Thursday, September 30, 2010

One of these does not belong...


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Harvest time

It is harvest time on the farm. Now is the time of year that people start their combines and work very late nights. By Thanksgiving, it should all be over and everybody will begin enjoying the holidays.

Do you have any harvest this year? Did you plant a garden and reap its benefits?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall essentials

This week I began thinking more about my fall wardrobe. Figuring out what to wear during the autumn season presents a new challenge this year because of my new job where I have to wear professional-looking clothes on a daily basis.

First of all, I want to stock up on my fall essentials. My fall essentials are those clothes I find myself reaching for year after year. I thought that I would share a few with you:Source
Black skirt: My black skirt is my go-to bottom for fall when working. I love how almost everything goes with it and I love to throw on tights while wearing one. Black pumps complete the look and I am good to go with either a jean jacket or a sweater and a cute top!


Source
Scarf: One of my friends bought a beautiful orange scarf for fall last year so naturally I am on the hunt for a gorgeous orange fall scarf this year. Scarfs will tie an outfit together and make you feel so comfy. I especially like smaller scarfs like this that do not overwhelm the body.

Source
Finally, I love my Gap black tights. If you click on the link these go to Gap Kids, because apparently adult tights are not sold online. BUT Gap has the very best tights in existence, if you like opaque and warm tights. I wear these all the time during the fall and winter months.

What are your fall fashion essentials?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tailgating fun

After being sworn in, we tailgated our hearts out at Mizzou. The parking lot was fuller than these pictures make it seem!!

Tailgating in my family involves a LOT of preparation. We plan, talk about it, think about food to bring, and plan some more. Planning is half the fun!!!
My ingredients for a good tailgate?

- good bbq meat
- yummy dips and chips
- delicious drinks (bloody marys or beer)
- most importantly, good people
We had a great time at our tailgate and look forward to next year!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Swearing in Ceremony

On Friday I was officially sworn into the bar, meaning that I am finally a full-fledged attorney. The state bar puts on a very nice ceremony for everybody, running every 40 minutes or so throughout the morning to accommodate all 700+ people who passed the bar exam.
All new attorneys had to sign a roll book, which is what I am doing in the picture above.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Projects for today

1. Go to church

2. Go to yoga

3. Maybe go to the grocery store

4. Read the September magazines on which I am terribly behind

5. tear out what I like and make a new craft book with the pages inside of it

6. Or on second thought, that sounds like too much work for today, so I will take a nap.

7. Bake something for dinner tonight

8. Nap some more

This is what a Sunday should look like when you do not have to study.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My experience studying for the bar: the bar itself

The bar exam is a two-day test. The first day is about 8 hours of essay testing. The second day is multiple choice testing.

My bar exam is located in a hotel. Last year I called the hotel and made reservations so that I would be guaranteed a spot. Boy, am I glad that I did. This is one girl who did not need to be driving the day of the exam.

A few tips about the exam itself:
- If you have a hotel room at the testing site, bring your own lunch. I brought healthy but fun food (think carrots, apples, peanut butter, pita chips, etc.) so that I could scarf it down during my lunch break and relax.
- Do not study after the first day....or do not go crazy studying. A lot of people told me this piece of advice and I am glad they did. The urge will be to study all evening long after your first day, but do not feel obligated to do so. I went out with friends and had a glass of wine that evening.
- Bring ALL of your bar study materials for your own sanity. If you do not, you will have a question for yourself that is not in the book that you brought, and you will regret not bringing the book.
- If you do not want to talk about the exam, tell your friends! Mine were so understanding about my preference not to talk about the exam itself, which I really appreciated. Sure, I did some, but what we did talk about only made me feel much better.
- You will have a breakdown a few days before the bar exam. Mine occurred a week before, where I just started crying to David and said that there was no way I would pass, it was too much information to learn, and I would never memorize everything. He was really supportive and did a good job of not freaking out right along with me. He helped me put things into perspective: if I do not pass, I could just retake the exam in six months. I think that it is important to keep in mind that so many other life events--a marriage, a baby, or a divorce--are all way more important than not passing the bar.

Finally, this is unrelated to the bar exam itself, but be sure that your family knows how hard you will have to study. My family was so understanding and supportive about the fact that they barely spoke with me or saw me for two months. David was great about helping out around the house and indulging in my cravings for Chinese food. If you find your family guilt-tripping you into family events that you just do not have time to attend during the study months, have a sit-down conversation with them. Let them know that it is nothing personal about them, but you just need the two months for studying. Luckily most families understand.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My experience studying for the bar: the month before the bar exam

The month before the bar exam is the craziest month of all. I felt completely overwhelmed and stressed for a good chunk of the month. This is because you have about 10 Barbri books, a few of which you have to get through in order to feel good about the test.

The best thing I did (in my opinion) was make flash cards. Let me show you my stash:
My stash of flash

The only way I kept up with this was to make them as I went along during the month of June. By the time July rolled around, I had a few left to finish, but I had the majority complete. And then I memorized them. I didn't get all of the cards memorized, but I got a good majority of them memorized.

Another good thing that I did was to make practice essay tests with the rules on them a few weeks before the bar exam. I made myself take these "tests" where I simply wrote down the rules on the blanks. This really helped me memorize the rules.

During July, I studied all. day. long. Here was my typical day:
- 6:00 - wake up, run, exercise, etc.
- 7:00 - begin studying
- study, study, study
- 12:30- eat lunch and watch Barefoot Contessa
- 1:00- study
- 6:00- eat supper
- 6:30-9:30- study

Seriously, I studied like crazy. During the week, I left the house to go to mass and to go to yoga. Yes, it was crazy. I got off of Facebook and stopped reading my law friends' blogs. I just did not want to know about other people's studying. So, I made a little bubble for myself in my study room at home.

Did I need to go this hard with the studying? I don't know. Obviously I passed and I am sure that a lot of people who studied less than me passed. But the thing was that I did not want to have any regrets about the amount of studying I did. I wanted to be confident when I walked into the study room and took the test. In fact, I made a little study sign based on advice from my mom that said:

Make yourself feel good when you walk into the test room.

Whenever I felt like my head was going to explode, I looked at this sign. It reminded me that the goal was really a mental game: I needed to feel confident when walking into the bar exam room so that I did not collapse into tears at the sight of my test. It reminded me that it would all be over in a few weeks, that either way I would be finished for at least 6 months, and that I needed to study then so that I did not have to study later. I did not want any regrets.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My experience studying for the bar: working and studying


Source

This summer, I worked during the month of June while studying for the bar. While my job was flexible, I did not really feel that I could take off two months to study, so I worked part-time during June (my work had to sacrifice to let me do this, and I am still thankful that the other attorneys picked up my slack).

First of all, take off the month of July. No amount of money is worth your sanity. You will go crazy during that month and you need time to study.

Generally, during the month of June, I worked four days a week for three-four hours a day. Now, this does not seem to be very long until I factored in my commute time (45 minutes or so each way). Basically, my schedule was to wake up, study from 7:00-8:00, get ready for work, go to Barbri, hope that the lecturers would not try to make TOO many goofus jokes so that I could get out on time, leave, get to work at around 1:30 or so, leave there at around 5, get home, and study again during the evenings. I called my parents when I ran in the morning, and other than that, they and David were the only people with whom I consistently communicated in the outside world.

Since I did work, the best thing I did all summer was to download the Barbri App for my IPhone and then pay extra for the lectures. Yes, I hated paying MORE to Barbri for the lectures, but this was well-worth it for me because while I was running, driving, etc., I could snap the IPhone in my speakers or in my ears and have the lectures playing for me again. I think this truly helped me retain the information I needed.

Finally, I also stayed on track. I did not get behind in my Barbri lectures because I made it a priority to stay on track. If I missed a live lecture, I watched the video at home. I did not skip one. This is essential if you are planning on missing quite a few Barbri lectures. I have to admit that I missed quite a few but I think that it worked out for me because I watched the videos at home. Don't miss them if you think that you will have issues with actually watching the videos.

Really, working while studying is not that big of a deal if you can keep yourself focused and pretty much resign yourself to the fact that you will be working or studying all day long (i.e. no time for friends or family really). You will play mental games with yourself, wondering if you are studying as much as your friends. Sure, you won't have time to have margaritas by the pool while studying like some people can, but if you want a job sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Honestly, some days I was glad I worked because it scared me enough to study during the evening hours and during every weekend...whereas if I did not have the work structure to my day, I may have goofed around more.

Did you work while you studied?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Need.


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My experience studying for the bar: pre-bar prep

I've wanted to write some posts about studying for the bar but did not want to do it until I found out that I passed because I did not want to give bad advice. Plus, I did not want to waste time writing while I was SUPPOSED to be studying (don't worry, I found plenty of other things to distract me).

First of all, studying for any bar is horrible. You will hear people bragging about how they did not study, or talk about how it was "so easy" after they have been out for a few years, but they have forgotten how horrible it really is. You will experience a huge range of emotions, including craziness, crying, sadness, happiness, confidence, and extreme humbleness. Everybody goes through these emotions, so it is best to expect them, combat them when they occur, and deal with them.

Today I am going to write about pre-bar preparation. Bar prep before you take the bar is important, in my opinion.

When I first began law school a dean told me to take a bunch of bar classes. While I was in law school I took some bar classes but not all of them. I did not take Admin law (which I still do not feel that I needed to pass the bar), Commercial Paper (um, the only good thing about this was that nobody took this during law school so nobody had a clue on those study days), and Remedies (I was fine). There may have been a few others that I am forgetting, but oh well. My point is that you definitely want to take a UCC class, and try to take a few other bar classes. Do you need them to pass? Probably not. You can teach yourself the concepts just fine. But the problem is that during the two months you have to study (I cannot stress how short of a time this will feel to you), you do not want to spend your time teaching yourself entire classes-worth of materials because you will make the entire experience about 95% more stressful on yourself than it needs to be. That said, of course you do not need to take every single bar class. My advice simply is to take enough that you feel confident walking into most bar review days.

Secondly, take Barbri. Barbri is completely worth your thousands of dollars. (As many of you remember, Barbri is the bar review course offered by a private company for bar studiers.) Barbri keeps you on track and is an easy way to review. The people at Barbri are trained to anticipate what is on the bar exam, so even if you buy the books from someone else and try to study on your own, about 85% of those walking into your test will have studied what they feel is on the test more. They will have an advantage. On a curved test, this is important.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fun Weekend

We had a great weekend! On Friday night we went to a friend's house for a shrimp boil. Everything was delicious! My friend is a really good cook and being able to sit outside for a while and enjoy the weather was a lot of fun.

Then, on Saturday, we went to Lawrence to a few wineries with some of David's co-workers. First, we went to BlueJacket Crossing, then to Davenport Winery, and then to Kugler's Vineyard. BlueJacket was fun and busy because they were harvesting some grapes. Davenport was our favorite because it was run by an older gentleman who just loved giving tastings and who had really awesome wine bottle labels. Finally, Kugler's Vineyard was really cute because apparently before visiting you are supposed to make an appointment. We didn't realize that until we were literally in the driveway of their private house. After we noticed the neighbor peeking out of his house at us, we backed out of the driveway and called the owner, who was laughing at us and told us to come on in for a tasting. The wine there was delicious and the owner gave us a very good tour of their winery (which is housed in their basement). The best part was that the owners are from Prague (they left in 1982), so we chatted about Prague a bit before we finished. The wineries were so fabulous and we had a great time!

This morning we woke up mega early to go to mass and then I worked on painting our basement and dining room (with David's help!). We are painting everything a pretty gray color and I am excited to get our decorating underway!

I hope you had a great weekend as well!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun Thing Friday: Silver Bracelet

Source

Now that I have a j-o-b it is time for me to reevaluate my wardrobe. Accessorizing seemed to be a nightmare to me. I didn't want to look unprofessional and frumpy or too trendy, but I wanted to look cute.

Enter this cute bracelet (actually not this one, although if you want to buy it and you click on the "source" link you will find a website that carries a very similar bracelet). This bracelet is really versatile and gives my outfits the little extra dressy look for which I was searching. I love it!

What jewelry do you wear when you go to work?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

News

A lot of you already know this, but some of you may not:

I passed the bar exam!!!!!

I am so very, very, very happy about this. No more studying for a very, very long time (if ever) for me! Also, I can be called an Esquire. Sounds fancy!

Celebrating has been too much fun. Yesterday, I instant messaged this to my friend Julie:

8:50 PM me: today
i ate
3 donuts
2 mimosas
1 patty melt
1 order of french fries
2 cups of orange juice
popcorn
8:51 PM noodles
and pita chips
and i have to take a health assessment for my new health insurance tomorrow
pretty sure they will kick me off


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The best ice cream in the world

I have decided that this ice cream, Blue Bell Ice Cream: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, is my all-time favorite ice cream in the world (maybe except homemade ice cream, but seriously this is a close second if so). The chunks of cookie dough are massive. The ice cream itself is delicious. And there are a TON of chocolate chunks in the ice cream.

Yum! What is your favorite kind of ice cream?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Questions




Question 1: Why does my cat continuously meow at me and David (sometimes biting David on the leg) and then run off as if she wants us to follow her?

Question 2: Why do we follow her?

Question 3: Why does she go into the laundry room (where her food is located) and sit on the sink, only to have us discover that she still, in fact, has food in her bowl?

Question 4: Why do we continuously get duped into following her around?

David just went into the laundry room again. This is the third time that she has made us follow her into the laundry room with her meows and antics.



I think we need to have a discussion about who is in charge here.

Weekending

We had a great weekend. On Friday evening we continued our tradition of getting a pizza. Pizza is so cheap right now that we usually grab one on Friday evenings. This week we tried Papa Murphy's pizza, and I have to say that I don't think that it was very good. Oh well, maybe next week we will have our tired-and-true Papa John's!

On Saturday evening we enjoyed a very delicious breakfast at Succotash, an eclectic eatery here in Kansas City. The food was simply delicious. I enjoyed Pigs in a Blanket (crepes with sausages) and home fries, and David had an omelet. Everything was fresh, but my home fries were the best thing I ate. Yum!We also enjoyed fresh juice made on the spot after we ordered it...David had a cubano with cucumbers and lime and other delicious things. That green thing was SO good.
After that, we went to River Market and did a bit of shopping, and that night our church had its church picnic, which was fun. As new members of the parish, we were gifted with free dinner and drink bracelets.

Yesterday I went to yoga and finished a few more projects. I will show you those tomorrow!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spirit of the Marathon movie

While we are on the subject of marathons...David and I watched this movie last weekend and loved it. You should czech it out if you like running! (It is on Netflix Instant Movies!)


Are you a runner?

A few days ago I was sitting in the hot yoga room and noticed someone waving at me out of the corner of my eye. I looked at the woman and she said, "excuse me, are you a runner?"

My gut reaction was to go, "pssshhhh no. I wouldn't call what I do running."

But then I realized that she was really wondering if I had run in a recent race because she saw my race flip-flops in the dressing room. The question made me think, though. Who really is a runner? Why don't I consider myself to fall in that category?

My perception of a runner is someone who has at least completed one marathon, and perhaps I think that the runner should have completed more than one (because I do know that a lot of people run full marathons on a whim and never run one again, which is awesome and really impressive, but does not garner true runner status in my mind).

Lately, my running definitely has not gotten close to runner status. The longest run I have completed in a while is four miles. I am definitely not saying that this is bad, but just a change from when I used to complete a 4, 6, and 6 miler during the week. I have been way more interested in my yoga than running and feel that it is the exercise path I want to pursue right now. Still, I miss running sometimes.

What do you think should be the cutoff for considering someone a runner?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

As we go about our daily activities today, don't forget those who lost their lives and who put their lives in peril to save others nine years ago today. The firefighters, policemen, and military personnel do not have a duty to give their lives for others--they choose that path unselfishly. We all take these people for granted. Take a moment to remember today and to reflect on how lucky we are to live in this country.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun Thing Friday: Fall

It is finally cooling off here and finally fall is upon us! I love every season and honestly could not pick a favorite. I love winter because I love snuggling up in bed with my family and going skiing. I love spring because I love the flowers, going outside, and enjoying the fresh air. I love summer because it is so hot and going to the pool is so fun.

But I LOVE fall because of the changing trees, the football games, chili, running in the cooler air, hot cocoa, that first day when you turn on the heat, and the enjoyment of being outside!!!

What do you love about fall?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Delicious

Last night I made a tilapia dish that was pretty good. I forgot to take a picture because I kept eating it, but here is the recipe:

Raspberry Tilapia
- tilapia fillets
- fresh raspberries
- sugar
- white wine
- olive oil
- flour
- salt
- fresh thyme

Wipe the unfrozen tilapia down with a paper towel and cover with Old Bay spice and flour. Sear in the olive oil until cooked. Set aside.

Pour the white wine on the hot skillet that still has the leftover flour and olive oil on the bottom. Scrape the good bits off the bottom and crush the raspberries into the liquid. Add fresh thyme, sugar, and salt to taste!

Yum.

Planning a shower: Part 3

We just loved planning a shower for Jolene. Above you can see the head table where we sat her, her mother, and her new mother-in-law.
And here you can see her opening a present!

The shower was a ton of fun but I think my planning posts are over!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Planning a shower: Part 2

We were so happy to host Jolene's shower. Here are more aspects of the shower we considered before the big day:

1. Food: every hostess was in charge of several dishes. Rachel worked on dips, Beth worked on a delicious salad, I worked on fruit salad, and my mom worked on the main dishes. Usually shower food is light, fun, and a reflection of what the bride likes. The food can be easily incorporated into a theme (think destination wedding in Mexico, Mexico-themed shower, Mexican food).
2. Toast: usually the hostesses will thank everybody for coming and say a few words about the bride. In our case, it wasn't hard to come up with many words for Jolene! We also had each guest say how they knew Jolene before Jolene opened their particular gift.
3. Desserts: Luckily Rachel's mom is a fantastic cake maker and decorator. Just look at these creations she made for the occasion:

Most people had a piece of each. They were sooooo good!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

How to plan a wedding shower

Besides the Bachelorette party, last weekend we threw Jolene a bridal shower. I simply ADORE bridal showers and think they are so much fun. I loved mine! Every bride should experience being surrounded by family and some friends who give her tips and advice for married life. In case you did not know, a shower is a gathering of the bride's closest family and friends (and family friends) who each bring a gift for the bride. Usually before the shower, the bride registers so the guests will have a choice of gifts.

Small town showers are often different than showers in the big city. First of all, I know that it is not polite to open presents in front of guests, but most people do in small town showers. Small town showers tend to be very big---up to fifty guests---who all dress up and enjoy seeing the bride and visiting. Also a word to small town brides: block off the weekend or the day before your shower because guests will visit your mother's house. If they cannot attend the shower, they will want to see you and drop off your gift! Usually the close friends and/or bridesmaids will host the showers, although sometimes mothers-in-law will so the bride can meet her new family!

Here are a few things about which I think before throwing a shower:

1. Venue: most showers are held in a church hall. We happen to be Catholic, which is why Pope John Paul II is featured in the decor (just kidding, his picture is up in the hall). Pick a venue that will be intimate yet big enough for the shower. It is always easier to have a kitchen at the venue. Often showers are also held at a hostess's home.
2. Decorations: Most people decorate the hall with the theme and colors of the wedding itself. This gives the guests a preview of the wedding.
3. Drinks: We served lots of different drinks, including sweet tea, iced tea, water, punch, champagne punch, wine, and champagne. It is up to the hostesses to decide whether or not to serve alcohol at the shower. Sometimes the bride or her family do not believe in drinking, and of course in that situation it would be impolite to serve liquor. After that, one may consider the time of the shower. If it is a morning shower, it may be fun to serve mimosas and bloody marys.
I will write more tomorrow, but for now I better dash!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Five points to whoever can tell me where this guy is located.in kc:


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Bachelorette partay!

Part of the weekend's fun wedding festivities was going to our friend Jolene's bachelorette party. Jolene requested that we did not plan TOO much of the usual penis-on-a-straw-goofy-veil-wearing-drinking-crazy party for the weekend. So, my friend Rachel planned a wonderful cruise along the Mississippi river in Hannibal, a girls only hotel stay, and plenty of wine. Perfect!


Beth, me, the Bride, Rachel, Mr. Fowler

Who is this random man? As we walked onto the boat we realized that our old high school history teacher was second-in-command on the boat. Of course we had to visit him in the captain's cabin and hear funny stories about life on a riverboat. What was the one thing we all remembered from his class? TNSTAAFL. That means, "there's no such think as a free lunch". Ha.
The cruise was very relaxing and lovely. We had a great time on it and I would encourage you to visit Hannibal for a fun and easy weekend getaway!

The after-dinner wine was delicious as well. We sampled different Missouri wines complied by Rachel. Good job planning, Rach!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Going home

This past weekend we went home to my parents' house. Part of the reason why I love going home is to see the gorgeous scenery. It is very rare now that we are able to enjoy looking at a sunset from the middle of the prairie, free from obstructions.
Just looking at these pictures gives me an overwhelming sense of calm. I also love looking at the stars. What do you like best about going back to your childhood home, if you can still go back?