beach trip!!

Hey gang!!

As some of you may have seen in my twitter, I am at the beach!! Auburn Soccer is in the semi finals of the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama. We beat Ol’ Miss on Wednesday at the Orange Beach Soccerplex. It was a great win (current 5-0 win streak I think) and got to avenge the regular season loss earlier this season.

Who do we play in the semifinals? LSU… Auburn’s SEC West rival. This highly anticipated game will kick off at 5:00 pm cst Friday. It should be on game tracker, radio, and possible the SEC online website.

Ok now that all the soccer talk is done… the beach has been awesome!!! Beach walks, playing in the waves, runs, hot tub, coffee, waves, burying people in the sand, good food (that’s free!!) , and naps on the balcony have fit in between my work schedule. The staff condo handles treatment, all meals, laundry, and odd jobs. In addition to these daily tasks we have practices, games, and film duties. Don’t you worry there has been plenty of work going on along with the beach fun. The staff are doing all we can to win tonight’s game and have another 2 days at the beach.

My favorite times this week have been getting up early each day for a run, walk on the beach, and then coffee on the balcony to watch the world wake up. I love vacations!! (even if this is a working one!)

WAR EAGLE! Beat LSU!

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mail

I love mail. Getting mail is like one of the best things ever. I’m talking about real mail… not the cable bill (cause they always get the amount wrong), or credit card applications, or even though coupon and advertisement pages. Real mail. Like letters, catalogs, magazines,  or birthday cards, cards in general, money…gotta love money, presents or packages with unknowable goodies packed inside. Surprise packages. Those are the best. I have a few friends that are card writers, every few months or weeks (depending on their whims) you get an unannounced card in the mail. Yay, fun.

This week I had two notices posted on my door about a package waiting for me at the post office. I was thrilled because a good friend of mine was sending me a care package with goodies to help me recover from a month long study session for my Master’s Degree comprehensive exam. I was so excited about it I decided to brave the elements (not chromium and magnesium, but the wind and pouring rain) to head to the post office. I waiting in the line (there always seems to be a really long slow moving line) and took my package. I got it out to my car and drove off the lot by the time I realized it wasn’t from my friend. It was from my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins in Texas! I had talked with my uncle about coffee (you all have to know by now that I LOVE coffee), and he found an awesome flavor he wanted to send me. The first clue that the package was from my family not my friends was the wonderful aroma of Banana’s Foster coffee. I mean who would not want to try that flavor. That was an awesome surprise.

So after finding that the package I’d retrieved was not from my friend, I wondered what had become of it. So later today I headed back to the post office to do some investigating. I waited in line again (I am not the biggest fan of waiting) and asked them to search for my second package. They quickly found it and I rushed home to open my box full of fun!

Well it was definitely a fun box. There were 3 large bags of homemade cookies made with dark chocolate m&m’s, a bag of gummy peach rings, a bag of red vines, some instant caffeine, some sleepytime tea, a bag of dark chocolate m&m’s, some Bible software, a really fun  scrabble-like game called Bananagrams that I left at my friend’s place, and a really nice card. It has only been a short time, but I am on a huge sugar overload and had to cut myself off from the candy and cookies.

Moral of the story… send mail to people you love. It can make their week.

Thanks family and friends!!!

favorite junk foods

I like healthy foods, thanks to my parents for raising us right. I really enjoy a nice all veggie meal with a salad and maybe some bread. Or my Dad’s soups… they are incredible. I love when it starts to get cold and the soup pot gets used a few times a week. Yumm… Anyways, despite my enjoyment of healthy stuff, I also love a good  junk food splurge.

Something to the likes of a giant burger with all the toppings… cheese, onion rings, mustard, pickles, tomato, no mayo…. oh yeah.

Or a really large banana split with extra hot fudge.

Pizza… hands down best food ever. God definitely created that before the fall cause there is no wrong in it.

Chocolate cake with hot fudge oozing out of the middle. Oh shoot, now I am getting hungry.

Fresh cookies… I have 2 favorite kinds chocolate chip with extra chunks of chocolate and peanut butter cookies with 3 M&Ms &on top.

Comfort food… homemade mac and cheese, or meatloaf (My Dad’s is the best)

Nachos with melted cheese, and salsa, sour cream, guacamole, peppers, meat, onion, and everything else.

Root Beer Float

Any holiday food… turkey, ham, potato casserole, pumpkin pie, sweet tea, green bean casserole, anything with cheese on it, stuffing, banana pudding, 7 layer cookies, pralines, traditional Christmas sugar cookies, monkey bread, coffee…

This whole train of thought started when I had a really good burger the other day. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with my roommate (who is a vegetarian) where there is only meat. I got the Jack Daddy Burger with the regular patty, pulled pork BBQ, tomato, onion, onion rings, cheese, and honey BBQ sauce. It was so messy I tried to eat it as fast as I could to keep it from getting all over me. It was really enough food for 2 meals. Oh and fries came with it. I think I am still full from it.

*random comment*

Coffee has essentially zero calories. The way to make it not the best for you is to get the specialty drinks with all the milk and sugar in them. However, if you are like me and drink drop coffee with just half and half then you are set. Drink away! I think my coffee preference is one of the ways I justify my junk food cravings, at least I don’t get a ton of junk from coffee.

*digression done*

One of my best friends and I always tried to make cookies in college. But we were somehow lacking the ability to bake. One time someone, ahem not me, put a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon… yes that makes a HUGE difference. There was always something wrong with us. So now we buy the pre-mixed dough; its harder to mess up.

The cookies are making me think of pazookies (I think thats what they are called?) that my teammates introduced me to in San Jose, delish.

So what are your favorite junk foods? Anyone?

*disclaimer*

I believe I am actually a pretty good cook, with the exception of when one friend and I try to make cookies. So don’t be afraid of my food if I do cook please. I make a mean pot of chili and a nice chicken pot pie. Steak. Fried Chicken. Fried Green Tomatoes. Bean Soup. Veggie Soup. Black Bean Soup. Tacos. Chicken Pesto Pasta. Breakfast… I love cooking breakfast. Ok done. Enjoy being hungry! hahaha

top ten coffee shops ever – part 2

5. Boston Coffee (DeLand, FL) Boston has the best coffee ever. I have only been in the actual shop a couple times, but it is one of those hole in a wall places that has all these neat characteristics. There are fun couches in a couple smaller rooms in the back. Each table has trivia cards which are really fun to play with your friends. Again the coffee is amazing… my favorite is Irish Eyes are Dreaming. Seriously good. Problem is that I don’t really ever go to DeLand, FL.

http://www.thebostoncoffeehouse.com/

6. ChocoLaté  Coffee (Atlanta, GA) This place was very cool when I spent  summer playing in Atlanta. It had good coffee and these chocolate-coffee bean candy bars. Great comfy leather chairs. That seems to be a theme in my favorite places, gotta have me somewhere cozy. Drawbacks – I don’t live in the ATL and it is a small store.

http://www.mychocolatecoffee.com/

7. AK’s Coffee Company (Auburn, AL) Great little shop in Auburn, AL. I have only been here a few times because it isn’t near where I live. It has good coffee, but not great. It is a great place to study and has a drive through. They have great flavored coffees though, and good snacks and munchies. Again comfy chairs…

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Opelika-AL/AKs-Coffee-Co/10024076854#/pages/Opelika-AL/AKs-Coffee-Co/10024076854?v=info

8. Starbuck’s – needs no explanation. You can get whatever you want anywhere in the country.

9. Peet’s – I like Peet’s, but they usually need better chairs. Also, they have a small menu. I like that they have teas and can add a little variety to my caffeine needs.

Ok, I don’t know any other places well enough (sorry to everyone who added suggestions and comments) to have a 10th. So these are the top 9 coffee shops ever!!

Boston Coffee

Boston Coffee

top ten coffee shops ever -part 1

I love coffee. If caffeine were a substance people cared about abusing then I’d be considered an addict. I have actually gotten worse since I got rid of my coffee maker (and it has gotten more expensive dangit).

*Digression* Question: do you put the period inside the parenthesis or outside?? I keep putting it outside, but I feel like it should go inside. Any thoughts? Please comment!

I spend a lot of time in coffee shops and there are many different things that can make them spectacular. I received a few votes via twitter and text about my friends’ favorites, but here are mine.

1. Toomer’s Coffee Company (Auburn, AL) This place has everything I want in a coffee shop. I literally spend time here 3-4 days a weeks. Usually in multiple hour sessions either reading  my Bible or other books, studying for my Master’s comprehensive exam, or hanging out with friends.

They have amazing flavored drinks and lattes, perfectly brewed coffee that they roast themselves and flavor (try Southern Pecan or Snickeroo or well any of them!), amazing couches, cool art on the walls that adds to the decor with the window wall and cozy atmosphere, and great background music.

This one wins the number one spot because it is amazing and I can’t go try all of your favorites. Try not to get your undies in a wad.

http://www.toomerscoffee.com/

2. Crema Coffee Co (Near downtown San Jose, CA). Crema was an amazing place, but unfortunately I didn’t spend enough time because I discovered it much too late in my summer. They have good seating, a nice shaded outdoor area, a nice atmosphere, but most of all they had one of the best drinks ever. I can’t remember its exact name, but it was an orange mocha. It was chocolaty, orange coffee. Now thats just plain amazing. It also within walking distance of the coolest used book store I have even been in. Check it…

http://www.facebook.com/CremaCoffeeCo

3. and 4. Mission City Coffee (Santa Clara, CA) and It’s A Grind Coffee House (Milpitas, CA). Because they are so close I put them at a tie. They are so high because of what they meant to me while I was in Cali. They were my home away from home. My place to go and hang out with Jesus or read or just have some time alone reading or anything

Mission City has that warehouse atmosphere with high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and concrete floors. It is located right of the campus of Santa Clara University. They have a several good drinks and excellent lunch food. As a unique twist for what I commonly see in a coffee shop especially in the south, they serve wine and beer in the evenings. I would imagine it creates a chill atmosphere to sit and be able to talk with friends unlike the bar scene.
http://www.missioncitysc.com/

It’s a Grind is small but being located just 7-8 minutes from my apartment was perfect for a quick caffeine fix or a long stint with a book or Bible. The main factor that caused me to discover this oasis was that my AC broke for several days mid summer. The frigid interior was perfect. They also have incredible leather chairs. Drinks were good but not remarkable, however the bagels were the best I’ve ever had at a coffee shop. The only drawbacks are the small sitting area (25 people max, and that might be stretching it) and the average drinks.

http://www.itsagrind.com/

Thats all for today check back later this weekend for the next best coffee shops.

top five places I love in Auburn

Everyone has top ten lists, but for me today it is about the five things this team, university, city that gave me 5 going on 6 great years.

1. Toomer’s Coffee – I have spent more time here than anyplace else except the soccer field. If I could I would live here. The atmosphere, comfy couches, and not to mention amazing coffee is the ideal spot for a chill evening or lengthy study session.  My favorite drink is the Chocolate Turtle, medium of course; or for a simple cup o’ joe try the Southern Pecan flavored coffee. See http://www.toomerscoffee.com/ for more info!

2. Auburn Soccer Complex – This was my home for the last five years. There is nothing like watching a sunset over the field while the brilliant vivid colors fade into the evening sky that was painted just for you and me to see. Or watching the stars on a clear night. Still, most of my memories are of Friday nights or Sunday afternoons competing for a championship. So many memories that I will cherish forever, like my favorite family photo when all my brothers came down for a game with my parents. I mean how often do you get three ALABAMA fans into orange and blue?

I couldn't find the pic of my whole family. These were all our schools at the time of the picture. They all ended up being at Alabama.

I couldn't find the pic of my whole family. These were all our schools at the time of the picture. They all ended up being at Alabama.

3. Town Creek Park – a small little place my friend found one day searching for a place to relax and listen to music or maybe read a little of the good ol’ book. There are several park benches, picnic tables, and swings scattered about. It doesn’t look like much when you drive up, but walk back on either of two paths into the woods for a nice wide pathway to walk, run, or bike on. The path leads around a small pond filled with fish turtles and the occasional fowl, which is typically a duck and goose playing together. The path does wind through the woods and back out to a Tree Walk with various foliage labeled for your educational value. For the more active, there is an open field for frisbee, softball, or a nice game of fetch with your pup.

4. Chewacla State Park – I love camping… especially the kind where you get to drive up and unload all the goodies from your friend’s SUV. I do like to pack in, but then you can’t carry the chips, hotdogs, mustard, salsa, chocolate, gram crackers, marshmallows, chairs, guitar, air mattresses, and pillows. Camping trips, hiking, bouldering, playing in waterfalls, and swimming in the lake were all awesome, but the people make the experiences what they were.

*DISCLAIMER*  Playing on rocks is not advised for anyone with elidgabilty left*

*DISCLAIMER* Playing on rocks is not advised for anyone with eligibility left*

5. Tuskegee – Again the camping trips here could never be outdone. With good friends, FCA, or just a quick trip to climb the firetower after midnight on a Wednesday before a major test.