Monday, December 31, 2012


This day last year, I spent three hours in my car, driving back to Nashville from Birmingham. No radio, no singing, no iPod: just thinking.

I had so much I wanted to accomplish in 2012 and made a plan. I had three objectives: the first box to check was to get my job situation in a better place. I was fortunate enough to be promoted in February. Once that happened, I was able to move out of downtown and into the suburbs, checking box 2. I love my new home! I gave myself a little under a month to pack, move and unpack before I shifted my focus to check box 3 in May: losing weight and begin living a more healthy lifestyle. I will always be trying to check that box but I had to start somewhere.

All three of those goals were accomplished by June. On top of that, I became an aunt in February to the sweetest, most amazing little boy there ever was:

was treated to five nights in beautiful Punta Cana, Dominican Republic:

and in between those big memories, made hundreds of small ones with friends and family here in Nashville, back in Alabama, and a few places in between.

How do I top this year?!??! It has been one for the ages! Blessings were poured upon me like rain onto the ark. Yet way too often I fall into the trap of focusing on what one thing I don't have, instead of giving thanks for what I do have. And when I truly stop to think about it, my cup runneth over.

I'm not spending three hours in the car today, but I did do a lot of driving recently over Christmas, and I have picked three more boxes to check for the new year! These goals are not Specific, Measurable or Time-Bound, but they are Attainable and Relevant.

The first one is to use the gifts I have been given. I already started that this year, auditioning for my first musical. If it goes well (and so far it is), I want to continue down that path. If not, I will find another outlet.

The second one is to make life easier on myself. Clip and use the coupons that arrive with my Sunday paper instead of filing them away and never looking at them. Create and stick to budgets instead of just tracking cash flow. Use Sundays as a prep day to cook, cut up fruit and vegetables, do chores, etc. so that I am not rushing around in the morning before work or dreading coming home to a uninviting mess. Figure out how to efficiently run a household while I have the room for error/luxury of being the only one in it.

The third, and one I am most excited about, is making life easier on someone else. I made sure to include a commitment to volunteering as one of my goals for 2013 because 2012 was all about me, me, me. I have RSVPed to attend a Nashville Literacy Council training session in January in hopes that I can become a tutor to an illiterate adult.

And in between all of that, I will continue to try to embrace the life I have been given, enjoy the people that are in it, and not complain too hard about turning 30.

Here's to another fantastic year!

Friday, December 28, 2012


I feel like Christmas flew by this year. For me, a huge part of the holiday is all the music I listen to. I have 269 Christmas songs on my iPod. This year, I didn't even make it through the playlist. All I would let myself listen to, at least until last Saturday, was the 9 to 5 soundtrack. So I felt like it crept up, was here, and then disappeared just as quickly as it arrived.

Regardless, I was ready for it and got all my shopping done, stockings and all, done in plenty of time. I took off of work the Friday before to wrap, pack, clean, wrap, pack and clean some more. Saturday morning, I headed to Huntsville to spend the night with my sister and her family. We ran some errands, checked out the Galaxy of Lights, watched Home Alone and I even got to help put together a Santa gift for the littlest one. It was a great way to start the holiday!

From there, I drove on Sunday to Birmingham, where I hopped in the car with Jay and hitched a ride to Montgomery, where my mom came to collect me. I rode back to Greenville with her and visited my grandmom and faithful friends who are dear to us and tucked in for the night down there. The next day, after a big breakfast, Mom and I rode back to Birmingham, just in time for my sister + family to arrive. We got all polished up and met my aunt and uncle at the Christmas Eve candlelight service, which is always a special time. Last year, I held my cousin's baby for most of the service, thinking about the little lamb my sister was carrying that would be with us this year. It was a sweet time together.

We all went back to my mom's for dinner, then took the annual Christmas pajama picture:

and then those of us that didn't have an early bed time opened gifts. The littlest elf waited until Christmas morning to open his. Want to know what Bitty got? A corn popper, this cute long-legged lion that gives hugs when Aunt Nin can't, a Christmas book, a train puzzle, this cute little Alabama-shaped wooden teether from Etsy and a super-fun xylophone! We all took a turn on it after feeling inspired by this video. Mom got some workout gear and new binoculars, sister got a DVD and some kitchen gear and brother-in-law got a bottle of JW Black.

What did Aunt Nin get? Moola to buy herself an iPhone! Very exciting! I also received the Anthro candle I wanted, some perfume, some gloves that I can use with my future touch-screen device, some makeup, a handmade picture frame (more to come on that) and some cute bracelets.

I also received enough gift cards to treat myself to a new television. This has been an interesting cirucmstance. I am just one person. I cannot watch more than one TV at the same time and while it would be nice to have one in my bedroom, it's not a pressing need. Moreover, I've had the same TV for 9 years and while it's "small" by my family's today's definition, it gets the job done for one person. HOWEVER. My family has kindly let me know that that TV is too small and have "suggested" I get a new one especially if I want them to visit during football season again. One gift card led to another and next week, a brand-new 39" television will be moving into my living room. I know. Huge TV. HDM-oh-my! It's gonna look like this:

All kidding aside, I am excited about this and all my other gifts and can't wait to enter the world of high-def electronics. Also, I am pretty certain buying a huge TV means there's no reason left for me to be single anymore, so stay tuned for news on THAT.

After a fun-filled Christmas Day where we stayed in pajamas, by the fire, taking catnaps and sneaking a snack here and there, I left Wednesday morning to head back to Tennessee for more practice. I was off work so I had time to unpack and get situated when I got home.

Though you read my count of what gifts received, I really am blessed beyond any measure. Christmas just reminded me of that very fact. Hope your holiday was splendid as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I read this list on Perez Hilton's website and it inspired to me write my own Things I Will Miss/Won't Miss If the Mayans Were Right and the World Ends on Friday. I'm excluding people that I know I will see on the flip side. And I am hoping that Jesus will be doing the water to wine trick upon my arrival at the pearly gates, so I'm also excluding vino.

Won't Miss:
1. The "You're My Present This Year" commercial
2. Gangnam Style
3. Taking out the trash
4. Working out
5. Shaving my legs...ugh
6. Traffic
7. Jessica Simpson bump watch
8. Politics
9. Being cold!
10. Having to eat what I pack for lunch even though I hate it

Will Miss:
1. My Frye boots
2. Cheese
3. Text messages
4. my Christmas tree
5. What Should We Call Me
6. Modern Family
7. Justin and Selena's on-again-off-again romance
8. Mascara
9. Football
10. Fireplaces

Sunday, December 16, 2012


What a whirlwind week. I have been floored and overwhelmed and very grateful at how excited everyone is for my new little adventure. My kind coworkers surprised me and got a cake to celebrate. If you look closely, you can see some happy tears in my eyes. I was also pretty stressed out that day so there might be some emotional release tears in there as well:

Those kind cake-bearing folks are among those buying tickets already. It feels like Junior Miss all over again, with so many friends and family e-mailing and texting about making plans to come up. Let me just say, Nashville is a super fun city. Anyone considering coming up should plan a January/February getaway to come see Music City. You can get great deals on hotels at that time of year and the musical can be but one stop on your merry tour.

Speaking of the show, we had rehearsal on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights as well as Saturday morning. We focused only on music the first two nights, and on Wednesday we did our first read-thru of the script with the principals. IT'S SO FUNNY. Of course my favorite scene by far is the one where we are all high as kites on some primo Maui-Wowie. My character Violet is so uptight and rigid that it's nice to do something totally different there for a few minutes. "Judy" and "Doralee" and I couldn't stop laughing at each other. That's gonna be a fun one for sure. On Saturday morning, the whole company was there and we worked on the opening number and the first act's closer. That's two songs in three hours... intense! Yours truly is having to learn this the hard way: by ear. I definitely have my work cut out for me.

After rehearsal on Saturday, we took more publicity photos in some different costumes. Later that evening, Evan and I got dinner and went to see the theater's current production of A Christmas Carol. It was a good show and it was really exciting to think that in just a month, we will be up there, too!

But there's so much to before that, like CHRISTMAS! I used Thursday evening to get my Christmas shopping done. I am all about some Christmas traditions and picking out tiny toys for a tiny boy is definitely, hands-down my new favorite. I put such thought into his gifts, selecting something for every sense: something to touch, something to taste (bite?), something to look at, something to hear. I also got something for thinking/development and something just for fun and giggles. Don't worry, he's not the only one I shopped for. I finished my shopping over the course of the weekend and all that's left to do now is wrap!

Hope you each had a good weekend!

Friday, December 14, 2012


I had another post all ready to go, but I saw this on Facebook and thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd heard all day.

“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior.”
― D.A. Carson

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


We took some publicity photos last night before tackling the score one time through. Behold:

Monday, December 10, 2012


What a weekend! I want to tell you about my Saturday, AKA first time ever to a callback. What an experience.

On Wednesday afternoon, I had literally JUST hit send on an email to my mom and sister saying I guess I wasn't invited to callbacks (they were originally supposed to be that evening) when I got a text on my phone inviting me to show up Saturday at 10 am. JOY! I immediately RSVPed my spot and alerted the masses.

I had no idea what to wear, what to bring, etc. I may as well have worn a name tag that said Hi My Name is NEW. The directors of the show knew it was my first attempt at community theater but I was trying my hardest not to broadcast it to everyone else.

I arrived and waited in the hallway with my competition the other thespians until the directors show up to usher us in. Unlike the first round of auditions, where we were performing by ourselves, for callbacks we were all in the room together.

Right out of the gate, they had eight or so of us women sing for Judy. If you haven't seen the musical, watch this clip of "Get Out and Stay Out" (beginning at the 3:00 mark). This is what we had to sing both on Monday night and again at 10:00 am on Saturday morning. A little note about Stephanie J. Block, the actress who is singing in that YouTube: she was Elphaba before Idina Menzel was Elphaba, while Wicked was still workshopping. Then, Block originated the role on the national tour and eventually took a turn on Broadway. To say that she can sing is an understatement. And we had to prove that we can do it too.

So we took our turns singing the bridge and final chorus of that song and as was the case on Monday, I felt good about my turn. It wasn't a new song to me by any stretch, but I still was incredibly nervous. The other girls/ladies were really talented and everyone was watching!

We then watched the ladies who were auditioning to be Roz, the suckup assistant. They read with a stand-in Mr. Hart then sang Roz's big song, "Heart to Hart." All of them did well!

After that, they divided us into groups of two; half of us to read/sing for Violet and the other half to read/sing for Doralee. I was in the group that was reading and singing for Violet.

First we had to perform Violet's big number about how she's gonna be a CEO and is now one of the boys. I was familiar enough with this song to hold my own. Then, we had to learn and perform the duet that Violet has at the end of the show with her officemate/love interest. This proved difficult for a few reasons: first, I was not as familiar with this song as others from the score and I can't read sheet music so it wasn't like I had that to fall back on. But even if I could, the "rehearsal track" we would be singing to was in a different key than the original cast recording/sheet music. We didn't realize this until we popped in the "rehearsal track" after listening to the original recording for a good ten minutes. And then, every time the female part came on, four other women were singing along with it. So it was challenging. Eventually, the director came in to check on us to find we were all kind of whiny about our slow progress. She said something I took to heart: find a harmony and hang on to it. If that won't work, find something that sounds good and sing it. So, once I stopped worrying about if I was singing the notes perfectly as they were on the page, or if I sounded like the CD version, or if I was even singing the right line of harmony altogether, I did better.

The Doralees came in and took their turns acting out the classic scene in Mr. Hart's office, where she finds out what he's been saying about her and threatens to turn him from a rooster to a hen with one shot. Then, the Violets were up to do our duets. I went last and as was suggested, found a harmony and hung on. I was excited that I pulled it off.

We were then given a scene to learn and sent out of the room while the Doralees each got a chance to sing. The scene we learned was at the end of the show when Violet tells Mr. Hart and the Chairman of the Board how they fixed the office, and how bad it was before, and how people like Violet will never get ahead of Mr. Hart. We came back in and took our turns performing the monologue. I was able to relate because Violet is saying that people like her have to balance the checkbook and run the errands and do it all. I often jokingly complain how I hate being head of my own household (ha) so I could empathize with that speech.

After everyone read, the entire room was sent into the hallway to wait. After a few minutes, they dismissed everyone but asked three of us to stay. We had to do a cold reading (no time to practice) for Judy, then sing her big number once more. The directors had said earlier in the day that they had to have 100% confidence that Judy can sing this big, huge song night after night, and so after we all went through the song one more time, they complimented all of us and said they were certain that any of us could do it, which as a rookie, meant a lot to me. They explained that at this point, it becomes about how everyone looks and sounds together, and that's what the cast would be built around.

All in all, I was there from 10 am to 1:30 in the afternoon. I had no idea it would take that long but I didn't mind at all. It was such a learning experience and after hearing everyone, I knew that whoever got the lead parts would be talented folks. I called my family on the way home and told them I had no clue when we would hear but I would let them know.

Less than five minutes after I got off the phone with my mom, my phone rang. It was my director, offering me the part of Violet. I was thrilled. I can't believe that in my first turn at this, they have faith in me to pull off such a big part. I am really nervous about memorizing so many lines but good news: I have a great partner to run scenes with. Evan has been cast in this production as well, as Doralee's husband Dwayne. No, we do not kiss. His long-awaited return to the stage and my debut, all in one?! Crazy to think about.I am so glad that he will be there every step of the way. What a FUN thing to share with my best friend!

Rehearsal start tonight! And yesterday, I got an email that we are taking press photos this evening and have a costume fitting or two as well. Zero to sixty, I tell you. The show opens one month from next Monday, so I know it will be fast and furious, especially with some time off for the holidays, but I cannot wait to get started.The directors are so funny and kind and did I mention my best friend will be right beside me?

E-mail me if you would like a link to ticket information! I would love for any of my friends to be there! If you ask nicely I will get you Evan's autograph!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Thursday, December 06, 2012


If you have followed this blog for any time at all, it should be no secret that I love Broadway. I might owe it to my parents, who took my sister and I to the BJCC to see each Broadway show as it came through town. Except Rent. We didn't use our tickets for that one. Something about it being too risqué?

So it's ironic then that I selected a song from Rent to sing on Monday night for MY FIRST THEATER AUDITION EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been waiting for the right timing, the right show, the right a lot of things to enter the world of community theater. I did a lot of performing in high school but I never did show choir or anything in undergrad because I wanted to focus on other things. When I got to Nashville, I would have loved to have done ANYTHING outside of work, frankly, but timing was an issue. I was always on the road: either to Birmingham for a wedding or to east Tennessee for work. Then I got my next job with my current employer, which didn't involve a lot of travel but a heck of a lot of time. I couldn't commit to hosting a baby shower, let alone to being in a musical.

But the time is right. And the show is exciting. I auditioned to be in 9 to 5 the Musical, which was on Broadway for a small amount of time but began a tour here in Nashville, which I got to see. It's based on the movie, obviously, so if you've seen it then you're all caught up!

My audition was Monday and it was really fun. Yesterday, I was invited to callbacks, which are taking place this weekend. I will keep you posted!

Bonus: guess who else is in the show with me? Yes, he has already been officially cast with his exact part TBD. Naturally. Is there anyone that does not meet him and immediately love him? I think not.

Look out, Broadway; here we come!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Sing this to the tune of "Thank Goodness" from Wicked.

Ev'ry day, more wicked!
Ev'ry day, the terror grows!
All of Auburn's ever on alert!
That's the way with wicked -
Spreading fear where e'er he goes
Seeking out new victims he can hurt!

Like some terrible red blizzard
Throughout the state he flies:
Defaming our poor Wizard
With his calumnies and lies!

Save us from the Wicked!
Shield us so we won't be hexed!
Give us warning:
Where will he strike next?

Where will he strike next?

Where will he strike next!?

Fellow AUBURN FANS- as terrifying as terror is, let us put
aside our panic for this one day: and celebrate!
Oh what a celebration
We'll have today
Thank Goodness! Let's have a celebration
The Malzahn way!
Thank Goodness!
Fin'lly a day that's
Totally Wicked-Witch free!
We couldn't be happier
Thank Goodness!

Yes -
We couldn't be happier,
Right, dear?
Couldn't be happier
Right here
Look what we've got
A fairy-tale plot
Our very own happy ending
Where we couldn't be happier -
True, dear?
Couldn't be happier
And we're happy to share
Our ending vicariously
With all of you
He couldn't look handsomer

I couldn't feel humbler
We couldn't be happier
Because happy is what happens
When all your dreams come true!

No, I couldn't be happier
Though it is, I admit
The tiniest bit
Unlike I anticipated
But I couldn't be happier
Simply couldn't be happier
Well - not "simply":
'Cause getting your dreams
It's strange, but it seems
A little - well - complicated
There's a kind of a sort of : cost
There's a couple of things get: lost

There are bridges you cross
You didn't know you crossed
Until you've crossed
And if that joy, that thrill
Doesn't thrill you like you think it will
Still -
With this perfect finale
The cheers and ballyhoo
Wouldn't be happier?
So I couldn't be happier
Because happy is what happens
When all your dreams come true
Well, isn't it?
Happy is what happens
When your dreams come true!

Sunday, December 02, 2012


I have been working on this Christmas list long and hard. My family has asked for ideas and here they are; some big, some small. I think I thought too long and too hard about this.

First up: an iPhone. I am still sorting through the logistics of this, since my current wireless provider does not carry iPhones, but I can tell you that I Am Done with a capital D with my Blackberry. To switch would mean paying a little more each month, but to buy an unlocked iPhone would mean paying a lot right now. My contract is up mid-January so I have little while to decide/see if T-Mobile has any exciting plans for the new year. Either way, it's coming.

I think this would look great in my condo. I didn't get the original but no use crying over spilled milk. This one is cute enough for me.

I've decided I need more candles in my life. I love the piney one I burn at Christmas. This gorgeous candle from Anthropologie would look great on my coffee table. Plus, it burns for 70 hours, so it could come in handy should Nashville have a blackout. And it smells great too!

I think I found a rug. It's not colorful like you might expect but I just can't commit to that much color for something like a rug. A nice jute one will frame my living room and establish a clean palate onto which I can throw color, color, color in the form of things that are much more easily returned if I don't like them. I have a sample of this rug in my living room right now and have gotten multiple opinions on it. I think I want to pull the trigger.

Speaking of my bedroom, it's time to spend some time and effort in there. My bed is on such stilts that it's been hard to find a nightstand that doesn't look puny next to it. I think I have settled on this. Is mirrored furniture a fad?

And while it seems frivilous for one person to have two televisions, I want to move my current 20" television into my bedroom and put a new, 32" or bigger one in my living room. So a new TV is also on the list. I'm expecting my man card to arrive in the mail anyday.

I LOVED laying in my pool this summer and reading magazine after magazine. I would love to receive Self or Lucky magazine. This is assuming my sister receives her annual gift of a People subscription from her mother-in-law and I can catch up on back issues when I go home.

And lastly, a little hometown love. "Keys to Music City is the brainchild of renowned singer-songwriter Ben Folds, one of many musicians who lost instruments and other equipment after a devastating flood swept through Nashville in 2010. Folds decided to turn a negative into a positive by salvaging and autographing keys from his flood-ravaged piano to initiate a campaign benefiting the Nashville Symphony. Those piano keys sold out in record time, and now Folds has enlisted some of his friends to help out with this innovative fund-raising idea." For a limited time, they are selling autographed piano key for a donation of $88. All funds raised will go to the Nashville Symphony’s Annual Campaign, which supports the orchestra’s artistic and educational programs. Working for a nonprofit myself, I can get on board with that. PLUS, guess which powerhouse vocalist has signed keys this year? I'll give you a few hints: I saw her in concert this year, you might know her from Wicked and she's only slightly bigger than the piano key itself.

All things considered, I already got the greatest gift ever on Valentine's Day. And, in honor of the amazing year I have had, I went bought myself a little something fun. So even if all I get in my stocking is coal, I would still be a very happy camper. I am pretty blessed.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


I am not a fan of people talking about how busy they are. We're all busy in one way or another, you know? But LORDY things are busy right now.

Thanksgiving was lovely. I was just home the weekend before, so it wasn't like I hadn't seen everyone in such a long time. We were all spread out until Thursday night, then we camped out in Birmingham until Sunday. By camped out I mean we shopped, napped, ate leftovers, did lots of playing on the floor, watched football by the fire... my kind of camping.

I helped host bunko on Wednesday. I wanted to have everyone at my house but there just aren't enough playing surfaces. Especially since now we sometimes play a new game called Left, Right, Center that requires us all seated around the same table. But I helped pull dinner together and enjoyed getting to see friends!

This time of the year is a lot of activity for the sorority I advise. I helped chaperone a party on Thursday, and then last night I had the advisors and a few of the girls over for a meeting. It was my first group to host (besides my family), so I was excited to use fun napkins and coasters and serving pieces.

So today, I am planted on my couch. I actually have a little bit of work to do so there's that. Next week looks just as busy. I have something big up my sleeve that I can't wait to tell you about. It starts on Monday. Then I am so excited to have been invited to see Kenny G's Christmas show with the Nashville Symphony on Thursday night. It will be fantastic!

Company comes this weekend and no, it's not Santa. But her eyes do twinkle and her dimples are merry, am I right?

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