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I ran across Volunteer Traditions on Facebook a few weeks ago.  I fell in love.  Easy for me to do with UA or Southern attire, but none the less, I fell in love.

The tshirts I bought us say “Fall means football in the South”.  I bought the white with maroon text for William and the grey with crimson text for me.  One of these days I’ll take a picture of us both in them–we’ll be cute. 🙂  I also got both of us koozies.  I think I like them because they’re so subtle.  They’re a shout out of state pride but not too overbearing.  The koozies have the Alabama and Mississippi state flags in the outline of the state itself.  I ordered the navy one for William just because I liked it, but it was pointed out to me that it was an Ole Miss koozie (which I didn’t think about) and William wasn’t too happy about that.  Luckily, the amazing folks at Volunteer Traditions threw a red one into our order which is much more MSU than the navy!  (Whew.  Crisis averted.)

Our tshirts! ‘Fall means football in the South’ Sure does, sure does.

Mississippi koozies, Alabama koozies, and my Alabama koozies they threw in for me!

I will also say that I called them to ask about sizing on the tshirts and I have never talked to nicer people.  They were SUPER helpful and we chatted a bit about which SEC schools we’d gone to, etc. etc.  They have a cool story too, if you’re interested you should take a look.  Even though I didn’t grow up in Alabama, my family is from there and so is half of my heritage (my momma’s side o-the-family) so I am always MORE than proud to represent AL wherever I am.  It helps that I went to UA for school…but regardless, I love me some Alabama.

I’ve got my eyes on this grey hat next.  I have two UA caps, both crimson, so I’m needing one that isn’t a shade of red!  Check out Volunteer Traditions, the Bryants are so happy to support them!!!!!

I’ve got my eyes on this next!

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Ladies Crafting Spectacular Pumpkin Carving!

On Monday evening, the ladies of the Ladies Crafting Spectacular carved us up some pumpkins!  We had such a great time! I had posted about our get together in conjunction with promoting Paperless Post which I used for the invitations (read about that here).  I have been looking forward to this for quite some time!  This is an amazing, crafting, funny group of girls and I was ready to carve me a punkin’!  We decided to include our men for this particular event–we needed someone to get all the pumpkin guts out.  Or that was our thought process.  Turns out the girls did most of the work and guys socialized.  Strange.

We, sadly, were missing a few LCS (yes, it now has an acronym) ladies, but we still had ourselves a grand ole time!  Some of my pictures aren’t the best and they are all grainy because it was dark outside, but I’m still pleased with how we captured our good times!

Gettin’ started with the carving!
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Miss Natalie working really hard on her pumpkin!  She gets the award for cleanest pumpkin insides.  Mine still had all kinds of goop in it…I just gave up after a while.
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And here’s my face about the whole matter. I had NO help getting the pumpkin guts out!

HUGE thanks to Rachel who thought to bring pumpkin carving knives.  They were WAY better than my kitchen knives we were trying to use. Embarrassing fact about me, our knives haven’t been sharpened since we got married.  3 years with 1 set of knives makes for VERY VERY dull knives.  I’m pretty sure someone might have lost a finger or a leg or something without Mrs. Rachel’s fancy knives that saved the day!

Here I go getting started!

Surprise surprise, I carved an Alabama ‘A’.  I did have a pattern that William traced onto the pumpkin for me.  I didn’t freehand it so don’t go getting all impressed on me.

OOOoooo… Ahhhhhh…
Some pretty girls I know.
Me and the pumpkin gutting champion!
Roll Tide!

Elsa of Always with Honor took the pumpkin guts, picked out a ton of seeds and made some amazing roasted pumpkin seeds for us.  She used maple syrup on one and the other had some great spices on it…I am forgetting right now what she used but they were great!  I have, strangely enough, never eaten pumpkin seeds before but they were quite tasty!

The best thing about the whole evening, besides the company of course, was the weather.  I cannot remember the last time I carved a pumpkin when it was COLD and felt like fall outside!  Actually I do, it was freezing in Mississippi one year when Mr. Fancy Pants and I carved pumpkins at MSU, but other than that…I can’t remember another time!  We discovered a new need for our backyard…a FIRE PIT!

This picture is so awkward and I love it. William was trying to use the lighter to make the ‘A’ light up…and this is what we ended up with.
TWINSIES! Let’s match more often!
Finished products!

From the top left down/top right down you have:

  • Tyler & Elsa’s lighthouse
  • Rachel & Eric’s initials
  • Natalie’s amazing faced pumpkin…that to me looks like he’s wearing an eye patch but I’m not quite sure if he actually is
  • Shannon’s (with the help of her hubby) cyclops
  • Lizy’s BOO pumpkin (with the help of Travis)
  • My Alabama ‘A’ pumpkin
  • And the winner, winner chicken dinner…best pumpkin I’ve ever seen… DEXTER!  Abby carved this so carefully and it turned out AMAZING!  If there was a prize, which there wasn’t, she would have won!
Two pretty pretty ladies that I love!
Two more lovely ladies!

I’ll leave you with this picture.  Mainly because Rachel and Shannon’s faces are hilarious.  And I am awkwardly about to fall into/on top of my rosemary bush.  That staircase is NOT very wide! Regardless, great time was had by all!  I love fall!  I love pumpkin carving!  And I LOVE the Ladies Crafting Spectacular!  Can’t wait for next month!!!!

We were about tired of the picture taking by this point!
Spirit of 77 in Portland, OR

Monday night was probably my favorite night we’ve spend in Portland thus far. Considering we spent it in an empty sports bar might lead you to believe that I’ve had a REALLY bad time in Portland thus far, BUT before you start feeling sorry for me, take a look at where we were. If you have ever visited Spirit of 77 on NE MLK, you know exactly what I mean–and yes, this encompasses everyone on the planet Earth because I refuse to believe there is anyone who doesn’t like this place (though, I’m sure there is…but I’m making a point here people. So just go with it.)

Spirit of 77 is in a nutshell a sports bar. But it is unlike any other sports bar you’ve ever been to. I know when most of us think “sports bar” we think of a dingy, hole in the wall, beer on the floor, beer on everything really, people yelling too loud, memorabilia that looks like it walked out of Applebee’s…you know what I mean. But, if I could incapsulate Spirit of 77 in one sentence it would be:

The most timeless representation of the evolution of sports and the experience that goes along with being a fan wrapped into one building, under one roof making it impossible to not be a fan of the game–whatever game that happens to be.

View inside Spirit of 77
Incredible wood signage instillation you see immediately entering Spirit of 77.

OMFG Co. happens to be the genius behind this whole project. They are a design/illustration/branding/we do everything under the sun group of guys located next door to Mr. Fancy Pant’s studio in Portland, OR. Check out their site. Their client list is amazing.

AIGA did a case study on the development and execution of making Spirit of 77 what it is today, interviewing the guys at OMFG Co. I love what they had to say about the goal of the whole project:

The goal was implicit in the brief: reinvent the sports bar. Make it a place where people actually want to go to, sports fanatic and “civilian” alike. The survey of friends and family, when asked, “Where do you go when you want to watch the game?” never had a clear answer – it was a weighing of lesser evils, proximity, and limited by the size of your group.

The cliché is unfortunately true: sports bar food is usually sub-par, the drinks are unexciting and the testosterone levels are uncomfortably high. The design of the room, the marketing materials (if they exist) are usually uninspired or off-the-shelf from a beer company. The main feature—the endless sea of big screen TVs—creates an unpleasant atmosphere, with pockets of gatherings competing for attention, as opposed to the sense of community you have in a stadium or arena.

We wanted a place with a point of view, thoughtful design at every corner, a locally sourced and inspired menu, and a top-shelf bar program. Most importantly, we wanted a sense of community akin to being at the game itself, drawing from the best aspects of sports and leaving the hostility aside. The collective cheering, rooting for your team, and the shared groan of losing—you feel a part of something bigger. It’s invigorating, to say the least.

WE LOVE SPIRIT OF 77!
Dart board area
Basketball goals! (photo above and below curtesy of OMFG Co.)

I will say, I cannot wait to go watch an Alabama game there. They are showing the September 10th UA vs. Penn State game and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be there. It was a completely amazing experience to be there basically by ourselves though. There was one other group of people there when we arrived and one other couple there when we left. It is my understanding that this is FAR from the norm. Spirit of 77 is normally packed to the brim with people so I was glad to catch it on a quieter evening. We will definitely be returning, though to experience the whole thing again with the excitement of fellow sports fans.

Above and below are pictures of the custom, hand-built basketball arcade (dubbed The Buzzer Beater). We played I don’t know how many games on this thing. They also have shuffleboard, foosball, and darts (all free I might add–you just have to wait your turn to play).

Mr. Fancy Pants showing off his mad skills. His scores were WAY higher than mine.
Look at that follow thru!
Having a good ole time for a Monday night! (for any night for that matter!)

Here is my favorite take away from the article (sorry for so much copy and paste but I couldn’t say it better myself):

Imbued into all components of the branding and marketing is a layer of “intelligent stupidity.” For example, using vintage sports trading cards as a base, we Photoshopped out what was once a football or basketball, and replaced it with a piece of fried chicken or a boiled egg. Once reprinted in the exact format and style of a trading card, that became the artwork for our take away menu.

The brand voice is that of a sports fanatic with a sharp sense of humor, one that celebrates the hilarious innocence of previous eras, and wants to relive those times today.

William and I playing foosball. We’re awful.
Spirit of 77 in Portland, OR

Here is an amazing explanation of the signage above the main bar (also from the AIGA article):

Above the long main bar is the namesake signage. Each letter is 4-ft. tall, and the entire length is roughly 33 feet. We constructed it from start to finish in the space, with the typeface projected onto sheets of plywood, which we cut out with a jigsaw. The result can be seen from blocks away, and is the glowing beacon for the bar.

To top off the evening, we paid the best $4 that we have in a while to have some photo booth pictures taken. Digressing a bit, but I have decided that we’re going to take photo booth pictures wherever we encounter one from now on. I mean, how great are these?! I read this magazine article in this month’s Martha Stewart Living about this couple who took one photo booth set of pictures every year. It was a cool timeline to follow as their family grew. I like it. And I’m stealing the idea.

Best $4 I’ve spent in a while. Oh by the way in case you didn’t know, Mr. Fancy Pants is, at the moment, missing some teeth.

If you ever come and visit us here in Portland, we’re probably going to take you to Spirit of 77. So get ready.

To read more about the whole project–which I strongly recommend because it is incredibly interesting and informative–click here to access the entire AIGA article.

To check out Spirit of 77’s website click here.

To learn more about the talented guys behind OMFG Co. click your little mouse here.

Save Time, Get a Mail Box!

Yeah, I have no clue what this picture was meant for. I guess many years ago you had the choice whether or not you had a mailbox? I’m not sure, but I LOVE my mailbox. It’s a little on the silly side (keep in mind we’re renting so I took no part in the choosing of the mailbox), but I love that it has bluebonnets painted on it. In case you didn’t know, bluebonnets are the Texas state flower and since that is where Mr. Fancy Pants and I grew up, it warms my heart a bit.

I snapped a little picture of our mailbox! Bluebonnets. Check! Dirt. Check! Rust. Check!

The other reason I love my mailbox is what comes in it. Nothing brightens my day more than a card from a friend or a package from my mom. AND of course there is the occasional (or not so occasional) online purchase that I am waiting anxiously for. Postman (mine is a woman), UPS man, FedEx man…they’re all my friends.

This past Friday I had what I would consider an exceptionally good mail day. I’m not sure which is better–receiving a little surprise everyday or receiving them all at once. Man, both are good. The best are the unexpected arrivals. On Friday, I had 2 unexpected arrivals. Both from friends back in Austin. Made. My. Day. Here’s what arrived:

  • Lightbulb from Jessica and John (I’ll explain in a bit)
  • Gift certificate from Mary Kathryn–the genius behind Loretta Flower
  • Return address stamps that Mr. Fancy Pants designed for me
  • MSU/UA koozies designed by a precious family friend who runs Polka Dot Parties
A little something to brighten our new home!

Now seriously, how creative is this?! Jessica and John are two of the most fun and creative people I know so this clever gift did not surprise me. I still had never seen this idea before and thought it was precious. On top of being a clever idea, it’s a great gift! These vintage and Edison inspired bulbs are some of my favorites and we have them in several spots in our house! She knows me well! Now all I need is a new side table lamp to put the bulb in (Mr. Fancy Pants is rolling his eyes right about now…women can justify just about anything. It’s a gift).

Gift certificate to Canoe courtesy of our sweet friend MK

Our next surprise was a gift certificate to Canoe from our precious friend Mary Kathryn! They have some of the BEST housewares around and are a great fusion of mine and William’s styles. This was the most perfect gift for us! And such a personal touch that MK took the time to send us to someplace local. Mary Kathryn is the amazingly talented lady behind Loretta Flower (no kin to my cat). She makes some of the most beautiful floral designs you’ve ever seen. When we moved out here, I commissioned her to design some dried floral arrangements for 3 clay pots we were given as a wedding gift. They are stunning. I will be doing a whole post in the near future on Loretta Flower. So STAY TUNED!

New return address stamps from Mr. Fancy Pants himself!
I realize that blurring out our address severally hinders your seeing the stamp in its entirety but I don’t want strangers showing up at my house.

These gems also arrived on Friday. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember that I used Paperwink to create my return address stamp when I lived in Austin. (read about that here). When we moved, of course we could no longer use the stamp with our Austin address on it. Mr. Fancy Pants decided to give it a go with the design of our return stamps. I may be biased, but I think he hit the nail on the head. He designed two (upper left hand corner) and I couldn’t decide between them so he had both made. He threw in the Dixieland Delight stamp for grins to surprise me. I was so excited to see these when they came in. So excited in fact that Friday evening I sat on the couch for an hour and wrote about 10 cards to friends and family. One to say hello, but mostly to use my new stamps!

REVERSIBLE KOOZIES!
IT’S GENIUS!

Last but CERTAINLY not least, the long awaited, double sided, MSU AND ALABAMA koozies arrived! I have been so anxious to get these in the mail. We are such HUGE football (let me narrow that by saying SEC) fans! Mr. Fancy Pants’ family is from MS and he went to Mississippi State. Mine is from Alabama and Arkansas and I went to Alabama for school. We’re a house divided! Ha! We’ve gone back every year for a game and we’re trying to make the UA/MSU game a tradition. Some of our best friends, Landon and Julia, live in Mississippi and are nice enough to let us stay with them when we come down. Last year we weren’t able to make the MSU/UA game but we went to the MSU/Georgia game and had a BLAST! (Here was my post on that weekend). THIS year, we’re headed down November 11th to see my Crimson Tide play the Bulldogs!

A sweet family friend of ours from Texarkana owns a company called Polka Dot Parties. She designs and sells stationary, invitations, personalized gifts…anything under the sun! When we moved up here to OR we invested in Directv so that we could host football game watching parties at our house on the weekends AND catch all of the SEC games. As a little housewarming gift, my mom had Whitney @ Polka Dot Parties make these AWESOME cups that have MSU on one side and Alabama on the other!

Reversible styrofoam cups!

And to take it one obnoxious step further, I asked Whitney if she could do the same thing with koozies. And guess what, she could! So Friday marked the arrival of the dual-sided MSU/UA koozies. We are READY TO TAILGATE now! Both William and I have friends that will be in Starkville for the game in November so it will make for fun pictures to have everyone choosing sides by their drink koozie. I have a good feeling I will be out-numbered. OH well! Please check out Polka Dot Parties‘ website. Whitney is fun, talented, and everything I’ve ever purchased from her has been amazing!

I am sure you noticed that I did not mention my Portland Power & Light or Qwest bills that also came in the mail on Friday. The doom that came with their arrival was thankfully overshadowed by the goodness that came in all of the other packages! All this to say, the surprises in the mail on Friday made my day! If anyone is interested in having a pen pal, I think I’d sure make a good one! I’m accepting applications now… 🙂

Mississippi State/Alabama garden flags for our new house

Our garden flags have arrived!  They are 11″ x 15″ and the perfect size.  Very tasteful.  (please disregard the dead plant and creepy cat stare in the picture)  I couldn’t wait to take these out of the packages and see what they looked like.  I’ll be saving them until we get to Oregon, but they’ll be one of the first things I find a spot for when we get there!

Oregon, meet the SEC!

Backyard on NE 34th St. in PDX!

Here’s our lovely backyard in the rent house in Portland!  We’ve never had a backyard before! We’re going to be doing some MAD grilling/hang out there while the weather is nice during the summer and fall!

In the spirit of bringing the South out West with us, I grabbed these on Amazon.com for $10!!  A little ‘house divided’ SEC action!

For Mr. Fancy Pants, a maroon Mississippi State flag! Hail State!

For me, a beautiful crimson Alabama A!

I also want to have some backyard games for when we have people over. And to be quite honest, Mr. Fancy Pants and I will probably play them ourselves mostly. Still fun!  I am going to try and find one of these bocce ball sets:

St. Pierre Bocce balls and horseshoes!

And I’m going to ask my incredibly talented grandfather to make me some bean bag toss boards to that we can recreate the fun these people are obviously having. (this picture made me chuckle to myself)

Family clearly having the time of their lives playing bean bag toss

I am also going to try and figure out how I can hang some of these in the back yard.  I haven’t quite figured it out yet.  But I’m going to.

Great outdoor lighting

The next things on my list are a grill and table and chairs.  I have found several that I like but, well I don’t have a million dollars so I am looking for the economy version!  I keep telling myself that everything is an “investment”.  Which in actuality may be true but also may be what Mr. Fancy Pants likes to refer to as me justifying spending money.  Any suggestions on a place to get a cheap set of outdoor furniture and/or grill?

On a completely different note, I am pretty excited that we will be reducing our footprint on this oil consuming country by downsizing to one car for our move to the Northwest.  We are selling Mr. Fancy Pants’ car and keeping mine to share. We both want to bike as much as possible and that was a key factor on the location of our new place in Portland. A few things are on the docket for car upgrades.  A bike rack and having an iPod dock installed (both William’s requests).  More than anything, this will be the biggest testament to our marriage.  My car is kept, for the most part, completely empty other than a few CDs in the door, my GPS, and a bumbershoot–translation if you’re not from Arkansas–umbrella.  William, on the other hand, LIVES out of his car.  He has running clothes, weights, gym bags, athletic balls of all kinds, cleats, towels…the list could go on and on.  I’m going to give him a basket.  In the trunk.  Whatever he can fit in the basket he is welcome to carry around in the car.  We’ll see how long that lasts!  I actually think it will be good for me.  I need to get over the idea of a well kept car before we have kids throwing Cheerios and boogers everywhere. Ha!

Denny Chimes on A-Day game

I was lucky enough to have gotten to spend this past weekend in one of my favorite places on earth.  TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA!  Home of the University of Alabama (where I went to college) and some of my favorite memories.  This past weekend was our annual spring game, called the A-Day game.  My cousin, Zack is looking at UA for college and I had the privilege of showing him around campus for the weekend.  I got to see wonderful old friends, spend time with my cousin and his dad, went on an amazing tour of the best stadium in college football…and well I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Precious, precious girls who let me sleep on their couch for the weekend! PPL!

Texarkana Represent! The one and only Lyd who hung out with me this weekend...dry sockets and all!

Wonderful friends--Hannah, Julie, and Lydia

I know most people have fond memories from college, but mine are especially precious to me.  When I was 18 I thought it was the best idea in the world to move 9 hours away from home.  Though it was difficult at times, I have to give my 18 year old self some props.  Hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made.  If nothing else, meeting these girls pictured in this post was worth every minute of homesickness I had.  They were my family for 4 years and I don’t know where I’d be without them.

SUS! Another Texarkana survivor and one of my favorite girls ever!

One of my best friends (and bridesmaid in my wedding), Hannah, now has a big fancy job with Crimson Tide Sports Marketing.  Her office is INSIDE of Bryant-Denny Stadium and she hooked us up with an amazing tour of the stadium.  My uncle even stole some Coca-Cola from Coach Saban’s fridge!

Bryant-Denny Stadium

The Walk of Champions from inside Bryant-Denny. You can see Coach Sabans statue still wrapped up and a guard sitting next to it awaiting its reveal before Saturdays game!

Here are some of the other statues of the other famous UA coaches to have brought home a National Championship.

Coach Gene Stallings, National Champions 1992. You can see the space reserved for Coach Saban in the background.

The Man, The Legend, Coach Bear Bryant (strong last name)

Coach Nick Sabans statue revealed last Saturday before the A-Day game.

Hannah and I inside the stadium

Bryant-Denny Stadium

We had to take a classic Bear Bryant picture.  They had just finished painting the “ALABAMA” in the end zone when we took this so I now have some white paint on the heel of my cowboy boots.  Ah well.

Coach Paul Bear Bryant

Look familiar?!

We think were cool. Ha!

For the rest of the weekend, I just spent time with old friends which is about the best thing you can do in Tuscaloosa.  So many things have changed so it’s a little weird being there and being unfamiliar with the local hangouts, but somethings have stayed the same just the way I like them!

Some of my dearest friends in Birmingham, Rachel, Jana, and Katie Mac.

One of my Pi Phi little sisters took a break from CPA studying to come hug my neck! Love her!

Precious sorority sisters at the NEW Innisfree!

Another favorite friend of mine!!

Mary Catherine who has the best head of hair Ive ever seen in my life!

I’ll leave you with this picture.  This is what the Alabama football players see as they walk out of their locker room heading out onto the field in Bryant-Denny stadium.  There is nothing else to say but THIS. IS. ALABAMA. FOOTBALL.

This. Is. Alabama. Football.

Roll Tide Roll!