Sunday, February 20, 2011

wtf-what the folk?

What is folk music? I will quote from the Folk Alliance International (FAI) website. "That is always the most popular question presented to our organization and membership. FAI defines 'folk' as anything rooted in tradition, indigenous to one's culture. Our organization is made up of all types such as songwriters, story tellers, bluegrass, blues, soul, world music, spoken word, zydeco, and much...much more."
My friend Cindy Cogbill is director for the Folk Alliance International conference. The main office for the Folk Alliance is in the South Main Arts district in Memphis. Cindy and I went to high school together and reconnected again at church where we both did children's theatre. Anyway, the conference is held at a hotel in downtown Memphis. It is a conference like no other!

The conference is a private event. Because I know people in high places (Cindy!), I've been able to go as her guest so I feel pretty cool knowing her! There were people playing music everywhere.
Here is a view from the balcony of some musicians jamming out. When I say music is everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE! Let me explain. There are main shows in the ballroom. Then there are showcases on the 17th, 18th, and 19th floors of the hotel. It reminds me of college when everyone would pack in someones room and listen to someone play the guitar. It is 3 floors of dorm room parties! So much talent in one hotel. There are even people playing in the stairwells.

Since this is a network event, there are tons of artists with their flyers out. These tables were everywhere. And so was the RedBull man! I think the first year I attended the conference, I drank 5 in one night. Now I know that was not very smart of me! I was up late and very wired!

More music!
It ranges from county to blues. I cannot play nor can I sing (I was kicked out of a choir in college...long story!) so I love to be around people that can.  I'm a great listener, I do that well!  I really do appreciate music!

Last Wednesday, the Folk Alliance opened up one night to the public. I so excited because 2 of my favorite artists were playing.

First up was Paul Thorn. I've seen him before and he is so funny. He has a great stage presence! My friends and I were on the 2nd row. Sirus/XM was there streaming live on the Village (a folk music station). Then we found out they were filming for a PBS special! Watch for me on TV soon! I'll be the girl with a shirt that says "I'm a ski nut." HAHA!
The last show we saw was Over the Rhine. I've seen them before too!  They play really cool instruments that I have no clue what they are but sound amazing! The lead singer has an amazing voice. I was very tired for work the next day but it was worth it.

I didn't get to go back as Kyle and I went out of town for his birthday weekend. The best part about the FA conference is the 17-19th floors. Kyle did come with me a couple of years ago and enjoyed himself.  He is like me, no voice but loves to listen! Our kids have no hope!
Here is a video I found on YouTube that kind of shows the craziness of the 17-19th floors. (you'll have to pause my music playing on my page to listen to the video) I guess you just had to be there! If you're a music lover, this is the place for you!

Friday, February 18, 2011

a hallmark holiday

I honestly don't care for Valentine's Day. Why do we need a day to tell someone we love them? Shouldn't we be doing that year round? My friend at work said it best. Valentine's is a day for Hallmark to make money.  

Well, Hallmark is not making any money off us! Kyle and I have a Valentine's tradition.
1. We don't buy each other presents. I'd rather have a bigger Christmas or birthday present! HA! Plus Kyle's birthday is 6 days after Valentine's.

2. We don't buy each other cards. We hand make them! I think that was my idea since we don't do presents. Can you guess whose card is whose below?

 Mine is on the left, Kyle's card is on the right. Kyle has grown in the area of card making. My first Valentine's card from him was hearts glued on white typing paper and the words 'I love you' written with a black sharpie! The next year he got the idea to ask help from my teacher friends. Now he has progressed to buying decorated heart paper and types it! All week I kept on telling him how great my card was (I was bluffing) and he told me how bad his was (he was bluffing!) We both made each other "debt-free" themed cards! His was better. It was about 5 pages telling the stages of our journey we've been on to become debt free. He had all of our debts we paid off listed. Then he printed off our mortgage and calculated how long it would take us to be completely debt free. All my card said was "happy debt free Valentine's Day!" He did like my coin heart! I love this tradition we do. This means so much more to me than a card from Hallmark!

3. We don't go out to eat. Instead of fighting the crowds, Kyle makes me a homemade pesto pizza! This started when I brought back pesto sauce from Cinque Terre, Italy. I went there with my girlfriends when Kyle and I first started dating and had the best pesto pizza ever! He used the pesto to recreate my pizza on our first Valentine's. This year we tried to make homemade whole wheat dough. Glad we had a back up crust!

It is about to go in the oven. It consisted of pesto, turkey sausage, red (purple) onions, red peppers, mozzarella and feta cheese, and a sprinkle of my mom's marinara sauce.

 It was so good! You better believe I ate more than Kyle did!

I was in charge of dessert. I made a "puddin pie." No pun intended. It was the only thing in the house. Grahm cracker crust, instant sugar free jello and fat free whip cream. Took me 5 mintues to make.

Kyle also gets me a Reese's heart!

I like spending my Valentine's night in my PJs! We'll go out to eat next week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

food for finance: we did it!

(healthy) food for finance is a column where we talk about how fitness and finance correlate with each other. join us on our journey to be both physically and financially fit.

Why would I tell the world wide web about our family finances? Because WE'RE DEBT FREE but our house. We were projected to hit this goal in April. In the words of my mother, we  "ciphered" and squeezed every penny we could find and paid off my student loan our final debt last Friday!! God is good! Ironically, we had tickets to see Dave Ramsey live in Nashville on Saturday. What a great way to start off our debt free weekend. Here is how it all went down. 

We headed to Nashville and made a pit stop in Thompson Station to see Carol and meet baby Norah.

She's already 5 months old! Carol and I were sorority sisters  in college.  I miss seeing her but it makes it special when I do spend time with her.

Since we were south of Nashville, I had an idea. We had to pass through Brentwood to get to my old roommate Lauren's house. What's in Brentwood you ask? Dave Ramsey's radio show! When people become debt free, they call in the show and yell "we're debt free!" It is called debt free Friday. Some people even drive to the show and scream from the lobby. Since it was Friday and we were debt free, guess what we did?

No, we didn't call the show nor go in the lobby! It was 5:15 when we arrived. The show was over but people were still in the lobby. Instead, we jumped up and down in front of the sign! We made a promise to each other that when we paid off our house, we'd come back and do this right! We'll be in the lobby yelling!

I have a sweet husband! He accepts me and my crazy 'picture taking' ideas!  We noticed something about the parking lot. There were a lot of 'beaters' there. Definition of a beater: an old, reliable car that will get you from point A to point B. Dave will tell you sell your car (if you have a very large car note) and buy a beater. Kyle thinks that half the parking lot were beaters. Duck tape on the windows and all!

After jumping for joy, we made it to east Nashville to hang out with Lauren! She cooked us a healthy, yummy dinner. This was a huge deal as she never really cooked when we were roomies.

She then took us around east Nashville to some fun places. Where we met some fun people... people with mullets! He told us he's only had it for 2 days. I thought he lost a bet. You can't see his cut off flannel sleeves in this picture. We found out he was born in Memphis. Always a fun time with Lauren!

I woke up bright and early the next morning! If you would've told me 5 years ago that I'd be excited to sit through a money conference, then I would've laughed in your face.

We needed a hearty brunch so we went to the Pancake Pantry with our friends Scott and Brandy who were also attending the show. It was well worth the 30 minute wait in the cold for this! Brandy got the chocolate chip pancakes.

I got the sweet potato pancakes.  The guys got an omelet and 3 butter milk pancakes. It was so good! I'm supposed to be talking about healthy food right? However, I'm all about balance! You must reward yourself!  Go there if you're ever in Nashville!

The pre-game started at 12 noon. The band was staff from Dave's team.

They sang a song about Dave. A song about how Dave fans say "well Dave says.." and how non-fans say "I don't care what Dave says!"

I had the best time sitting beside Brandy. I've heard the Dave jokes and stories but she had not! She laughed the whole time!

We did not plan to be debt free by the time we saw Dave. We wanted to go to the show to help us in our sprint.10,000 people all in one room together helped confirm what we did was correct! Dave Ramsey poked fun at how people think 'Dave followers' are in a cult! ha! There were some Nashville celebs in the audience. A band member of Kings of Leon was there as well! What is "in the water" we are drinking! Some people think Kyle and I have lost it!

Surgeries were preformed at the show.
It was a plasetomy! Definition: the shredding of ones credit cards. I laughed!

I think they should melt the shredded cards and make some art work.

 Kyle and I had a great time. We ate at Outback on the way home. We had to be home for church the next morning since we're taking Financial Peace . It was a long 24 hour trip! But well worth it! Kyle and I sat down last September and decided to attack my student loan our final debt in our debt snowball.  Because we were serious about this, we got real nerdy and made goals to put on the fridge. We went beyond paying off all debt but the house! We plan to pay off the house!
Keep in mind we've been working at this since we got married, a little over 2 years. It felt great to cross off # 1. I can't thank God enough for placing a great man in my life that encourages me in so many ways!  I'm proud to be a member of TEAM MCCOY! Now on to Baby Step 3.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

food for finance: patrick and dave

(healthy) food for finance is a column where we talk about how fitness and finance correlate with each other. join us on our journey to be both physically and financially fit.

It is not a secret that we love watching The Biggest Loser and we're on the Dave Ramsey plan.  The two collided today! If I'm in my office at work, chances are I am listening to The Dave Ramsey Show.   It is nice to have a cheerleader everyday telling me that I can do this! Kyle and I are so close to being debt free but the house we can taste it!

Kyle calls me today and said "did you hear Patrick House from The Biggest Loser on Dave Ramsey's show?"
 I said "NO, I was on the phone with a parent!! I missed it!" So what did I do? I got home and pulled up the archives and listened to it!  Patrick was last season's winner of the show.  He lost 50% of his body weight (181 lbs), won his life back AND a quarter of a million dollars.  He wanted to know what to do with the money.  In true Dave fashion, he told Patrick to 1. set back some for taxes 2. pay off his debts (he had about 22k in student loans) 3. set up three to six months of expenses for an emergency fund and 4. put the rest of the money towards the house.  He warned him not to take advice from broke people! Or his brother-in-law that is a financial advisor that might tell him to invest it.

One thing Patrick said was that this time last year, he had no job and was over 400 lbs. What a difference a year makes. He now has a job making over 70k a year working at a school teaching children how take control of their lives and their health...just like he did. He also does speaking engagements making anywhere from 5k to 7k. It is funny how when you have discipline in one area of your live, it rolls on into other areas. It is contagious! I know Patrick had a lot of help getting to where he is today, but HE put in the work and HE decided to finally do something about his life and change it for the better. HE chose to make the first step and that is what I admire about him!

Kyle has come so far with his weight lose and we are both working really hard on our finances.  With disciple, motivation, support, and encouragement...we'll make it!
*thanks for the picture
**Update: on Dave Ramsey's website today (02/02/11) they have the audio and a blog about Patrick calling in.  Here is the link if you want to read and listen!