supplies. My friend Matt works at the Recreation Center in T-Town and was taking up donations when he came home for a day after the tornado.

Have a great day and remember to continue to pray for the tornado victims in Alabama and surrounding states.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Addiction

Chloe has a new addiction...

Lay's Potato Chips.

No worries, I watched her lick the crumbs out of the bag. She did not suffocate and she only had the bag long enough for me to snap a few pics :)

Hope your having a great day and this made you SMILE!