30 December 2007

Snotty Doctor

This video is absolutely hilarious! This little girl is downright funny. And don't even get me started on that accent! Check it out--

27 December 2007

Twas the Week After Christmas

Well, Christmas is over. The packages have been unwrapped. The baking has been devoured. And the tinsel has dimmed. But Baby Jesus lives on!

Today I returned to the love of my life, Seattle. My time at home was eventful and relaxing. I took some pictures of a Neill Christmas.


This is from the Annual Neill Christmas Party. Basically Whitney only agrees to come every year because my mother makes the worlds best spinach dip.

I'm not sure Whitney and I are capable of taking a normal picture.
We tried.
For some reason, I find it extremely amusing to pose for 'Senior Pictures' at all times. The game goes like this: at any time in life, no matter the person, place or time, if I call out "SENIOR PICTURE', one must drop what they are doing and strike a senior portrait pose. Some are more creative than others, but each are equally hilarious. This is Danielle, Whitney and I's attempt at the Friends Senior Picture that everyone was so fond of:
Moving on from the party, here is the beautiful table my amazing mother put together for our Christmas dinner:
My 8 year old niece had a rough Christmas. This year she only received 39447878 gifts:
And then Sean and I further prove the point that I am incapable of taking a serious photo.

Christmas truly is a great time of year and it is with a heavy heart that I pack my Kenny G and Celine Dion Christmas cds. I hope everyone had a joyous Christmas with their families! One more thing--my father wanted me to post the video of his decorations for the house this year. He has a tendency to go over the top, but we like it:

21 December 2007

I'll Be Home For Christmas!

YAY! I'm back in Billings for Christmas! I'm actually in my old room, sitting in my twin bed. My high school soccer team photo is hanging on the wall and I'm pretty sure I saw my Letterman's jacket in the closet.


This is no doubt going to be fun week, here's the short agenda:
1. WHITNEY! I get to see my favorite little red head!
2. The Annual Neill Christmas Party. We throw one hellvua of a shindig
3. Sherry Neill's home cooking. Nothing compares
4. Countless other randoms acts of Bilings, Montana that I intend to soak up!

And in other news that is completely unrelated to anything mentioned above, I'd like you all to meet my friend Bueller. Bueller is the adorable pug of my friend, Meredith. This picture was stolen off of her facebook profile. Could anyone resist?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

14 December 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

2 cheers for Holiday Cheer! I absolutely love Christmas time. It honestly is the most wonderful time of the year.

And this year was the first that I was able to have my own 'tree'. It was imported all from the beautiful Big Sky state (aka Montana) by my lovely mother.

Okay...okay...it came in a cardboard box and I had to unfold all the branches. But it's still a Christmas tree. And I added lights and ornaments! It's a wee little guy, but I love it--the first thing I do when I walk in the door of my apartment is plug it in and let the little lights twinkle.

Here she is in all her glory:

And to top off my holiday decorations, I have a robust merry little man sitting on my end table. This little guy is extra special because I painted it all by myself! This is the product of Pottery Night with the girls:

How freakin' cute is he? LOVE IT!

I am well aware that my holiday decos are pretty meager, but I'm just starting out. Wait until I post pictures of my time at home--nobody decorates like Sherry!

Cheers & Merry Christmas!

12 December 2007

Now Read This!

As time goes by and the years pass on, few things have remained constant in my life. With the exception of one thing: reading. I absolutely love to read! When I was younger I used to sneak into the bathroom with a flashlight and climb into the bath tub and read long after it was 'lights out'.

I love to recommend books to my friends and so today's post is me listing 5 books that I think are excellent reads. And as the weather continues to get colder, sometimes the best thing to do is curl up with a warm cup of tea and a good book. Here are my top picks for the Winter Must Reads:

1. Eat. Pray. Love
By: Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is a must read for all young women. It is a personal memoir that chronicles Gilbert as she goes through quite a bit of turmoil in her personal life and she decides to take 9 months off and travel to Italy (eat), India (pray) and then Indonesia (love). In the midst of pizza, yoga mats and charity, Gilbert manages to find herself again and make some long lasting relationships along the way.
At times I felt like I was invading her privacy because Gilbert writes in such an open and honest manner. And she is hilarious. She writes very conversationally and I felt like I was talking to one of my good friends. A great book about love, loss and the return to yourself.

2. The Other Boleyn Girl
By: Philippa Gregory
Now I will admit, this is not a book for everyone. It is a historical fiction tale about King Henry VIII and his many love affairs, which specific emphasis on 2 sisters--Anne and Mary. Now we all know that Anne Boleyn ended up marrying King Henry VII and loses her head. But this story is about her sister, Mary, the other Boleyn girl.
It is a magnifying look into the political intrigues of Tudor England, where families use their daughters as means to change their social standing. Mary is simply a pawn to her family and is forced to bed with King Henry VII, ignoring her own desires to find true love, be with her children and live her own life.
I'm a history junkie and I love to read, so this was a perfect union. It's not for all, but I think most would enjoy it.

3. Feast of Love
By: Charles Baxter
This is one of my most recent reads and a new addition to my list of favorites. This book is alot like the movie Love Actually-individual stories of people struggling with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and how the individual stories manage to intermingle to make all the characters overlap.
It's a real book and has some great characters--Baxter does an amazing job developing each character and makes the reader feel like you actually know the people.
My one request is that you read the book and then see the movie. Book always trumps movie!

4. Love In The Time Of Cholora
By: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Now, I will admit, this is kind of tentative pick. I read it, I didn't love it, but I really enjoyed. It is beautiful story of how love changes over time between two people who marry at a young age and spend their whole lives together.
The ending wasn't quite what I expected, but I found it very true life and an honest portrayal of how relationships develop over time. One of the main characters is a bit creepy at some times, but his heart is in the right place.
It is a Oprah Book Club pick and has also recently become a movie. And again, I beg you, please read book then watch movie.

5. The Handmaid's Tale
By: Margaret Atwood
This is an old one. I read it in high school because it was suggested by a friend of mine. If you liked such books as Fahrenheit 451, A Brave New World, and The Giver I think you'll like this book. It has a futuristic setting--the United States government has been overthrown and taken over by Christian Fundamentalists who rename it and turn it into a theocratic state.
The main character is Offred who is essentially a concubine to a higher level authority and has no civil rights.
It's book that has both been challenged and praised. I absolutely love it!

There are definitely more books that I love and that I would suggest. If you're looking for a good book to read, just ask!

06 December 2007

Song of the Month

First, I'd like to apologize to Melissa for completely stealing her 'song of the....." thing. But the best form of flattery is imitation, right?

There are few things many people don't know about me.

1. When I like a song, like REALLY like a song, I just play it over and over and over again. And then over again. Just ask Jodie--my college roommate--how much she loved this part of my personality.

2. I love the tv show Gossip Girl. Yes, I do realize I am 24 years of age and my favorite tv show is about Upper East Side high schoolers. Don't judge.

And so to bring those two random facts together, I introduce my Song of the Month:

Apologize by Timbland and OneRepublic. Take a listen (you can bet I've already listened to it 37 times tonight)

In case you're missing the tie in with the random facts--this song was used in the closing of the latest Gossip Girl Episode.

04 December 2007

Lifetime Meets The Weather Channel

The old adage "When It Rains, Its Pours" is consuming my life right now.

Not only is Seattle recovering from a massive precipitation violation, but the hits just keep on coming.

Two of my very dear friends are facing major health issues with their fathers. I can't even imagine what they are going through and, of course, I feel even more helpless because we are all in different states. Are we seriously at the age where I find myself writing emails to my friends telling them 'my thoughts & prayers are with you" and "everything is going be okay" or "if you need anything..." I've had to write 2 of these emails in as many days. I'm not ready for life to come at me this fast.

And I definitely just worked a 16 hour day.

It's raining all right, but I'm definitely not singing in it. I'm pretty sure I'm sinking in it.

21 November 2007

Mama I'm Coming Home!

I will be home in less than 6 hours! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to have the plane touch the tarmac in Billings. There are many things in life to love and I love going home! Nothing is better than having Sherry and Greg waiting for me at the bottom of the escalators at the Logan International Airport!

I will be home for 4 full days! That means 4 beautiful days of home cooking, tripoli, card games, Grandma's hilarious laughter, Amy telling jokes, Michael amusing all of us, sitting on the deck as the sun goes down and so much more!

Now I was home back in July, which really isn't that long of time, but I feel like it's been FOREVER!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! This year, I'm thankful for YOU!

15 November 2007


Monday night.
Paramount Theatre.
Kelly Clarkson.
Changed My Life.

I had the pleasure, nay the privilege of catching a one miss Kelly Clarkson on Monday night. And let me just say that I had no idea my love for this singer could get any bigger. Until she performs her song Sober in my very own presence. Or until she pulls out an updated, remixed version of Miss Independent! Or rocks the house with Since You Been Gone.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY!

She rocked my face off. I literally have no face left because she rocked it off. That sassy thing from Texas performed her little heart out! This was my second time seeing Miss Clarkson in concert and she continues to amaze with her simplicity. She doesn't get caught up in the fireworks, fancy lights or even elaborate costumes--Kelly just gets up there with a microphone, her band and rocks the house. She played every song I wanted her too--including the song that started it all for me--Miss Independent (stop your snickering, that song allows you to totally rock out). And she played my favorite song, How I Feel, off her new album, My December. And then she brought goosebumps when she sang Sober. If you're a Kelly Clarkson fan, you need to listen to this song. If you're not a Kelly Clarkson fan, you need to listen to this song. If you're a human being, you need to listen to this song! To hear it live....wow...almost too much for this Montana girl!

All in all, this concert was amazing, Kelly was phenomenal and I left as happy as can be.

And then I found out the next day that CELINE DION is coming to Seattle. Could my concert Karma get any better?

11 November 2007

Positively Postive.

All my life I've tried to be positive.

Have a positive attitude.
Get positive grades in school.
Be a positive influence.

And now at 24 years young I find that being positive is the hardest thing ever! Lately, I've made a definite effort to think positively. To attempt to view life with rose colored glasses. To see the light instead of the dark. To affirm the glass is half full. And while I've been mildly successful at it, I find it to be quite possibly the most difficult thing I've ever done.

But I've always believed that anything worth doing should never be easy. I've been very blessed to have positive people in my life lately. The influence of a few people has definitely helped me change the way I think about my life, the things in my life and how those things are going in my life. It always amazes that there are always a few people who, no matter what, can always look and more importantly find, the best in any person or situation. And I appreciate their ability to see the good and expect the best, it's educational for someone like myself. And inspiring.

A quote in my quote book instructs me to change my life, but if I can't change it, change the way I think about it. I think that is such a priceless nugget of advice. So I'll keep on keeping on, but as I trudge ahead on this adventure, I intend to see things from a positive perspective.

22 October 2007

Puppy Love

I've fallen in love. And with that picture above, how can you not? I am in love with puggles. Tonight Jodie and I went to Green Lake and it did nothing to help my puppy love. First off, I have to admit, in my previous trips to Green Lake I've gotten myself into some awkward situations--once I lock my eyes on a puggle, I lose all motor skills. I've nearly run into numerous trees, stroller, joggers, walkers, rollerbladers, bikers etc--you get the picture. But tonight was the worst! I'm not even exaggerating when I say that there was 5 puggles at Green Lake tonight. And one of those puggles was a puggle puppy. It was all I could not to maul the little guy. And to make matters worse, we past the owners twice and I'm almost positive the girl thought I was totally checking out her boyfriend!
Last week I was laying on my couch with a cup of hot tea, my classical music playing and a book in my hand. Now, before I was puggle struck, this would have been an ideal Sunday afternoon for me. But as I sipped my tea and turned the pages, I couldn't help but imagine how much better this situation would have been with a warm, snuggly puppy curled up with me. I find myself even thinking of names. Bella? Dublin? Jack?

Only time will tell.......

Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz

14 October 2007

Fall Fun Weekend!

Fall has officially arrived! Apart from the obvious falling of the leaves, there are a few things that signify the official Fall Season.

It's not football.

It's not the re-appearance of the Uggs.

It's not even the damn Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.

It's clearly a trip to Greenbluff! And if that wasn't enough, a trip to Greenbluff with two of my favs! This weekend I hopped in the car and drove 289 miles east to Spokane to see my friends Kelsey and Melissa. It twas a glorious day in the 509 and we hit the road for the goodness that is Greenbluff. Greenbluff is the quintessential fall haven. From apple orchards to pumpkin patches, hot apple cider to real caramel kettle corn, Greenbluff has it all.

Our first mission was to pick the perfect pumpkin. I learned from Melissa that Kelsey had yet to EVER pick a pumpkin and carve one, so it was a must do. Kelsey did a fabulous job of selecting a pumpkin--it was as though the pumpkin was calling her from across the picked-over field. Samson (that was the name we gave this little guy) and Kelsey instantly bonded and the connection was clear.

Once Kelsey found her partner, it was time for Melissa to find her other half. Melissa, being the level-headed, analytical wonder that she is, took her time and carefully examine several pumpkins. Her diligence certainly paid off. She spotted Bernard from across the way and it was love at first pluck. I've never seen Melissa so happy (well, with something that doesn't involve her adorable dog Toby). Bernard and Sampson proved to lovely additions to the gang.

After our romp in the pumpkin patch, we headed over to Harvest House for the world famous pumpkin donuts. And let me be clear, I am NOT a fan of pumpkin anything. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice lattes---no thank you no thank you no thank you. But Kelsey and Melissa insisted that these were not to be missed. And apparently everyone else got the same message because the line was SO long! Before hopping into the never-ending line, we decided it would be wise to grab a caramel apple to sustain us. One of the many wonderful decisions we made that day. Caramel apple heaven I tell you! I've had a few caramel apples in my day, but this was one for the books. Not only did they dip the apple right in front of you, they washed the apple and stuck it on the stick. Talk about made to order!
Once the caramel apples were devoured, (okay, it took like 3 minutes to eat that caramelly goodness) we began to stand in line for these donuts.

And stand.
And stand.
And stand.

We stood in line for an hour and a half! We finally reached the beginning of the line and it was worth it! Not only could you see the entire process of the donuts (Krispy Kreme has nothing on Harvest House) but we got the donuts hot off the press! And I'm proud to announce that I enjoyed these fabled pumpkin donuts! It was well worth the wait--they were so hot, they burned our little fingers.

The weather was perfect, the company was awesome and the weekend couldn't have been better!

"Seasons change, so do cities; people come into your life and people go; but its comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart, and if you're lucky only a plane [or car!] ride away."
Carrie from Sex and the City

11 October 2007

When In Doubt, Run It Out

When life gets too much and I feel like I'm going to explode, I only know of one thing that relieves all the pent up energy.

A good long run.

Nothing like burning lungs, aching muscles and some great pump up music to get the blah out of the day. Today was one of those days that I just needed to go. And today was perfect. I chose one of my favorite places in Seattle--Green Lake. The trees are starting to turn and it's not as crowded as it is during the summer days. I love the days when you have to wear your running pants and a long sleeve t-shirt. The crisp autumn air made my lungs ache, but in the best way possible.

All the elements fell into place as my feet pounded the pavement, my breathing matched the pump of my arms and the beat of the music pulsed through my body. Running is such a cathartic thing for me--it's the only way I allow my bottled up emotions come out.

And so I run. I run because it lets me release all the bad thoughts I had during the day, all the negative emotions I'm feeling and just clear my mind so that the only thing I'm thinking is 'keep going...a little longer...five more minutes'.

I'll keep running. Because it lets me be selfish. It's the thing I do that's just for me and nobody else.

10 October 2007

Side Order of Hair

Let's talk about side ponytails. I believe that they are close cousins to the mullet. While yes, the mullet proves to be a multi-faceted 'do (refresh: party in the back, business in front), the side pony is more fashion friendly, but equally as distasteful.

I think it's safe to say that the mullet, no matter the context, will always be a fashion faux pas. The side pony, on the other hand, I'll give some leeway. Let's be honest, Mischa Barton can pull the side pony off pretty good. But mere mortals are not as capable. Let's take this waitress I had tonight. She was real nice, and an okay waitress, but it looked like she had been taking a nap and the weight of her head and the pressure of the pillow displaced her regular ponytail. I understand the dilemma that girls face as you struggle to come up with an alternative to the regular pony tail, but I stress the importance of re thinking your initial urge to sport the side pony. I tend to use it strictly in jest and for a good belly laugh.

And I caution you--never crimp your hair AND rock the side pony. That is double whammy no-no. Save it for the 80s parties and Madonna Tribute parties.

Don't even get me started on mullets. Or fanny packs.

"In matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock."
-Thomas Jefferson

09 October 2007

The Only Thing Constant Is Change

As all the autumn leaves begin to change color and fall to the ground, I am reminded of the consistency of change. Change, in and of itself, is an oxymoron. Change never changes--it's always constant.

Change your clothes.

Change your water filter.

Change your plan.

Change your mind.

Change your life.

It's not the change that is hard--it's adjusting to the change. The environment that is left after the excitement of something new wears off and the only thing you're left with is the cold hard truth that where you are is no longer where you were. And while this can obviously be a great thing, sometimes that's not the case. I find myself always thinking of the way things were, which handicaps my ability to think of what will be.

In the end, it's the changes that make life interesting--if everything stayed the same, life would be dull and boring.

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.
~Pauline R. Kezer

07 October 2007

Is This Thing On?

I'm starting a blog.

I'm not sure who is going to read it or even what I'm going to write about. My wild hair idea to start a blog is real selfish actually. Putting things into words helps to smooth out the bumps that life consistently throws at you. And as I find myself wandering through this crazy little thing called life, I realize that I am more clueless that I ever though possible. No amount of education or preparation could ever help me understand life without that safety net that I grew so accustomed to having.

I've lived without that proverbial net for a year and a half and I swear, I just keep falling. Falling towards what definitely differs on a daily basis. But at the same time that this fall is scary, gut wrenching and challenging, it has also provided me the rare opportunity to not only step outside the box, but literally move into a completely different box all together. And while I'm quick to jump to the conclusion that this has been the hardest transition of my life, I don't think I would change the road I've taken to get where I am today--just don't ask where that is. I know I'm on the road and I pray I'm on the map. It's a double edged sword, you see: I'm terrified and exhilarated by the same thing--the unknown. Having a clean slate that will become my future.

I am fan of quotes--I have a handwritten quote book that I am constantly filling with great quotes about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So I will end every post with a quote that I feel sums up the rambling I've blurted out all over my keyboard. Here's the first:

"When we long for a life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure."

-Peter Marshall, in prayer.