Thursday, July 30, 2009

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

So I am coming up on my 25th birthday. 25 is a biggie, and I definitely have looked back on the past 25 years and have been extremely satisfied with my accomplishments. However, I was kind of bummed about turning 25. I mean, 25 is that age where your really a grown up. At 24 I still felt like I can mix well at social events on college campus’, but now that I am 25 it’s like you’ve hit that ceiling, and now you are forced to take the elevator to floor 2. It’s like, now I’m going to start being that old person that comes back to school events, that is “so totally out of the loop of what’s cool.” I mean, I never really knew what was cool anyways, I just pretended like I did! Anyways, I am happy I do get a rent a car now (without paying hundreds in insurance hikes), hopefully my insurance will go down for my car in general, and I finally got the bouquet of flowers delivered to my work I’ve been hassling Ian about. All in all it’s been a good start to my birthday weekend.

Great News! Last week I heard back from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce that my application for MENTOR Richmond was accepted. The MENTOR Richmond group will be compiled of 18 young professionals around the Richmond area. I submitted my application last month, highly doubting that I would be accepted since those that were accepted last year had more work experience and were further along in their careers than I. But, to my satisfaction I was selected! The group will meet twice a month for the next 8 months. One of those meetings will be a planning meeting, and once a month the meeting will be with a local executive in the Richmond area. I really feel like this is the start of my professional experiences, and the relationships I build with this group, as well as the Mentors, will carry forth the rest of my career.

Well on a side note- I thought I’d share a WONDERFUL recipe I found. Recently during our trip to Hawaii, we ate at the famous “Boots and Kimo's” restaurant in the Island of Oahu. They are very well known for their pancakes with the famous macadamia nut sauce. The dish is incredible, and when I got home I immediately starting looking for recipes. I think I’ve finally found something so similar, that it can tide me over until I can get Garrett to ship me a jar of the stuff. So, you pretty much make your standard pancakes (Bisquick is my favorite) and then you make this sauce, which you heat over the stove and pour over the top of your pancakes. It’s perfection!


1 cup macadamia nuts
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup each whole milk and heavy (whipping) cream (OR 2 cups half & half)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp lemon juice

Finely grind nuts in food processor. Dry cook in saucepan over medium-low for a couple minutes, until fragrant.

Add butter; stir until melted. Stir in flour cook 1 minute.

SLOWLY add milk and heavy cream (or half & half), CONSTANTLY whisking. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Bring just to a boil (or almost to a boil, be careful) and then reduce heat just a little so that it's not boiling. Cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring CONSTANTLY.

Serve warm.

The last thing that has been on my mind recently is the EXAM…. So far my goal of passing the CPA exam has been strenuous, but I’m getting closer (at least I think). I take part two on August 17th. The subject area is Auditing. I’ve been studying like crazy. I don’t want to be a downer and whine about the exam, because I’ve realized that life is tough. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be a CPA! If it wasn’t difficult, then it wouldn’t be as great of an accomplishment. I’ve been complaining about this test for the past few months, like it’s a huge dark cloud following me, pouring rain on me every step I take. But, instead of fighting with it, instead of trying to fight through the rain, I need to accept it, I need to dance. This made me think of one of my favorite quotes, which is what I will end my post with today…

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Melissa's Birthday Festivities

My sister Melissa turned 30 this past weekend!! We celebrated by spending the weekend at the Gaylord National Resort over at the National Harbor. The place was gorgeous! Their hotels are pretty well known. The hotel we stayed at looked like the outside was actually in the hotel. The hotel had an indoor garden. We happened to have come during summerfest, which means they had a bunch of hand sculptured sand castles. They were awesome! The hotel was huge, complete with a DIVE in movie theater. (Movie theater at a pool). I was told it was the largest resort on the East Coast. It definitely was the biggest I've seen!

The first night we got some drinks and went bar hopping. One of my favorite stops was the Dueling Piano Bar. It was fun to sing along to the piano players. We stopped by a few other places before calling it a night.
The next day we started off with lunch at this place called the Public House. We walked around National Harbor and saw the craft fair that was there that weekend. The stores were nice, and there were a lot of people buzzing around. We were exhausted from walking around so we grabbed a quick drink at the pool bar (Some Mango Daiquiris) and heading back to our rooms for a nap!
That evening we had some drinks at McCormicks and then went to Rosa Mexicana's for dinner. This place had the most amazing Mexican food ever! They made the guacamole fresh, tableside, and the food was just delicious! I think this was my favorite Mexican restaurant ever. And to finish off the meal, an order of Churros with dipping sauces for the birthday girl.

All in all the weekend was a blast, and I was so happy to spend my sister's 30th with her!

It was time to go back home and pick up our babies! Ian's brother Kirk was babysitting and house sitting while we were away. Kirk had his hands full, especially since Lexus is NOT potty trained yet.

Well, it's back to work this week. I'll be looking forward to the weekend. It will be the last weekend I have without studying for a while. My class for Part 2 of the CPA exam starts next week.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'm back...for now

Okay, so I've kind of left this blog high and dry, but that's okay, I can make a comeback right?
A lot has happened since the last blog (ages ago). I switched jobs in January 2009 and am now a tax accountant working for Cherry, Bekaert & Holland. I survived my first tax season, days filled with 12 hour work days, class, and studying. It was hell, but worth it!
I graduated with my degree/certificate in Accounting May 2009. Instead of walking graduation, I was on a plan to Hawaii. Hawaii was a trip Ian and I had been planning for the past year as a reward for surviving tax season, and just needing a getaway in general. We spent 11 days in beautiful Oahu-Waikiki. I had a detailed itinerary down to the minute of where to be when. We managed to stick to the tinerary, and got more done than was scheduled. It was a great trip! We hung out with one of our friends from college, Garrett, since he lives on the island. It was so nice seeing him, and having him take us to some of his favorite places.
Highlights of the trip include, seeing Garrett, The Hole in the wall food tour, a beach photography session, a Luau, an outrigger ride, LOTS of food, a Hummer tour around famous movie and TV show sites, and too many to name. I kept a journal each day. It's handwritten, so maybe one day I will be able to put it online and post it. If you are heading to Hawaii, shoot me an e-mail. I can send you my itinerary and note the places that we loved!
After coming home from Hawaii, it was back to reality. The truth was that I had to sit for the CPA exam, and my review class was starting. This is the test that we accountants dread the most. It's a 4 part exam, that pretty much sucks the life out of you. I enrolled in Becker, which is the only live CPA review class out there. It would allow me to review for the exam, and hopefully pass all 4 parts before Thanksgiving. I'm on part one, Financial. My review classes finished up and I have one more week to finish preparing before I sit for part one. So there, that is why I have been so MIA. The exam is kicking my butt, and it is so hard to stay focused and remember everything I've reviewed. Please pray for me. I definitely do not want to take this section again!

On a happier note, we added a new member to our family, Lexus Millikan. She is our second Italian Greyhound, and besides potty training , she has been a blessing! She is now4 months old, and weighs 4.8 lbs. She is a lot smaller than our other Italian Greyhound Beamer, but they play so well together! We've always wanted two dogs, and it's actually been pretty easy to have 2. They entertain each other, and they love sleeping right next to each other. I hope it's like that with 2 kids. Highly dobutful!
On this note, I am going to sign off. Please pray that I never have to take the Financial section of the CPA exam again!
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